How do I tell my nanny family that I tested positive for Covid-19?

Telling your employer that you have COVID-19 can be an awkward conversation. Experienced nanny, Martha, advises how one might navigate the conversation.

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I’ve been vaccinated and follow all the CDC guidelines, but I’ve tested positive for COVID-19. The nanny family I work for and I never discussed what we should do if this happens. How do I tell them I have COVID, and what should we do after that?


First of all, I’m sorry you have COVID-19. That is so hard, especially since you’ve been careful and are following the guidelines. Be sure to take care of yourself, get as much rest as you can, and isolate so as to keep others safe. If you have built a good and trusting relationship with your nanny family, they will likely be both understanding and supportive of you during this time.

First, I would contact the family by phone as soon as possible to let them know that you have tested positive and will be recovering for at least the next 10 days. You can say something like:

“Hi, I care very much about your family and your health, and I want to inform you as soon as possible that I have tested positive for COVID-19. I have done my absolute best to follow all the CDC guidelines, and I do not know where I got it. But I know it’s important to tell you as quickly as possible. I plan on isolating and recovering for the next 10 days and will get retested as soon as it is possible. I will keep you updated with how I’m feeling and let you know when I test negative. I’d also love to brainstorm how to bring me back to work safely once I am out of the quarantine period.”

This message makes the family aware of your plan of not spreading it to them and opens the conversation about how you’re going to proceed. It also gives them the opportunity to share their thoughts and plans for bringing you back to work once you retest negative.

Once you say your piece, listen to what they have to say. They will probably get tested and let you know if they have it or not at that point. Perhaps you will not reconvene the childcare arrangement until the family 1) has test results back, and 2) has a better understanding of how their and your symptoms will present. Then, once everyone is out of the quarantine window and feels better, you can complete the plan for reintroduction so you can start working again!

As for you, my dear nanny, please know that this is not your fault. You did your best, and COVID-19 is so very contagious. You are still an excellent caretaker, and now you need to turn some of that caretaking towards yourself. I know there can be a lot of shame around getting COVID-19, so please be as kind to yourself as you would to a dear friend who told you they tested positive.

Also, be prepared for your nanny kids to be a little cold or aloof when you come back to work. Two weeks is a very long time for a young child, and they might react to your absence by being either more aloof or making more bids for connection. So keep on being the best nanny you can be and tell your nanny kids how much you missed them. If you’re able to FaceTime or Zoom during your time away, that can help it not feel like such a shock when you aren’t there for two weeks. But give yourself extra self-care and be gentle with yourself. This isn’t your fault, and you are a wonderful caregiver.

If you need more support, we’re here for you!

Meet The Expert

Martha Tyler

Martha has her Masters in Education and is a certified Positive Discipline Parent Educator. She has worked as a sitter, nanny, tutor, or teaching artist over the past 20+ years. In addition, Martha has hosted a child care podcast, Chronicles of Nannya, for several years. She is also the co-founder of Compassionate Childcare LLC and is thrilled to be able to share her experience, knowledge, and resources with CareNectar!