Change can be hard. Especially if a beloved caregiver is moving on or needs to be let go.
Transitioning to a new nanny adds a few wrinkles as it involves your children, their emotions, and a possible attachment to their previous caregiver. It can be less challenging with enough time, good communication, and recognizing your child’s feelings.
Here are some tips that can help ease the transition for you, your children, and your new nanny.
1. Acknowledge your child’s emotions
Your child likely developed special bonds with their nanny. Even though they are a paid employee, a caregiver can become more like a family member.
That is s a good thing!
You want a caregiver who is loving and one that your child will trust. That also makes it difficult when the nanny they’ve grown to know and love leaves and is replaced by someone else. Younger children may not understand that caregivers may come and go. It disrupts their sense of permanence.
Here are some ways to handle your child’s separation sadness.
Also, know that children are resilient and they’ll acclimate to a new caregiver.
If your nanny has left on good terms, your children could keep in touch or even spend time together on visits. There is no reason to end the relationship permanently just because a departing caregiver is no longer working for you.
2. Watch for any changes in your child’s behavior
Experts say that your children may experience behavioral changes for up to six months after a nanny leaves. They may regress with potty-training and/or start having tantrums.
Keep an eye out for any of these behavioral changes, offer emotional support, and help your children talk about their feelings.
You could have your children write a note or draw a picture for their departing caregiver. If they have difficulty verbally expressing their feelings, writing, or drawing may help them process their emotions.
When a new nanny is on board, there may be some pushback from your child. That does not mean you hired the wrong caregiver. It is likely your child is still working through some emotions of the transition.
3. Manage your own emotions
It was tough enough to find a nanny you liked and trusted to care for your children. Now they are leaving and you need to go through the hiring process all over again. Feelings of frustration, stress, and possibly anger may take over. You need to rise above these emotions and set an example for your children to follow. They are looking to you for help and guidance on how to react and treat people.
Focus on the positives of your departing nanny even if you are having negative thoughts about them. Talk about fun memories and how they cared for the family and helped around the house. Say that you’ll miss your nanny too.
How you treat the nanny who is leaving will impact how your children will adapt to a new caregiver. If you are angry over the departure, your new nanny may not be welcomed with open arms by your children. Remaining positive and showing that you still care for the old nanny will help ease the transition to a new caregiver for your children.
4. Find the right time to transition nannies
Families may move from a full-time nanny to an after-school caregiver when their children are ready to start school. However, this may be a bad time to change caregivers. Going to school for the first time can be stressful enough for kids. Now they need to watch a beloved nanny leave. That can be too much change.
If possible, wait a few months after school starts to move on to an after-school nanny. Or make the transition in late spring or early summer so your children can adapt to that change before heading to school.
5. Set a time for your current nanny to train a new caregiver
It is not always possible but try to have some time – could be a few days or a week – when your departing nanny can “show the ropes” to your incoming caregiver. Obviously, if you need to fire your nanny or they leave on bad terms, you will not have this luxury. But with some notice – this should be in your nanny contract – you may be able to create a transition period. This overlap will help your children ease into a new caregiver while having someone who is familiar with them.
During this time, your current nanny can help introduce the new caregiver to neighbors, other families and their nannies, and your children’s friends.
If there is not an opportunity for a training period between nannies, a parent could stay home for a couple of days to help with the transition.
When your new nanny is on their own for the first time with your children – with or without this shadowing period – plan some fun and exciting activities they can do together to help with their bonding.
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