- Let her know the job is ending but the love is forever. It’s sometimes hard for a child to understand the difference between the job and the relationship. As children get older, they are better able to grasp the subtleties of the situation. However even from a young age, a child can understand that even though she won’t see her nanny as often, her nanny will continue to love and care about her.
- Be honest. It’s often easier to put off difficult conversations or act like a tough situation isn’t really that bad. However having a beloved nanny leave can be very difficult for a child, and although it’s important to be reassuring, it’s equally important to be honest about what’s really happening. If you’re leaving your job because you’re moving out of state, don’t promise to come see the child every week. If you’re taking a new job down the street, don’t promise to never take care of another child. Being honest, no matter how hard it is, will help the child know she can rely on you and trust what you say and do.
- Let her have whatever feelings she’s going to have. Some children get sad when their nanny leaves. Others get angry or withdrawn. How your charge reacts to the news of you leaving depends on your relationship with her, her temperament, and how the adults around her react. There’s no right or wrong reaction. Let her know that whatever she’s feeling, it’s OK. Help her recognize that her feelings are a natural part of the good-bye process and that she will feel better in time. Also be OK with your charge not being sad or upset. Some children naturally take things in stride and don’t have the negative reactions we often expect them to have. A nonchalant attitude doesn’t mean you’re not an important person in her life. It simply means she’s handling the transition well.
- Let her know you’re sad too. Leaving isn’t just a big transition for your charge, it’s a big change for you too. Let your charge know how much you’re going to miss her and miss spending time together.
- Make a memory craft together. Use pictures of some of the favorite things you did and favorite places you visited along with other memorabilia to create a scrapbook or other keepsake collection. It will be a visual reminder to the child of the special times she shared with you. These reminders are important transitional items and can help children create a bridge between the past and the future.
- Welcome the new nanny. If your employers are hiring a new nanny, make sure you fully support her as she steps into your job. This is the new person who will be taking care of your charge, and your support will help the child know it’s OK to connect and bond with the new nanny. If the child believes that you disapprove of the new nanny, it may make their new relationship difficult.
- Make plans to see each other. Just because you’re leaving your job doesn’t mean you won’t get to see your charge anymore. Before your last day, make definite plans to spend time together. It could be an afternoon at the park, a dinner out together, or anything else you enjoy doing together. If the parents agree, consider becoming a regular babysitter. This is often a great opportunity for the parents to spend time out together and for you get to spend some quality time with your former charge. Many caregivers often go from being the nanny to being the babysitter.
- Find other ways to stay in touch. With all the technology available today, it’s easier than ever to stay in touch with the people you love. Sit down with your charge and come up with fun ways to connect. Some of those ways may become your new rituals. Try postcards, funny notes through snail mail, email, Facebook, or video chat. How often you connect with each other will depend on the child’s age, your schedules, and the parents’ willingness to support your relationship. Even if you don’t connect often, make sure to touch base on a regular basis.
Leaving a nanny job can be sad for everyone. However nannies can help children say good-bye in healthy ways and make the transition to the new relationship easier.
P.S. This post was proposed to me for publication by Isabella Harris. I'm therefore publishing it by her invitation and under her permission. See also the link below fore more information: