Saying Goodbye to Your Beloved Summer Nanny
Many families with school-aged children have full-time summer nannies and part-time school-year nannies. Summer nannies, typically college students, usually work from May or June through August or September. When children return to school each autumn, the part-time school-year nannies return to work. For many families, the same two nannies return to their homes each season, year after year. This provides a stable set of caregivers for children, summer nannies have wonderful summer jobs that they can depend on from year to year, and school-year nannies have opportunities for summer vacations. It’s a win for everyone involved . . . but every plan needs solid preparation in order for it to function properly.
What do you do to prepare for the departure of your beloved summer nanny? You have three considerations: your children, the outgoing nanny, and the incoming nanny. You need to prepare your children for the departure of their beloved summer nanny while simultaneously preparing them to receive their new nanny with an open mind and heart. You will want to send off your departing nanny in a way that will foster continued relationships between her and your children and ensure that she knows that your family cares for and values her. You will also need to recruit, interview, screen, and hire a new nanny, and prepare for her arrival.
Are departing gifts appropriate? Yes. Common gifts include gift cards to her favorite retailers, a cash bonus, gifts hand made by your children, a framed photograph of your children, and paid transportation to her destination community (i.e., airfare to her college town). Another gift that you can give your departing nanny is a glowing letter of recommendation: it may not have cash value, but it may be priceless nonetheless.
How do you help your children prepare for and then cope with the absence of their beloved summer nanny? Let your children know that their beloved nanny will be leaving, as well as when and why she will be leaving. If she will return again next summer, tell them that as well. Encourage open conversation between you and your children, and between the nanny and your children, so that the children can come to terms with what is happening. Once the departure has happened, comfort your children. Spend extra time with them. Listen to them talk about what they’re thinking/feeling. If possible, keep the lines of communication open between your children and the nanny. For example, you may help your children write letters to your nanny. Or you may help them place periodic calls to her. Minimize the number and size of any other changes that may be happening to or around your children during this time.
How do you prepare for a new nanny? Assuming you have already hired a new nanny, the steps you need to take to prepare for her arrival include: preparing a room for her (if she is to be a live-in nanny), preparing an employment contract and job description, assembling the necessary employment documents (W-4, Form I-9, etc.), making sure that all necessary information (contact telephone numbers, etc.) are all in easy-to-find locations, and preparing an orientation/training checklist (which includes your expectations regarding a nanny log and periodic meetings between you and nanny to ensure good communication).
How do you help your children prepare for a new nanny? Letting your children have voice in selecting their new nanny is the first step toward helping your children prepare to receive her well. This can be accomplished by including your children in final interviews of the nanny candidates. After the job offer has been made and accepted, but before the new nanny begins work, speak with your children often about their new nanny and all the good times they may have with her. On the nanny’s first day of employment, stay with your children and their new nanny: this helps to smooth the transition. Plan some fun activities on nanny’s first day: go to the park, pack a picnic lunch, etc. For the first few weeks, pop in unannounced to check on your children and their nanny. Minimize the number and size of any other changes that may be happening to or around your children during this time.
By following these simple steps, you can smooth the transition from full-time summer nanny to part-time school year nanny for everyone.