Tips for Transitioning a New Nanny

Finding the perfect nanny can be nerve-wracking and even a little scary. After all, she will be caring for the most precious things in your life: your children. Once you've found a nanny you're comfortable with, it's still a big adjustment for everyone in the family. However, there are ways to make it easier, and most of them come down to good communication. Here are some tips for successfully integrating your new nanny into your home, your lifestyle, and your way of doing things:

  • Draw up a nanny agreement. This can include specifying a trial period so that you both have an opportunity to change your mind, as well as work hours, wages, benefits and duties. Also be sure to include food in the agreement, and stipulate whether she can eat the food you buy, or needs to purchase her own.
  • Start out with a training day for how the house runs. Don't expect her to read your mind. What's more, if you have kids who are old enough to communicate and you haven't given her the low-down, you'd better believe they'll tell her how the house should run.
  • Touch base daily. Be sure to fill her in on how your children slept the night before, or anything else that would be relevant for her to know. Also, encourage her to text or call you if she has questions or even if your children did or said something of note during the day. The more comfortable she feels talking to you, the more open and honest your relationship will be.
  • Be sure she knows exactly how to handle an emergency. Keep all important phone numbers on the refrigerator, as well as insurance information. Give her complete authorization to dial 911 if she feels the situation warrants it, even before calling you.
  • Talk it out. Issues are going to arise, but be sure you talk it out, so it doesn't fester. Make sure your tone of voice is neutral, not angry or accusatory.
  • Be plentiful with your praise. Remember, your nanny is the second most influential person in your child's life (next to you), so let her know how much you appreciate all she does. Tell her in person, leave her little notes, and leave her the occasional little surprise that just says, "Thanks for your hard work and devotion to my little one!"

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