8 Signs You Need to Fire Your Nanny

Modern mom balances between work and child home schooling on sick leave or quarantine. Mother works from home with kid. Woman responding on phone calls, working on computer laptop with a baby on her lap and toddler playing with cubes.

Some warning signs of a bad nanny are non-urgent and can be assessed over time, but others are red flags and need to be addressed right away through termination. To help parents decide when to fire a nanny, we’ve rounded up a list of the things nannies should not do, ever. Even a one-time offense from this list is cause for serious concern. 

Your nanny is an at-will employee which means you’re under no obligation to employ them longer than you’re comfortable with. You can fire a nanny at any time, so don’t think twice about firing your nanny without any notice if your child’s safety and wellbeing is at risk. 

The nanny hiring process should never prevent parents from letting a nanny go when there are concerns or signs of trouble. Visit our nanny boards to hire a highly-recommended nanny in the NY area. 


Reasons to fire your nanny immediately


If you have any concerns of physical, mental or emotional abuse, do not wait for concrete evidence to terminate your nanny. When you see bruises, injuries, or sudden changes in your child’s behavior and your nanny does not have a legitimate explanation, it’s an immediate cause for concern. While you need some form of proof to file an official report or make a verbal accusation, that shouldn’t stop parents from trusting their gut and making an immediate change if they feel their child is in danger or something with their nanny is off. 


When your child is not getting the attention or emotional support they need from their nanny, whether intentional or not, it’s fairgrounds for firing. Children need support from parents and caregivers in order to develop appropriately. The effects may not be obvious at first, but if the neglect persists the damage can be long lasting.   

Safety concerns 

Protecting children from dangers inside and outside of the home is a core responsibility of nannies. Nannies need to be prepared for emergencies and put your child’s safety first at all times. In the event your nanny fails to keep your child safe, it’s a responsibility red flag. Accidents happen, but it’s your nanny’s job to be watching and preventing potentially harmful situations from arising.   

Substance abuse 

A nanny who uses drugs or abuses alcohol on the job is not fit to be caring for children. If your nanny arrives at your house hungover, you should also consider this a warning sign. Be sure to ask future nanny candidates if they have a history of drug abuse or alcoholism that would interfere with their ability to care for your children. 

Lying or being dishonest 

When a nanny lies–even about something as small as whether or not bedtime went smoothly–it breaks the trust in the nanny-parent relationship which can be hard to mend. In general, dishonestly is a valid cause for concern when you’re entrusting this person to take care of your children.   


It’s a crime. Someone who exhibits criminal behavior shouldn’t be responsible for taking care of your children–no matter how seemingly responsible they are or how long they’ve been with you. 

Having guests without permission 

Chances are your nanny isn’t throwing an afternoon bash while you’re at work, but even having a guest drop by without your preapproval can cross the trust line. It reflects poor judgment and could potentially put your child or home at risk.

Unexcused absences or lateness 

While this may seem like an issue that could be resolved over time, it’s often a personality trait or can be due to bigger personal issues that impact your nanny’s work. Either way, nannies who repeatedly call out or show up late are unreliable which creates a riff that isn’t easily repaired. While you may not need to fire a nanny for being late without any notice, it is something to address as quickly to prevent prolonged frustration.

READ NEXT: 5 Important Questions to Ask a Potential Newborn Nanny 


Other common nanny problems (and what parents should do)

Poor communication 

Step up the daily check-ins for a predetermined period of time to see if there’s improvement or if this isn’t your nanny’s skillset. 

Not following house rules 

Clearly outline your expectations and parenting philosophy so your nanny knows exactly what page you’re on. If after a couple of weeks there’s no change, find a nanny who will be a better fit.

Overstepping boundaries 

Disciplining someone else’s kids can be tricky, as can spending so much time in someone else’s house. Decide exactly how you want your nanny to handle certain situations or conduct themselves in your home so there’s a rulebook to follow. If your expectations aren’t consistently met, it’s time to move on.  

Strained nanny-parent relationship 

When the trust is broken between parent and nanny, it can be very hard to repair. Set up an employee review so you can have a two-way conversation about the job responsibilities and your nanny’s performance. Create a few goals and guide your nanny on how to reach them. If they’re not met within a month or so, start the hiring process. 

Not respecting privacy 

Sometimes a nanny can get too involved in your family’s personal life, or they don’t completely follow your privacy preferences. Provide feedback as quickly as possible when a situation arises and be sure to clearly outline the boundaries so there’s no excuse in the future. 


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