Signs of Nanny Burnout and How to Help Prevent It
Finding the perfect in-home nanny can be a painstaking process. Once you’ve found the right person, you want to make sure they’re happy and want to stay. Finding a replacement can be expensive and time consuming. Worse, nanny turnover can be upsetting for kids.
Childcare is physically and emotionally demanding work, and it’s not uncommon for nannies to suffer from compassion fatigue and burnout. There are many reasons, from low pay to long hours to feeling overwhelmed.
What are the signs of caregiver burnout, and what can you do to help prevent it?
Signs Your Nanny Is Feeling Burned Out
Anyone can get burned out at work, but especially caregivers. Here are some signs of burnout:
- Behavior changes: If your nanny seems irritable, impatient, distracted, or less committed, these are possible signs of burnout. It could be physical or emotional fatigue. Or consider your nanny’s responsibilities—could she be feeling resentful about being asked to work long hours or doing tasks that are beyond her role?
- Less reliable: If your nanny has gone from punctual to frequently tardy, calls out of work often, or is not fulfilling her responsibilities, it could be a sign she’s reached the end of her rope and is pulling away.
- Weight gain or loss: If you notice your nanny has gained weight, he or she may be stress eating. Stress increases the amount of the stress hormone cortisol in the blood, which can lead to weight gain. Conversely, if your nanny is losing weight, he or she may not be practicing good self-care. Along with other signs, like irritability, weight changes can indicate burnout or another issue.
- Unhappy kids: If your kids used to love spending time with your nanny and now seem unhappy or uncomfortable, this is a telltale sign something isn’t right.
What You Can Do to Help
Keeping expectations reasonable and communicating openly with your nanny can help ensure you maintain a mutually respectful and beneficial relationship. Here are other things you can do:
Respect your nanny’s boundaries. “Job creep” is a term used to describe piling additional duties and responsibilities onto your nanny until it becomes overwhelming. Without realizing it, you might be asking too much of your nanny. Remember that your nanny is not your servant. To prevent job creep, create a contract that clearly outlines your nanny’s duties and responsibilities—and adhere to it.
Communicate openly and frequently. Make time to check in with your nanny. Ask how she’s doing and about areas where she feels stressed or overwhelmed. It’s vital to be open to her feedback. If your nanny feels she can’t express her concerns, she’s not likely to stick around for long.
Be respectful. Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. Providing feedback, setting expectations, and correcting problems as they arise are important. Just make sure you don’t belittle your nanny in the process. Also, simple things like calling if you’re going to be late show you respect her time.
Offer recognition and praise when warranted. Your nanny is more likely to do a great job and stay with you long term if she feels appreciated. Let her know when she’s gone above and beyond by saying thanks. A small gift of appreciation can go a long way, too.
Pay her on time and consider periodic cost-of-living increases. Nothing will drive a nanny to start looking elsewhere than not getting paid on time. Four out of five workers in the U.S. live paycheck to paycheck. Odds are your nanny is one of them. Getting paid late can mean the difference between paying rent and bills on time or facing late fees and threats of being sent to collections. Consistent pay is essential in today’s economy. Also consider giving your nanny cost-of-living increases periodically. It shows you value her and want her to stay.
Offer paid time off. Many caregivers simply can’t afford to take time off. Giving your nanny at least a few days of paid time off each year will help her take care of important personal tasks and (hopefully) find a little time to relax.
Ready to hire a part-time or full-time nanny? Whether you need a newborn care specialist or a child care helper who has experience caring for kids of all ages, the private staffing pros at Staffing at Tiffanie’s will help you find your perfect match. Contact us today for more information.