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New Nanny - Teething Worries

(71 Posts)
Spikesmum Fri 16-Oct-09 23:45:23

Hi there
I am returning to work on Monday, leaving my 7 month old DS with a live in nanny, who arrived two weeks ago. I have some niggling concerns, and since I am new to this, wondered if anyone could help me consolidate them?wink

1. Upon arrival, I gave our nanny a "manual" for DS, giving info about food, routine, washing etc. She is not doing some of the things in the prescribed way. The important stuff that she has ignored, I have addressed. Am I petty to insist that she does DS's laundry in the way I have asked (and not to mix colours/whites, not to tumble dry everything instead of air drying)?

2. I have a couple of pre-planned (and paid for) activities lined up for DS during the week and the nanny is free to do what she likes for the rest of the time. There's a kitty of cash at her disposal. How much is reasonable to leave her with, on a weekly basis with a 7 month old, not including transport? I pay her mileage separately and have paid for her car insurance.

3. Also, how much is reasonable for a nanny to spend on lunch out for herself, with a seven month old - if there is loads of food at home and she has the run of the fridge/larder (and she has taken a packed lunch for DS)?

I guess we are just bedding in together but I want to strike the balance between not micro managing and not being taken for a ride!

Thanks for reading and sorry for the long questions.

providentielle Sat 17-Oct-09 00:08:37

1. I am a nanny and lived in my 1st job for nearly 3 years. I think one of the best ways to have a long and happy relationship with a nanny is to trust her. You picked her for a reason and while I'm sure the manual was helpful to you both in the beginning we all do things differently and you may need to decide how important certain things are to you. Big parenting decisions and how you want to bring your child up should, of course, be your decision but micro managing your nanny is going to be tirning for you both.

2. My first few weeks in a new job I normally make a note of what I spend so that we can work out roughly how much I will need. I have my own work purse and if it is getting low on funds I try to let my mb know a day or 2 in advance to give her a chance to get to the cash point! My employers are fortunate that they are well paid and although I am careful with their money I don't need to worry about spending it. If money is more of an issue for you I would make this clear in the beginning and you could set a weekly budget that you can afford for your nanny to stick too.
This way if she wants to do something that costs a little more then she can save one week to do something else another week.

3. I have always been told to use kitty money to buy myself drinks/snacks/lunch etc and am also welcome to eat anthing from my employers home. Again, I am sensible about this but for days out with friends or trips to soft play etc I do use their money to buy myself things, but not anything I wouldn't normally be prepared to pay for myself if I wasn't working. Again, if money is an issue and you would not eat out yourself to savve money then it is understandable that you don't want to be giving your nanny lots of money to eat out, however a certain extra amount for this on occasion is an expense of having a nanny.
You could check what foods she likes and buy some of those with your weekly shopping to make sure she has incentive to eat from home. Again, being up front is probably the best way forward.

Good luck with your new nanny, give yourselves both a chance, I know it is a big step to leave your baby with someone else but she will love your son and want the best for him too.

LittleWonders Sat 17-Oct-09 00:08:38

I dont think its unreasonable to ensure whites arent with coloureds, but if its raining tumble drying does seem to be a harmless alternative.

As for how much money you leave her, as DS wont exactly be walking up to sweet shops or ice cream vans spending money, then its only pin money that she needs. £10 per day would be more than adequate for all eventualities, (as I am presuming you are giving her an allowance anyway).

I wouldnt let bad habits to develop though, as we had 4 separate nannies at various times, and they can get a little complacent. Set a few discreet tests, i.e. count the number of nappies she uses in a day to see how much she is changing him, and monitor how much of the baby food is being returned. You would be surprised at how soon some give up whilst feeding if teh baby is taking too long...

nannynick Sat 17-Oct-09 00:11:49

1. No I don't think it's petty to insist that laundry is done a particular way. You are the boss and your way is the right way, unless your nanny feels there is a better way... they can then suggest that method and you can decide if you feel their way is worth trying, or not.

Tumble drying costs money, air drying doesn't. Is your nanny cost aware?
Sometimes you may need the speed of tumble (such as that item of school clothing just discovered at the bottom of the sports bag that child must wear for the school photo the following morning). But those times are usually quite rare... and your DS is only 7 months old, so it doesn't really matter what he is wearing the vast majority of the time.

2. It is very hard to say as it can vary from area to area. May be worth keeping a record of all expenditure over a couple of weeks so that it can be evaluated. I would say that generally £5 per day is sufficient. What is your nanny spending money on at the moment?

