How to Tell the Kids the Nanny is Leaving their Job

Preparing Kids for Post Nanny Relationship

Quitting nanny jobs and leaving a family (especially the kids) is a great loss.  Although nannies leaving their jobs is not nearly as traumatic as the grief experienced after the death of a loved one, any change can trigger the grief process. Nannies, children, and parents may experience the stages of grief. In the book On Death and Dying by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross the five stages of grief are discussed. Kubler-Ross explains that people may not go through the stages in sequence. These stages are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance. When children grieve they may regress a little as well.

Eventually nannies, parents, and children will accept the change that the nanny is leaving the job. Once nannies know they are leaving they should continue to work hard, be professional, and nurture the kids to make their last days together special. Nannies should prepare the children for their post nanny relationship. Caregivers can make a manual to help the transition for the next nanny. They ought to find ways to appreciate their time with the family, be proud of their accomplishments, and look forward to new challenges.

When possible, nannies ought to make future plans with the children and mark the days on the calendar. To acknowledge the pain and anger that children feel nannies should say: “It is natural for you to be angry at me. You might feel like I am leaving you, but really we are just changing our relationship. I was your nanny. Now I can just be your friend.”

At the same time nannies should not worry too much about the children. Kids are flexible, resilient, and accept change (although they can be dramatic). They recover very quickly and go about their business. Leaving is certainly harder on nannies than the children.

It is more difficult for nannies to deal with the parents than with the children.

When the Nanny is Leaving:

1. Discuss with the parents how to tell the kids you will be leaving.
2. Arrange how you will keep in touch.
3. Only make promises to children that you know you can keep.
4. Make plans to see or speak with the kids in the future and mark it on a calendar.
5. Children should be told at least two-weeks before you leave to process the transition.
6. Do some favorite activities with them and arrange a farewell party or dinner to celebrate and say good-bye.

References:
On Death and Dying
Be the Best Nanny Newsletter, July 2007

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