7 Actions That Will Scare Off Your Nanny

I’ve worked as a nanny, worked with families, hired a nanny myself and monitored nannies so I’m very familiar with the conflicts and issues that can arise when someone else comes into your home and plays such an integral role in care-giving.

It’s not easy as parents to hand over control and it’s not easy as a nanny to completely meld into your family. I often blog about red flags when hiring nannies and ways to help train and properly communicate, but sometimes it’s good to look at your own actions and what you may be doing as a parent that sends red flags up to your nanny.

We all know it’s good for our children to have consistency, so if you are constantly finding yourself with nannies who quit or seem unhappy, it’s a good idea to make sure you are doing everything in your power to give your nanny a reason to stay.

Here are some parent actions that drive nannies off:

  1. Unrealistic expectations. It’s fine to have a schedule and outline what you want your nanny to do with your kids when it comes to enriching activities, healthy eating and a bedtime. It’s not OK, however, to expect that the schedule never need to be adjusted.
  2. Failure to communicate. So many times I talk to parents who have grown annoyed with their nannies and started to resent them, but they have never communicated with their nannies about the behaviors that bothered them. For example, if your nanny does little things like leave the kitchen messy after mealtime or load the dishwasher a certain way you don’t like you have to communicate this. These are small things that can be fixed but if you let them build up and start resenting her without communicating what you want and how you want it, it’s a recipe for disaster.
  3. Changing the plan. Continually making last minute changes or always coming home later than you say you will are two really easy ways to drive your nanny off. Try to set out a consistent schedule at least a week in advance and always apologize and ask – not assume – if your nanny can handle last minute changes.
  4. Never letting your nanny be “off the clock.” I know a lot of people keep weird hours and sometimes think about things they want to tell their nannies at all hours of the night. It’s best to establish a set time when you communicate with her, however. A nanny shouldn’t feel like she has to respond to your calls and texts all night and weekend long in her time off.
  5. Money issues. Not paying your nanny in a timely manner is also hugely off-putting. Other smaller things, though, you may not think about. For example, you may tell your nanny that you will reimburse her for expenses like cab fare and things like getting your kids a snack at the park. It’s really best to leave cash for her ahead of time, though, because those expenses can rack up. Nannies who are continually shelling out their own money on your kids will get resentful very quickly. It’s also uncomfortable for a nanny to have to remind you to pay her.
  6. Bad-mouthing your nanny to your friends. This can – and will – often get back to your nanny. Be careful how you speak about your nanny when she’s around and when she’s not. Also be careful when your kids are around because they will pick up on things that could get back to her. If you have an issue, you should address it with her face to face.
  7. Undermining your nanny in front of your children. There might be times when you walk into a situation and want to save the day, but if you go against what your nanny has already told your children prior to your arrival, you are completely stripping her of all her authority.

It can be really difficult to recognize behaviors in ourselves and it’s always easier to throw blame on someone you are paying to look after your children, but like in all relationships when conflict arises, it’s good to look at your own actions first.

If you’re interested in more information about our services as they relate to your nanny, check out our nanny consulting page.

2 replies
  1. Ayi
    Ayi says:

    Unrealistic expectations can be more than just a schedule. Don’t forget the difficulties of looking after your children and getting all the chores done. Leaving your nanny with an unrealistic amount of work is not going to lead to a good long term relationship. Your nanny also needs some down time.

    Reply

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