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High need toddler - what to tell new nanny?

(117 Posts)
Welovegrapes Thu 07-Mar-13 18:13:49

Our lovely new nanny is starting in a fortnight. She is highly experienced (over 18 years nannying) and a mother herself and seems very caring and thoughtful.

I have had a previous bad experience with my son (now 20 months) not bonding properly with a very pt nanny, so am quite nervous about her starting.

I love him to bits, of course, so don't want to sound like I am criticising him, but I think others would describe him as more demanding than the average child. He was a Velcro baby and bf round the clock. Still cries a lot, wants to be picked up often, has to co sleep or he doesn't go down for either naps or at night, finds toddler groups very overwhelming. He is great in the groups we go to often, but if nanny takes him to a new one based on past experience he could easily cry unconsolably for the first ten minutes.

IME settling in will go best if I am there the first few times and start by leaving them alone for short periods of time - building up over the first 2 weeks. He has had acute separation anxiety, but is getting better.

I don't know how much of the above to share with new nanny. If I fell her what I've written here will she think I am patronising her / am a pfb nightmare?

She wants to have him alone for an hour on the first day, but from previous experience I think this won't work. DM says I should be firm and just explain why I don't think he will be happy.

Any advice would be very much appreciated.

OutragedFromLeeds Sat 09-Mar-13 14:09:04

Zavi the fact that the OP is employing a nanny and going out to work, clearly means she isn't suffocating her child. Parents like that don't leave their children in childcare.

Children change loads between 20 months and 4 years old, I don't think it's time to start worrying about what will happen when he starts school just yet. He may well come out of himself as he gets older as with the little boy my friend cares for.

skaen Sat 09-Mar-13 14:26:13

Grapes, my DS sounds similar to yours. When I went back to work he was 13 months and we had a nanny. They didn't bond and he would howl when he saw her. We replaced her with a very capable lovely lady who has really got to know DS and worked with him and us to calm him down.

DS is now 3, stopped bf if his own accord, sleeps in his own bed, goes to pre-school and trots off with a wave and happily plays on his own or with friends.

I do think a lot of the anxiety is the age and so long as you let the nanny try to encourage your DS to try new things, the scaremongering from Zavi is just that. Good luck. Your DS is lucky to have you.

(Btw, just thought I'd add that DS is not my pfb, he has a monumentally independent older sister who has been treated in exactly the same way. Some babies just are more anxious than others and not recognising that doesn't help the child or the nanny. )

fraktion Sat 09-Mar-13 15:33:40

I have a DS is describe a similar way, coming up for 2. The difference over the last 4 months has been huge bit it's him naturally growing up and not us forcing it.

He struggled at one nursery because it was too bright and noisy, but he's fine at another. He no longer co sleeps but our previous nanny and AP have always managed up get him to nap, even if with me he prefers boob. Sometimes I would describe him as demanding but mostly I think he just need reassurance.

Candidates incompatible with our parenting style got weeded out fairly early on and we have always made it clear that what we do isn't mollycoddling or being permissive, it's being responsive and that's responsive to everyone's needs so if we need both hands free he can't be cuddled so we explain that, and 99% of the time he accepts that with the promise of a cuddle later.

SolomanDaisy Sat 09-Mar-13 15:35:33

I have a 20 month-old who breastfeeds, cosleeps and feeds to sleep. He is very confident and outgoing, the main problem I have with him at groups is stopping him escaping to places he shouldn't. Your parenting has not harmed your son, probably the opposite. Zavi is talking a load of old bollocks.

Fightlikeagirl Sat 09-Mar-13 16:18:28

My youngest son was very clingy to me and at 6, he still is. As I am a cm, I didn't have to put him into any other childcare when he was tiny and so he spent all day everyday with me. At groups etc he was happy to play but didn't wander too far from me. He also had severe speech delay and so I dreaded putting him into pre school when he was 3. Never thought he would cope.
But when the time came I explained to him that he would have fun then I'd return after snack. I introduced him to his key worker and showed her a few of the signs that he used. He surprised us all when he went into pre school on his first hour of settling in and did not cry at all. He then started school a year later and again had no problems settling.
Now he is in yr1, he is still a real mummy's boy but he is also an independent happy well settled at school little boy. smile
I feel that I gave him self confidence by showing him how much he is loved and valued and that he could trust that I will always be there for him. I really believe that knowing this from a young age has given him confidence later on. So please don't listen to others who say you are making future life difficult for him. Listen to your instincts, you sound like a great parent grin

Fightlikeagirl Sat 09-Mar-13 16:24:21

Also as others have said, your son may well be totally different with the nanny than with you, with things like sleeping etc.
One of my mindees mum has real trouble getting him to sleep at home but at my house he goes to sleep with no problems at all.

Welovegrapes Tue 12-Mar-13 21:41:14

Oh dear sad you were absolutely right and with full info and more time with DS the nanny we had taken on does not want the job. We discussed it very amicably and wished each other well.

