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#1 of 18 Old 11-07-2008, 07:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Those of you who have nannies, or are nannies:

What sort of household rules do you have? What do you wish you've had?



(Context: I'm trying to write a sample employment contract for a (hypothetical) nanny, for my drafting workshop, and my instructor thinks it should include some basic household rules. We've got the legal stuff--at-will employment, compensation, etc., covered already.)

Thanks!

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#2 of 18 Old 11-07-2008, 07:28 PM
 
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I PM'ed you.
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#3 of 18 Old 11-07-2008, 07:33 PM
 
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This aren't my rules, but it was when I was a nanny:

No car travel unless it's an emergency.
Kids can't go in the pool unless there's more than 1 adult available (summer nanny, 3 young kids, backyard pool.)
Playdates must be approved by parents beforehand.
No boyfriends over, but girlfriends were ok. (which I found funny, since I had a gf at the time and no bf! But I knew what they meant.)

You might also think about things like what the nanny should do for medical emergencies if she has to take the kids to an emergency room, what kind of care she can and cannot sign off on.

I have friends who nannied for folks who had lots of rules like what the kid could and couldn't eat, where the nanny could take her, what they expected her to clean up, walking the dog, etc.

Happy with my DH, 2 kids, dog, fish, and frogs
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#4 of 18 Old 11-07-2008, 08:17 PM
 
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Well, what's important to you?

Food issues? Snacks? Talking on the phone? Driving a car? Places the kids can/can't go? Discipline? Money/mileage limits for outings? TV limits/conditions? Running her own errands on the clock? Chores expected ? (ie...tossing a load of laundry in - I had one family who LOVED that I did that, and another that specifically asked me not to because mom was very anal (her word) about laundry, and wouldn't even let her husband do it. Any quirks? Rules about homework? Can any of the children be not directly supervised in the house? In the yard? In the neighborhood? What about kids' friends visiting?

TBH, I've nannied for three families, and have never had a ton of rules placed on me. Then again, I was in my late 20s and a teacher with experience when I started. The "rules" were generally family-specific to enforce what was expected by the parents for their kids normally.
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#5 of 18 Old 11-07-2008, 09:25 PM
 
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We have a PT after-school nanny for two elementary school kids, so ours might be different than you would have for a small child. We also use occassional evening sitters, and these rules are posted along with general household information (e.g. location of first aid supplies) on the fridge. Some of them are posted so that my parents (occassional sitters during school breaks) can see them -- this was sort of a passive/aggressive way of making sure they realized our household rules were different than their's were when I was a child.

Our basic guidelines for nanny/sitter (in the order I remember them):

Children are to be respected above all else.
Children must NEVER be struck or subjected to ANY physical discipline, shamed, or humiliated. Sitter/nanny may ask children to play separately/apart if sibling interaction is not positive.
DD must be in carseat, but outings are encouraged. Advanced permission is not required.
Sitter/nanny must have cell phone available at all times when out of the house.
Sitter/nanny must ask permission before including others in sitting or outings. Permission will generally be granted.
Children may not be left alone with another person (any gender) or driven by another unless background check completed and advance permission obtained.
Children may eat what/when/where they please -- they know what few things aren't allowed. Nanny/sitter may do the same.
Use of alcohol or use street drugs when caring for children will not be tolerated.
Nanny/sitter must be within visual range when children are using the pool
Nanny/sitter may permit or decline playdates with neighborhood children
Nanny/sitter is expected to ensure children get to preplanned activities on time and with appropriate gear
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#6 of 18 Old 11-08-2008, 05:34 AM
 
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OP - I'm really seeing two different types of rules coming up here, and you might consider separating them in your sample contract.

Household rules - relating to the home itself and probably to live-in nannies.

