The Birthday girl, the Eye roll girl, and the sandbox

Received Wednesday, July 2, 2008 - Perspective & Opinion
I posted something about my birthday being forgotten at work -I did have my celebration a few days later. Thanks everyone! I had a great birthday at the pool.

And now I have a question about something that happened today. Eye roll girl was out there and of course, getting on my nerves. I questioned and still question if this idea, given to me by another teacher, was appropriate. The reason why I don't think it was appropriate is because the child is 10-12 months of age and mobile, but not walking. If the weather is nice when the center opens, all children are on the playground, with the exception of infants. There are usually two teachers outside when I arrive at 7:45am, one of them being Eye Roll Girl. Anyway, this morning, I got outside and observed an infant in a sandbox with sand in her mouth, unsupervised. This sandbox requires stepping up to get out of it, and stepping down to get in it. Upon seeing this child with sand on her face, I took her inside, wiped her off, and brought her back outside. Her teacher, who was talking to ERG, tells me to put her in the sandbox. I thought this was inappropriate to leave a child so young in a sandbox alone, so I went and sat by her, keeping her safe.

ERG and her friend were talking, blah blah, blah. I noticed that the teachers were talking with each other, while the children were coming to me if they needed something. I personally didn't care what they were talking about, because I am there to work. I can't and won't say anything to my director, since I don't want to sound like a whining, conniving wench, but I have to ask, when is it ok to leave a child under two in a sandbox?

FYI: I found a few woodchips in the sandbox, which could easily be eaten by an infant. The teacher's back was facing me, and here I was, watching the playground while they were talking. Any advice? I don't like being outside when ERG is outside.


Swiss Nanny said...

I would leave an anonymous note in your Directors box or whatever she has. Yes, a child can choke on any object at that age that they can put in their mouths. And yes, the children should be supervised!!

Anonymous said...

Mention to the director that you noticed a child left unsupervised in the sandbox, and Eye Roll Girl (I have worked with so many of them!) and so-and-so were outside while it happened. Just leave it at that - give her the facts, let her deal with it.

I've had a lot of experience working in preschool/daycares, and everyone suffers when a teacher doesn't pull her weight. Chances are, this isn't the first time these two girls have been in trouble; I'm sure the director is aware of a problem, and if she's not, then you need to inform her. Nobody wants to be the bitch who rats someone out, but this was a serious safety issue.

Anonymous said...

I don't put children in the sandbox until they are past putting everything in their mouths. Then I always supervise. They might throw sand, find something they shouldn't have such as a sharp stick etc.
I do think you should say something to the Director, but be prepared for more hostility from Ms eye roller. It is kind of a case of falling on your sword for the greater good.
A Nanny

Jodi said...

I think all toddlers and younger need some sort of supervision in the sandbox. Once they are past the age of putting things in their mouths, the next stage is throwing everything they get their little hands on.

And definitely no infants in the sandbox unsupervised. This sounds like a serious accident waiting to happen.

Tell your supervisor in private. Let her know you are hesitant about coming forward, but what you witnessed could have serious consequences. Send an anonymous letter if you feel you cannot approach the director, be sure to include the time and date the incident happened.

Anonymous said...

I agree with everyone else that the children need to be supervised in the sandbox until they no longer put things in their mounth. Having said that, if properly supervised, I for one think it is great that the child does get to play in the sand since it is a whole new experience and great for their fine motor! Rather than stand by talking, the teachers need to be interacting with the children, giving them shovels, or spoons, or toy cars, etc, just something to play with.

mpp said...

Thank you, I was thinking the same thing. What's wrong with these Teacher's standing around, instead of interacting with the children?
The little girl in the sandbox would've never gotten a mouthful of sand if they had been right there engaging her.

Good looking out, OP.

Anonymous said...

This is why you need to quit this job and be a nanny. I was going to work at a daycare instead of nannying, but I couldn't do it bc I can't stand that gossiping stuff and some ppl working while others sit on their lazy a$$.

Anonymous said...

I agree get a new job.

Anonymous said...

OP here:

And being a nanny is a dream that won't happen for me. The reason why I say that is because if it was meant for me to be a nanny, then I would be a nanny. I think part of the problem with me not being able to find a nanny job is my background and lack of references. I have been around kids most of my life, and have 10 years working in daycare. However, most of my old daycares have closed, so there is no reference for me. I try and babysit, only to get the "we want someone in high school to baysit for us", "don't you think your a little too old to babysit", "well, we only want to under $5 an hour, so we were thinking of a middle or high schooler sitting for us", or "we have a sitter thanks," blah blah blah. Someone once told me that getting babysitting jobs helps to break into the nanny profession-in my case, I can't even get a foot in the door. My certifications and nanny credentials "impress" parents, yet, if I was so impressive, why wouldn't I have a job offer?

