What To Do If Your Nanny Suddenly Quits


Admittedly, having a nanny quit suddenly and unexpectedly is one of the worst situations parents can find themselves in. Life is filled with unexpected occurrences. If your nanny quits suddenly you are going to find yourself hurled into panic mode. Who is going to watch your children? You cannot take time off from your job without losing the necessary income and putting your job in jeopardy so what are you going to do? Undoubtedly, a nanny quitting suddenly and with extraordinarily little (if any) warning is a parent’s worst nightmare. However, understand you are not alone and there are some important options to consider.

The Inevitable Panic When Your Nanny Quits Suddenly

You depend on your nanny for the safety and health of our children. When your nanny hands you her letter of resignation or just doesn’t show up anymore, we can will feel like the world has opened and swallowed us whole. If your nanny opts to not even leave with some form of short notice, but instead merely no longer shows up for work, then you are going to be seriously spiraling towards a crash landing and scrambling to find some parachute to keep you aloft until you find reliable childcare. 

Since you may be in the throes of figuring out what to do, lets:

·      Jump right in to some immediate options 

·      Discuss other important considerations

·      Talk about methods to help prevent this situation in the future.

Immediate Options if your Nanny Quits

In the event your nanny suddenly quits, here are a few ways that you can handle the problem:

  • Ask for a few days off from your employer so you can watch your children and seek out stable childcare.

  • Turn to a family member or friend to temporarily watch your children until you can find a new nanny. A grandmother/father or aunt/uncle may be able to fly in within 24 hours to help cover childcare for a week or so, especially if they are retired or have flexible work schedules and vacation time.

  • Seek out a friend or acquaintance who has a nanny and ask to ‘share’ a nannyuntil you find a suitable childcare arrangement. Many people will let their nanny also watch your children for a brief time. A nanny share process is a frequent practice for families when their nannies take vacations or time off. If you employ this option, be sure to offer to assist with compensation for the nanny.

  • Contact a temporary nanny servicefor an immediate short-term childcare. Temporary nanny agencies offer experienced nannies who have undergone background checks for short-term care gigs. 

  • Suggest a few days of extended playdatesto your children’s friend’s families. Extended play dates often help after school if your nanny suddenly leaves the scene. Simply explain to your children’s friends that an extended playdate will help you until you can secure a nanny replacement. Most parents are understanding of your circumstances and will readily welcome the opportunity to host an extended playdate while you seek new childcare options. 

  • Recruit everyonein the search for a new nanny. Don’t be afraid to send a blast to family and friends for suggestions and recommendations. Social media is also an option here, depending on your comfort with public postings. Many people abstain from telling family and friends that the nanny has suddenly quit because of some misguided stigma. They believe that others will think they were a lousy employer, or their children were hard to handle, but this is just not true. Ask your friends and family to help you find another, reliable nanny replacement. 

Other considerations for sudden departure

Your nanny will likely have access to many private accounts, information, and, not to mention, your home. It is important to safeguard these things as soon as possible. This does not mean that your nanny has any mal-intent in his/her departure, but is prudent none the less. Consider the following:

  • If your nanny had access to any accounts (bank accounts, email/internet accounts (such as Amazon, checks, etc…), be sure to change your passwords and take inventory.

  • Disable your ex-nanny’s ability to use any family credit cards. 

  • Notify any stores where you carry a line of credit to remove the nanny’s name.

  • Change the locks on your home or, at least, ask for a return of the house key. 

  • Request the return of the garage door opener if one had been given to the nanny

  • Reprogram your home’s security system and change the passcode if the nanny had access to such features. 

  • Contact the school and let them know that the nanny is no longer employed by you and is not allowed to pick your children up from school or other functions. 

How to Prevent a Nanny’s Sudden Departure 

One of the key ways to avoid the dilemma of your nanny suddenly leaving is to investigate ways to prevent the catastrophe from ever occurring. In such a situation, the old saying, ‘an ounce of prevention prevents a pound of cure’ has never been more correct. 

1.    Clauses in Contract:You can place a clause in your nanny’s contract that says she must give you notice before ending employment. Most arrangements demand at least a two-week notice before your nanny can quit. Within the deal, it should clearly tell what happens if the nanny should break the agreement such as a penalty clause (i.e. withholding pay). However, one thing to remember is that the contract is not a binding contract but a professional agreement. 

2.    Setting Expectations:When you first employ your nanny, you need to set expectations at the very onset around any required transition times. This way there are no surprises on either side. Everything should be black and white. Ideally, you should have everything written up and drafted into a professional agreement that both parties sign. 

3.    Open Communication:Supporting the lines of communication with your nanny is imperative for a healthy work relationship. If your nanny is unhappy or having problems, then you should encourage her to come to you and not be afraid that you will get defensive or angry. Many times, a nanny does not want to face any form of confrontation with her employer if she must suddenly leave. However, from the beginning of your work relationship with your nanny, you should let her know that she can come to you without fear of anger or reprisal with any problems so you can both work together to reach a resolution that is beneficial not only for both parties but also for the children involved. Be sure to put this into practice so it is part of the culture of your relationship from the start. See our discussion of Communication and Feedback.

4.    Regular Check-Ins:Yes, life is often a roller coaster of personal and work events that keep you scrambling on a day-to-day basis, but you still need to take time out for regular check-ins with your nanny. Situations change, people change, values and priorities change. A check-in can be as simple as a few words daily to make sure everything is going okay, so you are not confronted with a sudden, unexpected departure. 


How to Help Your Children Transition When Their Nanny Leaves

Your children spent a great deal of time with their nanny in a very personal, vulnerable way. In most cases, children fall in love with their nannies. Unfortunately, the sudden and unexpected departure of your nanny will not only create upheaval for you, but it will also cause your children to experience emotional turmoil. A small child might not understand why their beloved nanny ceases to show up anymore. In such a situation, the child might mistakenly believe that they caused the nanny’s departure by misbehaving. A child can become very emotional when a nanny leaves a family. 

To help your children understand, you will need to sit down with them and explain everything in terms that they can grasp. If possible, allow the nanny to return for a well-deserved goodbye to the children. Letting the nanny return to say goodbye might be awkward for you to do if there are any hard feelings but it is essential that you look the other way and do what is best for your children in such a situation. Often allowing a goodbye and closure is the best way for your little ones to move on and not feel abandoned.

Undoubtedly, you will be faced with a multitude of tasks that you must handle if your nanny quits suddenly. Often the best way to tackle everything is to sit down and make a prompt ‘to-do’ list and then go down the list one-by-one to take care of all the necessary steps to secure a new nanny and help your family adjust to the changes.