What to Consider Before Installing a Nanny Cam

If you’re a parent who leaves her child home alone with a nanny, you’ve probably thought about installing a nanny camera to check in and see how your nanny is doing – and what she’s doing – throughout the day. Even when a nanny has gone through the interview and reference stage and has passed a background check, it’s still hard to fully trust she’s going to take great care of your child. A nanny camera can give you the peace of mind you’re looking for. However, it’s not a simple yes or no choice. Installing a nanny camera can have negative consequences. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when deciding if it’s the right choice for you.

Do you have serious doubts about the care your child is receiving? Some parents feel very comfortable with their nanny’s quality of care and simply want reassurance that their child is doing fine during the day when they’re not there. Other parents seriously suspect their nanny is harming or neglecting their child and want proof before they take action. If you have real concerns for your child’s safety, you should take action with or without video proof. Yes, you may be jumping the gun, but there’s nothing more important than protecting your child. Too many parents have set up nanny cams only to see their nanny abusing their child. If you have serious concerns, don’t give your nanny another opportunity to hurt your child.

Have you talked with your nanny about the use of nanny cams? Nanny cams are a sensitive subject to nannies. Trust within the nanny/family relationship is essential to long term success and hidden cameras often erode that trust. If you’re planning on using cameras, consider talking with your nanny about it first. This may seem counterintuitive since the idea is to record her acting as she would if she didn’t know she was being recorded. However if your nanny finds your hidden camera, you run the very real risk that she’ll quit or that your relationship with her will be seriously harmed. You don’t need to tell the nanny exactly where the cameras are or when you’ll be recording. Most nannies simply want a simple heads up that you may be recording them.

What are your goals for the nanny cam? Before you choose to install a nanny cam, think about what you want to accomplish. Do you want to check in and see what your kids are up to during the day? Do you want to keep tabs on how much your nanny is interacting with your child? Do you want to see how much downtime your nanny has while your child is sleeping or playing? Why you want the camera is a good indicator as to how well it will work for you. If you’re a new mom who’s recently returned to work and really wants to see and hear your baby while you’re at work, a streaming camera could help ease the ache of the separation. If you’re a parent who has the tendency to micromanage your nanny’s activities, a streaming camera could turn out to be a huge distraction for you. Think about why you want a camera and choose the type and location of the camera based on what you want to gain from the experience.

Are there things best left unseen? Your nanny isn’t perfect. She’s also not a carbon copy of you and will do many things in her own way. So before you record and watch her, ask yourself how you’ll react when she does things differently than you would. While you probably know this happens, you may not know all of the details. After watching her, though, you will know the details, and they can be hard to let go for some people. Maybe your nanny lets your child play with his food more than you would, or maybe your nanny lets your child get frustrated while he tries to figure out how to grab an out of reach toy when you would save him the frustration and push the toy closer. All nannies do things that don’t lower the quality of care they provide but still bug their employers. If you’re the type of person who has a hard time letting those things go, a nanny cam could be very hard on your nanny/parent relationship.

Installing a nanny camera is a very personal decision. For some parents it’s a good choice and can be helpful. For other parents, it just serves as a distraction and a thorn in the side of the employment relationship. Before you install a camera, think about if it will help or hurt your situation.

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