You want to trust her, but you’ve heard about nannies who go from Mary Poppins to Cruella De Vil the minute you walk out the door. Find out if your child has one of them.
- Step 1: Set up nanny cams -- hidden camcorders that tape your nanny -- around the house. Common hiding places include teddy bears, books, and clocks -- but make sure it’s believable. A highbrow hardback placed prominently in your toddler’s room is going to look out of place.
- TIP: If you don’t feel right taping your nanny without her knowledge, by all means tell her -- it will no doubt deter negligent and abusive behavior. Explain that it is for her protection as much as yours.
- Step 2: Invest in a monitoring system that lets you watch your nanny and child in real time from your computer -- or even your cell phone.
- Step 3: Sign up for a service that provides a license plate for your stroller. This will allow witnesses to report any abuse of your child.
- Step 4: Make unannounced visits to your home. Vary the times that you pop in -- some days you might conveniently forget something minutes after you leave the house; other days you might come home early because of a “migraine.”
- Step 5: Give house keys to trusted friends, neighbors, and relatives who can drop in for you. Let your nanny know that several loved ones have keys and permission to stop by whenever they need to “borrow” something.
- Step 6: Every once in a while give Nanny a day off so you can take your child to the playground they frequent. Befriend other moms and sitters and ask them to alert you if they have any concerns about your nanny’s behavior.
- Step 7: If you find out your fears are unwarranted and that your nanny is a gem, treat her accordingly, with good pay and respect. You won’t want to lose her!
- FACT: According to a New York child-monitoring service, 70 percent of people who secretly videotape their nanny fire her after just one day of spying.