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New nanny - worried I might have made a mistake

(43 Posts)
Kooza Tue 26-Feb-13 17:56:04

We have a new nanny who has been with us for just over a month. The first 2 weeks of her employment involved a handover with our old nanny who left us after 2 years together to go back to school.

At the time of interview she seemed fine, keen, kind and trustworthy. Her references were good, the odd issue about little things like snacks but in general they were really good.

The problem is that I am now worried she isn't up to the job. She's trying very hard and is keen but is displaying some serious lack of common sense in several areas and hasn't really showed much initiative with regards to my youngest DS's (3) care. She's supposedly had loads of experience.

Couple of examples:
Today my 2 oldest DCs came home in the freezing cold from swimming with wet hair and no hats on despite me specifically asking her to make sure they wore them to come home because it's SO bloody cold.

There have been several instances of burnt mouths from food being served scalding hot (with no warning)

Took over 2 hours to make spaghetti bolognese yesterday.

All the play mates my old nanny had cultivated for youngest DS have not been seen or heard of since. I have asked her twice to arrange things but it seems to go in one ear and out of the other.

Correcting my DS's spellings wrongly. ie. "no, definitely has an 'a' in the middle not an 'i'. [Stand up all pedants!]

Unable to explain the meanings of even simple words in their reading.

As of September my oldest DS will be at a different school to my middle DD and I am having a hard time imagining her coping with the level of organisation required.
I work from home 3 days a week and so am around about 50% of the time. I am trying to take a step back and let her find her feet but I worry when she doesn't seem to remember simple instructions or show basic common sense.

I am probably sounding like a bit of an ogre but honestly I have always been a very relaxed and friendly boss. Our old nanny was in floods of tears when she left and said it was the most wonderful job she'd ever had.

I am thinking of having a '6 week review' to go over some of this stuff but don't want the poor girl to feel like I'm just sitting there churning out criticism!

I really want to give her a fair chance to make this work and get up to speed. I guess my main concern is that even when I make a specific point of asking her to do something she still forgets. God forbid there should be any kind of emergency situation.

I feel like I interviewed a bright and experienced nanny but seem to have ended up with someone else? sad

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Mon 11-Mar-13 17:24:12

Oh poor you OP, it's hard to hear gut instinct if logistics are shouting harder!

Last week I did one evenings trial with a nanny who'd done a brilliant interview, and it truly was like a different person turned up ready to work... I'm just glad she did it in the trial! Took her THREE hours to make an awful dinner (rice, potatoes, peas anyone?!), and she complained that she had had to in her words 'clean three rooms!' ... Errr... Tidy up the mess SHE'D made in the kitchen, bathroom and lounge - what does she think happens? She gets to trash the house 'looking after' one child for fours hours... And then the house fairies come & clean up after her???

Sorry - that really wound me up!!! Grrrr...

"I think quite a lot of nannies are poorly educated, especially if they have been through the British system where young girls with poor grades are often steered into childcare"

Are you actually fucking kidding me shock

tigerlilygrr Mon 11-Mar-13 00:59:17

OP you're not happy and this is probably the most important working relationship you'll ever have. I take your point re the six week review potentially becoming a catalogue of negatives. To avoid that and to give the nanny a chance, I'd pick no more than three issues and talk through those. Actually say upfront that there are three issues, so she's not blindsided. Plus come up with a minimum of two positives, and give her a chance to feed back to you as well. Then put in a place a second review at ten weeks, go back to her issues and any points she's raised, and see how she's doing. If that fails then I would look to bring the arrangement to a close; probation periods are good practice but actually they have no legal standing in UK employment law.

sunshinenanny Wed 06-Mar-13 13:29:23

Do not wish to hijack this thread but Here is another nanny who is feeling insulted!shock I chose to become a nanny because it was something I really wanted to do and I also knew it was something I would be good atsmile

Very sweeping statement you made Midget; Are you sure you are not talking about a certain type of childcarer who calls themselves a nanny but has no experience or training and is very often employed on the cheap?

