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Nanny Advice(7 Posts)
Just looking for a bit of advice and input if possible, I want to know if I'm overreacting or being a bit sensitive on a couple of things!
I'm a new nanny to a boy of 3, started with them a couple of months ago and most things are good.
My gripes are this -
The parents of the boy seem to be quite 'precious' when it comes to discipline and enforcing rules and boundaries etc. The little boy is very smart and definitely knows the difference between what is good and what he shouldn't be doing, more recently he is becoming disobedient, telling me 'no' when I ask him to do simple things (picking up something he has thrown or just putting shoes on etc) and has now started refusing to eat dinner. He also cries at the drop of a hat and seems to act quite babyish (lots of random whinging and whining noises for no reason). When I had just began with the family, there was an incident where the boy threw his dinner across the table as he didn't want to eat and basically started behaving really horribly. I told him to go and sit on the stairs as a 'punishment' (also allowed me to clean up and grab a few seconds to regain composure!) the mother clearly had an issue with this form of reprimand and made it clear not to do this again. I totally appreciate this is their son and I need to respect their ideals but it's proving more and more difficult to ensure my place as a grown up figure when they keep telling me they disapprove of certain measures (my two Nanny friends have also said they use the form of 5 minutes on the stairs as a reprimand). I also explain to the boy that he must listen and do as he is told when asked but they have said they don't like this either. If I explain to the boy he can't have a dessert unless he eats some of his dinner (doesn't have to be all) - the mum will then give him something sweet or other snacks to eat anyway when she gets home. A lot of the time he is fine, affectionate cuddly and happy to play, but also on top of this he cries every morning when he wakes up and his mummy is at work (I do the nursery drop offs). Is this something that stops over time? There hasn't been a morning that he hasn't cried when he has seen it is me and not his Mummy.
Also, regarding the extra hours and meals included - the contract states meals are not included, is this normal? My two nanny friends and the families they work for suggest this isn't normal and a bit stingey... It's in my contract to cook for the little boy so it's a bit of effort to make two separate meals and be bringing my own food to the house every day.
Extra hours - at the interview stage they said I may be required to do the occasional drop off in the morning on top of normal hours (3 late start half days and 2 full days when no nursery) since starting they have asked me to do split shifts on the late start days at least once a week, so this means I am getting to their house at 7:15, getting boy up and dressed and off to nursery, then go home then come back again - they give me £17 for each one of these drop off's - obviously the extra cash is great but it's gone from occasional to very regular. One of the main reasons I took the role were the late starts. Everything else is fine, he is normally very nice to be around and play with etc, but even my nanny friend commented when we had a play date that he was quite babyish with the crying etc. He has a very wide vocabulary so I know he knows how to ask for things without crying all the time. Any suggestions on how to approach the subject - are they mollycoddling him?
Discipline is something that you should always discuss at the interview. It is up to them how they parent their child and up to each individual nanny how they handle discipline. The trick is finding a family and nanny that have the same approach. FWIW I agree with you re. time out and not standing for any nonsense. Their approach would drive me mad. I would be having a serious chat with them about what exactly they want you to do when he behaves badly. If you don't feel you can get on board with it, start looking for another job because it will only get worse.
I would have expected the crying to have settled down now you are a few months in. Is it possible that they're not explaining it to him the night before so he is waking up to you when he was expecting Mummy? Or maybe he just forgets. Would it be possible for them to wake him and say goodbye before they leave. It probably is quite upsetting for him to not get a chance to say goodbye to Mummy in the morning.
Any overtime should be optional. They can't force you to be available 24/7. If they ask for a morning drop-off and it isn't convenient then say no. Do your job properly and thoroughly, be committed, be flexible if possible, go above and beyond when you can, but also don't be afraid to say no when necessary. There are some families who will recognise the inability to say no and take the absolute piss. Don't let them walk all over you.
You and the parents need to be on the same page when it comes do managing behaviour. That may mean that you adjust to doing things the same way the parents do, as it is their home, their child.
Meals not being included is unusual in my view. Typically one meal will be included, sometimes two depending on the working hours.
Extra hours - whilst they may ask you to do them, are you contracted to do them? What if you were busy doing something else?
Some children do cry quite a bit. They may be genuinely expressing emotion, or they may be trying to get attention. You need to suss out why he is doing it and redirect him to other methods of communication.
Has he had many nannies in the past? Consider the past... and look at the present... what has the family done for childcare in the past and why do they need a nanny now? How has that affected the child, is he reacting in a certain way to achieve an objective - he may have tried all these tactics in the past with a nanny who then left, then he had mum on his own. Who knows what is going on, you have been there a couple of months, so he should be getting used to you by now.
Thanks for your replies, I have now asked the mother to reiterate to LO in the evening that I will be coming in the mornings, she said she already was doing this.
Sadly his reaction is even worse when he sees her actually leaving the house so we try and avoid waking him before the morning handover. LO has had only one nanny before me and apparently he took a very long time to get used to her and she took it quite personally, whereas with me he talks about me over the weekend and appears to be very fond of me in comparison. Fingers crossed things get better
The child is acting out his difficult emotions - he's feeling distressed and angry about a few things and hence the crying and bowl throwing. Yes you need to all be on the same page re discipline but as a children's mental health professional I doubt very much that punishing him will help (although of course boundaries are necessary). I imagine this situation will continue/ will get worse unless something shifts to enable this child to be happier and feel more secure.
Btw whatever needs to shift may well lie with the parents, and not with you x
Okay, I think you need to accept that this job comes with early starts, if that's a deal breaker, give your notice.
If not, then your contract needs to be redrawn to include these early mornings.
Meals - meh, getting fed is normally a perk of the job but if it's not what they want then you need to accept it, or you can try talking to them about it if you are literally working too many hours to pack your own lunch and eat your tea at home.
Behaviour - you need to have a full,sit down chat with the parents about behaviour and discipline. Draw up your house rules and consequences and everyone must stick to them. You have as much authority as they do when you are in sole charge. If they don't agree, or you can't come to an accord then give your notice and move on.
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