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Employing a non-English speaking nanny for a chatty 2 year old

(13 Posts)
Hamsolo Wed 22-Apr-15 08:22:22


I can't work out if I'm massively overthinking this so I'd love some outside opinions.

Our nearly two year old daughter speaks well for her age (full sentences, pretty accurate grammar, really big vocabulary).

The nanny we like best and who we'd like to offer the job to is not an English speaker (or at least she can get by but is not anywhere near fluent). But she is lovely, very well qualified and we think she'd do lots of fun activities and really get on with our daughter.

She would speak her own language with my daughter.

She speaks the language I did my degree in, so we can communicate, and there's part of me that would love my daughter to get early exposure to another language.

I am a bit worried it might be harder for Dd to adjust now than it would have been if we'd done this before she was verbal... Will she get frustrated if she's not understood? Will she pick up the other language quickly?

Does anyone have any experience of this?

OutragedFromLeeds Wed 22-Apr-15 09:29:31

I think it could be problematic at first, but your DD would probably get used to it fairly quickly. Young children do pick up languages very easily if they're surrounded by it constantly.

BUT I wouldn't employ a nanny who didn't have good English (in England)for other reasons.

Firstly, what if there is an emergency? How will she communicate with emergency services/explain your DD's medical history if needed/describe what she is wearing/looks like if she loses her somewhere?

Secondly, how will she make friends in the local area? How will she organise playdates and socialise with other nannies? How will she speak to school/nursery and communicate this information to you? I think your DD could become very isolated.

Thirdly, what if this nanny leaves after a year? Are you going to limit recruiting a nanny to people who only speak this language? Are you going to get another nationality nanny and your DD will have to learn another language? Are you going to just get any nanny and forget the learning a second language (which would make the whole thing a bit pointless)?

Fourth, if you're looking for long-term and consistent care, how will she cope with helping DD with school work a in a year or two?

For me, the negatives would far outweigh any positives of my child picking up the basics of a second language.

Springtimemama Wed 22-Apr-15 09:38:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HRHQueenMe Wed 22-Apr-15 11:49:39

It sounds wonderful and you will be giving your daughter a wonderful gift of a second language, she will always have this added skill which will give her a valuable asset in life. Dont worry about language devellopment, it will not hinder it. I learned my second language at age 3 and have always been fluent in both. I speak 4 languages now, a skill all due to my parents exposing me to new countries growing up. Dont listen to the worryers, your daugther will never forget her english and will not fall behind in any way. And your nanny will pick up English very quickly. If she can travel and manage to work here she can definitly manage to get help in an emergency. Good luck!

HRHQueenMe Wed 22-Apr-15 11:54:40

Just to add, the OP speaks the language in question, and Im sure there would be no problem finding another nanny that speaks the same language should the first nanny leave. I have au pairs from one country only, as they speak my mothertongue and that is the language my children have as a second language, so its essential that the au pair speaks this well and can help me to practice with the children. I have no trouble finding great aupairs. I have many friends in the same situation.

Yerazig Wed 22-Apr-15 12:33:56

Yes it would be nice to her her teaching your daughter the language you both speak. But from your post the worries of her English being that bad would outweigh everything. My main thing would be when it comes to reading and helping with homework if her English is a bad as you make out that would be a major struggle for all.

HRHQueenMe Wed 22-Apr-15 14:51:21

Me again!smile the OP states the nanny is well educated and bright (otherwise wouldnt have considered her for the job). The child is 2. Homework will mot be an issue for the next 3 years. Unless the nanny spends the next 3 years locked in a dark room, she will be fluent in English within a year. She will be living here, watching TV, interacting with daily life etc, the language comes very quickly even if she doesnt actively do a course or sim. So I think everyone is overthinking this. The Nanny will be fine and will be like any other English Nanny, keen to go out with the child and explore and immerse themselves in daily life. She will find her feet and be well versed in the language very quickly.

Springtimemama Wed 22-Apr-15 14:54:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HRHQueenMe Wed 22-Apr-15 15:32:12

I know there are some people that dont (including my friends mum that has lived here 30+years) but if its a concern as an employer it can be advised upon and addressed should the nanny not be seen to be picking up the language. I see many aupairs and nannys through work and have yet to meet one who didnt pick up the language quickly. There is a reason they choose to come here and want to learn (usually a long term plan involving marrying Harry Styles, which in turn requires good English to catch the young mans attention in the first place. I came here as an aupair 20 yrs ago, never married Simon Le Bon though!!)

littleladyluna Wed 22-Apr-15 15:43:18

I was an au pair in a country where I didn't speak the language, however I was keen to learn and picked it up quickly. If this nanny had been in the country for a few years and still spoke poor English I wouldn't employ her as ultimately the points outraged made would be of concern.

I wouldn't have an issue employing someone with poor English as long as s/he was motivated to learn. I would also try to pre-empt the in case of emergency issue by making sure I had a "pack" (DC medical history, parental consent form for life saving treatment etc) to be taken to hospital if the need arose.

schlafenfreude Sun 26-Apr-15 16:47:25

I've worked in countries where Ididn't speak the local language but I asked for written essential info so I could get round it
and drilled myself in emergency phrases. That said a lot more people speak English abroad than other languages in England...

I would say it took me 3 years to be able to handle anything that was thrown at me in my second language, 18 months in my third.

hibbledibble Sat 02-May-15 15:47:01

I say go for it!

Being bilingual will not hinder her language development in any way, there is a lot of evidence to back this up. There is also lots of evidence that becoming bilingual at a young age has lots of benefits including preventing dementia!

It is a great gift to give your daughter.

Regarding emergencies, as long as the nanny has a basic English standard I wouldn't be concerned. (Ie she would be able to make a 999 call). You can write a letter with dd's medical history for nanny to give to hcps just in case. I'm sure nanny's English will improve as she is living in England.

ThumbWitchesAbroad Sat 02-May-15 15:54:18

I think it's ok.

Some years ago I was employed as an au pair in Italy, despite having almost no conversational Italian (I could read it quite well but didn't know the vocabulary to speak it). The twin 22mo boys I looked after of course knew no English but I think I managed to look after them ok, certainly their mother had no problem with me. I learnt Italian pretty quickly to a level where I could communicate with them, and then probably chattered away in English even though they wouldn't have understood.

Your nanny would need to be able to at least communicate with your DD to start with, at least for safety's sake - but after that, I don't think it matters and will be good for her. And you, you can practise! wink

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