My feed

to access all these features

Discuss everything related to paid childcare here, including childminders, nannies, nurseries and au pairs.


lazy nanny

80 replies

riab · 04/07/2006 13:56

Hi all,

How do you gently tell a nanny she needs to do more?

I have a nanny who looks after my 15 month old 30 hrs a week.

She is a lovely girl but recently I have felt she was getting relaly lazy. She is suppoused to take care of ds things - so washing / ironing his clothes, cooking his food, tidying his toys and making sure they are working, etc.

Now I do the cooking for him and I don't mind that as I'm a nutritionist so i'm quite fussy.

But every night for the past 2 weeks me or dh has got in from work to find otys all over the living room, washing up from tea still in the sink, a pile of his clean clothes (which I washed the night before) not ironed or put away so he had no clean PJ's upstairs. dirty clothing left in a heap with a dirty nappy bag by his toybox, crumbs and food over the rug and his nursery an absolute tip!

I wouldn't even mind if she had been too busy because they were out and about at activities as I have asked her to make sure he is more active now to ensure he sleeps well. But they had spent the morning in the garden and watched 3 episodes of a DVD (1 1/2 hrs).

OP posts:
MaryP0p1 · 04/07/2006 13:58

How about typing a job description setting down exactly what is expected of her and therefore reclarifying what her expected role is.

Present it to her as we have done this and what to confirm this is ALL you do. Then go through it line by line. She might get the hint then

jamsambam · 04/07/2006 14:00

i would do a job decripton too, but make sure she knows it will be reviewd.

vivat · 04/07/2006 14:04

I think that's totally unacceptable for a nanny - you need to talk to her and explain that everything to do with your child is her responsibility ie cooking (if required), tidying up toys (within reason, obviously difficult if he's still playing with them !), certainly washing up should be done, clean clothes ironed and put away. Mine does all this and more ! How long has she worked for you ?

motherpeculiar · 04/07/2006 14:23

you need an older sibling I am afraid

we had this situation for a while and could never quite bring ourselves to raise with nanny but moaned about it when she wasn't there. Then one morning at breakfast DD1 (almost 4 at the time) pipes up with "nanny's name, why do you always leave the house in such a state when you leave at night and never wash the dishes?" I wished the ground would swallow me up at the time, but it was effective

sorry I couldn't resist that - sounds like you do need to pick her up on this though, otherwise it will start to fester...

vix1 · 04/07/2006 15:01

Maybe say, I know its so dificult to get house tidied etc. but I really dont mind you leaving name to watch a dvd or quiet play while you get the weekly ironing/washing or tidying done.

It will be easier if you start a conversation about how theres no time to do it etc. so you have had to start doing it at sleep times or whenever.

Failing that, just say it outright!

jura · 04/07/2006 15:10

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

r3dh3d · 04/07/2006 15:15

It's a more difficult if it used to be Ok but has suddenly gone downhill. You have to just say it, I think, but possibly frame it as some sort of regular review meeting; sit down semi-formally & ask her how she thinks she is doing and let her raise any issues she has with you first. Maybe she's feeling hard done by for some reason - possibly doing other stuff she feels is not her job, or maybe she's just discovered all her friends are paid more than her? Give her space to vent that stuff first and then you can make a deal. If she has no complaints, then ask her why she's stopped doing x, y & Z. Maybe it's domestic - boyfriend troubles or something.

The way I put it to our Nanny in a similar situation - DH doesn't see anything you do all day, all he sees for the money he pays you is what state the house is in, is stuff clean & put away. So, makes sense to keep on top of that part of the job even though it may be the least rewarding in terms of satisfaction.

The other thing is I put in the contract (and make clear to the Nanny) is that Christmas bonus is performance-related.

vix1 · 04/07/2006 15:16

Well, when I was working as a Nanny, I arrived Monday morning, at 750 I went to ask charge to get ready, no clean school shirts!! I was so annoyed!!! I had to try to srub off dirty marks from the cleanest shirt with liquid, sponge off and tumble dry. From then on if the washing wasn't done on a Friday I would remind mum!
But she told me she had done all the washing though!
Never mind!

pinkandsparkly · 04/07/2006 18:04

I think your nanny is taking the wee a bit riab, she will probably continue to do this until told it is not acceptable so you do need to give her a small verbal arse kick.

I would suggest that when you sit down with her you could get your message across by
saying something like

'We have noticed that you don't seem to be coping with your duties, is there a problem we're not aware of?'

This gives her a chance to tell you what is going on and for you to make it crystal clear what you expect from her.

Hope it works!

pinkandsparkly · 04/07/2006 18:15


I had a similar thing with one family I worked for, On a regular basis I would arrive at work to find THE WHOLE WEEKENDS DISHES in the sink/covering every availible work surface, more dirty plates etc.. in the living room and half empty bottles of beer lying around. At first I would dutifully tidy up and wash 3000 pots pans and plates etc... but this only encouraged them so in the end I picked up the beer bottles and fished out and washed anything myself and my charge required and left the rest. Often those same dishes would sit there ALL WEEK!

