Having read many posts on social media where the nanny and family relationship has broken down for something which could simply have been avoided by communicating with each other I felt the need to share some thoughts.
Nannies have feelings too! Most people who work as a nanny chose to do so as their professional career choice, they care for the children as if they were their own, attending to the every need of the child or children in their care, being the child’s ‘constant’ presence and support, helping them to grow, develop and learn new skills, preparing them for life and the challenges they may face and then….. GONE!
Something happens whether this be a change in the family’s circumstances, a break up between mum and dad, something the nanny has said to the parent which the parent didn’t like, or an unavoidable illness of the nanny are examples of some of the instances I have seen being reported!
From reading some of these various experiences from nannies who have been in the profession for 20 years and even 40 years, it is really sad that parents can decide ‘just like that’ to tell a nanny not to return to work without thought or discussion as to how this may affect the children – imagine a child suddenly not seeing their nanny again, someone the children may have seen nearly all day, every day, for the last 2, 3 or 4 years, sometimes longer – the confusion and thoughts which that child may be feeling, especially if they suddenly find themselves being cared for by someone new.
Nannies do not work with children just for fun! This is their chosen career choice. In every other career choice we will put our heart and soul into doing the best we possibly can to do an exceptional job. Except for nannies…. They put so much more into their job because they are educating the next generation, parents have chosen this person to be the best role model for their most precious children, the nanny would not be allowed to remain in the job with the family if the children were not happy, learning and developing.
Nannies are human too! They are not someone who just looks after the children all day whilst parents go to work! A nanny is not the same as a babysitter! A nanny is a lot more than an au pair! Nannies effectively do the job of a parent in the absence of the parents due to work or other commitments! Nannies have feelings too! (Childcare Forum UK support group have prepared an excellent summary of different childcare roles and responsibilities)
Just for clarity, I am not a nanny, I have never been a nanny, however I am a mum and a grandma. I have 15 years experience working with nannies and families in a nanny agency situation, the last 10 of which has been with my own agency. I see the passion within the nannies who I interview and maintain contact with for many years, I am envious of the long term bond which a nanny makes with the family, even as the family gets older. However, I also hear the sadness and disappointment when something goes wrong.
Appreciating that nannies are looking after children who are not actually their own, this does not mean they will go home and forget about them at the end of their shift! A completely natural bond is made between not just the little people but the whole family and if something happened to break that bond, it is like loosing a close friend or a family member and not something that can be switched off because they do not work in that job anymore.
The point I want to make here is…. Nannies are human, they have feelings, they get poorly sometimes, usually because they have picked something up from the children they look after, they don’t deliberately become poorly.
To make a great nanny and family work well, there is going to be a natural bond, they will be clear and consistent communication and supporting each other to ensure the best for the children involved, and therefore there must be mutual respect and consideration between both parties.
Remember excellent nannies are human, and they have feelings – they are doing a great job in continuing the tasks which parents would be doing themselves every day if they were able to and did not have to leave their children to go to work.
Life can be hard for everyone, children can be very sensitive and they quickly pick up on major changes, negativity, undue pressure and stress which can and will have a detrimental affect on them in their grown up life.
To any nanny employer, how would you feel if your boss decided to let you go or dramatically reduce your hours, or even stopped you coming to work without fair discussion or warning? Please be mindful of the feelings of your nanny and your children if your circumstances have to change – a nanny cannot suddenly switch off and stop caring about the children they look after, and a child’s confusion can last a lifetime.
For information about how a nanny can help you and your family, or to find a nanny in your area, please visit our website www.anauk.org or give us a call on 0203 1500 365 and one of the ANA team will be able to help you.