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What to Do When Your Nanny is Ill

October 5, 2011

This news item may surprise a few of you, but it has come to our attention that nannies, even SuperNannies, are human. Yes, that’s right, your very own Mary Poppins is actually flesh-and-bone just like you. As such, she is prone to many of the vicissitudes of life that other humanoids are subject to. Your nanny may even, heaven forbid, fall victim to a disease or injury that may sideline him or her for a longer period of time. In addition, nannies have families too, and there may be times when her family will need her even more than you do (as impossible as that may seem). What, then, do parents do for interim childcare? Below you will find a few of the options that will help you fill the gap. One of these may work for you or you may even end up utilizing more than one of these resources, especially if your nanny will be out for a lengthy period of time.

  1. Get a Screened Temp – Sometimes the same agency that parents used to hire their nanny (like eNannySource) will be able to provide a temp for the duration of the original nanny’s absence.  This can be quick and offer you the same level of vetting that you used to get your permanent nanny.  It’s really important to be clear that this is a temporary position when you list this job to properly set the caregiver’s expectations.
  2. Friend of Nanny – Your nanny is likely to know other nannies, and she herself may be the one to steer you to temporary help. She may know someone that is between jobs or may even have a friend or relative that can stand in for her for a short period of time.  You should consider running a nanny background check on them as well just to be safe.
  3. Neighbor – If it’s only for a few hours and not for an extended number of days your neighbors may be a source of help in an emergency. If they also have children you may be able to work out a deal where you back each other up when/if the need arises.
  4. Yourself or Spouse – Depending on the duration of the absence, one or both parents may simply have to take some time off from work.  This is by far the most likely choice but it is not open to everyone.  Some people work jobs that make it virtually impossible to take time off without serious repercussions.  If you are lucky though… your boss is very supportive and as long as it isn’t a chronic problem you can take time off as needed to properly care for your kids.
  5. Family – If your nanny isn’t available and the other options have failed, then if you have family near by it’s time to start calling them to see who may be able to lend a hand.  Of course, grandpa and grandma are a top choice for the kiddos.  We would strongly encourage you to not abuse the generosity of your family though and respect their time by compensating them in some way for their assistance.
  6. College Students – If you live near a college you may find bulletin boards where students post availability for a variety of jobs. In a pinch, they could be the answer.  If you see a name up on one of these boards or even at the local grocery store you may want to pull one, interview them, and establish them as a backup plan for childcare at the very least.  This is another scenario where it’s important to run a background check to give you the confidence you need to trust them with your children.
  7. Babysitter – If you have a “go to” babysitter that you use for nights out on the town and/or other special occasions, you might want to contact them and see if they are available on an ad hoc basis in the event that you need them.  They may or may not have all of the skills and abilities of a professional caregiver, but if you know them that could be a big enough advantage when you are in a jam.
  8. Substitute – You may not have hired your nanny through an agency, in which case you might want to investigate the local temp agencies.  In general they can be quite expensive so your best bet may is to stick with an online service like eNannySource to get you out of these types of situations.
  9. Baby to Work Day – Workplaces differ, but sometimes parents can occasionally take their children to work with them. Some companies even have a childcare facility.  If this option is available, you should take advantage of it when possible because they are becoming exceedingly rare.
  10. The “Y” – Most communities have a “Y” (formerly YMCA), and most of them offer daycare and after-school care, which could be a viable option for families in-a-bind.  You should definitely check ahead to see if they take drop-ins or not.  If they do, then this is a very viable and safe option in most cases.  You can also check with local, quality daycare centers to see if they take drop-ins and have references you can quickly check out.

We hope that you don’t have too many needs to replace your nanny on a temporary or even permanent basis.  We do believe that consistency with caregivers is important for early childhood development.  With that said, life happens and you need to be prepared to handle just about any situation always making sure that the safety of your children comes first.  Apply great scrutiny and don’t be afraid to just take time off from work yourself if you have to in order to temporarily fill in for your nanny.


5 Responses to What to Do When Your Nanny is Ill

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Rhonda Milsap says:

I never would have thought of using the Y – I’m so glad you mentioned that because there’s one right down the road from my work!

vera says:

while i realize the intro was a little tongue in cheek, there’s definitely some truth to the fact that many of us nanny employers forget that our nannies aren’t immune to sickness, crises, etc. and it can really leave us in a bind when we find ourselves without childcare. thanks for all the tips!

Judy says:

I’m definitely one of the lucky ones that has childcare at my office, but I know that isn’t the norm. These are all great suggestions!

Judi Merlin says:

I think this articles’s main idea was to be helpful to nannies and families by giving lots of suggestions as to how to handle a nanny being sick. However the statement:

“You may not have hired your nanny through an agency, in which case you might want to investigate the local temp agencies. In general they can be quite expensive so your best bet may is to stick with an online service like eNannySource to get you out of these types of situations.”

crossed the lines of being informational and became promotional.

admin says:

The main purpose of the article is definitely to be informative and helpful for families! We also strongly believe that eNannySource is a viable, affordable option for families in need – and while we never want to come across as spammy, we do want to take opportunities on occasion promote our services – services that we 110% believe in.