8 Ways to Have a Great Relationship with Your Nanny

Advice for talking to and interacting with nannies.

mom and nanny laughing

I have two loves of my life: My husband and my nanny. She's been with us since my son was born seven years ago, and I do everything I can to let her know how much I adore her. Take the other evening, when I went to an event thrown by a local mom's group. It was "spa night," and we were treated to manis, pedis and massages. We could also make our own bath salts, poured into a little glass jar and tied with a ribbon. I knew right away what I was going to do with mine: I came home and handed it to our nanny. "It's for you, so you can take a relaxing bath -- you deserve it," I said.

Granted, I sure could use a relaxing bath (or twenty) myself. But I'm always trying to make sure our nanny feels cared for. This is the woman who I trust to take care of my kids. She's my partner, my copilot, my wing-woman in parenting. I want to keep her happy -- and I want her to do good by my kids and me, too. And just like having a good relationship with my husband, that takes time and attention. Plenty of other moms I know feel the same -- and have their own smart strategies. Read for yourself about the ways they've built great relationships with their nannies.

  1. Make Expectations Clear From Day One
    "If you want your nanny to help with dinner or do laundry or light cleaning -- and she'll have the time free during the day to do them -- let her know from the start," says Betsy, a mom of one. "You don't just want to spring major new demands on a nanny, because then she'll feel taken advantage of." Some moms refuse to ask their nannies do housework, as tempting as it may be. As Judy, a mom of one, says, "Sure, I'd like some help, but I don't want to send the message that my baby isn't the top priority. She is."

  2. Care -- Really Care -- About Your Nanny
    "I care about my babysitter's mental and physical health as much as I care about my family's," says Denise, a mother of two. "I do it because she's part of my family, and I want her to feel that way. Also, the healthier she is, the better she'll be able to take care of my kids."

  3. Pamper Her
    "My babysitter has been with us since Brodie was 11 months old -- now he's five! -- and I try to help her enjoy herself. You know, like giving her job perks!" says Dani. "I'll tape some of her favorite shows on TiVo so she can watch them when Brodie's asleep, and make sure I have her favorite snacks around." Adds Betsy, "On my nanny's birthday, I give her a personal gift -- like a scarf -- and some cash in an envelope, and I'll have Melinda draw her a card. Really, she's like my child's other mother!" Hedy, a mother of two, goes even further: "I buy my nanny's two kids presents for the holidays. It makes her really happy, too."

  4. Don't Get in Her Way
    "My sitter has raised her own kids, so I generally give her a lot of autonomy," says Kara, a mother of two. "Even if she does some things differently than I do, I figure it worked for her, no harm done. And we always make sure that our kids, who are two and five, know that her word is final when we're not home. This has gotten important now that my oldest is playing more with kids in the neighborhood and asking them to go over, or to go to their house. Whatever Cynthia says goes! It conveys respect and also makes things run more smoothly."

  5. Be Generous
    Most moms give their nannies an end-of-year bonus (sometimes, as much as an extra week's salary), plus an annual pay raise. "I believe really strongly in not nickel-and-diming my sitter," notes Jessica, a mother of two. "If she works an extra half-hour, I'll round up to an hour. If she bought my kids a $6 lunch, I'll reimburse her $10. My friends think I'm crazy, but I see the payoff. She always comes when I need her, and more importantly, she's happy and cheerful and works hard to make our lives better in every way." Learn more about holiday tipping and bonuses for nannies »

  6. Pick Your Battles
    "I avoid speaking up about minor stuff that bugs me," says Kara. "Like, my babysitter has a habit of opening the microwave without first pressing 'Stop.' I think it could screw it up and if my husband did it, you'd better believe I'd ask him to stop! But I've held back. My philosophy is that the less I critique and make requests, the more impact it will have when I have an important change I want her to make."

  7. Speak Up About Big Issues
    "If I have to talk with our nanny about something I'm not happy about, I try to get home from work early so we can talk before she leaves, or I'll ask her to come in a few minutes early in the morning," says Joanna, a mom of two. "Leaving notes about biggie things is not okay -- your nanny, and your children, deserve a discussion. If you leave a note, your nanny might feel attacked. It's so easy to read the wrong tone in a note."

  8. Help Her Stay Organized
    "I have a large calendar hanging on the kitchen corkboard where I write down the kids' activities and playdates," says Hedy, a mother of twins. "That way we can remember what's happening when. It keeps us both sane!" 

