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High need toddler - what to tell new nanny?(117 Posts)
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.
Tell her all of what you wrote here. On first day see how things go and dissappear upstairs for a while to leave them to it but still be on hand if he really really needs you.
Nanny will have to have him on his own at some point, may as well be on day 1, then build up from there.
Tbh you should have told her this/she should have asked about it at the interview.
You definitely need to tell her as much about him and his likes/dislikes, phobias, behaviour etc as possible.
I wouldn't decide now about how long you'll leave him on the first day. If you go into it with the mindset 'I can't leave him' or 'He won't like me leaving him' he'll pick up on it and be more anxious. Just see how it goes. Stay with him until he is engaged doing something with the nanny and then slip out, stay out until he notices, come back, wait until he is engaged with the nanny, slip out again, see if the nanny can distract/comfort him when he notices, go back if he's upset. If it ends up being an hour with you in another room, then great. If not then don't worry.
A velcro baby with acute seperation anxiety is never going to be happy being left at first tbh. I think if you're trying to get to the point where you can leave him without any tears/upset you might be waiting a long time. Think about the 4/5/6 year olds being torn from their parents by teachers on the first day of school....some kids are just like that always.
listen to your instincts
Ds was a very similar toddler and child and over the years I would always cave to the child care people I used (childminder, nurseries etc) who always talked the talk about having a "settling in period" but really meant,leave for an hour then longer each time and have him being left for the whole time within a week. I always felt they thought I was being PFB as well if I suggested staying around longer so to my shame now I gave in to their "more experienced view"
The problem was that in each of these settings (one childminder and one nursery between the ages of 11 months and 4 years old) he would have regular periods of crying when left there and although he seemed to calm down very quickly after I left, we never really had a full week in which he never cried on being left which was very difficult to deal with over the 2-3 years this went on.
When he was just 4, we had moved and I started him at a new nursery. As I wasn't working at the beginning I was determined not to have him keep periods of crying when he was left there. So I having stayed for 2-3 hours with him each day for a week, and we always left together. I stayed around but tried to move further and further away from him throughout the week. By the second week he was happy to play without me as long as he could see me and at the end of the second week I was spending spent short period in the nursery where he couldn't see me as he was happily playing but I always came back as soon as he stared crying for me.
By the second week the nursery were making strong suggestions that I leave him alone but I stood my ground and by week three he was happy to be left for an hour with me off the premises but I would come back and pick him up, then he stayed for longer and eventually was going for his 2-3 hours slots.
This all resulted in him never crying even once when I left him at that nursery and he went there for about a year until he started school. He was also generally happier when I picked him up. In the past he had not always seemed happy to see me at the end of the day.
Some children need a much longer time to settle than people think and of course sometimes it isn't practical to spend that amount of time but if you have the time and your DS needs it then don't let the nanny dictate how you handle the transition.
You do need some sort of plan as to how you will "withdraw" but do it as gradually as you like and it will probably be much easier in the long run and your son will probably also be happier with the nanny generally.
Sorry about the massively long post, but this is something I really regret not listening to my instincts about when Ds was a baby/toddler.
I would tell her it all. But also offer solutions.
So when you say for eg that he needs to co sleep even for naps are you suggesting he just won't nap? Or she should lie down with him?
Also in your head and to the nanny, think of your son's behaviours as those he has with you. He may be different with her and you should be open minded about that. She is not you and her relationship with him will be different.
All of what I say will sound harsh, so either skip this or accept my apologies in advance!
If I was a nanny and I found out after I had started that my new charge wouldn't go down for a nap unless I went with him I would be pretty pee'd off, believe me.
Don't forget: looking after your toddler is her job. She will need a break from him. Especially if, as you say, he is more demanding than most toddlers.
If I were you I would put him in a nursery. Not have him in someone else's sole charge. Toddlers like yours could drive someone over the edge!!
