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August 2019

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Nanny Separation and saying goodbye

Let’s talk about Nanny-separation and saying goodbye, something that makes my Nanny heart ache, but a time that eventually comes to all families with Nannies.  Saying goodbye to a Nanny family can be stressful and one of the most difficult things to do – Because, the nanny-family relationship is both professional and personal, it makes it emotionally hard to give notice.

In many cases, there comes a time where Nannies decide they do need to move on; whether that’s because they need to in order to continue to grow or because they are forced too, due to their visa expiring. I know this from experience. Other reasons could be if the Nanny is being mistreated and/or being taken advantage of, it’s sad to say but this happens a lot, or if the children are old enough to care for themselves and the family no longer need the Nanny. Each scenario is equally difficult and does not make the ‘letting go’ any easier.

I feel the decider on how much easier the goodbye is going to be, is how the parents react when you sit them down, give notice and tell them your reasons for leaving. It is sad to say but many families do resent the Nanny after their notice has been given, which makes you think ‘Was there a personal relationship at all?’ But when the Nanny has decided to finish, it can be a shock and send parents into a whirlwind of questions and frustration especially if it’s unwanted on their part. Realistically I think it is equally as hard for the parents to let go of their Super Nanny as much as the children, but one they must accept.

I understand that losing a super nanny is very difficult (I say super because if your Nanny wasn’t super, you wouldn’t have them in the first place) and can cause a lot of hurt and anger. That’s okay and normal. But it’s important to recognise that just like you, your nanny may need to move on, even if it’s just for a different nanny job with significantly higher pay which you cannot match. While upsetting, you should be happy for your nanny! You should be happy that your nanny is moving up in the world and achieving their goals. Just like you would be happy if one day your kids got a promotion or were offered a better opportunity with another company. As nannies we are here for you and your family, but we also have to think about ourselves. That’s not selfish — it’s smart and it’s healthy. And I’m sure it’s exactly how you want your kids to be when they grow up and enter the workforce. You may be tempted to terminate her abruptly because you are angry or hurt, but this is the wrong decision for your child. Your kids will be looking to you on how to react and how to deal with this situation, so it is important that you remove anger and remain positive.

Nanny it’s important that you stay positive in the situation whatever the outcome and remain true to your decision’s and reasons. Once that stressful bit is out the way, you can then get on with focusing on the children.

So, when it comes to finishing a position, how do you say goodbye to the tiny humans you have invested so much time in.

I don’t think I could say at which age; a child finds Nanny separation the easiest. All of my experiences have been very hard and that has been with children from 4 months – 10 years old. 

Explaining to your child the changing situation…

Age 4+ is when I think it’s a good age to sit around as a family, maybe over a dinner or game and explain what will be happening. I find that explaining it to children as early on as possible, gives them time to get use to the idea. Also celebrating the Nanny moving on, gives the children a chance to be happy for the Nanny, instead of feeling hurt. For example, if they are moving on to study, explain to the child what they will be studying and why their Nanny cannot care for them anymore, involve them in the transition as much as possible – after all, it is them it affects the most. Let your child know they can stay in contact with the Nanny with letters, video chat and visits (if possible).

If you plan on getting another Nanny, explain that they can help you find them another super Nanny, someone fun, who will do all the things they did with their current Nanny. If your wanting your current Nanny, to train a new Nanny, then you need to consider the possible change it could have on your child’s behavior. There is no easy way of this being done if the children are young, because naturally they will cling to their current Nanny. Children do tend to push boundaries when someone new is around, so it is important that your new Nanny is happy to discipline and earn the respect from day one. Maybe organizing some fun activities for you to do altogether and after a few days leave the new Nanny alone with the kids, giving them time to bond and form a relationship. It is a huge step for children to learn to trust someone new in their life, so letting the child/children know they are safe is important.

Younger children, the ones who don’t have the verbal capacity to communicate how they feel are a little trickier. Although they cannot talk, they still feel every emotion any other older child would. At this age, all you can do is give them lots of affection and keep talking to them. Use fun toys, books and take them out and about to distract them from the way they are feeling.

My most difficult goodbye… (due to visa expiring)

From my experience, I have found the most difficult goodbye be, to an only child. This was the most upsetting, the child didn’t have any other sibling to lean on, they were alone and no one else not even the parents, could understand what they were going through. The child was 15 months old, I had cared for her since she was 10 weeks and although she was young, and couldn’t form sentences to explain her feelings, she knew. I could feel it through her actions and emotions. She knew what was happening and became more attached as the days got closer and closer to the time of me leaving. After trying all methods to make it easier, in some cases you just can’t. We tried the face time method in the first few weeks, but we found this only made it harder so we stopped and knew that time would be the healer. Now the child is happily cared for by another Nanny and video calls me on a regular basis. I now visit her year after year and every time the reunion is incredibly special and our bond remains.

When you have a child that is struggling, you should explain to them that it is okay to miss their Nanny and what they are feeling is normal. Tell them it’s good to talk about how they are feeling and you are always there for them to share their feelings with. Extra cuddles, distraction and attention is needed during this time.

Children are resilient and it can be more emotional for the parent and Nanny than the child. Children are flexible, resilient and accept change more easily than adults. But being the model for your child, and not pushing your feelings onto them, letting them know everything is okay, will help them adjust a lot quicker. Remember children will create many special bonds with caregivers and teachers throughout their life, so are more than capable of loving another Nanny.