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Comments (74)
Photo of Ashley C.
Ashley C.
Wonderful advice! I especially loved 7. The wrong tone or understanding can be conveyed in a text or email. If something 'big' happens it's important that the parent speaks directly to the caregiver to avoid confusion. I have had this situation happen to me. The little one and I went out for a lunch date in her stroller. There are restaurants close by but they are in the more expensive range. We decided to walk to a local fast food place (2 miles away). I had already packed the little ones lunch and their wasn't any food to eat for me in the cupboards (besides soup, which is what they normally only have for me to eat). I pick up lunch and we walk back home. The mom texts me later that night (on Halloween) and asks me if I ate out. I told her yes and she began to text me that I had went to a bad area of town and she didn't want me crossing any streets with three lanes. I would like to mention that I am unfamiliar with the place she lives and she has never before indicated to me that she was so close to bad neighborhoods. Her little one and I go for walks all the time but she had never before mentioned that she lived close to bad areas or mapped out where we could or couldn't go. I apologized and told her that making her uncomfortable was the last thing I wanted to do and promised not to go there again. If we would have been able to talk in person, my Halloween would have been more enjoyable and I would have known how she felt better than from what I had to guess from her texts messages.
Posted: July 14, 2014 at 11:37 AM
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Akum H.
Great article! I especially love emphasizing dialogue between parents and nannies. There's nothing worse then letting something simmer, especially because the kids will pick up on any tenseness!
Posted: June 23, 2014 at 11:54 AM
Erica W.
I wish my family I nanny for would read this, esp #5 be generous! sometimes I feel I am treated better by the families I babysit here and there for than the family I am with part time nannying their 3 kids.
Posted: June 21, 2014 at 2:56 PM
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Sofia F.
Love this article!! Good for Parents and nannies
Posted: May 03, 2014 at 3:54 PM
Katrina M.
I have been so blessed to have a great working relationship with my employer(s). One family for 10 years! Rocking the youngest to sleep with a bottle and now in the third grade. Each employer (family) is unique and so is the nanny. For example, I would buy a cute outfit every now and again for an infant I cared for. The parents would be delighted I thought of their child when I was not working. Another family was offended and told me to ask permission before doing so. Point being- Communication. The best thing that helped me was having a notebook. I would write the day down the days schedule. Sleeping, feedings, diaper changing, outings, moods etc. Tape in receipts if went to the grocery store or out to frozen yogurt. Even if me, the nanny, was in a rush to leave, or couldn't remember every detail of the day it could easily be reviewed by me or the employer.
Posted: December 14, 2013 at 1:49 AM
Cayla R.
I love this. I think all mothers should read this befofe hiring a nanny. I am currently in a position as a nanny where I feel somewhat neglectected. I don't feel very appreciated. I think I will ask them to read this article. I may be over sensitive, but I do a lot for the family and don't get treated like family of even like an equal. That's why I love nannying! The whole reason I got into this feild was to be a part of family.
Posted: November 21, 2013 at 10:33 AM
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Jeanne B.
Wow, this is great! I often times feel like I don't give my daughter's babysitter (whom she calls "Nanny") enough. I pay her whatever she asks (she won't accept more, and she doesn't watch my daughter all the time, just at the most 3 times a week for a few hours. But, I still feel as though she is doing a lot for me and should be rewarded. She is a mother of 5, works and still helps me with my daughter. I could NEVER repay her with how much she is appreciated.
Posted: July 16, 2013 at 9:39 PM
Angie S.
I just read this article and agree with one of the parents' posts from way earlier. Families can be taken advantage of too... My husband and I are a young couple, new parents, new jobs, new chapter in life and the whole nanny situation was something completely new to us. I tried to do my research- finding online articles about hiring nannies, what nannies typically do, how much to pay, etc. I asked friends who have nannies and of course got several different takes. In the end, my husband and I wanted to be our normal friendly, relaxed selves and make the nanny feel as comfortable as possible, welcome in our home, free to use whatever she might need (as opposed to some of our friends/acquaintances who prefer to maintain a strict boss/employee relationship). I drafted a contract and reviewed it with the nanny who was in agreement. Basically, our child was the main priority (obviously) with light housework in addition and potential travel (for errands, meeting at pediatrician's office for appointments). This particular nanny comes in almost every morning and fixes breakfast for herself though I'm obviously trying to get ready for work and will often have my child on my hip. At times, I have handed over my child so I could get showered and ready, feeling as though I was interrupting the nanny! She frequently reads while nestled in a blanket on the couch, or watches TV or naps (to her credit, she only naps when my child naps). The only housework she does is wash my child's bottles and pick up most of her toys. I've asked that she empty the diaper genie when it's full or wipe down some of the more frequently used toys (just a couple that are frequently used, stood/ sat in and spit up on). She often "forgets" to do these chores. Or, to my surprised dismay, will say that something couldn't be done because she was holding my child or because my child was asleep. Can my child not be placed in her crib or walker momentarily? Does the nanny not know how to move quietly? I started off making extra effort to be nice and friendly to make the nanny feel comfortable. It's getting harder and harder to put on a nice face. My child is safe and cared for (though not educationally entertained or frequently interacted with)- she is frequently allowed to roam around on the floor with her toys while nanny maintains her roost on the couch. My husband is away with schooling and only makes it home for some weekends, so I am basically a single mom for the time being, and a busy health care professional. I have PLENTY to do after my baby goes to sleep but I have to set it aside to complete house chores that the nanny should have done and could easily have done. Her daily reports include my child taking 1-,2- and sometimes 3-hour naps during the day. This irritates me because I see that as time that much could have been done around the house. Or at least SOME things. She views this as extra reading time. I will admit, I am not a natural in the boss/leader role when it comes to the nanny. I don't want to hurt her feelings and that leads to me stifling a lot of things and being very resentful. She has done nothing above and beyond since the day she started! I wish I was exaggerating. My husband and I are very disappointed in our first nanny experience and are actively seeking another. This nanny is a very sweet person but is seriously lacking in the nanny department, though she boasted several years' experience, a near perfect punctuality record (has been late for me so many times, I need more than my two hands to count...), and has worked with several families and done such "great" things with the children of those families. I can't even get her to make the transition from giving my child only breastmilk to giving her baby food along with the breastmilk. She frequently forgets the food, actually stating that "the transition is so hard to make." I feel that as usual, my kindness has been taken for a weakness and this nanny, though sweet personality, is doing as little as she can get away with. And in that situation, it's hard to speak up about how much I "appreciate" her. I don't want to be the harsh, mean boss but when I politely remind her that she should "empty the full diaper genie" or "wipe down the toys," it is either done once and not again or not done with some excuse as to why it wasn't done. I couldn't accept this nanny as part of the family at this point because there is just too much resentment. And my husband and I often discuss how awkward it would be to reprimand the nanny because this is the person we're leaving with our child and we wouldn't want an angry person keeping our child (crazy, I know, but this is how we think). She seems to have forgotten the contract and is not responding to nice reminders, so.... looking for another one. This has been a lesson learned.
Posted: July 10, 2013 at 11:52 PM
Photo of Virginia L.
Virginia L.
Great article! Martha C. is right on point.

Parents should read this before hiring a nanny, especially if they have never had a nanny before. Often the nanny has more experience than the parents. Even though its not exactly the same we nannies pour our hearts and souls into caring for children. Their safety, health, and happiness are our priorities. And, yes, it absolutely hurts to be under appreciated, to feel as if when the parent walks in you aren't welcome any longer.

