Granny’s the Nanny

by Claire Minnaar

Next to an au pair or a nanny is the Granny Nanny – asking your Mom or Mother-in-law to look after your kids while you are at work. I know a few ladies who have opted for this route and some have worked out well and others not so well.

Here are my pros, cons and suggestions on going the Granny route.

Top 5 Pros

  • It’s somebody you know and trust – this would possibly be one of the most comforting factors about leaving your child with someone and it’s possibly the most logical reason too.
  • Financial reasons – in most cases, from what I know, Grannies aren’t very expensive. You pay for the food and contribute to toiletries or whatever you agree upon and you land up saving money i.e. a monthly wage. UIF, tax issues, etc.
  • Easier communication – based on my experience of having a nanny, there were the odd communication problems as their home language wasn’t English, so sometimes something wouldn’t get done or wouldn’t be done in the way I liked it. Given Granny understands you and knows you well will leave less room for communication issues.
  • Less Germ Festivals – At Granny’s home, there are less kiddies around and therefore less chance of catching the latest cold or flu going around a day care.
  • Bonding and Relationship – to have your Mom / Mother-in-law involved with your child’s upbringing can be very special and allows them to bond with your child so well – as a very family focussed person, I think this would be one of the important factors to consider.

Top 5 Cons

  • Parenting approach – my parents and in-laws have different views on a few ways of raising kids to what I do. I think this is only natural given we are generation apart and more information on how to raise kids is available. This can be a factor and could cause major conflict.
  • Energy levels – don’t get me wrong on this one, but some Grannies simply don’t have the energy to keep up with a feisty toddler. This is a con and you don’t want Granny being exhausted every day because she’s been running around chasing your child / children.
  • Familiarity can cause conflict – Because Grannies are so close to you, they may feel they can “override” your decisions / choices. This could be another reason for conflict to arise.
  • Boundaries overlap – if Granny is a regular carer for your kids, they may feel they can interrupt or interfere when you discipline your child given they spend a great deal of time with your child and do it regularly. This opens another opportunity for conflict.
  • Loss of being Granny – this may not be relevant to you, but if my Mom / Mother-in-law was looking after my kids every day, they may start being seen more as an authority figure opposed and won’t get the opportunity to be a Granny who spoils their kids.


If you opt for this route, my main piece of advice is to make sure you keep communication channels open. Make sure to be clear on what works for you or doesn’t work for you and if a problem arises, make sure you both sit down and deal with it as adults and make sure to LISTEN to one another.

Start off with the intention of trying it out and that if it doesn’t work out, there must be no negative feelings if you choose an alternative option.

Perhaps consider having a domestic around to help with just little things. This can alleviate stress on Granny and help things to run more smoothly.

Good luck! If I’ve left off any pointers, please feel free to leave a comment below.

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