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How to let our nanny go?

(14 Posts)
LivingOnTheDancefloor Mon 08-Aug-16 12:59:58

Our nanny has been with us for a month and a half, and I am not convinced we are a good match.
There is no big issue, I believe the children are safe with her, they are fed, they nap well. But still, there is a number of things which I am not entirely happy with, some examples to give you an idea:

- lack of initiative, she hasn't suggested any activities/playgroups despite me saying during her interview that I wanted her to do that
- when at our home, she mostly lets the children play by themselves while she sits on the couch (I am looking for someone who will actively play with them, do arts and crafts, teach them colors/numbers...). With previous nannies I could hear the children running around, laughing, screaming and the nanny was taking part.
- she doesn't talk a lot to the children. We are a non-English speaking family, and are employing English-speaking nannies to teach the language to our children. With previous nannies, I noticed children were saying new English words every day. Not since we hired her.
- every single day she comes back from an outside activity with the children with a full supermarket shopping bag which she takes home with her in the evening. I can understand her doing personal shopping a couple of times a week, but every single day?? Her duties don't include shopping for us, so she is not doing it while she does ours as well.

The list goes on. A lot of small things which is making me feel that she isn't that "involved" in the job, as in not doing more than the minimum.

I wasn't sure what to do, I knew I didn't want her to stay with us long term, but wasn't looking to replace her straightaway as I am very busy at work at the moment, so thought I would do that in Sept.

Two weeks ago a friend of mine told me their former nanny was looking for work, amazing references, amazing resume. 30% more expensive than our current one but I feel she might be worth it. We did a one day trial, I like her.

So, I have decided to let our current nanny go, but not sure how to proceed.
She is still in her probation period, one week notice, which I will pay to her but not expect her to come to work.
My question is more what do I say to her?
In all honesty, I am letting her go because I feel like she is not making enough effort, but it feels a bit mean, doesn't it?
I can't just say I want the kind of nanny who will play with the children, not the kind who sits on a bench on the playground, looking at her phone...
Or I can list the things I don't like, but then she might have an "answer" for each and say she will make an effort. We had a review a month ago and I told her things I wanted her to change, she made the changes for the individual items but didn't change her overall attitude.

Friends have advised to tell her I won't be working anymore and therefore won't need her. I don't really like this idea, as I want to be honest with her.

Just to be clear, I didn't decide to let her go because I found something else, I knew I wanted to let her go but was waiting to have more time to look for a replacement, when I heard about the other one.

Any advice?

ILoveAGoodBrusselSprout Mon 08-Aug-16 13:07:37

I think it's important to be honest. If you make up a reason for letting her go, she'll move onto her next position none the wiser.

It's perfectly reasonable to discuss the expectations you had and that you discussed at interview and your disappointment that she hasn't fulfilled her obligations. Give her a few examples and remind her that this was, after all, a probationary period and that it hasn't worked out.

Don't give scope for her to 'fix it'. Tell her you can't continue and that you'll pay her notice period

LivingOnTheDancefloor Mon 08-Aug-16 14:13:53

Thanks.
I guess I am struggling as basically I want a higher level of childcare and I feel to her it will mean "you are not good enough".

ladygracie Mon 08-Aug-16 14:16:34

Could you say that you don't think it's been a good match?

honeysucklejasmine Mon 08-Aug-16 14:17:13

I'm sorry, I am really confused. Why do you need a nanny to teach your children English? You seem to be fluent yourself...

drinkyourmilk Mon 08-Aug-16 14:19:48

I used to be a nanny. We know when it's not a good match, so just be honest and say so.
It's horrid, but it's the way it is.

LivingOnTheDancefloor Mon 08-Aug-16 14:20:11

honey Yes I am (almost) fluent, but both DH and I are from France and speak French at home, so the DC speak mostly French. With an English speaking nanny + leaving in the UK we are hoping they will become bilingual.

FoxesSitOnBoxes Mon 08-Aug-16 14:21:19

Yeah, I'd go vague with "not a good match" as an opener and then you'll probably manage to find the words from that point in.... Good luck, I'm awful at stuff like that!

Blondeshavemorefun Mon 08-Aug-16 20:51:24

Sometimes nannys and families don't work out

Why did your previous nannies leave and how old are your children / assume young if nap still

I think you need to speak English to them as well. It's hard working for a family and children who don't understand what you say or if they start crying and speak in French

Be honest and tell her

Tho you say she doesn't go out to play groups but does go outside - or are you saying she only goes shopping with your children

NuffSaidSam Mon 08-Aug-16 21:32:58

I think you need to be honest. The 'it wasn't a good match' stuff is only for your benefit. It's so vague it's going to leave her questioning herself.

