Prisoner of Boredom

How do you combat loneliness and boredom during the work week? I'm not allowed to go out even to play class or story time with my charges. I am also not allowed to walk with them beyond the street they live. I go out with them for a walk and in the backyard daily, but I have no way to say it, it's getting old. My charges are also infants, so I don't even get to have little kid conversations. There is no one around on the street during the day, neighbors or nannies. - Anonymous


♥ Amy Darling ♥ said...

So sorry to hear this OP. Even though your charges are infants, the parents should still allow you daily outings to combat boredom and isolation, etc. In doing so, you will be a much happier nanny and a happy nanny is a win-win for everyone involved here.

I would sit down w/the parents and tell them how lonely you have been feeling not being able to get out and about. Try not to say the word "bored" however. It may not bode well w/them so I would avoid that word.

How long have you had this job? If more than say...three months or so, then trust should already be established by now. If the parents won't budge, then you have done all you can do and the best thing is to seek another family as this one sounds like a bad fit on both ends.

I hope the family lets you venture out more. Your feelings are completely normal and any nanny would feel just like you do.

Best of luck to you OP.

Keep us posted.

Jessica said...

My first Nanny position I was not allowed to leave the house. It was a first time mom and a part time job with a newborn. There was a no tv rule and a no cell phone rule. I focused on the baby but with hours of napping I became unhappy. I started reading books and focusing on my time outside of work and things I enjoyed doing. As time went on trust grew and we were allowed to go out. Maybe they just need more time being paranoid parents and you need to focus on you!

If things dont change in the coming months I would ask to talk to them and explain how you feel. I would talk about going to the library, joining a class, planning a play date and just exploring the outside world with your charges. If they are unwilling to change then maybe this is not the position for you.

nonnie said...

I take care of 18 month old twins and have been with them since they were 2 months old at first I wasn't allowed to drive the children anywhere the reason mainly because they were so young and then it was winter. This spring they started allowing me to take the boys on outings close to home (I didn't do it that often because I wasn't sure how comfortable the parents really were) eventually mb said she thought the boys were starting to go stir crazy seeing the same environment and suggested more outings. I them started taking them more places and we allowed are allowed to go further distances. You didn't say how old your charges were but I would say after they are about a yr old I would sit down with your bosses and discuss taking them out maybe they don't see why young infants need to get out but as they get older they might understand

Sewickley nanny said...

Quit..there are a million other families who will let you go out..I would be miserable!! Half he reason I choose to nanny is the social aspect..

1234 said...

Did you know this going into the job?

How long have you been with this family?

Were you given a reason for this?

Have you been given a time frame for this restriction to be lifted?

I would prepare to find a new position, parents like this seldom change.

I don't understand why families would want to restrict the nanny and child this way.

melissa said...

I worked for a family in a very similar situation. I worked a 10 hour day and was allowed in the backyard and the driveway. At the beginning I made a schedule for the day to keep us busy, but that got old really quick. Children need more stimulation than a house can offer- even if it's just a trip to the playground! Sad to say, I only lasted at that job for six months. I couldn't do it. I agree that you should talk to the parents and try to figure out some things to do. Hopefully you can help them understand why you want to go out. Tell them you think it's time to socialize the children :) good luck.

Future nurse :) said...

