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How much do you expect your nanny to do during the day when dc's are at school?

(23 Posts)
nowwearefour Mon 13-Jun-11 19:40:50

Or nannies- how much are you expected to do? we are thinking about this and have so far been surprised that our (otherwise wonderful) nanny seems to think the 3 hours our dd's are at school/ preschool is her time completely 'off'. We need to address this to be able to justify keeping her on esp when dd2 starts school this sept. but i want to be reasonable in what i ask her to do. so how much is 'enough'. would changing bedding (including washing and ensuring it is set to dry) and preparing a meal for the other day i work (when someone else is looking after the dd's) and preparing that day's meal be just about right? at the moment not even that day's meal is prepared during the 3 hours she has to herself which i find a little disappointing. but i want to check what is 'normal' before i start to express what my new expectations might be! we pay her v v well (esp as she now brings her baby with her since returning from mat leae without reducing her salary) because we wanted to treat such a great nanny really well! any hints/ tips?

nanny101 Mon 13-Jun-11 20:31:30

Well i am a nanny and my duties include all the families washing including bedding and towels and all the families clothes, getting it dry and doing some of the kids ironing the none fiddly bit cause they have a lady that does the rest of their ironing..... i also cook all the kids food , vaccum, dust and tidy up the whole house as well as looking after the kids and taking them to diff kidy groups..... i work mon, tue, half day wed and thur and full day again on friday......... and i would love it if when i have a baby if my boss would let me bring mine to work with me and not cut my pay ......... hope this helps......

drinkyourmilk Mon 13-Jun-11 20:33:47

I use 'child free' time (be it nap time or nursery time) to prepare food for both my use, and to stock the freezer for the parents use. Take care of the childrens washing/linens - including handwashing if nec. and ironing. Take delivery of the grocery order and put it away. Wash and repair toys inc bath toys. Run any errands that need doing - post office, buy gifts, dry cleaning etc.
When this is done i read, or go on the computer, or go for a run (nursery time only obviously!). HTH

nbee84 Mon 13-Jun-11 20:36:12

When I had a child that was at nursery in the mornings I would;

Pop into the shop on the way home if we needed bread/milk/veg etc
Have my own breakfast
Get home and finish tidying away breakfast things
Load/unload dishwasher if needed
Change beds once a week
Load washing machine - 1 day would be towels, 1 day would be bedding, 1 day would be clothes and then dry in dryer or hang on washing line
Iron any clothes/school uniform that needed it
Tidy, hoover and dust the children's playroom and bedrooms
If we had a busy afternoon I would make something that could go in the oven later in the day ie fish pie or a casserole
I would sometimes bake a cake if we had a playdate coming
Prepare an activity for the afternoon
Make a packed lunch so that I could pick up child and go to park for picnic
If I could see something that needed doing and I had time or felt like it I would do it eg clean the fridge out, hoover through the lounge and hallway

Obviously some of those things were not done everyday but even on my 'busier' days I would still get everything done and have about 40 mins to an hour to myself. I certainly would never have seen the 3 hours as 'mine' After all, I was still being paid and it was good to be able to get things done without children under my feet.

nowwearefour Mon 13-Jun-11 20:49:04

thanks - this is v helpful. buying gifts is also a v good idea. i feel a lot less unreasonable in asking now.

Catsu Mon 13-Jun-11 20:55:50

How long is the journey to and from pre school?
She won't actually have 3 hours to spare if it's a 15 min walk there and back and she stays 10 mins to settle dd in, then gets there 5 mins in advance for pick up etc. Can easily be whittled down to 2 hrs!
Also how old is her baby? She still has him/her to care for in the time your dd is at pre school. I know she SHOULD be doing stuff for you during that time but if she has s young baby that needs feeding, changing, rocking to sleep etc then realistically any tasks that you ask her to do will have to be stretched out over the time she is with your dds as well, meaning less interaction for them.

stepmad Mon 13-Jun-11 21:08:15

Today
tidied the childrens rooms living room bathroom kitchen
washed the weekend clothes
top up shopping
collected charges various medicines lotions
made some lemon breaded fish fingers for supper
sorted out charges pack lunch for school torromow
brought suppies for a couple of fancy dress outfits that i am making for them
started to make the fancy dress
watered plants
collected a sick charge early from school
Did some chilli con carne batch cooking for the summer holidays and parents.

