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advice please... nanny keeps giving unhealthy food to my children...

(78 Posts)
LadyLotty Thu 28-Feb-13 00:49:52

I need some advice I think so any helpful thoughts are appreciated..

Our part time nanny looks after our 2 toddlers 2 full days a week and usually I ask her to take them to play groups and children friendly venues in the morning. I always cook and provide a healthy packed lunch for the children. The deal has always been that the nanny provides her own lunch (she is fussy what she likes to eat).

The problem is our nanny always brings less healthy things such as sweets and sausages to "share" with my children and my little ones end up eating none of my cooked food. This is becoming a regular thing. To the extent that I get brought back everything I pack.

I am a great cook and my children have always been easy feeders until recent months.. Now they demand sausages and crisps and sweets.

Have already suggested not sharing food with the nanny but she insists. I also have told her not to buy food for the children but today despite my specific instruction she bought chips for them. Said its out of her own pocket as a treat for the children. I really don't want her to treat my children, I actually feel quite offended and undermined. Or am I just being unreasonable? I would really like to keep tight control over my children's diet and treat them myself once in a while. Instead of worrying about their regular diet. Last week she fed my children peanuts and one of my child is allergic to it!! Aaargh!

Any advice?
I dony want to fire her as the children do like her loads - probably mainly as she always gives in to the

LadyLotty Thu 28-Feb-13 00:54:39

PS regarding the peanut incident - just to point out that nanny has been with us for almost a year now. She is aware that my children have various allergies (special fotmula milk etc). However since the deal have always been that I make and provide my children's food I doubt she put much thought into what exactly my children are allergic to...

KatieMiddleton Thu 28-Feb-13 01:10:45

Wtf?! No that would not be acceptable. You have asked her to stick to the kids diet and she isn't. Her job is to follow reasonable requests and instructions.

You need to sit down and tell her that she is only to feed the children the provided food and Xxx and Yyy is permissible when out but on no account Aaa or Bbbb or Cccc should be fed to them.

Ordinarily I would not be so prescriptive because you need to be able to trust your nanny's judgement and a few rules and guidelines are usually sufficient but it sounds like you've tried that.

I would be seriously thinking about a new nanny after the peanut incident.

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Thu 28-Feb-13 01:19:40

Last week she fed my children peanuts and one of my child is allergic to it!

W. T. A. F.

Your nanny flat out refuses to stick to your rules around food, even though those rules aren't making her life any harder, and then she fed them nuts despite a nut allergy.

Get rid. I honestly thought this would be one of those hilarious "my nanny fed my children home made chicken and lentil stew with no organic chicken " threads, but no. That's ridiculous.

Mogandme Thu 28-Feb-13 07:32:28

I would speak to her again and give her a written warning.

Your nanny is ignoring your wishes and this is putting your children at risk. My boss is laid back about food much more so than me.

However my charge is NOT my child so I have to be mindful of snacks etc. while my boss wouldn't mind juice and biscuits my charge has milk or fruit. With the occasional treat Costa, home made cake etc. When we go out for dinner I try to buy something healthy but there have been a few times. we've gone to pizza hut (not as junky as McD's and more of a meal)

nannynick Thu 28-Feb-13 08:40:19

Are there any cultural factors involved, such as your nanny for some reason having to share food they eat, or why they could not eat food you provide?

It is tricky, your children eat well and healthly now but over time things will change. A child I know ate really well age 2 but by age 5 was a lot less keen on veg. It becomes frustrating at times when you know they ate something a few months back an now flatly refuse to have it anywhere near them, yet alone in their mouth.

You have told your nanny not to do something yet they continue to do it. They have given a child peanuts knowing the chid is allergic. Very dangerous and you must clamp down on it.

MGMidget Thu 28-Feb-13 09:40:41

She put your child in serious danger but feeding an allergic child peanuts deliberately when she already knew about the allergy. I am not sure that a warning would be enough for me. How badly allergic is your child? Do they carry an epipen? If so this was a very serious incident. At the very least a written warning but potentially gross misconduct.

