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nanny arranging playdates....

13 replies

beforesunrise · 05/09/2007 07:47

hi all, i have so far alwasy been really happy with my nanny she's been with us almost a year. recently though i have started sensing that she really does what she wants and never listens to me.

for exaple, i have told her about a million times that i want her to take dd to the park in the afternoon until the weather is nice- she never does, at most she takes her to a little scrawny playground around the corner.

the main thing is that she asked me a while ago if she could meet up with a nanny friend with a charge slightly older than dd (who is 18m). i said yes at first but now she is going there everyday, yesterday i got hom at 6.15 and they weren't here and she said they'd stayed for dinner. she also told me that the other little girl "doesnt like sharing" and that dd and her "fight a lot over toys".

i told her last night that i want them to have dinner at home and that 6.30 is too late to come home, dd was shattered. i also said that while i am happy for dd to have playdates etc, if she ends up fighting regulalry with an oder child that's no good. i awas also upset that she had not folded dd's laundry etc, but said nothing.

am i being unreasonable? what is common about nannies arranging playdates? i recognise a day alone with dd can be tough and that's why i initially said yes to meeting up with her friend, but i think she's now neglecting dd's needs...

OP posts:
foofi · 05/09/2007 07:50

Generally, I would say it's absolutely fine for the nanny to arrange playdates, but if it gets to the point where it's becoming a problem then of course you must step in. You're the parent and the employer. You have to do what feels right for you. You must be clear about what you require from her. It's no good 'saying nothing' when you're cross about her not getting something done.

goldenoldie · 05/09/2007 09:00

you need to write down your requests (for example - always home by 5:30, max 1 playdate a week, chores to be completed each day, and so on), and ask nanny to keep daily log. have weekly 20 minute meetingd at end of the week where you can ask nanny why she has rejected your requests.

btw, I would say that one playdate a week is sufficient for a baby/toddler, anything more suggests she is more interested in seeing her mate than meeting your dd's needs.

bozza · 05/09/2007 09:05

I think more than one playdate is OK but they shouldn't last all day which is what it sounds like - a couple of hours is plenty. Couldn't they meet up at the park? Then your request is being met, the children probably won't argue as much and the nanny has a bit of company.

Furzella · 05/09/2007 09:40

I think the other important thing about the playdate is that it should be arranged for the child, not for the nanny. Of course your nanny is going to enjoy socialising with other nannies and this is fine if the children get on well, but if the other child is older or they don't play well together, the nanny should be seeking out another child for yours to play with. Our lovely nanny used to have lots of playdates with a nanny friend who looked after one of dd1's friends, but now as the girls aren't as friendly, the playdates are with other girls whose mums look after them. It's a shame for our nanny but she's prioritising the kids (which is why I'm miserable she's about to go back to South Africa!!). She sees her pals out of work time.

18 months old is also quite young for long playdates IMO. My dd2 who is now 3 can manage lunch and a little play after playgroup - 12 until 2 - or a late pm play and tea - 3.30 until 5.30 tops. I absolutely agree that 6.30 is too late to come home. My nanny gets back at about 6.20 on Monday nights because dd1 has swimming but it's a once a week thing only and if there was a better-timed class I'd go for that. I think they need to be winding down after tea otherwise bedtime gets messed up.

If she's been with you about a year you could organise a one-year review, which we always do as it gives you both a chance to discuss what you think's going well and what might be good to change in a non-hostile environment. I know it sounds a bit formal, but it's always worked for us as it gives us all a bit longer to sit down and discuss issues and how the girls are doing. If you've been happy with her for a year, I'm sure this is something you can turn around with a bit of talking.

omega2 · 05/09/2007 13:43

I think it is good for children to mix but at 18 months it should only be for short periods at a time and certainly as a nanny i would always make sure i am home and have everyting done before the parents are home - except on odd special occassions

Piggy · 05/09/2007 13:52

It sounds like you are paying your nanny to hang out with her friend all day. What does your dd get out of this? Sweet FA by the sound of it. Your nanny is neglecting your dd and her job.

HorseyWoman · 06/09/2007 11:23

Well, in my nanny job, which I have just left to start PGCE, I never went on playdates. There were three other nannies at the playgroup we went to twice a week, but when I started my job, my dad boss wanted me out of the house as little as possible until trust was built. I told them this and they couldn't get it.

BUT, I also think the children's routine is more important than any playdates, and as my youngest charge had a nap after lunch til about 3 in the afternoon, and these nannies favoured lunch/afternoon playdates, I didn't do them. I took the kids to two playgroups a week, a music class, a gym joey class and swimming. They managed to be always playing with other kids because of these classes or we would have one little friend to play for tea. You get lots of adult conversation and interaction at these groups. I know nannies need the adult interaction but there are these groups and also hours when not working, when you can get this interaction. IME playdates have been to satisfy the nannies social needs, not those of the child, who gets plenty of play with other children. And if the parents want you to have a friend and their parent over, that is fine, but I could never 'get' this idea of constant playdates (and the other three nannies at PG would go to one house one day, the other the next and the other the next, then they might go swimming together.

I see no harm clubbing together to take the kids for a day out, as extra hands are always useful, but lunch and dinner at each other's houses doesn't constitute as good use of time. Although, having said that, it's nice for children to have people for tea every now and again (but every day? and at 18m?)

