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giving a warning - do things ever work out after this?

(42 Posts)
FootballFriendSays Wed 28-Sep-11 21:52:04

I'm thinking of giving a first and final warning to our live in nanny. She's been with us for 6 weeks. Do things ever improve after a warning or is this just going through the motions for both parties and we should both start looking for someone new?

magicOC Wed 28-Sep-11 22:15:09

What did she do that was/is so bad that this is her first and final warning?

A lot would depend on the seriousness of the matter. I do believe tho that things don't have to go down hill. A good talking too might just do the trick and she will get her act together and improve, but, as I said earlier a lot would depend on what the problem is in the first place.

cat64 Wed 28-Sep-11 22:19:22

Message withdrawn

FootballFriendSays Wed 28-Sep-11 22:42:27

I suppose I don't want to be a nag, which is why I thought it should be once only. She watched telly (in her room, door shut) instead of looking after the kids. Pretty basic stuff, you'd think.

magicOC Wed 28-Sep-11 22:48:56

You need to have a good stern talk to her regarding what duties and standard of care you expect from her, that is pretty unprofessional of her, but, I don't think I would give a final warning for this. (I am a Nanny tho, not a mum, but, i'm also very professional in my job).

I'd say you need to sit down and chat with her to go over a few points.

It's not nagging either. You pay someone to provide a certain level of care, you call the shots.

FootballFriendSays Wed 28-Sep-11 22:57:43

Thanks for your input. The kids were watching The Simpsons at the time (we allow them to). It only came up in conversation with them as DD1 told on DS bouncing a tennis ball off the wall above the TV. We told him off for 1) potentially smashing the TV, 2) disturbing the neighbour next door whose living room wall backs onto ours, 3) disturbing the watching for the DDs. After telling off DS I thought, hang on, what was X doing at this time? Then they said it happens most days. DD2 is only 4 and I don't think she should be left in the care of her older siblings just yet.

I'm not confrontational and I don't know how to approach this. I found a handbook on here which I might print and give X and go through the points together.

cat64 Wed 28-Sep-11 23:04:24

Message withdrawn

FootballFriendSays Wed 28-Sep-11 23:10:18

Thanks, cat64, that's kind of what I was thinking too. Looking after the kids should be the job. She has 3 hours off during the day when all at school, so could be watching TV, making/taking calls then. I don't mind her not sitting with them to watch The Simpsons but to be within hearing distance of arguments between the kids, balls bouncing off the wall etc. I'll see how she reacts, although I'm not exactly assertive.

magicOC Wed 28-Sep-11 23:14:41

I can't advise on confrontation, I hate it too sad smile
What I will say though is, I don't understand why she would leave them alone, that is just so wrong.

OK we are known to pop to the loo, put a wash load on, clear the dishwasher or just potter around while the children are in front of the tv (generally let them have a chill-out 15/20 mins after school), but, always within sight or earshot of the children to know exactly what they are up to.

She should not be in her room watching tv especially if her door is closed.

You say she has been with you 6wks? Why not have a chat over a coffee about how you both feel things are going in the new job? Good way to bring up niggle points.

Good luck with the handbook.

magicOC Wed 28-Sep-11 23:16:05

X-posts with cat.

FootballFriendSays Wed 28-Sep-11 23:36:35

Thanks magicOC. I have tomorrow morning off, I'll try and have a chat. I'll let you know how things went, I must be able to trust her.

magicOC Wed 28-Sep-11 23:43:20

Good luck. Hope it goes well.

I'm off to bed now, have 2 little ones that will well and truly keep me on my toes tomorrow grin.

Night.

stepmad Thu 29-Sep-11 01:52:13

Hope that things went well.
As a live in nanny the only time that i would ever go to my room to watch tv is when baby sitting the youngest is already sleeping at 5 and the eledst at 11.5 has a friend over and they are watching a film in bed even then my door is open. If the tv is on after school at all   for the youngest it tends not to be. Then would not watch it with him but doing other stuff near by and in and out.

thebody Thu 29-Sep-11 10:58:15

she sounds pretty useless, how awful for you and how unfair and lazy of her to behave like this when she is being paid and trusted to be there for your dcs.

so many lovely nannys on here and they will be horrified.

good luck and if poss get rid.

redglow Thu 29-Sep-11 19:33:29

Why should she be watching Television when she is supposed to be working, thats not fair.

breatheslowly Thu 29-Sep-11 19:40:26

How did it go?

FootballFriendSays Thu 29-Sep-11 21:55:35

Well, I slept on it and fretted over it. About 11am I finally broached the subject, she listened and looked at me and said 'yes', i.e. she had indeed been in her room watching TV with her door shut. (FWIW her room is on the ground floor, over the hall from the living room where the kids were.) No apologies, no 'that was wrong or irresponsible or unacceptable'. She didn't even blush. She was a bit over-friendly immediately after, but I was still pissed off. I don't know if she quite realised how serious it was. Before I left for something work-related I said that I'm going with a heavy heart and that I needed to trust her. I started crying.

Now I'm just angry and weary and don't know what to do. Her only job is to look after the kids, no cooking (heating food only), no washing, no hoovering, no changing the kids bedding, nothing at all, nothing. She's paid v well (in fact I paid her 6 weeks in advance so she could clear some debts, she hasn't even worked for her money yet). I quite liked her because she's calm, not gossipy or drama queen etc.