Blondeshavemorefun Thu 28-Feb-13 10:10:13

Your nanny is flatly ignoring your wishes regards food - let alone putting your child in danger giving peanuts shock

I have looked after children with a nut allergy and can be fatal sad we had to carry an epi own with us - just in case

Tell her bluntly to not give any of her food to your children or she will be given a warning - 2 warnings and she is dismissed

If your nanny wants to eat junk good then needs to do it when your children are asleep

She should be sitting down and eating the same as your dc to show a good example

seeker Thu 28-Feb-13 10:16:42

You should explain very clearly what you want. Possibly write it down? And say stick to it or you will have to find someone else.

But also. Maybe lighten up a little? It is only 2 days a week. The peanut thing is a real worry, however - how bad was the reaction? Might that have shocked her into doing what you ask?

Blondeshavemorefun Thu 28-Feb-13 11:10:42

Maybe your children are fed up of packed lunches and sandwiches

Why do you do packed lunches and always having lunch out of the house? Though I do think some meals eaten out are good so children get to try different tastes etc

Can she not take them to the playground then come home for lunch - maybe sitting at home round a table may encourage better eating habits

And can all eat salmon pie / casserole / lasagne etc

Does your nanny eat anything normal apart from sweets chips and sausages

Could you do sausages mash and veg at home?

ZuleikaD Thu 28-Feb-13 11:25:34

She fed your peanut-allergic child peanuts. Give notice.

OutragedFromLeeds Thu 28-Feb-13 13:08:25

I'm confused about the peanut incident.

On the one hand you say 'just to point out that nanny has been with us for almost a year now. She is aware that my children have various allergies' which would indicate she knowingly fed an allergic child a peanut. Then you say 'however since the deal have always been that I make and provide my children's food I doubt she put much thought into what exactly my children are allergic to'.

Does she know he/she is allergic to nuts or not? It's not really up to her to guess what the children are allergic to based on what you give them. Have you said 'he is allergic to nuts, he must not eat nuts'?

The rest of it I'm on the fence about. She should do what you say, they're your children, she is your employee, you are her boss. On the other hand, she gave them a bit of sausage not arsenic. Maybe lighten up on the food front a bit?

BettyandDon Thu 28-Feb-13 13:17:20

All I would add that I think it's a slippery slope with food. Once children have access to treats and junk often they can IME grow to expect it and hold off till they get it. Then you're in trouble!

I would give another warning and state just how important it is to you and that you would consider ending her job if it can't be managed.

It's not good for her not to eat with the kids or at least eat healthily with them if not the exact same items.

forevergreek Thu 28-Feb-13 16:54:17

I'm confused. Is she a nanny in your house, or a childminder at hers?

lechatnoir Thu 28-Feb-13 19:06:55

Aside from the shock peanut incident which warrants a formal warning IMO I'm confused why your nanny can't make a healthy lunch for her & your DC to share - she's got 5 other days plus before & after work to eat crap surely she can manage 2 meals a week? Is she actually an au pair as I know lack of cooking skill is a common problem? I'd really feel a nanny isn't up to the job if she can't come up with 2 healthy meals a week whether home cooked or packed lunch.

MajaBiene Thu 28-Feb-13 19:12:30

If your child is allergic (anaphylactic?) to peanuts and your nanny gave that child peanuts, then that is gross misconduct and I think you need to sack her immediately.

So you have given a verbal warning regarding the food - I think you at least need to give a formal written warning to feed the children only what you have prepared and not to share any food.

If it happens again, final warning. Then find someone else.

OutragedFromLeeds Thu 28-Feb-13 20:44:52

Only if she knows the child is allergic to peanuts Maja. 'Not being psychic' isn't gross misconduct.

MajaBiene Thu 28-Feb-13 21:10:25

If a parent leaves an allergic child with anyone without informing that person about the allergy, I would call that unbelievably negligent!

OutragedFromLeeds Thu 28-Feb-13 21:49:56

I would call anyone deliberately feeding peanuts to a severely allergic child (or adult) attempted murder!!

I think from the tone of the OP though that the child's allergy is quite mild, perhaps why the OP didn't specifically mention it/the nanny didn't realise.

