Recently a new client asked us to help with a list of house rules. It started me thinking. On one hand, I really don’t like the heading “House Rules”—it does sound a bit like something a parent or dorm proctor concocts, maybe a little condescending. But it is important to discuss the do’s and dont’s of your household up front to avoid problems down the line. Once again, technology has opened up new areas for families and nannies to be clear about. I thought I’d focus on two areas: technology and safety ideas. While some items may seem obvious, you’d be surprised the trouble that has ensued because no one thought to address the behavior as a “don’t” up front. Here are some relevant guidelines you may want to go over with any new employee.
The following guidelines relate to technology:
Please limit personal cell phone use and texting to baby nap time or when children are not in your care
Please-no matter what-no texting while driving
Please refrain from using the family computer or iPad/tablet unless authorized
Please do not order Netflix or Movies On Demand
Please discuss posting the children’s/baby’s pictures on Facebook
The following guidelines relate to safety:
Please do not open the door for any unauthorized people
Please do not answer the phone, or door, or leave the room while the child is in the bath tub
Please check the weather before going out with the baby (too hot, too cold)
Please clear all visitors with us
Please make sure you know where the spare key to house is located (outside)
Please let us know where you are going with the baby/children
This week with the shooting at the Navy Yard, our city was on high alert. At one point, it was unclear if there was a shooter at large. While the Navy Yard may have been far from your house, no one knew where the presumed second shooter was. This was a case where exercising caution and not going for a walk outside was prudent. Also, it would be advisable for your family to have an exit plan in case of a city wide emergency.
As I write these last sentences, I realize how dire all this sounds. Hopefully, none of these guidelines will ever be an issue. But if something does come up, as a parent, you will feel better knowing that you have already addressed these contingencies and made your thoughts and wishes known.