Dh thinks it's natural justice to give her a chance to improve. I can't look her in the eye because all I see is a woman who thinks i'm an idiot and has no respect for me or my children. I checked discreetly with DD1 and straightforward with DS and it happens most days.

FootballFriendSays Thu 29-Sep-11 21:58:28

Let me mention I've been noticing the plants on her windowsill (room on ground floor) getting increasingly parched. Today she chopped off the geraniums as they must have been quite dead. She didn't even lift a finger to water her plants in the 6 weeks she's been here. I feel petty to mention this (and haven't done so with her).

breatheslowly Thu 29-Sep-11 22:15:18

I wouldn't expect her to water plants if they are yours and you haven't given her instructions (having killed loads of my own plants). However as a metaphor for her caring skills it doesn't look good. Is she too calm? It doesn't sound like you really dealt with the issue - I'm not clear whether you have let her know how inappropriate it was and that it mustn't happen again. Did you introduce the handbook? I think I would have - just to say "we seem to have different expectations, so I thought we could go through this together to ensure that there are no further misconceptions about the work/care I expect you to do. If you really thinks that she sees you as an idiot you need to stamp it out now.

FootballFriendSays Thu 29-Sep-11 22:22:52

I don't expect her to water the plants in the rest of the house, but in her own bedroom? That I don't go into because she keeps her door shut? I expect her to keep that room reasonable clean. I agree with you, however, that I didn't deal with this well at all.

FootballFriendSays Thu 29-Sep-11 22:28:41

I did say it was wrong, that it was the only warning I was going to give her, that she should look after the children at all times.

Yesterday before lunch DD2 had a scooter accident. I was 70 miles away and worried. I thought ok, accidents happen etc. Then I come home to this. Dd2 also had some marks on her neck which I assumed were from the accident. Today they were better defined so I asked her what happened. She said X had pulled her by the neck. Dd2 is only 4. That's when I decided I had to discuss the whole thing with X. So I started by saying I had noticed these marks and this is what Dd2 had said. She immediately said 'no, let me tell you what happened. DD2 wanted to cross the road to see a friend on the other pavement on the way to nursery. I had to stop her by grabbing her by the neck.' Then I went into her not looking after them all in the afternoon. Just too much in one day and i'm too upset.

breatheslowly Thu 29-Sep-11 22:43:38

I'd be gutted. I think you need to consider your backup childcare plans as it seems unlikely that this nanny is going to stay much longer - partly because you have lost confidence in her. If you can get your backup plan sorted then you will feel stronger about dealing with any more issues that come up.

PigfartsPigfartsHereICome Thu 29-Sep-11 22:59:06

Ok about the plants may I just say... I grew up in a house with a few fake plants, I really didn't know you had to water real plants! Stupid maybe but I never gave it a thought.

I think that even if the bedroom is on the ground floor, closing the door is just unproffesional. I view tv watching as a neccesary evil- 3yo is very tired and grumpy after a full day at school and needs 'passive' entertainment rather than drawing etc. But I use it only when I need to get stuff done or focus on the baby, who eats earlier than 3yo. I don't think this would be a final notice issue, unless you had children under 3, however it should definitely be raised.

When viewed with the final issue raised- thats maybe a final warning issue. Not so much the grabbing as sometimes safety is more important than how you ensure the safety, if I see 3yo heading into traffic I will grab her no mictake. However not telling you herself is terrible, either at the time with a quick text if appropriete or during handover. And as a live-in, there is even more time for her to have told you. I would have spoken to boss about it as soon as possible, not only to inform them of the two issues of a child heading into the road and my grabbing them, which probably upset them and hurt them, but also to cover myself in case marks did show or child brought it up. And presumably parent/carer of the friend over the road saw, what if they informed the parents?

Definitely needs a sit down, a good chat with no interuptions especially children. Have tissues to hand! Conversations like this will be emotional. Is there a three step dismissal and warnings clause in the contract? Its up to you if this constitutes a final warning issue, however you have to live with this person as well as entrust your children to her.... I do usually fall on the side of the nanny as thats my perspective but in this case I think you need to go with your instincts, if you can't trust her it may be time to reconsider the arrangement.

FootballFriendSays Thu 29-Sep-11 23:08:11

I spoke to my Mum tonight, she can come and help, I just need to let her know when. I'm saddened because we've been struggling with childcare and I had thought we'd finally got it right until next September when all will be in full-time school. Mum is v good with the DCs but not ideal solution (nagging me, spoiling them etc). I'll sleep on it some more but things would need to improve drastically. I feel guilty for putting feelings of 'fairness' above what seems the right thing to do for my kids. DH is at home next week, he can keep an eye on things.

breatheslowly Thu 29-Sep-11 23:18:05

In terms of fairness, it is fair on your children to be well cared for. Think about the standards you would expect from a nursery - I would expect the staff to be engaged with the children at all times (except when filling in admin forms) and for all accidents to be notified to me on handover. While you wouldn't expect tired children to be engaged with at all times - a bit of TV in line with your instructions is fine, leaving them isn't. It's a great idea to sleep on it - you will have a sense of what is right when you wake up. Are you in a probationary period at all?

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