Being a nanny is an incredibly stressful career, and not only because of the long hours and the energy needed to chase after children all day. It’s also an emotional job, one that “requires complete immersion” and investment in your charges. With all of this pressure, it isn’t surprising that “nanny burnout” affects so many professional caregivers and causes even great nannies to quit or lose their jobs. Whether you’re a nanny or an employer, it’s important to be able to “recogniz[e] signs of burnout and tak[e] steps” to make the job less draining, both for the nanny’s own sake and so she can provide the best childcare.
Lack of sleep and being overwhelmed in general can cause a nanny to display irritability, frustration and impatience. She may be less reliable, lack energy or even lose some interest in her charges. If the children generally seem to be unhappy around the nanny, this is a good indication that she needs a break
Communication between nannies and parents is vital for making sure both are happy. Consider incorporating regular conversations into your schedule, rather than waiting for a crisis to arise. Former nanny Lizzie Lebherz suggests using these talks “to listen to each other and learn where we can help each other out.”
Clear expectations are also helpful. If you continue to give a nanny additional work without asking how this is affecting her, she’s likely to feel stressed and unappreciated. Be careful not to take advantage of your nanny, and make sure you and the kids show her respect and consideration. When she really needs a break, consider giving her some paid time off. A vacation can help everyone in the long run.
If you’re a nanny, prioritize your physical and mental well-being. Do all you can to get enough sleep and exercise, and interact with other nannies by joining a playgroup or support group.