As a nanny, I fall in love with every child I care for, but I have never felt like part of the family. This article describes the ideal relationship between parent and nanny. I hope to find that one day.
Posted: June 13, 2013 at 9:54 AM
Alexandria A.
Awesome article!
Posted: April 09, 2013 at 1:18 PM
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Jamie T.
I really appreciated this article and some of the comments. I have worked for four different families as a long-term nanny and I took classes in childcare in college. 3 of my experiences have been overwhelmingly positive and the fourth experience was enough to make me want to stop nannying for good. My current employer is incredibly kind, she and her husband are always thanking me and telling me they appreciate my work and it is very hard for me to leave them at the end of this month because I will be moving. My previous employer harassed me, was condescending, underpaid me, micromanaged me, and demanded work from me that I was unable to provide because I was watching her children. I feel that it was my fault for agreeing to take the job even though I knew the pay wasn't enough but I feel that my employer did not treat me with respect even as worked very hard to take care of her beautiful children and keep her house clean. I would urge families looking for nannies to consider whether they really want a nanny or a housekeeper. I have been offered positions which required "light housekeeping" only to find out that the family expected me to wash floors, clean bathrooms, do everyone's laundry from start to finish, shop for groceries, vacuum, and dust. Please do not expect your nanny to do these things while you are paying her the rate to watch your children. Light housekeeping includes picking up the children's play areas and bedrooms, preparing healthy meals and cleaning up after them, and folding laundry or emptying/loading the dishwasher if there is time. I am happy to help the family I currently work for with folding a basket of laundry and I clean the kitchen everyday, but they do not expect me to do these things. They have three children under three and they understand that there are times when keeping the kids safe, happy, fed, and clean is about all I can manage. Be realistic and respectful, understand that your nanny is not a superhero and be grateful that they work hard to teach and care for your children as if they were her own. Nannies can repay this trust and respect by giving their whole attention to child care and not spending all their time on the phone or kindle or plopping the kids down in front of the TV for hours on end. If you are realistic and upfront with your nanny about the duties you wish her to perform, hopefully she will feel that she can be realistic and upfront with what she will be able to accomplish while you are away. I really appreciate what Lillian said, if your nanny goes the extra mile and is able to help you clean up one day, thank her and don't expect her to be able to do it every day, her top priority is making sure your kids receive the best care possible, if it isn't find a new nanny that WILL make your kids the top priority.
Posted: March 17, 2013 at 11:58 AM
Lillian D.
I am a mother and grandmother,who is currently seeking to be hired as a nanny. I have lovingly cared for my own child, grandchild, an many of my nephews and nieces from kindergarten to university. I take the opportunity to read articles and comments of care providers and families they worked for to get the scoop on what's going on out there. I am however, alarmed and puzzled at the experiences comments, and advises given here, although informative. Having owned and operate a business and have related to workers in various circumstances, I am aware of the challenges associated with worker/employer relationships, but most of all, I believe caregiving, especially where children are concern should be considered and applied at a different level.

When a child is left in the care of a total stanger, there is going to be a level of anxiety on the part of the parents, and also the caregiver. I believe from the outset there should be a clear and un-compromised understanding of what is expected on both sides, if there be any change this should be discussed and agreed upon; inevitably, there are times when situation arises, but none should be taken for granted.

At this point, I must say, am a Caribbean national and of course, we see and do things a bit differently from others; though we respect others and expect the same in return, we are not the kind of people who measures things according to pay. Yes, we do draw the line, but think nothing of washing an employers' un-mentionables if we feel to. I am not here saying caregiver should do the same, but small stuff, we don't make a big deal of. We work because it's a job and if in our opinion, we are being taken for granted or taken advantage of, then I personally will have that discourse with my employer in a respectful way, and if it can't be resolved then we say good-bye.People are people and no two the same, so lets be real, if you are a nanny be a nanny in all true sense, get trained or research what it takes to be a good nanny; and if you'r an employer do not ask your nanny to be a housekeeper and a nanny, the two cannot work, and if your nanny cleans up your mess today, please do not expect her to do the same day after day. She is a nanny and so she should be.
Posted: March 06, 2013 at 12:35 PM
Photo of Cheryl B.
Cheryl B.
Great article!!! I just have to say I have the best "familes" most notice when I go the extra mile and that is all I need to keep me motivated to help out (IE unload dishwasher). Sometimes I get a little extra but that's not why I do it. I love the families and the children. I am currently 6 months pregnant and my families have been awesome with flexibility for appts. etc. They even ask how I'm doing and want to see my ultrasound pictures.
Posted: February 19, 2013 at 1:39 PM
Stanja P.
This article has very good advice on how smooth out the kinks before they start! Thanks. Very useful advice.
Posted: February 07, 2013 at 3:51 PM
Miah A.
As a Nanny that all sounds really good :) Those ARE the things that make me feel valued and appreciated as a nanny. It's always good to know that you are not only doing your best at what you do but others are noticing and appreciative of you!
Posted: November 06, 2012 at 7:12 PM
Photo of April M.
April M.
This is WONDERFUL. :) A must read for all nannies and parents. Even the small things go a long way when showing your nanny you care. I love the families ive worked for and will go out of my way to be a rock or hug when needed, and a listener when the parents or kids have had a bad day. Live is a two way street smile and show your appreciation, it goes a long way.
Posted: September 28, 2012 at 1:58 PM
Photo of Michelle R.
Michelle R.
Wendy R--with all respect(because Im totally not looking for some petty, FB-type situation-LOL)...I dont agree with your assumption that the woman who 'adored' her nanny chose not to indulge her w/ the actual Spa Treatment, but just pawned off the bath salts. She stated that it was some local event, given by a certain group of moms. It may have been an event where it wasnt an option to bring a guest...especially if that nanny wasnt a mother herself(being that it was a local 'Moms Group' event) I feel the writer was genuine about giving her nanny the handmade souvenier(that was intended for herself) as a token of appreciation.
Posted: September 27, 2012 at 2:08 AM
Photo of Symone' C.
Symone' C.
I love this article !! Simply it stats facts as a sitter/nanny of 10 plus years I find that many of these things if not all of them are true.
Posted: July 17, 2012 at 11:52 PM
Photo of Suzanne P.
Suzanne P.
Start my new job from Care tomorrow am with a special family that is has all the nanny being happy suggestions down pat. Live is great when your a Nanny imagine getting paid for loving kids. Just doesn't get any better than that.
Posted: July 13, 2012 at 10:23 PM
Wendy R.
As I began reading this article, I thought, "Wow, this lady "adores" her nanny. She's going to invite her to the mommy pampering night." But no, she adores her nanny, so she hands her the bath salts. Um, get real. That is not what it means to "adore" someone. More like, "I think of her as an employee with whom I don't want to get too friendly, but I'm hoping she thinks I like her."

