By the very nature of her role, a nanny, her charge and her charge’s family develop a close personal relationship. As such, it can be difficult, at times, to discern the proper boundaries with someone who so often functions in such a familiar, intimate capacity. With such a close bond, the lines between proper professional etiquette and casual familiarity are easy to blur, especially in regard to family functions outside of kid-centered events.
Children’s birthday parties, school plays or recitals are typically simple to discern proper boundaries in terms of inviting the child’s nanny. Family gatherings, holiday celebrations, and other important, but not necessarily kid-focused events, however, present a conundrum for parents regarding if a nanny should or should not be invited. When trying to decide if it would be appropriate to invite your child’s nanny, consider the following points:
Is the invitation extended as a guest or in a working capacity?
What is the dynamic between the nanny and other family members beyond her charge?
In the case of holidays, is the nanny likely to have previous commitments with her own family?
What are the +1 considerations, as in, will your nanny likely want to bring a guest such as a spouse or her own child/children?
Will your nanny be comfortable in the environment as a guest?
Will other guests be respectful of your nanny’s guest status at the event?
A survey of professional nannies affiliated with First Class Care, the Chicago nanny and domestic placement agency, asked some of these very questions. Most nannies reported being invited to several family events outside of children’s birthday parties, with a broad range of responses and opinions. Several who had their own family or relatives nearby stated they would usually spend holidays with them, but would still like the invitation. For the most part, career nannies with solid relationships with parents and immediate family members are open to accepting invitations to family events, with a few caveats.
Clear understandings regarding the nanny’s capacity at the event are imperative. If the nanny is invited as a guest, there should be no expectation for the nanny to serve in a professional capacity. Most career nannies reported serving in some professional capacity during such events, but on a voluntary basis born out of love for their charges and genuine generosity, rather than obligation.
Extended family, however, can often inadvertently view the nanny as “the help” rather than a guest, making some events awkward. The comfort level of guests, family members and the nanny should be considered before extending an invitation. Ultimately, the choice to invite or not to invite depends on the relationship the nanny shares with parents and family members outside of her charge.