I will do most things accept the shopping various errands watering the plants
putting the hoover around sorting clothes and shoes out naming school kit making sure various things still fit repair if needed.

Yes i do have some free time to myself during the day but i do work long hours my boss gets a lunch break while charge was smaller i did not as there was always stuff to be done. We also have debaiting cricket drama ballet fun dancing after school they have hoards of friends one charge has severe allergies thus most food is home cooked they also have quite bit of home work.

nowwearefour Mon 13-Jun-11 21:13:58

it is a 5-6 min drive to the preschool so yes agreed it isnt all of the 3 hours she is getting but it is most of it- and from sept a full school day. baby is now 15 months old. i kind of am not too interested in the thins she needs to do for him as i pay her for a whole day on a not-bringing-your-child-to-work nanny rate- i figure she needs to do stuff for him out of the time that might otherwise have been for resting or for her. agreed there is less time for my dd's which is why we iniitally looked for a nanny without a child. but for continuity purposes and because we really like her we wanted to keep her on when she decided she wanted to continue bringing her baby or she would move on from our employment !
and i think that some free time is totally reasonable. just not the entire preschool slot and defnitely not the entire school day slot.....

nbee84 Mon 13-Jun-11 21:29:43

Lots of people rethink their childcare when their dc's go to school full-time. It's a big chunk of the day to be paying for, usually about 6 hours. Unless you have a child that is frequently ill and you cannot take time off work, or if you would struggle to cover inset days and holiday clubs are not viable (either down to the child not wanting to go or they don't cover the hours that you need childcare for) then it's a very expensive option.

hangon Mon 13-Jun-11 21:46:28

Nanny101 you do too much for a nanny. Are these children at shool allday?

nowwearefour Tue 14-Jun-11 19:28:24

we want to have some continuity and couldnt cover the holidays and like the fact that our dd's can go to their tennis lessons after school on the day i work etc so happy to continue employing her but only if she does stuff when dd's are at school.

nbee84 Tue 14-Jun-11 19:32:06

Quite reasonable, particularly if it is all child related things. If, however, you want her to do other stuff that is not usually within her remit, then you need to have a chat and renegotiate her duties for when the children are at school. I would think that any nanny that has been in a job for a while and is staying on after all the children start full time school would expect this if they want their pay to remain the same.

nowwearefour Tue 14-Jun-11 19:35:58

All I would ask of her would be child related, of course. thank you.

eurycantha Tue 14-Jun-11 21:54:09

I had this situation when the DTs I look after started school ,I think that as it is difficult for parents to find someone for before and after school but then still have to pay us a full £80-£90 a day ,we nannies may have to bend a little to well to be blunt to keep our jobs.I now do all the family wash and ironing and odd jobs that may need doing around the house,I have been known to wield a duster as well.

onthebackseat Tue 14-Jun-11 22:35:22

eury you are spot on. My children are 12 and 10 and we still have a FT live in nanny. Its a big expense but in all honesty I have found that as a 70 hour a week working mum I actually need more support as they get older.

My view is be realistic. If I was at home with them would I do everything ? NO. I have a fairly large 6 bed house with 3 bathrooms. I would still have a cleaner. So I set my nanny/housekeeper job so that she does all the childcare /admin and I have a cleaning agency who blitz the house once a week. Yes she changes beds/towels and does all the family laundry. She cooks / taxis / changes beds and towels and runs errands. She is mum.......mon to friday. BUT she doesn't do heavy cleaning. Set the role as if you had the luxury of being at home. In all honesty most nannies I have met are happy with that compromise as the children older. Expect them to be skivies and they will walk. Who blames them ?

whyohwine Tue 14-Jun-11 22:56:47

We found we needed to change nanny when our DDs (twins) hit 3 and started pre-school. It was a shame as she was fab when they were little (and remained fab when with them) but was not prepared to take on extra duties when they were out. In fact the more time she had, the less she did. She was a qualified nanny and did not see household tasks (beyond normal nursery duties) as part of her job. And of course she was quite right - her contract did not require her to do this. We tried to make it work on her terms for the continuity but she realised that our needs had changed and she was no longer the right nanny for us and was upfront about it, and I really respect her for this and we have remained friends. She went to work with a baby, which is what she really enjoyed and we got a new nanny who was willing to help out more around the house (and this was in her job spec) and her personality was also more suited to the age of our children. She is still with us 4 years later, and I hope will be until we decide we no longer need a nanny.

