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Children not listening to nanny

(8 Posts)
Believeitornot Thu 03-Mar-16 21:46:32

So our nanny has been with us for a couple of years. She only has experience with babies and toddlers. But as my two DCs have got older, I'm beginning to feel like her behaviour management isn't up to scratch.

They're 5&4 but she uses strategies which would have worked with toddlers still so is gradually losing authority. I've told her to be more strict with them, to enforce consequences but she just comes across as very "weak" (in the mornings I hear her try and get them ready and it takes ages as she just tries to negotiate with them. I stay out of it to try not to undermine)

We've had a few incidences now where she is complaining that the DCs are fighting, not listening to her etc. Well some of this is normal (the sibling fighting when they're tired, I have to deal with when I'm in charge for example) but the not listening I'm not happy with.

I've obviously spoken to the children but the time has come for me to tell the nanny that she needs to adjust her behaviour management strategies.

Can anyone tell me if I'm being unreasonable? Looking after older children is different and I personally think that they push the boundaries more so need a firmer approach at times. This isn't about shouting etc but just having natural consequences.

As a nanny would you be offended if your boss pointed this out? How can I do it without offending? Basically it is like she's a granny who is just nice all the time and never mean so the children run rings around her.

NannyR Thu 03-Mar-16 23:25:11

I would expect a nanny to be able to alter her behaviour management strategies as the children grow, but if she's never looked after older children it might not come easily to her. However, I see encouraging good manners and good behaviour in children as part of my "job description" and if I was looking after children who were running rings around me I would be doing every thing I could to change matters, not just sitting there and letting it happen.

A really good book i would recommend is 123 magic (can't remember off hand who wrote it but it's widely available). Maybe you could bring it into conversation that, "as a family, you are going to look at some different discipline strategies, would she like to have a look at this book and let you know her thoughts?"

With regards to the mornings and getting ready for school; one thought I had is that maybe the children are behaving differently because they know you are around? I know in my own job, that if mum and dad leave for work when I get there in the morning, I can get the children washed, dressed, breakfasted and to school on time with no fuss or messing about.
When mum or dad stay at home a bit later to "help", I know that there will be messing around, dawdling, arguments and I can guarantee we will be late for school.

As a nanny, I see myself as firm but fair, I nip bad behaviour in the bud and the children I look after know the boundaries and the behaviour I expect from them. But, I know that the way I discipline them does change a tiny bit when I know a parent is in earshot - I suppose I worry about coming across too authoritarian (which is daft really, as the children are very happy and well behaved, so what I do is working), so for example, I might take a softer, more "talking through our feelings" approach, rather than the "ok kids, enough is enough" approach that I would use when in sole charge.

I know that, with me, this is a confidence issue, maybe something similar is going on with your nanny? (or maybe not, as she is saying they are also misbehaving when you are not there)

Sorry for the rambling post, it probably hasn't answered your questions but just wanted to put forward a few of my thoughts I had when I read your post.

littleladyluna Fri 04-Mar-16 18:54:32

I think you need to bring it up, and she needs to start researching alternative approaches as her method is not working (and I assume the children are the same way when you are not around?)

I think it's bonkers that she would complain about the behaviour of the children when it sounds as though they behave fairly well for you. Being a good nanny to older children is a different skill set, as is caring for newborns, and caring for toddlers. Some nannies are good all rounders, others have specific niches.

I imagine she has skills with younger children, and isn't very happy right now that your children are running rings around her. Perhaps acknowledge that she's having a hard time, and suggest some strategies. As mentioned above, sometimes a parent needs to give you permission to be tough, as that "negotiation" she is currently having is what lots of parents expect from a nanny.

Blondeshavemorefun Fri 04-Mar-16 21:56:44

She needs to be stricter if they are running rings round her - but are they doing it as you are there?

Talk to her. If need be say that you yourself have needed to be former with your children so fine for her to be iyswim

Yes a nanny should know how to deal with the ages you have had but if she is normally a baby toddler nanny then maybe she doesn't know as has never done it before

Talk to her

HSMMaCM Sat 05-Mar-16 12:17:54

Maybe she knows you can hear and is trying to sound like she's being fair to the children. Tell her you are happy for her to be strict with them and set boundaries.

Believeitornot Sun 06-Mar-16 07:07:26

Thank you everyone for the comments.

I think she is like this even when I'm not there as we talked about it and they're not behaving when I'm not there. I know what they're like - they will push the boundaries.

I know they're worse when I'm there - well more of "I want mummy" so I try not to be around very much when she is working as it makes it very difficult for everyone.

I've said we will sit down and have a proper chat. She has asked me to talk to the DCs which I have done but I also think she needs to bring her own authority (a bit like a teacher does iyswim?).

So a proper discussion is in order! I like the idea of a book suggestion as well.

wallywobbles Sun 06-Mar-16 07:11:04

I didn't like 123 so much but really got on with Positive Discipline as its one that's evolves all the way up to kids leaving home.

katrin174 Fri 18-Mar-16 10:03:09

I work as a nanny with four boys 10 and 13,8 and 5.. I've been with them for 4 years now and find that the most effective method is to give them 2 warnings and if the behaviour continues then I always carry out consequence. Often the removal of computer or Xbox time. I find that if your are consistent and explain that if they continue to behave this way then they will lose their privilege then this does work. The worst thing you can do however is not follow through with the consequence as then the children will always test you not believing that you will really take away their toy or game etc. I have to agree with previous post, it's often hard to discipline with the parents about as you feel that you don't want to be too harsh or seem too strict and also children definitely do play up more when the parents are about so may be best to just leave her to it and just let her know that if she's struggling you can sit down together and come up with a behaviour plan that the nanny and you will follow. Consistency is so important.

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