What Should You Tell Your Kids When Your Nanny Quits?

Mature father with baby
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Choosing a childcare provider to take care of your children is an important decision. The nanny-parent relationship is complex because this individual is your employee but he or she also becomes a part of your family. Your nanny is someone you depend on; sometimes more than you depend on your husband or relatives. She helps take care of your children and provides you the opportunity to go to work everyday.

Unfortunately, it is more common than you think for a nanny to quit abruptly. There are many reasons why a nanny choose to leave a family. She may be going back to school or moving out of state. Other times the reasons are a bit more hurtful or confusing because they cannot be explained so easily. She may be unhappy working for you or may have found a family where she can make more money for working less hours.

Regardless of the reason, your kids are attached to the nanny and will most likely be confused and upset by her decision to leave your family. Here are a few tips to help navigate them through the situation.

Remove Anger and Remain Positive

If your nanny quits with little notice, you will experience many unpleasant emotions, including stress and anger. However, it is important to remove these negative emotions when speaking to your kids about the nanny's departure.

Your kids will be looking to you on how to react and how to deal with this situation.

Model for them that change is not a bad thing and let them know the nanny is going to help another family. Remind them of the fun times they had with the nanny and encourage your child to speak positively about their relationship.

Encourage Your Kids to Share Their Feelings

Whether or not you had a good relationship with the nanny, your child most likely had a special bond with this person and may be sad or confused about their departure.

Encourage your child to vocalize whatever emotions they are feeling and listen and support your child. Do not tell them what feelings they should or should not have. Allow your child time to cope with the transition and expect that there may be some behavior or mood changes during the transition.

Don't Place Blame

Your child may have many questions as to why the nanny is leaving. Answer any questions your child has in an age-appropriate manner. Do not provide more information than necessary about the situation.

Reassure your child that it’s not his or her fault that the nanny will no longer be in their daily life, and let your child know that he or she can still maintain a relationship with the nanny through letters and occasional visits if the nanny agrees. Taking these steps will reassure your child that you are in charge of the decision and that all adults will support him or her through their own transition of saying goodbye to their nanny.

Discuss a Proper Goodbye With Nanny

If your nanny gives proper notice (two weeks or more, depending on your contract), make every effort to have her do a proper goodbye with your child). You may be tempted to terminate her abruptly because you are angry or hurt, but this is the wrong decision for your child.

A proper goodbye period will allow your child to deal with his or her feelings and feel a sense of closure. Terminating the employment relationship abruptly sends the message to your child that important people walk out of each other's lives and might increase his or her separation anxiety or create other negative emotions. 

Remember, Children Are Resilient

Losing a nanny is sometimes much more emotional for the parent than it is for the child. Children are flexible, resilient, and accept change more easily than many adults. If you model for your child that everything will be okay and don't place your negative emotions onto your child, your child will recover pretty quickly.

It is important to remember that your child will create special bonds with many caregivers and teachers throughout their lives and is capable and willing to love another nanny.

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