At some point in your nanny career, you will have to leave a family. Quitting any job is always tough, and it can be especially difficult for nannies who have bonded with the parents and kids. That’s why it’s even more important to leave your job the right way, with the least amount of stress possible for everyone involved. When you leave a nanny job professionally, your relationship with the parents and children can stay on good terms, and you can move on to your new job with excitement.
The first thing you must do when you decide to leave a job is check your employment agreement. There may be a specified period of notice, whether it’s two weeks, 30 days in advance, etc. If you don’t follow any guidelines included in your contract, you’re not honoring the terms of your agreement, and it’s just good form to give reasonable notice. Not doing so may come back to harm your reputation when you need a positive employment reference in the future. If there’s no notice period specified, 2 to 6 weeks notice is a good rule of thumb. Give as much notice as you can so the parents aren’t pressured to find a replacement nanny right away.
Now that you’ve decided on your last day of work according to your employment agreement, it’s time to talk to the parents. Set up a meeting time so all the adults can be fully present, and make sure the children are occupied. Maybe talk to the parents at home during lunch while the children are at school, or after dinner when the children are asleep. Let the parents know that you’ve decided to resign. Be clear and cordial about your reasons why. Remember to be genuinely gracious and professional, thanking them for the job, so that you end the relationship on a good note. Also note that it’s OK to get emotional; odds are the parents will be, too. But you should make sure to present your information as clearly as possible and let them know you’ll put your notice in writing, as well.
Now that you’ve notified your boss of your decision, make it official with a formal letter of resignation. It doesn’t need to be long or overly specific. Keep it concise and honest. State that you are resigning and include the date of your last day as their nanny. If you’d like, you can include the reasons why you are quitting, but this isn’t necessary. Just make sure to be polite and professional. Thank your employer for the experience and opportunity. Give them your finished letter during your meeting, or shortly afterward.
When it comes to telling the children that you’ll be leaving, ask the parents how they’d like to approach the subject and follow their lead. By working with the parents, you can ensure that any information they’re given is consistent with everyone. How you and the parents behave in regard to your departure will have a great impact. If you and the parents are a united front, and you have all come to terms with your departure, the process will go much smoother for the entire family. Clear messaging will also prevent the children from feeling that you are leaving as a result of something they did wrong.
After you’ve spoken with the parents and children, it may help to have a transition plan in place to keep everything organized. Once you’ve set your last day of work, ask the parents what their deadline is for finding a replacement. How long would they like your replacement to be trained? Which high-priority duties should your replacement learn first? Are you able to show your replacement where frequent stops are located, like the children’s schools, playgrounds, after-school activities, grocery store, or library? Iron out all the details so that your departure will run as smoothly as possible.
When you leave your job, the family has to handle the emotions of separation, as well as find a replacement nanny. This can be extremely tough. As part of your transition plan, offer to help out by training a new replacement before you leave. Remember that getting used to a new nanny can be especially difficult for the kids. You can ease some of that pressure by introducing the new nanny to the family, easing her into the routine, and making her feel welcome to the family. That’ll also help your replacement get used to any schedules, habits, or quirks that you’ve learned during your time as their nanny.
When you register with Stanford Park Nannies, support is available during every step of your employment and job search. If you need help navigating this tough and emotional time, we’re just a call or email away. And that’s just one perk you can enjoy as part of the Stanford Park Nannies team!
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