Nannies wearing masks
For many nannies, wearing a mask in the home has become a new part of their nanny job. As the mask debate rages on around the world, varied opinions covering the spectrum have been heard from families and nannies. It’s a controversial topic. But I think the discourse around masks is important for the industry to acknowledge, as it has a big impact on the day to day life of a working nanny. In many areas around Australia, masks are becoming a regular part of life and it’s been incredible to see many nannies doing the right thing to keep everyone safe.
Of course, it goes without saying that local mandates and Government requirements must be followed at all times. Both parties must be vigilant in staying up to date on the requirements listed by the Government to ensure everyone is doing the right thing. Outside of that, mask wearing is often up to interpretation and opinions can vary greatly. With most things in the family’s home, the nannies often follow the preferences of families. By nature a good nanny will work according to the parent’s preference when it comes to things like routine or behaviour management but when it comes to mask, everyone has the right to personal choice.
As an Agency, we’ve had to manage expectations for nannies and families meeting for a face to face nanny interview. I’ve heard both from those who are extra cautious and others that are strongly against wearing a mask when it’s not legally required. The reasons to wear a mask speak for themselves (smart hygiene, courtesy, set a good example, prevents the spread, etc) and I congratulate everyone for making it a normal part of life. But this year there has also been a lot of hysteria and anxiety that may see a mask used when it’s not necessary.
Everyone already knows the reasons for wearing a mask but sometimes it’s important to consider why a nanny should not wear a mask when it’s not legally required. If both parties take the right steps to stay safe and it’s not required by law, is a mask really necessary?
- We work with children, a huge part of their development relies on our facial expressions. In the younger years children haven’t formed the ability to communicate without these, so bonding with children can be hard with a mask on.
- Babies require our faces even more. When you have no ability to speak or understand, the only way a baby can gain the crucial information they need for interpretation is our face. Babies are also in such close contact that I’m not sure a mask would be of much use. They would definitely be a good smell barrier though!
- Research and opinions on the effectiveness of masks vary, and with the virus more likely to spread indoors, the risk for spread is still high. With a nanny working an 8 hour day inside with the kids, touching surfaces, touching and removing their mask to eat and drink, I wonder how effective a mask in the home would be?
- Nannies and families naturally create bubbles with the work they do. When Melbourne lockdown took place. We made sure that all nannies and families discussed expectations on where they would be going. Obviously the risks are higher for different locations, professions, and living situations. If a secure bubble is formed, a mask may not be necessary in the home during the nanny’s work.
If this year has taught us anything, it’s that we are all at different stages of where we feel comfortable navigating a pandemic. Some feel the need for masks stronger than others. Regardless of where you fall, remember to have some empathy for the other side and what their stance may be. I recommend to keep having open discussions and work towards a good compromise where everyone can feel healthy and safe. The opinions within this blog are that of my own, and based on the current situation here in Australia (COVID risks are very different overseas).
We’ve created a Facebook group to help nannies connect with like minded professionals
Being a nanny can be isolating. While the internet makes it easier to connect with nannies, most nanny groups are just constant conversations about minimum wage. We’ve created a group to connect those that are wanting to take their career to the next level through hard work and knowing your worth.
If you’re picking up what we are putting down – let’s connect.