Oh man when i first read this I honestly wondered if you are the new nanny for the family I just left. It's HARD and extremely lonely to be cooped up in the house all day every day. And honestly it is so harmful for the children, they are missing out on developing the necessary social skills for life. Other pp have pointed all this out though, and sounds like your situation is like mine before, you can complain all day but it won't change. So...
We read ALL THE TIME. I mean I can recite those kids books to you from memory. I would just talk to them all day long, I mean I would even talk about things like what I was wearing to the whatever this weekend. Just constantly talking to them. I kept them for almost 2 years ad I will honestly say I don't know how to combat the loneliness. Im gonna be frank and say that I have just now realized how quickly my OWN social skills had degraded, and just how lonely I was. I pretty much only talked to my charges and my fiancé and didn't really have friends anymore. I spent 12 hour days with my charges and took online classes so I didn't really have time to just hang out with friends. I wish I could give you tips to keep from being so lonely but there really isn't any. I tried to talk to the parents but they were really focused on developing intellectually and didn't want us spending too much time that wasn't charges and nanny exclusively. This is crossing my line, because i have no right to sway your opinion, but the best thing I ever did was leave. Honestly. I have wonderful families now (I've gone to keeping several families 1-2 days a week) who love for me to take the kids anywhere and everywhere. These families are a better fit for me and my lifestyle, and there is nothing wrong with a family not being a fit for the nanny. And honestly I am a trillion times better as a nanny with these kids because I am HAPPY. It makes such a difference. I am so sorry you feel so lonely bc I know exactly how that feels. Good luck

gypsy said...

I would start making scrapbooks for each child. If mom won't provide materials, Id record what they do in a notebook. It would just kill some time & scrapbooks are so much fun. How about writing a children's book, based upon your day with them? Or poems? Knitting? Crossword puzzles? Magazines? I know our library will sell a paper bag full of magazines for $2.00 @ their monthly sale. Maybe your library has something similiar.

Lyn said...

My first Nanny position was like this and I sympathize. Being stuck with kids at home ALL day EVERY day is a pain and a serious recipe for Nanny burnout. I lasted a year at that job and truthfully, looking back at it, even though the family was wonderful and the pay/benefits were great, I don't think I would work for them again just because of this. It's easy as a Nanny to feel disconnected from your peers because you spend all day talking finger paints and development. NannyPants and I were just talking about this a few weeks a go.

katydid said...

I think many parents don't realize how terrible it is.

I think it has to do with most of them not getting to spend time with their kids at home all day. They dream about having a whold day at home with the kids, most of the parents we work for are lucky just to get to spend time with their kids on the go on the weekends, and they can't understand why a nanny would want to pack up and go.

I agree with Lyn that it's a recipe for nanny burnout and a good way to to lose nanny after nanny, or worse find yourself with a couch potato louse of a nanny.

OP, you have my sympathy.

Outings are so vital for the kids we care for and nannies as well.

That's why I emphasize that during interviews, and I'm not saying you didn't.

I hope you are allowed out soon.

ms. mimi said...

I would not be pleased if I knew my nanny was knitting or reading magazines during the time she was supposed to be actively caring for my children!

I think your best bet is to try and discuss the situation with the family, and see if their is hope for change.

RBTC said...

i would like to compliment all the nannies on their amazing suggestions - this is what this blog is for ;)

ugh said...

Keep your disgusting self out of this post!

RBTC-this-is-for-you said...

Wtf? U r an attention seeker

another nanny said...

Hmm...I think not being able to walk more than 1 block would kill me more than not speaking to other adults all day...Long walks are a great way to pass time with infants, and you can talk about everything you see as you go.

I agree with a previous poster that reading to the babies is great. I also used to put on music at times- not the Wheels on the Bus variety, but grown-up music that was still appropriate for kids (some of the common ones I used to use were Bob Marley, Jack Johnson, Norah Jones, as well as numerous others). They were all in the parents' CD collection or iPod, so I figured they wouldn't take too much of an issue with it.
I would also want to address it head on with the parents, and find out what exactly the concern is. If they want to know where the babies are all the time, maybe you could map out a route for your walk and text them when leaving and arriving home. I think you should frame it in terms of the babies needing to be exposed to some new sights and being ready for a bit more stimulation.

Tashina said...

I can relate to your experience. I too worked with a family very similar. I know how routine this can feel, but just try to focus on the positive aspects of your position. If you look closely enough, trust me, there are some! I know you are working with infants, but there are still a wealth of activities you can do with them each day that don't involve leaving the house. I would write a schedule around their eating, sleeping times, etc., that is full of different activities. Get creative! Google infant activities and see what you can come up with. If you are actively doing things, not on;y will you feel more constructive, but you will also feel less lonely. I hope this helps!!(:

EastBayNanny said...

