Finally Leaving Your Children with a Nanny and Trial Periods: The Nanny Manual

This is part 5 of an 8-part blog from the perspective of TIFFAN's Founder and "The Nanny Manual" author, Alyce Desrosiers.

The first days are always hard.  I would say that’s one of the best ways to prepare yourself – giving yourself permission for the first day to be hard.  For some it’s harder than others.  No matter how much you trust your nanny that your child will be well cared for, the realization that you are handing over some of your parenting responsibility to another is clear when you walk out the door, closing it behind you.  It’s a statement to your inner self and a defining moment about who you are as a parent.  For some parents, this comes as a relief that they have done what they needed to do well as a parent; for others a part of who they are is left at the door.  Parents should know these mixed feelings can come up the first day they leave their child with the nanny.

If a parent has developed enough trust in their nanny to do right by their child and by them, these first day emotions can be managed by planning with your nanny how you can make this first day – and others – better for everyone.  Maybe you’ll call every hour to check in; or unexpectedly when the ‘I miss him’ feeling hits home.  Make plans for lots of facetime, skype or zoom video calls.  Have your nanny keep a journal, not only to record the regular feeding, sleeping, play routines but where they went, what they did and how.  

Finally, as difficult as the first day may be for a parent, it can also be a difficult day for the child.  Depending on a child’s age and temperament, prepare them for this first day so it’s a positive one for them.  Maybe all they need to know is that you trust your nanny will take good care of them.  Talk about what they might do together that day.  Let them know how you will all talk together while you are away.  let them know you will be back.  Children often need to know their mom or dad is someplace and doing something that is important and that their nanny will take good care of them – and even have fun together – while they are away!  I often remind parents that children need to learn how to say the ‘hellos’ and ‘good-bye’s’ to important people in their lives.  Learning how to say these in healthy ways is an important lesson that will carry them through all relationships to adulthood.   

In regards to trial periods, it's an important part of the hiring process. 

Trials give parents not only peace of mind the nanny knows how to care for their child safely but, equally important, the child learns that you trust the nanny who will be taking care of him.  Nannies also benefit from trusting they know the child well enough and how the parent wants him to be cared for they can go through the day confidently and have fun.  

The trial also is a time to come to agreement on compensation, benefits, schedule, responsibilities.  These should be in a formal contract signed by both parties.  Nannies also complete any testing/training or background checks that are required.  In general, I recommend a 2-week trial during which the nanny is scheduled and paid.  At the end of the trial, a nanny would be trained, all conditions of employment completed and then hired under contract with terms clearly defined and agreed on.

-Alyce Desrosiers