How to maintain ongoing quality care from your nanny
When you hire a nanny, she often becomes an integral part of a family's household, which makes it even more necessary to evaluate your family’s needs as time goes on. Schedule regular "performance reviews" or “check ins” with your nanny, similar to your own reviews at work. These recurring sit-downs — which can be scheduled weekly, monthly, or yearly — will lay the foundation for open communication and mutual understanding.
Here are a few concrete review points to include in your nanny evaluation:
- Does your nanny pick up your kids from school on time?
- Can you rely on her to get them to appointments/lessons on time?
- If your nanny is live-out, does she arrive on time?
- Has your nanny received any certifications/trainings that you discussed upon hiring?
- Has anything changed with her school/future goals that affects her commitments?
- 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 and schedule activities that are age-appropriate?
- Does she have good judgment when it comes to activities, discipline, safety, etc.?
- Is your child clean (enough) when you return home?
- Does your child have frequent accidents (if they are of potty-training age)
- Does your nanny pay attention to season-specific health issues (i.e. hand-washing, sunscreen application, etc.)?
- Is your nanny attentive to your child’s condition (e.g. notices fever, addresses small wounds, prevents injuries, etc.)?
- How does your nanny recount the day's events? Is she sufficiently detailed for you?
- Does she keep a daily log? Does she appear deliberately vague on the details?
- Do the children seem to communicate/interact well with her?
- Does your nanny follow your directions re: discipline, development and daily routines?
- Do you feel there's a mismatch in child care philosophy?
- Do your other requests for housekeeping or cleanup get fulfilled daily/weekly?
Your child's response
- Does your child seem happy and excited to see your nanny?
- Have you noticed negative behavioral changes (e.g. withdrawn, more sensitive) in your child since the nanny started?
Boundaries and expectations
- Does your nanny “overshare” personal details?
- Does her personal life spill over/affect her work with your family?
- Does she meet your expectations for child care/household work?
Also give your nanny the opportunity to “review” you and your family. Is she happy working with you? Are there any concerns she may have with the hours/schedule, the children’s behavior, or her daily duties?
Use this evaluation checklist to come up with “talking points” for your discussion. Let her know which areas you are happy with and also ask if there are ways you can work together to improve other areas.
NOTE: If you feel that your children are unsafe or you’re completely unhappy with your nanny's job performance, it may be time to let her go.
Given that nannies often become a part of the family, it's critical to keep communication open and to schedule regular evaluation. This will make sure that your nanny is still the best fit for you, and that she’s also happy with your family.
Christine Koh is a music and brain scientist turned parent and writer about parenting issues. She is also the editor of BostonMamas.com.