What To Do With The Nanny When The Family Gets Sick

What do you do with your nanny when the whole family gets sick? Here, PSP members share how they handled it.


Original poster:


 “Wanted some advice on what people expect from their nannies when the family is sick. Do you expect them to come into work or do you offer time off to prevent them from getting sick too? My one year old came down with a stomach virus last week. She was throwing up overnight but luckily was much better by the next morning and has been fine since. Since it was thanksgiving week, my husband and I were both home to take care of her and our nanny was off for the holiday week. Fast forward a few days and now both my husband and I have come down with the virus and it's hitting us harder than it seemed to hit my daughter. We're both staying home from work and our nanny is in today to care for my daughter as usual. When I explained that we were both sick with the stomach flu she seemed less than pleased. In retrospect I wonder if I should have texted her about the situation beforehand and see if she wanted to stay away given potential contagion. On the other hand we could really use the help with childcare because we can barely take care of ourselves right now. Just curious if there is a standard policy people tend to have around this.”




“We had our nanny come when I was sick and she looked after the baby. And sure enough she got the bug the next 48 hours and of course we had her stay home.
It's tough because you need the help, but more importantly you should try and communicate as to what her expectations are and how you need her in moments like this. If that is a red flag it is worth a conversation.”

“No standard policy with us but if kid is well and you are sick think it's fine if she works - you should just stay away from her and ask her to take the child out for the day. If she gets sick that hurts you too as you won't have coverage - so I think it’s best to ensure nanny exposure to family germs is minimized when possible.”

“Personally I'd inform her ahead of time and just see how she feels about it. Of course you need the help, but she also has a right to try and prevent exposure to illness for herself. And then work from there. It's unfair not to tell her in advance, though I wouldn't beat myself up about it now. Just for the future. No one wants a stomach bug, but most nannies I would think would come to work and take precautions if the parents and not the child are sick. It's mostly about courtesy and preparation!”

“My nanny always works when anyone is sick, I got Lysol spray(old school) and wipes surfaces, and spray my couch etc. I mean if they are in an office and someone else comes to work sick they can't avoid it, or on the subway, or many other places where people are sick - actually having the benefit of knowing you are sick means she can take steps towards not getting it.”

“Our nanny worked with us in the exact same situation a couple years ago actually with a 24-hour bug.  I went as far as I could to Lysol every surface and make sure it didn't spread once my daughter got the bug -- and then my husband and I got it.  She was happy to help while we were under the weather and I was so grateful to have her.  She stayed out most of the day with my daughter and did not get it!  So it ended well. Helpful to tell her in advance, be conscientious about sanitizing, and try to avoid spreading germs as much as possible, but I think having a nanny when someone is sick -- either us or the kids -- is one of the big benefits of having someone come to your home for childcare.”


If your nanny does come to work when your family is sick, here are some tips we’ve adapted from the CDC:

  • Avoid face-to-face contact with the nammy. Spend the least amount of time in close proximity with them.

  • If your child is sick, tell you nanny to place the child’s chin on their shoulder so they won’t get germs directly in their face.

  • Your nanny should carry the mantra, “wash hands, wash hands, wash hands!” The CDC  encourages that if someone has contact with a sick person, they should wash hands often, wash them right away, and wash them the right way. The CDC says: “Sing the “Happy Birthday” song two times or count slowly to 20 as you wash.”

  • Make sure there is hand soap by all the sinks, and stock up on alcohol-based hand rub.

  • If your nanny and you/ a family member have any physical contact, make sure your nanny washes their hands. Hands should also be washed if you nanny picked up any tissues or laundry.

  • In addition to tips we've adapted from the CDC article here, more comprehensive tips specifcally for caregivers of young children who get the flu can be found on the CDC website here.


Related reading on PSP:

How to handle a sick kid and childcare