Nanny Tricks of The Trade

1. Use kitchen shears to cut food.

Forget using a fork and knife to slice foods into bite-sized pieces. Instead, use kitchen shears. They’re good for cutting everything from cheese to toast.

2. Toss dirty clothes directly into the washing machine.

If you’re caring for little ones, it’s pretty much guaranteed you’ll be doing at least a load of laundry per day. If your employers are okay with mixing colors on cold, skip the hamper and toss dirty clothes directly in the washer.

3. Use baby wipes to wipe up spills and clean off water rings on microfiber furniture.

Drool, sippy cups and bottles can leave microfiber in a mess. Use a wet wipe around the edges of the water ring and buff out the fabric with your hand. Voila, the spot will be gone.

4. Store art supplies in plastic rolling carts.

If you’re looking to keep crafts convenient but not easily accessible, store them in a closet. Roll it out when you’re ready to use them.

5. Keep a stocked diaper bag by the door.

Keep a fully loaded diaper bag ready to go by the front door. It will make getting out of the house a breeze, especially when there is no time to spare.

6. Use a straw to quickly hull strawberries.

Pop a straw into the bottom of the strawberry and out the top to get perfectly hulled strawberries every time.Less waste, less mess.

7. Create your own back-up care network.

Want to look like a hero? Have a list of recommended nannies ready to step in and provide care should you need a day off. Some families will even allow the nannies to cover for each other, should the nanny have an appointment come up during the day.

8. Always have a written work agreement.

Make having a written contact part of your job search process. Always use one, and never chance working without one.

9. Insist on written reviews in your contract.

When jobs go south, they go south fast. Asking for a reference after you’ve given notice or have been let go isn’t going to result in an accurate reference that takes into consideration all of your years of service. Insist via your work agreement a written reference before signing on with a family for another year.

10. Encourage employers to use a payroll service.

Want to guarantee you’ll never have to ask for your paycheck again? Insist your family enrolls in a nanny payroll service.

11. Save notes and cards from your work family.

It’s always good to hang on to proof of how great the family thinks you are. These notes and cards will come in handy if you find yourself hard pressed to secure a written reference.

12. Keep a nanny journal.

A nanny journal not only facilitates communication between the nanny and her employers, it allows you to track your day and any inconsistencies in it.If a child seems off or falls down and gets hurt, there’s a plan in place for recording that information.

13. Put identification tags on car seats.

The assumption is typically that the kids in the car belong to you. Having a label on the car seats with the children’s information and parent’s contact information can be super helpful if there is ever an accident and you are unable to provide such information.

14. Have a CPST check your installation.

Good nannies don’t take chances with car seat safety. Visit to find a certified passenger safety technician near you to check your car seat installation.

15. Use spring rods to keep sliding closets closed.

Wondering how to keep those sliding closet doors closed? Use adjustable cafĂ© style curtain rods. Place them high up between the edge of the door and the closet door jam and presto chango, the kids can’t get in.

16. Answer questions about your personal life in general terms.

Do you have plans tonight? Yes, I do, thanks for asking. Taking a shower in peace is certainly a highlight of the day, especially if shutting the bathroom door is something that simply doesn’t occur during working hours.
-Morningside Nannies


MissMannah said...

These are great tips! I've never heard of hulling strawberries with a straw but I will definitely be trying it!

ericsmom said...

Great tips and advice. Number 7 great idea. Also like Mannah will be trying the strawberry thing. I do the same with laundry just throw everything in and run a load by the end of the day.

Yeah I am going to ask the mom to install the babyseat tomorrow.

Snow said...

Number 7 is the only one I don't agree with.

If asked I will happily mention nannies /sitters I know will provide great care.

However I firmly believe backup care is the primary responsibility of the parents.

I ask about it in interviews.

nanny s said...

I'm torn on #7. On one hand, it would certainly make the nanny seem like a hero. On the other hand, back up care IS the responsibility of the parents, and I wouldn't want to be relied on for that. Nannies get sick just like any other adult. A parent missing work is part of being a PARENT, not the nanny's problem if she is genuinely ill.

justaneastcoastnanny said...

I have mixed feelings on number 7 . it's great to be helpful, but I think it's the parents job to make sure there is backup coverage. This is something to discuss at interviews. I make sure to note I'm rarely absent, but ask if they have available short notice. Most do. If they don't I might make suggestions, but that is one task I generally leave fully to the parents. Also most agencies I have worked with have short notice/on call sitters to step in. They also have fill ins for when nanny vacations.

MissMannah said...

About #7, I will offer to help find back-up care if I am planning a vacation. But I don't look around for a substitute for when I'm sick. For one thing, I can't be bothered and for another, I agree that is the parents' job.

♥ Amy Darling ♥ said...

I wholeheartedly agree that finding back-up childcare is the responsibility of the parents ONLY. Sure, the nanny can offer her own list of nannies, but ultimately the family should have a list of people they can call on in an emergency.

I agree that one should save any and all e-mails and cards/letters from their employers stating what a great nanny they have. These would make excellent references for the nanny in the future. Asking for a letter of recommendation after a nanny has given notice can only be a recipe for disaster.

kimberstea said...

I like the idea of keeping cards not only as fond memories but as reference should the bosses suddenly flip into monster mode, even if they don't I think could make a cute personalized touch to a portfolio.