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Advice needed from nannies of three or parents with nannies of three.

(39 Posts)
IcanandIwill Thu 13-Dec-12 20:25:26

I'm considering a nanny. I have three DC who are 6,2 and 8 months. DH was killed in a car crash 8 months ago.

What I'm really trying to figure out is what my expectations can be of a nanny with three charges. It's likely to be shared care but I also need rest (3 non sleepers). What can I expect realistic duties to be with three to care for?

I'd like to return to work part time at some point but this really hinges on having the right care in place.

With regard to hours I was thinking of four long days. Advice, thoughts, input all appreciated!

nannynick Thu 13-Dec-12 20:37:10

In my current and past 2 jobs I've nannied for 3 (4 in one case) children and have had 2 under 5's with me all day/most of the day.

Laundry - Washing clothes, putting them out to dry. Don't expect ironing. You may get folding and putting away.
Laundry - Bedding, washing and drying, remaking beds. Don't expect it to be weekly but it may get done a couple of times a month.
Cooking - Breakfast, Lunch, Tea.
Cooking - Cakes & Biscuits... always good for entertaining young children who like to help make these.
Taking oldest to school, collecting from school.
Taking all 3 children out on trips during school holidays, such as to museums, playgrounds, on train rides, whatever the children (and the nanny) like to do.
Some tidying up, vac around the main rooms used on occasion.
Taking younger children to toddler group, swimming, softplay, walks in the woods, feed the ducks, wander around the local town/city.

12 hour days can be hard going but working 4 days a week is nice. What hours are you considering 7am-7pm?

cathpip Thu 13-Dec-12 20:40:09

I am a nanny and i have done sole charge and shared care, with both roles i did general chores such as childrens washing/ironing (did do parents ironing if i had time) cleaning childrens bedrooms/bedding and playroom and the cooking. ( must point out that my shared care was 4 boys, 8, 6, 4 and 2) I worked 4 days a week from 7.30-6.30 which i did prefer. Even with the shared care i used to take the children out on day trips to give mum some space, it may be worth contacting a nanny agency and explaining what you want as it does sound a bit like housekeeper/nanny, which im sure for most wont be a problem esp if you are clear on duties

2plus1 Thu 13-Dec-12 20:43:59

Hi, I have a nanny for three toddlers while I go off to work. The nanny is employed for full time hours over three days so extended hours that a childminder wouldn't do. Addditionally, my hubby goes away so some weeks it is just me and the nanny! Our nanny does everything that I would do during the day so when I am home, I don't have to do much extra work just cleaning and my laundry. My nanny looks after my three (with preschool run) and takes non-preschoolers out in the morning. She will wash, dry and iron (if needed) the childrens laundry, cook them a meal, make their tea, do crafts, roleplay games, arrange playdates, take out in the car on outings etc. Luckily for me my nanny is very tidy (will clean up after the beans etc) and organised. If needed she will take delivery of weekly groceries which is a great help.

If you need rest then make this clear to your nanny and she can accomodate. I have been at home unwell and our nanny has made sure the children have not disturbed me in my room and has taken them out for extra peace and quiet. If you are sharing the care with the nanny then you probably need to have some routines of when you expect her to take sole charge of them and when you will have a share in their care.

I was concerned about one nanny looking after a demanding household such as ours but there are some lovely nannies out there, just got to find the right one for you. I wish you all the best in your future plans, it sounds like you have had a tough time recently.

OutragedFromLeeds Thu 13-Dec-12 21:02:13

I care for 4 (was 3 children aged 3 and under when I started, but they've since had a 4th).

I think your expectations of the nanny should be based on what you do during the day. How much a nanny with 3 little ones can get done depends almost entirely on the personality of the children and the parent i.e. what their priorities are.

For example, when I first started my job their DC3 was a baby and very easy going, the other two were both at home full time and neither could be trusted alone with the baby (DC2 spent the first year or so trying to kill DC3). At first it was easy to get stuff done because the youngest wasn't moving so could leave the two older ones to play and keep DC3 with me while I did stuff. Then he learnt to crawl and then walk and everything became much harder! I couldn't have with me, but couldn't leave him to play alone and couldn't take my eye of him for a second

DC4 is very hit and miss, days when I get loads done and he plays happily, days, like today, where he screams bloody murder (huge, terrible, can't breathe sobs) if I'm not physically touching him.

