Planning your 1-year nanny review

July 24, 2017

Time goes so quickly when you're a busy parent juggling kids, work, life and every other thing. Looking back at the past year of your family's life may feel a bit like a blur. Hopefully, the nanny you hired one year ago has been a huge help in keeping it all together.

It's customary at the one-year mark to set a nanny review and lock in a new contract for the coming year. Every family has a different priority list, but here are some standard talking points.

1. Contract renewal

Your nanny will likely wish to discuss a raise and other potential changes to their compensation and benefits package, particularly if the list of their responsibilities will be growing or changing. It makes sense to look at your budget and know what you can afford prior to discussing a pay raise. Other alterations in your nanny's responsibilities should be noted in the nanny contract as well.

If you don't have a contract, make one now. Here's a sample nanny contract to get you started.

2. Overall evaluation

You and your nanny should both take advantage of the opportunity to talk about what is working and what needs improvement on either side. Discuss issues such as safety, cleanliness, punctuality and attendance.

3. Initiative

"Some families will want their nanny to take a great deal of initiative, and others will prefer the opposite," says Susan Tokayer, co-president of the International Nanny Association. "Do you wish your nanny to be proactive and research activities, such as library programs and playdates, or would you prefer she take a back seat to making these arrangements? The one-year review is a good time to determine if your nanny's style matches your own or if it needs to be adjusted."

4. Job responsibilities

Your child has grown over the past year and currently has different needs. Possibly, potty training or bottle weaning will begin. Wherever your child is developmentally, different tasks will be required of your nanny. Discuss these changes in depth, as well as ways in which the family and nanny can work together.

5. Discipline style

As your child grows, their need for direction and guidance from the adults around them changes. "Make sure your nanny understands your expectations for disciplining your child and that these strategies will vary, depending upon the child's age," says child advocate and author, Betty Bardige, Ed.D. For example, how should tantrums be handled?  Can your nanny stay calm in the face of a tantrum and direct your child to do the same?

6. Communication strategy

Determine if your current communication system is working. Some families keep electronic logs of things like feedings and naptime. Others simply share a written list or have a daily conversation. Whatever system works for your family and nanny is fine, just make sure the system is in-place and humming.

7. Changes to family life and routine

The one thing you can be sure of is nothing stays the same. Are you expecting another baby? Planning a move? Possibly, your child is now entering preschool for part of the day or you are bringing a new pet into the home. Whatever changes are coming your way, they will affect your nanny as well. Discuss these changes with them and let them know how you anticipate their role will change.

8. Developmental concerns

"Your nanny spends a lot of time with your child and you should let her know her opinions and observations are valuable," Bardige says. Check in with your nanny and ask if they have any concerns about your child's developmental progress, particularly if you have concerns of your own. Compare notes and if necessary, take the next steps to have your child evaluated early.

It's been quite a year. As your child grows, so do the relationships and good times you all share. Remember communication between you and your nanny is a key ingredient to keeping things running smoothly and meeting the next year's challenges head on.

Tips and stories from parents and caregivers who’ve been there.

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