By Maggie Broadrick, Owner, Kiddie Up Nannies
Raise your hand if you are petrified to leave your child with the nanny for the first time. Hand in the air? Guess what? You are completely normal. Every parent is nervous to leave their child with a new person for the first time. Especially if this is your first time leaving—EVER. I wish I could provide you with some sort of secret formula to make those feelings go away, but unfortunately I can’t. Instead I can give you the tools you need to make the transition as smooth as possible. I promise you, if you prepare the nanny prior to leaving, you will have some comfort.
Although giving the nanny your neighbor’s number, and showing them where the diapers are located is important, I want to discuss things in more specifics. I am going to go over a few resources we give to every client. If you aren’t a Kiddie Up client, we do retail our Parent Resource Booklets. With that said, you can definitely gather this information on your own.
I. Child’s Information. Whether the nanny is there for a date night or every day, list your child’s information. Full legal name, birth date, address, allergies, medications, medical conditions, and your child’s current schedule.
II. Emergency Contact Information. Maybe you are at a loud concert or in a meeting you can’t step away from, or in an airplane traveling for work; your nanny is calling you but can’t get hold of you. What should the nanny do? Be sure to provide an emergency information sheet that includes parents’ office numbers and cell numbers. List two emergency contacts other than the parents. These contacts could be neighbors, grandparents, or close friends. Listing the pediatrician’s name and number, along with the medical insurance information is also necessary. For permanent nannies, I would suggest including work addresses, dentist information, school address and number, teachers name and number, and coaches names and numbers if applicable. Lastly, list important numbers such as the non-emergency police line, poison control, and a nurse advice line.
III. Household Orientation Checklist. Are you particular about your thermostat? Maybe you have automatic door locks, or your security alarm is set up to your fire alarm. Wouldn’t you think these things are important for your nanny to know? Picture this—your nanny burns a hot dog, the fire alarm goes off and all of a sudden the security system company is blowing up your phone. Your nanny doesn’t have the code so fire trucks, police cars, and ambulances come rushing to your door. Now your neighbors are blowing up your phone too! You can prevent this in advance by simply going over these things prior to leaving. You don’t have to give your nanny the security code, but at least prepare her in case this were to happen. Also in the household orientation checklist, list the location of important things like: the water shut off, fuse box, gas shut off, fire extinguishers, extra house keys, garage codes, first aid kit, candles/flashlight, invisible fence, and handguns.
*Side story: I was a nanny in high school for a family that lived a couple blocks away from my house. The hot dog story actually happened to me! I was so scared, especially when the fire trucks started swarming up the street, I took the little girl I was watching and we ran to my house. My mom (very embarrassed) went back to the house with me so she could explain everything. My mom wasn’t as embarrassed as me, but definitely questioned my common sense.
IV. Auto Accident Information Form. If your nanny is driving with your child at any time, you need an auto accident information form. This form simply states at the top “I am a nanny caring for this child.” In the case of an accident, God forbid the nanny was unresponsive, the emergency responders would look in purses, consoles, or glove compartments for contact information. At this point, they at least could get a hold of you and care for your child properly. You want to include the child’s full name, allergies, medical conditions, current medications, address, emergency phone numbers, pediatrician’s name and number, and medical insurance information. Hopefully this form is never used but better to have to it just in case.
V. Medical Authorization Form. I scared you enough talking about car accidents, right?! One more scary topic—you need to authorize the nanny temporary permission to seek medical attention if you are unable to get there right away. This form should be completed by parents and given to the temporary guardian for use if emergency attention is required. If you need this form, please give us a call and we can email you the form we use.
VI. Nanny Journal. Phew, the first day is over! Now you start to think about the second day… ugh. It is completely normal to worry about your child while you are away. You will be thinking about them constantly. You get home and want to hear every single detail, however… your nanny is ready to go home. In order to skip the 45 minute conversation at the end of the day, wrap things up in 10 or 15 minutes and then go look at the nanny journal. Ask the nanny to complete a daily nanny journal that includes activities, bottle/meal/snack times, diaper/bathroom activity, nap times and any other important notes. There are wonderful apps you can purchase that track all these things for you or you can write it down old school style!
We have covered the important resources. Hopefully you and your nanny will feel prepared and ready for the transition. Now grab your tissues and your car keys and leave. By preparing your nanny the way I discussed, you (and your nanny) are ready! Good luck!