I am a 40 yr. old mom of 2 little boys, and I was a nanny at 25, as well as a teacher. If you really want to show your nanny you care, be honest about how things are going, don't expect her to be a super hero, because you're not; and don't treat her like a second class citizen. My gosh, you're giving her the most important job in life, that of raising human babies into sensible, responsible adults. Treat her like you'd want to be treated after a full day of chaos, testing, messes, tantrums, running away, and fighting from kids who don't respect you nor love you as much as someone else who's hardly ever there, namely you, mommy.

Imagine if your boss at work said, "Wow, you're doing such a great job. Keep up the good work. I think I'll go to the spa."
Posted: July 12, 2012 at 12:37 AM
Louajaaaao kejdusgenrp
I loved it
Posted: May 18, 2012 at 12:15 PM
Sarah L.
This is awesome! The first (and last) family I nannied for was similar to this. They never asked me to do light housework though; I always thought it was something you were/are supposed to do, so I did it. I also helped start/make dinner on some nights. Like Courtney M., though, polishing/dusting/doing dishes from the previous night/etc. isn't fun. I think that heavy housework (even when you have a little free time) takes away from what you came to do in the first place.

As far as treating the nanny goes... Even a paid 'vacation' with free time AND watching the kids for you is awesome, too!

I agree with number four. Unless there is a problem with something. If there is a problem with something, I think the parent(s) should talk to the nanny - but not in front of the children/when the children are home/etc. because it could interfere with the children seeing their nanny as an authority figure, thus causing them to take advantage and starting the, "Well, my Mommy/Daddy/Gran/etc. said..."

Even though I've just nannied for one family, I do have to say that I really miss it. Now that I can drive, I could actually [possibly] do things like take the kids to the park, have a picnic, etc. and/or anywhere else they need to go.
Posted: May 02, 2012 at 3:05 AM
Photo of Dave V.
Dave V.
Great article. We have done a lot of this already with previous care givers.
Posted: March 16, 2012 at 12:53 PM
Photo of Courtney M.
Courtney M.
I love this article! I have been teaching and raising other's children for over 10 years. In daycare and nannying. (And of course babysitting for far longer.) Points 1,4, 7, and 8 the most important! It's all about great communication and respect. In nannying, I have had only 1 family that didn't work out, but I think we both learned from that situation.

To example #1: I will also help with light housework and do anything related to the child(ren), and as discussed we agreed upon that. Well the day I started I got a list of what happens and when, which was fine and kind of liked. Until I noticed that I'd be cleaning blinds, the spare bedrooms, making their (the adult's) bed, polishing, etc. When the dishes seem to be piling up like not just plates and cups, but pots and pans from dinner before I don't really like it. That seems like they're taking my help for granted, but I don't really say anything. I get to when I can, if I can. But polishing? I don't even polish my own stove or fridge. They were really trying to cut back their spending and I haven't had a work load like that with twin babies before, and I didn't really say anything. The communication was seriously lacking between us. I could learn to clean like a cleaning lady, I just typically don't. But I don't think it's right for anyone to be expected to do two, or three jobs and only be expected to pay for one. For employers and employees or service providers and clients, learn from this disaster-ous situation and have clear expectations and communication.

Numbers 3 and 5 aren't that important to me. Compensation should always occur unless claiming on taxes. Know if you are a service provider or an employee, this makes a difference. My last family were very generous on these two point and like the examples were given. I really did appreciate it and it said a lot and meant a lot to me, but I don't expect every family to do so.

