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If I have a live in nanny, should she have a lock on her door and do you go in there at all?

53 replies

beachyhead · 31/01/2005 12:46

We are thinking about getting a live in nanny this summer and we've got a couple of options for where she could sleep. Either a small room upstairs, and then get the use of the playroom, shower room and small kitcheny area (the utility room) in the evenings or we could just give up the play room and she could have that as her bedroom/studio etc. It would mean we would lose the playroom, but it is much more segregated so we would be less bumping into each other in bedroom corridors.......

Do live in nannies expect to have a lock on their bedroom door - only asked as we haven't any locks on our internal doors? and do you go in there at all, or does the cleaner?

Too many questions!!!!Oh and I am talking about a nanny, rather than an au pair, as we are expecting a baby in August and I will be going back to work afterwards....

OP posts:

binkie · 31/01/2005 13:04

Are you using an agency? I'd ask them which of your accom options are preferable - simply because some people will decide whether to apply for the job on that alone. If giving her the playroom means the shower room is effectively hers alone mornings & evenings, then that would carry a lot of weight. Also, a big bugbear of live-in nannies is the children barging into her room when she's off duty, so segregation is preferable. And you might want to think about whether you want to overhear her music, late-night phone conversations, etc.!

Locks: so long as she's protected from after-hours barging (see above) no, I don't think she should expect that. Part of being a good live-in nanny is being good at domestic give-and-take, and I'd be doubtful of someone who insisted on being able to bar the door; though on the other side, of course, I'd never go in without invitation. And on cleaner, I'd give the nanny the choice.


Uwila · 31/01/2005 13:23

I wouldn't put a lock on her door even if she asked for it. No way no how. I would take it as a sign that she either was not to be trusted or she didn't trust. Either way, it would be a biad sign.

To be honest,I think you should the one that YOU prefer to give up. I would have to think long and hard about putting a nanny's comfort before my children'splayroom. Is that fair to the children. I try to accommodate my nanny (too have a baby due in a few months so I am in a similar position and do employ a nanny), but not at the expense of my children. If you believe the children benefit from the playroom, then that is important. Do you want to take that away from them.

If you give your nanny her own room, remeber that she does not own the room. It is still a room in YOUR house.


Ameriscot2005 · 31/01/2005 13:31

I do go into our au pair's room because we have some of our stuff stored in there - for example, all the spare towels and sheets, and some board games. The room has way more storage than the au pair needs for her own things, and this is a convenient place for us to store our things. As Uwila says, it's our house.

I wouldn't encourage locks on doors because I think this could be a safety hazard in the event of a fire.

Our daughters love going into the au pair's room, and the au pair seems happy enough with this (she's not quite sick of Barbie DVDs yet). We've told the girls that they are not allowed in her room in the evening though when the AP is off-duty.


jampots · 31/01/2005 13:40

Im afraid Im a privacy freak and if i had a nanny/au pair there is no way I would go into their room which is presumably their personal space to relax etc albeit in your home. Likewise I wouldnt expect anyone to go into my room either. I wouldnt have a lock on the door for the fire hazard element tbh but surely it isnt too much to ask that once her door is closed it stays that way?

Ameriscot - if your au pair is having a lie in and you need extra towels etc would you just go in or wait for her to leave her room?


Ameriscot2005 · 31/01/2005 13:44

I would only really go into her room when she was out of the house. But if I truly needed the towels because of bad planning on my part, I would bite the bullet and knock - after all, she knows that we keep some of our things in her room and that, occasionally, we need to access them.

We need the storage space in that room, and if it became a real problem for the au pair, the only option (other than quitting) would be to put her in my daughters 8'x 6' room. It's a question of comprimises...


Uwila · 31/01/2005 13:49

I would go in too if I needed to, but would try to avoid needing to. For example, the nanny is welcome to use our DVD collection (she finds it helpful in learning/perfecting her English). If she wasn't home, and I couldn't find a particular DVD, I would poke my head in and have a look. But, I wouldn't open her closet or look in any drawers.

However, if I suspected there was a reason to snoop (say for Instance I thought she was doing drugs), then I would go in and violate privacy. But, only if I had a really good reason.

And, yes, I agree that children should be kept out after hours. That is her time off. However, if she opens her door and invites them in, then I don't worry about it.


RTKangaMummy · 31/01/2005 14:08

I think it is really wrong to go into nannies room.

OK it is your house but how would you like your MIL coming into your house to look for towels?

Or your boss looking through your desk?

