To track or not to track

I was called by a previous nanny of mine that I assisted some years ago. The advise they needed was regarding a parent asking them to download a tracker for when she is with the children.

I think the first problem was that they were already working for the family and it came across as they suddenly did not trust her. In these times of having no where to go or meet people it is imperative that the children get out in the fresh air and have a run around in a not so crowded place. The parks locally are the only way the nanny and children can really leave the house for those not at nursery or school.

Personally, I do not feel it is fair to ask a nanny to put a tracker on their personal phone. It is easy to say to someone you can switch it off when you leave but how many of us remember to switch off Bluetooth when we get out of our cars. A nannie’s personal life should remain that way. If a family wishes to have this, they should provide a nanny phone and then any apps they wish to have can be installed and when the nanny leaves work her life remains private. The alternative is that when the children go out the nanny could Strava the walk and screen shot to the family this is less invasive to the nanny.

I feel the same about cameras if parents want to install them be honest with the nanny that this is what you have in the house.

I want to go back when I started nanny work in 1982 there was no internet, no mobile phones, or trackers that we used. The recruitment process was strict, with qualifications, references and parents knowing what you were doing with the children through the nanny schedule we would keep. The famous nanny diaries updated each day, so the parent was aware of all the activities we had provided, the meals made, the sleep and any matters that needed to be addressed. Our log told the parent where we had been, what we had done, the show of creative work, well fed and happy children, and the feedback from the children confirmed this. This is what nannies should still be doing daily.

The most important part of hiring a nanny is the background checks, the references (not just verbal on a mobile), Up to date DBS and have they any training in childcare. We would not take a stranger off the street to cut our hair, why would we just trust strangers to look after our children. Check and check again. When I ran my nanny agency some years ago, we would recommend a playdate with the children if the family were considering hiring the nanny. A morning/ afternoon session to see how the children and nanny interacted together. Plus, what the nanny prepared for that playdate would give parents a really good idea of how proactive they were. Nanny agencies I work with (Through our nanny training) do still recommend this. Reputable nanny agencies are worth the investment, they interview all the nannies, check their history, references and often have a history of finding the nannies work before, so can speak about a background of employment. They know who they would take on their books and those they would not. Unfortunately, those they would not, still find work often via the internet. If you have found a nanny personally speak to a professional nanny agency and see if they will check the nanny for you for a fixed fee.

So where do we stand on trackers. If the family provide the phone for use during the day, there is no problem it does not invade the nannie’s personal life at all. However, it is imperative that these Gadgets are not used as the ‘trust’ to a nanny’s background or capability to be a nanny. This should just reassure parents about where the children are.

key to trust is

1. Recruitment checks, playdates, references, DBS on update and suitable training to be a Nanny

2. A contract of employment

3. Correct pay procedures

4. A nanny working as a professional with schedules and routines that are for the children’s wellbeing and happiness

5. Regular reviews every 3-6 months

Before recruiting look at the options for recruitment:

· Speak to an agency about the two options of sourcing a nanny for you and if you find your own would they consider a fixed fee to check the nanny out for you

· Check all employment for caps, references written and verbal, plus all the qualifications, training, and paperwork. Any lost paperwork the nanny should be getting copies otherwise they do not have them…

· Have the relationship as a professional arrangement for contracts and payroll. Many nanny agencies will help with these and we have links on our site of companies we work with that will assist you.

Good luck

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