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Opinions on nanny behaviour

(26 Posts)
Halojones2014 Sun 21-Jun-15 22:15:59


I have a lovely nanny for my two girls but something could be amiss. This weekend I was told by a stranger in the playground that he had met my 3 year old before - he had played with her for a long time and she had told him that she was lost. He said that they worked out who my lo was with eventually (nanny was sat on the other side of the playground) but he was concerned as "she wasn't being supervised properly". Argh...

I really like our nanny and she seems to have a good relationship with DD1, (DD2 is 6 months old and smiles at everyone). She has been with us just under 2 months. I do remember DD1 coming home and saying that she thought she was lost but the nanny brushing it off so I didn't really think about it. I thought that I would speak to her tomorrow and hear her side but I'm quite worried...

What would you do?

Cantkinsale Sun 21-Jun-15 22:25:45

A very odd and quite worrying conversation that cropped up.

I'd probably mention to her that you had been approached by this man and ask her view on the incident. Definitely needs to be addressed, if only for your own piece of mind.

How long ago was it? Would your daughter remember the incident enough to ask her about it? At 3yr old she may not remember too far back.

She should never take her eye off the ball. I give my charges freedom in the playground without me hovering over them, but, little do they know I'm watching their every move. At 3 they wouldn't be too far from my side either.

Halojones2014 Sun 21-Jun-15 22:36:16

It must have been about 3 or 4 weeks ago. DD1 recognised the man and said that she thought she was lost. She's only just three (her birthday was a couple of weeks ago) so it is hard to find out exactly what happened.
I agree about playground supervision, Cant. I want her to have some freedom but I certainly don't want her to think she is lost...

Cantkinsale Sun 21-Jun-15 22:45:19

Then I would have the conversation with your nanny for sure.
When I go into a park or playground, I always say to the children, this is where I will be sitting, you know where I am, you know where to find me. If there is a group of nannies we say the same to all the kids, also telling then if I'm not here then nanny XY or Z will be. They always know where to find me/us. They are older now tho (9&6) but I've been there since the eldest was a baby. Over the years the supervision has been adjusted according to their age, but, it works.
Your LO needs to feel safe and know there will always be someone looking out for her, whether it be your nanny or another nanny friend within the group. Especially when your baby becomes mobile.

Halojones2014 Sun 21-Jun-15 22:59:52

I might suggest that to her. I think it would be good idea if DD1 knew where she was going to be in the playground.

One thing that is bugging me is that I don't know whether she had both of them at the time. I'm gradually going back to work so I'm only out in the afternoons and keep the baby with me in the mornings while the nanny and DD1 go to groups. If the nanny had both of them I could understand it more (although it's still not great) but if she just had DD1 I think the situation would be much worse.

kickassangel Sun 21-Jun-15 23:15:40

I don't think a stranger would have made the effort to tell you unless he had concerns. Unless he came across as a bit of a busy body I would want to raise this, even if the baby was also there. And the nanny could have come clean at the time but stopped your DD from telling you.

There may be an understandable reason, and this was a one off, but worth letting the nanny know that you don't think this is OK. After all, wouldn't you expect the nanny to walk up and say hi to another adult playing with your child? What if DD wandered off to look for you? Or it could be she forgot about the nanny, thought you should be there and nanny was watching all the time. Only one way to find out.

SunnyBaudelaire Sun 21-Jun-15 23:24:11

I would be fucking fuming - you pay the nanny good money to watch your children, its her job fgs.

And a three year old is not old enough to play unsupervised while your nanny sits there texting her friends or whatever.

Honestly if it were me I would sack her.

But then I am really cynical about nannies/au pairs/childminders/playschemes having seen it all with my own children who are now older.

HSMMaCM Mon 22-Jun-15 03:46:34

Where did your DD get the word lost from. Did nanny send her off to play, with a light hearted 'don't get lost' and then DD used the word to the first person who asked?

Nanny may have been watching closely and monitoring the situation carefully. Having said that ... If I saw a stranger playing with her, I might have approached them.

Have a chat about what's been said and see what her side of the story is.

whizzbang1 Mon 22-Jun-15 04:10:07

Honestly, I would find a new nanny.

