December 15, 2011 | in Nanny
Even the best children can have their bad days, and it can be difficult for a nanny to maintain control. If your charges suffer from occasional tantrums or consistent behavioral problems, here are seven of the most effective ways to lay down the law.
- Be Firm – A trembling lip can soften even the hardest of hearts, making it difficult to follow through with discipline. Still, being firm is the first step to establishing acceptable behavior patterns; caving in under the pressure of an adorable face will only serve to teach your charges that the rules are negotiable. It’s important for them to understand that bad behavior will not be tolerated.
- Be Consistent – Children need consistent boundaries and rules in order to feel confident about where those boundaries are. Without this knowledge, they may feel confused about what acceptable behavior means. Providing consistency and explaining your reasons for setting each rule will help your charges understand that you’re not trying to be mean, and that you have a valid reason for expecting them to behave well.
- Refuse to Acknowledge Tantrums – Though the shrieking and tears of a full-blown temper tantrum can be difficult to ignore, refusing to acknowledge this behavior quickly teaches children that it is a futile waste of energy.
- Reward Good Behavior – The other half of refusing to acknowledge tantrums is being sure to always reward good behavior. For children with consistent trouble keeping their behavior in line, it’s a good idea to institute a system of rewards and lost privileges. Being aware of the consequences of their actions can help kids learn to make good choices on their own.
- Maintain Communication With Parents – Because the consistent boundaries and reward systems are so important to a child’s routine, it’s imperative to keep a clear line of communication open between you and your charges’ parents. Together, you can discuss problem behaviors and what methods of discipline they feel are best. Working with your employers in a team effort is one of the most effective ways to save your sanity and theirs.
- Make Your Expectations Clear – A child who isn’t sure what you expect from them won’t be able to meet those expectations. To help them understand their behavior and the effect is has on the people around them, you should have clear conversations about what your expectations are and why it’s important to adhere to behavioral standards.
- Stay Calm – Never allow yourself to get pulled into a shouting match with your charges. It sets a bad example, and will cause the situation to escalate beyond control very quickly. Instead, maintain a calm tone of voice and keep your composure while standing your ground. Wait out the tantrum without acknowledging it, then calmly explain why such behavior isn’t allowed after the child has calmed down.
The strongest weapon in your arsenal is the participation and support of your employers. It will not matter how much work you put into helping their child understand good behavior if they don’t enforce it when you’re gone. Keeping a nanny’s log to share with your employers can be an effective way to open a line of communication, and give you the opportunity to share your observations.
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