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Nanny dilemma - it is ok for a nanny to look after 4 kids?

(16 Posts)
whizzymummy Wed 01-Oct-08 21:45:42

I have 2 kids, my DS who is 2 1/2 and my DD who is 4 months old. When I went back to work after DS was born (3 days a week) we started a nanny share with another family at their house and it has been really successful. The other family is lovely, nanny is so perfect and we've all got on. So when I got pregnant we decided we'd keep the arrangement going for the time being with DS as he has so much fun there (and so I could have a break when DD came along!!), so nanny has been looking after 3 kids in total (age 3 1/2, 2 1/2 and 1) and while I've been on maternity leave I've had DD on her own for 3 days a week.

Here's what I can't decide - I need to go back to work in January and can't decide what to do. I've talked it over with our nanny who happy to look after all 4 kids but is that too much? She insists she'd be okay, the eldest will be in nursery a full school day and our eldest mornings. I wonder how she'd cope with holidays but she thinks it would be easier with no drop offs and pick ups...

Just interested in opinions out there ... is it too much? I suppose some families have nannies looking after 4 kids but are they so close in age - 0,1,2 and 3!

She is so competent and she doesn't think one more will be hard and the ages seem perfect that there and 2 older ones and 2 little ones to play together.

However, I can see the pros but also lots of cons - I just don't know what to do!

We have considered finding another family with just one child to share with again so there's only 3 kids (main motivation behind this is we can't afford a nanny on our own) but our nanny thinks it won't be that different. She thinks we'd likely find people with a young baby and so she'd have 2 teeny ones and our DS ... who would be bored with no one to play with whereas now the two eldest entertain eachother.

Any thoughts?

I really don't want to lose her but equally want to do the right thing by the kids.

omega2 Wed 01-Oct-08 21:58:49

If your nanny thinks she can cope then leave the arrangement as it is. I used to be a nanny and hoping to get back into it again and wouldn't have a problem with those ages - its just a case of being organised

nannyL Wed 01-Oct-08 21:59:44

if she is happy then great

has she thougth about outings though...

obviously the younger 2 would reqire the seats in the double buggy, and if out for the day could the 2 and 3 year old walk...

what if one (or both) of the older 2 had a tantrum (as toddlers do) and didnt want to walk? could she cope then... carying 2 stroppy kicking children and pushing a double buggy shock

and a double buggy with one or 2 buggy boards (have mountian buggy in mind for 2) would be very heavy...
I know a mum with twins and baby who got a buggy board on her jane tandem 3 wheeler so that would be possible

also what about fitting 4 children in proper car seats in the car.

I think they key with little children is routine and if she has her routine that works,and both you parents are happy to help keep the children in the same routine over the weekend, and the nanny is happy then there is no reason not to

a nanny friend of mine had 5 little ones, 1 not quite so little but 4 littlies..

she had a double buggy and 2 wrist links to keep them safe smile

whizzymummy Wed 01-Oct-08 22:09:40

To be honest outings only ever mean a playgroup or park! Both families already have a double buggy but she's actually been using a single buggy for the last 4 months as the 2 eldest walk everywhere (they want to). We live in central london so it's all closeby for drops offs/playgroups etc and no walk is longer than 10 mins.

The one I worry about the most is exactly yours nannyL - what about tantrums from the older ones, and hey the 1 year old might not be far off that then!!

She is very driven by routine and thinks the key would be organising. We'd prepare her puree until littlest was ready for same food as the rest and we have talked about whether we could find someone to bring the eldest home from school run at end of the day.

I suppose I've partly wondered what other people would think too - sounds awful but I don't want people to think we're over working her!

nbee84 Wed 01-Oct-08 22:14:37

Your Nanny sounds great. She's come up with some sensible and reaasonable explanations for your dilemas. I'd be inclined to hang on to her. She sounds very capable.

Adding an extra child will mean new contracts so it may be a good idea to put a probationary period into that.