You are paying mileage and car insurance. Assuming you are in the UK, be careful with what you are paying for... the mileage rate approved by HMRC is to include contribution towards insurance. So if you are paying the max amount, 40p per mile... then I don't feel you should be paying mileage on top. This assumes that your nanny is using their own car.

3. If she is opting to have lunch out, then I feel she should be paying all, or at least a significant proportion of that cost herself. Others may not agree with me on this... so you may get a variety of comments. Personally I don't keep tabs on my nanny budget that closely... as if I did I would probably find that I'm overspending some weeks and underspending on other weeks. When I have tracked it closely, I have got to a point where we just didn't go out much. Some nannies are fine staying in the home all day, others are not... I'm the latter type, I like to be out and about. It's how children get to see the world around them... the toddler I care for is starting to talk, has leant the word Bus, so today we went on a Bus... he loved it. I was shocked at the cost!

Blondeshavemorefun Sat 17-Oct-09 08:30:53

1. course you dont mix whites and colours hmm so you are right

obv you want your ds to be in roughly the same routine for sleep/food etc so again nanny should follow your guidelines tho obv sometimes routines get chnaged

2. I would leave £30 then top up as and when asked - if there are several activites already paid and planned for then shouldnt need/spend too much as ds is young - but again this will chnage as gets older

3. My employers pay for my lunch out, and i am welcome to help my self to all meals, drinks,snacks etc throughout the working day

often will make a picnic to farms etc, but if at a soft play area then eat there

nbee84 Sat 17-Oct-09 09:52:58

1. If she mixes the colours and whites, then the whites end up grubby looking - so you are right, just explain to her why you want it done this way. Same with the tumble dryer - they use a lot of electricity, so tell her to air dry when possible.

2. Some nannies think nothing of going out to places that have quite high entance costs, fine if your employer is loaded, but many are not. For a 7 month old a weekly visit to soft play, a couple of toddler groups,trips to the parks, storytime at the library (free) and a swimming session shouldn't cost more than about £15 per week.

3. I would ask the nanny to take out a packed lunch where feasible (more likely in the summer) but if she is meeting other nannies who are lunching out or if she is at soft play over lunchtime (you can't take your own food in) then she should be able to buy lunch. And lunch should be that - a sandwich, soup, jacket potato etc, not a 3 course meal.

Some nannies (I know, not all smile) particularly younger ones who have not run a home or had to budget their money, just think 'oh, they have a big house, 2 incomes, can afford a nanny, they don't have to worry what I spend', so you just need to be clear what sort of budget you expect her to keep to. I limit expensive outings and balance them up with free ones (like parks, feeding the ducks, nature trails etc) We try and take packed lunches to most places - maybe I'm tight but when I see that a sandwich costs £3.50 and I could've brought a nice one from home I go shock!!! grin

At the end of the day you are in charge and the things you have outlined are entirely up to you and any nanny should respect that. They are not what I would call micro-managing, that would be where you are telling the nanny where she has to go, what time, what activities your child must do on an hour by hour basis, how you want the carrots chopped up, how many spoons of food must be eaten and things like that!

Spikesmum Sat 17-Oct-09 21:54:58

Aaah, thank you for all of your responses. You have put my mind at rest and I feel I can move forward in confidence with our nannygrin. I'm going to cook her spag bol tomorrow night and chat through things, and ask her not to frequent restaurants (alone) after Monkey Music too often, if she can help it!

nbee84 Sat 17-Oct-09 22:13:38

shock that she goes out to eat on her own after an activity rather than back to yours for lunch? Is it because DS needs to eat straight after Monkey Music? Or they go to another activity nearby straight after lunch? If not she definitely shouldn't be having lunch out just because she feels like it - that is taking the p! shock

MrsHappy Sat 17-Oct-09 22:28:55

1. not petty at all. Our first nanny was a disaster - I used to pick her up on things like separating whites and colours but she ignored me (v disrespectful IMO) and when she left after about 6 weeks I had a lot of grey clothes to sort out!

2. I would leave no more than £20 per week (and I am in London), unless a bigger expense was coming up or topping up was needed. Since you are paying mileage she has no transport costs. Baby groups are only a few quid (and lots of activities are pre-paid by term) so if more was being spent I would wonder what it was going on. IMO the petty cash should be for taking the baby out/buying things for the baby etc and really that shouldn't be loads.

3. She should buy her own lunch if she is choosing to eat out and your son is having a packed lunch. I never minded our nanny buying lunch for herself if she was also buying food for DD (and I think it is good for DD to go out to eat sometimes), but otherwise I think it is odd to be paying for the nanny to eat out.

