10 Things to Never Say to A Nanny

Oh, the nanny world. It can be such a weird place. But, when it is done right- with lots of communication, trust and respect- it can be beautiful.  I have been a professional career nanny for 12+ years now and in those years I feel like I’ve heard it all. I have sat with other nannies on play grounds, beaches, children’s museums and baby classes around the world… and these are definitely the top 10 things I hear of making nannies feel disrespected and annoyed. The last thing we need are burnt out nannies! We need passionate and thriving caregivers…. because our kiddos deserve the best! So let us begin…


1.) When are you going to get a real job?


Well, the last time I checked… being a nanny was a real job. Often, nannies earn a weekly salary (based on hourly expectations, experience and education) and pay taxes. They not only are working physically throughout the day taking care of baby, toddlers and children– but they are giving themselves emotionally as well. Many nannies have been educated in Early Childhood Education, Child/Family Psychology and other degrees that help qualify them to help come along side a family and help raise their children. I believe that it is not only a real job– but an incredibly important one.

2.) You get paid to play all day long.


I get this all the time. People mean well.. but man, on certain days it presses my buttons. Ha! I even dedicated my first post ever here in Colors Are Magic to addressing it (you can read it here). Being a nanny is far from playing all day. Yes, of course we  play… and that is one of the perks :) . But, being a nanny is like being a sort of surrogate parent. It is also helping the children in your care to grow physically, mentally and emotionally. It requires teaching, disciplining, loving and so much more.  Some days are full of painting pictures, hopscotch, jumping in mud puddles, and PJ movie parties… and others are full of sick kids, saying no, doing homework until bedtime, sitting in traffic with a crying baby and endless loads of laundry. Others are a balance. But at the end of the day it is always rewarding– doing something with your heart usually is.

3.) Can I pay you next time?


Ok, so this one is big for me. I have had a certain family who constantly asked me this question and made me feel very awkward and devalued. I know that sometimes things happen, and that most of the time your nanny becomes like an extension of your family so it may not feel like a big deal to ask in the moment, but this is her job. It’s how she pays her bills. She deserves to be paid on time and not put an the awkward situation of having to say that.

4.) Sorry I am late… I had to run an errand after work. 


Ok,  I totally understand the everyone is late once in a while, but being late every night should not become a habit. It is good to be upfront during the interview process to discuss with your nanny if she open to flexible overtime and the occasional late night. If you have a full-time nanny and she has been with your kiddos for 40-50+ hours already that week, chances are she will need a little break in the evening–  catching up with friends, going for a run, getting groceries… she maybe Super Nanny, but she is also human. Talk about how you’re going to reimburse her for the extra time. I had one family who had a schedule that allowed me to sleep in on the nights that they has me nanny later. Maybe she would rather the extra money. Just make sure to communicate.

5.) I could never justify paying a babysitter that much.


Well first of all, we should probably talk about why babysitters and nannies are not the same thing, because I think sometimes this were we get the most confused. A babysitter is someone who cares for your child occasionally for a few hours here or there (like on date nights). They typically just play with, feed and put the children to bed during the time that the are “sitting”.

A nanny (or manny) is someone who works about 30-50+ hours per week and is helping a family raise their children. She is investing into the children full-time (usually while both parents are working). She will help with making schedules, assisting in homework, preparing meals, bathing, engaging in activities that ensure healthy growth physically, mentally and emotionally, caring for sick kids, helping with household chores and errands, and assisting in driving kids to activities.

Sometimes a family will need a bit of a “hybrid sitter/nanny” …if you will. These are Part-time Nannies. Parents will usually hire a part time nanny a couple of set days a week for a few hours and need a little more out of than a sitter. They often do “after school care”.

6.) You probably don’t ever want children now. 


I’ll be brief with this one. When people say this to me, I personally get sad. Of course I want children! I have dedicated my life to caring for and helping children. I adore them! Some nannies may not feel a void in their heart for having their own family– but most nannies I talk to do desire to have a family of their own. Why not? Kids are the best. If anything, being a nanny has made me having my own kids an even bigger desire.

7.) Sorry I forgot to mention, I invited over my friend’s kids for a playdate.


There is nothing wrong with planning play dates for your kids. In fact, that’s amazing. But remember to discuss playdates with your nanny first. If you are in the interview process, ask her how she feels about hosting playdates and being in charge of other people’s kids (besides yours of course!) She may not feel comfortable watching a gaggle of kids on a summer vacation day. I personally loved hosting playdates as a nanny. The kids would entertain themselves together and I would be able to get chores done while keeping an eye on them. It was also nice when other nannies or moms would come over and socialize with me while the kiddos were playing. Being a nanny can sometimes be an isolating job since you have no co workers. It’s nice to have a little adult conversation during the day.

8.) Can you please plan all of your vacations and days off around when we don’t need you?


Now this topic will vary from family to family, and nanny to nanny. My personal opinion is that because your nanny works very hard throughout the year loving and caring for your kiddos (and a lot of the times your home),  she deserves to be able to unwind and have some time off. It is not fair to always assume that she will plan this around when you have an event or a holiday planned– things that are important to her will come up throughout the year.A loved and valued nanny is a happy nanny. :)

9.) Is it okay if we don’t pay you while the baby is napping?


I have been asked this in interviews before… needless to say I did not accept those job offers. I do not believe this is fair request of someone you are hiring to care for you little one. You wouldn’t just leave you baby home alone napping for and hour and half while you went to the gym or did the grocery shopping (at least I hope you wouldn’t). So needless to say, this is still working. What if someone were to happen while they were sleeping? Also, nannies do not have the luxury of running out for an hour to grab lunch alone or really get a real break.

10.) I know you’re sick, but there’s no one else to watch the kids!


Being a nanny on a sick day can be very stressful (besides the being sick part). Since you are usually the only one employed to care for the children–  I do suggest that parents have a “backup sitters list” they they can go to on those day that Super Nanny is sick or has an emergency. We maybe magical- but we are still human. I also am really an advocate that a full time career nanny be given a week of paid sick days. Rest is important to heal.


I hope that this post was helpful and may have brought you a couple laughs. See you Friday! xo


  1. hahaha, love!

  2. LOL fun post. Nannying is tough work.

  3. I hollered. This is hilarious, especially the gifs. Omg.

    • Thanks so much! I am glad it made your day a little more colorful. Ha!


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