How To Quit Your Nanny Job

An adult and a child hugging in a field

There’s no script for quitting a nanny job. You’ve given your heart and soul to this family for years. In some cases, you’ve watched newborns head off to pre-k. You love these little people. How will you ever leave them?

But like any job, you know when it’s time to move on. You have every right to explore new opportunities and how you give notice is critical.

What do you say when quitting a nanny or babysitting job? It can determine whether you end on a good note that leads to a great reference letter or burn a bridge. More importantly, it shows that you’re a professional.

Honoring your contract

Before you make any announcements about quitting your nanny job, read your nanny contract. Did your employer state how far in advance you need to give notice before you quit your nanny job? 

Whether it’s two weeks or a month, it’s best to honor it—and not just for the reference letter.

Remember, they'll need to find new care for their little ones, and often, the more time they have, the better.

Keep in mind that your resignation will significantly impact the family. They are busy and have come to depend on you. It’s not a reason to stay, but it’s a reason to give them lots of time to find someone new.

Giving plenty of notice

As a professional nanny, you’ll leave many jobs over your career. For that reason, you want to get it right. That means giving as much notice as possible.

But what’s reasonable? If it’s not specified in the contract, anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks is generally considered fair.

If your new nanny job starts right away, a longer notice might not be possible. In that case, offer at least two weeks and try your best to set them for up success.

What to say when quitting your nanny job 

There's no perfect thing to say when you quit your nanny job.

Reach out to your employer to ask for a time to talk. You’ll want to make sure that the children are out of earshot.

It can be tempting to talk about the family and how they might’ve contributed to your decision when giving your resignation. Keep the focus on you and your reasons for quitting your nanny job. 

You might be quitting because you found a better opportunity, there’s been poor communication between you and the parents, or you’re feeling under-appreciated. Most often, it’s not for any particular reason, but a combination of them. However, when telling them you’re quitting, it’s best to keep it simple.

Your employer might try to persuade you to stay by offering a raise or other nanny benefits. Hold your ground if that’s not your reason for quitting. Remember why you decided to resign in the first place.  

Depending on your reasons for quitting the nanny job, it might be more of a conversation. You might tell them that you’ve been looking at other nanny jobs with better salaries or more benefits. If you want to explore what they’d be willing to offer you, make it clear that you haven’t yet decided.

Writing a nanny resignation letter   

After resigning in person, make it official with a letter. A nanny resignation letter doesn’t need to be long. In most cases, a short email works well. It'll be an emotional letter to read. Thanking the family for the opportunity and reminding them how much the position has meant to you will go a long way.

You can state your reason for leaving, but it's not required. Be sure to include your last day and your full address so that the family can issue a Form W-2 for nanny taxes.

Deciding how to tell the kids

After you let them know that you’re leaving, ask them to consider how they want to tell the kids. They may want to think about this for a few days. 

When the family is ready, ask your employer how they’d like to proceed. Do they want you to be present when they tell the children? Or would they prefer to handle it themselves?

In any case, expect tears. You might feel weepy yourself but keep it together. Losing their wonderful nanny is hard enough. By staying calm and upbeat, you signal that everything will be okay.

Reassure the kids that your reasons for leaving have nothing to do with them. Plan something special for your last day. Give them a small gift, or write them a card telling them why you loved being their nanny.

Making the transition as smooth as possible

With a new job on the horizon, it’s normal to have difficulty focusing on the job you’re leaving. Ensure that the family is set up for success in your final weeks. You'll build a reservoir of good feelings that makes a lasting impression.

There are many ways to be helpful during this hectic time, from making nanny recommendations to trying to accommodate your employers with the timing of your last day.

Training your nanny replacement 

Starting any new job is stressful. Learning schedules and navigating personalities take time.

Details you no longer question—a snack made a certain way, the perfect story for naptime—are endlessly helpful when you’re new.

Talk to your employer about which tasks to prioritize and focus on those.

Being a nanny is as challenging as it is rewarding. Nanny Lane is here to support you at every stage. From tips on acing the interview process to how much to charge, we’ll help you succeed.

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