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Does your nanny keep a diary?

(26 Posts)
Uwila Fri 28-Jan-05 11:13:47

I'm considering requiring my nanny to keep a written record of my kids' activities, development, eating habits etc. She currently does not do this. She looks after my toddler all day, does the family's laundry (including ironing) and keeps the kitchen clean (does the dishes and keeps counter tops clean). It was agreed that with her cleaning duties, her plate was full and she would prefer to have these conversations verbally. She did not like the idea of writing down the activities, etc. each day. But, we have another one due at the end of MAy, and it has already been agreed that with two young ones, she will not have time for cleaning duties. So, she will be responsible only for the children's laundry, dishes, etc. (and her own of course).

The plan for her to fill me in verbally with a casual conversation each night has not really happened. Eery now and then she will tell me about a specific part of a day, but it's only say once every couple weeks, if even that. I feel that I do not know what dd eats (she's terribly finicky) or really what she does during the day (except for the activities which I have scheduled). I know that some nannies keep a diary. If you have a nanny who keeps a diary, what does she put in it? How often are the entries (does she write in it daily or weekly)? DO you tell her what needs to be kept on record? Or has she just taken the initiative to do this for you?

Thank you! Advice much appreciated.

soapbox Fri 28-Jan-05 11:18:05

Yes - mine does - about half an A5 page a day. Writes an entry for each day, but tends to do it in little bursts every 3 or 4 days or so.

I've only had one nanny before this one who was with us since DD (now 6) was a baby and she kept a diary. Its lovely to look back on and so I insisted that my new nanny did this too

Mine writes it up on the days (Mon and Thurs) when the children have friends over or are at friends houses for tea. They don;t seem to need much supervision when they have friends over so she gets a bit more time to do other things on those days.

Uwila Fri 28-Jan-05 11:31:46

Thanks, Soapbox. What kind of things does she write in it?

soapbox Fri 28-Jan-05 11:34:45

What they've done, sometimes what they've eaten. Any particular moods. Anything they've said or done that's cute or funny.

Just a summary of the day really. I don't like it if it gets too prescriptive as it then reads like a checklist which is not interesting to read at a later date. I'd much rather just have a short summary of whatever seemed noteworthy that day!

binkie Fri 28-Jan-05 11:36:26

All of ours have done this one way or another.

Started with our first, who looked after ds from 4 months to just over a year - she suggested it (she was lovely in every way). Tended to be a page or so of an A4 blank-paged book - listed what he ate, when he napped, what they did, who they played with, any exciting milestones, mood. Always emphasised the positive. V simple but lovely.

Next one (for next 10 months or so) kept it up, same kind of entries, though (as a personality matter) tended to emphasise the negative.

Next one (for next 3 and a half years, from when ds was just short of 2 & dd 3 months) did an amazing job - same sort of entries at first, as you need with babies; evolved into a gorgeous illustrated record - she's a great photographer - focussing on what they did & what they ate. Nothing much any more about napping or mood. She put such effort into it - when she left us I gave her a colour photocopy of all the volumes. I think what she did was way beyond the call of duty, but it was her choice to do it that way, and it's sort of an heirloom now.

Current one (started when dd 3 and ds 5) does a weekly timetable, showing meals and planned activities - starts in draft and then ends up an illustrated record by the end of the week, which gets filed in a scrapbook with tickets from outings, drawings and so on. I don't need any more than that as the children can tell me all the rest, and they get to participate in planning their timetable, which is great.

I do think it is a very good thing to have something as a record of a baby's time - not least because it is so lovely to look back at Rachael's description of ds's first ever Tube ride (for instance). But I have to say, the effort involved is significant.

MrsWobble Fri 28-Jan-05 12:01:28

My previous nanny kept a diary - not as extensive as those described by Binkie - it was an A5, week to view so we got a couple of sentences about each day. This meant it concentrated on the overall mood rather than being a list of what was eaten etc. This was, to me, much more valuable as I now have a really personal record of my children's babyhood. As a result I know all about dd3's obsession with the ducks on the walk to school even though I don't know what she ate for lunch every day.

I think the relative brevity of the entries made it possible for the nanny to keep it up.

My only real problem now is which of the 3 of them will get the diaries eventually - if I was one of them I would really value it as an adult.