MOST NANNIES i know are very intelligent and competant and by the way you do not have to be academic to be intelligent and good at your jobhmm

AuntLucyInPeru Sat 02-Mar-13 20:36:17

I had this recently and discontinued the employment after one week (fortunately still during probation period) and we took the hit on the payoff. Soooo glad I did.

anewyear Sat 02-Mar-13 20:25:11

Im not a Nanny, Im a Pre School Practitioner and Childminder, with over 25+ yrs experience working in Childcare.
I often go on courses to continue my professional development mostly at my own expense,
I have also nearly completed my Level 3 in Children and Young Peoples Workforce so will be qualified after all these years.
And yes I do resent such sweeping generalizations some people make about those of us that work in child care,
I for one love my job/s, how many people can say that wholeheartedly!!

Any how, agree with Quantico, hats on wet hair makes my toes want to curl..
My boys are 11 & 14, I still tell them to blow!!

QuanticoVirginia Sat 02-Mar-13 10:26:22

Totally off at a tangent but I am obviously the only person who actually cringes at the thought of hats on wet hair. I won't let my children do that!!! I would make sure they dried their hair first so it wasn't wet enough to be an issue.

Plus there is absolutely no issue going out in the cold with wet hair. It's a complete old wives tail that it'll give you a cold. I find it quite invigorating!

The scalding would be an issue though for me. I alwasy tell my 8 and 12 year old that something is really hot and they have to wait (or leave it to cool before serving)

Lucyellensmum95 Sat 02-Mar-13 09:28:06

Branching out - that is a fair point actually. re the homework.

BranchingOut Sat 02-Mar-13 08:05:06

Having said that, when I advertised for a nanny on gumtree I did get a number of awful responses, along with some good ones.

20 year olds fresh out of college who could scarcely string a sentence together in their message, mis-using words, using abbreviations and text speak and capping it off with 'I charge £11 per hour, net'. Yeah, dream on.

MGMidget Fri 01-Mar-13 23:24:44

Ok, apologies to the nannies I've offended. Obviously my experience of nannies with regards to education grades has not been the same as those commenting on this thread!

MaryMotherOfCheeses Fri 01-Mar-13 23:08:51

I think it's true that girls with poor grades are directed into childcare.

That's not the same as "all those working in childcare are uneducated."

Sorry OP, it sounds like your nanny doesn't actually have much consideration of children. Which is fundamental to me, regardless of qualifications.

Blondeshavemorefun Fri 01-Mar-13 23:02:43

Lucy Homework falls to whoever is looking after the children

Many parents don't get in till 6/7pm which I feel is too late for homework

We do when we get home from school to get it over and done with and so children can then relax / play / watch tv

Lucyellensmum95 Fri 01-Mar-13 22:22:01

bugger me MGM - you sound really nice hmm

See, this is why i could never have a nanny - this is not a criticism in any way, but I just could not take the chance of the arrangement not working. One of the reasons - i just coudlnt have someone else in my house.

thats not really relevant though - if you feel she is not working out then get rid of her.

I think your comments about her spelling are a bit harsh - i am surprised (genunely) tht homework help falls to he nanny?

BranchingOut Fri 01-Mar-13 22:09:40

I think MG was trying to talk about a pattern within childcare as a whole, as has been shown by this national review for example, rather than intending to offend individuals.

anewyear Fri 01-Mar-13 18:00:23

Well I must be 'uneducated' then.
As I have no childcare qualifications at this present moment in time hmm

BranchingOut Fri 01-Mar-13 08:02:22
BranchingOut Fri 01-Mar-13 08:01:08

I think what MG is saying might be less true of nannies than of childcare workers in general, but the low level of academic qualifications in the sector was highlighted by the Nutbrown review of early years qualifications.

If I recollect correctly, one of the recommendations of that review was that applicants to a Level 3 childcare course should have GCSE Maths and English.

