You’ve found a great nanny for your family and they’re ready to start! There are a few items on your to-do list to help make sure your nanny’s first day goes as smoothly as possible and that they are set up for success in the future.
Ideally, you have a day or two to have your nanny watch you and then you can shadow your nanny. That way they can see how you conduct your child’s daily routine and ask questions. You’ll also be able to see your nanny in action and provide feedback.
This may be feasible if you’re heading back to work from maternity leave but not always possible if you’re currently working and unable to take time off.
You can also set up a virtual nanny guide on your home assistant device.
Whether you’re able to take time and train your employee or not, these are 19 essential questions to answer to help prepare your nanny for their first day on the job.
1. Do you feel confident that you and your nanny are in alignment?
You have likely discussed job expectations and requirements and have hired a nanny you feel will carry out your childcare wishes. It still doesn’t hurt to have another talk and review key points you want to emphasize.
2. Do they have all pertinent contact information?
Your nanny will need to know:
- Your street address
- Your work and mobile phone numbers
- Your email addresses
- Police, fire, and poison control phone numbers
- Emergency contact phone numbers (neighbors, family members, etc)
- Pediatrician’s address and phone number
- School address and phone number
- Veterinarian’s office (if you have pets)
Place these numbers in an easy-to-find location and ask your nanny to input them into their mobile phone. Make sure you also have your nanny’s mobile phone number and email address.
3. Does your nanny have access to the house?
Your nanny will need to have a house key (and know where you keep a spare key) and codes to arm/disarm any security systems. They’ll also need a garage door opener for their car or make sure there is one in the family car they will drive.
4. Do your children take medications or have allergies?
List and review your children’s allergies, food issues, and intolerances. Medicine, especially emergency medications for allergies and asthma, should be easily accessible. Make sure they understand dosage requirements and that your list is in a visible location.
5. Do you have a signed nanny contract on hand?
While you and your nanny should each have a copy of your signed nanny contract or work agreement for your files, it’s a good idea to also have one readily available for reference.
6. Do they have access to all membership cards?
If you want your nanny to take your kids to the library, museums, indoor play spaces, YMCA, or other locations that may require a membership card, make sure they have their own copy or have your family passes easily accessible. This can include bus and subway passes.
7. Does your nanny know how to handle diaper changes and/or potty training?
Show your nanny where the changing table and supplies are located. Discuss how you would like and how often you would like your baby’s diaper to be changed. If you have a child who is potty training, make sure your nanny is on the same page with your child’s routine. They should know where they can find clean underwear in case of accidents.
8. Have you notified the school that your nanny may pick up your children?
If your children are school-age and your nanny will be doing school pick-ups, she’ll need to be on the authorized list for the school to release your children to them.
9. Does your nanny know your family’s schedule?
Post your family schedule or create a shared online calendar for your nanny. Include school drop-off and pick-up times, music and sports lessons, and days when you will be home early or need to work late. Communicate any changes to your schedule to keep your family on track.
Also, alert them if you have regularly scheduled services like lawn care and pool maintenance. That way there are no surprises if strange people show up in your yard.
10. Do your neighbors and friends know you have a nanny?
Let your neighbors and friends know your children will be cared for by a nanny while you work. Better yet, introduce your nanny to your neighbors.
11. Have you discussed house rules?
Your nanny will enforce house rules when you’re at work. They need to know your rules around playtime, naps, quiet time, screen time, appropriate snack foods, and playdates. You may also have rules around playing outside (wearing appropriate clothing when cold), riding bikes (always wear a helmet), and other activities.
12. Do they know how to work your appliances?
Take some time to show your nanny how to work the heat, air conditioning, washing machine, dishwasher, TV, music players, stove, microwave, and other appliances they may need to operate during the day. This may include any child-proofing such as safety gates and cabinet locks.
13. Have you taken your nanny on a tour of your house and property?
Point out important locations (like a laundry room, bathrooms, etc.) and areas that may be off-limits to your children such as a home office or the master bedroom.
14. Will your nanny be driving your car?
If your nanny will be transporting your children in a family car, review the specifics around operating your vehicle. Discuss and demonstrate how your children should be secured in the car. Have your nanny practice putting your children in their car sears and properly securing them. You may need to provide petty cash or a credit card if they will need to pay for gas.
You’ll also need to update your auto insurance to include coverage for your nanny.
If your nanny will be driving their own car, you’ll want to inspect (or have a mechanic look at it) to make sure it’s safe. Consider reimbursing them for gas. The IRS recommends .58 cents/mile.
Get more information on how to handle your nanny driving your kids.
15. Will your nanny need petty cash?
Your nanny may need money for trips outside the home, special activities, gas, lunch with your children, and other things. How will they pay for these items? You can give them cash daily or weekly or provide a debit or credit card. If you want them to use their own money, make sure they save their receipts and reimburse them promptly.
16. Do they know how to care for your pet?
If you have pets in your home, will your nanny feed or walk them? Are there special instructions for caring for your pets? Your nanny will need to know how to take care of your pets when you’re at work.
17. Do you have social media guidelines?
Talk with your nanny about their social media activities. Are they allowed to post pictures of your children to their personal accounts? Do you want them to avoid discussing your family or their job on social media? You may want to consider a non-disclosure agreement as part of your nanny contract.
18. Do you want to be updated during the day?
Some parents like being sent pictures of their children or receiving text updates during the day. Decide if this is something you would like from your nanny. You could also ask for a debrief at the end of the day.
19. Do you want your nanny answering your home phone?
If your home phone rings, will your nanny answer it? If so, how should they answer and take messages?
Answering these questions will give your nanny more confidence when caring for your children on their first day and beyond. And you’ll feel more comfortable leaving your children in the hands of a capable caregiver.
Hiring a nanny?
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