There are few things that throw a working parent into a panic more than the unexpected and immediate loss of childcare. You rely on your nanny. She’s the reason you’re able to go to work every day. When she suddenly hands in her notice and walks out the door, it throws your life into a tailspin. If your nanny quits without warning, here are some steps to take that will help you move forward in a positive way.
Help your child understand and deal with the loss. Even if you don’t have a good relationship with your nanny, your child is likely still attached to her. It’s essential to recognize and acknowledge that relationship so you can help your child understand why his nanny is gone and help him deal with his feelings of loss. Of course, how your child reacts to your nanny leaving will depend on several factors: how long your nanny has been with your family, the level of attachment between her and your child and your child’s age and temperament. Some kids have a very difficult time letting a nanny go and other kids breeze right through it. The important thing to remember is that your feelings about her are probably very different than your child’s. Support him in whatever ways he needs to make a healthy transition.
Get your personal property back from the nanny. When your nanny leaves without notice, it’s easy to get caught up in dealing with all of the immediate concerns. Often things like house keys, the garage door opener, credit cards, debit cards, museum passes, insurance cards, car seats, etc. are forgotten until after the shock has worn off. By then, it’s more difficult to make the exchange. Make sure before your nanny leaves that she returns all the things you’ve given her. It’s also a good idea to change the passwords on your alarm system. Chances are your nanny will never attempt to reenter your home without your permission, however it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Pay the nanny for all the hours she’s worked. Some employers think about withholding the nanny’s last check because they feel angry and betrayed by the lack of notice. Regardless of how much of a bind your nanny has put you in, she’s still legally entitled to be paid for every hour worked. If you figure your nanny’s pay yourself, write her a check on the spot. If you use a payroll service, notify them immediately and they will take care of the nanny’s final paycheck.
Deal with your immediate childcare needs. When your nanny quits, your first instinct is probably to hire a replacement for her as soon as possible. However, feeling desperate to hire someone often prevents you from making a well-thought out hiring decision. Before you jump into a new nanny search, decide how you’re going to handle childcare for the next few days or the next week. Maybe you can take some time off from work, work from home, ask a neighborhood mom or nanny for some help, hire a temp nanny through a local agency or fly Grandma down for a visit.
Put a short-term childcare plan in place. The average nanny search can take anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks. In order to allow yourself the time to find the right nanny for your family, put a childcare plan in place that will carry you through your search. Reach out to other parents and nannies to see if they know of a nanny who is between positions and could provide temporary care. If your word of mouth network doesn’t produce any results, you can contact your local nanny agency for a short-term caregiver. You can also run an ad on one of the online job sites.
Attempt to understand what went wrong in the relationship. Although it will be difficult to hear, genuinely ask the nanny why she’s leaving. Most likely you’ll have a very different take on the situation, but even the most slanted feedback contains some useful information. Knowing what went wrong with your nanny will help you in your next nanny search. You’ll learn how to be a better employer, what kind of person is better suited to your family and what red flags to be more aware of during the interview process.
It’s hard to feel optimistic about finding a reliable caregiver after your nanny quits without notice. Remember, just because your nanny didn’t fulfill her commitments to you doesn’t mean others will do the same. Most nannies are strongly committed to the families they work for. When you’re able to evaluate each candidate on her own merits and not through the lens of your recent loss, you’ll make the best hiring decision.