9 Ways to Keep in Touch with Your Nanny
Whether you're a parent who wants some reassurance or a nanny who wants to check in with your charge's parents, here are ways to stay connected.
Just because you can't spend every minute with your children doesn't make you a bad parent. But all moms and dads like to keep in touch with their children's nanny throughout the day or come home to a full report on how their little angels' days went. So what are the best ways to stay connected, without feeling like you're a helicopter parent constantly checking in?
With technology and a little creativity, there are numerous ways you can check in on your kids when they're with a sitter. Moms and nannies weighed in on the best ways to stay in touch with your caregiver when you can't be there.
Download an App
There are some great apps available that let you and your nanny stay in touch with the push of a button. For example, Karoo from Care.com connects parents, child care providers and relatives by letting you share photos, videos, schedules and status updates all in one place. Once you download the free app, you and your nanny can each create a profile, connect with each other and then start sharing what your child is doing that day. Is a play date at the zoo on the schedule? Your nanny can send you a picture of your little one smiling in front of the monkeys, or an update on what time she fell asleep in her stroller.
Pick up a Phone
It may seem a little old-fashioned, but the phone is the number one choice for many moms, including Meghan Koning from San Diego, California. "I call to check in on the baby every day during my lunch break," says Koning. "It's right before he goes down for his nap and his nanny says that he looks forward to my call. I miss him when I'm at work, but know he's in good hands."With one phone call, you can check in with your nanny, find out about any issues and talk to your little darling, all in just a few short minutes. While it might be hard to make a phone call every few hours, find a time, like a lunch break or in between meetings, to make one or two short phone calls throughout the day.
Texting works well for times when you can't take or make phone calls during work hours, or if your child's nanny is in the middle of a special activity with your child. Beth Connelly, a nanny to twin girls in Austin, Texas, responds to text messages from the twins' mom when there's a break in the action. "It's easy to stay in touch with text messages, even while keeping up with two active little girls," says Connelly. It may take a few minutes for Connelly to respond, but the twins' mom understands that. One of the biggest concerns for their mom is what the girls ate so that she can plan dinner, so Connelly is always sure to shoot her a text after lunch. Connelly will also send a text in the afternoon after nap time, so mom knows how well the twins slept.
Involve the Kids
Children like feeling close to their parent during the day, too. On days you can't be with them, figure out creative ways to help keep the bond strong. Why not utilize your child's artistic skills? Towards the end of the day, your nanny and child can draw a picture showing your child's favorite moment from the day or something exciting they did with their nanny. Then when you get home, have a little one-on-one time with your child and they can explain the picture and talk about their day.
Smile for the Camera
Many moms have their nannies use their phone's camera to take photos of the kids participating in various activities throughout the day. She can send them via text message so you can stay connected. Not only is this a great way to keep tabs on where the kids are and what they're up to, but it also helps to see visuals of your kids laughing and playing when you can't be there with them. Who doesn't love getting photos of their little ones? You can also takes photos of what you're doing throughout the day and send them to your nanny so that she can show the kids. It's a great way to share your day.
Send a Friend Request
Facebook offers a quick way to find out what's happening during your child's day. Have your nanny "check in" on Facebook whenever she and the kids leave the house, so you know where they are. You can denote your nanny as a "top friend", so your phone gets alerts anytime she posts something new. Additionally, some nannies create private albums on Facebook and add a few pictures each day. This allows moms to see their children at play without getting tons of text messages throughout the day.
Andrea Reilly, a nanny in Independence, Missouri, loves sharing photos of the fun things she does with the little girl she watches. "When we're out having fun, I like to post the photos I take so that her mom can see them right away," Reilly says. As she uploads the photos, she adds little notes that tell what's happening. Reilly even prints out the best pictures to give to the parents as a gift once in a while.
A little video chatting during the day is a great way to see your kids in real time. Programs like Skype and FaceTime are easy to use and handy ways to quickly converse with your nanny and kids via your laptop, computer, tablet or mobile phone.
Start a Family Blog
If your brood is tech-savvy, create a blog for your family. You can make it as simple or intricate as you like, using easy software like Blogger or Wordpress. Then your nanny can post to it throughout the day, or once a day, letting you know what is going on in your child's life, adding photos and uploading videos. You can set your blog to private, so that only certain approved people have access to it. Letting kids help with this project is also a great way for them to improve their technology skills.
Ask for a Handout
Many nannies provide a handout to parents at the end of their shift, to let them know how the day went. It can include the kids' overall moods for the day, whether they napped and for how long, what they had for lunch and snacks, any problems that arose during the day, what games they played, where they went and any special upcoming activities planned. Handouts can be a simple pre-printed form to which the nanny adds pertinent information, or a more elaborate hand-written detailed page for each day.
Kim Radski, a nanny in Baltimore, Maryland, goes one step further and adds the daily pages she writes by hand into a three-ring binder each week. Parents love seeing the day-to-day progress shown by the pages and having the detailed information to incorporate into their child's baby book or use for scrapbooking. "I love to scrapbook, so making pages of the children is a lot of fun for me and for them, and the parents love it, too!" says Radski.
Think about these methods of keeping in touch, and talk with your nanny to see which ones work best for both of you. Whether it's a quick phone call or photos throughout the day, open communication between you and your nanny makes your relationship stronger.
Sandy Wallace is a freelance writer covering all things Virginia. Her work can be found here.