Does your new nanny know about any of this? The co-sleeping, the separation anxiety, the frequent crying? None of this is insurmountable but it sounds as if you are worried all of this will come as a surprise so when you interviewed her what did you talk about? Has she met your son? I'm a bit bemused that you didn't talk about this at interview, ask for her strategies in coping with different situations which may arise etc. I would be concerned that she may find the role different to what she believed at interview.
I agree - talk to her about it as soon as you can. I have had a job in the past where a situation a little like yours was sprung on me, on my first day. To be honest I was a bit annoyed that it hadn't been mentioned before that, among many many things, I would have to cuddle the child to sleep, that she would only sleep on me and I wouldn't able to move, that she had no routine so I was expected to do this whenever she fancied a nap despite having several other children to care for. I'm not saying your situation is like that, but I definitely think forewarned is fore-armed and will give her the opportunity to think about how she is going to approach caring for your DS (and not get a nasty shock on her first day).
Will read all posts in a minute, but before I do should just say that I did tell her about the napping at interview - felt it was vital to ensure whoever we employed was happy with that. I have also checked her refs and found she had successful sole charge of a very demanding 3 year old DS before. I have referred to my DS at interview as 'full on'.
Thanks Nick, will follow your advice.
Leeds, thanks for your thoughts. I think you are right about how to handle leaving him. Thing is he bonded amazingly with our old ap so i know easing him into separation works really well. Feel really daft not realising I should have mentioned all this at interview
Bumbling, what you have written is so interesting and very much what my dm has said - she is saying go with your instincts and be honest with nanny about what you think it is likely he will need.
Bad, yes I agree that how he is with me may not be how he is with her. I asked her at interview if she would be comfortable with lying next to him and she said that would be fine with her.
Will read rest of posts now and reply to those.
I would start by having a conversation with the nanny. I have a friend who is a very experienced nanny who has worked with lots of different families. She is always very sensitive to what the family wants, but she also has quite a good sense of what works well and what doesn't, simply because she's seen and tried lots of different things over the years. She will gently offer her opinion, but will obviously go with what the family wants to do if they want to do things differently. I'm sure your nanny will be similar.
Zavi tbh i think there is absolutely no way he could cope in nursery - I tried about 5 times to take him to a lovely toddler group locally and he cried terribly - too loud and hectic. He is sometimes fearful of loud noises and used to cry at baby sensory when loudish music came on. Won't nap on his own at all. I think one to one care is best for him.
oh gosh op, i'm sorry but you really should have mentioned all this before now to the poor nanny i do feel for her. she may not have wanted to take the job if she'd had known all this. I think you should call her before she starts and let her know just how 'high need' your toddler is tbh.
does your ds have any special needs at all? have you discussed your concerns with your hv?
Annh, super and neo thanks so much for replying.
Tbh it's now so obvious to me I should have been more upfront
In my defence we were meant to have a trial which ended up being cancelled numerous due to DS having a series of illnesses - I was going to talk her through all this then. She did meet him, but only briefly, which I didn't think was a problem because of the half day trial.
We have agreed there will be a probation period. Should I just have an upfront chat on the first morning? She seems very pleasant and capable and I can't imagine her judging or taking against DS. I think she is very kind and can do iyswim.
Reet I think he is just very sensitive and anxious, like both his parents. I think it's because I fear people thinking there is something wrong or that he is somehow not a nice child that I don't tend to talk much about his sensitivities.
Tbh I also just thought good very experienced nannies will be capable of bonding with and getting the best out of most children.
I didn't realise I should go through everything in detail
It might not be so bad. My now 18mo sounds similar but after a (fairly protracted!) period of getting to know her, will be happily rocked to sleep in the pram by our lovely nanny, whereas for me/dh she'll only sleep when bf (clearly not an option for dh) or in the car. They do adjust and behave differently for different people.
I wouldn't be bound to leaving him for an hour on the first day, as someone else suggested see how it goes and maybe try slipping out for a few minutes at a time.
Tell her everything about the groups too, she won't want to be put in the position that he's crying hysterically for ten min and she doesn't know why.
