Nanny Confessions: Bringing Up Problems to Parents

Should Nannies Offer Advice to Parents Before Being Asked for Advice?

By Elizabeth Hawksworth

I was speaking to a friend about how hard it is to bring up potential concerns to parents about their kids. My friend thought a child appeared to have torticollis and she was asking me if I would say anything to the parents or not.

I usually don’t offer advice to friends or acquaintances unless I am asked. However, as a nanny, I am much more likely to bring up potential issues I see in a child because it’s my job.

I am not a physician or an expert in child development, but I do have enough childcare experience to recognize common development issues in a child. If I choose my words carefully I may be able to convince the parents to consult with their pediatrician or a specialist to look into a potential issue further. But, I must choose my words carefully. Going about the conversation in the wrong way can ruin my relationship with the parents.

It’s not easy to discuss developmental or behavioral issues with parents. Before bringing up issues to parents I ask to speak to them privately, without the child present. When I bring up a concern, I first ask the parents if they have noticed any issues with their child. Then, I tell them tactfully about what I’ve observed.  I never blame the parents for the concerns I have for the child.

Once I have expressed my concerns, I let the parents take the next steps. It’s up to the parents and doctors to determine new plans for care. Depending on my relationship with the parents, I may be able to suggest some methods that have worked for previous children in my care. I always remember to respect the dignity and privacy of the family I work for. Empathy, respect, and sensitivity are essential in sensitive conversations.

Parents and nannies can work together to provide the best of care to children. Being careful, observant, and tactful can go a long way into ensure that the children in your care always come first.

Have you ever had a situation like this? What did you do to help the children and family navigate through it?


  1. coffeeandspitup says:

    I work for a few different families, and I find it’s easier to bring up concerns with certain parents more than others. I’ve found that some don’t care about my opinion, don’t ask for it, and don’t value it. Others openly want to know what I think and appreciate that I’m experienced and have witnessed and dealt with a wide variety of situations.
    If there’s a good relationship there, it should come naturally to bring it up. But if you find the parents get easily agitated (one mother in particular I work for is coming to mind), are overprotective or defensive, it’s going to be a lot more difficult voicing concerns you may have.
    What it comes down to for me, is that if I feel like I’m appreciated and my opinion is valued, I’ll give it. Otherwise, I’ll do what I can for the child when it’s just him/her and I.

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