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nannies- parents with nannies- help about dinner/cooking

(20 Posts)
bumbleandbumble Sat 17-Jan-15 14:55:52

I have just taken on a new nanny. She is responsible and the kids really love her. However, I have a problem with dinner. I hired her because she said she could cook, it was no problem.

However, so far she seems to want to know what to make and have it all set up for her each day. I am not sure if she is trying to please me, or follow instructions, but I do not have the time to menu plan for the kids all week...

I told her I was relaxed. I told her the kinds of things they liked, but she still asks every "what should I make for dinner?"

I want her to be able to decide for herself. Cook what she wants, what is easiest, whatever she can find in the house...and believe me the fridge/cupboard is well stuffed with tons of options. I even told her if she bought something on way home from school I would pay/reimburse and I give her extra spending cash anyway.

Nannies- what do you make for dinner? Am I asking to much for her to use her brain and just sort out the kids dinner?

BMO Sat 17-Jan-15 14:56:51

Sounds like you need to explicitly tell her that she needs to meal plan for the children rather than ask you.

OutragedFromLeeds Sat 17-Jan-15 15:18:38

She just sounds a bit nervous because it's a new job. You could maybe leave out a recipe book with a post-it in the pages of the things they like and a list on the fridge of some possibilities/things they like and then just reiterate that she needs to plan it herself. When she asks, just tell her to decide for herself or maybe say 'there's some chicken in the fridge' or similar, give her a clue but without planning the whole meal. She'll soon get the hang of it. It can be difficult with new children and new parents to please, in a new kitchen where you don't quite know where everything is/how everything works.

lentilpot Sat 17-Jan-15 15:24:49

Could you do a new plan for one week and then just repeat it every week?

lentilpot Sat 17-Jan-15 15:25:06

New plan = meal plan.

DearGirl Sat 17-Jan-15 15:30:18

While I try to meal plan [makes weekly shop easier] sometimes I just have days where I look in the fridge and throw something together.

We have favourites such as

Spinach pasta
Lasagna
Shepherds pie
Fish pie
Chicken soup
Spag bol
Rissotto
Chicken curry
Jacket potato and toppings
Omelette

but sometimes I try and make new meals using firm favourite foods for a bit of variety.

katymason01 Sat 17-Jan-15 19:40:12

I'm a new nanny and sort of feel the same way:
I think it needs to be made a bit clearer
If it's just a matter of making a meal thats easy but what if I use the last of the chicken do I need to tell my employer so they know to buy more/what happens if i make the kids something that u felt like having for dinner, I think there needs to be a bit of communication whether it's food options for the week (using up perishables first). And a mummy and daddy drawer which is not to be touched.

DearGirl Sat 17-Jan-15 21:18:24

Katy; I look in the fridge - if there is anything that needs using up [datewise/or is looking pitiful] then I do. If I use the last bit of chicken then to be honest I don't really mention it, I might say "Dc had chicken pie for tea, we used the last of the chicken" but usually I forget and they realise when they go to make dinner.

The food in the fridge is usually fair game but my bosses generally tell me if there is anything that I can't use "we ordered the salmon for the weekend", or if they've made something at the weekend "theres soup to eat; don't give the baby the trifle it's full of alcohol grin but help yourself!" I also know if there is stuff that my bosses like to pick at/eat so tend to keep clear of them unless we are running low on food.

nannycaro Sun 18-Jan-15 08:16:59

When I started my current job I did a menu plan every week for the 1st three weeks for the mum to check over and make any adjustments to. Then I used the weekly plans for a while, until i knew what the children liked. Now I just look in the fridge/cupboard and use whatever's there.
Like DearGirl, if any thing needs using up I'll cook it and sometimes my boss with say to me "could you make them your insertmealname this week, they haven't had it for ages and love it.
Or the other thing she might say is "please don't use the food as we will have it tonight.
The longer she's with you, the more confident she'll be about throwing meals together.

bumbleandbumble Sun 18-Jan-15 10:16:48

Ok I think I am going to write a list and say these are the things I would like you to cook. Then she and the kids can choose from the list and I will try to have most of the ingredients in there.

I am not fussed about her using "mummy and daddy" stuff. I often pick up something for us on the way home....or I am very creative and can always make a spaghetti with garlic/chilli if there is nothing else.