Are you feeling happy that you've got the right nanny? We're on our third now ( got older kids too) and each time we've interviewed I've emphasised our child centred ( maybe slightly wacky to some) approach, and got a feel for how sympathetic they are to it. Are ou worried that she won't take these things on board and look after ds in the way that you'd like?
its only fair though welovegrapes. when you think about it, it's like you taking on a job without being told the job description. This is her job. It should be her decision to make whether she wants to deal with all this!!
Really, to be honest, and I don't mean to be rude, your anxieties appear to be rubbing off on your child, and it may be you making him 'high need' in which case you really should be dealing with that yourself. Sorry.
(before anyone jumps on me one of my boys was fairly hard work - for that reason i would not have used pre school childcare - lovely to me, a nightmare to everyone else!)
Fish I'm still bf DS too, but he is luckily happy to nap for others - dm, DH, our previous aps without a bf. I guess we also have what some might see as a bit of a child-centred approach!
I think I feel rushed because I really liked her at interview but after our last experience I wanted a trial to check we were compatible and that hasn't been possible. Tbh I think we are pretty compatible because her answers at interview showed her to be very caring in approach.
Reet, I am the breadwinner, unfortunately and DH doesn't want to be a sahd.
Reet about my anxieties rubbing off on him, it's always possible, but I hide my anxiety pretty well - to the extent that a close relative once told me it must be nice to be like me and not to worry about anything!! I've even been complimented on my calm parenting by a kind
deluded leader of one of the groups we go to who had a similar very clingy toddler in her young days.
Don't worry Welove interviewing a nanny is not something that anyone automatically knows how to do, you'll know to be more upfront in the future.
I would try and talk to her/get her round for a trial between now and when she starts. I don't think springing it on her on the first day is fair.
It is hard to nanny for children like this. I'm a capable nanny and could do it, I wouldn't choose to though because it just makes the job unecessarily stressful and unenjoyable. If you tell her and she decides not to take the job after all then she wasn't the nanny for you. It would be better to find that out now than she quite after 3 months because she can't take the stress. It can be very isolating to care for a child who can't be taken to anywhere noisy.
I think, if you can chat to her about it before she starts, then do so. It will give her time to think about and perhaps research approaches on how to tackle it, and hit the ground running so to speak. What I like about my job is that if one of the children has a problem, my employer and I chat about how we should approach it and present a unanimous front, so to speak! I think your nanny would probably welcome the opportunity to do the same with you. As it is, it sounds like she's got lots of experience so she might have lots of good suggestions that you may not have tried yet.
Yes you need to tell the nanny what you have said here
She may decide that your son is too high maintenance - she may not
Sounds like he just needs to hav the gentle approach to doing new things like groups and other children
Co sleeping / you may find he is totally different for nanny then you - as many children are for parents and then nannies/cm and nurseries
I've had children who are bf to sleep or rocked or they don't sleep / don't sleep more then 30mins at a time etc
And obv I can't bf a child I am looking after - so put in cot and walk out of room and keep an ear out and child falls asleep no tears (or boobs lol) within a few minutes and slept for 2hrs
Maybe you need to wean yourself off your child as much as he does with you (not meaning bf but as in gettin him to not be stuck to you iyswim)
As nick said the nanny will have to have child alone at some stage so start off as you mean to go on
Assume you will be at work in two weeks so I think it is important to allow nanny to bond without you - easier on all 3 of you so yes do leave them alone even for a short while
So your son bonded well with your ap but not with your part time nanny - why do you think this was?
So much helpful advice here - thank you all so much.
Blondes, I think because both ap have really taken time to get to know him and just accept him as he is. Last ap said he was great company and really fun to care for - nice for a proud pfb mum to hear nanny was pretty rigid and wanted to slot him into her set ways of doing things that often just didn't work for him. She never seemed to "get" or really like him . Of course it's easier for ap in a way as they live here so DS just accepted them as part of the family.
Just speaking to DH and showing him the thread so he sees your suggestions. He says that at the interview he feels he made it pretty clear that DS is on the demanding side, so nanny would not be surprised if she took the job. He says that at the end he actually said DS can be a handful - don't actually remember that, but do remember she told us about 2 successful jobs she had where one/more of the children were fairly demanding. He says that was in response to his comment. Feeling a bit better now!
