8 Reasons Nannies Quit–And What Parents Can Do Differently

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Finding a great nanny for your family can be life changing, but so can losing one. When a nanny quits unexpectedly, parents are left scrambling for safe and reliable childcare, often dipping into their own days off or working a split shift while they find someone fit to take over. All of this can quickly translate to stress, not just for parents but for kids, too. It’s natural for parents to want to manage how many people are in and out of their chidrens’ lives–nannies included–but chances are you’ll employ more than one nanny while your child is little.

So the question is: do you know how to be a good employer? It’s not always easy for parents to be the boss in their own home, which can sometimes lead things to sour. Thankfully, there are things you can do early on (or whenever things get rocky!) to ensure your working relationship with your nanny is a happy, healthy one. We rounded up the most common reasons nannies quit so you can learn how to best manage your relationship.  

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1. Poor Communication 

Parents are nothing if not busy, which leads to one of two things: We either completely drop the ball on passing along important schedule updates or job feedback (never a good thing) or we are constantly providing small, spontaneous updates and bits of info in a never-ending text thread all hours of the day and night. Whether you communicate too much or not enough at all, nannies may not feel like they’ve been set up for success.  


What parents can do: For changing schedules, it helps to share weekly or monthly plans ahead, while also committing to an agreed-upon communication method. Sending updates via email, in person, or written notes can be a recipe for missed information. Decide together what works best and stick to it. For other matters, quick and clear communication wins every time. If and when you feel something needs to be addressed, don’t delay. An employee can’t be expected to adjust their approach or be mindful of your preferences if you don’t share your thoughts. Consider scheduling a quarterly conversation with your nanny so you have time set aside for non-urgent discussions and open the line of communication–in both directions. 


2. Differing Philosophies 

Child led, new age, free range… There are a lot of parenting styles out there. If your nanny has more experience with a childcare approach that’s different than your own, or prefers to follow his or her own philosophy, it can create conflict not to mention inconsistency for the kids. When expectations and consequences aren’t the same between parents and caregivers, your child’s development may be impacted.


What parents can do: Ask the hard, yet important questions during the interview process. Only hire a nanny that fully understands and respects your parenting style. In fact, it’s best to ask a candidate what philosophy they have the most experience and comfort with before you share your parenting style to determine if there’s a true fit. That said, not every parenting style is cut and dry, so beyond asking the right questions when hiring, it’s important to clearly communicate your rules and expectations so they’re upheld as much as possible.


3. Demanding Schedules  

It’s not uncommon for young children–even babies–to be enrolled in a number of educational and extra-curricular programs, and for a nanny to be responsible for bringing and/or participating with your child. When there’s no break between classes or multiple kids to shuffle to and fro across town, an overpacked schedule can have a negative impact on kids–and nannies! And when parents aren’t physically present themselves, they may not be fully aware of how chaotic these commitments can become for everyone involved.       


What parents can do: If you wouldn’t sign your parenting partner up for something without a discussion first, give your nanny the same courtesy. Simply talking to your nanny about any activities you’re thinking of having he or she take your child to before you register will allow them to voice any concern or excitement. This will give you both an opportunity to plan a schedule that’s engaging and fun, but not overly stimulating or stressful. And don’t forget to follow up to see how the timing and programs are working a few weeks in. There’s always a transition period, but sometimes a child just isn’t interested or it’s worth finding a new day or time if it eats into mealtime, etc. 


4. Increased Responsibility 

Whether it’s bringing your child to a new class across town (public transportation rides, included) or bringing home a new baby, the job of a nanny rarely stays the same for very long. With ever-changing schedules and kids’ needs, nannies can start to feel the responsibilities pile on fast.


What parents can do: Be sure to outline what responsibilities are included in the job from the start, so you have a clear idea of when and how compensation may need to be altered to meet your family’s needs. If it’s not a raise, it may be that you have to overtly take something off your nanny’s plate to accommodate a new need. Try to be realistic about your expectations by creating a “wish list” each week or day until you find the right balance. 


5. Compensation Issues  

In addition to being paid fairly for their range of responsibilities, nannies deserve to be paid on time and accurately each and every pay period just like any employee. If your nanny isn’t paid on their designated pay day or in an agreed upon way (think venmo vs check), frustration can have an impact on their work or dedication.


What parents can do: If you’re someone who easily forgets (aka a parent who’s juggling a million little things), set up recurring payments through your bank account so you don’t have to spend time on payroll every week. If your nanny’s wages fluctuate based on how many hours they work a week, a simple calendar reminder can be a big help. You can also time their payday to your own so you’re less likely to forget.     


6. Unresolved Family Problems

Navigating the ins and outs of every family’s dynamic comes with its own set of workplace challenges for nannies–and that’s on a good day. But when there are repeated bad days or difficult struggles, it can create a negative work environment for nannies that pushes them to look elsewhere.


What parents can do: Keep your personal life personal. Resist the urge to discuss the details of any dysfunction with your nanny and operate on a need-to-know basis. Transparency can be important at times, but remember there’s a fine line between sharing and oversharing. Even though this info share will likely happen in your home, stick to the same language and discretion you would in an office setting to maintain employer-employee boundaries. 


7. Lack of Support 

Nannies want to know their boss has their back–along with being told they’re doing a good job! This is even more important when there are tough calls to make or difficult situations to handle. If parents fail to acknowledge good decisions or stand behind them, nannies can start to feel like they’re being undermined or underappreciated. And without parents’ full support, nannies may not have the motivation they need to handle the next serious situation that arises. 

What parents can do: Be a united front! If your nanny needs to discipline your child, do your best to back up those decisions in front of your children as it makes sense. You may not always handle things the same way, but there still needs to be mutual respect. And if you show respect, your kids will be more apt to do the same. A little thoughtfulness on holidays, special days, or ordinary days goes a long way to making your nanny feel seen and valued, too. 


8. Personal Life Changes 

When they’re not with our families, nannies are caring for their own and as their personal needs change, their job needs may also. Any number of life events can lead a nanny to seeking out work with a different location, hours, responsibilities, etc.–which have nothing to do with you personally. 


What parents can do: Hard as it may be, remember you can only control what you can control. If you’re not in a position to be able to accommodate your nanny’s needs, it’s best to accept that it’s no longer the right fit quickly and move on.  

As hard as it can be, we know sometimes parents have to let good nannies go. If you have a nanny you’d like to refer to a new family, please visit our Find My Nanny A Job page today.