If we worked in an office, we couldn't just arrange with the person in the office with us, to pack up our work, take it to one of our houses and do it over lunch... Being a nanny is a job, not a lifestyle vehicle.

HorseyWoman · 06/09/2007 11:24

Oh and entertaining the children, chores and routine for the kids always came first.

HorseyWoman · 06/09/2007 11:26

Should say, we did have children to play, and sometimes the parents or nannies stayed to help a bit, but it wasn't a social arrangement and we spent the time playing with the children. It didn't happen much either. Most of the time, kids came to play and their parents went home. Mainly it's those kids who haven't ever been to someone else's house, whose parents choose to stay.

HorseyWoman · 06/09/2007 11:27

nannies' not nannies!

eleusis · 10/09/2007 08:50

Do you have a nanny diary? If not, get one. Ask her to jot down, what she eats, what they do, nap times, etc. My Day Diaries is a good one.

Also, you might want to sign them up for an activity or two to get them out of the house and encourage a routine. Say swimming on Tuesdays and Monkey Music or Tumble Tots on Thursdays. That ensures they don't go to hang out out with this other child and nanny day after day and it also might give her an opportunity to meet other nannies with children you might prefer your DD hang out with.

If your DD has an afternoon nap, you might suggest you want her to sleep in her own cot as a matter of routine. That would mean they need to come home in the afternoon -- when nanny could also fold the laundry.

NannyL · 10/09/2007 10:19


well here is my opinion.... Im a nanny look after 2 children age 4 (just started reception) and 2 (last week so only just 2)

Over the summer holidays i can honestly say i have seen a nanny friend every day except 2 days. I do not think this is excessive!

We have had a fair few nanny days out (ie going to a 'special' place like the zoo, bird world, big country park great fun, free but an hour away, about once a week... where lots of us nannies and children meet (who are all simialr ages and are all friends) every week. (one special place per week)

We have also had less significant days with each other.... where we meet at a local park / animal farm (round the corner from our hosue that we all have season tickets to, so is 'free') for a picnic.

and other days where just me and ONE other nanny meet at one of our homes, for example we have a nice big playroom and garden, which is nice and a few other nanny friends have swimming pools so we have been round there for a swim.

We almost always have lunch together when we are out, either picnics out or something like a pasta bake / spg bol / lasagne where a 'big one' is just made and all the nannies and children sit down together at the table and all eat together.
It is NOT unusual for 8 children (2 or 3 in high chairs) and 3 nannies to all sit down for a cooked meal together (we are lucky as we all have spare 'high chairs' and most of us have big enough tables to fit 10 or so of us around) and then for the babies to all go upstairs for a sleep and the big children to have a play!

(again where i work there are 3 dark rooms, and we actually keep a travel cot up all the time for when my nanny friends charges sleep over) My little 2 year old does ONLY sleep in a cot but is used to sleeping in travel cots in any bedrooms in my nanny friends houses.

I would say we have lunch AND tea out about once a week in the holidays.

I have one extra special nanny friend and i normally see her at least twice a week (have doen so since they were little babies)! Her little charge is just a few weeks younger than mine, they get on great (well as great as 2 year olds can!) and we have lots of fun doing things together! I would say my charge sleeps at his house at about once a week and he sleeps at our house about once a week.... it is so regular that it doesnt upset their routine at all!

So long as the children are having fun and happy and doing nice things i honestly dont see the problem in nannys meeting up! We work long hours and i dont think many people realise what it can be like having no adult converstaion all day, every day for years as that is the nature of our job!

I have another nanny friend who works just around the corner... our older boys are friends but hers is a little younger so doesnt start reception until next september... she also has a 12 month old girl charge. I see her most weeks as well...

My weekly plan for the following academic year is as follows:
Tuesday: meet my nanny friend and take our charges to tiny tumblers... back to theirs for lunch and boys sleep there

Wednesday: A special day with me and my (same) nanny friend: we will do something different... a walk along the beach / feed the ducks / farm / soft play / country
park / swimming... just something different
then all have lunch and sleeps at ours

Thursday: A day with just me, intend to go to local music class

Friday: anotehr day with me and my charge. Intend to meet most fridays with the nanny round the corner.... there is something on at the local leisure centre that we may go to, or just walks, etc (some lovely walks just out of ehr front garden) some weeks kunch / sleep their / otehr weeks here and otehr weeks go our seperate ways for lunch!

In the holidays there are loads loads more nannies that we will meet so especially now many have started reception, we will almost definitley be seeing nanny friends every day (Only 4 days in half term and 4 days at Xmas, so to fit everyone in we will need to meet different groups of people on different days!)

My nanny duties are always done... when nannies are here i get in with washing / folding clothes / cooking etc, and other nannies get on with their stuff when we are at theirs! (in fact we ften help each other hang out and fold washing etc

The children are happy and their routines are kept as consistent as possible, they learn lots of social skills eating together (and the fussier children often get on and eat things that they may not eat (without fussing) at home) and us nannies are happy.... so i dont see any problems... and niether do my bosses!

eleusis · 10/09/2007 12:11

NannyL, I think there is a world of difference between what you describe and what the OP described. Your schedule seems to be very rewarding for the children and for you whilst the OP's description sounds as thought it benefits the nanny in spite of the child.

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