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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

steppemum Fri 01-Mar-13 00:24:47

I agree with all the other posters, but would add that it is perfectly reasonable to say in my house with my kids NO sweets, NO crisps. At All.

It is your house. If you want your kids not to be fed those things that is your choice, they are your children.

Also when out with kids, no chips, Macdonalds etc etc. (for her as well as kids)

She is welcome to make lunch for herself from your fridge or bring her own, but she has to not eat sweets and crisps in front of your kids. She is unable to set any limits over this, so there has to be a zero deal.

Pretty much all the kids I know will eat crisps in preference to beef stew. But if no crisps are offered and only beef stew, they would then be delighted to eat the stew. It is totally undermining to sit there and eat crisps.

Suziesweets Fri 01-Mar-13 00:28:16

Hi, by giving your child any nut product is the equivalent to offering your child a cup of bleach

If your nanny doesn't understand that, WHY ARE YOU even thinking of letting this person care for your child??????

Ease for you and risk your child's life??!!!!

Ditch her NOW!!!!!

Graciescotland Fri 01-Mar-13 00:46:14

I've been here. It is incredibly annoying when the toddler who normally wolfs down veg won't eat meals because the nanny is constantly feeding him junk food. I decided to get rid and find someone who's viewpoint matched my own or was willing to work within my guidelines.

The lack of willingness to do anything else whilst with the children is ridiculous, my 2.6 year old helped me with the laundry by passing me stuff up to hang, helped wash veggies for tea then once I'd peeled/ chopped them put them in a pot, unloaded dishwasher etc. Children don't need to be "played with" all the time; they should be kept involved with age appropriate tasks for the small amount of time it takes to do laundry, cook or tidy up toys.

rockinhippy Fri 01-Mar-13 00:52:28

Get rid, she is lazy & seemingly unwilling & unable to do the actual job you are paying her for & risks harming your kids - & this is just in the ways you can see, I would also be wondering what else she is not doing properlyhmm

Time for a new nanny

KatieMiddleton Fri 01-Mar-13 01:31:18

Op I am struggling with this. You can't find a nanny in London? Seriously? Are you not paying market rate or something?

The person you have now is not a nanny. At least not in the sense of being someone you would trust to do the role. She's not doing most of the job. The peanut incident I was giving the benefit of the doubt over until I read her response. She hasn't taken any responsibility!

I would be giving notice after such a shitty response to such a serious incident.

AmberLeaf Fri 01-Mar-13 01:40:03

Is she a qualified nanny?

aufaniae Fri 01-Mar-13 02:51:14

Yes, the response to the peanut incident is telling. If I had given peanuts to a child who had an allergy when I was a CM I would have been mortified and full of apologies if subsequently told they had an allergy. (Giving her the benefit of the doubt there - possibly underserved though! - that she didn't know already!)

That she tried to fob you off shows that she doesn't take it seriously nor respect your opinion. There is nothing to stop it happening again - you need to check labels carefully to avoid exposure to nuts. She is not doing this, is she?

Have a look at www.childcare.co.uk. I should say, don't know what it's like for nannies, but we've found two absolutely fantastic CMs through that site, and I know nannies advertise there too.

Blondeshavemorefun Fri 01-Mar-13 03:25:38

annh I think we are smile

Op - there are tons of good nannies in London - could almost understand if you lives in middle of nowhere

So should easily find one

Can I ask what you are paying your nanny?

seeker Fri 01-Mar-13 06:11:24

"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?"

This strongly suggests to me that the nanny is of British origin and the OP isn't!

Callthemidlife Fri 01-Mar-13 06:21:30

i can't tell her what to eat

Yes you can. She is being grossly negligent. She is undermining you.

Here's the written warning; give it to her, stick by it and prepare to dismiss her. If it were me she'd be gone already, but that's your choice. If you can't face giving this to her then you will need to accept that you will continue to be walked over.

Nanny, this is to notify you in writing that your behaviours with regard to feeding the children are totally unacceptable to e and need to change immediately. You have received clear instructions with regard to food, which you have repeatedly ignored. I attach again these guidelines. Any feeding of food outside of these guidelines may lead to instant dismissal on the grounds of gross negligence.

As you seem unable to resist giving the children titbits of your own food, I will require you to agree to eat at a different time to the children and whilst they are otherwise distracted. I will require you to sign a written declaration daily that you have kept strictly to my guidelines.

I m saddened to have come to this the but it is vital that you realise that these children are to be minded according to my clear instructions and that any deviation will not be tolerated.

Callthemidlife Fri 01-Mar-13 06:25:39

FWIW, next time add this clause to the contract. (It's in the contract I use)

Crisps, fizzy drinks, sweets and chocolate are considered party/holiday food and are not part of the children's daily diet. As such you will be required to avoid eating such food yourself in the presence of the children.

nannynick Fri 01-Mar-13 06:30:46

Same nanny you were going to give notice to during her probation period (May2012)?

ZuleikaD Fri 01-Mar-13 06:35:48

She's not a nanny. She doesn't do normal nanny duties (such as cooking for the children etc), she doesn't follow your instructions and she can't remember to not give them peanuts. Are you paying below market rate?

Finallygotaroundtoit Fri 01-Mar-13 06:49:27

As an employee she should follow your instructions.

However you seem very tightly wound up about controlling exactly what food your dcs have. Perhaps she thinks you need to lighten up a bit.

