Being a nanny in someone else’s home crosses both personal and professional boundaries so it’s important to understand what behaviour is appropriate.
Here is some general nanny etiquette to help you navigate your position and can be used in addition to any specific house rules:
- Provide discipline in line with parental guidelines without using physical punishment. Even if the parents approve of smacking it is never appropriate for a nanny to smack.
- Consider the safety of the children at all times. You can find more information on safety guidelines here (link to Safety Guidelines). Safety should extend to applying sunscreen, wearing hats and drinking water on hot days, having the children wear a jacket when it’s cold outside and holding their hands when crossing the street.
- Ensure children are fed and put down to nap at the times set by the parents to ensure the children maintain their routine.
Assist with children’s learning by doing things like reading and allocating time for them to do their homework and following their interests.
- It is a great idea to keep a journal to document things the children do and say so you can keep the parents informed of how they are growing and developing. Especially when caring for younger infants, ensure to take notes in the journal of their daily food intake. This book will also be helpful if any accidents occur, even minor and likewise if the children are sick or distressed when they are with you.
- Drive safely whenever you are transporting the children anywhere and obey all road rules when catching public transport or walking.
Complete the household chores you are asked to do in a timely fashion.
- Respect the privacy of the family by never eavesdropping, snooping or entering off limits areas of the house.
- Always wear appropriate clothing.
- Always arrive on time or notify the family as soon as possible if you are going to be late.
- Ignore the requests of the parents in relation to discipline, screen time, bedtimes etc.
- Go against the requests of the parents when it comes to feeding the children. And try and maintain a good diet in front of the children as much as possible.
- Use the television or DVD player as a babysitter and be sure to give the kids your full attention when they are awake.
- Ever consume alcohol or drugs while working or within 24 hours of needing to be at work.
- Ever swear or speak badly of the children’s parents in front of the children.
- Let the children watch movies or play with toys, games or apps that are inappropriate for their age.
- Leave children alone, even when close by, and especially when bathing the children or when outside near the street or a backyard pool.
- Invite any personal guests to the house even when the children are asleep, unless you have received permission from the parents to do so.
- Allow the children to regress when a parent has asked for assistance with things like weaning a child off a bottle or dummy, toilet training, or removing a daytime nap even if you disagree or feel it would make your job easier.
- Get so attached that you can’t make the transition to a new family as it is inevitable that the children will grow and start school or the care circumstances will change.
- Use money that is supposed to be spent on the children on yourself or for things other than what it is meant to be used for.
- Ever impose your values such as diet, religion or whether Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy is real on the children you work with, especially if it is against the beliefs of the family.
- Make personal use of phones, digital recorders, facilities, car or food unless specifically allowed.