How a Nanny Can Help Your Kids During Your Divorce
You and your spouse have decided to divorce. When do you tell your kids (and their nanny)? How will your divorce affect the employment of your nanny? Can your nanny help during the transition that is your divorce? Read on for information.
It’s best to share basic information about your divorce as soon as you are certain that a divorce will occur. Tell your nanny before you tell your kids. Provide her with the information you wish her to give your kids when they speak with her about what they are thinking and feeling during this transition. Ask her to keep you informed of how your kids are doing (i.e., are they feeling ok or apprehensive?). As you communicate with your nanny, bear in mind that this is still an employment relationship between employer and nanny: if you begin confiding in your nanny, speaking ill of your soon-to-be-ex-spouse, trying to be the favored parent in your nanny’s eyes, or using your nanny as a communications liaison between you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse, your relationship with your nanny will become strained at a time when you most need your nanny. It is best to keep the relationship professional. Additionally, you will need to communicate how the divorce will affect her employment. Will she maintain full-time employment but divide that employment between the homes of the two divorced parents? Will she become part-time because one parent will hire his/her own nanny? These issues need to be decided as soon as possible: uncertainties are difficult for both your nanny and your kids. You will need to revise your nanny contract and submit it to her for signatures anew.
After you have spoken to your nanny, you can then speak with your kids. Speak gently about your soon-to-be-ex-spouse as s/he is still your kids’ parent. Let your kids know with as much clarity as possible how the divorce will affect them. For example, where each parent will live, when the kids will get to see each parent, how their things (clothes, toys, etc.) will be divided between two households, how they’ll get to see their friends when they are staying in a different home, etc. State and demonstrate that you love your kids very much. Let your kids know that you are available to speak with them when they want to talk about the divorce. Then, let your kids think and feel through their transition. Maintain as much consistency as possible throughout the transition. Don’t begin over-spending on your kids, use your kids as a communication liaison between you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse, or engage in a competition with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse about who can be the favorite parent. And rely on your nanny to provide additional nurturing and reassurance for your kids.
In your kids’ world, where everything is changing, a consistent, loving nanny is a comfort in a scary place. A nanny also helps reinforce the message that you want your kids to receive about the divorce. In sum, your nanny is a god-send.