Nannies: Do You Eat the Family’s Food When Working?

Respecting Professional Nanny Boundaries

While working, nannies are typically invited to eat meals with the children in their care. This includes a slice of pizza when out with friends, food they prepare for the kids in the home, and leftovers in the fridge. But, each family has a different budget and different customs. In-home child care providers must respect their employer’s wishes when it comes to eating their employer’s food while working.

During the interview is the time to discuss food allergies, religious customs, or dietary restrictions to ensure compatibility between nannies and families. For example, if a child or a nanny is allergic to peanuts, follows a Kosher diet, or is a vegan this may affect or limit what the nanny is allowed to eat while working.

Typically, live-in nannies are allowed to eat anything in the house. But, a few families prefer the nanny keep their food separate from the family’s groceries and kept on a separate shelf in the refrigerator or cabinet in the pantry. Although this isn’t the norm, nannies need to be sensitive to the parents’ preferences.

It is often difficult for live-in nannies switching to live-out jobs to adjust to the fact that they may need to bring their own food with them to their new nanny jobs.

Whether working as live-in or live-out in-home child care providers, nannies must always respect the fact that the family is buying food for their family’s needs primarily and not for their employees. Nannies should be mindful to not eat the last yogurt, pint of ice cream, or last juice box used in the kids’ lunchboxes.

It’s important for employees and parents to discuss what foods nannies are allowed to eat while working from the very beginning of their working relationship to reduce resentment by either party.

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