Nanny Rules to Discuss Before You Hire
When you create a nanny contract, here are some house rules to include and discuss with your new nanny.
Katie Bugbee, Senior Managing Editor
Articles> Nanny Rules to Discuss Before You Hire
mom, nanny and baby

An important part of a creating a nanny contract is figuring out the house rules and what rules your nanny should follow when caring for your children. Below is a sample to get you started. Personalize it based on your own needs and child care beliefs.

Use these rules in addition to your nanny contract. Check out our Sample Nanny Contract »

Your Next Steps:

  • Copy the text below and paste it into a Word document
  • Look it over and figure out what rules you should include for your family and situation
  • Go over the rules with your nanny and let her ask questions
  • Print out two copies of the rules, sign both and ask your nanny to do the same -- then you each keep a copy
  • Create a nanny contract
  • Sign up for a payroll account to make handling payment and nanny taxes easier
  • Make sure your new nanny has everything she needs for her first day

Nanny Rules

Note: this is a document that the parents and nanny will work with and develop together over their relationship and as the children grow. The goal is for parents to take time to fill out this document at the start of the relationship, but update it as the child's needs develop and change -- and the trust grows deeper between parents and nanny.

Date:

Family Philosophy:
This is where you will want to describe yourselves and how you like to raise your child(ren). Talk about the things that make you happy and playful as well as the things you will be strict about. Explain what is important to you (ex. equal balance of devotion between multiple children, inventing activities, stern discipline, playfulness, organized, and always at-the-ready)
___________________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Punishment Style:
This is where you will write about how you would like to handle a progression of bad behavior. Explain your point of view on spanking, Time Outs, or any other style in which you use to discipline. Then give examples of behavior that gets moderate discipline versus maximum discipline?
___________________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________

  • Hitting: ____________________
  • Swearing: __________________
  • Throwing: __________________
  • Biting: _____________________
  • ___________________________
  • ___________________________
  • ___________________________
  • ___________________________

Positive Reinforcement:
Explain how you plan to handle positive behavior.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________

House Rules:
Write a list of what behavior will not be tolerated. This is so you and your nanny can work together to raise the child(ren) with the same rules in mind.

  • No hitting
  • No biting
  • ___________________________
  • ___________________________
  • ___________________________
  • ___________________________

Eating/Food Preferences:
Discuss meals and snacks and how you want your nanny to cook and prepare foods throughout the day. This is a good area to instill your goal of raising healthy kids with instructions on teaching good eating habits. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Breakfast Examples:
  • _____________________________________________________________________
  • _____________________________________________________________________
  • _____________________________________________________________________
Lunch Examples:
  • _____________________________________________________________________
  • _____________________________________________________________________
  • _____________________________________________________________________
Snack Examples:
  • _____________________________________________________________________
  • _____________________________________________________________________
  • _____________________________________________________________________
Dinner Examples:
  • _____________________________________________________________________
  • _____________________________________________________________________
  • _____________________________________________________________________

Ideas for Activities/Type of Play:
Discuss how engaging and creative you will want the nanny to be. Will you be paying for any nanny and me enrichment classes? Will you be supplying a weekly budget for activities?
___________________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Weekly Budget $_______________

Sleep Preferences:
Talk about the relationship your child might have with sleep and how you prefer the nanny handle things like swaddling, pacifiers, attachment objects, and sleep techniques you might be trying like "Ferberizing." Explain how you want your nanny to be a partner in this process.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Keeping Schedules (see attached form for sample schedule):
If keeping your child on a schedule, describe the importance that you and your family and nanny maintain this schedule. Provide reasons why it would be understandable to go "off-schedule" and how you would want your nanny to handle such a situation. (For example, if child isn't napping, should nanny allow child to "cry it out"?)
___________________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Communication:
How would you like to hear from your nanny throughout the day? What forms of communication are okay, and what is not? How much is too much? Or is it never too much? How would you like to discuss concerns that arise?
___________________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Vacation:
After providing your nanny with a certain numbers of paid days off per year, you will want to describe how vacation days should be requested (as in, do you chose a week and she chooses a week, or do you select both weeks off?)
___________________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________

The Nanny/Family Relationship:
Outline how you would like to learn and grow from each other. Describe how much checking in you will require, how much managing you will want to do of his/her daily schedule and before or at the end of each day. Describe how you will handle your role when you are in the house (is she in charge or should kids come to you?), how often you will want to check in for a performance review (and if there will be a monetary raise involved), and how you want her to feel within your family.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Signatures:

Employer hereby agrees to be fully bound by the terms of this contract.

Employer Signature: _____________________________________

Printed Name: __________________________________________

Date: _______________

Employee hereby agrees to be fully bound by the terms of this contract.

Employee Signature: _____________________________________

Printed Name: __________________________________________

Date: _______________

Katie Bugbee is our global parenting expert and senior managing editor here at Care.com. She has written for Babble, Huffington Post, Newsday and Parenting. A busy working mother, she offers families advice on many parenting dilemmas, from appeasing picky eaters to finding the perfect babysitter.

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(5) Comments
Beth W.
Beth W.
I really like this form because it gets to the essential information that may or may not come out after being hired. This is a great way for nannies/sitters to have a grasp of what the family's interactions are like, disciplines are like, reward systems are expected to be like. It seemed very helpful in learning a glimpse of the family before we being working together. I like this very much!
July 3, 2014 at 10:37 PM
Kayla A.
Kayla A.
I really like this layout. As a nanny, it's always frustrating when I'm not sure what exactly the parents expect of me and the kids. I especially like the list of behaviors that won't be tolerated.
July 2, 2014 at 8:43 AM
Stephanie Breedlove
Stephanie Breedlove
Hi Hilary!

From a legal standpoint, the family is only required to pay you for the hours you work. So if you are working while they're on Christmas vacation, you're all set. I'm assuming your question is focused on having a paid holiday while they're away. This all comes down to what you and the family agreed upon when you were hired. If the family promised you a few paid days off and you haven't used those days yet, you're well within your right to ask to be paid while they're on vacation. If nothing was ever discussed and there isn't anything in your nanny contract, you can still ask the family, but they're not obligated to pay you while they're away.
December 13, 2013 at 11:53 AM
Hilary M.
Hilary M.
How do I ask the parents to pay me while they're on Christmas vacation?
December 12, 2013 at 11:48 PM
Samantha O.
Samantha O.
I love this idea. It is by far the most intelligent and organized advice I've seen on the net.
November 1, 2013 at 9:53 PM

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