Discipline and its range of punitions, are essential tools for the education of children. The parents, the nanny and the child’s educators are the ones in charge of implementing it. Discipline provides a framework and boundaries for the child who learns what is and is not an acceptable behavior. The key is consistency: in order for the child to understand and assimilate the rules he needs to realize that they apply every time and with everybody – parents, babysitter and other trusted educators.
It is therefore very important to make sure that your nanny is on the same page as you, and you need to work together to develop a coherent system of discipline around the child. Let’s first review how you can ensure that your babysitter’s approach is aligned with yours before moving on to some practical advice for establishing an effective collaboration.
It is important that you address the subject of discipline early in baby sitter selection process. To ensure that the candidate doesn’t merely agree with your views, ask her questions about her perspective and opinions, and what she would do in specific situations. Her answers will help you assess whether her approach is similar to yours. Be very clear on the acceptable disciplinary measures you allow her to take, however, keep an open mind: Remember that you are talking to an experienced candidate who can bring up new ideas you had not considered.
Once you’ve carefully defined your approach to discipline and found a nanny who meets your family needs and shares your views on children education, the last step is to set up a communication system with your babysitter to ensure the consistency of your responses the child’s behavior. You can ask the nanny to keep a journal: this way, you’ll know how you child behaved while you were awy and how the baby sitter responded. You do not want to end up being the “bad cop” nor give that role to the nanny so the journal is a good way to make sure that you are consistent. Set up an informal weekly meeting with your babysitter to share your experiences. This will allow you to provide a coherent framework for the child who will have clear limits and will soon require less discipline.