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Navigating Nannies And Technology: How To Keep Your Nanny Off Her Phone

Things have changed a lot since I was a nanny, and one of the biggest challenges I see today that didn’t exist in generations past is navigating technology and
childcare. Not only is the constant presence of technology – smart phones, iPads, video games, etc. – something we have to monitor with our children, it’s something that needs to be considered when it comes to your nanny.

First and foremost, nannies who are on their phones all the time are putting children in serious dangerous. I actually witnessed a child cross the street by himself while a nanny was texting and she didn’t see the car coming that almost hit the child. I think this is something that parents and babysitters/nannies alike have to be very conscious of in today’s world. I also think it’s a good idea to practice what you preach. If your children see you on the phone all the time, not making eye contact, not paying attention to what’s going on in the present moment, then that is what they are going to model as they grow up. We can’t expect our children – or other who watch our children – to put down the screens when we aren’t willing to do so ourselves.

When it comes to making sure your nanny isn’t texting, tweeting, Snapchatting and Facebooking on the job, here’s what I recommend.

1) A Contract. I advocate all parents have written contracts with their nannies because it establishes ground rules and expectations so that everyone is on
the same page. I definitely recommend putting in a line or two about social media and cell phones in general. If you don’t want your children to be posted about online, you need to explicitly state this in the contract. Oftentimes, nannies will post photos when a child does something cute. Or, maybe they are sending a Snapchat video to a friend. There are so many different outlets where people are documenting their everyday lives in today’s world that there are probably social media channels you don’t even understand or know about. It’s best to outline from the beginning what you are comfortable with and what you don’t want to happen. If you don’t want your children to be posted about, make sure to set a black and white rule from the beginning.

2) Set realistic expectations. It’s not realistic to tell your nanny she should never be on her phone and then expect her to always be in constant contact with you. If you are the type of person who wants to be able to send a text and find out how the kids are or be able to call and give an update about your arrival time, then you are also setting the expectation that your nanny has a phone on her at all times. This is fine as long as you also communicate that your children’s safety is of the utmost importance. Make sure to remind your nanny you want her holding your kids’ hands when you cross the street, are getting in and our of cabs, etc., and that in these situations you’d rather your phone calls be ignored.

3) Monitor. If you happen to be on social networks, it’s not a bad idea to occasionally check to make sure your nanny isn’t posting unwanted photos of your kids. If you are at work or out at night and you see your nanny, who is with your kids, posting status updates constantly, this is a major red flag. Remind your nanny that you prefer she limit her phone time when she is around your children. It’s like any other job in that you want her complete attention on her job – which is keeping your children safe. Also listen for your children’s feedback. If they make comments about the nanny always being on her phone, this is something you should address immediately. As with most things, the more clear and direct you are about rules and expectations, the better things will go. Make sure you convey all of your privacy concerns in a contract and remind your nanny that you prefer to have her off her phone as much as possible for safety reasons.

If you’re interested in more information about our services as they relate to your nanny, check out our nanny consulting page or contact us today.