That's good then .
Did you talk about your expectations of what she would do with him? What activities he could be taken to etc. Would be happy if she took him to playgroup and tried to push through the screaming for example? Or do you want him kept away from stuff like that because you don't want him being upset when you're not there? I think that kind of thing is important to tell her, the specifics. Good that DH gave her a bit of a heads up but 'can be a handful' describes every toddler on earth!!
When I read your OP I see myself in you! It's so very hard giving the care of your child to someone else, even when you trust them and deep down know they will be fine. I hope you don't mind me saying but I imagine your anxiety about handing over your little one is making your assessment of your child's needs a little clouded. At 20 months he will adapt, he will bond with the new nanny, and the nanny being well experienced and a mum herself will have had all the feelings you are feeling today. Try and take a step back, let the nanny try and do things her way, it's surprising how well little ones adapt to change. I am a mum and have previously been a nanny to many families. My dd (now 8 & 2) were both clingy and needy when with me but were much more flexible (for want of a better word) with other people, I think they just have the emotional pull over us as their mum and soon learn how to manipulate us! As far as the co-sleeping goes, be honest with your nanny, she should be able to work with you to help him self settle. Wishing you luck with a very unMN xx!
I think you have to give her fair warning, then let her try it her way. If she is an experienced nanny she will have known a lot of children with lots of different temperaments, and she will also know that first time mums don't always have a clear picture of how their child is compared to others. That's not s criticism by the way, I think it applies to mums with easy babies too.
I had a job like this and lasted a week. Really wish the parents were honest in interview to save everyones time.
Not a lot of nannies will lay down with your child, one because of insurance and two nursery duties or tidying up while LO is asleep.
I really think you should be honest. Maybe look at your contracted probation period notice so your not left in the lurch if your going back to work so 2 weeks rather than 1.
maternitynanny the op has said that the nanny said she wouldn't have a problem with lying down next to him for a nap.
But what on earth does insurance have to do with it?!
Each nanny decides what they are comfortable with. I just wouldn't be happy to do it, imagine if the nanny fell asleep too.. But if your nanny is happy then that's a good thing. Hope it all goes well.
I certainly wouldn't do this either but I've never looked after just one child so not really an option for me!
In my opinion a nanny acts as a 'stand in' mum while mum is not there, you wouldn't be concerned with cuddling up on the sofa to read some stories so really why would it be a problem to lay on a bed and soothe him off to sleep if that's what he's used to. OP is not expecting the nanny to get her PJ's on and get into bed with him!?
I wouldn't do this as a cm. Don't know if its different for nannies as its more 'exclusive' but still can't imagine many nannies being happy with this
kind of set up
We knew the co sleeping needed to be mentioned at interview and nanny has expressly agreed to that and said it is no issue with her.
Just to say I of course won't expect normal nursery duties when nanny is not going to have a nap time to get them done in.
Leeds, to answer your questions, I have preserved with some groups myself despite the initial upset - picking him up, calming him down, taking him out if needed and that is how he now does very well at the 3 -4 groups I go to with him. I have been able to do that at those particular groups thanks to lovely group leaders and mums who have been kind and not made me feel they judged me or him. If nanny is bonded with him, calm, understanding and doesn't just leave him to cry when he is fearful I would be very happy for her to try new groups. I think I need to make that clear - haven't yet done that.
My philosophy is that he needs to get used to loud groups as he obviously has to go to school in the end and I would strongly prefer him to go to pre school when he's that age. So I need to be helping him get over his fears without being cruel and traumatising him.
Agh phone persevered not preserved!!
I think the nannies job will be much easier due to the fact that you clearly have a great understanding on the problems that she might face with your DC and realistic expectations re. nursery duties etc. I really hope it all works out for you. You might be posting in a month to tell us, you were worrying for nothing and DS and the nanny have bonded, no tears etc .
