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Help! - ds1 has decided he doesn't like his nanny.....

22 replies

elliott · 14/08/2006 09:34

I finally managed to find a nanny for ds1 (who is 4 and 8 months) for one day a week after school and 1-2 days a week in the holidays. She's been working for us since the end of May, so the summer holidays is the first time she's spent a lot of time with ds1. The first week was fine, but by the end of the second week ds1 was playing up and telling me he 'didn't like' being with the nanny. This morning was the worst yet, clingy and tearful as I left
I just don't know what to do. I'm sure there is nothing REALLY wrong with her - she is older (early 50s) and has just come into childcare because she wanted to do it - she's registered as a childminder but not a qualified nanny, so she hasn't got a lot of childcare experience. she is however very reliable, and puts a lot of effort into playing and organising activities for ds1. I think that may be part of the problem - he is quite introverted and enjoys playing by himself - so I have gently suggested to the nanny that she might give him a bit more space to do his own thing.
Any advice? We are all new to this (me, ds1 and the nanny) as it is the first time I've tried non-institutional childcare - the irony being that I did it because I thought ds1 woudl be happier with home based care than the after school/holiday club
It was hard to find her with the limited hours I want (and there is not a huge nanny market where I live) so my alternatives are pretty limited. Plus I'm not sure i have grounds for giving her notice anyway (though I did put a review date in the contract so I guess that could be a natural end point). Or am I over reacting - maybe ds1 would be like this whatever I organised? Maybe he senses that I am vulnerable about this?
Would much appreciate any advice from experienced nanny users!

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Tommy · 14/08/2006 09:51

no experience of this but do have a DS the same age. It sounds to me as though she's perhaps trying a bit too hard? Like you've said, if your DS wants to play on his own and she probably feels she has to "entertain" him then they're not going to see eye to eye!
Normally during the holidyas, my DSs play on their own after breakfast until we go out and do something organised. Maybe you could discus with her that perhaps she orgnaises one trip out or something specific to do with him each day and the rest of the time she is just there if he needs her?
She probably thinks she's not earning her money unless she's actively "doing" something all the time!

dmo · 14/08/2006 09:53

i'm a c/m
i set up a temp contract with new children for 3 mths in that time if its not working we back out
as your story suggests its not working
maybe when school is back send your ds to an afterschool club on a diff day to nanny
if ds likes it better hand in your notice to nanny

Uwila · 14/08/2006 10:08

Oh, I think you'd be throwing the towel in way too soon. Could it be that your DS misses school and just doesn't like summer hols? I would stick it our through the hols, and through the first month of school. Then, if he was still unhappy, I'd rearrange the childcare.

What is the probation period in your contract (assuming you have one)? If you are still in the probation, you could write a temporary fixed term contract through September, then if you decide to keep the nanny, extend the contract at end of Sept. To be fair, I think you should explain to the nanny that you thought one on one care was best for your son, but judging from his reaction you are considering that he might be better off in a school/childminder setting where there are more kids.

Maybe you could sign him up for activities where he runs off on his own, like a swimming class or something. Our nanny takes DD to a ballet class, and nanny is not allowed to stay for the class. Maybe your DS would like a bit of independance from new nanny?

elliott · 14/08/2006 10:16

Thanks for your comments. I think it is that she is 'trying too hard' - and I think you've hit the nail on the head that she thinks she's not earning her money if she's not interacting constantly with him! I will see how today goes and suggest again that she needs to give him more space.
he has been to afterschool club and holiday club quite a bit - nanny only started in May - and it is adequate, but not good imo - rather chaotic and unstructured, too much loud and unsuitable TV. Ds1 thinks it is ok but 'noisy'. Basically I just didn't want him there as much as he would need to be over the summer.
It just breaks my heart to leave him when he is crying - he's not normally clingy at all.

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elliott · 14/08/2006 10:20

Has anyone else experienced something like this? What did you do?