What I have learned, each and every family is different. The same situations will hardly ever arise twice, learn and resolve to do better. Love and enjoy everyone you get to meet and help with. We do this because we love the children and making a difference in their lives and helping the parents work when they can, and helping to make the family dynamics (from person-to-person perspective) better and transition better for them. In the end I do this because it's a talent I have, a need for others, and I want and do what's best for the child. Hopefully that's what we are all here for as we appreciate and respect each other.
Posted: March 08, 2012 at 4:56 PM
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Angela E.
So, I do this and more for our nanny. It's just common sense!! you must appreciate all they do so you ( as a family) can work!! we have loved all of our nannies and only transitioned when "life intervenes"
Posted: February 21, 2012 at 12:28 PM
Photo of Nancy G.
Nancy G.
I have been a nanny for12 years. The jobs I have worked have been 3 and 4 years each. I love all the children I have cared for. My last one I love so much.It did not end well with the father and Mother. I wont go into all the details ,but I feel like I have been thrown out like an old shoe.I went above and beyond for these people and now my heart is broken because I see my little charge so seldom. I was there 4 years so I must have done something right.That little boy loves me and I adore him and all I do is cry and I miss him so much.I know I have to get over this but I feel so abandond.They always told me I was part of the family. The worst thing I had to do was when my 45year old son died ,they had planed a vacation all paid for months before, but my son died the morning inSept. I got the call at 6a.m.I went my work and told them mt son died this morning .They said they were sorry and said what are we going to do? It is my fault ,Idid say go on and I will work. I was so hoping they were going to say no, they would stay. I was a mess the whole 10 days they were gone and was trying to make arrangments for my son.I became so resentful and never got over the inconsideration.Any way thanks for letting me vent.Well wishes to you all
Posted: February 19, 2012 at 10:47 AM
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Veronica A.
Thanks for the advice!
Posted: January 23, 2012 at 11:40 AM
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Tina T.
From a working mother's perspective...
I will agree with all the points above .. however, nannies should always remember, parents will always act upon the interest of the children. Nannies should respect that fact and NOT view parents actions as "Getting in the way". I doubt there are parents out there that purposely do something just to piss of the nanny. Seriously, what would the parents hope to achieve?
Posted: January 20, 2012 at 9:36 PM
Carolyn M.
I love this article. Excellent reminders!
Posted: December 23, 2011 at 12:25 PM
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Diane A.
I am a care giver/nanny. I was caring for a beautiful, sweet toddler girl. Her mother saw how hard I worked and it was too much for me. I would stay 10 hours +, although I was paid for working 10 hours. She'd have me do dishes/cook, do laundry/change beds, sweep/vacuum, besides the childcare (feed,bathe,change diapers, play, stories, sing, walk to the park and lots of lifting...) I loved and treated this little girl as if she were my very own, in her mother's absence-probably better. I don't mean to say that her mother didn't love her, just that she didn't seem to give her much 1:1 special time, like reading, singing and playing with her. This mother wanted me to "live in", but keep the relationship strictly on a business basis (hard to do when you're a part of a family dynamics). If I had moved in, I would not get paid, because I would be living there for free, plus I could buy all the groceries for the three of us. She was upset because I couldn't commit to going on a Hawaii vacation (6 months in advance) to care for her child, while she was in seminars (business related). I needed to find a F/T job with benefits, in addition to this week-end child care job. I feared being physically able to do all the lifting of the child and belongings for 2 weeks, as one day a week took its tole on me to lift up and down stairs, in and out of high chair, crib, stroller, car seat, slides and swings, etc., let alone living in the home and going up and down stairs every day. I worked every Sunday and Sat. and Sun at least once a month. I had to tell this mother that I couldn't come two days in a row and work as hard as I had the day before. After 8 months, I chose to leave this job to be present with grandchildren being born. The mother wanted a aupair. After the two births, I e-mailed to see what her situation was and I offered to resume or just be a back up, if she was happy with the new care giver. She said, "I like you very much. I don't have a "live in", but I wouldn't hire you back, because it might lead to disappointment again. You used us as stepping stones to go another direction." I was insulted. I LOVED and CARED for her little daughter. I worked over time, without extra pay, often. I worked extra when her child was ill. I used my own money to constantly buy her clothes. Mostly, I gave her daughter ME! I couldn't live on $150./week from her, nor on the $600./mo. combined when I worked another week day care job (4 over nights for $150./week. I miss this little girl so much that I would like to at least take her to the park, without pay, but it doesn't feel good that this mother thinks I used them...I still need a paying job.

The above articles/comments were very informative.

From a care givers perspective...
Posted: November 05, 2011 at 11:01 PM
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Loren P.
I really enjoyed this article! I think that this is a two way street and we as nannies should realize that our "bosses" are people before they are parents. This is a big LIFE lesson: Clear expectations, caring, sharing, showing others that they are appreciated and respecting when one speaks up for their beliefs. These are the principles that we as people should be practicing as well as teaching the kids we care for. Great article care.com.
Posted: November 04, 2011 at 1:34 PM
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Carroll O.
Thank you for the thoughtful article. I agree.
Posted: October 03, 2011 at 7:20 PM
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Claudine N.
Great article, I wish most parents could read this.No amount of money is a lot for someone who spends 10 hour a day/ 50 hours a week to care for your most precious being on earth. PLEASE KEEP THEM COMING!

Thank you.
Posted: September 30, 2011 at 2:56 PM
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Teresa E.
This is sound advice, thank you for sharing it!
Posted: September 29, 2011 at 6:55 AM
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Amanda H.
This is very helpful!! Thank you!!
Posted: September 14, 2011 at 6:27 PM
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Jodi R.
I really enjoyed the article! We currently have a live in nanny and have been having a lot of issues with her (almost to the point of letting her go). She has a great personality but is in NO way a self-starter or motivated to do anything at all but basically watch our daughter when I ask. We have a unique situation and she respects that but it is so hard to get her to do anything and it is even specifically outlined what her duties are in our contract and meeting notes. I say thank you and praise her every opportunity I get but that is almost never. We took her with us to a major aquarium with all the perks added on to our visit and she never even offered a thank you (we did not have her watch or care even for a minute for our child while we were there). My military husband and I pride ourselves on being an open, honest, caring, and really fun and young couple but remember families can also be taken advantage of too!
Posted: August 25, 2011 at 5:45 PM
Photo of Carmen B.
Carmen B.
I had the best Mom in California, her tips were 50s and 100s and she always told me that she was happy and peace at work because I was taking care of her twins. Always told me how she appreciated my work too.
It was very hard to leave her and the twins. Her farewell gift to me was 4 framed pictures of her girls with a note on one picture that said "We Love You".
Another big blessing from God.
Posted: August 24, 2011 at 4:20 PM
Michele L.
I've had one family in my 20+ yrs of childcare treat me with this kind of respect and dignity. Good families ate hard to find!
Posted: July 30, 2011 at 3:51 PM
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Cindie C.
Great families with the right attitude. I shared this article on my own Facebook page so all my families I babysit/nanny for can see it!
Posted: July 29, 2011 at 4:12 AM
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Eve R.
Great ideas... And as for the Nanny who uses the microwave, just throw out the thing... microwaves are now proven to zap most nutrients out of food and milk!
Posted: July 21, 2011 at 12:03 PM
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Angie B.
I love being a nanny and have been blessed with nothing but great families!
Posted: July 18, 2011 at 2:45 PM
Jani M.
AMEN TO ALVINA AND MAHALO!!!!

