We all know “communication is key”… but that adage couldn’t be more important for a family assistant. Tasked with charges, house care, transportation, and more, finding time to effectively communicate with a family can certainly be a challenge- but it’s absolutely necessary.
We’ve sourced five great ways to nip that pesky communication issue in the bud- so you can focus on enjoying your work, having fun, and keeping smiles all around!
1. Have face-to-face conversations.
In this age of technology, the value of in-person communication is often overlooked. Taking just a few moments to catch up with your training family in regards to important events or activities can make a world of difference. Additionally, face to face conversation gives family assistants the opportunity to mention the day’s highlights, and to note any off-trend behavior displayed by the kids. In listening, be sure to remain attentive, appear interested, and, if warranted, take notes!
2. Maintain a communication center.
A cubby, fridge, bulletin board, or shared e-calendar can all function as excellent spaces to share information with your charges and family- and visa versa. With hectic schedules all around, it’s imperative that a communications center is used as often as possible… and that all involved in the day to day goings on of the house regularly check it for correspondence and feedback. With the OneNote training every family assistant receives from our team, updating an e-calendar or creating an online note process will be a cinch!
3. Keep daily logs.
As a family assistant, keeping a daily report to share with family members is one of the most important and efficient ways to keep everyone “in the loop.” The log can be a one page document, or a simple note outlining activities, irregularities, and highlights of the day. The contents of the log may vary depending on the child’s age and the amount of detail deemed appropriate, but it’s always a good rule of thumb to share as much as you can about the day- so parents are well-informed about decisions to make moving forward. The log can and should be kept in the communication center!
4. Create expense reports.
While family assistants should have access to a predetermined amount of money for child related expenses, it’s important that an expense report is kept to detail exactly how that money is spent. A weekly report with purchase receipts typically suffices. Be sure to include the date, location and contents of purchased items!
5. Draft a work agreement.
Each family assistant position is different- which is why it’s so important to have a clear outline of expectations from both parties before work commences. These agreements usually only take a few hours to flesh out, but are vital for ensuring tasks are completed, proper compensation is paid, and both family and assistant are happy. When drafting your agreement, be sure to take time to cover contingencies… even if you don’t expect them to arise!
Successful, efficient communication is the key to a long and fruitful assistant-family relationship. With clear expectations and consistent guidelines, more gets accomplished, everyone’s happier, and, most importantly… everybody wins!