Claire Burgess, Head of Research, Consultancy & Training
We often talk about how to find and interview for a nanny to join your family but we also need to talk about how you handle the situation when the time might come for your nanny to leave.
The process of a nanny leaving can be for many reasons and can be after a short or a long period of time. Regardless of any reasons we need to understand that the process needs to be handled with care and consideration for your children, your nanny and for you.
When you have a nanny, you invite them into your home and ask them to care for your most precious possessions, your children, whilst also making the nanny part of your home, family and general day to day life. You experience the highs and lows of raising children with them and you build a relationship with them that is unlike any other employee/employer situation.
There are many reasons for the employment of your nanny to come to an end, it can be the end of their contract, that your childcare needs have changed or that the nanny’s own circumstances are changing. As a worst case scenario there might have been a breakdown in your relationship with your nanny leading to the employment coming to an end.
Regardless of the reason, and how you might feel about it, it is vital to recognise that your child(ren) will have built a relationship with your nanny, they will have shared times together and will have adapted to having that person in their life, just as you have. If your nanny is leaving in difficult circumstances, you need to ensure that this is not conveyed to your children, they do not need to be involved in the issues that might have arisen between you and your nanny. Work with your nanny to ensure that what’s happening does not have any negative impact on the child(ren).
We need to have empathy for our children in this situation. They may be asking questions which need to be answered, to help them feel safe and secure going forward. Your child(ren) might have lots of questions such as “is my nanny leaving because I did something bad?” “Does my nanny not like me anymore?” “Do mummy and daddy not like my nanny?”. Take time to sit down with your child(ren) and answer their questions, let them share their feelings and reassure them that everything is going to be ok. It is important that you maintain a positive approach when you are around your nanny and the child(ren) so that the child(ren) are not drawn into any issues that you might have with your nanny in relation to their employment.
However you feel, always give your nanny and child(ren) time to say goodbye, this is really important for both parties to put closure to the relationship that they will have shared. We need to make sure that we respect their emotions at this time and appreciate that they will want to work through how they might be feeling about the situation.
As we mentioned earlier, the nanny and employer relationship is unlike any other employment situation and, when it comes to leaving a position, it can be very difficult for the nanny to come to this decision. As an employer, try not to take a nanny leaving personally; if your nanny has made the decision to move on you, need to remember that it is natural for people to move on from their jobs. You need to feel positive that you have had this person in your children’s life and that you make sure you manage the situation keeping your children and their wellbeing at the front of your mind.