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elliott · 14/08/2006 11:42


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mummydoc · 14/08/2006 11:54

my DD1 aged 61/2 went through this after inital "honeymoon period " withour nanny, but if you like her and she is good at the job probably best to accept that DS maybe being a little manipulative ( no offence ) after all they all want mummy at home 24/7 . I was very positive to DD, spent a lot of time saying how nice nanny was, wasn't it lovely dd didn't have to go to holiday club etc, and basically backed nanny up as much as possible and it all blew over and dd now fine ( though am goign to sack nanny who is not fine ! but may need to start another thread about this)

Uwila · 14/08/2006 11:54

If no one comes here with experience, you might try posting this problem on annyjob and ask them if if anyone has had trouble with a 4 year old settling into their care and how they handled it.

elliott · 14/08/2006 11:58

Thanks mummydoc. Hmmm. I may try the being positive stuff - but then I worry that I am not taking his feelings seriously...
is the nanny you are getting rid of the same that your dd took a dislike to?

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snowlenin · 14/08/2006 12:01

Sorry elliott no experience, but just a thought - could you ask DS what he wants? - I know he doesn't want to be with her at all, but if you discuss it with him he might be able to understand that she could do things differently and he could have some input. If he wants to be left alone, he m ight say so, or could you get him to say if there is something else he doesn't like?

mummydoc · 14/08/2006 12:01

well yes but DD actually likes her very much now am getting rid because 1) has been cheating on expenses, 2) getting slacker and slacker 3) puts dd2 aged 22 months to bed at 5 pm 4) left dd's with her friend and went to get her haircut last week. i am not actually sacking her because dds don't like her they do...ahh which make sit even harder.

elliott · 14/08/2006 12:04

snowlenin, have tried that a bit, but wonder if the more positive approach might be better. I don't get any very sensible answers anyway.

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fistfullofbanners · 14/08/2006 12:06

I would give it a bit more time, and then get rid of the nanny if he carries on disliking her. I have had this sort of thing several times, with child minders and au pairs.
I think children are very sensitive to what adults feel. Your nanny may have some reason why she isnt happy working in your family, that isnt immediately obvious. It doesnt necessarily mean that she is evil, but if the arrangement isnt working, then, I personally would listen to the child.
I have never regretted changing childcare arrangements, but I have regretted carrying on too long with a couple that my children werent happy with.
Can appreciate that starting the nanny search round again would be bad news, but much better if you find someone that he likes.
If the hours are part time, could you consider an au pair?

elliott · 14/08/2006 12:12

Thanks, that's helpful. We don't have space for a live-in au pair - the hours are not only very part time but also more in school holidays, so a bit tricky to find someone with enough flexibility.

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Uwila · 14/08/2006 12:14

Mummydoc, point me to your thread. And I'll try to help.

Judy1234 · 14/08/2006 12:20

I thought it was normal for children to be like this and you just have to make them put up with it. I did and I've now got 3 at university so it never did them any harm. Of course if there's evidence of real abuse that's different. Most children want to be 100% with a parent so the often object.

elliott · 14/08/2006 12:26

Ds1 has never objected to being left at nursery or (to the same extent) at the afterschool club, so this is something new for me to deal with and I do feel that I should take it seriously.

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mummydoc · 14/08/2006 12:38

uwila - thank you just posted under childminder etc subject matter - would love some input.

elliott · 15/08/2006 09:05

well yesterday was a bit better - though ds1 was reportedly 'subdued', he did seem to have had a nice time. I think the problem is what I suspected - too much interaction for ds1 to cope with! - apparently he told the nanny 'you can sit and read your book' while he played with his playmobil! They are going to do some cooking today and he is excited about that

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MatNanPlus · 15/08/2006 19:41

So glad it has settled down elliott.

Your nanny needs to be aware that your fine with her reading her book/magazine/paper, writing a letter, listening to the radio maybe while DS plays, tho not to make phone calls.

She is there to supervise and help him and i think that the 3 of you planning outings that could be undertaken each week will halp her feel that she is working to your specifications.

elliott · 15/08/2006 19:46

Thanks. they have had a good time today (although he refused to help with the cooking, I think he is finding ways of getting a bit of space to himself!!). I think last week he was in a bit of a non-specific grump. I hope the nanny is finding it ok though. Its all such a new thing to me, I do worry that she might not be enjoying the job if they are not getting on. It all feels so much more personal than a nursery situation!

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MatNanPlus · 15/08/2006 20:57

The only way is to ask her if there are any niggles or queries, she can either chat or write them down.

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