My husband and I decided to hire a night nanny so we could get some sleep. Unfortunately for me, I woke up to my worst case scenario.
My mamatuition was feeling something that woke me from slumber around 5am. I walked into the living room to witness the nanny sleeping on the job, while my son cried in his bassinet (no wonder my boobs were leaking). He was overheating, wrapped in three blankets, and stressed out.
Now this was not a simple case of nodding off while on the job. Oh no… she had made herself a little bed, shut off the lights, and even had an alarm set. I had reason to believe this had been going on for awhile, after witnessing her alarm go off the previous night. I was furious. For the amount we were paying this woman, we could have travelled to Europe for two weeks!
When we decided to hire a day nanny, so I could go back to work part-time, I made sure right from the start that there would be NO confusion about what is acceptable and what is not.
START DATE, SCHEDULE, COMPENSATION
Things to consider: Will you do a trial period? Will you negotiate a pay increase after a certain amount of hours worked? How will you handle sick days and vacation days (both your own and your nanny’s)? Will you pay more for holiday hours (ie. Christmas)?
GUIDELINES FOR TERMINATION
- Violence towards child or parents
- Under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Neglecting child
- Consistently tardy or absent
- Inviting guests over
- Consistently not performing job tasks
It is good to discuss what is important to you as a parent. This can be anything from what kind of parent you are, to what you want to encourage in your child. This will help your nanny understand you and your family better and how to interact appropriately with your little one.
This is an appropriate time to discuss the details:
- What is your child’s sleep schedule?
- What is your nap routine and schedule?
- What does he/she eat and when? Discuss if your nanny is allowed to intro foods without your consent.
- How do you want the nanny to discipline your child?
- How do you want your nanny to play with your child?
- What is appropriate with affection?
- How do you want your nanny to address your child (ie: pet names) and how do you want your child to address your nanny?
- Does your child require any special care?
- Can your child use a toilet alone or is he/she in diapers?
- Talk about phone etiquette. Do you mind if your nanny uses her phone on shift? Do you want her to answer your home phone, or let it go to voicemail?
- Is it ok to take your child’s photo or share it?
- Is your nanny allowed to watch TV with your child? If so, what programs are appropriate? How long do you want your child watching TV?
Discuss what you expect when it comes to leaving the house. If your child needs to travel, all details should be discussed.
- Driving: discuss everything from driving and texting to child-seat safety.
- Walking: discuss stroller safety, weather conditions, and proper attire.
Show your nanny where everything is and how it works. Put a schedule together of your child’s activities and address of the location, plus the means of getting there.
Let your nanny know what you want when you are not home. Do you want text message updates? Can she call you? What is the best way for her to reach you in an emergency? What is your emergency plan?
ALL OTHER DETAILS OF JOB
What other duties are expected of her? Will your provide a daily list of tasks? Or is it expected of her to start to know what is required? For example: pet care, cleaning, or food prep.
Get a notebook. Write down the date, pay period, cheque number (or form of payment). Have the nanny sign to acknowledge payment received. This leaves no discrepancies around payment.
It might feel weird to have an employee, or tell someone what to do. This outline is an excellent conversation to have on your nanny’s first day. If you feel uncomfortable directing someone, write a list of things you would like done, and practice reading it to your nanny. It will get easier with time. Plus you both will feel more comfortable with an established role.