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Cherish Your Childcare

When it comes to the delicate balance between a family and a nanny, parenting coach Tammy Gold has heard it all.  There's the working mom who insists she can be home by dinner time when she rarely gets in before 10; the couple who refuses to hire a live-in nanny, but expects their childcare provider to work until 11 at night and be back the next morning by dawn.  Then there are the "softy" mothers who tiptoe around nannies, afraid they will upset them if they ask too much or micromanage...or the nannies working with the children all week on "please" and "thank you" only to have tired parents undo everything when the weekend comes.

"I think people don't put themselves in the nanny's position.  A lot parents have never cared for another person's child...It is not the same feeling as when YOU care for your child. It is much more stressful," explains Gold, a New Jersey psychotherapist who went from treating troubled kids in Newark to counseling suburban families navigating new parenthood.

For families fortunate enough to hire a childcare worker at home, it is a complex relationship that can be fraught with pitfalls.  Gold says she works with families to anticipate hiccups along the way.  One of most common problems is communication - or lack thereof on both parts.

Tammy and her daughter
"This is your partner in your great journey...But people don't realize how they treat this person.  Sometimes they don't even say hello or goodbye," she told The Well Mom.

She encourages clients to "cherish" nannies and to think of them as part of the family.  It's advice she says she follows in her own home.

"I leave her notes, presents, I anticipate things she needs...I want to give so much back to her," she says.

And Gold advises moms to get into the habit of checking in from day one.  This goes beyond tracking how the child is doing.  She says parents need to be sensitive to how the nanny is doing.

"They need to ask about the hours and tasks and ask the nanny on a regular basis, how is this working for you?" she explains.  And she constantly reminds parents,
"What is manageable for you may not be manageable for someone else."

Gold says she often hears of situations where nannies were reluctant to speak up about concerns and quit before employers had a chance to remedy a problem.  She tells families to head off those events by starting a dialogue from the beginning.

"When nannying is done right, it allows you to be a better parent," says Gold.    

Next month, look for part II in this series on Nannies.  Tammy Gold, founder of Gold Parent Coaching, will share her tips on selecting the right childcare provider and more ways to cultivate a great relationship.  For more information on Gold Parent Coaching, check out

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