RBTC- you have no idea what you have been accused of. It's awful and while I have found a number of your commnents mean and offensive I do feel a responsibility to get you off the hook. PEOPLE I HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE AT THIS POINT- IT WAS MY POST! Thank you to all who tried to offer help- it was very helpful!

I was incredibly misinterpreted and have learned a number of lessons, including a whole lot about the nature of those who participate on this blog.

Ohio Nanny said...

I will not work with a family who is not open to my taking the children out at least occasionally. It's very isolating and can lead to burnout, depression, and even feelings of frustration which in turn do not contribute to being a great nanny who is able to provide the children with all sorts of experiences! Like someone else said, I don't think parents realize just how isolating it is to be stuck in a house with very young preverbal (or even verbal) child 10-12 hours a day, 5 days a week. And babies sleep so much....I would go nuts.

I always get a feel for how the parents feel about outings during an interview. As a matter of fact, it is one of my questions for them. I mean, I understand a parent's reluctance to allow a brand new nanny start taking kids out immediately, but for long term, it is not beneficial at all for children or nanny.

Heck, when i hired a summer nanny for my kids, my requirement was that she take them on outings every day she had them!

Future nurse :) said...

I am so sorry eastbay I honestly feel so bad for you in this situation bc I remember just how isolating, depressing and miserable it was to go through that. Seriously I am so much happier now to be out of the situation however I worry about the kids. Good luck to you whichever way you choose with it, just remember even if you find ways to keep yourself busy, you can't really combat missing social interaction. Good luck.

RBTC said...


EBN - i do know what i have been accused of - and yes i have been very forthright and fearless in confronting the negative element on the blog and that is offensive to some of them, it's ok, i'm in for the long haul

But - i was not offended at all by your post - i thought it was reasonable and a reasonable subject and you presented it with your own personality, being understandably upset at how you were treated - there is a negative element onthis blog, but there are awesome elements also - and those people did not have much of a chance to respond to you because of the former

through no fault of your own - a remedy for your situation may be beyond many of the posters here, i wish there was a way you could keep us posted

let me relate an incident on another blog to illustrate for you that you are not alone:

i participate in " 8 minutes of fame" - the blog by tommy jordan - the "laptop" dad. He has become a writer and speaker re: child activism on the web

he was contracted recently by a parenting magazine to expose very disturbing and outrageous issues on the web available to kids. Just like on this blog - he laid it all out for them - the content, the relevance-everything. But the readers were so disturbed by it they deleted it from the magazine after the fact and he moved it, redacted, to his blog

i am sorry you were treated badly here i know how it feels

And i hope like ms Angelou says you wil keep standing up for others and yourself ;)

Aletheia said...

I have been in a similar position, and as the kids got older and I had worked there longer, thing just naturally progressed to the point where I could take them anywhere, without needing to inform/ ask permission from the parents, as long as any hard scheduling issues (appointments, school pick-up, etc) were kept. Hopefully the same will happen for you, OP.

As far as what to do in the meantime, LOTS of arts and crafts (age appropriate, of course-- "fingerpaint" with blueberries, footprint pictures, use broccoli as a paintbrush, etc), get a sensory table if possible and switch out toys and materials-- water, rice, jello, etc, rotate toys weekly so they don't seem so stale, make sure to put pinterest to good use (there's tons of great ideas for nannies there!), and my biggest recommendation: get a daycare curriculum and/or book of developmental games and activities-- priceless!

OceanBlue said...

East Bay & RBTC I think you should stop your conversation and let this post be about what it's supposed to be about.

It's wrong on your parts to carry on in here about a now deleted post.

Aletheia said...

Ugh, sorry-- I hate when things double-post!