As nannyl has pointed out, you need to have a chat about safety and going out with 4 little ones (wrist links are a good idea) and of course car seats for 4 in the car.

nannynick Wed 01-Oct-08 22:14:55

When I nannied for a family with 4 children (not all as close together in age as in your situation), the biggest difficulty was transport - could they all fit in my car.
Getting out and about, if younger two go in a double buggy and older two will walk - then it could work. If the older two won't walk, then I see that it may get tricky. Some buggy boards can be fitted to a double buggy, you can get triple buggies, but the more children sitting, the more weight there is... your nanny may get very fit!

nbee84 Wed 01-Oct-08 22:15:48

I'm too slow a typer whizzymummy grin

whizzymummy Wed 01-Oct-08 22:22:26

She's super fit already and doesn't mind lots of walking ... and the eldest have waterproofs and wellies that go with them everywhere for the rain! There's never need for a car with them right now (and hasn't for nearly 2 years) but if there was anyone is insured to drive our car and it fits 4 kids car seats.
I wonder what happens when one of the older ones is sick and isn't so keen on walking but the other needs to be taken to nursery - does one of the parents just have to stay at home?
I do love her loads so my number one aim is to keep her happy...
I had wondered about another trial period too and if it looks like it's not working then one family will have to look for another nanny.
Thanks for your messages!

Blondeshavemorefun Thu 02-Oct-08 10:17:31

if your nanny is happy to have all 4 and thinks that she can cope (and why shouldnt she be able to wink) then keep her on

yes 4 under 4 is hard work, i have done it, key is routine and yes the 2 older will entertain and play together.

Taking 4 children out again is possible, sure that your nanny has thought it through and previding she is happy with walking with all 4 or having enough room in your car for 4 proper car seats then all should be fine

obviously there might be a few teething problems in beginning, but sure all will work out

have you discussed this with other family, are they still happy to share a nanny

if a child is ill, then the nanny will have them, and not a parent to take time off, thats the big plus of having a nanny rather than a cm or nursery

woodstock3 Sat 04-Oct-08 19:59:19

isnt there some legal requirement that if a nanny is looking after more than three kids at once they also need to register as a childminder? vaguely remember this coming up in an interview once when we were considering a nannyshare...

Blondeshavemorefun Sat 04-Oct-08 20:03:04

a nanny cant look after 3 famillies children on same day

dont think there is a problem with how many children as long as only 2 famillies

friend looked after 7 (3 and 4) in nannyshare and sometimes in summer hols had all 7

nanny insurance with morton micheal wont cover more than 7 children from a legal aspect

nannynick Sat 04-Oct-08 20:14:11

>a nanny cant look after 3 famillies children on same day

I don't agree. They can't care for the children of 3 families simultaneously. I.e. Working in family 1's home, with family 2 and family 3's children coming to family 1's home.

I thought insurance limit was 6 children, but I suspect such things can be negotiated with the insurer.

Blondeshavemorefun Sun 05-Oct-08 10:38:00

sorry nick - thats what i meant

a nanny could look after family a am, family b afternoon and family c after school - but not in one house - you explained it better than me

lindseyfox Sun 05-Oct-08 12:26:26

I have nannied for 8 children in one day at a family wedding, it was in the grounds of the family home.

I had a 3mth old and 6mth old whilst everyone went off to church and then when they came back I also had a 2yr and 3yr old added to that then after the meal i had a 5yr old, 6yr old, 7yr old and 9yr old. Only had them all for a couple of hrs and babies were asleep when had all of them. I then bathed the younger ones whilst elder ones played in bedroom then when little ones in bed the older ones were all bathed and put to bed.

all were in bed alsleep by 10pm.

callaird Mon 06-Oct-08 14:13:50

I did a nanny share a few years ago, had boy and girl aged 4 & 5 months to start with then both mum's fell pregnant around the same time, I then had 23 month old, 22 month old, 5 month old and a 3 month old. I loved it! The kids loved it, the babies were so easy going and relaxed though. When I just had two of them, the little girl was awful, cried alot!! That was a bit of a struggle but had no problems with the 4 of them, even took them all swimming!! Going to classes was ok as the babies sat in their car seats watching in amazement until they were crawling and able to join in. The only problem I had was feeding them all, parents wanted them all on the same routine and older ones were still only little and so struggled with eating by themselves, by the time I had finished with the babies, the older kids food was cold, but it did encourage them to try more.

If she feels confident she can mange then give it a go, could she have your DD for 4 or 5 hours once a week to see if she can cope, whilst you are still on maternity leave? Then she could call you if she was having problems, rather than leaving it til you go back to work and having to leave work?

SofiaAmes Mon 06-Oct-08 14:33:49

If you have a competent nanny who is happy to take on 4 children....go for it. The worst that can happen is that at some point either she or you decide that it's not working out after all. Just make sure you give her a raise for taking on the extra work.

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