How To Make Your Nanny’s First Day A Huge Success


Fifteen Welcoming Ideas You Can Do

It’s so exciting when you have a new nanny starting. Hopes of your kiddos loving the new nanny, and you being able to get your work done with confidence knowing they are in excellent hands, is a major win for everyone. There are some critical basics: don’t under-estimate the value of a written contract, covering the idea of a trial period, and handling issues like social media, phone usage, or staying overnight. Also, make sure you are paying your nanny legally.

Assuming those two biggies are taken care of, read below for some practical and some lovely first-day ideas that could work for you, shared by experienced nannies and employers!

  1. Expect some chaos at first. If your kids aren’t used to a nanny, this is a big change. Reduce jitters for your nanny by communicating that you expect the first couple weeks to be wonky.
  2. Why not welcome your nanny on her first day with coffee and donuts in the kitchen (and hot chocolate for the kids)? This is a low-key but special gesture that will surprise her!
  3. Do a thorough walk-through of your home, especially the kitchen.
    • Give your nanny a set of house keys and show her where the spare key is hidden.
    • Designate a special place for your nanny’s personal items (extra clothes, medicine, supplies). Also designate a special place in the kitchen for her own food, including a spot in the fridge. Clarify if your nanny is welcome to eat anything in your kitchen.
    • Show your nanny where the tea bags are and the ibuprofen! Show her how to make a coffee.
    • What are the reliable meals and snacks you know your kids love? Ask your nanny for her list of favorite snacks too, and keep them stocked!
    • Encourage your nanny to open every cupboard and drawer on her own (when you’re not around hovering) to get more comfortable finding things.
    • Write down the Wi-Fi password.
    • If you use cameras, be upfront and tell your nanny where they are. Don’t do this any later than the first day.
    • Demonstrate how to use your appliances:
      • Washer/dryer, how much detergent to use, any particular settings you prefer?
      • Does the dishwasher need to be full before it’s run or can it be run during the day half full? What about putting plastic containers in the DW, and what setting to use?
      • Show how to use the stovetop/oven, and don’t just assume your nanny knows about gas safety or how burners on an electric stove retain their heat.
    • If your nanny has access to driving your car and you have a garage, explain that the car cannot be turned on unless the garage door is open. Not everyone knows about carbon monoxide poisoning and leaving a car running.
    • If you have a baby or very young children, explain how to keep the kids safe when needing to use the bathroom.
    • What are the techniques and comfort objects that you use with your kids that your nanny could follow?
  4. Document the routine you follow each day, or create a schedule together. Your nanny may feel lost at certain points of the day, and a schedule will provide guidance and relieve anxiety about what to do next. Make sure to express that you don’t expect it to be followed precisely, which could add to first-day anxiety.
  5. Make a list of different activities to choose from so your nanny has good options depending on the weather or your kids’ moods.
  6. Show your nanny around the neighborhood and then take him/her to a favorite local café for an easy and fun lunch with the kids!
  7. Give your nanny a gift card for the local coffee place where he/she can walk with the kids.
  8. Be absolutely clear with your house rules and write them down. It can be hard sometimes to be yourself in front of the new nanny (or anyone), when your child is breaking a rule. Don’t be wishy-washy because you need to make sure the nanny also knows clearly what is OK or not. In some houses it’s OK to eat in the living room, and in others it’s not. Your nanny needs to be explicitly told what is acceptable or not, even if you think it’s obvious.
  9. Make sure the kids know your nanny is the boss when on duty. Never undermine your nanny’s authority in front of the kids. If something is not right, discuss it in private so your kids can’t hear.
  10. What are the expectations when the kids are sleeping or playing with the kids next door? Is your nanny expected to do some light housekeeping, or allowed to use a laptop or read a book? If your nanny is in school, is studying OK?
  11. Make a chores list for when your nanny “has time”, without putting on the pressure.
  12. After the house tour and answering questions, leave if you can. Say you have a meeting even if you don’t! Let your nanny establish a relationship with the kids. If you’re working from home, make sure you can close a door to your workspace and don’t come out unless it’s critical. Tell your new nanny to text you with questions so your kids don’t see you popping in and out all the time.
  13. Have a debriefing on day three or at the end of the week. This is the time to discover how to help your nanny more. Usually, problems are due to the family not communicating expectations clearly or not re-aligning.
  14. Nannies are human. Be kind.
  15. Above all, let your nanny be herself. You aren’t trying to duplicate YOU, and it’s good for the kids to be exposed to other ways of doing things and have relationships with others you trust. It takes time to bond with kids, and your nanny needs the time and space to do this.

Carol is a Peninsula mom to 2 kiddos (ages 10 and 14) and loves to share her thoughts and musings to help other parents.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here