I have a friend who works with a child like this. She started with him when he 9 months old and he was very much how you describe your DS. He was fine with her in his house, but if she took him out he would scream/cry the whole time. They used to come to playgroup and he would just sit in his pram, with his coat on. If she tried to get him out or take his coat off the low-level whimpering would escalate to traumatised screaming. She persevered and by 2.5 he was much better, but still a bit anxious at times. He started school this Spetember (he is in the same class as one of my charges) and on the first day just ran in without so much as 'goodbye' to his mum, she was at the gate . He is the most outgoing, sociable child now, the change is unbelievable. I think at times it was hard for her to stick it out. She only works for them 2 days a week and she has told me that she would dread those days. Her great relationship with the parents was what made her stay I think. She even stayed on for DC2, who was even worse than DC1. She's still with them now 4+ years on, so it definitely can work with a nanny and a high needs child.
I just wanted to reassure you that some nannies are happy to take on this type of role.
I have had to co-sleep with a charge and had them 'velcroed' to me. I used an ergo carrier and had her in it pretty much full time for the first few weeks. Gradually she would play at my feet while I was busy. She never did progress to playing in another room, but I'm not sure that's important. She still played by herself while I cooked and ironed.
Some people are just more anxious than others. Continue to give him what he needs, he won't want to be permanently attached at 18!
I think that you are being far too indulgent with your child in the way that you are making his world fit in around his needs.
Can you imagine the shock he's going to get when he starts school? It is going to be very, very difficult for him to be part of a group.
I think you are doing your child a huge disservice by pandering to him like this now. You may think you're doing what's best for him but in actual fact you are teaching him to be fearful in situations that have not been artificially contrived (such as the nanny co-sleeping for naps) to meet his personal needs.
If you're not planning on home educating him then mark my words you are brewing up a storm here for when he starts school!
And I feel really, genuinely sorry for him because you have not allowed him to develop even a shred of resilience and he is going to really struggle with lots of stuff if he has got no self-resilience / backbone to fall back on.
Zavi, I think what you are saying is wrong, I'm afraid.
Do you have experience of providing paid childcare to this age group?
How would you suggest dealing with a genuinely frightened child? I don't think just crying children to cry for long periods is generally recommended, is it?
The best way to deal with a genuinely frightened child is for the parents to get help.
You are deluded if you think that your child is naturally fearful. He's not. He has become an very anxious child because of the way that he has been
molly-coddled, cosseted, over-indulged, suffocated, parented.
You have dismissed my insights without having taken anything on board. That's fine.
I'm telling you OP, <wagging my finger now>, your child is going to struggle massively when he starts school. He will find it very distressing.
P.s. Did you notice your Freudian slip in your reply to me: "I think what you're saying is wrong, I'm afraid ". Honestly, OP it's quite OK to disagree with me! I'm fine about that. I have lots of resilience reserves. Thanks to my parents.
I think plenty of evidence suggests that meeting the needs of babies/toddlers in their early years enables them to feel secure and confident later on. Nurturing a 20 month-old will not cause them to be unable to cope and school and it is not an 'insight' to suggest it will. Zavi, your post is extremely rude about OP's parenting.
Zavi, I'm sensitive and caring because of my parents and I am grateful for that. I wouldn't tell a stranger on a talk board that their child would struggle terribly with school unless I was absolutely sure. That's just unkind.
I actually agree with Zavi.
runs and hides
I know someone with a similar approach to parenting (helicoptering) in RL.
This other mum's DD is so fearful she: won't go on play-dates (unless mum goes too); won't attend any pre or post-school clubs or activities; doesn't join in any clubs/activities outside of the school; never attends any fund-raising events at school; can not be left at a birthday party - mum must stay; is scared of fireworks/halloween; is too scared to try out anything physically risky (climbing wall, ride a bike); is actually traumatised if the teacher expresses any disapproval; has never spent a night away from mum; is unable to form normal friendships at school (finds other children too rough/mean/noisy/insensitive to them)... I could go on and on and on. You get the picture though.
DD has never been comfortable at school. There have been 3 changes of school in order to find one that DD will be happy in. They are still looking...
