Death in the Babysitter's Family...

Received Saturday, February 23-Perspective & Opinion
Our wonderful babysitter recently had a very close member of her family pass away. We love her like one of our own children, and want to be there for her in every respect. My question is, how can I make sure that she knows I am there if she needs anything without making her uncomfortable? All opinions appreciated; thank you.


erics mom said...

Maybe, the kids can make her a nice card. To let her know you all care about her.

Give her a couple of days off. She needs some time to herself. And be honest with her. Just let her know you feel awkward. And its a hard situation. That you care, and don't want to make her feel bad. If she needs anything, let her know she can come to you.

Nanny B said...

My father passed away about 6 months after I started working for my family. They were extremely flexible when it came to taking off time since I was in charge of all the details and couldnt' leave until the death certificate came in. In the end I was gone 3 weeks and when I came back they were very helpful and kind about it. I would say the best thing would be to give her time to deal with it on her own, possibly go home more than what she already does and just keep it in mind if she goes quiet. The best thing is that she has to deal with it on her own, some shut down and are quiet, some want to talk about it more. Just keep in mind if it is affecting your children or if she starts suffering from depression.

ro said...

Good for you nanny B. It sounds like you have good employers. One of my children's best friends has a nanny that had her mother pass away suddenly. I was shocked to hear the mother the nanny worked for bitching about the time the nanny would need off and furthermore bitching about her being "grumpy" when she returned from burying her mother. And this nanny had been with the family for 8 years or more!

OP, If you are going to err on this, err on the side of caution. Would a hug be awkward? Maybe so, so what? You also say you feel of her like she is family, so that is a good point to reaffirm with her.
I would send flowers to the funeral or make a remembrance in the relative's name from your family. That will mean a lot to her.

Does she live close to you? I would make a casserole or do whatever you would normally do for a very close friend and take it over to her home, especially if it off your beaten path. Along with cards from the children, that would be good. Restate that you are there for her often and make sure she knows it is not just words.

Does she have to go somewhere or is her relative here? I would ask her if she needs travel help or a ride. Many nannies don't drive. And they come from families where there are no drivers. You could offer to drive them or hire a car service for a short period for her.

Does she have clothes for a funeral? She may have some unexpected expenses. If you can help with them, that is great.

Does she have children of her own?

supernannynnj said...

A nice sympathy card with a personal note and a handmade card from the kids would be terrific. Also, a nice comfort food like brownies, cookies or whatever you know she likes.

As for the days off. It's kind to offer but when my mom died I preferred to work until the viewing and funeral days arrived. Sitting home dwelling would have been horrible. So be sure to let her know you are as flexible as she needs.

On behalf of all childcare providers, thanks for being so kind.

Anonymous said...

You sound like a very kind employer. Rather than telling her you are there if she needs anything, be specific about what you might provide, time off, financial help with a plane ticket or a salary advance, whatever, because she would probably be uncomfortable asking.

Anonymous said...

OP here:

Thank you all so much for the wonderful suggestions!

She is our semi-adolescent babysitter (college junior), so fortunately she is still very close with the remaining members of her family, her siblings, etc.

Again, thank you all; I am definitely going to take up a few suggestions.

SuLynne said...

Tell her exactly what you typed here.
"We love you and appreciate you, and want you to know that we're here for you if you need us in any way." Say it in a card, if need be.