I think you can ask your nanny to take on extra chores but she would be well within her rights to refuse if not in her contract. If she is unwilling, you would then need to decide whether you are prepared to keep her on these terms for the continuity or whether you conclude you need a different type of nanny or a nanny-housekeeper. I think in the case of your nanny it would be in her interests to adapt as she is unlikely to get another job that does not discount for the fact that she brings her own child so hopefully you will be able to work something out if you are upfront about it, but (as others have said) don't expect her to be a cleaner.

I must admit that I always thought that continuity was the most important thing (assuming of course that the kids liked the nanny and she was competent), but actually the change was definitely the right thing for us.

CharlieCoCo Wed 15-Jun-11 00:12:07

childcare stuff is reasonable to ask but why should she do houseold stuff that isnt chikdcare related-replyin more to poster above-my dad works in an office and atm doesnt have much work on but needs to be there because when the work comes only he can do it, but they dont expect him to clean the toilets or dust other peoples desks etc. i never understand some parents views that nannies can be turned into housekeepers or cleaners, they are different jobs and i for one didnt go to college for 5years to end up dusting your surfaces. i did however have plenty of childcare related stuff to do and also found stuff to do, eg the toddler, when out of a cot moved into his sisters room and the parents jus ended up filling his old rom with junk and hiding the mess so to speak, i turned it into a guest room. they also seemed to of kept every baby clothes the kids have and im talkin about say 20bin bags full and i went through all that, sorted out what she wanted to keep, what we could give to friends and family and what to charity, washed them sorted them out etc, that was a task in itself, but if your nanny is good she should find plenty to do without beng turned into a cleaner or having a new job so to speak.

nannyl Wed 15-Jun-11 09:01:51

I used to work for a family where i had every morning off (except school holidays / if children sick)

The "deal" was... so long as food is prepared / childrens laundry done / and bedrooms / playroom had a sort out once a week or so then other time was mine.

I used to go in all morning on a Monday.... and get on with the washing. (they had an industrial sized washing machine, and mummy liked the machine to be full so i normally got all the clothes / bedding / towels in this one super huge machine!)
Would tidy the bedroom and play room (they were never that untidy) (Mummy and Daddy (and me!) agreed it was mad to tidy everything away every night, especially things like playmobile / polly pocket /sylvanians that would take ages to set up ready to play. However the rule was when the cleaners came once a week everything had to be away so as not to get hoovered up!
Id typically cook a couple of meals.... Monday / Tuesday. and sort out a lunch too. (something more than a sandwich! perhaps cauliflower cheese, jacket pots in oven on times, with a salad prepared)

Then Tuesday id go in about an hour before school pick up and iron / put away the laundry from the day before.

Wed was swimming, so id go in and make a meal that could go in the oven on timer, as we wouldnt get home until gone 5pm (and be starving!) and children normally started dinner at 4.45.

Thu / Fri id normally have the whole morning off, and would make a more snacky quick lunch. ( a sandwich / reheat some soup etc) when i arrived (with children) after lunch.
However my phone was on and i was always available to get children if the school called for whatever reason etc.

It worked for us...... I always had a freezer stocked with portions of home made food (that parents could use at weekend, though normally didnt,) and in the holidays id run the freezer down etc. Also MB was vegetarian, so when i cooked something meaty id always make enough for DB to have some for his tea too!

So long as laundry sorted / fresh food was prepared / and childrens areas tidy and organised MB / DB didnt mind how i organised my time to fit it in. smile

If DB was away in buisness id happily walk the dogs, and I also sometimes took dogs to dog groomers on way to school, and MB would collect dogs on her way home from work etc.

