Communication between a nanny and an employer is paramount. The children’s welfare, day-to-day organisation and positive working relationships depend on it. Having spoken with nannies about what works for them, we have provided some advice on how best to create a nanny diary, maintaining efficient and effective communication throughout.
Whilst a nanny diary is vital, each family will have different preferences as to which format suits them best. For a family whose parents travel a lot with work, an email diary may be more suitable as they will be able to access it from wherever they are. Other parents may prefer a ring binder which can store letters from school, the doctors or invitations to birthday parties. Clarify early on in your working relationship which works best for them and remember to gain their permission first if they wish you to take and send pictures and videos of their children.
Organising your diary:
☑ 1) Urgent Notices - Medical updates are the most important details to share with parents, ensuring, for example, that the correct dose of medicine is administered at the correct time. In addition to medical notes, you may have to remind a parent that your charge requires money for a school trip the following day. Brief notifications such as these should be at the very top of the diary and should also be communicated verbally when possible.
☑ 2) Food: - For babies and toddlers, keeping a log book of timings of feeds, milk taken and wet or soiled nappies is extremely helpful when maintaining a routine. With older children, highlighting briefly that you sat down to a dinner of chicken, potatoes, green beans and peas is a nice way to inform parents that their children are eating a healthy balanced diet.**
☑ 3) Appointments: - Children seem to have far more appointments than adults; some of these are important such as medical check-ups and school parents’ evenings and some of them are social events. List the upcoming appointments for the next week or two so that parents can plan ahead or make additional arrangements if required. Alternatively, add an appointment to their online calendar and set a reminder to pop up two days before the event.
☑ 4) Requests: - Depending on your role, you may be the one to notice that your charge needs new clothes or shoes. Noting this down in the diary and offering to take them shopping to buy what they need is a nice way of approaching the topic, offering additional support.
☑ 5) General information: - This will vary depending on the age of the children in your care. You may describe to parents that their baby is now able to clap and wave. For older children, you might inform parents of their academic achievements, friendship groups and any dilemmas they currently face. This could also be an appropriate place to highlight that a behaviour strategy is not having the desired impact, suggesting alternative ideas to try.
Nanny diaries will vary depending on the age of the child and the family requirements but by keeping parents informed, reflecting on your day and noting down your ideas, you will be sharing valuable knowledge and having a positive impact on family life.