Your Nanny's First Day of Work

Use this helpful checklist to help you and your nanny get through the day.

mom watching son write

Congratulations! You have a new nanny. Finding someone whose personality meshes with your family's is no easy task. You've done all the hard stuff, including background checks and negotiating pay. You've also probably spent some time going over the rules and routine of your home. Now it's time to get back to work--you know, the one that pays the bills? And, whether you are tearful about leaving the kids or running out the door latte in hand, there are a few things you probably want to run through those first few days.

Numbers and Information

  • Make sure you have your nanny's personal information on file - address, phone number, email -- and provide information for all members of your family as well (work and cell phone numbers). Determine the best way to reach each other during the day or in the case of an emergency. For your paperwork, you might need her license number and taxpayer ID number.
  • Have numbers for the pediatrician, school, and a close friend, family member or neighbor written down in an easy place to find in case she needs them.
  • Both you and your nanny should have a copy of the signed work agreement. This should include the agreed upon pay, days and hours for work and any extra things such as agreed upon housework, cooking, etc.

The House

  • Your nanny needs her own set of the house keys as well as entry cards or passes to the school, community center or indoor play space that your family uses if you want her to take the kids there.
  • Make sure the nanny knows how to operate the heat/air conditioning, TV, washing machine and dishwasher, and any other household appliances she may need to use. If you expect her to be answering the phone a lot or taking messages make sure she is aware. If your house is childproofed, demonstrate how toddler safety gates operate.
  • Explain which dishes are ok to use and kitchenware if she is going to be doing any cooking.

Safety and Health

  • Remind her of any allergies or particular food issues your children may have - if there are any items of food that are off limits. (Hey, your house, your Rocky Road). For children with serious allergies, put food away that would be harmful them.
  • Show her where Benadryl, Epi Pens or any other emergency allergy or asthma medicine is located.
  • Go over any medications that the children may need, where to find it and dosage requirements. A good idea might to outline this on a document you can hang in the medicine cabinet or on the refrigerator.
  • Bathing rituals for toddlers (which shampoo and soap to use) and remind her about safety concerns (i.e. experts advise that children 6 years or younger should not be unattended in a bath tub). 
  • If she is changing diapers, tell her how often she should be changing and what ointments to use on the baby's bottom (if any). If you are potty training, explain the routine again.
  • Let her know where it's safe for the kids to play outside (if they can play unattended anywhere), the rules for watching them on the swing set, trampoline or on their bikes.

The Car

  • If your nanny will be driving your kids, address specifics pertaining to your car -- if it has a keyless ignition, computerized dashboard or GPS, make sure she is comfortable with it before you walk out the door. If you have car seats, show her how they operate. A nice thing to do is to program your GPS with the addresses of school, the doctor's office, dance class, soccer practice and the kids' best friends' homes. It may seem like a pain at the time, but it's far easier than shouting directions over the phone while you are at work.
  • Communicate any rules that pertain to her behind the wheel -- texting or talking on the cell phone while driving is unacceptable (it's not only unsafe it's illegal in most states).
  • Your auto insurance plan should be updated to cover your nanny, if you plan on her driving your car.

The Day's Events, Times and House Rules

  • For the first week, write down protocol until you get into a routine - school schedule, naps, classes and practices, extracurricular activities, meals, snacks and homework. Loop her into the timing of things, such as when to be outside to catch the school bus, how long it may take on a busy morning to drive to school and how long it realistically takes your kid to get dressed and to eat breakfast. As a general note, before you leave the house in the morning, you might want to give her a rundown of the day's events, especially if there are changes to the routine.
  • Explain the rules for TV and computer time in your house or else your 7-year-old daughter may convince her that she never leaves for school without a full viewing of Camp Rock 2.
  • Consider making a calendar for her (and you) to refer to and encourage her to add to it as she gets more comfortable. You should schedule regular check-ins with your nanny to go over any concerns that come up on the job.

Spread the Word

  • Alert your child's school, your building's doorman and friends of your new nanny and her name. Many schools will not release your child to someone not on an authorized list.
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Comments (39)
Photo of Helen C.
Helen C.
I am a college student and a nanny. The kids I watch always come first over school work. The only time I do school is naptime. I am studying Early Childhood Education and hope to be able to open my own daycare center. I am reliable,caring, and attentive to the children. Shame on those nannies who take advantage. It is hard enough for me to find a job in my area because of the size of the town.
Posted: June 25, 2014 at 10:51 PM
Mary L.
I'm an older nanny. Sometimes I see ads for young nannies. I think it's up to the parent to choose the nanny she or he feels is a good choice for her family. I don't have children of my own, and I feel that this makes me appreciate children more than I would if I had 6 of my own. Some people just enjoy working with children whether they have their own or not, but many people, who have no children of their own, are very good with children.
Posted: May 25, 2014 at 6:25 AM
Mary L.
As a nanny, I think it is always a good idea to let the nanny know when someone is going to be coming by the home while you are away. That way she or he will know who to expect.
Posted: May 25, 2014 at 6:16 AM
Photo of Meriah W.
Meriah W.
There are a lot of comments about college student who are nannies "not caring" about the children in their care. While I am the only nanny in college that I personally know, I have worked with teen volunteers annually at children's events (and one event in particular) for nine years running. There are some volunteers there just to chill with friends, but a the majority of them are there because they passionately care about children. Those kids beg their parents to bring them back next year because of the volunteers who made the experience fun.