Spikesmum Sat 17-Oct-09 22:43:40

Hi, nbee. Monkey Music finishes just before lunchtime. MY DH sometimes takes DS to the class and brings him home for lunch so it is feasible to come back to our house. I don't want to be mean if nanny feels that she should have lunch out and then maybe do something else in the afternoon, I just thought it was a bit of a liberty to go to a restaurant rather than popping to Pret with DS for a sandwich (which is what I would have done)! We are in SW London so the guide of £20 - £30 a week for expenses is what I was kind of expecting whilst DS is still little. Thank you!

nbee84 Sat 17-Oct-09 22:48:01

Definitely a liberty! Nip it in the bud now before she expects as the norm and escalates it even further.

nbee84 Sat 17-Oct-09 22:50:42

As mentioned before - ask her to take a packed lunch where feasible, if not lunch should be a sandwich or similar. Out of curiosity (and cos I'm nosey grin) what sort of restaurant did she go to and how much of your money did she spend? Bit cheeky!

Spikesmum Sat 17-Oct-09 23:59:46

It's a little independent place - sort of a bistro/diner type thing. She spent £12 - we're not talking mega bucks but still....hmm

1dilemma Sun 18-Oct-09 00:11:55

I don't have a nanny (and now it will be obvious why!!) but I would expect her to avoid places where you had to buy lunch at lunch time and a social life for my children that involved her meeting other nannies for lunch.

Mind you one meal out with my lot and I don't think she'd be up or a repeat grin

my first thought was I bet your ds was asleep and she thought she'd have a nice time at your maybe tell her you'll pay for dsons meal and she can pay for hers wink

nbee84 Sun 18-Oct-09 09:36:26

£12 may not be mega bucks but if she does that once a week all year it sure adds up and, as said, unless you stop her now it may not be the only 'lunch' she goes out for each week. I've been in my current job for 18 months and always take out a packed lunch, if I decided to have a lunch like that and it was just for me and not as a social thing with other nannies then I would pay for it myself. The only thing that I take out of the kitty for myself is the occasional coffee.

1dilema - most nannies don't take advantage. My charges have a pre paid ballet and football lesson, we have an annual ticket to a farm with a soft play centre and we go to parks and libraries (which are free). In the holidays we go swimming once a week and have 1 or 2 more expensive trips to a zoo or suchlike (this summer we went to Butterfly World) We still have a big day out each week but balance up a trip that costs money by finding something free the next week. with the internet it is so easy to find things to do that have very little cost attached. I meet up with other Mum's and nannies and we all take a packed lunch. Since the summer holidays finished I don't think I've taken more than about £3 (not including petrol money) out of the kitty in a week.

SCARYspicemonster Sun 18-Oct-09 09:51:24

I think going to a restaurant for lunch on your time and your money is taking the piss. I think you have to nip that in bud right now or she'll start eating at l'Escargot before you know it wink

mananny Sun 18-Oct-09 11:29:33

I look after a 4 month old and only go to free activities, such as story/songtime at the library, a weekly baby playgroup, etc as she's too little for all of the paid activities. I do go out for lunch twice a week after activities though, with other mums, as there is little else to do here and I am not a sit at home all day and stare at the walls kind of nanny. I like to get out and about and I like my charge to get lots of fresh air and stimulation in her awake times, and so at her long nap (lunchtime) I can take a little break and get some adult conversation etc for an hour and my bosses are totally fine with that. I don't take the piss expense wise, I get soup and a salad. I get several hundred Euro a month to buy all groceries, dry cleaning, other random expenses, and get my lunch from this. If I wasn't buying lunch out I would still be buying the ingredients for those meals from the weekly allowance, so it's all swings and roundabouts. As long as the Dad has enough beer in the fridge he's happy, and as long as there's fresh meat/fish and salads for dinner the mum is happy!

1dilemma Sun 18-Oct-09 12:13:43

nbee I've scanned my post very carefully and I don't think I said directly or implied anywhere that most nannies do take advantage?

I did however try to give the impression (in what I hoped was a lighthearted way but what I see now was allmost illegible because of all the missing words blush) that I felt £12 on luch out for a 7 month old was taking the piss

IMHO a lot of 7 months old could be 'persuaded' to drop of in the pram after a busy morning by a quick walk hence freeing nanny up for a nice leisurely lunch!

mananny Sun 18-Oct-09 12:29:12

But is there anything actually wrong with that 1dilemma? I mean, I work 70+ hours a week and a couple of "leisurely lunches" per week is not unreasonable, at least in the opinion of my bosses, whose opinion is the only one that counts in the grand scheme of things. I'm doing what the mother and father require of me to provide their baby with a "normal" life, and if when she sleeps I eat lunch out with other mums then that is perfectly normal and acceptable to them. I hate when people jump on nannies for stuff like this. Not all of us take the piss, some of us have permission and the blessing of our employers to spend the kitty money on things like this. And any decent nanny would not deliberately go against their employers wishes, so maybe the OP needs to be more specific about her requirements rather than assume nanny is simply taking advantage.

