How to Best Prepare Your Nanny for Success with Your Household

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Photo by Alina Demidenko/Shutterstock

Since 2006, the Mommybites’ mom-generated Nanny Boards have supported families in finding and relocating their beloved nannies. This article provides tips from an experienced nanny about how to best train your nanny and set them up to successfully care for your kids and manage your household.

Get Your Nanny the Training She Needs

Look into the trainings that are available for nannies. Decide which ones would be most important for your children’s needs—CPR, swimming safety (if around a pool), first aid, food allergy, administering medication. It’s always good if parents pay for the training so it doesn’t have to come out of the nanny’s pocket. Remember that the training is for your child’s benefit.

Have an Emergency Contact List

Include the parents’ phone numbers, work information, and information for other relatives and/or good friends who live locally and could be contacted in case of an emergency. Include your pediatrician’s phone number, other specialists (if applicable), and ambulance, and fire and police departments. Have the contact list available as soon as the nanny starts and post a few around the house. There’s no reason for a nanny not to call for support when/if needed if the list is right there and visible.

Provide Emergency Medical Info

Parents often write a letter authorizing a nanny to bring a child to the doctor or hospital when/if needed. Be sure to do that, and to provide your nanny with a copy of the child’s insurance information. It’s good to do that ahead of time so it’s there if/when you need it.

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Make Your Preferences Clear

I usually go with the family’s flow but it’s helpful when families make their preferences clear from the start. For example, some families are OK for nannies to sit down when the child sleeps while others would prefer that the nanny do light housekeeping during that time. Some families provide lunch for their nanny while others prefer that the nanny help themselves to what they can find in the fridge, which is typically the case for me. Talk to your nanny at the beginning so you can be on the same page.

Make Scheduling Needs Clear

It’s best when parents are very honest and vocal with me, and I try to be the same with them. If I’m caring for an infant, I’ll try to construct a schedule and work from that. I’ll let the parents know if the schedule is working, and maybe suggest that they continue with it when I’m not around. However, this  is not my child, and if a parent already has a set schedule that they would prefer that I follow, that is helpful information to know from the start.

Make Food Limitations Known

The child’s diet is of course up to the parent. Train your nanny on what your child should and should not eat. It’s best to please test any new foods with your child when you are with them. I had an incident in a preschool setting when a little girl under my care was given eggs to eat for the first time. She had a very bad allergic reaction and ended up in the hospital. New foods—especially highly allergenic ones like eggs—are best to first eat with the parents present.

It’s Your House and Your Rules

Nannies should make sure that they and the kids follow the household rules set by the parents. But if a nanny sees something that is not working, they should tell the parents. For example, if there’s a switch that needs child proofing and could be dangerous. When nannies warn parents, please be receptive.

I am typically in charge of arranging the playdates and things like that, but often the parents have a friend in the building and want me to set up play dates with them. Nannies should go with the flow of the parents, which is why it’s important for parents to set the flow, or make their rules, schedules and preferences clear, from the start.

Have a nanny concern or topic for Michelle to address? Send your question to [email protected].

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nanny Michelle BrownMichelle Brown has been in the NYC childcare industry for almost 15 years. Mrs. Brown holds a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education and is licensed by the NYC Board of Education. Mrs. Brown currently heads up one of the largest groups on Facebook, the Nannies of New York City. Mrs. Brown started the group several years ago as a networking and education resource for childcare professionals. Caring for children and aiding her fellow nannies and teachers is Michelle’s passion, and it gives her much joy and fulfillment in her personal life and career.



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