Lisa Tabachnick @LisaTabachnick

Don't Poach My Nanny

What to do if your nanny or babysitter is "stolen" away

You wake up on a Monday morning ready for a big cuppa coffee and a brand new day.??You and your husband busily get the children fed and dressed, arrange snacks and meals, tidy up the house and the dishes and wait for your nanny to arrive so everyone can begin their day. Once your nanny arrives, something seems amiss: she's not as cheerful or vibrant as usual.??You ask her if anything is up and receive this dreaded response: "Someone's offered me another job."

Whether another parent in the ?hood has actually "poached" your nanny--that is, offered her a job knowing that she currently works for another family--or your nanny went out and made the connection on her own, no parent-employer likes to be hit with this kind of news. What do you do when this happens to you?

Counter the offer

If you are pleased with your nanny's performance, you may want to try to win her back.??Have an honest conversation about any issues she may have working for you (preferably when the kids are not around).??Is it the new salary that's more appealing? The hours? The commute? The chores? Find out why your nanny feels a new job will be better and see if you can counter the offer.?? If you can afford to pay her more money, offer it.??If that's not an option, you may be able to be more flexible with her hours: perhaps she can leave early on Fridays or use the kids' nap period as an extended break.

Be creative

This solution is more complicated but could work with the right arrangements. If your nanny has found a new job with evening hours or after school only, and your family can deal with mornings only, you may be able to put together a nanny-share arrangement.??Many nannies would love the opportunity to work two jobs (without getting burned out, of course) and make extra money.?? Speak with your nanny and the other family (if at all possible) to work out a win-win arrangement.??If you or your partner can make a change in working hours--say, work from home certain days of the week or work in the evenings after the children have gone to sleep, it may help the situation.

Speak with the "poachers"

If you're really peeved, you might want to chat with the poachers and explain your side of the story. The poachers are the people/person who spied your nanny at the park and approached her about working for them.??Good nannies are hard to find and having someone offer your nanny a new position on the sly is not exactly ethical--especially if the culprit is a friend or neighbor.??On the other hand, caregivers are just like any other employee: they want a position with great hours, kind and loyal employers, well-behaved charges, a diverse workday, and of course, the best pay possible.??

Let her go

Once you've had an opportunity to think about the situation, you might decide that it's best to let your current nanny go and either find another caregiver or consider a new arrangement altogether. If your nanny has already conversed with the new potential employer, chances are that she's not interested in working with your family any longer.??And, if she's gone behind your back to do all this, you may feel that she's not the best person to care for your children. Unfortunately, nanny poaching is all too common.??It's hard to deal with--especially when children's loyalties are involved.

Whatever you and your family decide, do your best to stay calm and rational and to keep your children's best interests in mind.??Try to see it as an opportunity to creatively reassess your family's needs. offers interim and temporary babysitters for hire. This may be the best route to take before a final decision is made about hiring a new long-term caregiver, such as a nanny.


Oldest comments are listed first

  • We all know that you always want what you don't have and the same goes for employers. It seems like when I am in a contract with a family, that is when every one comes out of the woodwork offering me \

  • I agree 100% Kelly M.

  • Being a nanny is just like any other job! You may LOVE the one you have, but really need the extra pay, or fewer hours, or even just a change of pace. Often, it is hard on both parties, but everything happens for a reason! At the very least, be happy that you hired such an enviable nanny!

  • The truth is this: If a nanny is well paid, well appreciated and happy, they won't leave. But if they are under paid, treated as a servant, disrespected, they will find something better. I would rather work with a family that is professional and courteous as opposed to one that constantly cancels, is not honest about situations and uses me and takes advantage of me

  • I hired an experienced part time special needs sitter early this month as an afterschool sitter for my special needs son. All's been going well but then this week she out of the blue asked for a substantial pay increase. We are only 3 weeks into the school year and she already wanted a,raise. The pay amount I posted on the initial job posting I thought was a reasonable starting plus she posted that she would work for that same pay range in her profile. I did offer to pay her more but I strongly suspect she is being poached by another mom with a better pay offer. I am really stressed right now because I am a seperated basically a,single parent, I work part time and am the sole provider for my son. If she leaves I feel I am being left in the lurch. Very frustrating and stressful and I'm not sure what I'll do if she leaves when the school year just started.

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