There is an old adage that says that two of the most stressful events in your life are divorce and moving house; well that person has probably never had a nanny leave suddenly!
Because let’s face it, your nanny takes care of the most important things in your life, your children, and anything that can affect their welfare can leave you in a blind panic and heading for a meltdown.
Of course, the best cause of action is to stay calm and consider how best to deal with the situation. Although very wise words, it’s just not that simple when you have a million and one questions whizzing around your head. So hopefully the following answers will answer some of your many questions:
Is there anything I can do to stop it? - Although possibly too late anyway, don’t try and get them to stay. Letting them go is the best thing, as an unhappy nanny doesn’t work for anyone.
What and when should I tell the kids? - The best way to help children face significant change is to let them know what is happening, as soon as possible. When parents try to delay telling the news, they often underestimate how sensitive children are to parental preoccupation and tension. Remember, children will look to their parents for clues about how to react.
How can I make it as easy as possible? - Again it’s possibly already too late, and you’re probably raging inside, but as nice and smooth an exit will benefit everyone.
Ask them to talk to the kids to reassure your children that it is nothing to do with them and that they enjoyed being with them. Allow the children, if they want to, to keep in touch somehow; perhaps with an occasional email, skype, or even visit. If the nanny has already departed ask the children to write to them, even if you have no intention of posting the letter. For younger children, they can draw them a picture.
Whilst all very difficult for a let-down parent, taking these steps helps children process things.
Can I try to see it as a life lesson for the kids and me? - Yes this might feel a step too far at first, but dealing with change teaches all of us resilience, as does learning to say goodbye to someone. Life lessons are good!
Will my kids ever love another nanny? - The simple answer is, of course they will and in fact, there’s always the chance that a new nanny might be a better fit for all the family.
Will I ever find a replacement? - Again, the simple answer is yes, and the replacement may even be better, because they may be happier. It will take some time, but the time invested will be worth it. You will have to accept that you will need to take the time to work with the new nanny and the children, or you could find yourselves in the same predicament again, sooner than you would like.
How can I not let it affect the next nanny? - Try not to let how the previous nanny left determine how the new one is received. Nor do parents want the previous nanny’s departure to complicate the job of the next nanny. It’s a difficult balance to attain but can be achieved.
The main thing to remember is, that you will get through this.