Preparing Your Nanny

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!

The Perfect Holiday Gift for Your Perfect Nanny

by Maggie Broadrick of Kiddie Up Nannies

Let’s face it - we live in a culture that puts a lot of pressure on giving the perfect gift. Well, giving your nanny the perfect gift is just as important. I get asked these questions all the time! What is appropriate to give? What should we give? What gifts are normal? How do we give our nanny a gift that shows how much we appreciate her?

I’m going to give you a few ideas for every type of nanny or caregiver:

Full-Time Nannies - Your full-time nanny is with your children a lot! They play a huge role in their lives and you want to be sure that is recognized. It is common to give the nanny a week or two weeks’ salary as a holiday bonus.

Part-Time Nannies - Part-time nannies usually receive one week's salary. If the nanny works for you limited hours or not as long of a time, you can get the nanny a gift card or subscription to one of her favorite places. Lots of nannies enjoy reading, going out to eat, or doing activities such as yoga or pilates.

Occasional Sitters - Depending on how occasional your sitter is, you can show your appreciation in a few ways. A cash tip, gift card, fruit and dessert basket or a bottle of wine (if they’re old enough.)

Daycare Employees - Daycare employees work hard! Luckily they are appreciated by so many so you don’t have to give an extravagant gift. A little gift card is always nice or a fresh baked goodie and card will do the trick!

Teachers - Now that my daughter is in elementary school, I know exactly what teachers get and what they like! At my daughter’s school they ask the teachers at the beginning of the year where their favorite places are and what their favorite things are. If you don’t know these things, it’s always okay to ask!

If you want to surprise them, a super thoughtful gift would be something your child has made. There are super cute pottery places where your child can paint a pot, mug, plate or something else clever. When I had my son, I wanted to give our doula something really special. We took our infant son to Color Me Mine and put his handprint on a mug. She loved it!

Coaches - In my experience coaches are pretty easy to please. They are happy with a gift card, homemade cookies, 'World’s Best Coach' t-shirt or just a thoughtful card.

Gifts for Everyone - If you’re still not quite sure, here are some ideas:

  • Personalized ornament or picture frame
  • Jewelry with a personalized charm
  • Starbucks gift card (you can never go wrong here!!)
  • Homemade goodies
  • Cash
  • A personalized plate or mug
  • Gym or workout class membership
  • Spa day
  • Movie tickets
  • Concert tickets
  • A bottle of nice wine (Who am I kidding, this is a gift for a nanny- maybe 2 bottles of wine!)

I hope these ideas help! Have a safe, warm and full of love holiday season!

The Fundamentals of Hiring the Perfect Nanny

By Maggie Broadrick, Owner of Kiddie Up Nannies

There is a lot that goes into the perfect nanny. You might be clueless about your perfect nanny. Or even worse, you might know exactly what you are looking for in a nanny but how do you turn your thoughts into reality?! I am going to discuss five essential tips parents need to know to hire their perfect nanny!

1.) Detailed job description. Just like any job, you need to have a detailed job description for potential applicants. It is important to be as clear as possible when writing a job description. This will not only be helpful for nannies to read, but also helpful to weed out any candidates that would not be a good fit for your family. The job description needs to include the days and times you need a nanny, a little about your family and the ages of your child or children, where the position is located, expectations of the nanny, and the salary- including if you are or are not going to withhold taxes. The more specific, the better! It’s a great idea to bring up the commitment length, if they need to have a vehicle to use on the job, and if there are any responsibilities related to family pets.

2.) The right questions to ask during an interview. I would recommend asking three types of interview questions. First, specific questions about themselves. You can ask about their experience, previous positions, education level, and salary expectations. Second, for instance type questions. Think back on a rough day you had. Maybe the baby was crying and you were trying to make dinner. Or you needed to get your toddler and infant in the car and it’s snowing. You had to carry both of them at the same time without slipping yourself. Ask the nanny how they would handle these types of situations. There isn’t a right or wrong answer but you can gage their response and determine if it is similar to your parenting style.

Last, underlining questions. These types of questions would help you recognize if they would be a good fit for your family. What are the nanny’s hobbies? If the nanny likes to travel maybe the nanny would take a lot of vacations throughout the year. What are the nanny’s future goals? Is the nanny doing this long-term or is this a fill in position. You can better understand their commitment level as well. How would their friends describe their personality? What is the nanny like outside of the work place.

3.) Speaking to references. It is important to speak to at least 3 references. Previous employers, co-workers, and character references are ideal. It is not helpful to speak to family members or close friends. Even if a particular nanny was referred to you by a friend, it is very important to speak to other references.

4.) Running a background check. This is pretty self explanatory. Run a background check! The cost is between $30 to $100, depending on the kind of background check. A comprehensive background check needs to include a national (or international if the nanny has resided outside of the US) criminal background check, social security trace, checking the sex offender registry, and motor vehicle report. Side note: I have a TON of families that say the driving record is not important to them. Even if it isn’t important, I highly suggest reviewing a MVR to establish patterns of behavior. A motor vehicle report is going to be the most telling about the nanny, more than any other items.

5.) All-inclusive contract. When I get a call from a parent and they are having issues with their current nanny, the first thing I ask is if they have a contract. The contract is not meant to be legal or scary; the contract is there so everyone is on the same page. It’s important to outline the expectations from the nanny but also from you as the employer. A nanny contract should include the basics—names of all the parties, the duration of the contract, work hours and dates, compensation, indemnification, job responsibilities, notice to end, holidays, vacation and sick days, confidentiality, and clauses for immediate termination. You can be more detailed and include snow days, reviews, raises, and other items important to you. The contract needs to be detailed but easy to read. If you ask the nanny to sign a 12 page contract, the nanny might show some hesitation.

Now you’re ready! You have all the information you need to know to hire your perfect nanny! Follow these five tips and remember, your parent intuition will help guide you through this!

Happy hiring!

To learn more about hiring the perfect nanny, please contact Kiddie Up Nannies at (720) 583-5148.