The Nanny Guide: Quality Care and Your Nanny
How to manage and evaluate nannies
Nannies often become an integral part of a family's household, which is all the more reason to continue the evaluation process as your child's needs change. Schedule regular "performance reviews" with your nanny, similar to the ways you're evaluated regularly at work. These recurring sit downs will lay the foundation for open communication. Here are some concrete review points to consider for your discussion.
- Punctuality: Does your nanny pick up your kids from school and/or get them to appointments (e.g., music lesson, doctor's visit) on time? If your nanny is live-out, does she arrive on time?
- Follow through: If your nanny expressed a desire to pursue CPR or child education certifications, has there been follow through?
- Interaction: Does your nanny interact with your children in a positive and creative way? Does she make an effort to understand/ask about their needs? Does she consider activities that are age-appropriate, and make good judgments regarding the types of out-of-home activities (e.g. park, museum, library) that are suitable for your child?
- Health: How is your child's cleanliness at the end of the visit? What is the frequency of accidents? Does your nanny pay attention to season-specific health issues like frequent hand washing in the winter to prevent colds, vigilant sunscreen application in summer?
- Communication: How does your nanny recount the day's events? Is she sufficiently detailed verbally? Does she keep a daily log (which is particularly important to track infant sleep and feeding)? Or does she appear guilty or is vague on the details?
- Following directions: Does your nanny follow your directions re: discipline, development, and daily routines? Do you feel there's a mismatch in child care philosophy?
- Your child's response: Does your child seem happy and excited to see your nanny and later recount adventures to you? Or have you noticed negative behavioral changes (e.g. withdrawn, more sensitive) in your child since the nanny started? Observing your child's response to the nanny will provide important information, particularly at the pre-verbal stage.
- Boundaries/expectations: For nannies or au pairs who perform housekeeping and/or are live-in, do you feel that the previously agreed on duties are being performed, and boundaries being abided by?
Given that nannies often become an important part of a family's life, it's critical to keep communication open via regular evaluation.
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Christine Koh is a music and brain scientist turned parent and writer about parenting issues for Care.com. She is also the editor of BostonMamas.com.
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