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HELP - New Nanny straight out of nursery - practical tips needed

(15 Posts)
SimonBolivar Wed 12-Aug-15 21:37:57

Hi all
I have a new born and a 3yo. We have decided to go for a day nanny instead of the 3yo going to Nursery full time now that baby is here, conveniently (we thought), the manager of the room where 3yo was, wanted to become private nanny... she started Tuesday, I go back to work next week.
The positives. My 3yo already knows and loves her. She is confident with children and I can see she likes playing outdoors, being busy, engaged, active. She's taking well to the baby and vice versa.
The negatives (possibly, we're only on day 2). She has never lived alone (still lives at her moms... I thought because she wanted to save to move in with boyfriend). I can foresee lots of issues if she doesn't know how to manage a household, although I think she's smart and wants to do well.
I am not (yet) convinced she has a great sense of initiative and the common sense of knowing when to organize the household life (meals, cleaning, laundry) mixed in with childcare activities.

Do you have any practical tips?

Should I write a very detailed routine with stuff that's so obvious like 'clean bottle' after 'feed bottle'. Should I dictate when laundry/meal prep/tidying should be done? etc?
Or if she doesn't know how to organize herself I should give it a try for 2 weeks and then cut my losses asap and find a new one?

I'm sure many have employed first time nannies after nursery... any tips, horror stories, stuff you wish you'd done better, written guides? I already did a 10page long doc....

should I be bothered that at the park this afternoon I gave her and my 3 year old some cash to go and buy an ice cream (for my 3yo) while I was breastfeeding the baby, and she bought herself and my 3yo one (not even asked if she could buy herself one?)

Or any nanny's out there that first started in nursery and remember the biggest adjustments they had to make?

HSMMaCM Thu 13-Aug-15 08:10:48

Maybe make a list of he children's usual routine - bottles, meals, etc. and a list of other things you do - clean bottles, put dishwasher and washing machine on, weekly bed changes, or whatever.

This might all be common sense to her, but it might act as a reminder.

I would have offered her an ice cream when she got one for the 3 yr old. My complaint would have been that she didn't bring one for you grin.

smurkedsalmon Thu 13-Aug-15 08:43:25

Nursery workers do tend to struggle to adjust, purely because they've been used to working within a team and working to specific rules and regulations.. I think being aware of this is realistic, and so you should be absolutely crystal clear over her household duties and your expectations because little things can grate very very quickly.

It sounds like where the children are involved, she's got that sussed.

No you shouldn't be annoyed by the ice cream- though she ought to have offered you one too! Any beverages, food, admission costs of hers are yours to budget for. Presumably you've set a kitty out? She should be managing that and ensuring it stretches to the weeks plans and covers her too.

JellyTipisthebest Thu 13-Aug-15 10:06:26

Might be worth giving her some guidance on when you find putting the washing on. Which naps you want the baby to have in cot. What kitty money can be spend on how long you expect it to last.

mrswishywashy Thu 13-Aug-15 10:38:58

My first nanny job I was 20 and just out of three years teacher training. It was a big learning experience as not only as you are trying to balance the children and duties but also the employers expectations.

A three month trial is much fairer. However things to help her in the initial stages: write a list of expected duties for each day, week and month. This gives her the flexibility to find her own way but also do what you want her to do.
Eg bottles clean and sterilised before end of work day. This means she may do so before she leaves where you might do it immediately, both fine.
Meal prep - get her to write out a fortnightly plan, then you can discuss whether you agree and then make sure ingredients are available.
Laundry - what do you expect. Eg done daily or must be finished before she leaves final shift of the week.

I've been a nanny/maternity nurse for the past 16 years and worked in a variety of homes. The hardest is trying to do things exactly like employers so best to give some autonomy. But definetly have a weekly review before moving onto monthly reviews to see how she finds things are going. If you see changes need to be made start with a positive comment, move onto what she needs to work on before finishing with final comment. Also log your concerns so you can see improvements.

My second nanny position took me at least three months to get used to. I had three children under three plus all nursery duties. Plus mother had super high standards eg curtains had to be pulled a certain distance, pillows plumped and displayed right after children use them and counters wiped horizontally and vertically. I did stay four years but it was quite a learning curve.

Also as a nanny I would almost always buy an ice cream if child had one out of kitty money, she should have asked if you wanted one though.

DeandraReynolds Thu 13-Aug-15 12:55:46

I would start off with detailed routine/expectations, and you can always back off a bit as she gets into the swing of things.

What was annoying you about the ice cream?

Hardtoknow Thu 13-Aug-15 20:45:13

First, have you checked your contract with nursery for any poaching fee?
Secondly, she won't be experienced with things like getting a child in & out of a car seat and doing the buckle up, putting up & collapsing a pushchair, getting a bag together for a day out etc.
Nor is she likely to have experience of juggling the different needs of a 3yo and a baby. In most nurseries, the children are divided by age so, whilst she is used to entertaining multiple children, they will have similar needs & wants.
Does she have friends who are nannies? If not, who is she going to hang out with? She will have come from a very sociable environment where there are always others to chat to so may get lonely by herself.
One of my friends has a straight out of nursery nanny who is brilliant but it was a steep learning curve.

