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February 16, 2010



This can be such a raw conversation with caregivers. Thank you for bringing this front and center, Sheila. We have had caregivers essentially fire themselves in the past. We have taken the approach similar to what you've suggested in your blog, laying out our concerns to caregivers in the past, and although two of them course-corrected and enjoyed a long period of employment with us, two others ended up just quitting instead of adjusting to meet our parents' needs. And in those two cases, we felt we were probably better off in the long run for them to just quit.


I second what you said. They should talk because maybe it has nothing to do with work.

David in Grove City

We reached the breaking point with our childcare provider and began seeking another provider. During this (2) week process my wife and I took turns calling in "sick" to care for our child. Once we interviewed and located suitable/safe care, I spoke directly with our former provider. Did not reveal any personal information or allow conversation to stray from the topic at hand: our daughter needs consistent reliable care.

In our case it was best to be direct, honest and firm. When it comes to your child, being concerned for someone else's "feelings" will only take you so far. Ultimately you, the parent, has to step up and deliver the unpleasant news. Was it fun? Absolutely not. Was it nescessary? Absolutely was.


In my opinion, the most important factor in a house nanny is honesty. Lying, stealing, and deceiving is something that can never be tolerated and would lead me to fire my nanny right away.

Susan Parisi

Wow! Five years is a long time to have someone caring for you home and child, so that does raise a few questions. She mentioned she was a housekeeper for 5 yrs than a nanny for 2. Did the housekeeper know she was to take on nannying duties at the time of her hire and was she given a raise? Many people do not realize these are 2 totally different professions. I worked for a couple who had a cleaning service come and it would never occur to them to ask them to feed or change the baby and they wouldn't ask me to vacuum. I did baby's laundry and tidied up after us. I realize that some nanny's' agree to take on both responsibilities, but she was a housekeeper for 2 1/2 yrs before baby came along, so I can't help but wonder if she was expecting this to be a part of her future duties. Maybe she wasn't expecting to be taking on another role. Did they give her more money?
Communication is key. Nanny isn't off the hook here either, if indeed this is the problem, and you have had a 5 yr relationship with the family, than you should feel comfortable enough to speak up. If you just did what they asked with a make believe smie, than they have no way of knowing that you are unhappy. In any case the child/children should never pay the price. I would suggest sitting down and having a talk, non-accusatory, find out if she's happy. Not only does this make her feel like you do care but opens up communication.


I've had a childcare provider for a few months now and since school has started he's told me that he "lost" the keys to my house, which is why he just meets me here by the time I'm out of work. However, my special needs son is saying that he's being brought to the providers job every afternoon and when they get to my house when I arrive, the providers toddler child is in the car with them. I've come to find that this child is with them most of the time and my son is being jockeyed around all afternoon instead of being kept on a routine. That's why I came back to care.com. This topic hit home because I'm having a difficult time trying to fire this guy because I can't sit down and talk to him with his child under foot. Yet he's also aware that my son's behavior has gotten worse lately and he doesn't talk to me about it when I ask him daily. He rushes out the door. So how do you fire someone you can't talk to about what's going on? Or do you just find someone else and then say goodbye? I'm opting for the second. Is that wrong?

Gail Fogle


I would call him and schedule a meeting at a coffee shop or public place. I would list all my concerns on what is happening and ask the care giver directly what is going on. If the caregiver can't make the meeting or is to busy, then you give it to him in writing and tell him it is effective immediately as you have already found a replacement.


Alexa, you said she talks back. Is she a kid or something? How can an adult talk back? So you're saying if a nanny has a problem or dislikes something they have no right to say so? Maybe that's why she's changed. Seems a little unfair to me. Communication isn't 1 sided. I don't think parents fully appreciate or realize all that we do for them. Do you pay fairly, show appreciation, treat like family or like the hired help? Ask yourselves these questions. You'll only get out what you put in.


In response to Gwen, I totally agree with your statements. Sometimes families don't appreciate their nanny or housekeeper. If this woman was doing two jobs, she should have been given some type of raise, especially if she started off with just one job title. If responsibilities was added on later in the years of service, there should have been an increase in pay. She should feel comfortable with talking with her employer if she disagreees with something. Open communication should be shared. It is not fair to voice your opinion on how the nanny is doing, and then not expect your nanny to have expectations of you, as the employer. Expectations should discussed at the beginning of employment. I believe a monthly meeting should be taken place, to discuss discripencies. It's very uncomfortable to work every day and have problems and not discuss it. You can't do your 100% best, until everything is out in the open.