It was my first job so I was too scared to say anything, would NEVER put up with it now though!

Sorry hijacked this a bit didn't I

FrannyandZooey · 04/07/2006 18:25

If you feel too shy to raise it in person I would leave an upbeat sort of note along the lines of "Please could you do the washing up before you leave this evening, plus make sure toys are put away and the nursery is clean and fairly tidy."

Do that for a week or so and then see if the message has got through.

If she is too lazy to wash up I would be worrying what else she was too lazy to be doing, tbh. 90 mins of tv is too much for a 15 month old. I speak as a former nanny before any nannies get offended!

annh · 04/07/2006 18:51

Riab, read this thread earlier but didn't have time to respond but would echo exactly what Franny said - are you happy that your 15 month old is watching 90 mins of TV in a day? That sounds like way too much to me - and what was nanny doing while your ds was watching TV? Obviously not tidying up the toys from living room floor which wouldn't even have necessitated her leaving the room.

Anyway, that doesn't answer the main issue about general standards slipping. How long has the nanny been with you? Is this a natural time (6/12 months?) where you could sit down and have a review of how things are going? Maybe the nanny has health/personal issues which are affecting how she works? Give her a chance to tell you but if she isn't forthcoming I think you will have to bite the bullet and say that you have noticed that things which were previously done are now not being done and that you need to make clear that each day you expect - then list the things you need doing e.g. nursery and living room reasonably tidy, tea things put away etc.

Is is possible that instead of being too much for her to manage the job, as it may appear, that instead it is too little and that she is feeling unmotivated because she would like to be busier with littler or more children?

Mercy · 04/07/2006 19:02

I would ask and/or look out for any problems in her personal life that may be happening. Along the lines of how would your employer treat you if you started to behave like this in your own job?

I would go with the soft approach first tbh

MrsSchadenfreude · 04/07/2006 20:52

Please speak to her asap about her laziness. Be polite but firm - please make sure the house is clean and tidy when we come home from work, that the washing is done etc.

We had one that started out like this, things got worse, they didn't improve and at the end, she was feeding the girls cold casserole straight from the fridge, gave them a cold bath in Feb ("forgot" to turn the hot tap on and DD2 went blue). I came home from work once in the middle of the day and found the DDs, then aged 18 months and 3 1/2 parked in front of the TV. She clearly hadn't heard me come in, so I thought I would wait and see how long it was before she surfaced. Two hours later, she appeared and told me she had "just popped upstairs to get something from her room." Please don't let it get to that stage.

Kaz33 · 04/07/2006 21:00

I had a lazy nanny who never tidyed up the boys toys - we lived in a 2 bed flat so were tight for space. I used to spend a couple of hours every weekend tidying up her toys.

Think i snapped when my 3 year old started telling me to Shut Up - i had never said that to him, obviously he had picked it up from her. Makes me sad just thinking about that horrendous woman being in charge of my boys.

riab · 04/07/2006 21:07

thanks all,

she was great when she started but htings have definitly slipped.

I think its a couple of things. This is her first Nannying job and I think she's now over the honeymoon period.
She also loves babies and although ds is turning into a delightful toddler he isn't quite at that stage of painting, sandplay and running races. neither is he a little baby to cuddle so she may be unsure of what to do with him.
Secondly she and her boyfriend have just bought a (fairly expensive) house - they actually have a larger mortgage than we do on a much lower income, I knwo they struggle to make ends meet and she's taken a second job in a pub two nights a week, she's had a constant cough and frequently complains of feeling ill.

I do sympathise with her personal situation and the stress of it but we DO have a contract and I do try to make sure she doesn't get left with piles to do.

I'm particularly annoyed because I had a day off recently - I had worked all day sunday plus an evening shift. I was doing odds and ends and catching up on billpaying via net/phone during his nap. She washed his lunch dishes but then sat and read a magazine for 11/2 hrs!

I have always said that she should take a (paid) lunchbreak of 30 minutes while he naps but I do object to that level of idleness.

Can i ask any nannies on the thread, do you try and keep up to date with play/ development things for your charges?
For example I told my nanny were surestart was and suggested she check out what baby/toddler groups they ran. She onyl takes him to them If I specifically check myself and remind her as I am leaving for work.
I also offerred to go halves on updating her First aid and a basic childcare course and she brushed me off.

OP posts:
jura · 04/07/2006 21:22

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsSchadenfreude · 04/07/2006 21:32

Can't remember Jura, a couple of months ago I think!

jules27 · 04/07/2006 21:38

Hi riab, as a ex nanny and now a mum of three , i think you need to have a good talk to your nanny.I nannied for over twenty years and did all that she isnt doing and more, as i'm sure most good nannies who answer on here will say the same. Your toddler need to have some structure in his day and he isnt to young for painting (finger paints and basic safe colouring with large felt tips)or outing to the park. He needs to be played with and sung and read too.He should now be beginning to walk , if not already, your nanny should provide activities that help and encourage him to become steadier and confiedent. please sit down with her tell her your concerns ,ask her if it is to much and remind her that your son and his needs must come first.(by the sounds of it her second job is stopping her from doing your job correctly )If she and your son are happy with each , its worth sorting this out now. Good luck , be brave ,would you go to work and not do most of your work without your employer saying anything??? jules

NannyL · 04/07/2006 21:51

riab.... as a nanny in answe to your question.... YES i do try to do play / development things for my charges...

i dont look it up for every child.... ive been trained and just 'know'

as for the nannies leaving your homes like a tip i think it is completely out of order and VERY unproffessional...