Derbys Thu 28-Feb-13 20:50:04

I got good gcse grades, went on to do the nneb diploma and then got a degree in early years. I love working as a nanny. Am I classed as being uneducated?

FlorenceMattell Thu 28-Feb-13 17:36:16

I'm a nanny with a degree. Very rude to say nannies are uneducated. Not being able to spell is not a sign of intelligence, could be dyslexia.

Blondeshavemorefun Thu 28-Feb-13 09:58:03

Ditto www

I became a nanny as I wanted to work with children from a young age - I have good gsces and then went to college for 2yrs to do the nneb - not because I got crap grades in exams and thought what the hell that's be a nanny

I'm rather insulted at your comment mg

KateShmate Wed 27-Feb-13 18:06:50

All sounds strange OP, and I can see why you seem so upset about it - is not what you were expecting at all!
I think that it's understandable to get a few things wrong every now and then - she is a human being, after all; but I just think that it seems a bit strange. It doesn't sound like she is particularly enjoying the job? Has she been a nanny before?
Our nanny sounds similar to your old nanny, and is just wonderful! We employed a nanny after I found out I was pregnant with triplets - we had 2 older girls (just 2 and just 3) and husband works long hours. We've recently had to cut her hours because our triplets are 3 now and at pre-school 2 days a week. She and I are absolutely gutted because we've all been so close the last few years, and she has been amazing. I hope this doesn't sound really harsh OP, but I'm not sure I could carry on employing a nanny like the one you are explaining?
I think it's the lack of warmth towards the children? I can't imagine our nanny just staring at our girls, not wanting to engage with any kind of communication or play; it just seems strange?
I honestly feel like I would be able to trust our nanny as much as I would trust my own mum, or even my husband - I think that if there isn't any trust, then it's hard to make any kind of relationship because deep down you feel like you are watching everything she does. Understandably so, of course!
Sorry OP, I forgot that you had a previous nanny, so know what to 'compare' (for want of a better word?) her to.
If you had chucked her in at the deep end - i.e. employed her and she started the next day with no instructions or anything, then her behaviour would be more understandable, but the fact that you even had a 2 week over-lapping period so that she knew what she had to do, shows you what you need to know, I suppose.
Sorry if any of this sounds harsh towards her OP, but you are trusting her with your children - sometimes if it's not meant to be, it's not meant to be.

forevergreek Wed 27-Feb-13 17:56:52

Same, apart from the odd few, every nanny I know is highly qualified ( usually degree level).

wickedwitchofwaterloo Wed 27-Feb-13 17:47:54

I know you apologised, but still. Every British nanny I know has had a decent education and went into child care because they wanted to work with children. Not because they were steered into it.
Not helpful to this thread but felt I had to comment.

wickedwitchofwaterloo Wed 27-Feb-13 17:46:02

Steered into childcare because of poor grades?
hmm

MGMidget Wed 27-Feb-13 16:14:11

I would definitely want to have another chat with her referees and look at dates she worked for them - how long and are there gaps unaccounted for? You mention she took a long time to find the current job - might she have left a previous job off her CV? She doesn't sound very good to me. I would have expected that of a very mediocre Au Pair, not someone who is presumably being paid nanny rates and supposedly has experience. I would be a bit suspicious about her references. And I would agree that warning about scalding hot food and reminding children to put their hats on in cold weather when they have wet hair ought to be automatic. Regardless of their age, kids can forget and she's presumably had experience with a range of ages so would surely do these things automatically even if they aren't toddlers?

Regarding the spelling, I think quite a lot of nannies are poorly educated, especially if they have been through the British system where young girls with poor grades are often steered into childcare (apologies to any reading it who have good educational grades but I suspect you are in the minority!). If she is from overseas then having English as a second language may account for the poor spelling. Either way, for her to help your children with homework she has to accept that she must consult a dictionary rather than correct them without checking first!

Playdates can be a bit trickier if the other nannies aren't being friendly but it sounds like she hasn't tried.

Good luck with the chat.

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