As you relish the quality time with your family over the holidays – be it one extra hour or two full weeks – it will likely dawn on you that your little ones have really grown. And so have their needs in a caregiver. If your glass of New Year’s bubbly is served with a side of guilt this season, you may be struggling to admit that the time has come – you need a new nanny.
The first step is crucial – admit to yourself that this really is OK and throw off that stifling guilt-blanket. I know it might be hard, especially if she’s been with you since your kids were born. She may have become part of the family – or she may really need the job. But, as your kids get older, you may have to face the reality that your current nanny isn’t meeting your needs anymore.
And you aren’t alone – on Care.com, families post 60% more child care jobs after the holidays. Tutoring jobs are generally up by over 70%. Many parents find that spending extended time at home over the holidays has helped them to realize that their care needs have changed.
I’ve heard so many reasons why parents have to make the transition. Every single one of them is valid. Here are the two reasons I hear most often:
The Playground vs. The Rocking Chair
As kids grow, so does their activity level. If your nanny has been a wonderful comfort around the house, but doesn’t take your increasingly active child to the playground or feels uncomfortable with physical play, it might be time to make the transition. Every mom loves the nurturing, lovable nanny who can charm even the most colicky baby into sweet, silent slumber. But that sleep whispering nanny might not be the teach-your-2-year-old-to-go-down-the-slide nanny. And that’s ok.
When Education Comes to Play
The nurturing gene isn’t something you can go to school and learn, like a bachelor’s or master’s degree. For many career nannies, they are simply naturally inclined towards caring for tiny little beings – and have years of experience. But once your child gets old enough to begin learning ABC’s, it is critically important that your nanny can provide quality lessons. While the position might not require an advanced degree, you will want your nanny to encourage your child’s curiosity. It’s important to have a nanny who recognizes your child’s need to move beyond the board books and to respond accordingly. Since your nanny plays a large role in your child’s life, it’s important to consider the willingness of your nanny to go to museums or seek out new play dates or simply move on to new toys. If you feel that isn’t happening – and probably won’t – it’s time for a change.
These are hard but important questions to ask.
When to Have “The Talk”
It is crucial that you are honest with your nanny. However, the reality is that you and your family are going to need care no matter how she reacts to the upcoming transition. If you have a very close, trusting relationship with her, try to sit down together over coffee and let her know how you are feeling. Alternatively, if you feel there is even a remote possibility that she could walk out, be sure to establish back-up care that you can rely on before having the talk. Finally, if you can ensure a smooth transition, the emotional toll will be much less traumatic for your children and everyone involved.
Help Your Nanny Out
Once you are ready to take the next steps, do everything you can to help her find a new position. If your nanny was amazing with your child, shout it to the world. Make sure your nanny has a full profile on Care.com. If she doesn’t yet, help her create one. Be sure to add your own glowing review. Ask all your friends for help, and scour the job postings on our site to see if there is a perfect family just waiting for your former nanny!
As you set out to track down the perfect Mary Poppins, remember that safety is paramount. Through the process of breaking up with your nanny, you probably recognized what she was lacking – and what you need in a caregiver. Once you have a specific job description in mind, go ahead and post the job. You can also search for care providers in your area. Once you have a pool of applications, start the interviewing process. Check out these tips for safely interviewing candidates and checking references. If you haven’t yet, check out what we are doing behind the scenes to protect you and your family.
In the end, making this transition will best serve your family AND your nanny. Guilt is a two-way street! If she isn’t getting the chance to really use her strengths, she may not be as happy as she seems.
Additional Helpful Links
Just for Fun