LadyLotty Thu 28-Feb-13 23:53:07

Gosh thank you so much all for your helpful thoughts and comments!

yes when the peanut incident occurred I was v disturbed and shaken. I seriously considered changing nanny. I spoke to her about the seriousness at the time, in the nicest possible way. But she said she saw me give it to my children before. Needless to say this is totally untrue. My children have been tested for allergy so its completely red alert for me at all times. I have also specifically told our nanny this, as well as written it on paper and stuck it on the kitchen fridge as daily reminder - along with `keep sweets to minimum, no chocolates` etc for the initial 6 months that she worked for us. As said, since i prepare childrens food (nanny can't multi task) I guess she didn't really take in the instruction s. I don't think she did it deliberately. It was just thoughtless. My children dont carry any medication on a daily basis.

Anyway. I was v concerned and thought about changing nannies. But it is so difficult in london trying to find a decent nanny whom my children can rreally bond with. We really come to rely and love her. I saw how my children love her and are so used to spending time with her. I told myself to look at the bigger picture and let it go.

I should point out that our nanny is a part time nanny - she is only with us 3 full days a week. For those days that she is at our house, and whilst she looks after the children she cannot cook or do any other duties other than just playing with them (no multi tasking there), so I do the cooking, laundry, toy clearing up etc etc.

I don't give packed lunch in the form of sandwiches ever.... I give freshly prepared hot food in a thermal flask each time - beef stew with mixed root veg, or fruity chicken and veg curry with rice, or pasta bake with tuna and veg, or oven baked tomato and basil salmon with couscous etc. You get the idea - varied, balanced, fresh food that my children would usually devour. As well as finger bits on the side and fresh fruits for self feeding.

I don't really want to bring cultural difference into the discussion, so let's just say individuals have different preferences regarding food and she really likes the types of food i want my children to avoid (fried, processed, high in sugar and salt etc). I do see her point of view that if she is eating something different and the children want some, it is difficult to refuse them (though not impossible). On the other hand I have tried offering my food and making extra for her, she just doesn't want any of it. I cannot advise her on what to eat of course. I cant tell her not to eat sweets, biscuits either.

MajaBiene Thu 28-Feb-13 23:58:47

You need to formalise your requests and start a disciplinary procedure I think. Either that or let it go and accept she will give your children whatever.

Blondeshavemorefun Fri 01-Mar-13 00:01:10

i should point out that our nanny is a part time nanny - she is only with us 3 full days a week. For those days that she is at our house, and whilst she looks after the children she cannot cook or do any other duties other than just playing with them (no multi tasking there), so I do the cooking, laundry, toy clearing up etc ete

Don't employ a dog but bark yourself

Ie if you Employ a nanny then make sure she can do the basic duties that a nanny should be quite capable of attending to

I'm also assuming from your comment

I don't really want to bring cultural difference into the discussion, so let's just say individuals have different preferences regarding food and she really likes the types of food i want my children to avoid (fried, processed, high in sugar and salt etc).

That your nanny isn't of British origin?

In the end you need to weigh up the fact you say your kids adore her (whose wouldn't if fed with chips and sweets) wink against the fact she gives food you don't like - compared to the hassle of finding a new nanny who will do as you ask and actually behave like a professional nanny and also cook and tidy up after them

No brainer to me

annh Fri 01-Mar-13 00:08:07

Your children love this nanny at least partly because she is giving them sweets, chips and chocolate. It is not difficult for children to love a new nanny who is fun and will play with them so please don't hold on to this one because you think you don't have a choice. It is also shocking that your nanny cannot multi-task and is therefore incapable of both looking after your children and preparing some lunch. I think it is crazy that you are preparing all this food, presumably as well as working. A nanny is supposed to make your life easier, not leave you wondering what is going on while your back is turned! What was the interview procedure for the nanny? Did you realise when you interviewed her that she could not/would not cook, clear toys, do laundry? This is not normal!

annh Fri 01-Mar-13 00:11:02

I think Blondes and I are saying the same thing! grin I had a horrible thought about the packed lunch thing while wondering why your children are eating out every day? Is this lunch in thermos flasks actually lunch that your children eat at home which you have prepared in advance because your nanny can't even heat up food???

OutragedFromLeeds Fri 01-Mar-13 00:14:14

I think if you made it absolutely clear about the peanut allergy then you need to think about finding a new nanny. That's really not acceptable.

There are loads of good nannies in London, many of whom are looking for work.

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