The parents priorities are also important. My employers very much want me to concentrate on the DC's not the house (this was talked about at the interview) and so I do the cooking (quite basic), laundry (but not all of it and no ironing) and any 'sorting', shopping as and when needed. I don't do the beds unless I get extra time, I don't hoover or clean anywhere (tidy up/wipe the side/sweep at the end of the day obviously, but no cleaning). If my employers wanted more household stuff done they could have it, but obviously the time for ironing would have to come from somewhere, something would have to be cut.

I work 4 long days, I do take an hour for lunch if the baby sleeps.

Some nannies don't like shared-care, do mention that in the ad so you get the right people applying. If you're wanting a lot of house stuff advertise as nanny/housekeeper.

IcanandIwill Thu 13-Dec-12 21:27:47

Thanks everyone. I'm just trying to judge what's realistic to expect. We have a cleaner and id happily keep her on if it meant nanny spent more time seeing to the kids and I got a break.

I'm amazed at what some of you fit into the day with little ones in tow. I suppose I'm not in the best frame of mind right now and totally exhausted so achieving so much seems impossible.

Thanks again. Do you think four long days is too much? Would it be more realistic to have five 'normal' days?

OutragedFromLeeds Thu 13-Dec-12 21:43:48

It depends what you mean by long days? Most live-out nannies work 10 hours, but some work 11 or 12. I work four long days and I much prefer it to five shorter days.

nannynick Thu 13-Dec-12 21:47:57

What is normal? What is long?
When I worked for Government, full-time was 36 hours a week. As a nanny, I work 40 hours and some nannies work 50, 60 hours.

Is cost a consideration? Would the hours be the same regardless of doing 4 or 5 days? Maybe just advertise it as being x number of hours a week and saying it could be done over 4 or 5 days depending on what the applicant wanted to do.

IcanandIwill Thu 13-Dec-12 22:09:12

Cost is a consideration but what's more important is getting the help that I need. I would certainly consider advertising the amount of hours and discussing with each individual.

As for the shared care element I do really, really need a break. The little two go to nursery part time at the moment but for various reasons this just doesn't work.

Thanks all x

RobinSucksInTheSnow Thu 13-Dec-12 22:19:49

Sorry for your loss.

I'd certainly take on this job, one of my current jobs is for a family with children aged just 5, just 2 and 8m. The only thing that would put me off is shared care, not something I enjoy doing. It really changes how I do my day, worrying about mum being there, of course the children prefer to go to mum rather than me so I worry about mum thinking the children don't like me! Also it's difficult for the children, who's in charge, why is sibling having more mummy time etc.

Also depends on the hours- to me, a 10 hour day is a short day. I'd much prefer to be doing a 12 hour day to bump up my wages! But in most professions 10 hours is a fairly long day.

Would you consider a mothers help?

I see you say they are non-sleepers. That would really impact duties I could do- I do ironing when the babies sleep, I'm able to get a wash on and sort the drying. I don't tend to take long for lunch, I'm usually too busy feeding the youngest to eat with the children so once they sleep that's when I grab lunch and that's my break! Duties also depend on your set-up, one family had washing machine in the basement with a dirty floor, no way of putting the baby down while I did the machine and I couldn't leave a crawler and close the door. They also had a separate laundry bin in each room so I had to go round the four floor house carrying a big baby with a toddler in tow to do a wash. Thinking about things like that, pre-sorting kid's laundry in coloured wash etc would mean more could be done.

Blondeshavemorefun Thu 13-Dec-12 23:48:15

Sorry for your loss sad we met on bereaved threads earlier

A good nanny is more then capable of looking after 3 children and will be able to do most duties that nick said

Again most nannies would prefer to work 7-7 four days a week and have Friday off

What area are you in?

IcanandIwill Thu 13-Dec-12 23:59:47

I'm in Nottinghamshire.

Im glad most seem to think 4 10 to 12 hour days isn't out of the question. Regarding a mothers help. That just doesn't give me enough time to rest. Between the three of them I can be up all night. I need someone totally capable of being in charge while I sleep. Besides the sleepless nights grief can be god damn exhausting too.

Strix Fri 14-Dec-12 08:51:40

Oh gosh. What a tough year. I'd like to say well done to you for coping so well this far.

I have three kids, have empolyed several live in nannies along the way, and now have an au pair / childminder combination (mostly for the purpose of pratically eliminating my tax obligation). My children are 9, 7, and almost 2.

Some things I think you might want to think about:

Do you want a live in? If you have the space it sounds like you might like the flexibility (e.g. early starts) of a live-in employee. And, as you are on your own, you might even enjoy the adult conversation at the end of the day. My DH often works away and sometimes the nanny and I will hang out in the evening, watch a movie, talk about the kids, have a curry, etc. I am a social being and I like having another person around. But, some people prefer not to have another person living in their house.