I personally work as a nanny because it's work that means something. I don't want to work doing data entry or at a fast food place, not when I can be investing in the next generation. And while it's a lot of hard work, it's also fun. Who doesn't want to find Atlantis and then fly off to Neverland with a four year old for a living? At the end of the day, even when school stinks, I've had a chance to be there for a child and it makes the day fulfilling.

If you have very young children or multiple young children having another mother as a nanny may be a natural and wise choice, but pick the nanny that fits your family's style and needs not just the one in your preferred age range.
Posted: April 27, 2014 at 10:07 AM
Linda
It's important for job seekers to get all the correct information from potential employers. Make sure you ask all the right questions. Often those looking for nannies will minimize job expectations, out right lie about driving distance & time it takes to pick up children, and they'll start adding on many other duties once a contract is signed & expect a Nanny to do personal assistant jobs, all the weekly house cleaning jobs, cooking for the entire family not just the children, cleaning up dog poop, taking dog to vet, getting their cars inspected, oil changes, building vegetable gardens in back yard, food shopping, laundry, and much more for only $10 an hour. Do not take any job until you are clear about all the details.
Posted: April 26, 2014 at 10:14 AM
Photo of A. Mariam F.
A. Mariam F.
I just came to this post and wanted to share our experiences. We have employed nannies within our home over the past 8 years. Our children have had older nannies when they were very young. As our children's demands grew for physical activities and they became school aged, older nannies stopped applying for our position.

I did enjoy having nannies for my children who were older than me, because they gave me a sense of comfort, and helped me feel less overwhelmed at times. However, at this point of time, whenever we seek a new nanny we just look for the right fit, asking the right questions, doing trial runs, etc.

