BABYLOVE: How we appreciate our nannies

A domestic worker holds a placard on July 19, 2012 asking Parliament to pass laws that will ensure their rights are not violated. How do you repay your help for all her tireless efforts? PHOTO| FILE| NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • Most women who are lucky to get a good nanny feel grateful, but many forget the most important part which is showing the nanny that you appreciate her.
  • Six women share how they show gratitude to their nannies.

She is the person who takes care of your most prized human possession, the person that watches over your home. The one that irons out the creases so that your hectic life flows more smoothly.

Most women who are lucky to get a good nanny feel grateful, but many forget the most important part which is showing the nanny that you appreciate her. Six women share how they show gratitude to their nannies.


Janet Nandi grew up in a middle-class family amongst six siblings. For as long as she could remember, their mother always had a house help. She remembers one who stayed for over a decade. When their father was dividing his land, this woman was given a portion as a sign of gratitude.

“I can’t afford to give such a gift, but I always want to lift the women who help me look after my family. I’ve had my current nanny for three years and I am the one who pays for her chama every month. We have also been talking about getting health insurance for her,” she says.

This decision was informed by a need to not only say thank you, but to also make a difference in her nanny’s life.


The Iruras are an artistic family. Angie Irura, a mother of three aged between four and 11, is an interior designer. She also has a side business where she makes cards for clients’ different occasions. It is in this art that the Iruras have found a way of saying thank you to their nannies.

“My children love working with their hands: we knit, draw, make cuttings and every once in a while, when she is least expecting it, they make something to say thank you to the nanny,” she says.

Angie believes that gratitude isn’t measured by the amount of money spent to appreciate the nanny, but by the thoughts that one puts in. Hand-made gifts from her children to the woman who looks after them are priceless.


Every December, as she is taking her two children to see their grandparents upcountry, Rhoda Mumo visits her nanny’s family. And she doesn’t go empty-handed. She puts some money aside every month to use for shopping during her yearly visit.

The nanny has been with the family for four years.

“When someone is working in your home, you can’t treat her like you would someone you have employed in an office. This relationship is more intimate, more personal,” she says.

Their employer-employee relationship is not perfect. Rhoda admits that there are times that they disagree, but it is important to her that the person who watches over her children feels like she is part of the family.


The only reason that most mothers are able to have a spa day is because they have a nanny keeping things in check at home. As a way of reciprocating the gesture, Kui Kabethi, a mother of two, decided to bankroll her house help’s monthly salon visits.

“She gets the whole day off to tgo to the salon, get her hair and her nails done however she wants them and I pay for all the costs,” Kui says.

For Kui though, it is even more important that the nanny hears that she is appreciated. So every time she does something exceptional or goes out of her way, Kui says a verbal thank you.


Once a year, Nicky and her family go on a family vacation. Nicky is a mother of a set of twins aged six. She has hired three live-in nannies for them so far, who work alongside a live-out help. Nicky knows that her children can be a handful, so to say thank you to the live-in nanny who does the bulk of the work, they takes her along  for the family holidays.

“The location usually depends on how tight the money is, but seeing her enjoying the experiences is very fulfilling. I know she knows that she is appreciated,” she says.

Having her back


When Juliette, a single mother of one, had her son four years ago, her nanny went out of her way to make the first-time mother comfortable. When the nanny fell pregnant two years later, she assumed that she would be fired.

“When she came to me, she expected me to let her go. But I couldn’t. How could I when she had been so good to us? She delivered while she was still with us and I got someone else to help for the first few months. Now her daughter is one and she still works for me,” she says. Juliette would like to see her nanny standing on her two feet in the foreseeable future and is chipping into her dream of becoming a beautician.

Ways to foster a good relationship with the nanny


 Even without a grand gesture, there are limitless, small everyday actions that you can take up to grow the relationship you have with your nanny. Here are a few suggestions:

  •  Celebrate her family with her.

  •  Be generous with time off.

  •  Brag about her to your friends. It will melt her heart should she hear it.

  •  Thank her verbally.

  •  Give a bonus when you can. Cash is always appreciated.

  •  Love and treat her as part of your family.