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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.

narmada Thu 14-Mar-13 11:51:55

Although I do think that you could probably tackle the sleep thing to everyone's benefit, including your DS's. If he could learn to go to sleep alone, and put himself back to sleep when he stirs, the likelihood is he would get more sleep overall and would possibly be less anxious and easily upset when awake. Certainly that was true for my DD, who is my higher-need child.

Gradual withdrawal is possibly the way to go and you could put in your ad that you would like someone to help you implement gentle sleep training. 100% without upset is probably unrealistic though, and a little bit of upset is not going to harm him long-term.

Welovegrapes Thu 14-Mar-13 13:21:39

Thanks all for input - will think about it.

He cries a lot if put down in the cot - not just grizzling but full on screaming. That's why we haven't done it so far.

lougle Thu 14-Mar-13 13:38:08

Hi Welovegrapes

I have 3 children and none of them settled well in their cots. We used the 'elastic-band' gradual withdrawl method with each of them to ease them into independent sleeping.

It's very simple. First little while, you cuddle to sleep..whatever you'd normally do. Then you gradually shift the boundaries, so a shorter cuddle, then simply a pat on the back, then just a touch, then just sit by the cot and soothe, then sit slightly away from the cot and soothe, then sit at the end of the bed, etc.

The beauty of it is that if at any stage your DS gets overly distressed (beyond 'I'm not too happy with you because I want things my way) then you can step back to the previous stage and prolong it for a while, then try again, etc.

Reinette Thu 14-Mar-13 14:28:14

"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?!"

They're usually mature enough for periods of independent play at this point, giving nanny a chance to eat her lunch in peace and take a mental break.

drinkyourmilk Thu 14-Mar-13 14:44:41

For me its not about having a break, its having time to do jobs around the house. Obviously they are still possible to do with kids around but its quicker and easier without.
Having nursery duties reflecting the level of attention your ds needs is brilliant. Plus I would still do some stuff, just have him help.
There are attachment style nannies out there, don't give up!

Welovegrapes Thu 14-Mar-13 14:57:50

Thanks drink! Any tips on how to find one would be very gratefully received.

Wishiwasanheiress Thu 14-Mar-13 15:04:29

In my limited experience my kids have never decided not to do something, it has always been me that didn't/couldn't/wouldn't deal with some issue of my perception.

Every single time I smugly say oh dd will never do that, she fuxxing well does for someone else. Ur nanny will be ok, it's u panicking. Let her come to u with issues I'd guess best route.

narmada Thu 14-Mar-13 15:57:06

My napping DC was completely unable to play independently until the age of about 4 1/2. My non-napping child has been able to play indepdently from a young age - around 18 months. And there is always Cbeebies.

My point was that I, as a parent (and many other parents) cope with non-napping kids. Any nanny with experience of looking after more than one child simultanously should likewise be skilled at this because it's unlikely that her charges will have had exactly the same routines and may well have slept at different times.

On the screaming when put in cot issue, well, it is up to you to decide whether you can see it through OP. It's terribly hard to listen to, but if you stay in the room you are not abandoning your child and please bear in mind that it is likely to be better for all concerned if you can crack this.

Welovegrapes Thu 14-Mar-13 16:04:30

He can play very well independently btw

ReetPetit Thu 14-Mar-13 20:07:49

of course he cries a lot when you put him the cot op, because he knows he will get his own way!! you have never taught him how to sleep on his own. you are really doing your child no favours here. you are going to make him a very unpleasant child for others to be around. what is endearing to you and your dh is not nice to other people. he is 20 months old - not a baby - you are making a rod for your own back (and the unfortunate nanny who ends up having to look after him)

Welovegrapes Thu 14-Mar-13 20:12:50

Actually Reet we started off expecting him to be in a cot and he slept through there (much to my surprise) from only 6 weeks old. He self-setttled. From around 8 months he stopped being happy doing that.I guess that was due to separation anxiety, but not sure.

I could only get him in a cot if I didn't mind a LOT of crying. I'm not willing to do cc, so we are co-sleeping for now.

narmada Thu 14-Mar-13 20:18:31

Since when does co-sleeping make children unpleasant to be around?! Reetpetite you are aware that approx 90% of the worlds population sleep in a bed with their child(ren) right???

Welovegrapes Thu 14-Mar-13 20:22:05

I think 75% of uk parents report some co-sleeping iirc.

I have mixed feelings about this. I have a DS who was most certainly high needs as a baby, slightly less so now, but still very demanding.

He will only fall asleep for me if I'm curled up next to him. This is fine. It works for DS & I.

DH won't do that. He puts DS in bed. Reads him a story. Leaves. That is fine. It works for DH & DS.

At nursery they lie him in his cot, give him his comforter then sit at the other side of the room keeping a quiet eye in him. Fine.They are experienced professionals. It works.

None of us have ever let him cry for more than a few minutes.

My point is that you can't expect everyone to do what you would. You're his mum. You don't want a potential nanny to be his mum (he already has a great one); you're asking them to care for him, comfort him. It doesn't have to be how you do it.