Rules regarding the children - We had a slew of those as well - I'll PM you with those.
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#7 of 18 Old 11-08-2008, 11:06 PM
 
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I would do "day in the life of " type rules. as in, what does a day look like for your nanny. What are normal daily decisions vs decisions which require parent input. I think that approach helps with decisio making, and how much is up to the nanny.

You know the attributes for a great adult? Initiative, creativity, intellectual curiosity? They make for a helluva kid...
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#8 of 18 Old 11-09-2008, 12:06 AM
 
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In addition to many of the rules I have seen posted already:

Dd1 gets one sugary "treat" per day - she gets to decide what and when.

Please don't feed my kids anything you have brought from home without clearing it with me first. Permission will generally be granted, but there are a few things - i.e. caffeine, artificial sweeteners, that I don't want them having under any circumstances, so I want to keep close tabs until we know each other a little better.

When we had a baby that was new to solids, I asked our nanny not to feed her anything not in the house, and to please leave me a note when she fed her anything, just so we would know what she had eaten on the off chance she had a reaction to anything.

I always tried to leave a tidy clean house, and asked that it be left for me in the same condition that it was in that morning. Other housework was not expected.

No tv before 2:00 p.m., and only PBS, Discovery, or Animal Planet after that.

I generally didn't have any rules regarding visitors or phone calls, but I work from home and so would see what was going on. If I overheard excessive phone calls or there had been a constant stream of visitors in the house I would have said something.

I tried not to put a ton of rules on our nannies, because I hate that kind of working environment myself. I just tried to make clear stuff that I didn't necessarily think would be common sense or that I was especially, uhm, quirky about.

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#9 of 18 Old 11-09-2008, 12:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for everyone's input--this should be interesting.

I know not to put in anything that's completely unrealistic--i.e. absolutely no personal use of the telephone while you're on duty (when this is a contract for a hypothetical live-in nanny who's on duty during normal business hours--how else is she going to be able to call her bank or make a doctor's appointment?)-- but you've all given me lots to work with that I never would have thought about.

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#10 of 18 Old 11-09-2008, 12:40 AM
 
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i was a nanny.

but the people i have worked for were pretty laid back. i don't think there were many rules. with the babies i wasn't supposed to drive..but only b/c we had no where to go.
clean up any mess we make

with the older girls... umm feed them.. dont let them kill each other. try to make sure they dont run around naked outside. had to get in the pool with the 4yo if she wanted to go in the deep end.

umm i will say though that if you have to specify to your nanny that she shouldnt hit your kids you might want to consider a different nanny. never in a zillion years would i ever ever ever hit a kids i was babysitting for. (or my own kids but even for someone who does hit their kids... why in the heck would you hit someone else's?)
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#11 of 18 Old 11-09-2008, 01:23 AM
 
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I have no written rules for my nanny.

I have an unwritten rule to always a) use carseats properly; b) that taking all four kiddos to the beach would scare the crap out of me (she agreed completely) and c) minimize crap food.

I think if you have to have an extended list of written rules (which includes don't hit the kids), you have hired the wrong person.
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#12 of 18 Old 11-09-2008, 02:02 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keeping up View Post
I have no written rules for my nanny.

I have an unwritten rule to always a) use carseats properly; b) that taking all four kiddos to the beach would scare the crap out of me (she agreed completely) and c) minimize crap food.

I think if you have to have an extended list of written rules (which includes don't hit the kids), you have hired the wrong person.
I have to respectfully disagree about the need to have a list (even an extended one) of written rules for a nanny.

I think there is nothing wrong with clearly spelling out expectations to a new nanny. When things are not written down, there can be a lot of room for misunderstanding. Even with the *best* of people - misunderstandings can happen.