1. Expectations- These things could be made and clear, but as soon as you state that then many feel as if it's a hard line between #6. Picking battles and #7 speaking up about big issues. Every person is different, so perceptions are different thus a message and comment board on this and plenty of sites. Even when you state what you expect even if minor you may still end up with major issues. It depends on the individual.

2. Care--really care--about your nanny- You must always draw a line between employer and employee relationships, you must care but assure that you aren't taken advantage of yourself as a parent. Example: There are parents that have stated that their sitter(s) called off ill, yet brag about a great time she had with her girls the night she was supposed to work. There are Plenty examples out there. Many whom have jobs with sick leave have known that even themselves they may have taken advantage at times were they weren't ill. You may care for their health but ensure it isn't a habit as I do when I know I have work at a certain time I arrange my appointments around such hours. When ill I actually call in.

3. Pamper her (NEGATIVE)-(DISAGREE TOTALLY) (Optional) - The quality of work one does shouldn't be based on what they receive or expect to receive this should be something that was stated Optional. I personally have done these things and gained nothing in return and when gained something basic felt it was the best under the circumstances. On the other end I have given many things to my care provider out of pure love that my family has had for our care provider. If you feel need or are able to give than give.

4. Don't get in her way- The example above may ring true for some, but on that same acknowledgement you must acknowledge that; what works for some does not work for all. Parent and Care provider should work as a team, don't define that what works for her kids will work for yours because I've seen some and many do things I'd never do with my children and where others may look the other way you are doing a disservice to your child by doing so. COMMUNICATE with your care provider, because children are learning from a Village of individuals.

5. Be generous- (NEGATIVE) (OPTIONAL) - Again as it was stated above by others this should not dictate the quality of work that one does. Some of our HARDEST that serve this country make the lease. Some happy and some not if not happy as the saying goes,"GET OUT THE KITCHEN". This may make some upset but this is one reason why we have international businesses leaving, yes everyone must make a living and live within their means and that goes for the "NANNY and CARE PROVIDERS TOO. Many who do not get taxed on their services. (?) (Yeah many aren t licensed) The quality of work should be focused on more and the work and worker than seeing how much you may make. In all honesty many will find themselves like many (UNEMPLOYED) or hard to keep a job, some commented on here and talked about PAST TENSE jobs meaning I'm sure there are a number of reasons you re not working for that family. It s ok to lower your price and not your standards. Sometimes you re blessed when you are humble. I know because I started off as a Care provider and was blessed not making a GENEROUS amount but less.

6. Pick your battles and 7. ...but do speak up about big issues. - We can agree to disagree on this issue, Sometimes not looking for battles send you into FULL WORLD WAR NUMBER 3 (WWIII). Sometimes by speaking up you aren't looking for a battle but a way to communicate and reiterate what #1 was about such as expectations. Many times some care providers become comfortable to the point that they believe it's ok to do something they otherwise wouldn't have done from the first preliminary day. If you are respectful, courteous, and professional your OPINION as the children s parent and/ or guardian should matter; while be listened to and heard.

8. Help her stay organized- (SLIGHTLY) - Help her be organized but I REFUSE to clean behind GROWN individuals. RESPECT OTHERS AS YOU HAVE THEM WANT TO RESPECT YOU.

There are many points to the Article that should be adhered to and understood, but both points of view should be made not just by those that may afford to do otherwise what others may not. Many are doing the best they can with the little they have. Sometimes articles that don t have a variable range of views send the wrong message. Be mindful that some parents do not decide to use websites such as this or other people because of some of the exact views and perceptions others stated I m taking care of your child . I d hate for a doctor to let someone die because he felt he should have been paid more. NEGATIVE I would hope and pray he does it out of a love for people and their wellness yet at the same time not taken advantage of as being a physician or as a person.

Making the point that sometimes Jobs and other things are posted to see what are the motives for others the children or the money<< Amount as anything doesn t always Quality. Communication sometimes gets broken etc. etc. Respect the person you work for and respect those that work for you.
I worked as a Care provider and when the blessing and opportunity I moved on to many other blessings and opportunities that came my way. Now as a parent that looks for a worker I maintained the mindset that what I did or would have wanted is, what I look for a worker as many employers do.

Wishing you all the Best!

GOD BLESS YOU ALL.
Posted: July 15, 2011 at 3:14 AM
Alvina A.
Maria; family: Mahalo's comment is 100% accurate and that is how the relationship should be when you're doing a job. Otherwise "familiness" adn more than needed "friendliness" will hinder good relationship.

We all know that we are all friends until we start living together.
Posted: July 13, 2011 at 11:44 AM
Alvina A.
Good article! But really, all generous people do these gestures. The underlying major factor is the way different people have developed psychologically. Some people are big and generous at heart and some are not (does not define them as good or bad people).

Martha's comment: A bit biased which is again natural. Few things:
1. When somebody offers less money, just refuse to do the job. If you don't have other options then being negligent with children becasue of less salry or not hearing thanks in return is no excuse (and girls like these can be caught and will spend their lives in jail). I think no woman/girl can be negligent of a child falling off stairs even if she was being given nothing. Yes I agree she will not go extra mile but please as a human after committing to a family for caring for their children, protect them from physical harm and hunger. If you need a reward for everything single thing, your clean conscience will satisfy you here as a reward.

