Your Nanny's First Day of Work
Use this helpful checklist to help you and your nanny get through the day.
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 may need her license number and taxpayer ID number.
- Write down numbers for the pediatrician, school, and a close friend, family member, or neighbor, and keep them 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 or nanny contract. This should include the agreed upon pay, days and hours for work and any extra things such as agreed upon housework, cooking, etc.
- 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 okay 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. One tip: 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.
- 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, 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 phone, 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.
- Discuss how you'd like your nanny to handle her social media activity when she's with your children.
- 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 about your new nanny and give them her name. Many schools will not release your child to someone not on an authorized list.