I have worked in homes that don’t have cameras on me and I have worked in homes that do! Many nannies have very mixed feelings about being watched by their employers on a camera. I’ve heard nannies say “If they don’t trust me why am I here?” and I’ve heard others say the same as I feel “I’ve got nothing to hide, I’m doing my job well so they get to see that!”. So why do parents feel a need to have cameras on their nannies. Unfortunately, with all the press about a few terrible instances of child abuse by nannies, and the awful, awful story of the nanny in NY, parents have become a little more nervous!
Let me please first acknowledge all those amazing nannies out in the world who, devote their time and their lives to helping parents raise beautiful, smart and happy children. There are many of them out there selflessly giving their all to enrich the lives of these lucky children. So parents, if you have a great nanny this is the time of year to let her or him know how much you appreciate them!
However, if you are one of the unlucky few that has a nanny that you don’t feel confident about, stop and ask yourselves a few questions.
- Is your child unhappy to see the nanny when she arrives?
- Is your child exhibiting any behaviors, that are unusual?
- Has your child become withdrawn or clingy?
- Does your gut instinct just keep telling you things don’t feel right?
- Do you see your child acting agressively with toys, throwing or hitting them?
If you can answer yes to any or all of the above, then you have cause for concern. In my opinion it’s not time to get a nanny cam, it’s time to get a new nanny!!
If your child is happy, but you still have concerns, maybe you just need a little reassurance that all is good. Maybe then a nanny cam would give you the peace of mind you need to relax.
Then comes the question of do you tell your nanny that you have a cam? This is up to you. First of all be aware that it is legal to take video of someone in your home, but not legal to tape audio. So make sure if you haven’t told your nanny, that you are only recording video, in the unlikely event you found something terribly wrong, you may have a problem with the legalities of it on audio. Again, if you do tell your nanny that you are putting in a camera you run the risk of her hiding any wrong behavior, or if your nanny isn’t doing anything wrong you run the risk of offending her. Remember that element of trust is two-fold, your nanny feels happy in knowing you trust her as well as the other way around. So I am not saying to hide it, what I am saying is to only use a cam if you absolutely have to or absolutely feel it is necessary.
The other approach is to tell a nanny at the interview that you will have cameras in your home. Then it is their prerogative to decide whether or not they would like to take the position. But just keep in mind, you may stop an amazing nanny from taking the position!
The bottom line here, you have to do what makes you feel comfortable and keeps your children safe. However, the best course of action is to do your homework in the beginning. Find the best nanny that you can afford and thoroughly check references from as many sources as possible. Most importantly have a trial period, then you can really see who you are getting. There are far more good nannies out there, who are looking for good families to work for. Despite all the bad stories you hear, they are far outnumbered by the good. Take care of your nanny and she will take care of you and your children.