Have you considered a combination of an au pair and keeping the daytime childcare (nursery, childminder, etc.)? This will save you a huge amount in tax obligations whilst still giving you quite a bit of flexibility on the hours. But, it will require you do a bit more on the job training. So if you want someone to hit the ground running without your involvement then this option is probably not for you.

Think about the hours, the duties, etc. and tailor your intial ad / interview qustions to targeting those candidates. For example I am a fuss pot on nutrition, so my questions ask quite a lot about what the potential nanny likes to eat. My 9 year old has a quite a strong will, so I also look for someone with a strong personality and some experience of discipline because otherwise 9 year DD is likely to walk all over them.

In your case, I think you might want someone with some experience of sleep problems. That is one problem I have never had, so can't really advise there. But, I would probably put something like "experience with difficult sleepers would be a plus" in the ad.

fraktion Fri 14-Dec-12 11:14:45

So sorry for your loss sad

You may find that a nanny can get more done than you, although that depends how organised and energetic you are. I find I get much less fine as a mother of one than I did as a nanny of 3. Part of it is, I suspect, down to how much energy I don't have.

The best thing to do is talk to candidates and ideally go for one with experience of larger families. That was they'll have some idea if what they're letting themselves in for.

IcanandIwill Fri 14-Dec-12 13:00:48

Thanks everyone. Plenty to think about. Really grateful for the input.

IcanandIwill Fri 14-Dec-12 14:00:12

Another question! I presume I'm right in thinking more children to look after equals a higher rate of pay?

nannynick Fri 14-Dec-12 14:36:43

No. Nannies don't really get paid on number of children otherwise as children start school pay would reduce.

Welovecouscous Fri 14-Dec-12 21:11:11

I am so sorry to hear about your DH sad

I had an ap from when DS was 8 months to give me help as I needed surgery. She was great with him, so if you are there as well an ap can he great for respite care. They say no sole charge under 2, but she could play with your little one while you have a bath.

MarshmallowCupcake Fri 14-Dec-12 21:57:50

So sorry for your loss x
I now do 4 longer days to have a 3 day weekend. I'm very happy to do that! Any good nanny would easily take on this job. Along with all nursery duties. The only thing I would explain to your future nanny, is that due to having to get up through the night to your kids while also dealing with your grief, you may go back to bed to catch up on some sleep.
I've worked for families where the mum doesn't work but went back to bed through the day and I've resented the position I've been put in. Made me question my job.
But they were completely different situations from you. I got my current position in Leicestershire/Nottinghamshire through Kids Matter, great agency if you're wanting a good agency!

OutragedFromLeeds Sat 15-Dec-12 10:53:14

'Another question! I presume I'm right in thinking more children to look after equals a higher rate of pay?'

Nannies are paid per family and not per child, so it's definitely not a case of 1 child equals £5ph, 2 equals £10 etc. However, I think a family with one child are able to pitch the lower end of the expected wage bracket, whilst families with more children will need to pay slightly more. This is certainly the case in London, I think just because a job looking after 5 small children is harder than a job looking after 1 small child.

Welovecouscous Sat 15-Dec-12 13:13:13

In case it helps you do financial calculations btw, we pay our ap £90 per week for 35 hours work. We paid our nanny £90 per day for the days I worked.

nannycaz Sat 15-Dec-12 14:13:50

hi icanandi will im near you and looking for a new nanny job feel free to pm me smile

MariaMandarin Sat 15-Dec-12 14:28:32

It is normal and acceptable for nannies to do the duties nannynick listed, but as someone else said it does really depend on your circumstances whether that is appropriate. Your children have been through a lot, they are not getting enough sleep at the moment, therefore I think it is likely they will need as much attention as possible from a nanny. It might be an idea to get the nanny to focus just on them, at least to start with. If things go smoothly and the nanny feels up to taking on more, then you could change things a bit down the line.

IcanandIwill Sun 16-Dec-12 21:20:08

Thanks all.

Welove I'll look into the aupair idea. I'd kind of written it off but I pay my cleaner nearly that much!

Maria I totally agree that the children need time and attention. They also need a mummy who isn't frazzled. I need to find the right balance.

Welovecouscous Sun 16-Dec-12 21:46:33

Ican we have had two older aps - one 25, one 22, both excellent. If you want to pm more to discuss please feel free. Plenty of ap experience on here as well. Mine does the cleaning btw as well as Childcare.

I found mine through Childcare international but other people on here will be able to recommend other agencies.

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