There are so many things to consider when hiring a nanny! The obvious things include job duties, work hours, and pay rate. While it’s impossible to imagine every aspect of the relationship with your nanny, here are eight things not to forget about when hiring a nanny.
This is a big one for nannies and is considered a standard practice in the industry.
Guaranteed hours means that you and your nanny agree upon a set number of hours (normally around the typical hours worked in a week) that she is paid for in the event you end up not needing her for all of those hours. This is important so your nanny can rely on a guaranteed income.
It’s not fair to the nanny to not get paid if a parent chooses to not have them come in during regularly scheduled hours when the nanny is willing and able. Keep in mind it’s not legal to bank these hours!
By offering your nanny guaranteed hours, your nanny will feel appreciated and you will be doing the right thing. Click here for a great article from the Nanny Counsel on guaranteed hours.
Many nannies drive the family’s children to and from school and activities while they are working.
If the nanny will be using the family car, you will need to add her to your policy as an occasional driver. If you don’t and there is a claim, the insurance company may not provide coverage. Will your nanny is using her own car to transport the children? Check to see if the policy is in her name or someone else’s. Ensure the policy is valid and current and that she has adequate coverage.
Nannies should speak with their insurance agent to confirm that their policy covers transporting children for work and buy additional coverage if not. Parents may choose to split this cost with or cover this cost for their nannies.
This may be something general like saying anything the nanny learns about the private happenings/lives of their family are to be kept private. You should consider including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media platforms. Is this ok so long as their faces don’t show and they don’t mention names?
Many nannies will post something like, “Today, Baby P and I were at the zoo!” to protect privacy.
As children we loved weekday snow days…as parents we loathe them! Will our children be going to school if there is snow? Can we still get to work…and can our nannies still make it in?
Every time there is snowy weather, I see nannies talking about difficult situations with employers who still expect them at work. Feelings or working relationships can get hurt because this was not discussed beforehand.
The bottom line is that if you wouldn’t feel safe or comfortable driving in it please don’t expect your nanny to! Give your nanny the option of coming in later when driving conditions are safer. A common practice is to follow the area school delays or closures for that day.
Be mindful that your nanny may be driving from outside of the immediate area and conditions could be drastically different there!
Eating the family’s food
It’s typical that the family invites the nanny to eat anything in the house while she is working. If something is off-limits, communicate that to your nanny!
Things can get awkward if the nanny keeps eating leftovers that you had planned on serving for dinner that night because you didn’t mark them or let her know. Also, consider asking your nanny what she likes to eat and have those things on hand around the house for her.
This will go a long way in making her feel appreciated!
Nap time “down time” for nanny
Being a nanny is different from other jobs in that there aren’t set breaks during the day.
It’s normal for a nanny to be allowed down time during children’s naps, if they take them. Perhaps you share your WIFI password for the nanny to use during these times or let her know she’s free to watch tv or even take a nap so long as the monitor is on (if you are comfortable with this).
Have a discussion with your nanny about what expectations are during this time to avoid misunderstandings!
Spoon and cup sharing
I’m sure this is something you do NOT want your nanny doing. But I have heard that this is a thing some nannies do.
While it’s likely not something many nannies do, my dental hygiene background is screaming at me to tell parents to explicitly discuss this with your nanny – just to make sure.
Cell phone use
While outlining a nanny contract, it’s a good idea to discuss appropriate cell phone use. This could mean times when personal calls or texts are not acceptable, like when driving.
Consider what would be appropriate use when out at activities as well (cell phone use by nannies – as reported by parents AND other nannies – while kids are playing at the park is a topic that I hear about frequently!)
Remember that while long personal conversations should be avoided unless there is an emergency situation, your nanny might need to make a call that she’s only able to make during normal business hours/her work hours.
It’s impossible to anticipate every scenario that might play out during a nanny’s employment with your family. Taking these eight topics into consideration early on will help to avoid many awkward situations or misunderstandings that may arise.