That girl is ten. Ten. And she is completely insular.
And you think I'm being unkind?
Let me ask you this: how would you like to be that little girl?
to a certain extent i do agree with zavi - as in when at school you WONT be able to sit in the classroom and wean him off you over a few weeks/months - it will be straight in
you have made your child dependant on you to fall asleep etc
but thats your style of parenting and fine, but you need to think about the future for your childs sake x
Zavi and MaternityNanny, this is why it is difficult sometimes for me to be DS's parent. Because others judge you and assume the child's anxiety is all your fault, as you are both doing. Perhaps I might think the same if I had a stereotypically easy baby, to be fair.
We don't get to choose our children and if fate had decided differently maybe you could have had a high need baby. DS has always cried a lot, literally from his first few weeks of life. As a 2 week old if you put him down for 10 minutes he screamed hysterically. He wouldn't go in the pram at all for months - I had to buy a sling in the end. Car journeys involved non stop screaming.
I have done things mostly the same as many other mums I know, other than still being bf and the co sleeping, both of which have been associated in studies with greater independence and confidence in later life, paradoxically. I took him to lots of groups right from being tiny. I make him share, don't fuss over bumps, he plays independently very well at home and at the known groups.
The difference is that he isn't and never has been like other children in his crying/anxiety levels. Maybe when he talks I'll be able to reason him out of his fears, or maybe I will ultimately find out that he does have some SN. Maybe he's just very strong willed. For now, I just don't know.
All I can do as his mother is be here for him, keep encouraging him and taking him to things. I don't think just leaving him to cry is an option.
The older lady at the toddler group I mentioned has told me that she has looked after over 1,000 different children in her career as a session leader. She is also a qualified primary school teacher. I went and thanked her at Christmas for creating the supportive atmosphere that helped me stay with the group when DS struggled so badly at first. She was kind enough to say that she thought most mothers with a child like DS wouldn't attempt groups at all and that it is my persistence in coming and not just going home when he cries that has been the key to settling him in the group.
I would never claim to have all the answers as a mother, but I genuinely don't think I have singlehandedly caused DS to be like this.
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.
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. )
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Oh dear 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.
oh dear op 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.
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
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?
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.
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.
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.
Sorry nanny has decided job isn't for her - but better now then a month in
Def be specific in advert to stop timewasters
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
"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...
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).
I'm really sorry you're having childcare problems OP - hope you find someone soon
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?!
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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!
Thanks drink! Any tips on how to find one would be very gratefully received.
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.
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.
He can play very well independently btw
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)
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.
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???
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?
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
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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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.
Zavi, I have reported your post as an unpleasant personal attack. You're talking out of your arse.
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.
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.
I had a clingy child, but luckily I worked part time, so was at home for her a lot. On the first day at school she went in without a backwards glance. She is more than happy to do groups and sleepovers.
What I learned was not to push her too hard into situations that didn't suit her.
I would however really recommend pick up/ put down for teaching your son to sleep. If you can sort that aspect out, the rest of it doesn't seem so daunting.
I agree that before being a parent I would have been unlikely to take on a job like this. If I were nannying for you I wouldn't agree to cosleep, not because I'm opposed to it but because I think a nanny or someone outside the family has a better chance of sorting the sleep out. Neither would I leave him to cry hysterically though, and unfortunately many nannies seem to be of the opinion that crying is ok and CC or even CIO solves everything.
I wouldn't take a completely inexperienced childcarer btw - second job at least - but that's not just down to having to deal with the frying, there are a host of other things you don't need to be negotiating PLUS a high needs child. It's just that nannies who have trained more recently are more aware of the shift away from GF and her ilk. When I trained the Baby Whisperer was seen as soft/gentle parenting!
I'm a cm and I have a very high needs clingy child, she has now settled well with me but it took months and she took up lots of my time, I never left her to cry and everything had to be done very very gradually with her. The only reason I persevered with this child and I was close to giving up many times, was because of her mum, she worked with me tried my suggestions. We were able to keep things consistent at home and at mine, she was brilliant to work with and it has been a really joint effort to get this little girl where she is now. I'm incredibly proud when she happily runs off and plays at toddler group or waves night night and goes for a nap. Would have seemed unbelievable a couple of months ago. I am not particularly experienced either.
