How To Keep A Good Nanny
Professional Tips for Keeping A Great Nanny: Some Reasons Why Nannies Leave
Once you’ve found a good nanny and she’s formed a healthy bond with your child, you want to keep her as long as possible. Unfortunately, a nanny will sometimes decide to leave the job when the family thought she was happy there. She may give a vague reason such as an illness in her extended family. This can be very unsettling for a family, especially for the children. The nanny may not give the real reason for leaving to avoid hurting anyone’s feelings. Here are some preventable reasons why nannies leave:
Reason #1) The family is consistently late coming home at the end of the day.
A nanny may genuinely love the children she cares for, but after a long day she’s ready to go home and tend to her own life. Nannies with stable personal lives tend to perform better at work. Like all of us, they need time to re-charge so they’re fresh for the next day. Good nannies arrive on time, and they expect parents to arrive home from work on time. Some nannies are deeply hurt that the parents show up late at the end of the day, offering no excuse and sometimes carrying shopping bags or wearing gym clothes. Nannies often don’t have the communication skills to express their feelings, and the parents are simply unaware that she is hurt.
Because the nanny obviously loves their children, parents sometimes make the assumption that the nanny welcomes the opportunity to stay later without notice (or extra pay) just to help out. Nine out of ten times the parents are caring, hardworking people who are just trying to squeeze a little personal time into their packed workday. But intentionally or not, the nanny may feel that she is being taken advantage of.
When a nanny does express her feelings to the family; it is often done in a shy and tentative manner, and the family may not take her concerns seriously. Sometimes her communication style is a function of being raised in a different culture that emphasizes submissiveness more than our culture. The nature of the childcare position itself also contributes to weak assertiveness skills, as many good nannies have consciously chosen a lower paying career because they love children and they are naturally accommodating. They haven’t worked in competitive business environments and developed the assertiveness skills necessary to pursue the issue firmly enough to get the parents to change their behavior. So she keeps her feelings to herself and may quietly begin seeking another position. It’s my experience that by the time the nanny has taken the emotional step to come to us looking for a new position, she has made up her mind to leave.
The sad fact is that many families never know the real reason that their nanny left. When we place a nanny with one of our families, we want the nanny to stay with the family as long as possible. It’s good for the children; it’s good for the nanny; it’s good for the parents. I stress to all of our families at the beginning of the nanny search process how important it is to arrive home on time and maintain a consistent schedule as much as possible. If you’re going to run late due to meetings, traffic, etc. this contingency needs to be built into the nanny’s schedule at the start of employment, and include pay, so that she has already agreed to the longer workday before she commits to the position. Keeping your good nanny long term is one of the best things you can do for your child’s healthy development. To get more tips on hiring and retaining a nanny go to www.safeandsoundnannies.com
Dr. Ann Wycoff is founder of Safe and Sound Nannies, a full service agency and nanny hiring consultation service.