Hiring a Nanny and getting them acquainted and comfortable with your family and home no small task! Each family does things a little differently, and no matter how many years of experience the Nanny has, it will take them some time to get familiar with a new family. Fortunately, there are some simple ways you can help make the on-boarding process as easy and effective as possible.
A family manual is a binder or e-document with everything the Nanny needs to know about working with your family. It includes important information such as emergency contacts, medical needs and allergies, dietary information, house rules, the family’s schedule, parenting approaches, and so on. Not only is a family manual helpful when the Nanny is first starting out, it is something they can refer back to at any time.
Written notes and lists
Nannies may choose to carry a notebook around with them to record important information shared with them during their first few shifts. They may also continue to use one to write down to-do lists, grocery lists, and other noteworthy items from the day. We strongly recommend that families do the same.
Similarly, it is helpful to have a daily and/or weekly schedule for the Nanny to follow as well. The schedule should outline the Nanny’s tasks and responsibilities, as well as scheduled nap times, activities, appointments, etc.
Having a shared calendar is also a useful tool, as it allows busy families to keep track of activities and appointments, vacations, and the Nanny’s work schedule. You may choose to have a wall calendar visible somewhere in the house or to share an online calendar, such as Google Calendar or iCalendar.
We always recommend that families use a book or diary (one day per page style) to communicate with the Nanny. A communication book is where everyone can record and relay day-to-day information, such as how the child napped, diaper changes, upcoming appointments for the children, parents, and Nanny (e.g., “I have a concert on Wednesday evening, so I must leave no later than 6 PM”, “Spirit Day at school”, “I have an early meeting on Tuesday, so you will have to arrive at 8 AM”).
It can be very useful to have a “shadow day” with a new Nanny, where they spend a day with one of the parents or another caregiver (such as a relief Nanny or a previous Nanny whose contract is ending). This gives the Nanny an opportunity to get acquainted with the home, experience a typical day with the children, and learn about details that may otherwise be overlooked.
We also highly recommend having the Nanny do a trial shift with your family to ensure that it is a good fit. This is especially important if the initial interview took place virtually and you haven’t had a chance to meet the Nanny in person yet. It’s hard to get a true sense of someone you’ve only ever met through a computer screen. A trial shift gives both your family and the Nanny the opportunity to assess whether the relationship will work or not before making a commitment.