Re the allergy - your child doesn't need an epipen and presumably came to no harm. Are you worried about an allergy that doesn't actually exist?

Is the nanny trying to bring more 'normality' to attitudes to food? Even so that's not her job.

annh Fri 01-Mar-13 10:00:33

Finallygotaroundtoit, regardless of whether the OP is over-controlling on food or not (and I don't think she is - she said occasional treats are fine but not a daily diet of junk) it is not up to the nanny to decide that she is going to disregard clear food instructions. Surely, if a CM had fed a mindee peanuts having been told verbally and in writing that s/he was allergic, that would be grounds for a complaint to OFSTED? Why should a nanny get away with it?

KatieMiddleton Fri 01-Mar-13 11:13:40

FFS hmm why do some people on MN always have to pick apart the op's story? This is MN not Columbo.

It wouldn't matter if the op has self diagnosed some bollocks allergy or not. The fact is the "nanny" was told to follow a diet and it isn't her place to disregard it.

If the "nanny" had been told to give the child things to eat that are potentially dangerous or even just likely to cause long term health issues then it might be appropriate to refuse or even to contact the authorities but this is so far removed from the scenario painted above.

With regard to warnings, you cannot just give a written warning without some sort of disciplinary process. You can give notice without any reason depending on length of service (one or two years depending on start date). You can also put in writing your instructions again in a memo but that should just be factual and not personal. A written message as per callthemidlife's suggestion is just likely to cause upset and is possibly unlawful. Op you should also be very careful about expressing any judgements about her behaviour being "cultural" because that is straying into the realms of race discrimination as per the current legislation and race and personal preferences do not affect a person's ability to follow reasonable instructions. It would be different if you were asking a kosher nanny to prepare shellfish or similar where some greater consideration as to what is reasonable needs to be given, but it seems from what the op has posted that there's no religious food issues here.

BobbiFleckmann Fri 01-Mar-13 11:21:49

the nanny hasn't been with her a year yet, she can shred the disciplinary procedure and simply dismiss. Which is what I'd do before she gets employment protection since she has such a careless attitude to a really fundamental instruction by the parents.

KatieMiddleton Fri 01-Mar-13 11:24:52

Yes I said that although it was buried in some other stuff and maybe wasn't clear.

I'd also probably go for that option if less than 1 year service but the op seems very casual about actually doing anything other than having a moan.

nannynick Fri 01-Mar-13 11:51:27

OP does not want to change nannies. This is possibly the second time that the OP has written about issues to do with this nanny and if it is the same nanny the she decided to give the initial issue more time to be fixed and presumably it was, as this is a different issue.

Sure the nanny can be told not to do something but what the nanny then does when their employer is not around is another matter. So is it a trust issue? Can the nanny be trusted?

The cultural difference may or may not be relevant. Up to the OP to decide if it is relevant to this particular issue or not. The match between nanny and parents needs to be a good one, does then nanny have the same views about things as the parents? Will they override the wishes of the parents when the parents are not round?

Unless the nanny will do as their boss says, this issue can not be resolved in my view. The nanny needs to accept that her boss is in charge.

kalidanger Fri 01-Mar-13 12:08:45

But it is so difficult in london trying to find a decent nanny

I don't even have DCs but this can't possibly be right?! It's London - surely it's packed full of nannies looking for jobs?? It's packed full of everyone else looking for jobs hmm

Callthemidlife Fri 01-Mar-13 12:08:53

KM - disregarding dietary instructions in toddlers known to be allergic would be grounds for dismissal for gross misconduct, and as such going straight to a final written warning without disciplinary first is perfectly legal. As a CIPD professional I thought you would have known that.

KatieMiddleton Fri 01-Mar-13 12:22:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KatieMiddleton Fri 01-Mar-13 12:26:48

Argh! iPhone gone crazy, froze and posted too soon. Will try again... I'm missing a bit about warnings and disciplinary proceedings!

Fillybuster Fri 01-Mar-13 12:33:30

OP, it looks like the responses are pretty consistent. Why do you want someone who you can't trust, who doesn't listen to you or respect you, who undermines and ignores everything you say and who puts your dcs at risk (wittingly or otherwise) to look after your dcs ?? I just don't understand.

FWIW, I live in London, have 3 dcs, and have never had a problem finding childcare.

Yes, its a pain in the backside sorting out a new nanny.

But imagine this...

Your new nanny is capable and listens to you. She is able to multi-task (as I would expect any childcare person to do) and can cook or at least warm up healthy meals for your children at home. She thinks up interesting and creative activities for their time at home so that they are not solely dependant on playgroups. You come home to a spotless house every evening. You discover a massive weight of constant worry has been lifted from your shoulders...

Just to finish, I would have no respect for anyone who kept their nanny in light of your OP. On that basis, I suspect your current nanny doesn't, either....

Fillybuster Fri 01-Mar-13 12:37:24

PS My 20 year old aupair (with no previous childcare experience) manages to cook a fresh dinner most evenings for my dcs, whilst also looking after 7yo ds, 5yo dd and 2.5yo dd2, helping with homework, supervising play etc.....the house is tidy and the children are fed, bathed and often even in bed when I come home. If a 19 year old can manage this, surely your 'nanny' can cope with making some fresh lunch and tidying up some toys?

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