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Orienting the New Nanny

A little preparation and a few hours of orientation of the new nanny greatly improve the comfort level of both the nanny and

  • Experts recommend that the parents spend a minimum of 4 hours with the nanny and the children in a typical day BEFORE leaving her on her own. This gives the new nanny the opportunity to ask questions, become familiar with the routine, and communicate concerns to the parent(s). Parents can use this time to become comfortable with the nanny’s judgment and observe her interaction with the child(ren).
  • Most parents will check in a few times unexpectedly. Explain in advance that is not a sign of distrust, but rather another opportunity to observe the nanny’s performance, unrehearsed. This actually helps the parents become more comfortable with the nanny – a provided mom and dad important peace of mind!
  • Do a home safety check  – before you leave the nanny in charge for the first time. Locate known hazards (the 7 year old’s Legos that are a risk to his little sister) and the storage of medicines and household chemicals. Discuss placing poisons in a locked cabinet. Are there firearms in the home? Please insure these are properly stored out of harms way.
  • Orient the new nanny to the operation of the home alarm system, washer and dryer, pool filter, and any other mechanical items you will need to operate.
  • Introduce neighbors and close family members. They can help the nanny acclimate to her new job (and maybe new home).
  • Make sure you have an emergency contacts list that is up to date.
  • Drive with the nanny to the store, hospital, schools, doctor’s office and any other areas she will need to drive
    your child(ren). Observe her driving skills. Provide her the addresses of common destinations and have her record in her cell phone for future GPS access.
  • Introduce the nanny to public transit if applicable. Give her a transit system map and make sure she knows how fares are paid/collected.
  • Review safety procedures before leaving the nanny. Remember not all nannies are experienced living in densely populated urban/suburban areas. Don’t open the door to strangers, keep doors/windows locked at all times, tell callers the parents are ‘unavailable’, not ‘they aren’t home”, no bike riding/roller blading without a helmet (and knee pads/elbow pads as appropriate), always use seatbelts and car-seats are all typical admonitions. Nannies should keep the children in sight at all times when they are outside the home, and never send them into public restrooms alone (young boys CAN go in the ladies room with the nanny.) Make sure she knows where first aid supplies are, Band-Aids and first aid creme especially.
  • Buy a notebook and ask the nanny to keep a daily log. This would include what was eaten at meals, napping time,
    activities of the day, when medicines were administered, and other items that occur during the day. Review the log at night and ask any questions.
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