Nanny Cams, Should you have one??

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.

  1. Is your child unhappy to see the nanny when she arrives?
  2. Is your child exhibiting any behaviors, that are unusual?
  3. Has your child become withdrawn or clingy?
  4. Does your gut instinct just keep telling you things don’t feel right?
  5. 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.


2 thoughts on “Nanny Cams, Should you have one??

  1. This is exactly the situation I am in at the moment. I have two children, aged five and three and need to get a new nanny as my previous, excellent one had to move on because of situations in her own life.
    I wonder if you would feel it fair to ask more than one to do a trial period? As you say, I may be letting an amazing one “slip through” but on the other hand, finding the right one for my children is my main concern. How long would you suggest a trial period should run for and on what terms? Should I make it clear that I intend to trial more than one? I haven’t felt the need to use cameras before but would it be a good idea to use one during the trial periods? I wouldn’t want to make someone feel uncomfortable but again, my children are worth more to me than someone else’s (a stranger, after all) discomfort. Your thoughts on this would be extremely helpful.

    • Hello Emma, thank you for asking. It’s absolutely fair to trial more than one nanny. Not only will it give you a feeling of how each nanny works with you and most importantly your children, but you can then do a comparison of who you liked best and why. If you are trialling more than one nanny, i would recommend no more than two days, otherwise it becomes too long of a process. If you were to do a trial with just one nanny then I would recommend a week. There is no problem at all with telling the nanny that she isn’t the only one doing a trial, however if you really like someone make sure you are very clear that you like them, just incase they are concerned and decide to take another position. I always recommend you being around when you trial a nanny so there shouldn’t be any need for a camera.

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