Thanks to all your advice i have learned a very important lesson that I need to be much much clearer at the interview stage. Next time I will also make sure we have a trial before hiring.

Where do we go from here? If we advertise on childcare.co.uk should we say anything/hint about our parenting style/his personality in the ad?? I can't face interviewing numerous candidates who will not want the role when they know more.

ReetPetit Tue 12-Mar-13 21:48:32

oh dear op sad yes, i think it's only fair. as your ds has addional needs and your parenting style is obviously not for everyone - i really think you should make it clear in the ad. that way you won't have to keep going through the rejection which you have experienced this time, which obviously is really hard when it's your child - good luck with it.

BranchingOut Tue 12-Mar-13 21:59:42

Sorry to hear that. I have a child who has also been very shy and found new situations difficult, so I know where you are coming from. But now he is a three year old who is able to talk to all sorts of people. I still sit while he goes to sleep, but nowadays I do it outside the door of his room while using my iPad! He just likes to know that I am there smile

Agree that there have been some quite ignorant remarks on this thread.

I think it wouldn't hurt to spell out your needs prior to interview, maybe by sending an email once you screen candidates?

The only thing I would suggest is possibly enabling a nanny to adapt the co-sleeping idea and moving towards a different approach - maybe trying gradual retreat, as worked for us?

nannynick Tue 12-Mar-13 22:04:14

I think it is the sort of job which I would like... maybe I just like a challenge. Maybe it's because I've cared for children with special needs in the past, so children who exhibit behaviour which other people may not consider to be within normal bounds, does not bother me.

List the non-negotiables in the ad:
such as "has to co sleep or he doesn't go down for nap", "finds toddler groups very overwhelming".

Parenting Style, if you can say what your style is precisely, then yes you could list that. You want a good match, so you want a nanny who has a similar style.

Toddlers are all a bit fussy though, so maybe you just need a nanny who works well with toddlers.

OutragedFromLeeds Tue 12-Mar-13 22:41:21

Oh that's a shame welove, at least you've found out now though rather than a month in.

I wonder whether it would be worth using an agency to recruit the next nanny? I usually advise against agencies because they charge so much to do what you could do yourself, but because of your/DS' quite specific needs it might be worth considering.

Maybe give SNAP a try. I've never used them myself, but I've heard nothing but great reviews. They specialise in nannies for children/families with special needs, but according to their website also provide nannies for 'any child (and family) who needs someone who is more patient, more understanding and more experienced'. Might be worth a try.

fraktion Tue 12-Mar-13 23:00:58

I've actually found that a) specifying that we follow what could be termed AP and b) going for nannies with less experience has yielded more flexible candidates. It's a shame it hasn't worked out this time but better that you found out now in a way. Next time you'll be more aware of what to raise and really probe at interview.

Blondeshavemorefun Wed 13-Mar-13 00:14:55

Sorry nanny has decided job isn't for her - but better now then a month in

Def be specific in advert to stop timewasters

Good luck smile

Welovegrapes Wed 13-Mar-13 20:35:33

Thanks all for the kind words.

Frak, I think you are right about a less experienced nanny. I spoke to an agency today and they thought the same.

MarshmallowCupcake Wed 13-Mar-13 21:28:34

Be 100% honest in your advert, highlighting everything!! That way you will only get genuinely interested nannies.
If I was applying or your position, the only thing that would concern me is 'having' to be in the room while our child falls asleep. There really is no need for it, would you be prepared to work with your nanny to stop it? That would appeal to me, the parent admitting there is an issue and wanting to work with the nanny to solve it.

Welovegrapes Wed 13-Mar-13 21:47:51

Marshmallow, not really unless it could be achieved with zero upset for him.

We don't co-sleep because we set out to do it or believe it is vital, we co sleep because in the end he just wouldn't go down in his cot. I don't want to do cc - I know opinions differ on this, but I don't think it's right for him.

He just wakes up straight away if there is no one next to him - I have tried pottering myself while he is sleeping, but then he only gets a very short sleep of say 20 mins and is ratty and fed up all day.

OutragedFromLeeds Wed 13-Mar-13 22:18:07

Are you actually wanting the nanny to lie with him for the whole time that he sleeps?! I thought you just wanted someone to lie with him while he fell asleep. Do you go to bed at 7pm when he does?

I'm not sure about the inexperienced nanny thing. They may well be more flexible in their approach, but their ability to deal with a crying child hasn't really been tested. Personally, I'd want someone experienced in dealing with difficult children so I knew they could cope.

ReetPetit Wed 13-Mar-13 22:27:36

jesus op, that is a big ask of anyone - it's a nanny's job - everyone doing a job needs a break - to expect someone else to lay with your child the whole time they sleep because you can't bear for him to be upset is actually boardering on crazy, i'm sorry. sometimes you have to accept that your child will be upset - you can't molly coddle and wrap in cotton wool for the rest of his life, i'm sorry to say, i think you may well be making him worse. it seems all your insecureties are coming out in him. he is carrying your issues for you.

if you chose to go out to work, then you have to give and take with your carer. i really think you need to look at your parenting techniques and ask yourself if they are working. i'm sorry to be blunt but expecting any paid childcarer to lay with your child is not on imo.

