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Newly qualified nanny trial disappointment - second chance?

(14 Posts)
Mamabols Mon 06-Jun-11 22:09:53

Hi all, just want some advice on whether it's worth giving this a shot. We had a 2 day overnight trial for a potential live-in nanny who is newly qualified -BTEC National Diploma in Childcare Learning and Development Level 3.

Although our 3 yr old son quite liked her, she didn't really seem to understand what her job entailed - for instance, she went to bed without cleaning up our son's toys from the living room or cleaning up the mess left on the dining table/floor from his supper or the paints they'd been using earlier in the day.

She didn't seem to have much initiative or a sense of how to plan the day - for instance, I had to be the one to tell her that she ought to start cooking supper for her and our son when it was an hr to his bedtime, even though she had had ample time earlier in the day to cook (when he had his nap/was at nursery). She also didn't seem to engage him enough but simply sat and watched him play for a good part of the day (and I was as unobtrusive as possible)

When giving her feedback at the end of the trial, she agreed that it was fair for us to expect these things and that she was able to do them. I'm just wondering whether to give her another chance, seeing as this is her first job - with 'training' and more direct instruction and time, she could improve and be quite good. Or is this one of those cases where it's best to cut my losses and interview/try some other candidates? Is this common for newly qualified nannies? Views please!

nannynick Mon 06-Jun-11 22:16:10

You have mentioned things which you saw as being negatives.
What about the positives... what things did you like?
As she did over-night, was she on duty overnight or what that to experience being live-in? How was she with you and dh/dp after your son had gone to bed?
Will you be around enough to provide 'training' or do you need someone who is able to run from the word go?

Julesnobrain Mon 06-Jun-11 22:16:48

Not employed a nanny but had Au pairs. I would cut my losses for no other reason that she was passive and not engaging enough. People who naturally enjoy children's company try to engage/ play with their charges. The rest eg timekeeping, schedule etc can be taught. Just my view.

leeloo1 Mon 06-Jun-11 22:17:56

Did you get on well with her and did she seem keen to change/improve?

If yes then I'd be inclined to give her a longer trial period. Give her a list of jobs/activities she needs to do each day - and maybe even a timetable of when to do them - and see how she shapes up. smile

Grabaspoon Mon 06-Jun-11 22:23:21

Watching DS was it more so that he could get used to her and she could see what he was like/is into - I try to do that at the beginning of a job instead of being intrusive.

The tea thing - did you give her a routine ie what time you wanted her to do tea etc/what time he eats. Could she have thought you wanted to have a family meal with DS ?

Agree what were the pros and cons

nbee84 Mon 06-Jun-11 22:23:28

Sometimes when the parent is around it is hard to know when to 'take the lead'. Sometimes a trial is just about getting to know the children and for the parent to tell them all about their likes/dislikes and what their routines are and how they like things done. After all, everyones routines are different. Some children are bathed every day, some children have supper at 4pm and some at 5.30 etc etc.

It sounds like you wanted to just hand over the reins and to see how she works/would work if she were offered the job. This is completely reasonable and a good way to see how the nanny works out. But, you must ensure that she understands that this is what is expected during the trial. If you had already told her that this is what you wanted and you had already run through rough routines, then it sounds like this is one trial that has shown that she is not the nanny for you. If you feel that things were unclear then maybe sit down with her, explain in more depth what you want to see/achieve with the trial and give her another 2 day trial.

Samedi Mon 06-Jun-11 23:11:59

I find it impossible to take charge and carry out a normal routine when a parent is around- I always feel they are judging me and waiting for me to slip up! Its a bit extreme I know, but for me when a parent is around they are in charge and so they set the routine- at least at the start of a job. I fall to pieces when observed! I make silly mistakes like forgetting things because I'm trying to please. But thats just me, a lot of nannies are happy working alongside parents or being observed.

Are you being clear about what is expected? Every nanny job I've had has had different expectations- from one that told me after I started that he job was mainly to focus on childcare duties rather than playing with and engaging the child (I would sit him down to play in one room and go in the utility to use a cotton bud to individually bleach the white lines on a stripy jumper, or scrub all the furniture in his room- that kind of thing!) to the other extreme where a parent told me they would much sooner come home to a messy house with happy children, where my time was best spent interacting rather than tidying. One of the first things I have to do in a new job is find out what is expected of me- though I have to say, most of my jobs have been unusual in some way such as being abroad or for children with special needs so perhaps my experience isnt the norm!

fraktious Tue 07-Jun-11 06:30:16

I agree with many of the points others have raised.

What kind of trial was it? How much of a briefing did she get? Was it observing him play or just watching? How unobtrusive was your unobtrusive watching?! What was she expecting from you?

You can't expect anyone to magically know your routines, especially an NQ nanny who will need a little more guidance than someone who has nannied before.

Can you give her another trial to see if she improves, given that DS likes her?

