Talking to Your Sitter About the Nanny Cam

By J. Curtis
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If you’ve made the decision to use a nanny cam in your house, it can be a good idea to tell your caregiver about the camera’s presence. Besides being common courtesy, if your nanny were to discover the camera after the fact it could create conflict between you and your child’s caregiver. While some parents choose to observe covertly, fostering an open and communicative relationship with your caregiver also has its advantages. If you talk to your nanny about how you intend to use the camera and everything is out in the open from the start, it makes for a more trusting employer-employee relationship.

  1. Be honest from the start. If you intend on using a nanny cam for your child’s safety from the very start, tell prospective nannies during the interview process. This helps set a precedent of open communication between you and the nanny you eventually hire. If you’re open about the use of the camera from the start, a nanny can never accuse you of privacy invasion, since you were honest about using a nanny cam and what it means for your child’s caregiver. If you get the nanny cam after you’ve hired a sitter or caregiver, arrange for a meeting to talk about the new addition so you continue to stay clear about your expectations.
  2. Explain the parameters. Don’t be vague about your ultimate use for the camera. Instead, talk to your nanny about the areas in the home which will be watched via the nanny cam and how you intend to use the camera and recordings. It’s important for your child’s caregiver to know that you don’t intend on monitoring private areas of the home, such as the bathroom or private nanny quarters, and that you only intend on observing how your nanny interacts with your child. The playroom, the nursery, the kitchen and the living room are usually excellent places for the camera. While you don’t have to physically point out the camera, you can give a general idea on where and how your nanny will be monitored.
  3. Ask for permission. Asking your nanny for permission to use a nanny cam works in two ways. Not only do you receive verbal communication authorizing the use of the camera from your child’s caregiver, but it also gives you a chance to gauge your nanny’s reaction to the surveillance. For instance, if the nanny is unconcerned about the camera’s addition, you might conclude that there is nothing to hide in your child’s acre. If a nanny is vehemently against the idea of surveillance and acts offended by the suggestion, you might conclude that there is something that your nanny doesn’t want you to know about the way your child is cared for. This gives you greater insight into your nanny’s personality and actions when you’re not around.
  4. Arrange for regular meetings. Once you’ve had the initial conversation about the nanny cam, invite your child’s caregiver to meet with you in regular “care conferences” concerning the footage that you view on the surveillance system. This partners you and your nanny in the care of your child and shows that you aren’t trying to monitor covertly. You could even watch the footage with your nanny to point out ways that your nanny excels in care and areas where improvement might be necessary.

If you decide to tell the nanny about the nanny cam, remember that not all nannies will handle the news the same. Respect your nanny’s privacy and expertise as a caregiver during the process to maintain a healthy, mutually beneficial relationship.

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