Respecting Professional Boundaries for Nannies

You are a Nanny, Not a Family Member

When the nanny-child-parent relationship is satisfactory for everyone it is easy for parents to praise their employees and affectionately call them “members of the family.” But, the reality is that being a nanny is a job. To keep nannies hard-working, reliable, and respectful of the employers’ wishes, the parents must not forget that working as a nanny can be a difficult job.

No matter how much nannies love the children left in their charge, typically childcare providers leave jobs because of their relationships with the parents. Loving the children isn’t enough for nannies to stay at a job if they are disrespected or underpaid. Nannies will leave jobs to find employment where their efforts and wallets are rewarded.

When parents show random acts of kindness, the caregivers do the same for the parents. When parents arrive home early from work, they should let their nannies go home early too — with full pay. When parents overlook the playroom not being perfectly tidy, because they notice the kids are happy, it helps nannies overlook their pet-peeves with their jobs as well. In fact, nannies will happily volunteer to run an extra errand for the parents and may even refuse extra money offered to them in an emergency when they appreciate their jobs and their employers.

If parents are reasonable and conscientious about respecting job boundaries of their caregivers, they will get better job performance from their nannies.

10 Ways for Parents to Respect Nanny Professional Boundaries:

1. Sign a work agreement. 
Detail the job responsibilities, house rules, emergency procedures, work schedule, vacation and sick time procedures, compensation, pay frequency, communication and review procedures, and anything else you can think of in a work agreement.

2. Follow the work agreement.
Don’t change the terms of the job unexpectedly.

3. Don’t be cheap.
No one wants to work for cheap parents. Pay nannies on time, provide enough petty cash to enjoy outings with the kids. Give nannies paid days off, pay them legally, pay them above average, and provide benefits. Give regular and fair raises and bonuses.

4. Compensate for all overtime.
Do your best not to arrive home late. When you arrive home late be sure to call to let the nanny you will be late, thanking them for the inconvenience, and providing the overtime pay.

5. Respect the nanny’s privacy.
Don’t invade a live-in nanny’s private space. Don’t gossip with other parents about their salary, benefits, and work habits with friends.

6. Respect the nanny’s time-off.
It’s especially hard for live-in caregivers to feel like they have time-off. Make sure all family members allow nannies their own space on time-off. Don’t consistently text, email, or call live-in or live-out nannies on their time-off.

7. Don’t overwhelm the nanny with too many chores.
Nannies are childcare providers. Caring for the children should be their priority.

8. Pet-sitting can be a pet-peeve.
Unless pet-sitting duties are already discussed in the work agreement parents must pay their nannies for walking, feeding, and training pets or hire a separate dog walker to do so.

9. Don’t contradict your nanny.
Respect your nanny and don’t undermine her decisions in front of the children or you decrease all her power in the children’s eyes.

10. Say thank you.

Stop by next Monday for more advice on how to Respect Professional Boundaries for Nannies and Parents.


  1. I can honestly say all of this is so true. Parents sign the work agreement then never look at it again. Usually I'm not paid for overtime. I get emails and texts at night or on the weekend which irritates my entire family. It's so rude. Problem is you do something nice for the family once, like walk the dog, then it becomes your responsiblity from then on. Being a nanny is the hardest job when the parents don't treat the nanny well. If parents are considerate about pay for overtime and not contacting me on my time off it can be the best job ever.

  2. We leave jobs because of the parents, never the kids. I was so overwhelmed today at work. I literally never sat down and just kept getting more lists of stuff to do in emails and felt criticized.

  3. I am a nanny and working from few years. Reading your post helped a lot in dealing with children, when it rains. Thanks for this york home care

  4. coffeeandspitup says:

    Love, love, LOVE this! I think it perfectly sums up what employers should and should not do. Being a nanny is a tough job. Thanks so much for this post.

  5. I hope parents read this. LOL 🙂

  6. Your blogs are very helpful 🙂 Keep up the good work

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