Transitioning a New Nanny

working-mother-and-nannyOften when we hire a new caregiver it is because there is a change in the dynamic of the family or your present nanny is resigning from the position. This can be a very difficult time for the children especially if a new child is coming along.
Recently I received a call from one of my clients who had hired a nanny through our agency about two years ago. She was upset that her nanny was leaving but also very happy for her good fortune (as she was leaving the province to get married) I immediately thought that it would be somewhat challenging to find a caregiver who could take the place of this nanny who had become part of their family. She had developed a wonderful relationship with the children. My client’s main concern was how her children (5 and 3) were going to adjust to a new caregiver especially when a new baby was due right around the time their nanny was planning to leave.
I found another nanny for the family within a few weeks, That was the easy part. The harder part was to help the family shift these two children into life with the newly appointed nanny.
The goal in this case was to help the children feel safe and comfortable with their new caregiver We know that this may take some time. The new nanny was a professional and understood that the children might act out and may or may not be in full control of their emotions after “losing” their nanny. In this situation there are several ideas that I suggested to the family to help the children and the new nanny with the transition.
• If the child is older involve them in the process of hiring a new nanny. When we do in-home consultations we will often ask the children for their input –like what kinds of things they like to do with their nanny and where they like to go
• Begin to mention the nanny’s name in the days leading up to her arrival. Tell them that their nanny can’t wait to see them.
• Have your child “take the lead” in terms of showing their new nanny around your home. Encourage them to describe activities they like, what the dog does, or stories about some fun things that they’ve done in or outside your home.
• Make the arrival of your nanny as a big and fun event for your children if they are old enough to understand. Have your children draw welcome pictures in the nanny’s room and/or make her a card. Ask them what they think their nanny likes to eat and have them help you bake cookies for a special nanny arrival party.
• Try to keep the children’s schedule the same for consistency. This way the children do not experience too much change at once. Give your nanny information about each child-like what activities they like to do, what foods they like and even what discipline philosophies work
• Try to arrange a overlap of care. If possible start your new nanny one to two weeks before the first one leaves. This is beneficial as a training period and also allows the children to spend time with both caregivers which is a better stepping stone then an immediate transfer from one caregiver to another. The children will see that the nanny they love and trust is working with and trusts the new caregiver which will also help ease the transition. If this is not possible it is a good idea for the children’s mother or father to be involved in this transition period.
• The new nanny should develop and initiate creative and fun ideas to do with each child individually. One idea is to make a going away gift for the nanny who is leaving.
• Be patient. Children can be very blunt and sometime cruel. An experienced nanny will understand that the anger and frustration that the children are expressing is not against the new nanny but because of their loss of the old one
Finally, acknowledge your children’s attachment to their previous caregiver: If your children had a strong bond with their previous nanny, understand that in order to bond with a new nanny, your children must come to terms with the loss of the previous caregiver. Explain the reasons for the transition. Talk to your children about their feelings toward their beloved nanny, and if possible, continue to maintain contact with her.

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