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Concerns with New Nanny

(11 Posts)
DebbieC Sun 18-Oct-09 14:20:21

I'm looking for some advice. Interviewed a nanny with experience of children a similar age to mine, interview went well and she started the job last week.

We've had a mixture of Nannies (when my children where babies) and Au Pairs when they got older. Due to problems with Au Pairs we've decided to pay the extra for a skilled childcare worker, commitment and peace of mind.

However I'm finding the nanny in question is more like an unexperienced au pair. The amount of guidance needed to be given is silly from informing her she is not to allow my children to have sweets just before meal time (which I think is basic common sense - she let my 4yr old have 3 large chunks of sugary fudge, if he'd ate them all he'd probably have been sick!) to leaving the floor covered in food after a the children's mealtime. She asked if the bib (at mealtime) was for my 4yr old son, when it must have been obvious it was for my 2yr old - again this is a very basic observation which I feel any nanny should have worked out instantly. During mealtime (I work from home) my youngest was crying and she kept saying over and over, "it's ok, mummy will be coming in a minute" - to which I thought, why are you saying this to him? He is going to hope I'll be there in a minute when I am working. I found this a very odd thing to say - I would have expected something along the lines of "Mummy is working, so lets have a cuddle and then have some dinner" - not keep promising I'd be there in a minute! More major concerns are speeding, I was with her in the car (to show her the route to and from Nursery) and twice I had to remind her she was in a 30mph zone as she was speeding at 40mph with my children in the back. Does she normally speed, I'm wondering, and will she have to try and reign back and if so will she be able to?

She was also unsure which car seat my 4yr old should be using.....

Other minor things like being asked to put the children's washing away by the end of the day but finding it still in the tumble dryer (I put the washing on and pop it in tumble dryer so all she has to do is put it away). Leaving piles of clothes in the basket in the play area instead of putting them away or back in the utility room. Like any good, organised family there is a rota up with the basic's of when to pick up the children and please remember to put all washing away at end of day etc as I'm aware with any new job you can't remember everything.

I know you need to give someone a fair amount of trust, especially where your children are concerned, and then the rest of the trust usually comes very quickly but my confidence in her is very low. I'm concerned that she might be speeding whilst driving my children to and from school pick ups. She has only been with us a short time but my gut feeling is that *something is very wrong here*. Don't get me wrong she seems lovely but inexperienced beyond what I'd expect of a nanny.

Does anyone have any advice or share my concerns before I contact the agency?

colditz Sun 18-Oct-09 14:24:21

Personally I'd sack her. She's making your life harder, not easier, and that's not why you have a nanny.

Blondeshavemorefun Sun 18-Oct-09 14:25:01

she does sound as if she hasnt got a clue/hasnt common sense

generally i say trust your gut

did you check her refences/speak to her ex employers who had the same aged children as you?

how old is she and how many years expereince does she have?

DebbieC Sun 18-Oct-09 14:53:17

She is 24, I have checked her references and she had experience of three children of 6 months, 2yrs and 4yrs for two years (mine are 2yrs, 4yrs and 8yrs - the 8yr old doesn't need much monitoring so it's really only the little ones she is primarily here for).

She has been doing childcare since 2001, so enough experience I would have thought - hence my concerns that things don't appear to be right. I spoke with the family of 3 which was in 2003 and they said there were no problems etc - which is why this is even more baffling.

I think you are both right, my gut feeling isn't good, she is sweet but I can't be worrying about my children's safety as that what it all boils down to.

Thank you and I'll speak with her/agency tomorrow.

Blondeshavemorefun Sun 18-Oct-09 14:57:24

nothing wrong with using a reference of 6 years

but

has she got any more recent ones?

as colditz simply said - nannies are meant to be there to make life easier for the parents

and doesnt sound as if this nanny is doing that so you can work in peace knowing your children are in safe hands

nannynick Sun 18-Oct-09 17:01:26

I'd be concerned. Your gut feeling is telling you it's not working... trust your gut feeling.
Can the issues be resolved... some I feel can... but others like being a safe driver may take a bit too long to learn - presumably she has been driving for a good few years.