The nanny is under alot of pressure if children knock on the door and ask to come in to play or to show a picture

Also one nanny may like it and then children get used to it and then you change nanny and the next one likes her privacy but the children are used to it and so therefore expect to come in with the new nanny.


beachyhead · 31/01/2005 14:28

My big worry about giving her the playroom (and it would give her access to her own shower room morning and night) is that it is in the basement and I would actually be a bit nervous sleeping down there as there wouldn't be any other human being above you for a couple of floors at night. We could move the kids toys to another room, so it wouldn't be so bad. It might also be a problem putting the alarm on at night, but the advantage would be that we wouldn't hear any music, conversations or anything at all!!!!!

OP posts:

Ameriscot2005 · 31/01/2005 14:31


There's a big difference between 1) someone from outside your house coming into your bedroom to look for something and 2) going into a room in the house that you own.

If it's an untenable situation for the au pair, she knows where to go...


Blu · 31/01/2005 14:33

The playroom sounds ideal, privacy is a great basis for a mutually good relationship, and separate bathrooms sounds just right for busy mornings! If I was an au pair, I'd be in 7th heaven to feel as if I had my 'own pad' - don't pass on any of your nervousness to her!


Uwila · 31/01/2005 14:34

RTK, if my boss had a reason, I would expect him to go through my. I'm afraid, however, the most exciting secret he will find is migraine medicine (which isn't a secret of course). And, I don't understand the logic of the mother in law, unless you live in her house.

Also, no one has suggested that the kids should be allowed to go and intrude on nanny's life. In fact my toddler says every morning, "Where [nanny]?" And I make her wait until 7:00, which is nanny's starting time. I also don't let her into nanny's room at night. Although, we do go knock on the door to say "night night" when it's time for bed.


jampots · 31/01/2005 14:35

Ameriscot - RTKM is only saying what she thinks. Of course theres a difference but even though she's in your house presumably you pay her less than if she were a live out nanny, If so, then she "rents" that room from you surely?


RTKangaMummy · 31/01/2005 14:39

Thanks Jampot

I have been it that situation and had lots of friends whose families have not taken their off time seriously

It is true the nanny does rent the room

Is it not money taken off live out nanny for food and board?

Beachyhead I have sent CAT


Uwila · 31/01/2005 14:40

It's not actually renting unless she has her own front door to the exterior of the house (in which case the perk of this room with front door is a taxable perk). If she has to come through your house to get to her room, then you have a bit more right to know what goes on in it.


beachyhead · 31/01/2005 14:40

Yes, I think you are right, and although we will have access to 'her' bathroom and the utility room which is 'her' kitchen at all times, I think having your own little space, especially if she wants to bring friends back, would be great.... As to the privacy thing, yes, I would ask before I entered her room, but equally I wouldn't expect her to lock it....and if she wants the cleaner to go in, then that's up to her, (although I would prefer her to clean her own room)!!!

Playroom in the study from the summer, I think.....

OP posts:

expatinscotland · 31/01/2005 14:40

Just reading this thread makes me glad I never had to work as a nanny or au pair. If my daughter ever tries to go into it, I'll ship her off to my family abroad.


RTKangaMummy · 31/01/2005 14:41

You take money for food and lodgings dont you?


Ameriscot2005 · 31/01/2005 14:41

But there was never a promise of 100% cast iron privacy. If someone can't cope with a few extra towels in their room, then our house isn't for them. Bye, bye!

I'd rather store the towels in the au pair's room with its huge amount of storage, rather than in mine, which is not so generously appointed.

It's my house, and I make the rules. But that doesn't mean that I am going to barge into her room at any hour of the day or night. Not at all. I will try to go in when she is out, and if not, then I will politely knock and profusely apologise.


Uwila · 31/01/2005 14:41

But, let me reiterate that I wouldn't go in unless I had a really good reason to do so.


Sponge · 31/01/2005 14:42

I'd give her the privacy and yourselves the separation of the playroom if you feel your kids won't lose out.
I would give her the option of whether she wants the cleaner to go in or not but if she opts for not I would expect her to keep the room clean and tidy.
I would try to avoid going into her room uninvited but it might be that occasionally you need to to fetch something. It's not the same as going through her stuff which obviously you shouldn't do.


RTKangaMummy · 31/01/2005 14:42

What about if she has gone to bed? or not got up yet?


jampots · 31/01/2005 14:43

you and me both expatinscotland


beachyhead · 31/01/2005 14:44

Oh, I am sorry I started something here....

OP posts:

princesspeahead · 31/01/2005 14:44

When I had a live in nanny I never went into their room, except on their invitation, and the children never did either, unless she specifically said they could. Which she did sometimes. I would never go in there when she wasn't there, just as I would expect her to respect our privacy and not go into my bedroom when I'm not there. We always had a cleaner, but told the nanny when she started that keeping her room was her responsibility, but the cleaner would hoover it (if she could see the floor)!


RTKangaMummy · 31/01/2005 14:44

What would you do honestly if you saw her diary?

And it was written in english and you saw your names on an open page?

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