Difficult Conversations- Part 2: I Cannot, but I Will


In the Nanny and Childcare profession we occasionally will be requested to do something or perform a task that

A. May not be part of our job OR

B. Makes us uncomfortable.

When confronted with a situation like this a few things come to mind. The most common being,

"I don't want to do that but how do I say no without angering the client?"

Communication is fundamental in any relationship.

It can be uncomfortable to refuse or deny a client's request. What you need to remind yourself is that you and the client have one goal and one priority: The child(ren).

The nanny and client relationship fails when you do not speak up or you try to avoid certain topics.

It is OKAY to deny a request if you are uncomfortable, if you think it is dangerous, or it is not imperative to the task at hand.

So, when a client approaches you and says "While I'm gone I'll need you to vacuum, dust the ceiling fans, and scrub the baseboards"

You can say any of the following:

"The best way I can help is to tidy up after the children and myself after eating and playtime."

"Usually we focus primarily on caring for the children and I will be more than happy to clean up any messes we make, however household chores would distract me from keeping them safe and engaged."

"What I can do is [run a load of laundry, unload the dishwasher] with the kids or while they are taking a nap but the children are my priority and I want to make sure they have my full attention while I am here."

"I would be happy to make an exception and do 1 chore while the child is napping but typically our services don't include housework. I can check with my company to see if they have any referrals for a housekeeping service if you would like?"

Feel free to substitute the housekeeping topic with any issue or uncomfortable request that you come across. The language you use is vital.

Put the responsibility back on the client by using the "I cannot do (X), but I will do (Y)" phrase. Giving a backup option of something you would be willing to do is key to compromise and keeping both of you happy!