The family she worked for in the past... was in 2003? What about the last 5/6 years?

Trust is I think your biggest concern. Things like laundry and sweeping the floor are not that high a priority I suspect, in the grand scheme of things. It's the risk this nanny poses to your children's safety and general lack of common sense, or initiative (why even ask you if the bib was for the 4yr old, or which car seat... surely they could have used their initiative to determine that themselves).

"it's ok, mummy will be coming in a minute"
I am wondering if this nanny has been working in a nursery.

frakula Sun 18-Oct-09 17:11:41

I'd also be concerned, especially about the driving.

Nothing wrong with CHECKING the car seat, but the bib thing is strange? Also the lack of common sense re: feeding and daily jobs...

Talk to her as it's not fair to sack her straight off and contact the agency too for some advice, because I'm very sorry to say it might be that you need a new nanny!

Millarkie Sun 18-Oct-09 18:38:16

Contact your agency - she certainly seems to be hindering rather than helping you and I would be very worried about the speeding whilst driving. Could you at least check another of her former employers and (I may be over-paranoid but this is what we do at work) check her id (passport ideally) to check that it is the same person!
I agree with Nannynick 'mummy will be coming in a minute' sounds a lot like a nursery worker rather than a nanny.

DebbieC Sun 18-Oct-09 18:58:02

She had been working abroad for the past two years in a nursery, so yes I can see now why she said, "mummy will be here in a minute" comment may have come from. Normally I check both references, however in this instance I only checked the one that she was a nanny with, simply because they were in the UK, she has come through an agency who check her references and I didn't feel the nursery reference was as relevant to us in this case. Now I feel silly for not checking that one too - but she might be great at the nursery but not so cut out for sole charge nannying.

Will definitely speak with the agency tomorrow to get their view, probably as I'm a mum of 3 and am so used to doing the obvious everyday children related choirs I just expect a nanny to be able to do the same. We've had some great temp nannies in the past, which shine compared to the one we've just employed, hence my concerns.

I've never known a nanny speed before or miss the obvious things, another thing that I've remembered is that she didn't put the harness on my 2yr old in the highchair... again nothing to awful but at the same time its a danger issue, he did stand up which is why I knew he wasn't harnessed in.

Will let you know how it goes tomorrow and thank you all so much. Sometimes it's good to know others think the same as I do (of course I'm extra bias where my children are concerned, but aren't we all )

Thanks, Debbie

nannynick Sun 18-Oct-09 19:27:56

Nursery work is different to nannying, so it may take her some time to adjust. The agency with luck will have checked reference from the nursery, though don't bet on it seeing that it was abroad - depending on where it was it may be hard to check if the agency staff don't speak the language. I would agree that the nursery reference is not as relevant, as she may not have been in a senior position there thus was just doing as she was told by others.

I've given up putting a harness on the nearly 2 year old I nanny... he would just find a way out of it, if I did manage to get it on in the first place. Bibs are the same... they get pulled off. Need to consider which battles are worth fighting... prefer him to eat food, rather than get annoyed/upset at having to have harness on. Once he starts to stand up, he gets told to sit down... if he repeats then he's clearly finished, so gets down... or sometimes will sit on my lap and eat mine!

Tavvy Mon 19-Oct-09 14:34:14

One thing I would be wary of is nannies using fake references. I don't mean to alarm you but as a nanny I know an awful lot whose references are not genuine but their friends and family so they look fantastic on paper and are less fantastic in reality. They give the rest of us a really bad name. Nursery work i different to nanny work but most of what you have said indicates a lack of common sense and seeing as she is there to make your life easier I would get rid if you are not happy because at the end of the day you have to be comfortable leaving your children with her. That's what a nanny is for?

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