Nanny Confessions: I Hate Being Around Nannies that Yell at Kids

Study Shows Yelling at Kids Hurts as Much as Hitting Them

I confess it makes me uncomfortable to be around other nannies or parents that yell excessively at kids.

It is only natural that kids will occasionally “get under our skin”and all adults make mistakes when they are frustrated with kids at times. But, if you want to provide quality care to children you must avoid yelling at them. Speaking respectfully to children is the only way to help build their self-worth.

In fact, a study from the University of Pittsburgh published by the journal Child Development shows that yelling at kids and insulting them in response to bad behavior can have as much of a negative effect on them as hitting them would.

While earning my Psychology degree I learned that when adults yell at kids it’s the adult’s problem, not the kids problem. Think about it — when you yell, you are losing control. You only yell when you are frustrated.

Yet, God forbid a child were to yell at you in the same manner — they would be punished. Shouting at children models inappropriate behavior. If you don’t want kids to yell at others, then you can’t shout at them.

Before responding to children in anger, take a deep breath and count to ten. Give yourself a few minutes before responding.

In the book 365 Ways to Raise Confident Kids, Sheila Ellison says, “Yelling at a child who is trying to annoy you gives the child the upper hand by getting a reaction out of you. Instead, calmly tell the child what you have to say. Constantly reacting to behavior contributes to misbehavior for the sake of getting attention.”

Instead, Ms. Ellison recommends letting the consequences of their actions teach children. If you have a reward and punishment system in place let the rewards and punishments modify the children’s behavior rather than yelling.

For example, if the child knows they get a star on a star chart for making their bed and lose a star if they don’t, you don’t need to yell or criticize the child. Just give them the star they earned or take away the star they lost. If the child knows they will lose a privilege if they yell at their siblings, then enforce the discipline instead of yelling.

Although kids need discipline that doesn’t mean that adults have the right to be disrespectful, unkind, and yell at the children. Great nannies use positive discipline. Professional nannies speak with kids with kindness and respect, just as they do with adults.

Great nannies know how to get the best behavior from kids. Yelling at children is disrespectful and only hurts their sense of well-being and self-esteem.


  1. A nanny is a role model for children. If you yell at them, they will learn to yell at others, including you. Being a patient and efficient nanny, you help you be a positive role model.

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