More Things Your Nanny Won’t Tell You

More tips from the people who are taking care of your children.

By Jennifer Steil

1. I have my own family. Many of us have kids in other countries. We’d like to see them, but we need vacation time.

2. If your child bites me, don’t reward her. One parent actually said “Oh honey, are you hungry?” to her child while ignoring my bleeding face.

3. Don’t come home drunk or on drugs in the middle of the night, wake up your children to play with them, and then wake me up to put them back to bed. Don’t do drugs if you’re going to be around kids, period. And don’t wake me up in the middle of the night just because you’ve partied too hard to care for your own children.

4. Nannies from other cultures need orientation. Tell me which foods are fancy gourmet foods to be used sparingly and which are everyday foods. I kept eating up the best caviar and spitting it out in the trash, thinking it had gone bad.

5. We’re appalled when you feed your children junk. Seriously—give your kids a vegetable once in awhile! If you don’t keep junk food in your house, your kids can’t eat it. You can give them choices without destroying their health.

6. Don’t misrepresent yourself to an agency. If you don’t have an extra room for the nanny, say so. Don’t claim to have a bedroom and bathroom for her, and then ask her to sleep with your child.

7. Pay us well. Value your child a little more and cut corners elsewhere.

8. I am not paid enough to be a substitute parent for your child all the time. If you do not have the time or patience to raise a child, don’t have one.

9. Treat your nanny with respect and as an equal, and you will have a loyal friend for life. Most of us become lifelong friends of the babies we helped raise, as well as their parents.

Sources: Nannies or former nannies in Boston, New York, Seattle, Pennsylvania, and Los Angeles. (Including playwright Lisa Ramirez, whose off-Broadway play Exit Cuckoo deals with nannying, and an English nanny who worked for a Hollywood couple).

Plus: 13 Things Your Nanny Won’t Tell You

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  • Your Comments

    • Formernan

      Don’t get jealous if your child becomes very fond of us. That just means we are kind and fun loving, not that we are a threat to YOUR relationship with your child, or they like us better.
      Don’t undermine us. One mother would tell me her child could not have candy, yet kept a bowl of lollipops in a cabinet the child was well aware of. When the child would ask me, I would remind her of the whole ” no candy rule”. Then the instant her mother came home the child would ask for candy, mom would give me a smug look and tell the child, of course you can have some candy and hand her a lollipop.

      If you have a rule, stick to it. Same mother had a “you have to eat a few bites of your dinner rule”.
      Unless I was the one asking the child to at least eat just a few bites. Then it was a case of, you don’t have to have any dinner and yes if course you can have ice cream now.

      Which brings us back to number one thing: Don’t undermine us! All you are teaching your child is that listening to authority figures is not necessary. It will come back to haunt you.

    • Formernan

      Don’t get jealous if your child becomes very fond of us. That just means we are kind and fun loving, not that we are a threat to YOUR relationship with your child, or they like us better.
      Don’t undermine us. One mother would tell me her child could not have candy, yet kept a bowl of lollipops in a cabinet the child was well aware of. When the child would ask me, I would remind her of the whole ” no candy rule”. Then the instant her mother came home the child would ask for candy, mom would give me a smug look and tell the child, of course you can have some candy and hand her a lollipop.

      If you have a rule, stick to it. Same mother had a “you have to eat a few bites of your dinner rule”.
      Unless I was the one asking the child to at least eat just a few bites. Then it was a case of, you don’t have to have any dinner and yes if course you can have ice cream now.

      Which brings us back to number one thing: Don’t undermine us! All you are teaching your child is that listening to authority figures is not necessary. It will come back to haunt you.

    • Alphakam

      Do not treat your nanny as an indentured servant. It just isn’t cool at all.