RBTC said...

ocean blue - if you read this entire thread you will see that 2 posters above - who use generic monikers, we do not know who they are- carried over their negative emotions from the deleted thread

EBN and i were responding to them,we are allowed to do that

and EBN has an incredible amount of courage - you have to give her that

also ocean blue - the deleted thread is still having some emotional fall out - that is not EBN's fault or mine - it will work itself out
be patient

OceanBlue said...


You have my sympathy. I know what it's like to be stuck in a house day in and day out with infants, and it doesn't matter how creative you get with the activities for them.

Though switching out activities is great to do.

I would suggest talking to your MB?DB again a and have a list of great places to bring your charges in your area.

I reccommend you select free or low cost activities, to make it difficult for them to object to the expense, and since you are caring for babies you might have to miss a class or two and if it's free they wouldn't be wasting money.

When you discuss it with them, I would focus on your charges being ready for a little more stimulation and how importan new experiences and new environments are to the developing brain.

I've actually cared for kids that were kept in the home for their first few years and it's scary what isolation can do to a child.

I would leave out you being bored even though I totally get it it's likely your mb/db will just see it as you complaining.

I would keep it to something simple like one or two trips a week.

OceanBlue said...

I still think it would be best if you all carry your emotional fall out elswhere.

If you must make a seperate post.

This post has nothing to do with what went on last night and it is not fair to the OP who asked a very good question to have his/her post ruined.

Consider their feelings and be the bigger person.

That's all I'm going to say about the matter to you.

RBTC said...

agreed acean blue - yourself, myself, and anyone else should let this thread be about the original subject - as i commented above - the posters on the accurate subject are very helpful - so let's le it be !

leftcoastmama said...

This sounds like an issue of anxiety.

I have heard of parents not wanting nannies to drive the kids places.

I have never heard of a nanny being restricted to the block and not allowed to explore the neighborhood with the kids in the buggy.

We have always encouraged our nannies to take the kids out and often. I actually felt vadly for the one nanny we hired to care for our premature son who was restricted to the house for a period of time, even with that she was allowed to walk the neighborhood with him.

If it is an issue of anxiety, there will be nothing you can do to change your employers' minds, as that is something they will have to overcome on your own.

You have to decide if you will be able to handle these restrictions longterm.

Trapped said...

I am in the same boat and have been waiting a long time to get to take my charge out. Fingers crossed for both of us!

Quit already!! said...

Quit!!!! I did and it was WORTH. Now I work for a family that encourages outings!! Let's me drive. Love it! I too became depressed after a year and a half of working for the type of overprotective paranoid parents you work for. It won't get better!!

nonnie said...

I don't agree with quitting if this is the only issue you are having. I would sit down and talk to mb and see what she has to say. If she says three will be no driving at all ever then I would consider quitting but maybe she's waiting for them to get older or isn't sure how comfortable you are with driving them. That was the case with my current family they weren't sure if I was comfortable going out with infant twins and didn't want to burden me or make the job more difficult, we discussed it and now I'm able to take them out

OP said...

To answer the questions,
I've been with this family for 6 months since my charges were 3 months old.

I was not told I would not be allowed to bring them out during interview, and I didn't expect to right away given they were so young and I was new, but I did believe at this point I would be allowed to bring them out.

Had I known no outings would be allowed I probably would not have taken the job as I am a nanny that likes to be on the go. I was under the impression that all I need do was ask permission.

I have asked to bring them out and given specific places I would like to bring them that I would think they would enjoy.

I was told that I could not at this time, and was given no time frame for when I could.

The parents explained that it was not because of trust or driving, but because of their anxiety.

Having a sister with anxiety issues I know there is a real possibility I may not ever get to bring them out if resolving the anxiety issues is a prerequisite.

At this point I am not ready to quit. It's not a bad job otherwise.

I just do not know how much longer I will be able to take being confined.

Thank you to all for your suggestiobns. Hopefully they will help.

nonnie said...

