Saying goodbye to an old nanny and starting up with a new one can be hard on a family, especially for the children. However, being prepared for all the ups and downs of this situation can have you and your children back to normal in no time. Here are some tips on making the transition a seamless one.
Prepare for the departure of your beloved nanny.
You have three considerations: your children, the outgoing babysitter, and the incoming babysitter. You need to prepare your children for the departure of their beloved school-year sitter, while simultaneously preparing them to receive their new sitter with an open mind and heart. You will want to send off your departing sitter in a way that will foster continued relationships between her and your children and ensure that she knows that your family cares for and values her. You will also need to recruit, interview, screen, and hire a new babysitter, and prepare for her arrival.
Common gifts include gift cards to her favorite retailers, a cash bonus, handmade gifts from your children, or a framed photograph of your children. Be sure to involve your children in picking out a special gift. Another gift that you can give your departing babysitter is a glowing letter of recommendation: it may not have cash value, but it can be priceless nonetheless.
Help prepare your children for and then cope with the absence of their beloved nanny.
Let your children know when and why their beloved babysitter will be leaving. If she will return again in the fall, tell them that as well. Encourage open conversation between you and your children, and between the nanny and your children, so that the children can come to terms with what is happening. Once the departure has happened, comfort your children. Spend extra time with them. Listen to them talk about what they’re thinking or feeling. If possible, keep the lines of communication open between your children and the babysitter. For example, you may help your children write letters or make periodic calls to her. Minimize the number and size of any other changes that may be happening to or around your children during this time.
Prepare for the new nanny.
Assuming you have already hired a new babysitter, the steps you need to take to prepare for her arrival include: preparing a room for her (if she will be a live-in nanny), preparing an employment contract and job description, assembling the necessary employment documents (W-4, Form I-9, etc.), making sure that all necessary information (contact telephone numbers, etc.) are all in easy-to-find locations, and preparing an orientation/training checklist (which includes your expectations regarding a daily log and periodic meetings with her to ensure good communication).
Prepare your children for their new nanny.
Letting your children have voice in selecting their new sitter is the first step toward helping your children prepare to receive her well. This can be accomplished by including your children in final interviews with the candidates. After the job offer has been made and accepted, but before the new babysitter begins work, speak with your children often about her and all the good times they may have with her. On the babysitter’s first day of employment, stay with your children and their new sitter — this helps to smooth the transition. Plan some fun activities on her first day; go to the park, pack a picnic lunch, etc. For the first few weeks, pop in unannounced to check on your children and their babysitter. Minimize the number and size of any other changes that may be happening to or around your children during this time as well.
About the Author
Candi Wingate is an expert in the child care industry with over 20 years experience. She is the founder of Nannies4Hire.com and Care4Hire.com, author of “100 Tips for Nannies & Families,” and mother of two.