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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:
riab · 05/07/2006 12:58

well today was the final straw, it was her day off yesterday and I know her boyfriend is on early shifts so on monday she told me that they were planning on having a nice day together on tuesday.

Today at 7am she rang me complaining of a tummy upset - okay this may sound like I'm being harsh. But in 6 months she has been off ill at least once every month, or complaining of feeling tired and ill wihlst at work.

I've had to take the day off work again.

I'm getting ery tired of this, and tbh I'm thinking of ending her contract if she doesn't buck up - and especially if she keeps taking time off sick. Its always odd days, 10 in total! I can't afford to pay full pay sick pay but I do 'top up' statutory sick pay so she doesn't have a waiting period (ie she gets reduced pay for every day she is off). I'm beginning to feel like she is taking the mickey here.

So here's my list of what she should be doing - can you tell me if you htink this is reasonable:

Daily, wash up and wipe down kitchen surfaces
put a load of washing in, hang washing out (if nice day),
clean and sterilise bottles, make up bottles of milk,
Clean highchair/splash mat throughouly (no dried on bits of food!)
Hoover up living room (from DS biscuit crumbs), put toys away.
Put any clean clothes away in nursery, tidy nursery and straighten bed.
as said I'm happy to keep cooking food so thats one job she doesn't have to do.

Check for any urgent supplies of baby milk/food/tea/milk/nappies and pic up from corner shop (she has a kitty)
Change sheets in nursery
Iron DS clothes and sheets
Plan activities

1 of the following each day;
Visit to playground
paddling pool in garden
crawling races/tumble time in soft area in nursery (on wet days)
visit to conservatory
Visit to library
Soft play group
Toddler group (there are 4 locally)
Toy library
Baby music time

OP posts:
ks · 05/07/2006 13:11

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lunavix · 05/07/2006 13:26

In theory I think aupairs are meant to do less... less training, less time with kids etc so it's a bit sad that an au pair is showing her up.

Most nannies are also NNEB or equivalent qualified, which is more than the average childminder is qualified to, and I'm afraid I do far more than her too!

We have up to 45 min of tv a day, reason being my 3 year olds have recently cut their nap out, but still get very tired in the afternoon, and their mum is happy for them to have a limited amount of tv as 'quiet' time. We used to read stories but somehow it makes them excitable!

Obviously I have to cook, wash up, clean etc after them - it's my house noone else will do it!

Half the time I do my mindees washing - they frequently get messy with whatever play we do, so I usually have at least a load a week of theirs.

We go out just about every day to groups or other childminders houses, plus the school run twice a day. Their mum didn't want to pay for them to do any 'extra' activities (tumble tots etc) but I'd willingly take them (and pay for my ds tp go) to one every day if she had wanted them to. We do blocks of different activities every day, and during nap time I used to catch up on cleaning, paperwork, sort and clean toys, or do anything like that... only then when that was all done would I sit down and relax until they woke.

Bugsy2 · 05/07/2006 13:28

riab, I've been following this thread & I think you should give her some kind of warning. I'm not sure if verbal or written is required legally, but if you decide to terminate her contract at some point because you are disatisfied with her work, then I'm sure you need to have given her warnings. I'm sure someone will be able to tell you for sure.
Think your list is completely acceptable btw - that really is a bare minimum. Lots of nannies look after 2/3/4 children and still manage to do everything you are asking & more.

lunavix · 05/07/2006 13:32

I should add I'd ask her to keep a daily diary, of everything she and your ds are doing (people who work with under 3s are meant to observe their charges and monitor their development.) give her a job description, list of tasks, and INSIST on first aid training. I think the 12 hour paedeatric first aid course (I'd imagine this is what she is meant to have) you can get done for £50 (£25 each???) and it lasts for three years. I don't think you're allowed to look after kids with out of date first aid. It's your sons safety if she doesn't know what to do....

lisalisa · 05/07/2006 13:38

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Uwila · 05/07/2006 14:11

The usual procedure is 1- verbal warning 2- written warning 3- dismissal. I think you should sit down, review the contract / job descrition, then summarise the outcome in writing. If she fails to get her performance up to snuff in say 2 weeks time, then I'd give written warning. And if one week later she was still slacking off I'd give her notice.

You may find the one sit down review is all it takes to get her to shape up.

pol26 · 05/07/2006 14:56

I have nannied for over 5 years and now a mummy to one aged 1.5yrs and one on the way. I also childmind for a boy of nearly 4.

I think its disgraceful. Whether she is tired or not, everyone is! She shouldn't bring it to work with her. If they have streched themselves too far finacially that is not your problem, she should still be looking after your child properly.

I think you're well within your rights to tell her that you think she should get the house looking reasonable before she leaves. Surely she has enough time with only one child and you hardly sound as if you'd be v.messy!

I can see why some days she may spend time in front of the tv/dvd but to get out too. We go to several groups, swimming, library etc... every week and we try to get to the park at least twice a week too. Sometimes we just don't have time to fit it all in but we TRY which is more important. My DD loved painting at 15 months- very messy but still enjoyable. She loved poking playdoh too. They were things we would do maybe once a week and only lasted for a short time, and a bath afterwards but she loved them. She loves crayoning now (and would try with a chunky wax crayon at his age).

I think you're going about it the right way by writing it down so everyone knows what to expect. That way it is fair on both sides.

As for the first aid and renewing her courses, i think in some ways it's important but more important is that you sort out this issue first. I think by 2008 everyone who works with children will have stricter guidelines to work from, such as first aid etc... I have just updated mine with the paramedic service and it was very interesting, which I wasn't expecting. You can also order a free birth to free pack from the surestart website which covers acheivements each child should have the opportunity to do. This maybe will give her a little more motivation and ideas what to do. Also for you, you can see what she should be doing.

