How to Talk to Your Child When Your Nanny Situation Changes

Telling a child that his or her beloved Nanny will be leaving their life can be a tough situation for parents to face. But the fact is that life is fluid and situations change. Some Nannies leave when faced with tough choices about reduced hours when children start school. Other times a change in the parents’ financial situation requires that a Nanny be let go. Or perhaps a Nanny is simply moving out of town, going back to school or getting married and having a family of her own. Whatever the reason, how do you help your child recover from the loss of a beloved Nanny?

Children under the age of three probably won’t have much difficulty adjusting to their life after the Nanny has left. But how much and when should older children be told about these events? As a rule of thumb, children should not be involved in the process until the adults have made their decision.

If your Nanny must leave, you should tell your child, either with the Nanny present or initially alone with your child and then with all the adults together. Explain as much as possible and in an age-appropriate way, the reasons why your Nanny is leaving. Reassure your child that it’s not his or her fault that the Nanny will no longer be in their daily life, and let your child know that he or she can still maintain a relationship with the Nanny through letters and occasional visits if the Nanny agrees. Taking these steps will reassure your child that you are in charge of the decision and that all adults will support him or her through their own transition of saying goodbye to their Nanny.

After your Nanny has gone, pay attention to your child for signs of sadness or withdrawal. Talk to your child and find our how he or she is feeling without their Nanny around. Explain that while it’s perfectly natural and OK to miss the old Nanny, it’s also OK to have fun and to create a special relationship with a new one.

Photo credit: Leonid Mamchenkov/flickr

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