How to Know If Your Nanny Needs a Break from the Kids

More employers are starting to carefully evaluate their beloved nannies in order to determine whether or not they may be approaching dangerous levels of burnout. While newsworthy tragedies involving nannies and children are rare, nanny burnout can cause far less severe problems in your household if it goes unchecked. A burned-out nanny certainly isn’t likely to cause your children any harm, but she may be less attentive to them or frustrated enough that she terminates her work agreement early. In order to ensure that your children are getting the best possible care and keep turnover to a minimum, it’s wise to be on the lookout for these classic signs of burnout.

  1. Her Performance is Slipping – A burned-out nanny may be so frustrated and overwhelmed that things start slipping through the cracks, leaving you to wonder about her work performance. Similarly, when job creep adds significantly more responsibilities to her job, leaving her with a plate that’s too full, she may simply be incapable of handling it all.
  2. She’s Irritable and Frustrated – Exhaustion and frustration with a workload that’s too heavy or a week that’s too long will leave even the most patient and cheerful soul a bit irritable. When your upbeat and positive nanny starts to have a shorter temper and lower threshold for frustration, she may be in need of a break.
  3. She Demonstrates a Lack of Enthusiasm – It’s difficult to be enthusiastic about a job that’s sapping all of your energy and demanding more than you can give, which may be why a nanny who started her job as an enthusiastic team player seems less excited about working each day. If your nanny’s enthusiasm level drops noticeably and doesn’t rebound fairly soon, it’s a sure sign that she needs a bit of time to herself.
  4. Her Patience Level is Dropping – Even seasoned veteran nannies can become impatient with children that exhibit problem behavior on a regular basis, especially if she’s overworked. Losing patience with her charges is a strong indicator that your nanny is approaching burnout level, and that she may need some time to recoup.
  5. She Complains of Ailments – Whether she’s legitimately feeling under the weather as a result of exhaustion or simply looking to find a bit of time to herself by feigning illness, a noticeable increase in sick days can be a very reliable indication that it’s time to give your nanny some vacation time.
  6. She’s Less Energetic – Few things are as difficult to fake as a high energy level, which is why a drop in energy is one of the first visible signs to an employer that their nanny is in need of some rest. If your nanny began her time with you filled with boundless energy and now seems to struggle to maintain that high energy level, it may simply be because she’s exhausted and approaching burnout.
  7. Her Personality Seems “Off” – Sometimes changes in your nanny’s personality are perceivable, but difficult to put your finger on. If your nanny is behaving in a manner that just doesn’t seem in accordance with her normal personality, it’s a good idea to approach the issue in order to determine whether or not she needs some time to herself.
  8. Punctuality and Attendance Issues Crop Up– Whether she’s accidentally oversleeping as a result of being overly tired or simply dreading work so much that she’s exhibiting some attendance problems, this is a very strong sign that she’s losing her zest for the post and may need a bit of time in order to regain her enthusiasm.
  9. Her Schedule or Workload Has Changed – If you’ve had another child or had another lifestyle change that requires your nanny to take on more hours and responsibility, she could easily become overwhelmed by her increased workload and need a break in order to regain her energy.
  10. She Seems Apathetic – Loss of interest in her post and responsibilities can often be directly attributed to the fact that your nanny is beginning to burn out and is reaching the limit of her resources in regard to energy and commitment.

If you suspect your nanny is experiencing burn out, evaluate her responsibilities and workload and determine if any additional duties have crept in. Rather than starting the process over, consider granting your nanny a bit of early vacation and restructuring things so that of the pressure that accompanies running another family’s household doesn’t fall squarely on your nanny’s shoulders.

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