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nanny keeps house very clean, but is she playing with the kids??

(41 Posts)
driedapricots Fri 20-May-11 17:50:04

i have a niggling doubt about my nanny. everytime i come home to an absolutely spotless house, she often empties the dishwasher, hangs washing out, tidies all the toys to an inch of their lives etc etc...i am grateful for this and must admit it is nice to come home to a tidy house but i worry if it's at the expense of my children.
they are 3.5yrs and 10months and i know on the days i am at home with them i struggle to keep the place shipshape or do many chores as they do require a lot of interaction..and i like to play with them as much as i can ;-)
i did say to the girl when she started that i didn't expect her to do any household duties beyond the usual clearing up after meals etc
the children do always seem happy enough when i come home but i don't get much out of the 3.5yr old when i ask her what she played today with * and my fear is the baby is just left in his pen or bouncer etc
how can i broach this without being negative/accusatory to her? i also have a little issue with the fact that she seems quite detached from the children - e.g when she arrives / leaves doesn't make a fuss of them or seem particularly warm. but perhaps that's me expecting everyone to be as besotted with them as i am!!

headfairy Fri 20-May-11 17:53:55

Does she keep a nanny diary? Our nanny writes down every day what the children have done/eaten/slept. It was partly so I could keep track of what food they were eating so I didnt' give them the same meals on my days off, but also partly because I like knowing about the things they're doing. It's nice to come home from work to find out they've spent an hour making pasta robots or whatever... Perhaps you could ask her to start something like this?

IMO it's not a terrible thing for children to be left to play on their own for quite a bit. It's very good for their imagination, and I'm happy for our nanny to leave my two to play on their own for quite some time, but I do ask that she takes them outside to the park or something once a day.

LynetteScavo Fri 20-May-11 17:57:29

Hmmm...make it clear to her you are grateful, but that it's not necessary for her to keep the house tidy.

Provide her with a list of activities you would like your DC to engage in, and ask her to photograph the evidence. A trained nanny should be more than happy to do this, especially with the older child.

I understand it's the interaction part that concerns you, though. How long has she been with you?

TheOriginalFAB Fri 20-May-11 18:01:31

While it is true no one can be as besotted with your children as you are I used to work as a nanny and I was always all over the children when I arrived and had a big cuddle and kiss good bye when I left.

Ask her how she manages to do so much housework. Do both children nap? Or just tell her not to do anything other than X as you want the children played with. TBF I did lots of extra household duties as the babies did nap and I was very efficient.

driedapricots Fri 20-May-11 18:04:49

she's been with us about 3 months and used to work at my daughter's old nursery where my daughter formed a really strong bond with her..so i was delighted when she came to work for us. but she seems different now!
she does keep a diary - mainly about food/sleep etc - good idea to give her a list of other activities for them though. to be honest it's mainly the baby i am worried about as little girls goes to playgroup each afternoon. perhaps i'll ask her to take him to some music/tumble tot sessions...

ChippingIn Fri 20-May-11 18:04:58

I can understand that you are worried about her not doing enough with them or being affectionate enough with them and without knowing her I can't comment on that really. But here are a few thoughts...

Everyone is different - just because it's not something you can do, doesn't mean it's not possible to do it. I am quite capable of having a very busy day with 2 pre-schoolers full of games, messy play, 'art', 'baking' etc and yet still have the house looking very clean & tidy by 6pm because that's how I like it. It is just a matter of being organised and having a routine/system - which I know comes naturally to some and not to others and is easier with some children than others. It is also not important to some people and that's fine too - I don't care what anyone else does or what their house is like - so long as they can find the kettle!!

I tidy between activities, the children do play on their own for some of the day which is a vital life skill (yes, even for the 10 month old) to learn. Your nanny is there to look after them, not act as some full on entertainment program or you will end up with kids who require entertaining and are unable to amuse themselves or use their imagination and a final tidy up before dinner. After dinner it's upstairs for bath/story/bed.

Your kids are HAPPY... your 3.5 year old would tell you if they weren't and your baby would cry when the nanny came.

Likewise with her being affectionate when you are there - she may just be a bit reticent to step on your toes being too huggy when you have just got in from work and haven't seen them all day.

ChippingIn Fri 20-May-11 18:06:19

FAB - she's not doing 'so much housework' she's emptying a dishwasher, hanging out washing and tidying up toys!!