My husband and I recently had to fire our nanny for making a huge mistake. While back at my job for the first day after summer, I received a phone call from the sheriff regarding the "well being" of my child. To my horror and astonishment, my nanny had called the sheriff to report suspected "child abuse" for some "bruises" she had seen on my child's behind. When the sheriff asked me about the "bruises", I said that I had no idea what my nanny was talking about. Turns out, these so-called "bruises" were Mongolian spots/a birthmark that had been present since the time of his birth (4 months old). I was furious that A-my nanny did not call me first to ask about them, B-that she would jump to such a conclusion, and C-I had to miss an entire day of work because this fiasco led to the Dept. of Children and Family Services (DCFS) being called to investigate my family. My husband and I are still reeling from the actions of this over zealous nanny. I even had to take my son in to the doctor to get the mark cleared! I don't know who to be more mad at; the nanny for making such a premature, inexerienced, illogical decision and not even apologizing for it or for DCFS for not exercising good judgment and knowing how to tell the difference between a birthmark/Mongolian spot and a real bruise as the result of child abuse.
My husband and I are seeking legal action and will be filing complaints.
This young nanny did not and does not fully understand what consequences her inexperience has led to. And to not even apologize for it was a slap in the face.


VC, having worked in the Legal Division of my state's DCFS, I would suggest that once the report was received the dept's actions may have been dictated by legislation and that they may have had no recourse. Be sure your attorney checks the regs -- or ask the DCFS to give them to you before paying your attorney any more money. Attorneys do take cases that cannot be won and you will be the loser.

Lorraine. call

I am the Nanny with a problem.I watch a 3 yr old and 5 yr.sisters the 5 yr is out of control hitting me and also saying that she hates me. This is with the mother present. Nothing has been done about her behavior.I decided to give my week notice on Friday. I had car accident on Thursday my car was towed and I had a minor head injury.I called the father and explained what happened and I would not have a car for 2 weeks.I said to him he should look for someone to watch the girls.
I mentioned that I would not return because of the situation. It seemed he did not believe me and was that I did not give him notice. I would have given him notice
if I did not have the accident.I had no control of what happened. They have taken it personal and have not played me the 3 days of work. They will not get back to my phone calls. Any advice would be appreciated.

Thank you

Thelma J.

To Lorraine: If it was really true that you had a car accident that day, you can provide them any form of evidence. You can give them a receipt for your car being towed, a police statement about the accident, a picture of your damaged car, auto insurance claim, and your physician's medical report if you got yourself checked.

I can understand how you feel but you have to understand them too. Both of you were not prepared for the event happened. Both of you suffered. I think, in order to fix this issue, get all the evidence to provide proof and make yourself cleared. Not paying you for those days you worked is not right. I hope you can fix it Lorraine. Talk to them with respect and honesty in your heart. Be sincere to them and make sure all your intentions are good. Listen, apologize, solve, and thank.


I have to give my nanny notice right after Christmas, and not looking forward to it. She is great with the now 2yo, and had been with us for those 2 years almost each day from 6:30-6:30. But lately she has been rolling in at 7, has asked for time off to deal with three girls she has fostered (family situation), and while she does baby's laundry and sometimes cooks for her, the house is a sticky cluttered mess each day when she leaves. In the meantime, a new Goddard school has opened right on my way to work, 3 minutes from the house. The rate for 7am-7pm is half what I pay my nanny each month. Yep, it means me dragging baby out each morning, packing up stuff and being all ready to go for both of us by 6:45, but.....it will work better in the long run and I can let my nanny go with plenty of lead time and no hard feelings.


I get it when it is time to let a care provide go.. but to do it by email is disrespectful. My daughter was a caregiver to 2 children for about 8 weeks. My daughter was in a pretty bad car accident and had to take off the day of the accident, worked two other days that week (in pain, but fully functioning) and then had to take a day off to go for medical treatment. The next day the Mom emailed her and fired her for taking time off. I understand that she needs someone to watch her children so that she can work, but a phone call or face to face meeting would be so much better. Emails are great for casual communication, but to fire someone from their job via email is just wrong. I wish Care.com had a feedback section for the care providers and not just for the employers


VC, Just FYI, you can't fire someone for reporting suspected abuse. That's illegal. Unless they do it maliciously and it's a false report. If she thought there were bruises, she is required to report. Also, someone should NEVER go to the possible abuser and ask if they are abusing the child. Do you really think someone would admit to beating a kid?? You should appreciate someone who is taking consideration of the child's well being, not fire them. She is just looking out for the best interest of the child if it is a reasonable suspicion.

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