My current nanny doesn't do this any more - but the children are now old enough to keep their own diaries if they want them. I can talk to them myself about what they're doing. My eldest has discovered the internet and sends me emails at work when she's supposed to be doing her homework (which I must confess I print out and keep - there's nothing better than a "Mummy I love you" message when you're having a bad day)

I would really encourage you to work out with your nanny what information you want - that way it won't become a pointless chore for her. I used to write entries at the weekend as well which I know my nanny appreciated when she came in on a Monday and so I don't think she regarded it as work but enjoyed it as much as I did.

soapbox Fri 28-Jan-05 12:04:18

Mrs Wobble that is a very good point. I always keep the diary going over weekends - that way you get a fuller picture of thier lives including mummy and daddy time. The nanny can also see the kind of things that are important to you from what you write about. And it also makes it seem more acceptable to expect her to find the time to write it, if you are also willing to put the effort in to keeping it going

Uwila Fri 28-Jan-05 13:09:31

Anyone else? I would appreciate as many opinions as I can get.

I think adding my own entries on the weekend is a great idea. I should definitely do that. Both, because it will help tp encourage nanny and also because it will be nice for them also to read what mummy wrote.

I may have to make two copies one day -- one for each of them, and keep the original for myself.

Anchovy Fri 28-Jan-05 13:44:59

Mine does an A4 page a day and it has evolved as to what it covers. When the children were smaller nap times were a big part of it - and it is really useful to see if a pattern emerges. When Ds goes to nursery school she just notes that, but not what he has been up to unless there is something of note (eg, like yesterday - nits spotted at nursery school etc). Food was also very important when they were smaller, but I still like to see what they are eating now (DD has eczema so it is quite useful to see what she ate). Or sometimes DD will do a disgusting nappy and I will look in the book and see "blueberries for tea". I get to see who has been round to play, where they have been, things of note - it means I can pick up on small things they have done that may just get lost in the general hubbub. We also use it prospectively - nanny writes in it playdates, if she is babysitting for us etc. Also we leave a section at the bottom of each day for notes - eg if someone has phoned and left a message or we have run out of something or DS needs to take something to nursery school. Oh, also useful re medication - if either of the children has had calpol or DD had hydrocortisone she puts it in and time. I also get to find out if DS is having a lot of time outs, for example, without actually needing to know what the time outs are about.

Nanny rules the page into blocks - sleep; activity; food; other. She always puts something funny in each day about something they have done. The back has all relevant phone numbers - ours, our parents and friends, drs, NHS direct, all her nanny friends, their full names and their mobile numbers etc. If we pick up leaflets, eg re swimming courses in the future, places we think we may be interesting they tend to get stuck in the back.

Wow, this makes me sound really well organised, although to be honest it was all pretty much her idea!

Uwila Fri 28-Jan-05 16:13:10


bakedpotato Fri 28-Jan-05 16:24:58

no, our nanny doesn't (we share her 3 days a week and have her exclusively on the other 2). we always ensure we have a good talk when she arrives in the morning, so i know the plans for the day, and at the end of the day i get nice nuggety gossip about funny things said etc. we just always make the time for this.
i usually have a good idea of where she and dd are at any given time.
i can't imagine when our nanny would get the time to fill in a diary, plus her spoken English is naturally better than her written, and i wouldn't want to give her any extra work even on the days when she is 'ours' exclusively. but i know that as someone who works from home/is currently on mat leave, i am lucky to have a really good oversight/connection with her anyway.

Easy Fri 28-Jan-05 16:46:48

My childminder has just started doing this (just before her OFSTED inspection ).

She looks after 5 different children thru the week, but still manages just to put in what ds had to eat, and where they've been (on school hol. days).

Uwila Fri 28-Jan-05 17:46:41

Any other nanny employers who do (or don't) get a diary to read and keep?

CountessDracula Fri 28-Jan-05 18:03:24

Mine doesn't but I do, am doing one for this year for her. Nanny usually here for half an hour after I get home so we get plenty of time to talk about what has happened during the day. Plus I call her at lunchtime for updates!