Marylou62 Sun 18-Jan-15 11:00:05

I once as a young nanny fed the DCs chicken nuggets and chips...MB started to tell me off about unhealthy food till I managed to explain that I made the CN with the kids and the chips were wedges...Even after 30+ years of childcare I still check/ask what they want fed to their DCS.

needtomanup Sun 18-Jan-15 11:07:08

Needing help with the first week or 2 I can understand as she's probably not aware of the children's likes/dislikes. However after this stage she needs to stand on her own two feet and use her initiative.
I look after 2 toddlers and cook for the whole family. I also do the weekly shop and go to the butchers so there's never a question over which meat/products are the parents and what I can use. I do agree with other posters though, be clear if there is an item of food you don't want her to use. Ask her to plan meals each week and write a shopping list so you know what's needed.

I cook from scratch and make curries, stews, casseroles, risotto, pasta bakes, fish cakes, fish with rice/pasta and veg, fish pie, roast dinners, chilli con carne, lasagne, spaghetti bolognaise, meatballs, burritos, fajitas, turkey burgers, shepherd 's pie, stir fries, chicken kievs etc.

Best of luck

WanttoFindWorkLifeBalance Sun 18-Jan-15 11:16:38

I have to say I've always found just doing a quick menu plan easiest all round. My first nanny used to do this for me - she had an 8 week plan we used to rotate with an accompanying shopping list which worked well and I just used to paste the list into my online shopping list. With my current nanny I just write the plan on the board and make sure the right foods in. It's v quick once your in the habit and just means everyone knows the plan. Food doesn't get wasted either which is good.

Callaird Sun 18-Jan-15 14:44:10

I do an on-line shop for the house on a Friday to arrive on Monday on my bosses Ocado, I have her account details on my iPad Ocado app. My boss adds stuff over the weekend that she wants/needs (usually chocolate and any toiletries they need, I do household cleaning supplies and loo rolls)

I have a menu planner on the fridge and write down what my bosses are having for dinner each night Monday to Friday! If I have time while my charge naps (2-3 hours) then I will prepare their dinner, chop vegetables for a stir fry, make a fish pie/shepherds pie/bolognese (that I also make for my charge for the freezer so not difficult to make extra)

My bosses are happy to have an almost prepared meal ready for them to eat that they don't care what I feed them!

bumbleandbumble Sun 18-Jan-15 15:16:00

I just want less things to do myself. I have started a very busy job and I have a lot of after work engagements as well. I just cant be bothered to menu plan and shop. I want her to do this... and its not that much. One meal per day for two small children...

Sonoma Sun 18-Jan-15 16:50:24

Just explain that to her bumble. I agree why you would find this frustrating. Give her a few ideas of things they like and then suggest she adds her own ideas and takes over the planning. There's always a settling in period I suppose.

Blondeshavemorefun Sun 18-Jan-15 18:25:14

Annoying for you but as new job can kinda understand. Don't want to cook something and kids not like it

Casseroles - chicken sausage beef etc
Lasagne
Fish pie
Chilli
SPag Bol
Risotto
Sausage mash and veg
Shepard pie

So buy salmon chicken and mince sausages weekly and hopefully she will be able to make from Above list

minipie Sun 18-Jan-15 18:39:52

I think you could start her off by giving her a list of meals you know the kids like. Not a daily or weekly plan, just a list.

Then buy a kids recipe book and give it to her and suggest she dips into it for new ideas.

And you need a system for how she gets the ingredients. We have a family grocery shopping list and our nanny adds whatever ingredients she needs to the list (unless they are things we usually have), as well as nappies etc when running low.

I agree it shouldn't be your job to meal plan. hopefully if you get her started in the right direction and she develops an idea of what the kids and you are happy with, then she'll get more confidence to take charge, if not then agree you should say so explicitly.

MinceSpy Sun 18-Jan-15 18:55:33

Bumble she's new and unsure what your DCs like and what you think is acceptable. You say you can't be bothered but take half an hour to write out a list of acceptable meal options and/or give her a list of the ingredients Ocado or who ever will deliver every week and ask her to make a meal plan around that information.
Or ask her to give you a meal plan and shopping list and just order what she needs.
Long term she should do the meal plan herself but she needs a sort of induction period.

PaulaAtMummyKnowsBest Thu 22-Jan-15 17:05:35

When I've started new nanny jobs I ask the parents to write a list of foods that are liked and disliked and work from that
Have you given your nanny a list of meals your children like?

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