I am the op and just wanted to post an update as I think this thread generated some interest as well as some adverse comments both about my child's future and about me!
The situation now is that my lovely DS has been diagnosed with significant hearing loss, which is now agreed to be the cause for his clinginess, anxiety and fear of loud places - all apparently very typical in children having hearing problems. His hearing loss is only in certain frequencies which was why it took a long time to pick up.
So to anyone out there who has a child who seems to be struggling please push for a hearing test, even if they can apparently hear well some of the time. It took me a while to convince the GP!
As to child care, we switched to an au pair and have had a really good experience with DS being really happy and settled with her.
Why have you bumped your old thread wellovegrapes? Has something new happened?
Oh crosspost. Glad it has all worked out for you.
Thanks cansu - I am trying to spread the word about hearing problems not always presenting in an obvious way - we thought hearing was not an issue because DS could hear so many tiny sounds. But in fact he is missing 75% plus of speech frequencies
If someone sees this and had their child checked it will be worth having posted. May also post in child health/behaviour and development.
Thanks for the update I remember this thread well. it's a reminder for all parents who instinctively feel something is "different" about their child to trust their instincts, even in the face of people assuming it's their parenting style that's causing the behaviour. Well done.
I did read your thread originally, but as I was reading it was screaming Auditory Overload due to hearing issue to me. My DD had significant hearing loss and I had to find a very small quiet nursery for her because of this. Ultimately I sent her to an all girl's school because in her words boy noise hurts her ears. At 9 years old she does attend some summer camps where there is boy noise, but she does find these camps overwhelming and is much happier on a Netball week etc.
Glad you have now found out the problem. My DD is a lovely out going girl, but she can not cope with certain types of noise.
Thank you Victoria.
That is very interesting, Lone. I'm so glad for your dd that you worked out what the problem was and sorted it for her. Funnily enough we are starting to think the large preschool we had planned for him at 3 may not be the way ahead for DS.
I have just finished reading your thread and wanted to say that I'm sorry that some people were so dismissive of your parenting initially. You have done absolutely the best for your DS and I'm sure he'll grow up to be a happy and confident little boy with a brill mum. Well done you (meant in a non-patronising way)
The nursery I choose was really tiny under 3 there were about 10 children in a room. Preschool at it busiest had 20, but that was only for the three hours each morning earlier and later was quiet.
School also has small classes capped at 20 children.
I rarely took her to soft play as she found the noise in the type of building unbearable. We used ear defenders for firework displays.
Interestingly though making music with others derives her a huge amount of pleasure she sings in 2 choirs, plays the recorder and the clarinet and plays in an orchestra.
Hi OP, thanks for the update. I'm sorry to hear about your DS's hearing loss, but great that you've had it picked up/diagnosed and can now work more effectively on his anxieties etc. Also pleased to hear you got childcare sorted. I think going for someone who lives-in was a really good idea. I've done live-in jobs and you definitely bond quicker/more easily I think, particularly when the children are young and very quickly accept you as 'part of the furniture'!
OP I've only read the thread since you bumped it, but just wanted to say that I was at some of the narrow-minded, judgy attacks you were subjected to. You obviously had perfect instincts - well done on sticking with them.
Thank you for the nice messages everyone.
Just remembered something else I thought might interest people worrying about cosleeping toddlers who won't nap otherwise - he gradually became fine to sleep alone which we did by just creeping away for longer and longer periods at nap time once he was asleep and now has dropped his nap altogether - we never tried to force the pace and it all worked fine. There was never a single tear
grapes, thanks for the update - always nice tho sorry to hear about ds hearing, but hope he/you are getting the support you need/want
also good news about the naps and co sleeping - just a case of weaning him off with longer creeping aways - tho ouch at stopping sleep at just over 2 years
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