What if I find it difficult to communicate with the family?
There may be a language barrier if the parent(s) don’t speak English very well. We make sure as much as possible is agreed before you start the position and our staff are always on call should you have a problem. We remain in very close communication with you and the family during the first few weeks so you can rest assured that you will not be on your own to settle into a new job.
What if the family do not pay me on time?
Immediately tell one of the Agency staff. We will take over from this point, find out the reason for this and make sure you are paid ASAP.
What other differences may I notice when working with a Russian family?
There are of course differences when working in a Western and a Russian family. Our families generally like the children to spend a lot of time outdoors, but they must be dressed very warmly. Even if it is not very cold outside, the child should have on a hat, scarf and gloves. Be prepared to also spend a lot of time indoors if the temperature drops to below -15 degrees C. You will need to have lots of activities planned for these days! Being flexible and ‘going with the flow’ will also help you. Russian families sometimes tend to change their plans at short notice, so don’t be surprised if you’re told the whole family is going on holiday tomorrow, or that ice skating is called off 10 minutes before you’re about to leave.
What if I do not understand the language?
In most of our Client’s families, at least one of the parents speaks English. If there are any problems all the office speak English so are always happy to translate or help solve any problems you have. It is advisable to buy a Russian conversation book and learn a few key phrases upon your arrival to Moscow. Simple phrases such as ‘how do I get to… where is the… which way to… how much is…’ will get you surprisingly far.
What if I am not sure how to travel around a foreign city?
Most road signs in Moscow are now also written in English so knowing Russian written language is not necessary. We will provide you with an English/Russian underground map or view interactive map (hint: you can change the language of map). You can always ask your colleagues the tricks of the trade on how they learnt to get around Moscow without knowing the language.
What if I do not like the food given to me while on duty?
In most families you can make yourself something simple from the food in the kitchen. Russian food is quite different to Western food – you can use your trip to Moscow as a culinary experience!
What if the family want me to be on call 24hrs a day while on holiday?
This is a popular holiday schedule. As we ensure that you do not work more than 10 hours a day, 5 days week during normal working days, sometimes you are asked to work 24/7 while on holiday. Your days off will be accumulated and you can take them when the family returns home.
What if the child refuses to play with me when I start?
If it is the first time a child is going to have a Nanny then there is a high possibility that the child may just be intimidated or slightly scared of having a stranger around him, especially one that he doesn’t understand. The younger a child is, the quicker he will get used to a new person. Time is the only answer here. The child will soon get used to the new Nanny and make friends with her. If you are replacing another English Nanny, then it may be a case of arranging a transition period between the two Nannies so that it is not so traumatic for the child. Usually the family will have a Russian Nanny too. You may work side-by-side with her. In any case, we will explain to the family that it is very important to support the new Nanny to help the child get used to her quicker and to establish rules and that everyone follows them – all Nannies, parents, grandparents etc. Again, the situation will get easier with time as the child becomes acquainted to the Nanny and starts accepting her as their friend.
What if the parent(s) supervise me being with the child and do not leave us alone?
This may happen if it is the first time a family has a Nanny, and if mainly the mother has been raising the child. Of course, as with any new Nanny, there will be an issue of how long it takes the parents to fully trust their new Nanny in looking after the child; does she dress him warmly enough, does she make sure he eats enough, will she watch him carefully enough while he is on the swings. These are inevitable parental worries that any family will experience. Do not be surprised if the Grandmother or Russian Nanny stays with you during the first few days. The more they see their new Nanny with their child, the more confident they will feel about the Nanny. After all, no one wants to leave their child alone with a stranger on the first day, no matter how qualified or experienced the person may be. We recommend that you agree with the parents how long this ‘supervision’ will continue at the very beginning. At the end of each day, find out from the ‘supervisor’ (we can always help with translation) how they feel the day went – find out what they liked, what they didn’t like. The problem with a supervisor is that once the child sees a familiar face they will not be motivated to try to play with you or understand you, it’s much easier for the child just to play with the Russian Nanny/parent/Grandparent in their native tongue. The Agency will explain to the family that in order for the learning process to begin, they will have to make sure that you are left alone with the child. Otherwise you can spend months with the child and they will learn very little compared to if you spent one-on-one time with them.
What if there are no educational or developmental materials for me to work with?
In this case it is possible for you to notify the family that you will require materials to work with the child. You can either buy them in your home country and be reimbursed upon your arrival in Russia (and for excess baggage because of materials) or order them through a catalogue or online to be delivered to the family’s address. As Bonne International is the founder of 6 pre and primary schools in Moscow (English Nursery and Primary School), we have access to many educational and developmental materials that you may use and take inspiration from.
What if the parents do not listen to the advice I give them about timetable and other daily issues?
As the family will already have a routine and system by way of which things are run in the household, it would be very strange for them for a outside person from another culture to arrive and try to tell them that this is not the best way to do things. As a Nanny, you have the right to give your professional opinion, but it is the family’s right as a parent to make the final decision on any issues concerning their child. Our advise is to sit down with the parents and go through the issues you have noticed, discussing your suggestions and how you plan to implement them. The Agency will speak with the family about the issues too.
What if I do not agree with the parents’ child-raising or discipline methods?
This is something that must be discussed at the interview stage, and looked into further during the trial days. This issue highlights the importance of the trial days during your first, short trip to Moscow.
What if the family ask me to do things not in the contract such as domestic or night duties?
We make sure that our Nannies do only what is stated in the contract. Domestic duties will be limited to child related duties such as keeping their room tidy, picking which clothes they will wear and making sure they don’t bring mud into the house etc.