Mamabols Tue 07-Jun-11 08:11:58

Thanks for all your responses. We had gone over her responsibilities during the interview but also briefly at the start of the trial. I explained that the first day would be more to take her through our typical routine and the second day, I would leave her to it, being on hand for help if she needed it. My intention was to see how she would get on without supervision. I should mention that on both days my son went to nursery from 9-1, so we could go through dropping/picking him up and I went with her to drop him the first day so I could assess her driving.

The first day I was home with them most of the day obviously, but sometimes in another room. The second day, I was out for a few hours and then home in other rooms in the house (as was my husband, who was working from home). Also on the first day, I took her around the area as she's from a diff area - Tesco's, children's centres, parks etc - so she could have some 'resources' to pull from when planning activities for the next day.

We did note from the interview that she seemed quiet but we didn't think that would be a problem. On the first day, she did seem to relax a bit once our son had gone to bed and played Xbox with my husband. On the second day, she went up to her room to watch TV shortly after my son went to bed.

With regards to engaging my son, I made allowances on the first day that perhaps she was watching to see what he was like etc. But on the second day, even the activities she had told me were her plan for the day weren't carried out by the end of the day. She just seemed to lack that 'take charge/get stuck in/get on with job' attitude but I appreciate that this may be something that develops with time. To be honest, I would rather have someone could get on with it because I may not have so much time to train her when she starts (in August) - just depends on my shifts in the hospital

The positives were that my son easily got on with her from the word go; she did seem 'teachable' and responded well to instruction; and my son quite enjoyed the spaghetti bolognese she made for their tea (had 3 helpings!).

On the whole, we did like her and had hoped she would be more...impressive, for want of a better word. That's why we're debating whether to give her another chance - otherwise, it would have been a straight no.

Strix Tue 07-Jun-11 09:42:47

I wouldn't give up just yet, but wouldn't rule it out either. I would give her a formal warning and make it clear she is on her last chance. I would get a nanny diary (if you don't already have one) and ask her to fill it out every day. I'd specify one or two activities for the week (to make sure she gets out and about) and I'd leave the rest to her. Then, end of next week I would review progress and make a deciision on whether she stays or goes.

So I'd give her one last chance, but not for a very long -- say one week to get her act together.

sunshinebehindeverycloud Tue 07-Jun-11 11:16:17

At a trial she should've been showing herself and her skills off in the best light - it's a time to show you exactly how good she is and why she's right for the job. Leaving dinner till the last minute so your LO had to eat less than an hour before bed? not clearing up the arts and crafts/ food things and toys? not interacting with your LO? these are BASIC things which even a newly qualified/ first time nanny should know. She would've spent at least 2 years at college and placements learning about routines/ having to clear down activities etc.

For her to then agree with you at the end of the day when you raised your points seems a bit to me like 'oh, busted, ok....yeah, i'll just agree with everything you say' if she's prepared to just sit on her backside and not give your son the interaction and attention he deserves and needs when you were there observing, she sure as hell won't be doing it when you're NOT there. From experience, I know how some people can come across as lovely, friendly and have the gift of the gab, but when it comes to delivering, they're just not up to it/ can't be bothered. She sounds like that kind of person.

That sounds really harsh....but I wouldn't give her a second chance. In my opinion, someone who's just out of college needs to get experience in nurseries/ a school to see what problems can arise with children - raised temperatures, potty training, tantrums etc - and how to deal with them appropriately, as well as getting loads of hands on experience so they're confident to handle any situation professionally and calmly. I had 6 years experience in a nursery before I became a nanny and truly believe I'm a better nanny for it. There's not a single situation/ illness/ type of child/ type of parent etc that I haven't dealt with and it sounds to me like this would benefit her too.

mranchovy Tue 07-Jun-11 11:17:29

The whole point of a trial is to find out if someone who seems suitable on paper and in interview will 'click' into place or not.

In this case, not: move on.

harrietthespook Tue 07-Jun-11 12:49:08

SHe sounds a little immature to me. Reading yours posts, I'm not convinced she's quite ready for sole charge. It sounds like she needs either exp as a mother's help first or as sunshine says, in a nursery. It's one thing to help her structure the afternoons your dc is not at the preschool but if you have to tell her to pick up all the time, cook promptly, as well...not going to work. This sounds like the sort of behaviour you might be expected to find with an au pair in the early weeks...not a trained nanny.

surpriseme Tue 07-Jun-11 20:08:45

Is there anyway you can schedule her in for another trial and see if she has taken anything you said in?
It is daunting when you first start a job as a new nanny.I went straight into sole charge nannying at 18(almost 19) and had 3 children of almost 6,2.5 and 8mths.I knew to cook dinners etc and tidy up but nothing prepares you for those first few days.They can be overwhelming.I think its great that you are considering hiring a new nanny-it can be hard to get your first job and you just have to relie on someone giving you that chance. But she needs to have initiative-i didnt let on I found the first few days overwhelming and I soon got into the groove of it
You dont want to end up with another child which is what it could end up being like if you have to tell her what to do all the time and arent able to let her get on with it.You will need to get to know her a bit more to know whether she is someone who you will just have to tell at the beginning due to being new and nervous but then will use her own initiative or whether she will always rely on you and show no initiative

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