Happy nanny searching!
Posted: March 17, 2014 at 1:43 PM
Photo of Anne C.
Anne C.
I love the advice about hiring someone who relates to your own family. youngsters without kids who are in college don't usually care about what's happening in your house after they leave for the weekend. As a nanny/babysitter I call to check up on the status of boo-boos and fevers or illnesses. I am a wife, mother, and a human being. Yes I am there for a paycheck, but I also see the family as my own. I understand that the younger nannies supposedly have more energy, but older ones come with the skills. SCOPE people out and when interviewing, request that this person does an activity with your kids so you can see how they engage with children. Trust me, you will be able to pick up a lot from that interview.
Posted: February 16, 2014 at 10:32 AM
Photo of Robin W.
Robin W.
Darleen H...Great reply!! I give two thumbs-up to you. Very well spoken and I am 100% on board with everything you stated!
Posted: August 14, 2013 at 9:02 PM
Yasmine J.
I have been using care.com to seek both Nannies and Housekeepers. I must tell you that you have to scout out the individuals and do test runs. During my last Nanny selection period, I had to conduct 17 interviews, and was able to rule out two good care takers. There are many people here posing to be Nannies, who are highly unqualified. The only reason that I use care.com as one of my sources, is that it gives you a broad range of people within your area. However, I advise, be vigilant and ask lots of questions, both backwards and forwards, especially when it comes to your kids. Best Regards, Yas
Posted: August 06, 2013 at 1:07 PM
Photo of Darleen H.
Darleen H.
I hope people reading the comments know that the people that are happy with their nannies are not on the computer writing about their experiences. They are going on with their lives because things are working out for them! And us "older nannies" may also be vegetarian or vegan - or have adult children who are. Remember, you are not hiring your mom and hoping it works out - you are interviewing potential caregivers who are willing to learn as much about you as you are wanting to know more about them. Many retired or enemployed women see signing up with Care.com as returning to the workplace as much as any other profession. There are many of us out there who have successfully raised our children and are experienced cooks, cleaners and really good at keeping kids happy.
Posted: June 21, 2013 at 9:17 PM
Photo of Rachel W.
Rachel W.
Donna Marie, I want to be TOTALLY honest that I have been skeptical about older nannies. The reason being that we are a very modern atheist family with vegan children. We are pretty liberal as well. As parents, we try to find people who are like us as much as possible. I would NEVER turn anyone down based on age, however, I am more comfortable with someone who is more like my husband an myself, and that is a rarity as we get older.
Posted: May 17, 2013 at 7:28 PM
Photo of Yesenia B.
Yesenia B.
Donna Marie M I am a mother seeking a nanny and you don't get a lot of older people applying for the position.
Posted: September 12, 2012 at 1:20 PM
Donna Marie M.
Sometimes I think I don't get as many responses to my profile as I might get if I were younger. Mothers, please consider that there is a lot of wisdom that comes with years of experience. That includes, and probably especially applies to, nannies and babysitters. College students are good choices many times, but some of us, well past that age, have a great deal of get up and go that has not got up and went. And you'll find that your kids, even teens like us, and many of us are pretty good cooks. Just consider. Thanks.
Posted: September 11, 2012 at 7:30 PM
Photo of Latasha W.
Latasha W.
Jess, I am a nannie and i have been doing this for almost 10 years now i am very shocked and displeased how someone could be so irresponsible for the childrens sake and her own i do hope you find what your looking for here on care.com not all of us are like her
Posted: September 07, 2012 at 2:42 PM
Photo of Miranda S.
Miranda S.
Jess, I would just like to say that I am very sorry for your experience with your nanny. Make sure to contact the next nannies families that she has been with. I hope you find a wonderful person that will work well with your family.
Posted: August 29, 2012 at 8:53 PM
Photo of Jess L.
Jess L.
I recently hired a 'Nanny' who stated she had 1 yr of experience. I ended up paying $2 more per hour for her because she stated she had experience in Early Childhood Development. My 5 and 9 yr old liked her at first but then become fearful of her. It was a terrible experience. On Day 1 the 'Nanny' put my 9 yr old in the front seat of her car and drove across town without my permission. On Day 3 the 'Nanny' showed up 30 minutes earlier than the agreed upon start time, (I was still in the shower). On Day 4 I had to call/text the 'Nanny' to wake her up and she arrived 35 min late. I was 30 min late for work and I work in an ICU with highly unstable patients. My co-workers had to stay over after working a 12 hr shift. ThenI received a text within 30 min of arriving to work-- The 'Nanny' needed me to call home and talk to my 5 yr old who was upset. When I called home I talked with my 5 yr old and he was not telling me what was wrong, then my 9 yr old daughter stated, "Mom, you are on speaker phone". The 'Nanny' had put me on speaker when she handed the phone to my son! An hour later I called to talk to my 9 yr old, at this point I was scared for my kids, and my 9 yr old stated that she and my son were 'scared of her'. My husband got home from work within the hour and when my husband payed her she told him she was only 15 min late that day. To say the least our experience left me feeling GUILTY that my children were so unhappy. I was utmost concerned of the safety of putting my 9 yr old in the front seat of a car because as the 'Nanny' put it, she had too much stuff in her back seat. I am worried about hiring again from Care.com but am trying to give it another shot because I know there are good, qualified people out there.
Posted: August 27, 2012 at 8:17 AM
Rochell C.
i love teddiyl
Posted: August 26, 2012 at 11:23 PM
Crystal D.
I'm looking for a job as a nanny , I have been many thing in my life but i love being i around children.I work for a preschool and quit after a year of being there, My 2 boys was there and after being in the back ground I found that it wasn't a good place to work.when I go to take care other someone baby I tell them that when am with them they become baby and i could care for them like my own .So not all the people who are on care.com look for a job are bad people. we all have to very carefully with children the mom,dad and the care giver
Posted: August 23, 2012 at 1:57 PM
Susan K.
all people are individuals and should treat people as they wish to be treated no one expects deceit on either side so communication is the key on both sides besides checking and rechecking...a small percentage of questionable people should not outweigh the good and great!
Posted: August 21, 2012 at 2:20 PM
Photo of Jessica P.
Jessica P.
Thank You Michelle that is very helpful!
Posted: August 09, 2012 at 4:56 PM
Photo of Michelle H.
Michelle H.
My recommendations are to find someone with one or two kids that are close or older than your childs age and who is a stay at home mom. Over three years I have had horrible experience with my part time nanny choices and through those trials I have learned that you gotta rethink who you want to watch your children. Sure, a college student studying "childhood education" with a background of babysitting might sound ideal, but you have to realize, you will NOT be their priority! They are in college to get their degree and then off to get a job or get married or have babies of their own. My recommendation for a SAHM is for a few reasons. First, they have EXPERIENCE! They have dealt with their own children every hour of every day, so they have weathered all the tantrums and learned from them since their child watching hours don't end :-) Plus, it is hard to find jobs where your kids can be with you. If they are looking for work on care.com your chances are good that they have determined this is their best option to make extra income. For instance, my current nanny is awesome. She is married with a 6 year old son and a 2 year old daughter (my boys being 2 and 3.5) with a background as a childcare worker before having her own children. Our relationship works well because she relies on me as much as I rely on her. In a nut shell, I needed someone who is reliable and has experience and since I was able to hire her, she was able to use the money she is earning for the payments on a new SUV. This in turn makes it safer for my kids to be driven around as well, so like I said, mutually beneficial :-) She even gives me a timeline sheet of what they did each day including crafts and excursions. This makes me a happy mama since I feel like I can follow the daily happenings and am not just relying on what my 3 year old said he did that day. Haha! So again, don't just always focus on someone with the degree and youthfulness. If they don't have their own children, they probably won't know half the stuff that a SAHM does. And hey, they probably won't find it as overwhelming tacking a kid or two on to their day (and I'm just going off of what friends who have 3 or more say), but after 2, it's not too much harder if you add on more :-D
Posted: August 08, 2012 at 10:38 PM
Janna C.
This is most helpful as long as the nanny you hire is honest with you.:)
Overall, I love your blogs:)
Posted: August 08, 2012 at 2:40 PM
Cynthia R.
I just hired a nanny recently and she quit two days prior to me going back to work. Now Im left scrambling for a nanny. She lied about absolutely everything in her profile.
Posted: July 28, 2012 at 11:40 PM
Photo of Teddilynn D.
Teddilynn D.
These tips are quite helpful on both sides of the fence!

