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Oh No, My Nanny Is Leaving

Dr. Robi Ludwig
Dec. 11, 2017

How to prepare for a healthy transition.

It's a day most mothers and fathers would rather not think about: The day when you have to say goodbye to your trusted nanny and bring someone new and unknown into the home. Working moms who have nannies often rely on them to make their family lives run smoothly. It's what I like to call a healthy co-dependant relationship: We need them, they need us. The impact of losing a beloved nanny can be stressful on the parents but can also be devastating for the kids.

So when the day comes that your nanny needs to leave or chooses to leave, the feelings can be quite intense and overwhelming for everyone involved. And when this happens, the question and focus quickly becomes, how can we make this transition as healthy as possible for the kids?

Transitions can be especially challenging for young children, who by nature, are not very fond of change (But who really is?!). Being able to form strong relationships is one of the most important traits a child can develop. These early connections and emotional attachments allow children to establish healthy interpersonal connections later in life. Interestingly, some studies show that people who were very attached to their caregivers when they were children, had an easier time developing important, intimate relationships when they were older.

No matter how young your child is, it's important to recognize his or her feelings of loss. If your child tells you that he or she misses the former nanny, it's okay to let your child know that you miss her too. It's also appropriate to show your child that your old nanny was and still is an important person in your family's life. You certainly don't want to send the message that people are disposable. There are lots of different yet effective ways to acknowledge your former nanny. One way is to look at pictures of your child and her together. Another is to allow him or her an opportunity to talk about all of the fun things the two of them use to do together. And if this nanny lives near by, you may even want to arrange occasional visits to reconnect.

To help make the transition to a new nanny successful consider the following recommendations:

And finally

  1. If your child is old enough, let him or her take part in the selection process of choosing the new nanny. Ask your child for his or her opinion; include the child to be a part of the interview. Kids can be quite astute at sizing people up, especially ones who do and don't like them.

  2. Once you've chosen a new nanny, let her know the details about your child's preferences and routine.

  3. Set a positive relationship in motion, even before your new nanny starts to officially watch your child. For example, you may want to invite her to spend time with you and your family so she can get a feel for your child. Let your child see that you like the new caregiver by praising her appropriately.
  4. Let your child know that he or she will do some of the same fun things with the new nanny, but that the new nanny is her own person with a different personality, which he may find equally surprising and loveable.

The good news is, love is not finite. Your child can and will hopefully love and connect to lots of different, great people in his or her life. So, this nanny transition experience is the perfect place to learn this important life lesson - how to love and grow attached to the new and important people who come into and flow through your life.

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