With your next nanny, could you say "this is how we do it, but so long as you don't leave him to cry (or whatever is important you) we're happy for you to try your methods"? I suggest this because I wonder if the nanny was less worried about DS & more concerned about your very rigid approach?

ReetPetit Thu 14-Mar-13 20:37:11

it's not the co sleeping thats the issue op - its the expecting a paid childcarer to lay with your child the whole time he is asleep as you can't bear for him to be upset!!
At some point in your child's life, he will experience upset, you can not cocoon him in the manner that you are doing at the moment and you also can not expect someone who is paid to take care of your child to do things as you would. You can suggest how you would like things done - this is not to say they will happen and you have to accept that - or stay home with your child and continue to suffocate him and make him anxious and needy - i would say the first option is preferable actually hmm

Beamae Thu 14-Mar-13 20:38:38

Welovegrapes, I think you have had some unfair criticism on this thread. I was only planning on lurking but I feel I should tell you that I have a child who sounds just like yours. She is 18 months old now and very clingy, terrified of new situations and loud places, even terrified of family members. She is only happy when she is around me and her dad, although less so when I am not there. She will only play independently if she is absolutely sure that there is nobody else at home and has never spent a night alone in her cot. Only thing is, she is a twin. And her twin sister is super confident, happy to go anywhere, happy with new people, has never co-slept. It isn't your parenting making your child needy. Some children just are. Anyone who thinks you are being overly protective and ruining their future just has no understanding of what it is like to have a child like this.

OutragedFromLeeds Thu 14-Mar-13 20:56:57

All children are a mix of nature and nurture. Some children are born easy, some are born high needs. How they are parented will effect how easy/high needs they are. There are things you can do as a parent to make a high needs child worse. Equally there are steps you can take to reduce their 'high neediness'. The same with an easy child. Beamae this is also true for twins, they can't possibly be treated exactly the same, their personalities will effect how you and others respond to them.

This is all a bit off-point though, the OP didn't ask for parenting tips, she asked for tips on finding/keeping a nanny.

Did you look at SNAP OP? Whereabouts in the country are you?

Karoleann Thu 14-Mar-13 21:23:59

Ds1 was very similar to your child. We didn't actually ever do any toddler groups as they just didn't work at all. Anyway he's now 6 and a delight.
I did learn that just ignoring the crying and whinging worked the best. He went to nursery for a couple of sessions a week from the age of about 6months and complained at them for a few hours, but I got a much needed break!

I really think you will have problems finding someone who is willing to co-sleep for naps - I also think that if should advertise for a very experienced nanny she will be able to work through the issues with you.

Welovegrapes Thu 14-Mar-13 21:29:31

Beamae, thank you for that really kind post.

I am very grateful to everyone who has posted here, even those who have been highly critical of my parenting and my views on parenting, because I now understand why I am struggling with childcare in a way I would never have done without MN.

When I go to my bf group many people there do extended bf, co-sleeping and would say they 'attachment parent' (I wouldn't use that label myself particularly) so to them what I do with DS is by no means odd. By the way, he is the only high need child in the group, even though most of the parents' parenting practices are very similar to mine, which would suggest him being high need has little to do with either the bf or co-sleeping, or indeed my general approach.

Generally, I don't tell other mothers I meet that we either still bf or co-sleep, so I guess I don't get to hear the mainstream view on all this.

What I've realised from this thread is that nannying a high need child is something many nannies will not want to do. Almost all of the nannies who have responded think co-sleeping for naps is mad. Many nannies here think DS is high need because I am making him like this.

Our previous two nannying arrangements have broken down very quickly and we need to think very carefully about how to go from here, so it has been very useful to understand how many nannies would view our nannying job.

LadyHarrietdeSpook Thu 14-Mar-13 21:40:59

OP it's a credit to you how diplomatically you've taken some of these posts, not all if which have by any means been thoughtful or constructive.

Zavi Thu 14-Mar-13 21:53:08

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

poodletip Thu 14-Mar-13 21:54:26

Oh goodness me he's 20 months old, just a baby still really. There's a huge amount of growing up to do between now and school. There's no way you can judge what kind of school child he'll be based on how he is now. FWIW OP I think it sounds like as a parent you are responding well to his needs rather than creating them by the way you parent. Yes you do need to work on him accepting being in groups etc. but it does sound like you are doing that. I don't think being all hard line on a toddler that little is going to do anything to increase his confidence. None of that really helps with your nanny situation but fingers crossed you'll find someone who suits.

SolomanDaisy Thu 14-Mar-13 22:03:32

Zavi, I have reported your post as an unpleasant personal attack. You're talking out of your arse.

Mrscupcake23 Thu 14-Mar-13 22:13:06

Take no notice if zavi. I was a nanny before I had children and very judgy like Zavi.

However now I have had my own children its not as easy as you think and I am a far better calmer nanny than I am being a mum. When it is your own child it is ten times harder.

I have got two children one quiet and shy and not much of a mixer and the other one is almost too confident.

Mrscupcake23 Thu 14-Mar-13 22:15:43

Also op I am not a special needs nanny but would be happy to work for you if I needed a job. I have 23 years experience and know that not all children are the same and you have to adapt your experience and training to fit the child.

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