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5 Signs Your Child Hates the Nanny

Megan Horst-hatch
July 24, 2017

From talking to observing, here's how to find out why your little one doesn't like your nanny.

For many families, a nanny can provide nurturing and support for children. But what do you do if your child announces she doesn't like her nanny?

Becky Kavanagh, co-president of the International Nanny Association and a nanny with more than 22 years experience, advises talking directly to your nanny. Cleveland, Ohio, blogger Lindsay Gillis, of From Nanny to Family, is a former nanny who has hired a nanny for her step-daughters. Gillis emphasized keeping communication open can go a long way in the relationship a family has with the nanny.

How can parents tell if their child doesn't like the nanny? This is difficult, especially if your child isn't yet able to verbalize their unhappiness. However, look for these signs, which may indicate your child isn't fond of your nanny.

  1. Watch for Strong Change in Behaviour
    "If your child is normally happy, but suddenly seems withdrawn, then something's not right. Anything that's not their usual behavior is something to worry about," Kavanagh says. Watch for any changes in your child's normal behavior. Is your daughter suddenly throwing temper tantrums or does she seem quieter than usual? These might be indications she's unhappy with her nanny, and you should take her complaints seriously.

  2. Notice When Your Child Doesn't Want You to Leave
    While it's natural for children to prefer to be with their parents, you should take notice of any strong signs your child doesn't want to be alone with the nanny. According to Kavanagh, your child might be trying to tell you he dislikes the nanny if he hides when the nanny arrives, pretends to be sick as a ploy to get you to stay home or can't wait to see the nanny leave. "Parents should be really concerned if their child doesn't want to be alone with the nanny," she says. "If that's the case, see what's going on." 

  3. Be Aware If Your Child Tries to Undermine the Nanny's Authority
    If your child refuses to help the nanny clean up toys or won't listen to the nanny's instructions, it could be a sign your child doesn't respect the nanny's authority -- and possibly dislikes the nanny. If that's the case, it's possible your child thinks the nanny is too strict. As a solution, consider reviewing the family's rules with the nanny and agree on acceptable tasks for your child to complete. In addition, remind your child to respect the nanny and to follow her directions.

  4. Listen to Your Child's Complaints
    Older children can bluntly tell you if they don't like the nanny, so talk to them and determine what exactly they mean. "Older children tend to be set in their ways," Kavanagh suggests. "They might say they don't like a nanny, but it could mean they just don't like that the new nanny has a different way of doing things."

  5. Observe Whether a Bond Develops
    "The first few weeks with a new nanny are hard for kids," Gillis says. It takes time to establish the nanny-child bond, and all sides -- you, your child and the nanny -- must give the relationship time as you adjust to the new dynamic. However, if your child still isn't comfortable with the nanny after a month or two, it might be a sign your child truly dislikes her and it might be time to explore other options. 

Now what? Learn What to Do If Your Child Hates the Nanny 

Megan Horst-Hatch is a writer, mother, runner, baker, gardener, knitter and other words that end in "-er." Her work can be found here.

User in Visalia, CA
Sept. 15, 2014

I would like to add something to this: if there is a change within the family, it is so important to include the children so they know what is going on and don't feel they are somehow responsible. Example: one family I worked with, the father grew ill, and was not able to interact with the children as much. As a result, the middle child lashed out at me because no one had taken the time to sit down and talk with him about his father being sick. Just as communication is important between a family and the nanny, it's even more important with the children of the family.

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