MiscellaneousAssortment Mon 22-Jun-15 04:56:29

Surely as soon as any other adult approached a toddler you'd be straight up and wondering over to find out what was going on.

That would be the thing that would worry me most. That she was so uninvolved (at best, most likely just not even aware where your child was), that she let a stranger have quite a long conversation with your child.

I'd have a chat with her about what happened from her perspective, but emphasise what the stranger said even if she completely denies it.

Then say you thought you'd take the opportunity to go through a few ground rules for supervising the children, and then go through it all in detail.

This is assuming you want to keep her and your trust isn't broken completely. I hate this stuff...

minderjinx Mon 22-Jun-15 07:07:38

I'm not sure this story quite rings true. A stranger plays with your daughter for quite a while = who would do that these days? = until she mentions she is lost, and then he has to try to work out who she is with - and then what? Wouldn't a responsible adult go over to the nanny and say I found your lost child, or something similar? He doesn't seem to have had a conversation with your nanny at all, and he doesn't say what nanny was doing at the time. It does sound to me like stirring.

Halojones2014 Mon 22-Jun-15 07:07:54

I do want to keep her, obviously dependent on how it goes this morning. On another occasion, a friend of a friend told me she went to a playgroup and saw the nanny and DD1 - she said the nanny was very enthusiastic and involved.

HSMMaCM - she knows the word lost from the book Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers. (A little boy thinks a penguin is lost and takes him to the South Pole. It's very sweet.) so I'm confident that she understands what she is saying.

Miscellaneous- I think that's the main point. Why didn't she go over when a stranger approached DD and that I want her to be more attentive in the playground.

Thanks for your thoughts - I'll let you know how it goes...

Halojones2014 Mon 22-Jun-15 07:11:27

Nanny was sat on a bench on the other side of the playground.

I should mention that the stranger was with his grandson on the playground so not as weird as it may have sounded!

RattieofCatan Mon 22-Jun-15 07:14:22

I'm with minder, sounds a bit weird and I'm not sure I'd 100% believe the stranger, people do embellish stories when they are retelling them. I could see the nanny giving your DD a bit of free reign, I know that I tend to with my charges but then equally I would approach my charges if an adult I didn't recognise was talking to them.

PinkPearlClutcher Mon 22-Jun-15 07:54:02

Nanny could easily have been watching from a distance, man with his grandson had a quick chat and she assumed they were just saying hello and didn't realise 3YO was telling man she was lost if she didn't look upset.

I think there's plenty of explanations, but I'm surprised nanny didn't explain to you when you asked the first time.

I definitely think you need to ask again, but it may just be nothing.

AMcoffeeLover Mon 22-Jun-15 10:27:28

I'm a nanny. My previous charge used to say they were lost if they ever lost sight of me. It was causing issues with me and the parents until the child said they were lost in the hall way and we realised their definition was not being able to see me, not truly being lost.
Is her definition of lost "being far from where you should be" or "being away from/not seeing your friends/family" ? Both could be gleemed from the book you've mentioned.
But id want to know why she didn't approach when the man talk/played with your DD.

ATravellingCircusCame Mon 22-Jun-15 13:14:48

'Surely as soon as any other adult approached a toddler you'd be straight up and wondering over to find out what was going on.'

I wouldn't necessarily go over and investigate if I saw another parent/grandparent talking to my DC on the playground. If they didn't have any children with them, were trying to take my child away from where they were or were otherwise suspicious then I would, but really a Grandpa with Grandchild talking to a child in a playground is not reason to run over and find out what is going on.

I've spoken to many children on the playground and rarely is that followed by their adult immediately coming over to investigate what is going on!

Perhaps the nanny is just a rational person? She didn't consider a child happily playing to be lost and she didn't consider another adult talking to them to be unusually suspicious. It seems she was right on both accounts?

FlorenceMattell Mon 22-Jun-15 19:36:18

Hard to judge this on mumsnet. How big is the park? Where was the nanny sitting, could she see the child at all times?
Are there gates on the park? Was the nanny by the gate?
Our park is small , if I sat on the bench by the gate I know children can't get out?
Did the nanny know the other child and grandad knew your child?
At just three years I would tend to be in close proximity in a park. Stop the child climbing too high, stop them running in front of the swings etc.
Also I would be straight across if I saw a stranger talking to my charges of any pre teenage age.
If I just saw Joe (eg a child my charge knew) and his grandad, and they spoke to my child briefly, I would be alert but wouldn't necessary go straight across. But as I say at just three I would be close by.
So I agree with other posters talk to your nanny about this.
Don't question your just three year old. Too much time has passed.