2. Doing any type of job has its challenges. People standing in stores 8-10 hours are doing a tough job, some even worse. A nanny's job even though challenging in a variety of ways has its comforts. Even though it deserves great importance as she is taking care of kids, but please don't exploit this more than it deserves. Its a job that requires certain skills. If you have them you deserve it.
Posted: July 13, 2011 at 11:37 AM
Photo of Mahalo L.
Mahalo L.
I was a nanny for 7 years, multiple families that I felt very happy with-now I am a mom with a part-time nanny. I know that a lot of moms throw out the phrase "a nanny is part of the family, too!" but I disagree. A nanny is paid to be there-I never felt like I was part of the family, no matter how long I worked for them or how much we all enjoyed each other-it's truly an employer/employee relationship whether moms want to admit it or not. I can't remember ever hearing a nanny say "I'm feel like I'm part of the family"
Posted: July 13, 2011 at 12:55 AM
Brooke N.
I'm a parent with a child in daycare and all of this applies to our daycare provider as well, not just nannies. Of course, I think this can apply to virtually every employee/employer realationship. It's so important to just treat people well and kindly and show some appreciation for their hard work, but it's even more important when someone is caring for your child, who's value is priceless. (of course this could also be applied to husband/wife relationships too :)
Posted: July 12, 2011 at 1:43 PM
Marcia N.
Love this article!!
Posted: July 08, 2011 at 2:04 AM
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Alisha B.
I agree with most of these statements. Nannies and babysitters are two different things. I work very hard. I love the kids I nanny for. I play, create routines, teach, discipline, cook, feed, change diapers, potty train, carpool, play date, bathe..etc. You name one thing that you do for your own child and that's what I do for my families that I work for and I do it with the utmost care and respect. I am lucky enough to have a family that is one of the above mentioned rare breeds. But in return I will go out of my way to make beds and scrub toilets when I have the time. You get results for the way you treat your nanny.
Posted: July 01, 2011 at 6:48 PM
Hansa P.
this is great. thanks for the reminder. nanny is a family member not an employee.
Posted: June 29, 2011 at 1:30 AM
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Valerie D.
A lot of really good points in this article. I wish it had been here two months ago. In my particular situation, the following applied to my last place of employment:
In reference to the second paragraph of this article: If one of the parents is gone, i.e., serving a miltary tour overseas, the deployed spouse should definitely keep in touch with the nanny. This way any concerns (from either party) can be aired and misunderstandings are less likely to occur. Communication is THE most crucial aspect.
I seriously hope my former employer, (the then absent one), realizes what an impact her looking the other way was. I'll never understand that. She will never know that I was her staunchest advocate the whole time. Most of all, my heart aches for the 3 children I had grown so attached to (and vice versa)during my 15-month employment with the family.
Posted: June 20, 2011 at 2:58 AM
Linda K.
This is really helpful. I live far away from any family and have needed a sitter on occasion lately. I don't know who to trust so I'm glad I found this site it will help the next time there's an emergency.
Posted: June 17, 2011 at 3:37 PM
Photo of Leah L.
Leah L.
Good article but I would like another one on how to form a good relationship with your FAMILY! Alot of careproviders want respect and a good treatment but don't give it. Remember, yes, there are families who don't appreciate but it is not always the family's fault you work for but the attitude with whidh you enter the job. Sometimes as I have read above careproviders are self-fulfilling prophecies. If you expect every other family to be like the family that you DIDN'T get along with, ....they will be. I just don't find it fair to put all the blame on the families! The one point I have a problem with is #4. Some people who watch your children think that just because they are in a position of semi-authority that gives them the right to do WHATEVER they want with your child...remember the child you are watching is put in your care temporarily each time the parent leaves you with their child. They are trusting you that you will be KIND to their children even when administering discipline. Remember, I expect you to treat my child the way I WOULD when I am away. If I am not constantly yelling at them or over disciplining my child, I would rather that stay constant. Sending a child to time out should be enough....case closed!
Posted: June 15, 2011 at 12:44 AM
Photo of Kelly J.
Kelly J.
I love this article!

I have nannied for great families and not -so-great families over the past twelve years. The not-so- great families, I always left as soon as I could find something better. The great families, I stayed with as long as I could and often spent years with them. For one of my best families, I even relocated from the midwest, leaving my parents and community behind to move to the west coast.


Treat your nannies well! It will always be worth it for your sake and more importantly, for your children's sake.

And Ps. hire a house cleaner to clean your house. Your nanny is there for your children, not to clean your toilet.
Posted: June 14, 2011 at 9:08 PM
Tiffany C.
Great article. In addition to not leaving a note about big issues, though, they need to add "don't e-mail your nanny about big issues either." I had a client one time who was angry and e-mailed me about a very sensitive topic. Not cool!!!!
Posted: June 13, 2011 at 9:57 AM
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Jennifer M.
Very good article. As a nanny, I know I am more willing to go the extra mile for the families that show me more appreciation. It's not that I expect more money or fancy gifts but little things like birthday cards or keeping my favorite soda in the fridge make me feel valued and that the extra things I do are noticed and appreciated. I love it when the families notice small things I enjoy like a particular flavor of coffee creamer or snacks. It's a fun surprise to open the pantry and find a note on a box of my favorite crackers that says "for Jennie...Enjoy :)"
Posted: June 11, 2011 at 4:48 PM
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Susana M.
I've would of loved to read this article before. Now I know and I'll do my very best. Thank you
Posted: June 06, 2011 at 10:05 AM
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Cynthia R.
Love this article!
Posted: June 06, 2011 at 9:22 AM
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Yulissa R.
I like the article but loved what "Martha C." had to say about her experiences and I totally agree with her.
Posted: June 04, 2011 at 2:03 PM
Photo of Martha C.
Martha C.
This was a great article. I was blessed to nanny for a great military family for 8 months, until a few months ago. They were very clear about what they expected of me, which I appreciated. I often did little extras like fold the laundry, do their breakfast dishes, bought the children a small, inexpensive Christmas gift which they didn't expect and genuinely were surprised and thankful. They also usually rounded up if I worked a half hour. They gave me advances when I was having financial difficulties. They started buying the soft drink I like regularly, which they hadn't been when I started working for them. They paid me well, always expressed appreciation, and I was happy to help in any extra ways I would come across. But of all the positive feedback I received from them, the fact that they ALWAYS said "Thank You" at the end of the day, when I completed any particular task whether required of me or not, basically for anything and everything I did for them and their children. I have worked for some families in the past who handed me long lists of extensive tasks I really worked hard to complete, left nothing in the refrigerator to prepare for their children's dinner, so I bought them kids' meals out of my own pocket, which they didn't even offer to reimburse, arrived well after I was supposed to finish my shift without so much as a phone call to see if I was ok staying late, nor an apology for not calling. And what is ironic is that these unappreciative taskmasters also always seemed to be the ones who weren't even paying me a wage that reflected the workload and level of responsibility. I have my standard rates, but I have worked for lower rates to help out, spread some good karma, yet it is very disheartening to not even receive at least a simple "thank you" for the high quality of care for their children I provide them with, especially when I am also doing them the favor of working for a lower rate to help them out.

