Childcare Trends: Nanny Surveillance

For over two decades, nanny cams have helped give parents peace of mind, and shed light on what happens inside of the home when their children are in the care of nannies and baby sitters. These days, many parents are taking things a step further to protect their most prized possessions, and aren’t leaving any stones unturned. Thus, the trend of hiring private investigators to track nanny behavior outside of the home is on the rise.

Despite advances in applicant screening and background checks over the years, finding truly trustworthy childcare options remains one of the most difficult dilemmas of parenting. Often fueled by rare, albeit horrible, news headlines about neglectful childcare centers or mistreatment by nannies, questions naturally lurk in the back of a parent’s mind; Is our nanny spending too much time on her phone or with friends? Is she ever vigilant and making sure our baby is safe while out and about? Is my child getting the love and attention she deserves? At the end of the day, it’s understandable that parents seek help to answer those questions. They want extra assurance that they’ve hired the right person to bring into their home and care for their loved ones.

So is nanny surveillance for you and your family? That depends. If you have suspicions you just can’t shake when it comes to your child’s caregiver, you should certainly do what you can to quell those worries, whether that’s shelling out for a private investigator, installing a nanny cam, or both. Be sure to check your state or country’s laws first though, as they may vary. For example, using hidden nanny cams to capture video is legal in the United States, but audio may not be recorded without the nanny’s consent, and you cannot monitor private areas such as a bathroom.

Keep in mind, however, that going down the surveillance route can be a slippery slope for some. You may find that even if things check out, the distrust lingers, or you may even experience feelings of guilt over conducting the surveillance. Taking thorough steps during the hiring process, and developing a solid relationship with your caregiver from the get-go is oftentimes all the reassurance you need. Here some ways you can build a solid foundation of trust from the beginning.

Utilize the Internet

Social media profiles can say a lot about a person, their maturity and their judgment. Once you’ve got a few applicants, search their names online and review your results carefully. If your search turns up any questionable images or posts from the candidate, you’ll know they’re not a good fit for your family.

Ask References the Right Questions

You know contacting several references is crucial, but maximizing every minute of your conversations with them will give you all the information you need to hire the best possible caregiver for your family. Ask how and when they met the candidate and what their relationship is like. If all the references of a particular nanny turn out to be friends and family, you may have a red flag there. There’s nothing saying you can’t provide hypothetical childcare situations and ask how the candidate might handle them. Anything you’d like to know, ask.

Use a Trusted Nanny Placement Agency

A placement agency can help save you a lot of time and worry because they check all the boxes from background checks and interviews to references and coordinating Infant/Child CPR and First Aid certification. If they’ve got solid reviews from parents and have been around a while, chances are they only place the best and most qualified.

Check Your Gut

You’re the one that knows your kids best and you’ve got instincts for a reason. Trust them. Even if you’ve already spent time and money hiring a new nanny, if you feel like something’s a little “off,” you’re probably right. The process of finding and hiring someone else may be time-consuming and costly, but it’s way worth it when it comes to the care of your children.

Communicate from The Get-Go

Once all the groundwork’s been covered and you’ve hired your nanny, build on that initial connection you felt. A successful nanny/family relationship—and ultimately trust—is built through communication. This means clearly laying out all expectations ahead of time and being on the same page in regards to discipline and routines. It also means nurturing a mutual respect for one another’s lives, whether that’s asking how things are going or gifts and cards on holidays and birthdays.

About Carole Kramer Arsenault

Carole is the president and founder of Boston Baby Nurse™ providing overnight and daytime newborn care and a wide range of postpartum support services. Her latest book 'The Baby Nurse Bible Secrets Only a Baby Nurse Can Tell You about Having and Caring for Your Baby' is packed with expert advice and information new parents need for pregnancy right through baby’s first three months.For over a decade Carole has guided parents through pregnancy, labor, birth and the newborn period at Boston’s top birthing hospitals including Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, St Elizabeth’s Medical Center, Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital and Mount Auburn Hospital. As a parent educator, labor and delivery nurse, and lactation consultant she has shared her expertise on sleep, schedules, soothing, calming and infant development with hundreds of parents as they transition into their new roles. Carole continues to support and educate families through Boston Baby Nurse, her new company Boston Baby Concierge, and through professional speaking on topics such as creating a safe “green” home for your baby and essential newborn secrets from a baby nurse.Carole Arsenault provides weekly pregnancy and baby advice on her blog, contributes monthly maternal and newborn health advice to BOSTONMamas.com, is a contributor for The Bump.com, and has been featured as an expert on Fox News Boston.Carole resides in the Boston area with her husband and three school-aged children.

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