• I have an inherent problem with nanny cams, particularly the hidden kind. If you are worried enough about the care you kid is receiving from a nanny to have one, you shouldn’t employ that nanny/sitter. I think it sets up an issue of mistrust. I wouldn’t want a camera on me at work all day either. A better way to handle things is to make a few unexpected visits home during the day once in a while, to get a sense of how things are going.
    • We had to hire a temporary babysitter last week, during the gap between camp ending and school starting. Our regular babysitter had already headed back to college. My husband’s company has a contract with a temporary nanny agency, so we went through them. The person we got was a professional nanny whose family was off on vacation. I worked from home two of the days, so I had a sense of what was going on. She was horrible. She mainly sat and read magazines or yabbered on the phone with her boyfriend while my kids entertained themselves. One of the days I was at work, the cleaning lady was in our house – she pulled me aside this week and said “Never hire her again!”. I know some of you will say that kids don’t need to be entertained by the nanny, but for the $16/hour that I had to pay her, I expect a little more professionalism. I feel sorry for the poor family that she works for on a regular basis.
    • When my kids were babies – we picked the best day care we could asked questions/looked at the information sheet provided at the end of the day. My kids tended to stick to one or two of their favorite teachers and these women in turn returned the affection – so we had a very good connection to our kids care givers. No webcam etc and we did not drop in during the day. We did not want a nanny when they were infants – admit to being afraid of leaving our kids alone with someone at home. The Louise Woodward case in Boston was very much on our minds. Now after school they are with the grandparents. They tell their grandparents some things and may or may not repeat the same information in the evening when we get home. There are four adults talking to our kids and each adult has a different perspective on what is information is important. The grandparents are more concerned if they are hungry, tired or if there is a change in behavio right after school. DH and I look at homework, schedules, friends, what went on in class etc. I believe we can do a good job of teaching/coaching at home; sending them prepared into the world; we are there with our children in spirit even though we are not physically present.
    • I agree. Once you decide you can trust someone, then trust them and put your mind on your work. It’s much easier than being torn all day.
      Don’t forget to “listen” to your little one. We managed to get my babe into a daycare before he was 6 weeks old. He was there for a few weeks. His mood was clearly different when I picked him up, so I began spending time chatting with the workers at drop off and pickup. I wasn’t happy with what they told me about themselves or what I saw with other kids. Eventually I figured out that my child was spending hours every day in the swing– from drop off right through to pickup. I found a nanny. He “told” me he liked her–his mood and responsiveness at pickup were much better.
    • I agree this is a tough issue when you start with a new caregiver, but once you’ve developed a trust relationship, it should go away. With both my kids when they started daycare, I did the “drop in unannounced” bit during the first few weeks. It helps now that they are older, they can tell me how their day went. But, we are now trying to find a night sitter (our previous sitter moved away). It is really difficult to develop the trust/routine with someone you only use a few times a month.
    • Ratgirl, that story is a great example of the ups & downs of parenting–you were panicking over not having someone, then you found a temp, then she was awful, then it was easy to get rid of her. Back & forth, up & down. I feel like that’s how parenting is; rarely any clear resolution. Hope back to school’s going well.
    • Ratgirl – did you give feedback to the agency ? The few times I’ve had to use a temporary nanny through an agency I’ve had good luck; the agencies contracted through work were even more particular since they did not want negative feedback from corporate clients.
    • Both of the daycares that my kids attended were very welcoming to parents. With my first kid, I worked close enough that I could come nurse at lunch – and the time spent sitting on the couch, listening to the teachers getting the older kids ready for their lunches, really made me feel happy and comfortable with the care. Because the center was so welcoming, and had lots of social and educational events for the parents, we became a real community, and still continue to see each other on occassion. My daughter’s Montessori daycare was also very welcoming, and parents were often in the room reading to kids or just hanging out. I think, especially with small kids, that it is important to be around and to get a sense of the program and the teachers.
    • Small child development hijack – Do you let your toddlers have milk before bed and after they brush their teeth?
      My kids are 19 months and all the books say to brush before bed, no post-brush milk b/c of the sugar build up on teeth. It’s going to be a monster to get them to drink their cup of milk, then brush teeth and then settle down for the night – milk is a part of their routine (though at least we’ve given up the bottles!) Where does everyone fall on this?
    • These days our schedule at home leaves little to the imagination — the kids are in school for most of the day and then sports practice before DH takes over in the evenings. Our current nanny is reliable, trustworthy and very good with the kids — she’s worked for us and lived in our house long enough for us to instinctively know that, and there’s lots of postive reinforcement from teachers and other moms who come in contact with her during the day, or see her with the kids at the library, etc. I find that people are pretty observant and not shy about voicing their opinions. However, the kids are very vocal if something happens that’s out of the ordinary or that they know we wouldn’t like, which is the ultimate break on the nanny not doing her job when we’re not around. Our issues are more things like her not getting them to school on time, or feeding them the same thing for breakfast too many times in a row, rather than her putting them in harm’s way. I talk to her once a day, or more if needed, and DH runs a lot of interference because he’s on site in his home office. I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about it otherwise.
    • Yes, we always get an evaluation form from the agency. Most of the time in the past, we have gotten teachers looking to pick up some extra money before school starts. They haven’t been too bad. This one was the first “professional nanny”. My kids were obviously not harmed by a week of being ignored – I was more pissed because I was spending good money.
