After going through the hassle of finding and securing the perfect in-home childcare provider, navigating through the adjustment phase and watching your children learn to love and trust their nanny, the last thing you want to do is let her go. The old adage holds that all good things must come to an end, though, and your working relationship with an incredible nanny is no exception. Children grow up, family dynamics evolve and the need for a nanny becomes less urgent. While you may not want to face the inevitable, these are 10 signs that you’ve outgrown your nanny.
- All of Your Kids are Attending Full Day School – When you have one child that’s still staying at home all day and older ones that are in school, you can still justify the expense of keeping a full-time nanny on the payroll. If you’re home from work before school lets out and your youngest is starting full-time classes, it may be a sign that you’ve outgrown the need for a full-time childcare provider. You may still need her on a part-time or seasonal basis, but that’s likely not enough to justify her current salary or maintain her financial needs. However, for families who need consistent back-up care when school is closed and regular household help, keeping a nanny on can be a good solution.
- Her Hours Have Steadily Dwindled – As kids get older and become more active outside the home, nannies’ schedules begin to become less hectic. If your nanny’s hours have dwindled to the point that working for you is no longer financially feasible, it’s a good indicator that your family is outgrowing her.
- She’s a Newborn Care Specialist, and Your Child is a Preschooler – Some nannies are adept at working with kids of any age, while others specialize in infants and toddlers. If you know that you hired a newborn care specialist and your child is getting ready to start preschool, your child has outgrown the area of your nanny’s specialization.
- The Eldest Sibling is Capable of Babysitting – While it’s never a good idea to leave kids under the care of a sitter that’s too young and inexperienced to handle the responsibility, it’s more reasonable from a financial standpoint to let your nanny go when your eldest child is a teenager who’s capable of watching a younger sibling for an hour or so during the gap when school ends and you get home. Just be sure that your teen is mature enough and willing to accept the responsibility, as your younger kids may be neglected by an older sibling who resents having to look after them.
- Your Youngest is Old Enough to Look After Himself – Watching kids grow up and steadily become more independent is bittersweet. On one hand, it’s proof that you and your nanny have made a successful team, and that your child is growing into a capable and mature little person. On the other, it’s also proof that your little one is growing up, a fact that’s never easy to accept. When your youngest child has officially reached an age and maturity in which it’s acceptable for him to be left alone, he may not be too keen on the idea of still being cared for by a nanny.
- Activities and Classes Keep Kids Away from Home – Today’s kids have schedules that are almost as full as their parents. If your youngsters are out of the home until you return and your nanny’s spending most of her day ferrying them back and forth to their various programs, it may be better to look into carpool collectives than to continue keeping your nanny on staff as a chauffeur.
- She’s On Empty at the End of the Day – Older kids can drain childcare providers in a way that infants and toddlers don’t, and can be too much of a challenge for some nannies. It’s normal to be worn out at the end of the day, but if you feel that your nanny simply isn’t up to the challenge of keeping up with your active tots, it may be time to part ways so that you can find one more suited to the age group of your brood.
- You’re Struggling to Keep Her Occupied – When kids spend most of their time at school or activities, your nanny’s schedule is wide open. It’s tempting to pile on the household chores, but remember that your nanny is a childcare provider, not a housekeeper. She’s probably not satisfied with cleaning your empty house all day, and moving on to another post with kids of a more appropriate age may be the best answer for her.
- Your Family Dynamic Has Changed – Outgrowing your nanny doesn’t have to mean that your kids are too old for her. It can mean that your family has changed and grown in a way that doesn’t leave much demand for her services. If you or your partner has transitioned to working from home or you’re no longer working outside of the home, it may be time to consider letting her move on to a family who needs her.
- Your Own Schedule Has Changed – Professional demands can change, and those changes can leave your need for a nanny significantly diminished. Coming to terms with the fact that you’ve outgrown your nanny may be difficult or even painful, especially if you’ve established a close relationship. Still, it’s best for everyone involved if you part ways so that she can move on to a more fulfilling position and you can save a bundle on her salary.
Just because your family has outgrown a nanny doesn’t mean that she’s outgrown her need for a salary, so be sure that you provide her with ample notice to find a new position and consider a generous severance package for her time of service to your family.