BlackSwan Mon 22-Jun-15 22:15:37

Red flag. It might be more convenient to give the nanny the benefit of the doubt, but the reality is that there are some nannies who think they are entitled to relax at places like the park where kids can just entertain themselves/eachother. I have seen nannies meet up for play dates in the park and leave young kids to their own devices while they chat etc. It happens often. Fact is, if you're a good nanny,you engage with your charge and don't just use the playground to kill time until your work day is over.
I think the stranger here did you a favour, and now it's up to you to act on it.

Halojones2014 Mon 22-Jun-15 22:47:35

Thanks again for the responses. I spoke to my nanny this morning. She immediately knew what I was talking about and said that it was one of the times she took both of my daughters to the playground. She said that she sat by the gate in the playground and told DD1 where she would be while she fed my youngest. DD2 is 6 months and is just starting to take a bottle for one feed a day so sometimes progress with her milk is slow. The nanny she that she could see DD1 at all times and watched the man and his grandchild play with DD1. She also said that it was the last time that she has been to the playground with both of them as it was too tricky to supervise DD1 whilst giving DD2 a bottle.

I feel satisfied with her response as there are no other flags at the moment. I think that as she takes on both of them more (after the summer) we will discuss what times might be difficult and come up with a plan together. I should say that she is experienced nanny (15+ years, some of that regularly proxy parenting) and has excellent references.

Thanks again for the thoughtful replies. Much appreciated.

ATravellingCircusCame Tue 23-Jun-15 13:16:08

I hope those who immediately assumed she was texting or chatting come back to read that she was feeding the baby!

'Fact is, if you're a good nanny,you engage with your charge'

Actually, a good nanny (or any good child carer) will be aware that, developmentally, children need to be given time to play by themselves/with other children without adult intervention. A good nanny will remain 'available' to be engaged by the child, but also able to supervise at a distance and allow the child to play independently. The 'engagement' will happen during activities at home, on the walk to/from the park, at the library etc. It is the nanny/parent/childminder who is constantly 'engaged' with the child at the playground who is in the wrong, not the nannies/parents/childminders who are supervising from a distance.

BlackSwan Tue 23-Jun-15 20:04:43

Her excuse was she was feeding the baby. Perhaps she was, perhaps she wasn't. But a total stranger was concerned enough to bring the situation to the mother's attention.
Children needing time alone in public with strangers. Utter BS.

Blondeshavemorefun Tue 23-Jun-15 20:42:09

If I was talking to a child who said they were lost I would walk around the park to see if they could find their adult

I would worry slightly that a very experienced nanny with 15yrs plus - can't look after two children !!!!

feeding a baby and keeping an eye on a 3yr should quite within her capabilities

Least she was by a gate and knew your dd couldn't escape - but again surprised she didn't go over to your dd if an adult is talking to them - I would - regardless if they had a child with them

Saying all that - nanny seems to have responsed well to you so prob is telling the truth

But the fact she can't cope with 2 under 3/4yrs would worry me

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Tue 23-Jun-15 21:25:11

That might depend a bit on the baby blondes. DN2 was a little bugger for feeding and needed a lot of coaxing and attention. It's fine in lots of situations but being in the park with her 3year old sister would not have been something anyone would have relished.

Only the OP can really know whether 'making slow progress' makes this a plausible explanation for not going to the park.

Halojones2014 Tue 23-Jun-15 21:59:27

Blackswan - I believe she was feeding DD2. The time the man said he was with them in the park is the time when she has a feed. I agree though that hearing those comments from a stranger was rather shocking.

Blondes - Hello! I get your point about two children but to be honest I find it quite hard sometimes with two so I'm not sure what to expect from a nanny. But that said, I would have made DD1 stay with me whilst I fed DD2, mainly because I would have been too nervous about getting to her in time if anything went wrong. (I'm quite hands on in the playground though - I'm the only mother going down the slide...)

Rafa - when this happened DD2 was only just getting into bottles so it was quite a battle!

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