Leaving a family—whether it be on good or bad terms—can be one of the most difficult relationships for a nanny to navigate. Sometimes, it can feel less like leaving a babysitting job, and more like a breakup. You can make the transition easier by acting professionally in all of your interactions, being straightforward in your communications, and having the confidence to be secure in your decision. We asked UrbanSitter’s experienced nannies and babysitters to weigh in with their best advice. Following these tips can encourage a positive changeover for you, the children, and the family.
1. Give two weeks notice
“I would give the family an appropriate amount of time so that they can find a replacement,” says Sacramento babysitter Morlyn Walker. Two weeks is the nanny industry standard, and offers the family enough space to make arrangements for when you leave.
2. Put in in writing
Writing an email ensures that you can clearly communicate everything you need to say. You can edit your thoughts until you’re sure they’re perfect. When dealing with sensitive topics face to face, families and sitters can freeze up and avoid the subject altogether. Emails can also be referenced if your departure turns into a game of ‘he said, she said.’
3. …but have a face-to-face conversation
That being said, talking about it in person will be necessary at some point. By sending an email primer, you’ve prepared the parents for the conversation. Sending a two week notice via email, then following up with a conversation in person can adequately prepare both you and the parent for the subject at hand. Having a conversation in person with the children present can be a good opportunity to share and reminisce about your favorite memories during your time working together.
4. Be honest
All of the effort you’ve put into writing emails and talking in person won’t matter if you’re not straight-forward about the reason you’re leaving. “Be honest from the beginning,” says manny Brandon Genest. “I would tell them that I would still like to remain in contact with them, but I am no longer able to work with the family (for whatever reasons…such as new job, needing to move.) It’s important to keep that line of communication open, so if you’ve found a job where you can actually start working on your career, I’m sure the parents would be understanding.”
5. Help find your replacement
UrbanSitter member Geraldine Ang says, “If I knew of a good fit, I’d refer the family to another sitter and offer help during the transition!” This gesture of goodwill can work wonders to make sure you maintain a good relationship with the family, as well as ensuring that the kids will be well cared for in the future.
6. …and train them
Dedicating time to making sure the new baby sitter knows the ropes shows your commitment to the kids. This may also be a rare opportunity to work side by side with another childcare provider and learn from each other.
7. End on good terms
Leaving on a job on good terms can open the doors to opportunities to use your experience there as references later. It can also help with hard transitions when leaving the kids that you’ve come to care about so deeply. If you end your professional relationship with no hard feelings, it opens the door towards possibly creating a friendship between you and your employers. “I’ll admit that I’ve dreaded the inevitable ‘last day’ for a few of my families. I love working with all of them, but two of them have earned a special place in my heart. It will not be easy…but I already know that I’ll be keeping in touch and will have a life-long friendship with them even after I’m done babysitting!” says Genest.
Try and approach leaving a job with respect for your employer, and respect for yourself. By following these simple tips, you can make your transition easier on everyone. Do you have any suggestions for leaving a babysitting family? Let us know!
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