Thousands of mothers a year have to do it; they have to leave their babies and return to work. For many mothers that also means hiring a nanny to care for their little bundle of joy while they are away. With the right person you can feel absolutely secure and comfortable that your baby is in the right hands, and with the right planning and correspondence with your nanny you can stay informed on every day of your child’s life. Talking to your nanny could be enough for you, but you might miss small trends such as changes in eating, napping, or mood. As such, some mothers have turned to a “nanny/parent diary,” a log of daily activities and notes taken by both you and the nanny to help you communicate and better track the changes in your child.
A nanny/parent diary is a great way to let the nanny know about the morning or the night before, and for you to get all the details about the day. So what should you put in the diary? What’s important? How should you put it together? Well, how about starting with a three ring binder? You can print out your diary sheets and place them in the binder for easy access and storing. In this way past logs are easy to keep and look back on and new ones are easily accessible and always right where you need them.
Your binder should also include a print out of the month’s calendar. Here you can make notes of any events, appointments, days off, babysitting days, weekly activities, etc… By keeping this up-to-date both you and the nanny will stay informed as to the months schedule. Also in your binder should be an envelope of money for emergencies, errands, outings, and the like. You and your nanny can keep track of the allotment and spending by the nanny putting receipts for every purchased item into the envelope when any amount of money has been spent. Typically you’ll want to make a monthly allotment by which the nanny can plan the month with.
Besides the log sheets the last thing you should include in your binder is some personal information. Type out a paper with emergency and family phone numbers. Try to be as inclusive as possible by including cell phone and home phone numbers when possible. You’ll also want to include a doctors number and a local emergency number (for example 911, and a local police, fire, hospital, and poison control number). If the child is in school keep the school’s number and teacher’s number listed as well as any numbers for routine activities such as dance classes, swimming classes, and the like. These numbers give your nanny access to everything she needs so that she doesn’t have to call you to cancel swim class or find out if the snow has canceled school. It makes life a lot easier and worry free for you, the parent.
In addition to the comprehensive list of numbers you’ve included in the personal information section of the binder, you should include any vaccination information, medical conditions (including allergies), blood type, etc… Basically, you want to include anything a hospital or doctor might need to know if you aren’t there or can’t make it in time.
With that section of the binder all done we move on to the core of the binder, your daily logs sheets. Your sheets should cover from morning until when your nanny leaves. You can also cover the entire day if you want, that way your nanny knows how your child is while with you, but that isn’t necessary. What is necessary are any meals, naps, or behavioral problems that occurred before she began. These things make it easier to determine why certain things happen. For example, if your child woke up early that might account for taking an early nap. If your child didn’t eat well, they might need a snack or an early lunch or dinner. Be sure to make note of these things as they can be of great help.
Your nanny will also be making notes of the aforementioned things. Include a section on what your child ate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (suit this to your needs), how they ate, and when they ate. Include a log of diaper changes and nap times, as well as a space to log behavior and mood for the day. Additionally, leave a nice space on the page for the nanny to log the activities of the day. Encourage her/him to be as specific as possible in what they did, any educational activities, how they performed in their weekly activities, if they learned anything new, etc… Also have the nanny log any new foods the child tried. This is an excellent way to get into new foods and think up new ideas for your child’s meals. It’s also a great way for you and your nanny to work together in finding healthy new foods for your child.
Last but not least, you’ll want to include a list of items that your nanny needs everyday and have her check them if you need to buy them. For example, a baby will need diapers, formula, wipes, etc… Leave blank spaces on the sheet for any extra items that may not be listed, but are needed. This area can also be used to leave general comments or questions to each other.
A nanny/parent diary is a great tool in nanny/parent communication. A simple little binder like this can make life a lot easier to manage and follow for both of you and ease transitions between parent and nanny for your child. Although setting it up may sound like a bit of work, it really is very simple and doesn’t have to take any longer than twenty minutes or so. Twenty minutes of work so that you can be as informed as possible about your child and make sure your nanny is too!