Wednesday, September 5, 2012

What a Nanny Would like on her Last Day With Your Family

by Glenda Propst
(with help from  Keyanna, Kimberly Ann, Laura,and  Tara)

In a perfect world nanny jobs would last forever. A family would hire you when their children were born and would pay any amount of money to keep you until their children were grown.
In a perfect world all of our paychecks would be direct deposit. Every family would use a nanny tax company so that we never have to worry that our taxes are not being paid.
In a perfect world, even if that job ended, there would be a relationship that continued with you and the child for the rest of your lives.
In a perfect world if and when that job did end your employers would sit down with you, tell you how much they appreciated all that you did for their family, give you a glowing letter of recommendation and send you out the door with a sentimental and thoughtful gift to commemorate your years of working with them, and maybe even a nice cash bonus “just because”.
Sounds sort of like a fairy tale, doesn’t it?
As professional nannies there are some things that we know are guaranteed.
Most nanny jobs last 2-7 years, depending on whether or not there is more than one child in the family.
When we work for dual career families and one or both of them land their dream job it’s usually in another state and most of the time the nanny does not get to move with the family.
If a family begins to have financial issues we are the first thing to go.
We fall in love with the children in our care. We know that they are not our own. We know that they have parents that love them. We know that we are part of a parenting team, but we can not change their diapers, prepare their meals, clean their clothes, kiss their boo boos,and cheer them on through each developmental stage of their life, without falling in love with them.
Our job is demanding, unpredictable and often emotional.
Parents often wonder what they should do for their nanny who is leaving, or nannies who are leaving a family wonder what they should do with the children in their care on their last day.
I asked nannies who are in the process of leaving their job what their ideal last day would be like and to share with us what they wish their employers understood about their leaving. Here are some of their responses:

I would like for my last day to be all about spending time with the children. I would like a day stress free of errands and laundry and just time to focus on time with the children and making a few great memories.
I would like for my employers to look me in the eye, and say goodbye and let me know how much they appreciated me.
I would like to hear them say the words “We are really going to miss you!”
I would like the opportunity to tell them “Thank You!” for sharing your children with me, allowing me the opportunity to do what I love, the job that I am MEANT to do” Love and Care for children.

I wish the parents would talk about it with me instead of acting like it isn’t happening.
I’d like for them to ask me how my job hunt is going. Remind me that it’s not personal so that it doesn’t feel so personal.
I want the parents to reassure me that I will still be able to be a part of their children’s lives.
I wish they realized how much I love their children and the contribution I have made to their lives.
I would love a sappy heartfelt card expressing their appreciation for what I have given to their family.
I want my employers to realize that this is more than just a job for me, being part of their lives was a huge part of my life.
I wish my employers understood that my relationship with their children is not the same as theirs. Their children are losing an important person in their lives.  As a nanny, I can never replace a parent (nor would I ever want to) but honor and respect that I was important to their child so that we can all help each other through this.
Please don’t shut me out of your life. If your children ask about me, let them talk to me. Let me see them, let me have visits with them. While my pain is so fresh, please include me in their lives. You might miss my help, but they miss what I gave to them on a daily basis.
If I choose to leave, don’t take it as personal insult.
Please don’t use your child to get back at me because in the end, the person who gets hurt the most isn’t me, it’s your child.
Honor the relationship I have built with your child.
Validate the contribution that I have made to your life and to lives of your children.
Talk to me about what our relationship will be like after I leave your employment. Will I be allowed to see the children? Will you ask me to take care of the kids on weekends sometimes? Will our relationship change? Or will it simply end?
If you are a nanny “in transition” you probably echo these sentiments. If you are a parent who is losing a nanny, I hope that this article helps answer some of your questions about your nanny’s last days with your family.

I want to thank a very special group of women who are sharing the ups and downs of this loss and supporting each other throughout their transition. Special thanks to Keyanna, Kimberly Ann, Laura,and  Tara for your contributions to this article. If you are a nanny in transition and need support, email Nannytransitions(at)Gmail(dot)com


  1. Thank you, Glenda. I'm so glad to have this article to re-read, and to pass on to nannies and parents.

  2. Thanks Jan for your constant support.

  3. This is wonderful! I've managed to maintain contact with families for whom I have worked, even many years after the fact! I love seeing what the kids become!

  4. What a beautiful article Glenda. Please find ways to generate this so it can be more widely shared amongst Nannies and their Families.

  5. Our nanny is leaving after over four years with our first child - she's headed off to travel child care (cruises, holiday spots, traveling with families). Can anyone suggest how I can help my daughter face this situation? She loves Rachel dearly and this is going to devastate her as much as it devastates us.

  6. I'm also trying to think of a way we can honor her and wish her well - something the girl can make or do, for example. Suggestions? The girl will be 6.

  7. Hi Kristiana
    I have been traveling and just saw this post.
    Since I don't have an email for you I am just going to copy and paste an article here for you.

    How do you prepare the children?

    First and foremost, the nanny and the parents need to discuss who will tell the children, when they will be told and whether or not the nanny will be present. They should also discuss what they will tell the children so that they present a unified front.

    Here are ways that you can prepare the children that will also help you prepare yourself.

    1. Educate children from the day you begin caring for them, so that they understand that you will always love them and they will always be in your heart, but you will not always be there on a daily basis.

    2. It is important that they understand that you are there to do a job and when you leave, it is not because of anything that they did wrong.

    3. Make sure that if you are still going to be able to see them, that they know that.
    4. If you will still be having visits with them, it is a good idea to set up a future visit and mark it on the calendar so they understand that they will see you again.

    5. If you are moving away, leave them your picture, your new phone number, your email address and a way to get in touch with you.

    6. Give them certificates that recognize how much they have grown and what they have learned.

    7. Make a picture album together

    8. Transition with the new nanny if at all possible.
    9. Make friends with the new nanny.
    10. Speak positively about the new nanny.
    You can say things like “You and ----- are going to have so much fun together. Did you know that she can …………..

    11. If you accept the new nanny, it gives your charge permission to accept them too.
    12. Never promise to stay forever
    13. When they are old enough to understand, talk about past charges...Like, "When I was Ellie's Nanny we used to go to this park too"

    14. If your current charges see you keeping in touch with your past charges you can use that to teach them that at some point you will be needed to help another family just as you moved on to help them.

    15. Adopt a natural circle of life philosophy.
    16. Point out when their friends change nannies.

    17. Remind them that they will always have their parents to care for them.

    18. Don't lie to them.

    19. Make sure that they know it is nothing they have done.

    20. If the children are old enough, share with them when you go on an interview. Tell them about the kids you met and what they thought and if they had things in common. This makes them feel like more of the transition process.

    21. Speak in a positive way about the good things that are to come.

    22. If mom will now be at home, try to help them see how much fun that will be.

    23. Set up emails and show them how to email you and remind them that you can stay in touch via email. If they text you can send them short text messages.

    24. If they are old enough to be on Facebook and it’s ok with them (and their parents) you can “friend” them but be careful not to embarrass them in front of their friends.

    25. If there are special traditions they want to carry on, try to do that for them.

    26. One nanny said that her charge was going to miss her Rice Krispie Treats - so she taught her how to make them her “special way”

    27. Make an extra effort to remember their birthdays and Holidays

    28. Have a special picture made together

    29. Talk about the great memories.

    Remember that you are the adult in this situation and always take the high road.

    ©Nanny Transitions GP