In any job, it’s important to make sure you’re being compensated fairly for the work that you do. But asking for a raise is not inside most people’s comfort zones. The raise conversation can be awkward, even for the most confident people, because it involves two things that make most people really, really uncomfortable: asking for direct feedback and talking about money.

Still, knowing your value and being able to have frank and professional conversations with your nanny family are vital to your success as a nanny. Here’s how to identify the right time to ask for a raise and how to make the conversation as painless as possible—for you and your boss.

When should I get a raise?

Here’s a common misconception: simply being in your role for a year or longer doesn’t mean you have automatically earned a raise. When trying to decide whether or not it’s reasonable to ask for a raise, start by doing a self-assessment to evaluate whether or not you’re truly providing more value to the family then you were when you were originally hired or at the time of your last raise. Consider the following:

  • Have you taken on any additional duties? This might include personal assistant work, additional errands or housekeeping duties, traveling with the family, or any other tasks that expand the scope of your job.
  • Was another child added to the family? If so, did this significantly impact your daily workload and schedule?
  • Have you taken any courses or obtained additional certifications to enhance your skill set and increase your value as an employee?

How to ask for a raise

So, you’ve identified that it’s the right time to ask for a raise. Here’s how to go about doing it:

1. Ask in person
The raise conversation should always take place in person. This isn’t something you want to ask via text or email message. Set a specific time to meet and come prepared to explain why you feel you deserve a raise, with a clear idea of how much you’d like to receive. Even if you’d prefer not to mention an amount, your employer may ask what you have in mind, so it’s a good idea to at least know what a reasonable amount is for someone in a similar position and who has a similar skillset.

2. Time it right
Make sure you’re not asking for a raise during a particularly busy or difficult time for your nanny family. For example, it’s probably not a great time to ask right around the holidays or if they are in the middle of a huge project at work. Choose a time when they are not overly stressed and when they are more likely to have availability to meet with you and carefully consider your request.

3. Assert your value
Remember that asking for a raise is really about selling yourself and your abilities. This isn’t a time for pleading or talking about your personal finances. You should approach your employer with compelling reasons as to why you deserve a raise that are directly related to how you perform your role every day.

You might say something like, “I wanted to let you know how much I’ve enjoyed working with your family and how much I appreciate the opportunities you’ve given me to grow in my role. Since I was hired, I’ve taken on X, Y, and Z. I’ve had a lot of success in these endeavors, and I’d like to talk about adjusting my salary to reflect these successes.”

4. Be confident
The idea of having this conversation might make you nervous but remember that asking for a raise is perfectly normal. As long as you are professional, respectful, and reasonable in your request, you are most likely not going to damage your relationship with your employer in any way by asking, and, if they’ve had previous nannies or have other employees, this is likely not the first conversation of this kind that they’ve had. A raise isn’t a favor or a gift; it’s a way of making sure you are compensated fairly for a job well done, and it is okay to discuss that with your manager.

What to do if the answer is “no”
Just because you ask for a raise does not always mean you will get one. There are several reasons why this might be the case, but that does not mean you should take it personally. It may not be the right time for your employer financially or they may feel that they need to observe your performance longer before making that decision. If your boss says no, don’t let your emotions get the best of you. Instead, respond graciously and ask for feedback on how you can improve your performance to earn the raise you’re seeking. You might say something like, “I appreciate you taking the time to talk with me about this. I’m wondering if there anything else I can do or improve on to earn a raise in the future.”

This gives you and your boss a chance to get on the same page and you’ll be better able to assess exactly how to meet those goals. Set a new time to discuss your raise, perhaps a few months in the future, and be prepared to demonstrate what you’ve done to meet their expectations. If, for some reason, your manager refuses to agree to a raise after several attempts or can’t articulate what you can do to earn one, you may need to assess whether or not you can continue to be satisfied and grow in your current role. However, that is a rare problem, and most employers will be more than happy to discuss your performance and work with you to make sure you’re being compensated fairly.