Sharing a space can complicate any relationship, especially a working one. It’s like having a part-time roommate–and as anyone who has had a bad roommate can tell you, those relationships can easily become strained!
When having a caregiver (or really any kind of household assistance) begin working in your home, it’s a good idea to have an open discussion about how things usually work in your house.
We recommend that you use these talking points to start a dialogue with anyone you might have working in your home. It’s best for everyone if both parties are comfortable with the decisions you make together.
This is how we feel _____ should be done
We all have our own ways of doing certain tasks around the house, whether it’s loading the dishwasher or changing a diaper. It may seem straightforward to you and those you live with, but every family handles little things differently.
Before someone starts working in your home, think about what’s truly important to align with your caregiver on and what tasks you won’t mind if they are done a slightly different way. Discussing the important details together will lead to better communication in the long run.
I know from experience that _____ bothers me when sharing a space
Do you keep the volume on the TV below a certain level? Is there a time of day you like to address what’s piled up on the counters, or in the sink? You shouldn’t expect someone else to do everything exactly the same as you, but communicating expectations is always a good idea. Whatever the specifics are, the best way to create a peaceful home is to bring pain points up early.
With kids, anything can happen! If there’s one thing I’m concerned about it’s _____
As anyone with children knows-sometimes plans don’t go smoothly! Crayon marks could end up on a table and dishes can fall from small hands. There might be times when you come home to something broken that was intact when you left.
There’s a certain amount of wear and tear that comes with the territory with children. But if there are priceless or irreplaceable items in your home, it’s a good idea to communicate that. After all, we can’t always predict the day your grandmother’s vase suddenly fascinates your kids who have never noticed it before.
_____ is a private area
Is there an area of your home that’s off-limits?
The attic? Master closet? A shed in the backyard or a drawer in the bedroom?
Wherever the location, it’s best to be explicit about places that shouldn’t be accessed. Clarity can be a kindness for all involved.
_____ is how you access the house
This may not be something you need to share immediately, but at some point, or maybe even just in the case of an emergency, your caregiver might need to know how to get in and out of the house.
Do you need two different keys to unlock the front door? Is there a code to bypass the alarm? Make sure the other party is set up for success and able to enter and exit when needed.
This is where we keep extra _____
Household organization is often more individualized than we give it credit for! It might make sense for your family to keep extra toilet paper in the cabinet in the garage, or the kid’s sunscreen in the fridge, but it might not occur to someone else to look in the ‘right spot.’ To make your someone more comfortable (and to avoid any awkwardness that could stem from someone going through your belongings trying to find something), consider any items they might need to find.
This is especially important for parents of younger children who aren’t able to communicate where the caregiver can find, for example, the extra diapers.