- Parent Category: Advice - Childcare and Education
- Category: Nanny 101, Hiring a Nanny, Nanny Relationship Advice
This section talks you through making a final decision, final offer, and orienting your new nanny.
In this section:
You’ve interviewed your candidates and probably have some gut feeling which one you want to have taking care of your children. It’s very important that you give the top candidates a copy of the work agreement so you are both on the same page on what the job is all about including duties, vacation, pay and policies. The work agreement should be a negotiation between you and the nanny, not a “take it or leave it” type offer. Perhaps you are giving a MetroCard as a perk (some companies get these as a perk) but the nanny lives within walking distance and would rather have the extra cash. This is not a make or break hiring decision; be open to your nanny’s suggestions as well as her experience with some of your policies.
Have a ‘play date.’ Hire the nanny to come over to babysit the kids and see how it goes. Do this for at least a few hours or a full day. Pay her for the time. You can do this with more than one potential nanny so you have a basis of comparison. See how you feel with her around, knowing that there will be some level of discomfort at the beginning.
Do you need another interview? If your first interview was without kids, you need one WITH kids. You need to make sure that your child vibes well with the nanny. No use falling in love with a nanny just to have the child scream to be held (which may happen anyway, but how the nanny reacts to the screaming is an important thing to observe.) OR-- If your first interview was with kids, this time you need one without kids. This way you can go over all the details of the work agreement. Just because you’ve given a copy of the agreement to the nanny doesn’t mean you’re on the same page. You can make sure you are both clear about the hours, the pay, the day-to-day expectations and open communication. It will really help you get in tune with your thoughts. No question is too small or silly on both sides.
If you haven’t yet gone through the work agreement with the nanny, do this before you officially hire your nanny. Make sure that the nanny knows what things are spelled out and while some do not feel comfortable signing it, give her a copy and review it with her anyway to avoid future issues. The agreement will have those things we hear about most frequently as sources of stress for employers:
Salary (hourly rate and overtime rate)
Days off (vacation and who chooses, holidays, sick days and how they’re paid for these)
Raises and other pay increase expectation
Philosophy of parenting and future behaviors
Responsibilities/Expectations, the more detailed a list, the better (e.g., cleaning out the diaper genie, not just “tidy room”)
Possibility of weekends, overnights, flexibility of switching hours if you’re on vacation more than 2 weeks.
Policies such as like TV and computer consumption, running errands with your child(ren), phone calls during work hours, having strangers in the house, nap times, reasons for termination, etc.
Have you done your due diligence in terms of safety?
Background Check (see Appendix __ for information on resources)
Have you checked more than one reference?
Do you have an ID on file?
Follow up with the nanny or the references on any outstanding questions.
Are there any doubts still nagging at you? It never hurts to ask more. Those gut level discomforts don’t always go away. If you don’t feel 100% about the decision, listen to that feeling!!
Before you make a final decision: Sleep on it!
“I sometimes think our anxiety over trusting other adults is more of an expression of fearing the loss of control. I have stopped trying to control everything and really tried to concentrate on the things I can, i.e. do my children feel safe? Do they feel loved? If I've got those things right then the other stuff - the Cheetos they ate at the birthday party, Sponge Bob, etc. all recedes in importance. Take it slow, trust yourself and things will work out one way or another. And one day you'll look back on all this anxiety and laugh.”
Are you confident with you new hire? Have you checked those references? Gone through the work agreement? It’s time then to make a formal offer and hope your potential nanny becomes your NEW nanny. Since you’ve reviewed the work agreement, tweaked as necessary, it’s time to start the “phase in process.” Remember that open communication is KEY and starting off on the right foot is imperative.
Release the other candidates. Remember, everyone is looking for a good fit. Email or call any other candidates and thank them for their time. They want to be able to move on. And while you’re at it… Release yourself and give yourself a pat on the back. Take a deep breath. You have done a lot of work and this is going to be a great decision for you and your family!
This is a meeting without the kids to go over the orientation checklist, emergency contact information, infant/toddler/or child report log (optional). Have the nanny fill out the Emergency Contact information. Fill out WPA and go over DWBR. Sign the work agreement and make copies for you, your nanny and your partner (if you have one). Also use this time to show her around your house/building/neighborhood, give expectations about eating food, rules about the condo/coop, etc. (NOTE: She’s now “on the clock,” so you pay her for this meeting.
Nanny Orientation Checklist A comprehensive list of things to show and go over with your Nanny to help her to acclimate to your house and your routines.
Family Emergency Contact Information (Family) Important information so the Nanny can have all your emergency information at your fingertips.
Nanny Emergency Contact (Nanny) For your Nanny to fill out so you can help keep her (and you and your family) safe.
Child's Schedule This useful document explains existing routines and lists favorite games, toys, activities, nap times, and meals. Remember, though, your Nanny will develop routines of her own which you should respect and (possibly) embrace.
The Daily Report Log A daily report log summarizes the day and is great way to keep the lines of communications open, especially if you are a busy working parent. It covers everything from when and what meals your child eats, when your child naps, when and if medication was administered, the daily activities, and can even have your Nanny briefly describe what mood your child experienced that day. [Report Log (Child); Report Log (Infant and Toddler)]
Time Sheet Having an accurate record of when the Nanny works is important for record keeping.
Medical Authorization Form This document gives your Nanny permission to make health decisions on behalf of your child when you are not able to do so.
KEY TAKE AWAYS FROM STEP 4
The work agreement should be negotiable so that both parties feel it fits their needs.
Be clear on having a trial period before you hire.
Leave no stone unturned in terms of expected pay, vacation, holidays and the like.
Check one more time for any loopholes.
Print out the Orientation Documents and schedule the orientation meeting