I have learned a lot from reading this blog about standing up for yourself as a nanny, a work agreement, taxes, etc. I let the parents look through my portfolio, which contains my classes, training, activity plan, how I handle emergencies, and workshops that I have taken in the past. I also have my background check and DMV records in there, and "oh wow, this is impressive", says the parents. "You have some great stuff in here", says another. "This binder is quite lengthy", says the parent, only flipping through a page here and a page there. One parent said I was too organized to nanny, another didn't even look through my binder. These aren't families I want to work for anyway. The WA and tax info confuses people, and they get a weird look on their face when they see it.

I think that parents think that I am lying about my background in childcare, since I have no references. I also have trouble making eye contact during interviews (I blame this on my dad) and I interview with the family, only to never hear from them again. I am confident that I would make a good nanny, yet I go into interviews knowing I won't get the job, and I usually call the family a few days later and tell them I am not interested, since I already know I wouldn't be hired. Yeah, yeah, I know, I know, why would I do that? Well, I have applied for nanny jobs and usually get turned down. Then I get to thinking-if someone fresh out of high school can get hired as a FT nanny, why can't I? I'll tell you-it's an age thing. I'm between 30-40, and think I am too old to nanny. Then I read about bad nannies in my age group and how I could run circles around them. Any advice from anyone as to how to get the parents to take me seriously, thereby offering me a 2 week trial period as a nanny and eventually a job?

Anonymous said...

Please do share what day care you work in so we can all make sure our kids don't go there while eye roller is still ann employee!

Anonymous might be the way to go but I suggest you to be upfront so next time this happens you can say, hey you, she's too young to be left unattended with so many things to put in her mouth. If you don't want to watch her make sure you find someone who is willing before we have a law suit on our hands.

Anonymous said...

If you can speak half as eloquent as you write, I'd hire you.

Do just that .... ask for a 2 wk. trial period, and then negotiate your contract.

Good luck. I think you sound awesome!

LindaLou said...

OP, if being nervous interveiwing and having trouble with eye contact are holding you up, maybe you could look for an interview skills class offered through your local community college or the unemployment office. i'd imagine that could be a large part of your not getting hired since you're so articulate and organized.

Anonymous said...

Why not go thru an nanny agency? They want to make money too, so its more of a reason for them to find you a job.

Anonymous said...

i think overall it sounds like that eye rolling teacher and possibly the other one aren't really interested in doing their job. i would leave the annonymous note to the director that the children are being unsupervised outside while teachers stand inside talking. but don't mention names because then the two teachers could figure out it was you who said something, and that would make things even more unpleasant.

Anonymous said...


about your question on why you are having trouble interviewing and getting seems to be the way your personality and/or energy is coming accross. you need to portray the qualities of your personality that make you a good nanny.

interviewing for a nanny position is probably 80% personality, 15% references and 5% proof of your experience. don't rely on that portfolio - it's too much for families to take in. focus on communicating person to person. don't let a piece of paper speak for you. practice communicating your sincerety in your eyes with a friend.

i can tell you really care about safety and your passion is for the kids. you have to speak from the heart. give rich examples to illustrate how you do your job well. for example, the story of the little girl in the sandbox would tell me, as a parent, that you really 1)prioritize saftey 2)focus on interacting with the kids and 3)have a passion for what you do.

i believe that if you learn to communicate from the heart and show your sincerety and passion you will be hired.

Anonymous said...

also remember to put yourself in a parent's shoes and think about the kind of nanny you would want to hire. think about what qualities would be most important to you. parents really want someone who can communicate well with them. you have to show your personality is compatable because you have to be in their house every day and get along with them about how to raise their kids.

mpp said...

Wow, 12:25. What an excellent post, I couldn't have said it better myself!

Anonymous said...

11:04-Thanks for the suggestion, but no thanks. I live in a college town with 2 nanny agencies-one of the agencies I know the owner and don't really care for her personality or business practices-she often places the same positions several times, and that says alot about her. The other agency I have heard doesn't have a great track record with nannies or families.

12:25-Wow! *hugs* I appreciate the input.

I won't advertise on CL, since we know what families are looking for on CL-cheap daycare/nannies. Any other suggestions on how to find a position on my own? I thought I read on this blog that professional nannies don't fill out "job applications" for nanny positions, and a family that I liked wanted me to fill out an "application", which I had trouble opening in e-mail. Any advice for this topic? I also will not send personal info, such as a resume, references, etc. until I recieve a written offer of employment.

Anonymous said...


If you read this, I just wanted to let you know that I have found both of my nanny jobs through Craigslist. I stayed at the first one for about a year and left on good terms. I am still friends with the family. The second family is very nice, but yes, a little cheap on certain things. The pay is good but I would just make sure you have a contract before you start a new job!

Another avenue to find jobs is online nanny agencies where you can search for families in your area. I think nannies4hire is one but you can do an online search for these type of agencies.

Good luck!