Blondeshavemorefun Sun 18-Oct-09 13:34:44

to spend £12 on one meal for the nanny does seem a bit extreme shock esp as not for a birthday etc

if i eat out, then i normally have a jacket/sandwich/pasta etc

whatever my 3 charges eat, i would eat

nbee84 Sun 18-Oct-09 13:36:36

1dilema - your post did read as though this was one of the big reasons why you wouldn't have a nanny - though I wasn't having a go at you, just pointing out that a lot of us nannies are entirely reasonable human beings wink

mananny - you're not taking the p if it is all agreed with your bosses. But a lot of nanny employers wouldn't go out for lunch twice a week themselves, so why should the nanny - that could add up to a £1,000 per year. I expect a lot of bosses wouldn't mind their nanny having a leisurely lunch while baby naps in the pram, but would not expect to fund it. You are right that it all needs to be discussed up front at the start of employment so that everyone knows where they stand.

surpriseme Sun 18-Oct-09 14:11:53

When I read £12 for lunch I got confused and 'forgot' you just had a 7mth old and I thought £12 for nanny and a child in london isnt that bad.But then I realised its just the nanny!Thats too much! Did she have pudding as well? Because if I take my 2 charges(2 and 4) out for lunch I will usually charge for my main and a drink but if I have another drink and a starter/pudding with the meal I pay for them myself as thats me being greedy not a neccessity.
When I had just one baby(I've been in this job over 4yrs now and the oldest was 8mths) I barely spent anything in the wk.We used to do story time(free) playgroups x 2 a wk(between 50p and £1 for each one)we did do a music group which was a drop in and cost £3 a wk.So I would say at the most we spent £5-£6 a wk and thats with any extras I picked up like food/milk/bread etc.If I did go out for lunch when I just had the baby I paid for myself.
The 4yr old has just started school but once the youngest arrived things got a bit more expensive.Now 4yr olds in fulltime school,they have more pre paid activities and I just mainly have the 2yr old between 9-3 things have gone cheaper again.Number 3 is due though so things might get slightly more expensive again

argento Sun 18-Oct-09 14:26:28

It's fine to ask her to do the laundry any way you want.

I'm a nanny in London with a 14 month old and spend around £5 a day - maybe £30 in a week (though that includes a couple of bus fares). Finding free activites depends on where you live, and where I work the only free things are the park and library story time. Toddler group is £2, swimming £4, cafe with a little play area £4, softplay is £10. Generally I take food with me for the baby, and I try to have her nap at home in the afternoon so I eat my lunch at home then. If we go to somewhere like softplay that you can't take your own food then I will spend less than £10 on food for both of us.

1dilemma Sun 18-Oct-09 23:53:45

mananny you have the agreement of your bosses what you do that's entirely between you and them.

this was the nannies first week and I took it from the fact that the Mother was posting about it that it wasn't agreed first!

I am a bit shock that an employee would think this is an OK thing to do in their first week without discussing doesn't mean it's not right for you just answering the OP

nbee I'd love a nanny and have looked several times I don't have one because the hours I work are too long for them, I can't afford one (post tax salary wouldn't cover theirs) and I have lots of small children (hence my point about 1 lunch out with my lot and nanny might think twice grin so when I have looked most have gone for a job with 1 small child or where the second is at school(either that or they think I'm too mean wink!)

There is also a historical thing about intending to take more mat leave and a current thing about lack of job security and I couldn't employ someone just to have to let them go a few months hence because of no job

However I think I will need to revisit that because the hours I work and school/nursery just isn't working for us.

You do have to admit though that there is a difference between spending kitty money on baby music/toddler groups/lunch for you and charges etc etc. and spending £12 taking a 7 month old 'out' for lunch

MilkNoPoisonPlease Mon 19-Oct-09 09:17:05

£12 on one lunch?!

That might not seem like a huuge anount but if theres only £20 in the poit then over half of the kitty for that week has gone!

Im a nanny in london with a 9y 7 y and 5 mnth old and spend 30£ a week absolute tops, but that includes £8 for eldest 2's activities that have to be paid weekly as opposed to termly, few pounds for lunch for me, couple quid for activities and the rest is shopping for the household.

with regards ot the washing, its a pain in the backside when not done properly...your clothes...your house...your rules!

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