Top Ten Reasons That Nannies Leave Their Positions: Reason # 6
6) The nanny is overworked.
Some families try to obtain high quality, education-minded childcare and heavy housecleaning from the same person. This is especially common in live-in positions, but it also occurs in live-out positions. I frequently need to explain to families that being a great nanny and being a great house cleaner require two different skill sets. Our nannies are responsible for the children and for “light, child-related housekeeping.” This means they’ll keep any child-related area of the house picked up, organized and clean including kitchen, family room, children’s room, etc. Our nannies also do laundry, run some errands and will cook for the children. (Some nannies are particularly skilled in the kitchen and like to prepare family meals also for higher pay.) A qualified nanny who is expected to be highly interactive with the children and also perform the heavy housecleaning (scrubbing bathrooms and performing heavy cleaning) will typically not stay long.
A good nanny is someone who is warm, loving, attentive and safety conscious and who will take very good care of the children including feeding, bathing, changing, playing, engaging with them and stimulating them through developmentally appropriate activities, setting appropriate limits, developing them socially and emotionally, providing love, patience and empathy, picking them up from school, taking them on outings to the library, etc. She may run some errands and do some grocery shopping, but it is unrealistic for her to do all of the shopping and cooking for the family while providing high quality care for your children. This is also not the same person who scrubs floors and toilets. (See the list of typical nanny responsibilities on our website.)
Great nannies frequently come to our agency seeking new jobs because they were overworked in their last position. In the end, the family loses out. Getting several months of hard labor at a low cost is short-sighted. The cost to a family of replacing a nanny every few months or every year is tremendous in terms of stress, broken emotional attachments for the children, the time involved in finding and training someone new, the disruption to your children’s sense of stability, etc.
It can be tempting to add more and more household responsibilities to a nanny’s schedule, but it isn’t wise. Children need the stability of a long term caregiver, and the nanny will be happier, more involved with your child, and more committed to staying long term if she knows she is valued as a caregiver professional and not a house cleaner.
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 The Nanny Answer, an online, do-it-yourself nanny screening service.