-Jan L. That is the most awful thing! I can't believe people would do that to to you and your children. Watching children is not nap time, those children should be number one priority at all times. I'm so sorry for your experience! Just know that not all of us Nannies from Care.com are that irresponsible.-
Posted: July 27, 2012 at 3:05 PM
Photo of Katrinka R.
Katrinka R.
It was good for Ruth to respond to her and try to help her realize not all people should be judged by the cover. I'm sorry Jan you were disappointed twice by care.com but please give the remainder of us a chance to make you and your family get an excellent care taker to help care for your families needs. Hang in there Jan.
Posted: July 26, 2012 at 10:35 PM
Isaura F.
i love chelddre i have two own theare bigger now. im very honesty,responsibility and respect in my job.
Posted: July 26, 2012 at 6:05 PM
Photo of Rebecca E.
Rebecca E.
That's not good. Honesty and dedication go hand in hand. Shame on her! Taking advantage is what she did. You deserve better for you and your family.
Posted: July 26, 2012 at 12:57 PM
Darlene P.
It very helpful. Thank you.
Posted: July 26, 2012 at 1:38 AM
Norma G.
I love children and have two girls of my own which are now 27 and 30. I also have a 3 1/2 year old granddaughter who I watch frequently. I am a substitute teacher during the school year.
Posted: July 25, 2012 at 8:41 AM
Photo of Maxine B.
Maxine B.
I'm a mom myself, useful article .
Posted: July 24, 2012 at 10:09 AM
Ruth A.
To Jan L. It's really sad how irresponsible people can do such things! I have two kids and would really hate to do that to someone. I am currently seeking job as a nanny and also as a teachers assistant until I get my Associate in ECE. I must say even though they show good references and seem ok. You need to check college references and proof of attendance. I am 23 years old and I am a hard-working student and full time mom :)
Posted: July 24, 2012 at 1:44 AM
Photo of Jan L.
Jan L.
I have been shocked at the irresponsibility of 2 caretakers I hired under Care.com despite good references. One fell asleep on the job TWICE before I fired her and it was NOT night time hours! The second lied several times about work not done and left with my car one evening when asked to get a prescription for my sick child, and answered a fire call instead...it was agreed when she was on "my clock" she was not on vol fire dpt time! She was gone over 3 hours while I was left home with no transporation and a child with a fever of 104!! Both were "live-ins". One nanny was 20, the other was 27!!! wow am I disappointed
Posted: July 20, 2012 at 7:16 AM
Therese D.
Helpful information to keep in my file...
Posted: July 10, 2012 at 11:33 AM
Ami P.
Great tips! I wish there was such list for a summer-sitter to a bit older (6-9 years olds) kids. As we all know, concerns are a bit different for that age group. Thank you.
Posted: July 10, 2012 at 10:48 AM
Photo of Liz B.
Liz B.
Great info. Thanks!
Posted: June 02, 2012 at 2:28 PM
Photo of Jeanette B.
Jeanette B.
Thanks this is most helpful.
Posted: May 27, 2012 at 11:59 AM
Photo of Julia C.
Julia C.
Tks. I Love Kids God Bless You.
Posted: May 24, 2012 at 8:58 AM
Latonia G.
i love kids
Posted: May 22, 2012 at 4:03 AM
Sandra P.
thanknyou
Posted: March 15, 2012 at 1:02 PM
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