Please, if your nanny is doing a great job TELL HER SO! If there are things you'd like done differently, let her know what she is doing great at, and politely explain your wishes for any changes you'd like to see made. If she receives praise for her good work, she is more likely to want to strive to meet and exceed your expectations in areas that need change or improvement.

And please, I'm sorry if this sounds insensitive, but if you say you are trying to find "affordable" childcare, and you have 2,3, even 6 children, even 1 for that matter, and you list the pay you are offering as $5/hour...are you really expecting to find quality care for your children? $5/hr is below even minimum wage, so the best you can expect is a teenager under 16, the legal age to work, perhaps someone who doesn't mind receiving $20-40 a day, but will likely be on the phone, internet, watching TV, or rolling around on your couch with a boyfriend while your baby cries from hunger and a wet diaper, or your older children chat with child predators on the internet, fall down the stairs after running around unsupervised, etc. Perhaps a family member, or someone who is practicing charity and doesn't really need the money would work for $5/hr, maybe an illegal alien..otherwise..I am sorry but what are you expecting to find for that pay? I do empathize with families in dire financial situations. I am the oldest of 4 siblings, my parents divorced when I was 8, and my mom worked long hours to support us, so by the time I was 9, I was the family babysitter, pretty much raising my younger brothers and sister, at that time 5, 4, and 1. I know the law in TX doesn't allow children to be home alone without someone at least 13 years of age. So latch-key kids, like I was, are not only lacking the safety of adult supervision, but if reported to Child Protective Services, parents can face fines, prosecution, even the loss of custody of their own children. If you are in dire straits financially, please look into local, county, state programs that help with subsidies for childcare, provide licensed and certified childcare facilities especially for low income families. I know TX has several programs, there are federal tax incentives, there ARE resources. I'd be wary at the least to leave my child with someone who will work for $5 an hour. Please think about that and explore other avenues. You have to do the research. The help won't come looking for you, but it is available.
Posted: June 02, 2011 at 11:58 AM
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Adriana G.
Fantastic Article!! Thank you, Care.com!
Posted: June 01, 2011 at 8:54 PM
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Ana C.
As a nanny, I went above and beyond my duties. That was just my personality.I have learned to scale back because I HAVE been taken advatage of in the past. Things came to be expected of me and here, I was just trying to be nice whenever I had a few minutes of free time during the kids' naps. Then when I left the job to move on the family asked me what they should look for in a replcement since I was so "great" as they wondered how they'd ever find another m"e". I told them if they find someone who goes above and beyond their duties, make sure to notice and say thank you. It makes a world of difference to be appreciated. Especially when you do things because your doing it out of kindness.
Posted: May 18, 2011 at 11:05 PM
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Mary W.
This was helpful hints for parents and nannies alike I hope to be a nanny I haven't been one yet. It sounds like something that I can do
Posted: May 18, 2011 at 11:09 AM
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Mary W.
This was helpful
Posted: May 18, 2011 at 11:06 AM
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Tiah K.
Points 1 and 4 are imperative!
The rest are fine and all but if you are paying your nanny well for a job well done then just let her do her job and all should be well...And don't forget it is her job-hence why you should pay her well, so she will be happy to stay working with you!

As a side note: your nanny can buy her own bath salts...if you really want to be generous and want her to know how much she deserves her a treat get her a gift certificate for a massage!
Posted: April 28, 2011 at 3:56 AM
Photo of Melissa F.
Melissa F.
Very helpful... :)
Posted: April 25, 2011 at 8:57 PM
Tarah S.
Well composed. Fair and equitable from both ends in working to make everyone happy. Most importantly the children residing in a more peaceful home. Thank you Care.com
Posted: April 16, 2011 at 2:50 PM
Photo of Bonnie L.
Bonnie L.
I loved this article. Then I read the comments. Maybe if you want your family to read it you should send her a link to this page. However, i suppose if this is not like your family/ nanny dynamics, chances are it never will be. The economy is a tough thing for everyone. I believe that moms and dads with nanny's are taxed too. But most of all, I believe that we have to love and care for every child everyday as we would if everything in this article were true in our circumstance. :)
Posted: April 15, 2011 at 1:42 AM
Anne A.
This is a great article. I wish the family that I work for would read this. Thanks Care.com.
Posted: April 14, 2011 at 1:53 PM
Photo of Ethel C.
Ethel C.
I WISH THIS PARENT ETIQUETE WAS READ BY MORE PARENTS THAN NANNIES!! IT REALLY MAKES SENSE, I LOVE IT!!
It makes more sense to keep your employees happy and know they will make the effort to work harder for you because you're a great boss, specially when they are in charge of your kids and your house, than having a nanny that will talk about you behind your back, be always on the lookout for something better, not feeling like a part of the family, and not feeling appreciated for all the hard work she puts in.
In reality, if you have kids you'll always need someone to HELP, be your friend and take care and love your kids, and why not show them your appreciation, in the long run you and your kids will get the bigger benefits!!
Posted: April 14, 2011 at 2:02 AM
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Marie France N.
I like the Article...
Posted: March 30, 2011 at 3:51 PM
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Theresa G.
I think it is great all mom with nanny should read this love it love it
Posted: March 25, 2011 at 2:50 PM
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Shirley J.
I really like this article!! Keep them coming please.
Posted: March 15, 2011 at 9:57 PM
Anna W.
I like this.
Posted: March 02, 2011 at 10:55 AM
Hemangi
Nice Article.
Posted: February 26, 2011 at 8:14 AM
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