Imagine if you go to work tomorrow and you boss tells you they have to let you go because you're 'not a good match'....would you honestly accept that?!

The problem is that she has improved on the things you've asked her to improve on. She probably will come up with an answer/reason/promise to do better, but that's because you are being unfair. All this should have been raised in week 3 or 4. Then given a chance to improve. Then replaced with a better model.

Replacing her out of the blue is unfair and if you're in an area with a strong nanny network it will get round. Were you honest with the other nanny when she came for a trial day? I can't imagine any nanny wanting a job in those circumstances!

Give her honest feedback and give her a chance to improve herself for her next employer, you owe her that at least.

(Slightly off topic, but are you always at home? It sounds like you're there a lot. Maybe she's just shy about getting involved when you're there. I'm always sillier, louder and more involved when there are no adults watching! I think lots of nannies are!)

LivingOnTheDancefloor Tue 09-Aug-16 09:18:24

Thanks again for the advice, I am taking it on board.

Blondes My children are 2.5 yo (twins). The previous nannies left because I only hired them for a fixed amount of time, I am self employed and my missions can be anything between 1week and two years, so every time I have to find a new nanny. I believe we are a nice family to work for (biaised opinion, I know!) Previous nannies sometimes come back to work for us if they are available. I meet with a couple of them on weekends as they ask about the children.

In regards to speaking French/English, the advice I received on raising bilingual children was that one person should always speak the same language to them, not switch from one to the other, and ideally you shouldn't talk to them in what is a foreign language to you. If you have other advice/source, I am interested!
It is amazing how quickly children will learn a foreign language. After only weeks they were able to understand a lot, they speak in English as soon as the nanny enters the room, etc. I really don't believe this is an issue here.
The new nanny asked for a list of French words that I thought would be useful for her to learn before starting. This is an example of the proactive attitude I am looking for!

LivingOnTheDancefloor Tue 09-Aug-16 09:27:19

NuffSaidSam I see what you mean in regards to being honest.
The difficulty I have is that there are a lot of small things that I am not happy with, it is not limited to the list I posted above. More examples:
I asked her yesterday if she would be able to cook a meal for the children with an aubergine. She said no, she doesn't know how to cook this veg. I want a nanny who will say "I have never cooked it before but I will look up a recipe online". The children nap for 2.5h, she has plenty of time to do that. No other tasks than cooking during this time.

I don't want to let her go just because of a list of issues, I want to let her go because her overall attitude is to do the minimum and take the easy route. But if I say that, is it really constructive criticism? Or will she just take it as a personal attack?

I work from home (but never come out of the office when the children are in/awake), I told her multiple times that I don't mind the noise at all.

Karoleann Tue 09-Aug-16 10:15:27

IMO she sounds a bit useless and I think you've done the right thing to jump at getting a better nanny.

I must say that the only nanny I ever sacked I did by email (but then her child had broken a very very expensive clock and I was furious). She didn't have our keys either.

I've had to sack people at work, but that's usually done in a very controlled environment, with other people in attendance. But you could use a similar method, i.e. mention that unfortunately she's failed to pass her probation period.
Then mention something positive, such as you felt the children were safe with her, but that you don't feel that the amount and quality of interaction between her and your children is as good as it should. I wouldn't mention all the little things individually.

Then mention the paid notice period and ask for the keys back.

Hope the new nanny is better.

NuffSaidSam Tue 09-Aug-16 21:55:50

'I want to let her go because her overall attitude is to do the minimum and take the easy route.'

That is better than saying 'we're not a good match'. I would give a few examples, and then more if she asks for them.

Whether she will take it as constructive criticism or a personal attack is dependent on her personality. Some people are good at introspection and can take and process criticism well, others will never, ever accept they aren't perfect! There is nothing you can really do about that though. You just need to do the right thing from your end, which is give her some constructive feedback.

As Karo says, constructive feedback will include the good things as well. Tell her what she does well and tell what you didn't like. How she processes that information is out of your hands.

It may be that the working from home thing didn't work for her. It doesn't work for me. She just needs to realise that about herself and pick a different job next time. Or she might just be lazy and rubbish...who knows!

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