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Nanny choice: old and experienced OR young and energetic?

10 replies

tinyfeet · 26/01/2003 03:35

I am about to hire a nanny. There are 2 that DH and I both liked. One is 64 yrs old from Trinidad, very experienced, excellent recommendations - very loving, and nice demeanor. DD did not react well to her, possibly because DD has never seen an African or Carribean person before. She seems a bit set in her ways - does not want to run errands or leave the house much, but has agreed to do laundry and to do a weekly grocery run. The other is 25 yrs old Caucasian w/ nanny experience of toddlers and older, no infant experience. She seems very nice, and DD seemed to really take to her. She is willing to do anything we ask of her and is keen to run errands, etc. DD is 10 months old. DH and I are hoping to have another baby next year, so there will be 2 infants. Any advice on older/wiser v. young/energetic? DH and I are both 36 yrs old, so are not terribly energetic ourselves. Any advice at all would be appreciated.

OP posts:

GillW · 26/01/2003 09:07

Given the age of your DD, I'd say she's coming up to the age where leaving the house is going to become ever more important to her - both to work off the excess toddler energy, and to see and take in as much as possible of the world around her. So from that point of view I'd go for the younger, more energetic one.

It's not going to be long before your dd fits into the toddler category that she's already experienced with - and there aren't really many great differences between 10 months and toddlers (mine WAS a toddler at 10 months!). If your dd took to her it's a good sign that your potential nanny's approach to a 10 month old can't be far off right (if there ever is such a thing as right).

I'd go for the right solution for now, and not worry too much about the possibility of another baby later on, as there's no guarantee that either nanny would actually be with you long enough to be around when a new baby finally puts in a show.


tigermoth · 26/01/2003 10:20

tinyfeet, difficult one! I haven't ever had to choose a nanny, but have chosen childminders on several occasions. Age and experience has one advantage - you can be more sure of the person's commitment to the job. If they have been doing it for years, they must like it. If you are hoping to have the same nanny till your children start school, then this is a point in an older nanny's favour. Unless they are so old they might want to retire soon. I find it upsetting to change childminders and introduce a new carer to my sons, although my sons have been OK about it. I have heard of research on this subject and feel continuity of care is important to my son's development.

However it might be that the younger nanny is just as likely to stay. You'll just have to decide this for yourself. How long has she been a nanny and how long did she stay in her last jobs? Given her age, though, boyfriends could change her plans!

My sons have notched up three full time childminders between them and a few very part time ones. Two were in their thirties and new to childminding. Each stayed a year and I think they found my sons (oldest with one, youngest with the other)a bit challenging. A reason, though not the only one, for their departure. The other was in her late fifties and I really valued her experience (though she was a bit set in her ways). She was more calm and confident and she got my son to do things I found difficult, like walking nicely. She had my son for a year, too,(he then started nursery) but I think she would have had him for longer.

Just another thing, tinyfeet. It could be that neither of these nannies is quite right for your son, of course. I would definitely look at other nannies to help you decide on one of these two, or another.

Good luck


SoupDragon · 26/01/2003 11:43

My gut feeling is to go with the one your DD responded well to. Nothing to do with age/colour/willingness to do things.


jasper · 26/01/2003 20:22

old and energetic


aloha · 26/01/2003 22:42

I'd pick the most loving one, and the one your child liked the most. Love is all you need! Seriously, though, nothing matters more IMO than someone who is really on your child's side and clicks with them. My son's nanny is quite gentle, which suits my ds. On the other hand, I do think it is important they go out quite a bit, for eveyone's sanity. Errands, laundry etc are completely irrelevant, IMO. The only thing that really matters here is your child's happiness.


zebra · 27/01/2003 07:24

I'd always opt for whichever seems most unflappable; least likely to get riled or rattled. I'm paranoid about shaken baby syndrome. Maneuver a situtation where baby spits up all over them, something on the stove boils over, the doorbell rings & the dog poops on the floor simultaneously -- while you are on the phone in the far end of the house in one of those interminable touch tone systems with the Inland Revenue. The candidate that is laughing about it all when you come downstairs is the one you want...


bells2 · 27/01/2003 08:06

I would say to go with your gut feel overall and in particular how your dd responds.

We went for the older more experienced option although our nanny is only 39. The upside has been her reliability with only 1 day off sick in over 3 years and she has never been late once. She is also fantastically tidy. The downside though is her lack of flexibility and spontaneity. She doesn't take them out to the park and so on as much as would like and is so keen on sticking to routines and making sure everything is done that I think the children do miss out on fun sometimes. She will also do absolutely nothing for us (i.e. won't even fill the car up with petrol or take it to the carwash even though we rarely use her runabout). SO as for laundry and a weekly grocery run - hah!!. If I had my time again, I would go for someone younger, more fun and someone who was willing to help us out occasionally. But then with no family around us, having someone who wasn't 100% reliable would have life very difficult so its hard to know how well that would have worked.


Crunchie · 27/01/2003 10:53

Younger definately! I have a nanny who has been with us just over a year and she had never had babies before, only olderkids. However one of her reasons for leaving her last job was that she wanted babies, the older ones were all at school and she was bored.

For us the most important thing is that she is willing to do anything we need, within reason, and is really flexible. Kids need to go out everyday, if only to feed the ducks! In my experience Older does not always mean wiser.

I honestly feel that you will be setting yourself up for a fall if you take someone who is very 'set in their ways' since this is your house and your kids, so you want them to fit in with your family, not you fitting in with them.

Also if she has done her training she will ahve had experience of babies in college or work placements. My nanny had this to back her up even though she had no baby experience. When she joined us we had a demanding 2 1/2 yr old and an 8 month old. We now have a demanding nearly 4 yr old and an equally demanding nearly 2 year old. I don't feel the 'older/wiser' one would be able to cope.


star · 27/01/2003 12:19

I'd go for the younger one too.Your baby will love to go out exploring.How much will that tv be on if she is staying in all day with baby?


tinyfeet · 28/01/2003 03:47

Thanks for all your advice. After starting this thread, we interviewed yet another nanny, who we've pretty much decided on. She is 45 yrs old - just in between the other 2. She was v. loving, energetic, and, as DH put it, "upbeat and cheery." The young (25 yr old) was that way too - the older one was more grandmotherly and sedate, but so loving and caring. The 45 yr old one has lots of nanny experience, and DD took to her and was smiling with her. She is from Ghana, and DH was initially concerned about her accent - difficult to understand sometimes, but I've convinced him that it should not be a problem. I am going to work with her for 2 trial days while I am home, and hopefully it will all work out. I will get a better sense after the 2 days. We have decided against the younger one - it turns out she somehow seems a bit irresponsible - more a babysitter or mother's helper, than a nanny. But I keep thinking about the older (65 yr old) one since she really did seem like she would be extremely loving and would teach DD things. We'll see. I am getting a bit emotional about the whole thing, as our current nanny was really very good - although in the end, it was our personalities that clashed. I know it will be sad when she leaves, as she has grown attached to DD. Sob - sad to subject little DD to a parting.

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