Nanny cameras are cameras installed in your home (they can be integrated into home electronics like clock radios or TVs, or they can be stand-alone visible cameras). Nanny cameras enable parents to keep an eye on what occurs inside their home while they’re out of the house.

If you are thinking about using a nanny cam, it is essential that you inform the nanny. You don’t have to ask her permission, because legally you are allowed to video anyone in your own home. But if you don’t tell the nanny, and then need to confront her about something you’ve seen, you will be in the very awkward position of having to explain that you’ve been recording her without her knowledge. That kind of deception can undermine the trust in your relationship, so I strongly advise honesty from the start. Most good nannies won’t have an issue with being recorded because they have nothing to hide. Parents on the fence about using a camera sometimes tell their nannies they use one even if they don’t; this can be a tactic to weed out any nannies hoping to bend the rules. This will also provide you as the parent with extra reassurance in the bargain.

The easiest way to explain that you’ll be using a nanny camera is to tell the nanny that it has nothing to do with her. Keep the focus on your child, and explain that your goal is simply to check up on him/her. You can say, “It’s very hard for us to be away from our son, we really miss him when we’re at work, so it’s helpful for us to log on during the day and see that he is safe and happy.” Make sure to reiterate that this is not about your trust or confidence in her, but more about feeling connected to your child.

After finishing nanny training, some parents have a good friend or family member stop by the apartment, unannounced. Others enroll the nanny and child in a group class, like music or art. This is a good opportunity to see how the nanny and child interact around others and in social settings. This also allows those who observe the nanny-child relationship to report back to you on anything they see. Knowing that others are involved and looking will keep the nanny on her toes, and ensure that your nanny always behaves her best.