Nanny and children

Things You Shouldn’t Say To Your Nanny

Find out what nannies have to say: if you want to build and maintain a strong relationship with your nanny, what are the things you shouldn't say?

Whether you’ve just hired a nanny or feel yours is part of your family, you may not know that some of the things you say are hurting your nanny’s feelings and thus your relationship.

We recently posted a question on the Facebook page asking nannies and babysitters to tell us what their employers sometimes say or do that upsets them. Below are five of the most popular answers, with our recommended solutions:

  • “Sorry I’m late”

When the parents haven’t got an organised schedule, and don’t let you know ahead of time if they need you to stay late.

Solution: Everyone is human and will be late on the odd occasion, but as soon as it becomes a regular occurrence, this becomes a problem. Find out what your nanny’s typical evening demands are, so you can be respectful of their time: do they have evening classes, a second job or family obligations? You could sit down and talk with your nanny about when they can be flexible and when they just can’t be. Discuss how you’re going to reimburse them for their extra time: will you pay them more or give them more time off?

  • “Can I pay you next time?”

Most parents would probably pitch a fit if their employer forgot to pay their wages at the end of the month. The same goes for nannies. Nannies provide a service and should be paid for their work as often as was agreed.

Solution: Even though your nanny feels like an extension of your family, this is their job and source of income — they deserve to be paid on time. Think of yourself as your nanny’s payroll department; it’s your job to make sure everything’s running smoothly. Decide when you’ll pay your nanny and stick to it. You could set up an automatic employee payroll account

  • “Can you do the dishes?”

When the family leaves the house and kitchen a mess, and then expects the nanny to clean it all up.

Solution: Your nanny should be in charge of keeping the children clean and their rooms organised. Unless housekeeping duties are part of the job description, it’s not their responsibility to do other chores. If you need extra help, hire a housekeeper or find another solution that doesn’t take time away from the children. If you have little ones, maybe your nanny can tidy while they’re napping, but make sure both you and your nanny understand what they should be doing and when, and put it in a nanny contract.

  • “Today you should…”

When the parents consistently explain everything and micromanaging the nanny’s time. ‘It’s nice outside, so take them out from 1-2, then watch a video from 2-2:30.”

Solution: While it’s understandable to want to manage your child’s life, it may be affecting how your nanny does their job. Tell them if there are things you want prioritised, but let them make their own decisions and trust their judgment. If you feel separation anxiety, check in during the day.

  • “We treat you really well”

When there is a lack of appreciation for the work that the nannies do. Many end up doing a lot more housework and working more hours than that which was originally specified. Some parents will justify this by saying ‘well, we treat you really well.’

Solution: The lack of recognition is many nannies’ number one complaint. Do you value the skills your nanny brings to the job, their attachment to your child and how well they get along? Yes, you pay them, but your nanny is more than just a nameless, faceless employee. Let them know they’re doing a great job and you appreciate their hard work.


If you want to maintain a great relationship with your nanny or babysitter, you need to communicate. Set up weekly meetings to check in and encourage them to talk about what’s working and what could be improved. Remember that no relationship is perfect. But the more you communicate and work together, the happier everyone will be.


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