WHAT’S A NANNY TO DO?
Being a nanny can get really difficult when the child they care for gets difficult. And while there are potentially as many reasons for a child’s negative behavior as there are possible negative behaviors, there are several steps any nanny can take in any situation to identify the root cause, implement a strategy, and resolve the problem to the benefit of the child- and preserve her own sanity:
Figure Out What is Causing the Problem
Many negative behaviors children exhibit are nothing more than normative “phases” of a child’s development- cured in time with a little patience. Other behaviors, however, are not typical and must be studied, almost scientifically, to determine their cause. The circumstances surrounding the incidents of misbehavior are critical to understand- knowing the time of day, people present, and general status of the child could reveal a pattern that could be the key to a solution. Is the misbehavior related to hunger? Fatigue? A certain person or place?
Talk to the Parents
Many times, the parents of a child are already aware of the behavior, and have a working strategy already in place to deal with it. Nine times out of ten, treating the problem the same way the parents do is going to be right. Sometimes, however, the parents aren’t aware or don’t know how to deal with it. In those cases, it is best to discuss the situation and come up with a solution that both nanny and parents can get behind. After all, consistency is the most important thing.
Talk to the Child
This is not often the way to go- but on occasion, the child will tell you exactly what is wrong in their life that could be the cause of their misbehavior.
Set Your Rules
Sometimes a good offense is the best defense. When you establish and assert a system of rules for your charges, they will self-manage and many kinds of negative behaviors will surface- or at least, through the steady application of appropriate punishment, will often abate without deeper delving. However, since this doesn’t necessarily address the root cause of the behavior, it doesn’t necessarily fix the problem. Sometimes there are emotional or environmental issues that need to be resolved for the greater benefit of the child.