Findtheoldme Thu 13-Aug-15 20:48:15

Resenting her buying herself an ice cream? Really?

Did you not interview her properly as it seems like she doesn't have a clue if it really is as you have said?

lushaliciousbob Fri 14-Aug-15 14:21:13

A new nanny job is always going to be difficult/ different at first, whether it is your first family or 10th family. This is because no two families are the same! So many people use different ways to sterilise, different ways to transport children, different ideas of healthy meals. so to he judging her this much after only day 2 isn't good. she needs to have time to settle in and find her feet. that isn't going to properly happen until you are back in work. I'm in the process of starting with a new family and despite having years of experience, I'm still asking lots of questions, even basic ones, because I'd rather do things the way the families do too!
I would just be open with her and ask would she like you to write down what what you expect to be done daily/weekly etc... but make it clear that your main concern is that the children are safe and happy. Please don't go on at her other duties too much. It IS hard work with 2 and she's a nanny not a housekeeper. It will come with time and once she figures everything out, she will be multi tasking in no time.

I'm sorry but the ice cream comment made me laugh ... you can't be serious ?!

SimonBolivar Sat 15-Aug-15 00:04:46

Hi all
First of thanks for all the feedback.

It is my first nanny in the UK, and we're her first family so it is very helpful to hear about other parents and nanny experiences.

I felt like I had been a bit over zealous in preparing instructions prior to her start but it turns out they weren't specific enough. In the end I produced a much more detailed routine list for her to follow and also had a chat with her about the few things I had noticed that weren't matching my expectations and the following two days were much better. I go back to work on Monday full time so I wont have much time after that to get it right!

I was serious about the ice cream (!), but given all the replies, I see that I shouldn't have found it weird, which is why I was asking. I used to live in another country where our nanny would make her own lunches out of the food she brought home so I just didn't know, and she'd also told me that at the nursery she was working at previously she was bringing in her own lunches/ going home for lunch. So I did actually ask her whether she wanted to bring her own lunches - but she'll be eating the same as she prepares for my 3yo.

I can see how managing the baby and the toddler at the same time has been challenging for her, but I am confident she will get this under control. I am not a control freak type, in fact I hate micro managing, but I guess some of the household things that are intuitive for someone who's been living as a grown up for 20 years aren't intuitive at all for someone who's never lived by themselves. She is picking up very fast though and showing initiative and even though she never took notes she has done everything properly after I told her once. There are just many more things I needed to say once than I expected (if that makes sense).

The most important thing of course is that on day 3, when the nanny rang the doorbell, my 3 y.o. spontaneously told me she really, really loved the nanny. And that I suppose is priceless smile

For the training I have already gone through an extensive list of how to: push chairs/carseats/oven/washing machine/ etc etc.

Thanks again all for your thoughts and feedback, I was a bit panicked when I wrote the original message, feeling much better now!
And yes I think she is looking forward to me going to work so she can get a proper handle on things!

insancerre Sat 15-Aug-15 06:29:37

Have you checked your nursery contract to see if there is anything about poaching nursery staff.
Ours states that you can't employ a member of the nursery staff for 6 months after they have left the nursery

anewyear Mon 17-Aug-15 16:06:32

having a bit of a senior moment here.. blush
"quote" Ours states you can't employ a member of staff for 6 mths after they have left nursery
If they've left what has it got to do with the nursery ??
Why is this
Like I said senior moment/bit thick

nannynick Mon 17-Aug-15 18:03:57

anewyear - at a guess I would say that is to try to prevent parents from poaching nursery staff. A parent could try to get a member of staff to resign their job, then the parent gives notice to end care of their children at the nursery and goes on to employ the ex-member of nursery staff.

The nursery workers contract may have something similar in it about not working for a client of the nursery for a set period of time after leaving their job.

How such clauses are enforced I don't know but I guess if they find out then the nursery is within their rights to take legal action under the contract that was agreed.

insancerre Mon 17-Aug-15 19:10:43

Its like nannynick says, its to stop parents poaching nursery staff
I don't know any nursery that has tried to enforce it but I suppose it comes under breach of contract
And yes, nursery staff contracts normally contain a clause that you can't work for a parent for a specified period of time after leaving the nursery

LIZS Mon 17-Aug-15 19:21:34

Did you give her some time to shadow your routine or just notes! A Nanny's role is primarily child focussed so maybe allow her to start with that aspect for a week or two then build in the chores to fill the day.

Glad you've realised that the ice cream issue was trivial. She will need a budget for food, snacks and entertainment.

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