ChippingIn Fri 20-May-11 18:07:52

Is the baby happy when you get home or bored and grizzly?

Bonsoir Fri 20-May-11 18:09:37

I don't think it is necessarily a bad thing if your nanny isn't full-on playing with your DCs all day. It is really good for DCs to occupy themselves and, to be honest, when my DD was little I really didn't have time (or energy) to interact with her all day. We have a very happy relationship where she gets on with things and I get on with things side by side, sometimes doing stuff together and sometimes not.

ChitChattingagain Fri 20-May-11 18:18:30

My goodness, your nanny sounds wonderful!!! Don't forget before she arrives and after she leaves she doesn't have children to look after, and can just relax. Whereas when you were at home with the DC you had them all day, and probably were woken up through out the night as well. It's also easier to be focused on a job, compared to being at home all day, or it is for me grin!!!

If your nanny spent all day every day playing with both children you would end up with children who weren't able to entertain themselves, not something I would particularly want!

driedapricots Fri 20-May-11 18:28:29

the baby is usually a bit grisly, but i think that's just because he's tired at the end of the day.
i don't know it is just a gut feeling i have. it seems she's all 'process' and not very warm if that makes sense. i think i just need a frank chat and hopefully we can move on..really don't want to change the arrangements if it can be helped. thanks all

nannynick Fri 20-May-11 20:02:01

Do you get photos of your children sent to you? These days I find that photos can be good way of showing some of the things we have done.

Do they drive, are they driving their own car? If so, mileage records will help show what they do during the day.

Maybe just try to encourage her to spend more time outdoors. Pre-school is probably only term time, so half term soon and summer holiday, so presumably the children would be going out more then - thus might reduce the amount of household chores that get done at home.

Samedi Fri 20-May-11 20:21:28

As to the attachment thing- I've worked for families where the parents have gotten a little jealous of my relationship with the children, and once in a job where mumboss was a bit 'off' if I gave cuddles and kisses, like I was doing something wrong so I stopped. Perhaps nanny isn't showing affection for reasons like that? After working for that family it took a new mumboss saying 'give nanny a kiss goodbye' to the child to meake me see that wasn't EVERY parent who felt that way. And particularly after working in a nursery- I once planted a little kiss on the head of one of the 6 month olds and got so told off. Like threatened with discipline, refered to manager. Poor little mite was there all day long with no affection because of the rules. Had I gone from that setting strait into nannying I know I would have been less affectionate than I am now.

About the clean thing.... well I have two charges, 10m and 3.5y and I have yet to manage to have the house pristine when parents arrive- even today I stayed behind to wash the bottles! Ran out of time with teatime/bathtime. Count yourself lucky! Children need time to play alone, time with 'guided' play, and time when they guide their play with an adult. If nanny has made her routine so that there is good time to clean and tidy while the children are entertaining themselves, then thats what all of us are trying to achieve! A working routine!

But I have to say.... if I really have to choose between making the house look presentable for the parents or rolling around on the floor with my giggly girls I know what I would choose!

Lily311 Fri 20-May-11 20:47:03

I have 3 charges under the age of 3 and all 3 of them are involved in household duties. They help me to unload the dishwasher (only plastic items), unload the washing machine and put the clothe on drier and tidying up is a must at the end of the day. They are all helping me, that's how I get on with the house stuff smile.

As for activities, I do a lot with them but I also let them play on their own. I am very affectionate but the nearly 3yr old kids are not smile.

noviceoftheday Fri 20-May-11 21:47:41

This is probably the control freak in me but..... I don't think I could not know what my children are doing all day with the nanny. We keep a nanny diary. It gets completed each day with brief details of sleeps, food and nappy/potty plus a narrative at the bottom as to what they have done that day or anything new with dc. Nanny writes in it last thing each day, I add to it each day and I also update it at the weekend so she knows what they have been up to or anything new they have done. I would suggest you do the same.

My nanny is very good at coming up with new activities for them to do, and she will also take my lead if I have done something which was successful. On top of that I have some scheduled activity classes during the week. Again I would do this if you think your dc would enjoy it.

