Posted: June 16, 2014 11:25am

Once you have children, you need help and although some are lucky to have family around the corner, most don’t. What to do is a continuous schoolgate dilemma.

With the help of Fiona Comanzo and Crystal McMahon who have both worked extensively in the childcare industry and now run Queens Park Nannies we will be trying to give some useful advice and support.

As a blog we thought communication would be a great place to start.

Fiona’s number one rule is clear concise communication. Not an area I excel in and she makes it clear that scribbled notes on scraps of paper and/or last minute instructions garbled over your shoulder as you rush out the door are not the answer.

Everything starts with a clear job description. No, it doesn’t have to be more than a page and yes, it can be amended as and when, including the main areas of responsibility. If your arrangement is not bound by a work contract, this should include hours which you can stick to .

Of course children don’t play by the rules so there will be changes on a constant basis. Her top tip to manage this is a nanny book. It can include any issues with the children as well as changes to schedules and extra jobs that may need doing. Ask your help to cross them off when done.

Nannies/Au pairs are not mind readers. It is not their fault if we are stressed and time poor

Thirdly, make time for a regular weekly catch-up. Yes, it is always the first thing to go but once its routine misunderstandings don’t build and trust does. Making time shows respect and allows you to build your relationship with them and also for them to give you feedback on your child. It is useful to get another perspective so don’t be afraid.

The next reminder is TRUST YOUR HELP. You vetted them. Trust your instincts. Things go wrong, and everyone has challenges, choose your moment carefully. It is always better to let things calm down, then sit down at a later point and discuss any issues. Some issues that seem critical at the time just aren’t and your frustration may be due to something else, choose your battles!

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