I would personally be embarrassed if when the parenst came back the house was a tip, the washing / ironing wasnt done, the dishes werent washed etc (that aftyer all is my job and what im paid to do)

I pride myself in leaving an immaculate kitchen every night (and 95% of the time i get a very tidy -> immaculate kitchen back in the morning as well)

My boss likes to do the childrens washing at the weekends (and insists she does it) but i always have all the ironing done on Monday.... and if they do a few odd bits I try to get them done whatever day it is as well (but they have laods of clothes, so i dont worry about it.... and nor does my boss, just if i have a spare 15 mins to iron a few clothes)

I also feel its my duty to cook and serve nurtritose food.... my charges are garenteed to have their 5 fruit / veg per day (normally more )

When the parents come home 95% of the time the main house is VERY tidy (as i find it)... then also either one or both childrens bedrooms may have a few toys out OR the playroom may have a few toys out (just whatever they have been playing with since they caome in from school at 4pm) (typically no more than 1 or 2 complementary toys.... maybe the teddies the tea sets and the food for a teddie bears pincic..... the polly pockets and animal hospital stuff (which is often palyed with together)..... dolls house + playmobile etc....

It also shocks me that the nanny only goes out to toddler groups etc when specifically asked

Firstly does she not get bored at home all day every day (and the children as well)

I always try to ensure we get to a fair few groups / activites per week....

typically a 'music class'
a activity class... like soft play at the local leisure centre
AND swimming

actually there are LOADS of things i do.... i could fill EVERY morning AND afternoon of every week day with a fun class (tumble tots, music garten, library etc etc)..... but its a question of needing time to enjoy or free play sessions.... eitehr fun at home... arty crafty stuff... walks to the park, trips to our local farm etc...

i find there is SO much lovely stuff to do and not enough days in the week to do them all to be honest!

vix1 · 04/07/2006 21:54

Hi, I think you should tell her you are going to be having a review in a weeks time, just say cuz you feel your child is that bit older, and the days will change in terms of structure/routine. Your the parent of this child, and you are employing her, so at the end of the day if she doesn't like it then tuff, she'll have to do it or go. If I had a 15 month old charge I would be able to do quite a lot with them, for example: freeplay, singing, stories, puzzles,building blocks, creative activity - painting, sand play, water, shaving foam play, or corn flour play,walk, play in park, toddler group, swimming,picnic etc. I love this age and find that although they may not talk, they enjoy activities and will communicate in other ways. How long does your child sleep for? Im sure she could get lunch in, and easlily fit in washing etc. at other parts of the day. Even getting your child interested in helping! From the sounds of it your nanny needs a hard kick up the bum myself, I would update training straight away, and jump at the chance for employer to pay half! Some Nannies give us 'Professional Nannies' a bad name!

jamsambam · 05/07/2006 09:19

i think nannyl id right, it a job that she is paid to do and if she isnt prefomimg well, as in any sector, she should be informed, trained and supervised. after all, if a policeman couldnt drive and was given a traffic would be a waste of time!!


Don’t want to miss threads like this?


Sign up to our weekly round up and get all the best threads sent straight to your inbox!

Log in to update your newsletter preferences.

You've subscribed!

matnanplus · 05/07/2006 10:35

I really feel your nanny is taking a good salary for very limited return.

I am in my 17th year as a nanny and now a maternity nanny and have always gone out and about to both groups and activities suitable for the children i was caring for.

Personally i feel 90 mins of tv at his age is way to much, i tended to have tv time after tea before bath so i could put everything away before the parents came home.

Surely even tho it is hot there are places for them to visit, i currently care for a 28 day old in a maternity job and we visit the local park/woods/green space twice a day and sit in the shade and have a change of scene.

I would suggest:


swimming several times a week


story time at the library / going to look at new books and see other children / carers

local play park

shopping centre to wander round, maybe have a snack

soft play

meeting up with children oof a similar age to encourage social interaction

gym class

1 o'clock club / surestart

There is so much to do that sitting at home is not neccessary.

Uwila · 05/07/2006 11:04

I think you need a nanny diary. You could also sign them up for activities like tumbletots or monkey music, maybe swimming.

Where do you live? Can you hook her up with other nannies?

bigdonna · 05/07/2006 12:55

how does she she manage to keep a 15mth old still for that long,you do really need to talk to her ,is she experienced at all a list of her duties would help.i nannied for 16yrs i would have been mortified if anyone thought i was lazy.i used to stay late to tidy up as there was no way i would go home leaving my mess.she needs to know what she is responsible for.i still look after one 4yr old i limit tv to 30 mins in the 10 hrs she is at my house.hope you get it sorted.

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.