Good luck and let us all know how it goes!

NannyL · 05/07/2006 18:33


yes.... i am changing jobs in september.... got it all sorted now...

my youngest starts full time... there were 9 families wanting me, but ive chosen a lovely family who live only a mile away with a 3 year old and a baby... (for 4 days a week) and my other day staying with my current charges (which is great as i dont have to get all upset about "leaving" them (mummy cutting her working hours and granny doing more!)

will be SO lovely to have a baby again... youngest currently being 4 years old!

vix1 · 05/07/2006 19:37

Everything you have said you would like her to do is very reasonable, Im sure most Nannies do that without being asked! I hope it works out for you all

riab · 05/07/2006 20:59

Well after two days at home with him f/t I've found even more stuff that hadn't been done I'm going to have a word with her tommorrow - if she comes back to work.

btw, I know about verbal and written warning but what if there is things that constitue a health hazard? I found his highchair seat cushion actually had mold growing on in it! plus i found no less than 6 bodysuits in variuos places round the house screwed up with food all over them and two bottles of milk left under the cot that had been there long enough for the milk to go very yucky.

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MrsSchadenfreude · 05/07/2006 21:07

I would think you still have to go through the procedures, but can you not skip the verbal and go straight to the written for stuff like this? We gave ours a verbal warning, sat down and talked to her, she said yes, yes and nothing changed. Unfortunately we were unable to sack her by that point as she was in pig and did even less. I made her start her maternity leave one month before the baby was due, paid her maternity leave, holiday pay for the whole year, 13th month and then gave her a month's notice (can't sack anyone in Belgium less than a month after they are supposed to return from maternity leave) and then just gave her notice. Yes, that probably sounds terrible, but I'm not a charity.

Uwila · 05/07/2006 21:17

Riab, what does your contract say? It should outline what qualifies for immediate dismissal. Say, for example her care was a danger to the child's welfare. So, like, if you came home to find your child playing with the kitchen knives and nanny was passed out on the living room floor because she'd been helping herself to your scotch. That would be grounds for immediate dismissal. This girl is just lazy. I think you need to have the talk on the next dday that she comes to work, and you could hand her a written warning as Mrsschadenfreude has already said.

ks · 05/07/2006 21:22

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lilackaty · 05/07/2006 21:23

i'm not trying to defend this girl as i think she's well out of order but in this heat milk goes yucky after a few hours of being out, at least my ds's did on monday and yesterday. hope it all gets sorted for you

thewomanwhothoughtshewasahat · 05/07/2006 21:26

haven't read everything but I would say very strongly don;t deal with this through written notes, they might be written with chatty intent but they are still an impersonal and very poor way of communicating with your nanny. Think how you would feel is this is how your boss dealt with you. imo you need to find a "hook" - my nanny was getting a bit like this (not as bad as yours) so I had a really big sort out one weekend - clothes, toys, craft things - all nice and tidy and plenty of space to store them; then I just said "I've had a really good sort out, so there's plenty of room now in the craft cupboard (etc), I'd like to try and keep everything tidy, so would you mind making sure it all goes away at the end of the day". seems to have worked.

thewomanwhothoughtshewasahat · 05/07/2006 21:29

hmmm, just read about the baby grows etc - all sounds a bit worse than I had realised. I don;t think subtlety like my suggestion is teh way. I think you need to tell her exactly what the problem is.

lisalisa · 06/07/2006 13:52

Message withdrawn

Uwila · 06/07/2006 14:29

Where are you advertising Lisa? Do you still have an aupair as well?

riab · 06/07/2006 15:37

well problem may have been solved in an odd way, i've just been given notice of redudancy at work! So DH and I have decided I will take a year off and study p/t while looking after DS. I will be giving her notice tonight.

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Uwila · 06/07/2006 15:47

Oh wow! Did you know about the redundancy? Are you shocked or planning to celebrate?

riab · 06/07/2006 19:48

well I knew there were big changes coming up - its actually voluntary redudancy. I decided it was better to leave on my own terms with a decent noice period than wait and possibly get given redundancy later on on less favourbale terms.

Overall I think I am celebrating, not a big payout or anything but it gives me chance to spend a few months with my toddler and retrain.

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shanks313 · 06/07/2006 20:13


Im a nanny currently looking for work,whereabouts are you based?

nannynick · 07/07/2006 07:16

Riab, your list looks fine...

except for: Iron DS clothes and sheets

Ironing with young children around is very dangerous. Hot irons are an accident waiting to happen. Ironing should therefore be done, in my opinion, only if the child is in bed.

A childminder would NEVER iron clothing while they were caring for other peoples children. A nursery nurse working in a day nurser would never bring an Iron into the babyunit and start ironing with babies and toddlers around their feet.

I feel that if you include ironing in a childcarers contract, then you need to insure that there is a suitable time at which it can be done safely. As employer you have a legal duty to make sure things are Safe.

As a male nanny (hmm, I wonder if being a bloke here makes a difference), I don't have any domestic duties - like washing & ironing clothing - written into my contract. However, that does not mean that I totally ignore it... as I do put loads of washing on, hang it out to dry/tumble dry, when there is time for such things and when of course when clothing supplies are running low. I would never Iron however, as it's not safe to do so and becasue I'm hopeless at it - do you want burnt clothes

Uwila · 07/07/2006 08:40

I think ironing is a perfectly reasonable request of the nanny, so long as it is for the children's clothes only. Most children either go to school or take naps, or they can be taught not to jump on the iron. I think nannies can manage this in the same way that mums (and dads) do.

Furthermore, childminders are not nannies and of course they don't do ironing. They don't do a lot of things nannies do.

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