Can sleep coaching be achieved successfully by the parents AND the nanny?
This week, I had a really good chat with Lucy from Lullaby Lucy. Lucy is a certified baby sleep
consultant, maternity nurse and ex nanny. Like me, she has been in childcare since she can
remember. We have worked alongside each other for many years and continue to do so
Recently, Lucy has been asked by her clients whether her tried and tested sleep training methods would still work if a nanny shares responsibility for the bedtime routine. Would there be enough consistency having more than two people, and can it still work having someone who isn’t the parent?
Lucy wanted to know how an experienced nanny would feel, if an employer told them that a professional was being hired to get their little ones sleeping. She got in touch with me to discuss her thoughts and to find out mine.
Here’s how the conversation went:
Lucy: “A lot of potential families who would like to start sleep coaching are worried about starting a program as they have a nanny during the day. They’ve asked if they can sleep train while a nanny shares responsibility."
"My personal view on this is YES… as long as you have a nanny who is on board. As an ex-nanny, and the founder of Real Nannies, how would you and your team feel?"
Carly: “We could definitely aid in sleep care. Our main focus when hiring nannies is their willingness. A huge part of the nanny-family dynamic is working as a team, so anything that can benefit the entire unit, we are on board!"
Lucy: "Another question that has come up is; how will we know that the nanny can successfully implement the program?"
Carly: " Before employing a professional sleep consultant, we would want to ensure a solid foundation has been built between the family and their nanny, this will enable them to take the journey on together. Prior to placing a nanny, we require that they have received our specialised training. We also work with the family to ensure that they will be the perfect fit. These measures coupled together should lead to a successful relationship, where anything is possible!
Lucy: " When families bring in a specialist, how does it make you feel, and how can parents make the process easier for their nannies?"
Carly: " Nannies are expected to take a holistic approach to aid raise children, but they aren’t required to have specialist knowledge such as: sleep coaching, weaning, specialist behaviour training, lactation aiding, etc: these are all highly specialised areas which require years of education. I specialise in some areas myself, but sleep is not one of them. So, if I had been required to work with a sleep consultant, I would have seen that as an opportunity to learn more about that subject. I’d be quite excited actually."
Lucy " You're right! I think that it’s really important for families not to expect these specialist subjects from nannies. I think we need to remember; nannies should be there to give support but we’re not all going to be experts on all areas of childcare."
Carly: " Employing a specialist or a consultant is a different direction, and it’s important that families understand this, and talk it through with their nanny. Nannies can only work on their past experiences, which may not provide a well-rounded view on a subject."
Lucy: “As a sleep consultant, I spend most of my time working solely with parents; I would like to find a way to include the nanny in the process. Nannies may be doing the majority of the sleep coaching, and I feel they need to be a larger part of the discussion?"
Carly: “I think the key processes involved in the sleep training method (or planning?) would need to involve the nanny. Again, this needs to be communicated by the parents. They would need to have an open conversation with the nanny to make sure that she’d be on board. They would need to organise with the sleep consultant when and where they’d be needed on zoom calls, emails, WhatsApp, etc.”
Lucy: “Exactly, we want the whole team on board as one. For sleep coaching to be successful, we need consistency and continuity. We don’t want any areas of competition, just a response as a whole.”
“So moving forward, you would say that the parents and the nanny would need to have made a plan to work together, so that I could converse with the nanny and the parents."
Carly: "Yes you would need to trust in the nanny-family relationship. Like the communication we have talked about in finding the perfect and successful match between nannies and families. So, with regards to involving the nanny in the zoom calls and the feedback: is that something you would be happy to do, and would that be at an extra cost?”
Lucy: “100% I would love for the nanny to be there. There’d be no extra charge. Essentially, I need to get as much information on this child as possible, and for that to happen I need to have all carers present. I would like the nanny to be involved with the sessions and the feedback, also the daily updates of sleep and behaviour. However, I don’t want to eat into the nannies personal time.”
Carly: “ Again, that’s where the relationship would come back in. The parents and the nanny would need to agree upon a plan between themselves, and come to you together. They would need to decide on the communication method, and how that is relayed to you.”
Lucy: “So, you would encourage your Real Nannies to be part of a sleep coaching program?”
Carly: “100%. Our role as nannies is to enhance family life; sleep is essential, and we understand that!”
So, in conclusion, sleep training as a team will certainly work as long as both parties are on board from the beginning. Communication is absolutely key, and something that I firmly believe makes every relationship in life successful. If both the parents and the nanny are willing to make these positive changes as a team, then of course it will work.
Lucy and I view childcare in the same way. Our many years of childcare experience has made us both truly passionate about what we do. Lucy is a dream when it comes to sleep check out her website https://www.lullabylucy.com/