Uwila Fri 28-Jan-05 18:21:15

Well, this all came up because she doesn't really stay downstairs for this chat. As you may recall CD, my nanny is not keen on filling out a daily form a made a while back. She said she'd rather have a verbal conversation. The problem is the second I walk in the door, she heads upstairs. I've tried to encourage that she is welcome to the entire house, and need not head to her room just because I'm home. But, she seems to prefer her room. And I try to back off. I think that she might prefer her room because she has a long day, so when I get home she runs for peace from demanding toddler. If that's the case, fair enough. Trouble is, I don't feel I really know what goes on in DD's life. If I go up to her room she is happy to talk to me. But, I don't really like doing that because I feel that the evening are her own and I don't like to intrude. AFter all, she does work a 12 hour day, and everyone needs a break sometime.

Her day ends at 7:00. So if I show up at 7:00 on the dot, then I think it's fair for her to regard her day as over. AS I would notlike my boss calling me after hours to discuss the day. I would expect him to talk to me during work hours. So I try to provide her with the same respect. However, even if I walk in at 6:00 or 6:30 she still runs upstairs.

Also, her duties will be changing (no more cleaning) and I was hoping that when they do it would be fair for me to require a diary.

vivat Sat 29-Jan-05 09:21:34

Mine does one too - only a few sentences a day and she tends to focus on what they've eaten, how long naps are and other logistical matters. It's still quite useful though to look back at, and see how often they got colds for example. Not quite the family heirloom described by Binkie (that sounds wonderful !). I was quite clear at interview that I wanted this as my previous nanny didn't after repeated requests, and it became a real bugbear with me. Her version was a post it note saying what he'd had for lunch stuck on the kitchen cupboards every 3 weeks or so....

CountessDracula Sat 29-Jan-05 13:52:13

Uwila if she is not sticking to what she said (ie she would rather talk to you than fill in a form/diary) then I think you are quite within your rights to broach the subject again, say to her that although she said she would rather talk than fill out a form, she doesn't seem to be doing it so could she please make the effort to do one or the other.

Uwila Sun 30-Jan-05 13:33:07

Thanks everyone for your input. It's been most helpful. I think when I sit down with her to tell her my plans for maternity leave, and return to work and how this will impact her schedule, I shall also take the oppotunity to 1- review her work here (sort of a semi annual review) and propse a new contract.

So much to think about right now. I'm going to just start a diary myself and ask her to weekly entries (not daily), an I'll keep up on the weekends. THis feature will be added to her duties in the contract.

Thanks again.

binkie Mon 31-Jan-05 12:11:58

Uwila, just found this from the other side of the fence - looks useful, and supportive!

Uwila Mon 31-Jan-05 12:37:03

Thanks Binkie!

Uwila Tue 01-Feb-05 14:40:13

Has anyone got any samples of diaries that could help me know what to ask for? I've decided I will ask her to do this. I can settle for a weekly approach. I would like to know:
What they eat
What time they eat
How much they eat
When they sleep
A general overview of the activities

Is this reasonable? Should I ask for anything else?

If there are any nannies out there reading this, your thoughts are welcome too.

2boysmum Tue 01-Feb-05 14:52:24

As well as a diary we have a big calendar on the wall in the kitchen on which me, dh, nanny and sometimes boys! write down important dates, activities, when we are away, when people are coming to play, stay, it means we can all see broadly what we are all up to in any one month.

Uwila Tue 01-Feb-05 14:55:28

ah, lovely idea with the calendar. I had the same one. Only it still sits on the kitchen table and I remain the only person who write in it... sigh

CountessDracula Tue 01-Feb-05 14:59:01

How about what new things they have said/done this week?

Skribble Sun 06-Feb-05 21:37:32

I think the diary is a great idea I worked as a live-in nanny and I am now a Mum of two.

I wouldn't have minded doing one if asked. When working in day nurseries it was standard practice and part of the job, each child had and A5 jotter and we put about half a page in each day when the children napped after lunch.

I think it is a good idea to keep all vital info in the same book rather than on a notice board. The parents would have to be clear about what had to be included. I don't think its unreasonble to have to include medication, outings, accidents, visitors, sleep patterns and any major tantrums.

It would be a much more usefull document if parents enter info as well rather than it being seen as a scrap book to amuse us in the future.

The rest is really down to the nanny. Pictures, stories and quotes will depend on there abilities and inclination. If they are expected to write a page every day then it would become a chore (especially if english is not your first language). But to expect the recording of important information is reasonable.

If they don't have time to note down a couple of things here and there you have to wonder what they are doing all day.

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