Finally, my nanny is a ruddy genius and manages to be organised at getting everything done and keeping the house tidy. I say she is a genius as I do it at the weekend and its a real effort but my nanny manages to make it all look effortless. Just because its a struggle for you and me doesn't mean that our nannies are similarly challenged! grin

Ripeberry Fri 20-May-11 21:52:10

Put up a hidden camera, then you will know for sure.

ChippingIn Fri 20-May-11 22:44:20

Put up a hidden camera by all means.... if you don't mind your nanny walking out and leaving you without childcare hmm

eurycantha Fri 20-May-11 22:57:43

Ilook after three who are nowsix and four and a half year old twins.When I started nearly three years ago ifound that some days you are able to get jobs done I would often get the children involved in an activity a while I ironed or emptied the dishwasher ,the children always helped with tidying their toys ,I think it is a good idea for your nanny to take your baby to music activities ,swimming or the park.Im always taking photos of mine when we are out and about or perhaps when they start a new activity.It only takes ten minutes to empty a dishwasher or peg out some washing ,I think it is fine for a ten month old to have a little solo play with his toys as long as close to your nanny.

frakyouveryverymuch Sat 21-May-11 06:44:38

Be aware that if you're putting up any kind of surveillance you have to inform the nanny. Sort of defeats the point...

I second samedi - nurseries often don't 'approve' of affectionate displays. They're also quite hot on keeping things neat and tidying up as you go along which, when you think about how much mess 2 DC can create what about 20?! 5 minutes of unloading the dishwasher while she cooks and 5 minutes tidy up time at the end of each activity will keep things in order and allow plenty of time for play.

If you're worried have a proactive chat about what kind of activities she could do with the DC and mention you'd like sone details in the nanny diary. Get her involved in making decisions about which classes or outings might be good for the younger one/both of them and ask for her input on resources you could acquire such as modelling clay or painting supplies to stimulate them. That way it doesn't criticise but gets your point across that you expect them to be doing things.

noviceoftheday Sat 21-May-11 09:38:46

I thought Ripeberry was joking! In case not, I agree with Frak. OP, that's dodgy advice as the nanny is your employee and your home is her place of work. Just as your employer can't survey you without informing you, likewise you can't film her without her knowledge. Much safer to plan activities and ask your nanny to keep a diary!

frakyouveryverymuch Sat 21-May-11 09:43:35

I rather hope it was a joke but anyone could read this and think it was a great idea. It's not.

Blondeshavemorefun Sat 21-May-11 13:39:28

your dc would tell/show you if they were unhappy/ignored

i think your nanny is doing a great job and thats the thing, its her job to be tidy/professional/organised

op - bet you are at work, so why shouldnt the nanny be at her work

nannies can often do things that parents cant do

one of my dc friends mums always says to me that im organised and make her feel inadequate as im at school on time, with sports bag, homework done etc

thats coz it is my job,just as she is a high powered business woman and fab at her job

cinpin Sat 21-May-11 14:09:43

Well my employer comes home to a really tidy house, if she came in early it would not be. Half an hour before the end of the day we all tidy up together through the day I tidy as I go, children should learn to amuse theirselves sometimes and use their imaginations. Just for short periods.

sunshinenanny Sat 21-May-11 23:43:18

I too tidy up at the end of the day but the house can be untidy when we are playing or we are rushing off to a playgroup or the library. when I started out as a nanny many contracts required that you left the house as you found it. Some of the houses I work in nowadays it would be hard not to leave them cleaner than when you arrived smile

Joking aside; A nanny is good at combining childcare with other nursery duties. Its our job and on the affection side I do find nursery trained childcarers tend to be less tactile with the children in their care; as preveously stated, affection is often discouraged in nurseries
sad

That said, Gut feeling should never be ignored and perhaps you need to talk to your nanny and find out what she does during the day. but be pleasant and let her know that while you appreciate the extra things she does, it's not something you expect of her.

nickschick Sat 21-May-11 23:55:19

Im a nursery nurse and when my 2 eldest children were small they were 'involved' in my chores- my job had meant I was able to multi task and entertain small children and i just continued that at home-however when ds3 came along all that went to pot smile.

I think shes probably a very orderly person so it doesnt take long to do a few chores whilst the dc are playing/napping -if you posted about her cleaning cupboards out and shampooing carpets then yes maybe but the chores you describe dont ri8ng alarm bells to me.

Also its good that children learn to entertain themselves and even babies need time to be quiet and alone whilst awake.

She sounds ideal.

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