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Orienting the New Nanny

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

  • Before the nanny starts make sure you have all of her personal contact information as well as information you need for payroll processing – a completed W-4 form with her Social Security Number and an I-9 form verifying her US work authorization. Do also exchange with her your emergency contact information.
  • Do make sure you both have signed copies of her Nanny Work Agreement negotiated in full before she starts.
  • 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 – providing 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 ensure 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. Be sure to clarify “at home” procedures – is the door to be kept locked? Is the alarm to be armed? What about when nanny and your child are away from the home?
  • Introduce neighbors and close family members. They can help the nanny acclimate to her new job (and maybe new home).
  • Consider providing the nanny an authorization for emergency medical care.
  • 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, although the “family” restroom is ideal.) 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.
  • Review your family’s social media policies. Consider posting photos of your children and geo-tagging by your nanny in online posts.


Training the New Nanny [INFOGRAPHIC]