Blondeshavemorefun Wed 13-Mar-13 22:37:14

I didn't reliese you wanted the nanny to lie next door to your ds the entire sleep - say 1.5/2hrs

When is the nanny going to get a break if when your ds sleeps she is right beside him

Do you or your dh stay every night from 7pm/bedtime till you/ they go to bed?

Don't you have any 'evening' time together

Maybe get a huge teddy/stuffed cuddly toy to place next door one they are asleep - or white noise /radio

Yes a less experiences nanny is more likely to be flexible but less likely to be able to look after a 'high need toddler' and cope if very tearful

Also as and when ds goes to nursery there is no way one staff will lie beside your ds - their policy wouldn't allow it - nor could they spare a member of staff doing one to one for a long period of time

I would seriously think about trying to break this sleeping routine asap

Mrscupcake23 Wed 13-Mar-13 22:45:16

Well maybe the nanny start this and then perhaps it will be easier for the nanny to stop this and stop sleeping in the same room.

Personally after the day I have had a lie down in the middle of the day would be lovely.

Op I am sure your son won't always be like this you need to work with your nanny.

My own son was very clingy seventeen years on I am sat up waiting for him to come in, wish he was still shy and clingy.

annh Wed 13-Mar-13 22:51:41

Oh dear, in an earlier post you said that both you and your dh are sensitive and anxious. Why is this? Can you do something about your own behaviour? I think you are projecting your own anxieties onto your son and possibly both causing some of his behaviour and enabling it. Of course, he is very little and he needs love and support but if you yourself can see that some of it is beyond normal boundaries than it probably needs some addressing.

I think you will find it difficult to find a nanny who is prepared to be with your son for what sounds like every minute of the day that she is with him.

wickedwitchofwaterloo Wed 13-Mar-13 23:08:21

Slightly different but -
My last long term job was with a toddler who, for various reasons, ended up having an appalling bed time routine. Ok with me for day time naps, but bed time with Mum was a different story.
He had his iPad to go to bed with, a DVD on, was allowed to have a cup of milk on the hour, every hour... Etc. Mum was convinced he wouldn't sleep if these things didn't happen.

One day, I decided enough was enough mainly because he was not sleeping, so he'd get tired really early in the morning and then be overtired late afternoon, it was affecting his night time potty training etc and when Mum went away for a weekend, I sorted this all out. With her permission of course. Took me 3 nights for it to be perfect. There was no screaming, no tears, he grumbled a bit initially but just accepted he needed to sleep, for the first couple of nights he asked for a DVD, iPad or whatever when I put him down, I said no, he accepted, he woke at 3am asking for milk, I firmly said no and it was time to sleep and he accepted this. By night 3, I didn't hear a peep.

Obviously this is slightly different as I'd nannied this child since 11 weeks but there was no way he would have been this easy with Mum.
I reckon being upfront with an experienced nanny is your best bet and you can work together towards him sleeping alone better. Good luck OP!

Reinette Thu 14-Mar-13 02:36:47

"unless it could be achieved with zero upset for him."

Do you really mean ZERO upset?? Teaching children, even at this age, how to process upsets is recommended for their development. Rushing in to meet their every desire instantly is not. There is a middle ground between not EVER letting him be upset and letting him cry hysterically for an hour...

I'm sorry, but that's where you lost me on this. I have a good friend with a son who sounds very similar to yours, and it was only when she realized that sometimes he would be upset with how things were (he needed to nap, she needed to tend to her older son) and taught him that even though he was upset he was safe and loved, it was only then that he started to come out of his shell with other people and tolerate new places and strangers better. Just a thought...

Reinette Thu 14-Mar-13 02:38:49

I should add, he was around two when she finally realized she couldn't cope with his constant demands and started putting some boundaries in place. It worked very well for them and the change in his self-confidence has been astonishing (he's three now).

narmada Thu 14-Mar-13 11:46:43

I'm really sorry you're having childcare problems OP - hope you find someone soon sad

Actually, Zavi, the evidence on traits like anxiety, clinginess, wariness in new surroundings, aversion to noise, or changes in routine, suggests that these are quite substantially inborn, and not caused by parenting practices.

Some children are high need, some are easygoing, adaptable puddings who thrive wherever they are. I have one of each, and there is no way I would employ someone as uninformed and judgemental as you to look after either of them.

OP, an experienced nanny should be able to suggest workarounds - that is his/ her job.

Re needing 'time off' in the day while a child sleeps, well, some children do not sleep in the daytime from a young age. I have had one that did, one that doesn't. It's just how they are. Naps are not universal [rolleyes]. And what about nannying for children when they are around 3 years of age and typically give up naps anyway? How do nannies cope then?!

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