1. Don’t sort the paperwork
Ideally you should have a contract in place before your nanny starts, but if you don’t then make signing one a top priority. Aside from being a legal obligation on your part, it’s a good idea to have the arrangement clarified in writing. You’ll also need their bank details and her National Insurance number, as well as their P45 from her previous job, to pay them correctly.
2. Don’t say thank you
It’s nice to say thank you to your nanny at the end of every day, but it’s absolutely vital if they goes out of their way to do something, whether you’ve asked them to or not. You might be paying them but a little gratitude goes a long way.
3. Go back on your word
The relationship between a nanny and employer is based on mutual trust and respect. You trust them to care for your children and they trust you to keep your end of the bargain. If you agree to something, be it going to a specific playgroup or that they can leave half an hour early one day, don’t suddenly turn around and say you’ve changed your mind and it’s no longer possible.
4. Tell the nanny they can’t sit on your chair
It’s understandable that even though you’ve let someone into your home you’ll still want to keep a bit of privacy, but do remember that it’s your nanny’s place of work where they will spend a great deal of time, and it’s vital that they feel comfortable. Dictating where they can and can’t sit is petty, and slights like that won’t make for an easy working relationship.
5. Be late without notice
Emergencies happen, that’s one of the reason why a nanny is such a great form of childcare, but it absolutely doesn’t excuse lateness with no warning. If your nanny finishes at 6, you haven’t left the office at 5.30 and you know it takes you 45 minutes to get home, you’re already late. Take a moment out of whatever you’re dealing with to call your nanny and apologise. Remember they may have plans for the evening too so they may not be thrilled with the news.
6. Don’t top up the kitty or reimburse the nanny for their expenses
If you ask your nanny to pick up essentials, such as nappies or bread, or expect them to take your children to activities then it’s expected that you pay for it. It’s courteous to provide a kitty for your nanny so the nanny doesn’t have to fund day to day expenditure out of their own pocket, but if this is the arrangement you have make sure you pay the nanny back promptly.
7. Leave a critical note, but don’t suggest improvements
Nannies don’t have mind-reading superpowers (for people over the age of 3, that is) so any time you need to tell your nanny you’d rather they did something a different way, tell the nanny how you’d like it done. Also make sure you give any constructive criticism face to face – it can be really demoralising when someone is nice to your face and then an hour later you discover they weren’t happy at all.
8. Ask the nanny to clean your bathroom
Most nannies will happily take care of nursery duties – that is chores related directly to the children such as cleaning up after meals, doing their laundry and hovering their bedrooms and playroom. Although some nannies will be happy to take on additional housekeeping duties, cleaning your bathroom is a step too far. Remember the top priority for a nanny is always the children.
9. Take a day off to follow your nanny around
You probably don’t work too well with your boss breathing down your neck and your nanny is no exception. It’s difficult to interact naturally with children, sing, dance and be silly, if you know someone else is judging your every move. Added to that, children always behave differently when their parents are around, so any judgements you make are likely to be based on unsound evidence.
10. Don’t pay the nanny
As much as your nanny probably loves their job, as a professional the nanny does expect to be paid. Non-payment is a breach of contract, and your nanny would be perfectly justified in leaving immediately.