I speak from my own experience with nannies over the past 6 years, and the experiences of friends of mine who have hired nannies.
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#13 of 18 Old 11-10-2008, 12:08 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1littlebit View Post
umm i will say though that if you have to specify to your nanny that she shouldnt hit your kids you might want to consider a different nanny. never in a zillion years would i ever ever ever hit a kids i was babysitting for. (or my own kids but even for someone who does hit their kids... why in the heck would you hit someone else's?)
I noted that some of this was for my parents when they were sitting, didn't I? This was my way of communicating with THEM that even though they hit me freely and often, they weren't to do the same with my kids. I would never hire a nanny that I thought would hit the kids. This was pretty much my list from the fridge, which covered multiple situations and people, as I noted.
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#14 of 18 Old 11-10-2008, 04:49 PM
 
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I would think of also how much cell phone internet usage is acceptable.
Having a written list sets clear expectations.
And common sense aint that common.

IF they are violated you have an opportunity to discuss it or fire them as a result.

I'd put limits on home phone use, cell phone use for personal calls.
No calls in the car, let her know that if you call her think first of safety and the kids you can wait. Often they want to please you first...

internet usage.
My ex-nanny (live in) used our kids computer for internet dating I found out later. That creeped me out. I don't want my home phone number, address given out to horny creeps on the net.

Rules about discussing your family's personal business unless given permission. A nanny will often know news before you are ready to tell people.

8 might be enough
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#15 of 18 Old 11-12-2008, 04:14 PM
 
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I think you've gotten a lot of good ideas here. It's really good to discuss and have in writing expectations about holidays, time-off, vacations and so on. Also, what are the expectations if the kids are sick, or if the nanny is sick? Also, what happens if the nanny is late, or if I'm late? For example, if I'm late coming home, we pay our nanny for the extra time worked at time and a half.

The one thing we did not discuss that I wish we had was food for the nanny, as opposed to the kids. You should specify if she/he is welcome to eat anything and everything in the house, or if everything is off-limits, or something in between.

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#16 of 18 Old 11-13-2008, 01:55 AM
 
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also how much notice you require if they quit - 2 weeks IMO is not long enough.

Also when they tell you they are taking a day off for sickness or otherwise.
How much advanced notice do you need to find a back up?

Lateness - i used to pay my nanny by the block as if I am 20 minutes late comming home - you know those are the longest 20 minutes if you have plans. So I'd pay in 2hr blocks of time... if I was 20 minutes or 2 hours after my usual time she'd be paid for 2hrs. It actually made my old nanny happy if I said I was going to be late...lol

Conversely if the nanny leaves early, arrives late, sleeps in...is there a penalty the first time?

Quote:
The one thing we did not discuss that I wish we had was food for the nanny, as opposed to the kids. You should specify if she/he is welcome to eat anything and everything in the house, or if everything is off-limits, or something in between.
totally the last thing you want is a pepsi drinking nanny in a no pop house! Or they should ask about food if it seems special or out of the ordinary...we had a nanny eat an entire GALLON of icecream in one day...lol it wasn't for anything but if it had been it would have been an extra trip.

I'd also include when raises are discussed, and what would merit a raise- I've had friends whose nannies hit them up for raises for an additional child (even though mom was pregnant when hired), getting their liscences - even though parents paid for car, gas, insurance and gave nanny car on weekends, or threated to take a different job if not paid more..

8 might be enough
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#17 of 18 Old 11-14-2008, 02:21 PM
 
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don't think you could enforce the notice if you quit rule

i wish i had specified early on that i wanted her to take dd out twice a day. in her case a bit of housebound inertia could set in. i want her to have discretion to follow dd's natural cycles but they can too easily blend with the nanny's and in our case our nanny was a bit too low energy for our preference. it was tricky to demand that after teh fact without sounding critical.

for toddlers on up i would want a solids schedule in place. we didn't really have that since dd went into daycare at 12.5 mos. but i do think having her on a solids schedule in daycare is helpful.
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#18 of 18 Old 11-14-2008, 06:53 PM
 
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don't think you could enforce the notice if you quit rule
True - you can't enforce it...

But you can give incentives to the nanny to give notice properly and follow through with her notice.
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