Top 10 Reasons Nannies Decide to Quit

unhappy nanny


There are many reasons why a nanny chooses to terminate a relationship with their employers. If you are aware of the reasons, it may be easier to avoid them and help lengthen and strengthen your relationship with your nanny. Your relationship with your nanny is important for your child's growth and well-being, not only because you're setting a good example of strong relationships but also because your child may already have a profound connection with your nanny.

Lack of Communication

Communication is one of the most important aspects of a nanny-parent relationship. You may love your nanny because she is a people pleaser, non-confrontational and a peacekeeper with your children, but these characteristics may be problematic in terms of communication issues

A nanny-parent relationship involves people with different backgrounds coming together with a shared goal of successfully raising children. Disappointment and resentment are likely to happen if there isn't constant and open communication. Before your relationship begins, discuss with your prospective nanny how vital communication is to you, and when her work with you begins, make sure to give your nanny a safe space to share her feelings. Besides a daily check-in, which is usually about the kid's day and schedule, it is good to set aside a more extended time every so often to discuss how work is going for her.

Change of Job Responsibilities

Nannies are hired to do specific tasks and take care of a particular number of children. If you begin to ask your nanny to do extra chores, even small ones, without discussing it or compensating her, things may eventually turn in a bad direction. A nanny shouldn't have to clean your kitchen to make breakfast for your kids. If her contract says she will do the children's laundry, this does not give parents a pass to ask her to do your laundry. Do not change her job responsibilities unexpectedly and assume she is okay with it.

Growing Schedules

The nanny is hired to work set days and hours. Discuss schedule changes with your nanny ahead of time. She has a life outside of watching your children, so ask her what works for her. Schedules do change as children get older, but parents shouldn't assume the nanny will be happy to accommodate all changes. Ask your nanny how she feels these new changes will impact her. If not, some compromise may need to occur, or unfortunately, you may end up parting ways. 

Lack of Appreciation

Nannies spend all day caring for children which, as we all know, is not an easy task! In our busy lives and rushed schedules, parents often forget to thank their nannies for all they do for our families. Appreciation goes a long way. Take the time to appreciate your nanny regularly. Extra special appreciation is meaningful on their birthday, over the holidays, or during National Nanny Recognition Week. A gift for your nanny doesn't have to be expensive. A small token of your appreciation and a thoughtful handmade card from your child goes a long way to show how much you appreciate all your nanny does for you.

Being Micro-Managed

Hiring someone to help you raise your child can get complicated because, as the parent, you know your child best and want to make all decisions, big or small. However, hiring a nanny means you are entering into a partnership. Adding another person to the childcare mix means more opinions, and as a nanny who has worked with other children, her view is probably worth discussing. Second-guessing or questioning every decision your nanny makes will create a bad situation. Giving your nanny freedom and learning to accept minor differences will help your nanny to respect you. If there are areas that are very important to you, then choose those are your sticking points and let her know their importance. 

Feeling Isolated

Taking care of children all day long can be an isolating job. Parents should encourage activities that allow nannies to establish social circles and gain new experiences like taking the kids for a walk at the local park, going to the playground, or the local library and joining playgroups. Nannies look forward to taking a walk with the baby on a beautiful day, meeting up with friends, and enjoying the interaction. If you are a family who is asking your nanny to stay home all day, either for fear of your baby being in a car with someone else or another reason, rethink this decision. You want your nanny to be happy during the day and not feel trapped in your home.

Different Childcare Philosophies

Parenting philosophies are critical to think about when hiring a nanny. When you are interviewing, ask the potential nannies their opinions about discipline and sleep training. It might be refreshing or enlightening, especially as a new parent, to work with a nanny with different philosophies, but it could also cause big problems. Consistency is essential for proper child development.

Family Dysfunction

Nannies have a front-row seat to everything that goes on inside your home. If you and your spouse are always fighting or you let your older child bite and hit your younger repeatedly without age-appropriate discipline, a nanny might choose to leave the family. More difficult situations such as alcohol abuse, physical abuse, or emotional instability are huge red flags for nannies to look elsewhere.

Wage and Tax Issues

Tax issues can get complicated, so make sure you have a signed contract by both parties before hiring. Take the time to discuss wages and tax issues during the interview and memorialize this in your Nanny Contract. Consider giving the nanny a breakdown of the tax deductions with her first payment, and any time there is a change to her compensation. Consult a nanny tax specialist for assistance.

A Better Situation

You may hire a nanny who agrees to your terms only to get a better offer down the line. As harsh as this sounds, it happens. Either party can terminate the contract, so keep in mind that a good nanny is hard to find, so keep yours happy! If you can only provide part-time and your nanny finds a family who offers her full-time, assume she will leave. Further, if a nanny finds a family who will pay her more money for fewer responsibilities (one child versus your two or no laundry duties, etc.), she may reconsider working for you. If your nanny is offered a better deal, she may choose to leave.

By Jill Ceder, LMSW, JD
Jill Ceder, LMSW, JD is a psychotherapist working with women, children, adolescents, couples and families.