    • that is one reason I put my child in daycare rather than hire a nanny. I think it is pretty difficult to be a nanny: there is no social support intrinsic in the job (some nannies may have a network of other nannies to hang out with but other nannies may not) and you are alone with small kids all day with no systematic way of taking a break. As a SAHM, I usually take a break when my child naps, but if he or she doesn’t nap that day then I get no break. As a SAHM, if it looks like I’m not going to get a break that day, or if the child has been in a horrible mood all day and is really getting to me, I can sit my child down in front of the tv for a while so I can chill out; but it seems like most parents who have a nanny would dislike that solution. I think a lot is expected of many nannies. But, on the other hand, the nanny who spends the whole day reading magazines and talking on the phone is being unprofessional and I would not want such a person around my child.
    • SHV — you do not want to let your toddlers have milk before bed if you don’t brush their teeth again. Milk has a ton of sugar in it and they will end up with cavities. Also, when you go to potty train (realize this is still a way off for you), it will be impossible to get them through the night without pull-ups if they’re drinking a lot just before bedtime. You might want to consider migrating away from a bottle of milk as the last thing you do to something like pjs, milk (in diminishing quantities over time) with a story, then brushing teeth, then bed.
    • I am not in favor about cameras specifically designed to keep an eye on “the help”, but some homes have security cams and it is not unusual for tech savvy parents to install cameras in the kid’s bedroom/playroom so that parent can check out too much noise or too much quiet and determine whether intervention is required. If such cameras were used to evaluate the nanny, the feed could be saved as well as streamed in real time, and the nervous parent could scan it at leisure, but not during the work day when his/her time belongs to the employer.
      As for the activity of a temporary hired babysitter for three kids, I would expect nothing more than maintaining health and safety, preventing sibling diputes from getting out of hand, and serving the food I prepared in advance. Anything more than that would be a bonus. However, if ratgirl’s sitter was so bad as to generate a comment from the cleaning lady, clearly she did not meet even the minimum standard.
    • Ratgirl: did you tell the nanny what you wanted her to do, and that you wanted her to stay off the phone and out of the magazines while on the job? There’s always a bad apple in every bunch, but I’m really surprised that if you gave specific direction that she so blatantly disregarded it. I would have told her that I was going to let the agency know, and I’d have asked the agency for a refund. That’s unbelievable.
    • This is exactly why we went the daycare route. Illinois licensing for daycares is pretty rigorous (about ratios, teacher training etc), and we only ever considered daycares accredited by the NAEYC, which has a whole load of very stringent rules about pretty much everything. We were also very observant when we toured them, although you can generally tell within 2 minutes whether a place is good or bad. Screaming kids? Bad. Lots of artwork and books (even for babies) everywhere? Good. Menus printed and available for parents to look at/take home? Good. Encouragement to come and visit and play with the children whenever you want, or come and breastfeed whenever you want? Good. Highly regimented learning environment? Bad.
      I have to say, going the daycare route was the best decision we ever made. ALL of our daughter’s teachers have been wonderful, caring people, with whom she has formed close, affectionate relationships, and whom have all been incredibly professional and experienced teachers. They all taught her something about life and learning and having fun, and were without exception supportive of us and excellent listeners. Can’t recommend good daycare enough as a great option for parents.
    • SHV, we nursed in the night & thus ignored that rule. Now if DS is thirsty @ bedtime or in the night, he drinks water.
      @ Jenn, the nannies we used were both SAHMs with boys 2-3 yrs older than mine. They were wonderful.
    • Likewise, I nursed two of mine into toddlerhood, but after that, it was water at bedtime. I am trying to remember what we did with my daughter. She was a very poor sleeper as a toddler, so I am sure we tried anything in desperation. But I don’t really remember giving her bottles at night, so it must not have worked as a strategy.
    • We also used daycare, and then a preschool with an aftercare, because I wasn’t comfortable with a nanny alone with my first. Both were wonderful. With my youngest, we couldn’t get in for the first year because of the waiting list, so we had a nanny for 9 months but since I was working at home at that point I didn’t have any qualms about it.
    • jenn- you make a VERY good point. Nannies need coworkers, of sorts. Lots of nannies in my area meet up for playdates and it benefits everyone. My nanny’s family comes over to our house all the time and her two children are beloved by my kids (son and daughter, in their 20s).
    • I loved DD’s first daycare center, where she was from 2 months to about 3.5 yrs. I was able to nurse at lunchtime almost every day for a year, and one of her baby room caregivers is still our favorite babysitter. We moved last year to a new center that offers a little more educationally, including formal music & art programs, and I love it there even more. Since I have no idea what my job will be by the time she goes to kindergarten next year, I’m really glad that they also do before- & after-school care through elementary school. They even have vans to drop off & pick up at the local public schools.
    • We do allow milk after tooth brushing & have not had any problems/cavities.
      I’m not sure what the difference is between this & nursing–many babies nurse or take bottles at night even after they have some teeth & no one (I hope) brushes their teeth over the course of the night
      I think the problems w/bottles & cavities are more when you let babies suck all night so they sleep with a pool of milk on their mouths
      Also have not had toilet training problems attributable to evening liquid intake
    • We’re pretty lax about milk after teeth brushing. We try to get the milk in beforehand, but if my youngest drinks her milk after, we just try to chase it with water. I find teeth-brushing to be one of the most frustrating parts of parenting toddlers. My favorite toddler milestone has been when the oldest was old enough to do it by herself (mostly).