Advice for onboarding new nanny/sitter?

Hi! I'm a new parent and haven't had any formal childcare arrangements thus far. Starting in a few weeks my 18 month old will be doing a nannyshare in my home for the summer. One of the kiddos has been taken care of by their grandparents for the last 9 months and is pretty used to being out and about and meeting other people. Has traveled a bit during the pandemic, visited friends outdoors and more recently indoors. The other kiddo has been mostly at home with his parents who are working from home and handling childcare. He goes on walks etc. but isn't out and about as much due to the situation.

We know this will be a transition for us as parents, the kids, and the caregiver, and are looking for advice on what to expect and how to onboard a new caregiver and enter a nannyshare arrangement. As we are all new parents we would love to seek advice from those more experienced with these kinds of childcare transitions.

For example, in the first day(s), should both parents plan on being here? Should we wait a few days before the nanny takes them to her park on her own? Any communication to establish with the new parents and with the nanny? Should we write down routines? Share snacks? Best practices for making sure the arrangement goes smoothly? Both parents are pretty easygoing and the nanny is experienced so we were going to work it out as we go, but realized some tips wouldn't hurt!

Thanks for any tips!

-Two sets of pandemic parents of toddlers

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You are hiring an employee. Of course you want to be kind and compassionate to someone who will be minding your kids, but this is an employee-employer relationship. Have a contract that specifies responsibilities and what is allowed/what isn't. Get on the same page with the other family. There are many examples online. This will help set expectations (for example, can the nanny take the kids to the park and have them nap in the stroller there, or should the kids be back at the house to nap? what about dishes and cleaning up afterwards). Write it down and review it the first day. You don't have to be mean about it, but it can be useful to have as a guide about what is allowed and what isn't. Write down routines and other things that might help too.

This is my preference, but I was very hands off when my son started a nannyshare. He was 5 months at the time and the other boy was quite older-4 years. We were joining their share, so in some ways we let them take the lead, but they also included us in general info like what to do if one of the kids was sick (this was pre-COVID). I trusted my nanny completely and let her do her own thing. That helped me-to just let go. I knew it was my nanny's preference to spend most of the day at the park outside and then b/c of the other boy's schedule, they spent part of the afternoon at his house for naps, etc. The weekend before our nanny started, she came to our house and spent an hour each day with our son so that when Monday came, it was the 3rd day in a row he would have seen her. At that age, this was probably more for me than my son. My husband and I both went to work on Monday, we didn't stay. Once my son started eating solids, I prepped food for his nanny to take but I'm sure the kids shared snacks, which was fine with me.

My son started daycare at 20 months and the dropoffs were tough since we couldn't go inside per COVID rules. If I were doing a nannyshare at that age (close to 18 months), I might stay for a bit in the morning to get things settled, but I wouldn't stay the whole day. In terms of writing things down, that was more my husband and I understanding our nanny's holidays, sick & vacation time, pay rates, etc. We didn't write anything down with the other family. One thing you may want to talk about is logistics surrounding naps and eating such as does each family have a place for both kids to nap or do you need to get an extra pack n play? Does each family have or need an extra highchair? Then I guess being fine sharing utensils, bowls, etc. Maybe even diapers and wipes. You could also ask your nanny for advice. Our nanny was really helpful since I was a new mom.

Most babies toddlers children acclimate to transitions more easily than the parents do. 
For the first day I would not be there, but I would plan for a short day only if needed. Meaning check in with the nanny to see if things are going well and if so continue on as a full day. 

Ahead of time I would write down their typical routine and snacks. I hope there’s a contract in place as well as an emergency contact list. 

Again this will be harder on you than it will be on them but if you are there during the transition it will even be harder for the nanny and your toddler to acclimate. 

to ease the transition I would ask maybe for a photo during the day which helps or to have the nanny contact you. good luck and I’m sure you will do well on your first day! 

I think you should ask your nanny how she would like it to work. If she's experienced she knows how to get into a routine. I had similar worries and the nanny showed up the first day, scooped up both kids, took them to the park and they were gone ALL DAY. She even taught them to sleep in the wagon in the shade. She's just as eager for you to get some daytime hours back as you are. (And I suspect if a baby's parent is there, the baby takes longer to warm up to someone new.)

Good luck! Having childcare is GREAT!

I have a 4 YO who was in a nanny share as a baby, and has had babysitters and been in two preschools. Like your child he has always been exposed to new people and situations. I’d recommend giving the nanny a detailed document (created with the other share family) about your kids schedules, food habits, routines, and your expectations. Take the time to walk though it as a group so you’re all on the same page.

When you first leave your child with her, stay for a little bit but don’t linger for long. Say goodbye and tell your child you’ll come back. Even if they cry, don’t linger- it will make it harder on everyone. Best of luck!

So glad you asked and I've been scouring the internet for the same thing for my 14 month old who is starting a nannyshare next month. Hope we get some more input from experienced parents! But I'll share what I've found online and what I've done so far. 

A really helpful resource is the nanny subreddit ( Here are some specific posts: [how do I prepare]( and [working with nanny when both parents are at home]( 

If you haven't already, def ask ask your nanny these questions. They're a professional and after talking to some nannies, there's clearly a range of preferences. 

From what I've read online, communication is key. Write out responsibilities to make sure you, the other family and the caregiver are all on the same page. Decide on how you want to communicate, maybe it's a group text in real time, recording things in an app, face to face at the end of the day, think about what would work best for you.

For our trial day, I showed how we do things like diapers, nap routine, breakfast, and then my spouse and I went out for coffee to give some 1:1 time with our kid. We tried to stay pretty hands off for play times. During nap time, I tried to get to know her a little bit and discussed preferences/ideas for how to work together. 

When we start next month, we're starting with our kid only for 2 weeks (not a strategic choice, just how schedules worked out). Then when the other kid starts, their mom is going to work from our house for the first week and I've also told them they're welcome any time.

We've had another nanny helping us out for the last 2 weeks and it's been a totally different situation than onboarding our long term nanny. We're having some renovation done, so it's too loud for a toddler at the house. This nanny basically immediately picked up our kid, put him in a stroller, and brought him out to parks with us quickly talking her through his routine. I was freaking out over a stranger taking our kid out in public but it's turned out really well. Not perfect, we've given feedback a few times on things to do differently but totally reasonable considering we gave her almost 0 training. Love her and so glad she was available until our long term nanny can start.