What is the Hardest Topics to Discuss with the Parents?

How to Talk to Parents About Difficult Topics

Be the Best Nanny Newsletter asked 757 in-home child care providers what were the most difficult topics to discuss with their employers. Survey participants answered that discussing a raise is the hardest topic to discuss with parents and the safety of the kids is the easiest topic to discuss with their employers. See the results in the graph to the left.

Here is advice from some of the poll respondents about how to speak with their employers.

Lisa, a nanny in Pasadena, Maryland suggested, “Try to have meetings without children present if something comes up that is really important. I don’t talk about the job or the child in front of the child. Also, I keep a notebook, which is a daily log of everything we do, issues that come up, scheduling conflicts, and so on. I suggest being flexible and working with the parents. It will benefit you down the road.”

Sarah, a nanny from Atlanta, Georgia answered, “Even though you think your employers might say, ‘No,’ to something, you need to ask anyway. They cannot say, ‘Yes,’ if you never ask them the question.”

Melissa, an au pair from Australia working in Boston explained, “Au pairs complain to me about their jobs. But, it’s a waste of time and rude to discuss the family issues with other caregivers instead of with the parents. Instead of talking to me, they must speak to their employers about their jobs. Nannies and au pairs should not expect parents to read their minds. Employers cannot fix something they don’t know is broken.”

Beth, a nanny from Los Angeles, California recommended, “I am always a little nervous when speaking to my employers about the business side of things like salary, benefits, and time-off. However, I feel strongly that child care providers need to stand up for [themselves]. No one else with stand up for you, so you must do it yourself. I put a lot of preparation into these conversations.”

Janice, a nanny from Cambridge, Massachusetts recommended, “Listen as well as talk with parents. Look for win-win solutions. Consider that telling parents things that may be hard to hear about their children may require extra gentleness and tact.”

Debi, a nanny and household manager in Mendham, New Jersey advised, “Stick to what you know is right. Don’t allow any employer to pressure you to do something that you aren’t comfortable doing.”

Cortney, a newborn care specialist and parent educator from Franklin, Indiana explained, “Make you sure all parties have the same expectations. Discuss [responsibilities] before taking the job and put them in your contract. Don’t let things fester. If something bugs you, schedule a meeting right away and discuss things in a professional way. If you or the parents have a problem, be sure to bring several good solutions to the discussion.”

Lisa, a nanny from Maryland explained, “If you don’t communicate when things are bad, the issues will never get solved and probably get worse.”

Lora, a nanny trainer and consultant from Washington shared, “Realize that communication skills are something you learn, not something you’re born with. Be proactive by learning new skills and improving your current ones. Know what your goals are and stay focused on those goals throughout the conversation. Remember that when you’re discussing salary or benefits you are worth what you’re asking for.”


  1. Thanks for a great resource for nannies.

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