Every mother needs some help. If you just gave birth, or are preparing to join the workforce and still have young kids running around, having an efficient and trusted nanny or yaya to watch over them while you’re busy with other things is essential.
However, you can’t expect your newly hired yaya to take care of your kids exactly the way you do. Here are some tips to help you through the process of training.
Plan in advance
If you know you’re going back to work or giving birth in a few months, it’s best to start looking for a yaya several months before the big event. This will give you enough time to adjust to the situation—observe how she works, get to know her, and let the kids be comfortable with her. In the event things don’t work out, you will also have enough time to find a replacement and go through the whole process again.
Trust your instincts
It will take time for your new nanny to learn how you want things done. In addition, it will take even more time to see if she’s a perfect fit for your family. However, you can gauge from the start if she’ll be a good worker. Is her hair messy when she first meets you? Does she look you in the eye? Does she mumble when spoken to? Are her answers clear and straight to the point?
These are signs that will tell you how much work needs to be done before you can leave her alone with your children, and if you even want to invest your time and effort in training her. After all, if she gives off an annoying or deceitful vibe at the start, there’s no point in forcing the relationship.
Get to know her
Aside from assigning your yaya a list of things to do, get to know her, too. Communicate with her. Discover her strengths and weaknesses so you can also manage your expectations.
Define scope of work
Be clear about her duties. Is she also responsible for washing your children’s clothes and cleaning both the nursery and bathroom? This is a classic case of housework vs baby care. If she is the main caregiver of your baby while you’re in the office, she may not have time for all those additional tasks, except during the baby’s naptime, and that window of time might not even be enough.
Avoid overloading her with work. Don’t forget, she also needs time for herself. If you’re at home with your child, see what you’re capable of doing yourself.
From there, you can delegate what she needs to do. For example, if you’re with your baby when he/she wakes up in the morning, your yaya can then wash and clean. Teach her that, no matter what, her priority is your baby.
Communicate, show and tell
Letting your yaya know your expectations is very important. It is best to do certain things yourself in order for your nanny to see how things are done. For example, you may prefer to give your baby a bath yourself. Have your yaya help by getting the tub ready, laying out clothes and packing everything away in the end.
Be clear in communicating your instructions. Repeat many times to stress their importance. Be detailed when explaining. Show her how it’s done. No matter what, you’re the mother of your child and you’re in charge.
When you’re comfortable after some time has passed, you may even give her more responsibilities. There may be a time when she has learned enough from you and is able to give your baby a bath by herself.
Listen to your ‘yaya’
Communication is a two-way street. Encourage your yaya to ask questions. Be careful of your reactions to her questions, because she may stop asking questions if she sees you laughing or looking irritated.
Ask your nanny to repeat your instructions in her own words to make sure she understands you.
Have a manual
Creating and writing a manual for your yaya may be tedious, but it’s worth it in the end. You will both have something to refer to, if an issue arises. You can include schedules, days off and vacation agreements, a list of her duties in the morning, afternoon and evening, and a checklist of things to bring to the playground, to the grandparents’ house, and to playschool.
Include emergency scenarios and contact numbers. Let her study your list of dos and don’ts, too. After time passes and she becomes accustomed to your schedules and habits, she may not need the manual anymore.
Having a yaya for your baby is a continuous journey of discovery, learning and patience. She will be your and your baby’s constant companion for as long as she stays with you, so build a good relationship with her.
It will surely benefit you in the long run. —CONTRIBUTOR