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What to Do When Your Nanny Texts Too Much

February 12, 2013

It seems that phones today are used less for making actual phone calls and more for texting people and surfing the Web, something that can be a great convenience or a great distraction. Texting has become a concern for many nanny employers as more and more nannies come to work equipped with smart phones and make regular texting a part of their day. So what should you do if you feel your nanny is texting too much during the day? Here are some tips to help work out the issue.

Think through your fears and feelings. Before you approach your nanny, take some time to understand your objections. Are you afraid that she isn’t paying enough attention to your child because she’s texting? Are you afraid your child’s safety is at risk because your nanny is distracted by her phone? Are you annoyed because you’re paying her to work and not chat with her friends? When you understand how you feel, you’re much better prepared to have a productive conversation.

Decide what limitations on texting you’re comfortable with. Before talking with your nanny about the issue, think about how much texting, if any, you would be comfortable with. Would you be fine with your nanny texting while your child was napping? If your nanny were texting to plan activities for your child with nanny friends, would that be all right? Do you want her to text you updates and pictures throughout the day on what your child is doing? It’s important to get your nanny’s input when coming up with a final plan, but you have to know your own limits too.

Be aware that those limits may change over time. If you recently hired your nanny, you might be much more cautious because you don’t know her well. You might feel more comfortable with her texting once you’ve built up feelings of trust. Your child’s age may matter too. Texting may bother you more now that your child is an active toddler than when he was a baby napping for a good part of the day.

Talk with your nanny about the issue. Giving constructive criticism isn’t an easy job. This is especially true in the nanny/family relationship, where the lines between the personal and professional relationship are often blurred. However, it’s important that you address your concerns directly with your nanny and work towards a solution, rather than just letting things worsen.

Outline your concerns to your nanny and let her know how you feel about her excessive texting during the day. Let her know that overall you think she’s doing a terrific job and highlight the other things she does on the job that you really appreciate. Give her the opportunity to share her thoughts and give an explanation. Chances are, she never realized her texting was a problem for you. Outline the limits that you’d like to put in place, being as specific as possible. Vague guidelines like “Texting is OK when you’re not busy” or “Just make sure your texting doesn’t get in the way of paying attention to Derek” don’t offer any real guidance. Guidelines like “Only text when the baby is napping” or “Only text when she’s at school or in an afterschool class” let the nanny know exactly what your expectations are. Talk with her about how she feels about these new limits and how they might affect her attitude on the job. Many nannies see texting friends and family as a daily lifeline to the outside world and don’t want to give it up. Your nanny may feel your limits are too confining or controlling. If that’s the case, you want to know that so you can work with your nanny towards a solution that works for both of you. Generally, when both sides have an equal chance to share their feelings honestly, a compromise can be found.

Check in with your nanny. It’s always a good idea to check in with your nanny after you’ve discussed a problem or put a new agreement in place. This is no different. Let her know you appreciate her efforts in working through the texting issue with you and see how the new limits are working for her. Thank her again for taking such great care of your child. Knowing her hard work is appreciated will go a long way to smooth over any hurt feelings.

Excessive texting while on the job is a new, but growing problem many nanny employers face. If you find yourself in this situation, addressing the issue head on is the best way to find a solution that works for both sides.


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