Id also house / dog sit (for free, but i LOVED it as the house was amazing, and i could help myself to food, and have friends round, swim in the pool etc!) if they went away for a weekend, and babysat sometimes, so sometimes id time the washing so i could iron while babysitting / dog sitting, and then have a little more time off on the monday morning!
again so long as it was done MB / DB really didnt mind when!

nowwearefour Wed 15-Jun-11 11:37:21

Thanks all. I definitely am not considering asking her to do anything other than directly relating to the children as we only employ her for 1 day per week. but i do still feel that during that one day and pre school session there could be some work done that would benefit my family. so i think i shall start asking her to do something that can easily be done in the time dd2 is at preschool and ask for more come dd2 being full time at school.

Stars22 Wed 15-Jun-11 11:43:37

Im a nanny, my twin charges go to pre school all day (8.50-2.50) on a friday. I drop them off go back tidy up the mornings mess, strip there beds and put their bedding, towels, and any clothes in the washing machine. I then iron any of the childrens ironing thats there (mb is good and irons aswell so i dont always have that much) , I make sure during the week their clothes are washed and dried by friday ready to be ironed. I then put clean bedding on, get the washing out, put ironed stuff away. Then do any odd things that might need doing, like sort any toys, sew button back on etc. I dont normally do cooking just because we dont freeze that much anymore as they dont like alot of things that are easily frozen like lasagnes, pies etc, and im not keen on freezing pasta things as its so quick to do pasta anyway i find it better fresh. I will occasionally do a sauce in the morning so its ready for go with something for tea later or do a fish pie or something. When ive done all that needs doing i can then do what i want, which is usually by about 11. I then walk to town (20 min walk), then walk to my house and have my lunch there, then walk back (40 minute walk) if i have washing on the line that will be dry i go back to work first at get it in and fold it if not i go straight to pick them up from pre school.

HappyAsIAm Wed 15-Jun-11 13:20:21

I asked this question when my DS went to pre school and I got some really good suggestions. If your nanny isn't already doing chilldrens' laundry, some cooking, tidying playroom and toys etc then maybe she could do one of the things our nanny now does - make a cake (which we all then eat), put a grocery shop away (you could do an on line shop to be delivered when your DD is not there), dry the family washing (so that it is done for when our cleaner comes to iron it), buy gifts for childrens parties and wrap them, buy ingredients to cook DS' dinner etc.

Oligo Sat 18-Jun-11 14:19:41

just noticed you employ her only for one day. So she probably doesn't expect to be doing batch cooking or laundry for the whole week even if it's just for the child. Seems like it wasn't agreed previously. So pick reasonably from the possible tasks, as she can't organise things out over more days. I would say preparing food for the day (next week) and activities (cutting art and craft; laying baking things out; packing outing bag etc.) perhaps the bed laundry, quick toy organisation.

Sounds realistically it's about 2.5 hours without your children in your home. I always think if you are with a family long term you might get more breaks during nap when young and school when older but in between you really get none, so breaks even out. So factor in a good lunch break equivalent and it might be just 1.5 hours left?

You could ask her to agree a new contract re. bringing her baby and doing different tasks but personally I try to be clear about the ratio of child-related vs. child directed duties I do when I work just a few hours for one family. I suppose if this changed significantly when children went to school (especially if just expected) I would probably look for a more child related job or change my hours.

nowwearefour Sun 19-Jun-11 20:45:53

Thanks Oligo. Yes I wasnt wanting even to fill her whole time 'off' with my stuff but i do expect her to do something. i have spoken to her previously about doing jobs but probably more in connection with september (ie a whole school day). i certainly wouldnt expect a ridiculous amount of work! i would be happy with bed laundry for just preschool slot and perhaps the additional task of cooking an extra meal for the whole school day. i did ask her to do bed laundry this week. she did wash/ change the bed but left the hanging out to dry bit for me when i got home from work. now not sure what to do !we cant justify having her for the whole day if it is all time off during the school slots but we love her and want to keep her !

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