Op, parents of twins seen to have more anxiety of letting the nanny take the children out (from what I've seen over the years) they are just learning how to manage taking their children out and find that since it's hard for them to do they also worry it will be hard for the nanny.
I know my bosses did worry a little bit that I would have trouble keeping an eye on two and getting them in and out of the car. I had gone shipping with mb and she saw I handled them well and that I was comfortable with it, that's when we sat down and talked.

Just curious if this is you're first time with twins or multiple children close in age? If it is then I cab kind of see the parents having an issue.

I still don't understand the while not being abler to take them more than a block away especially since they are in a stroller and titty are right there.

I would say wait till they are a yr and bring the subject up again with the parents. I hope thing work out and you get to taker them places, it will make for a better nanny and happy children that won't have socialization issues.

OP said...


This is actually my second set of twins, and I know it's different but I've cared for as many 3 young children on my own and bit out and about.

I have asked about walking a little further, honestly I would be happy with that and i think the babies would love to see a bit more of the world too.

I guess I at least have the backyard and the block for now.

I won't even have that once winter sets in.

I think I am g oing to wait awhile and ask again.

OP said...

{ quote Anonymous said...
We have a nanny and did not want her taking our daughter on trips or outings in the beginning. As our daughter got older we trusted our nanny more and it was fine.

There is a lot of responsibility with taking a child out in the car.

If you like the job otherwise just try to deal with it for a while longer and see if they will open up to day outings.

I understand it can be boring for you but with all due respect, this is a job. I get bored at my job as well sometimes. I actually was a nanny at one point in my life and I was not able to take the child on day outings. I used that time to clean their house, wash toys, do their laundry. I also would exercise during the babies nap time (obviously that is up to the parents discretion). Maybe take a class outside the home on your own time and see if they are ok with you studying while the children are sleeping quote}

*I agree with you that taking children on outings is a huge responsibility.

I've done it many times before. I am not a novice or a teenage summer sitter.

If it was something I could not handle I would not have asked.

As I said before I have asked about places that do not involve a car and been turned down.

I know very well it is a job, but I'm sure at your job you have the opportunity to talk to other adults, or leave even if it's just for 15 minutes at lunch to refresh yourself.

As a nanny I cannot do those things that your average 9 to 5 er takes for granted.

That is a benefit of a walk or playgroup.

Playgroups, walks, storytimes etc also benefit children, They need exposure to different environments, and various kinds of stimulation which are severely limited when you are confined to the same space all the time.

I also do not believe it is my role as a nanny to do the family's laundry or clean their house beyond cleaning up any messes I make during the day.

I do read and the parents are fine with me studying. I would not take a job where the parents wanted to dictate my time dring rest time.

The babies on sleep for brief periods so their isn't much time for me to do other personal non nanny things, which is why I feel the occasional outing would be nice for us all.

By outing , I do not mean a full day trip. A half hour long music class 15 minutes from their house was my thought or simply being allowed to stroll a little further.
I don't think I am being unreasonable.

I am willing to comply for now. If I wasn't I would have quit straight away, and not have asked for tips .
I will be revisiting the issue later in another month or two.

Future nurse :) said...

I completely agree lol I made it a year and a half too! Social development and interaction is really important for children and adults. At least in a normal job, you get to interact with other adults. Nannying is an alienated profession already so being stuck alone with kids all day Is miserable. Even at a day care teachers have each other

Nanny4JC said...

I've been with my current family for about 9 months and today was the first time the mb let me take the children for an outing. The first 7 months of employment, mb came home on her lunch break 3 to 4 times a week and was overly controlling in the most passive aggressive ways. How I was finally allowed to get my charges out of the house was by talking to mb's sister who is way more laid back with 2 older children. She had my back and pushed for it and today went great! The day went by so fast and my 3 yr old charge was able to get out all the crazy energy he has! Start hinting! Bring a schedule of story time from the local library, hunt around for childrens shows put on by vendors and point out local playgrounds to your mb/md...whoever is easiest to talk to. Good luck!

Barnes & Noble said...

Barnes & Noble has a free storytime.

OceanBlue said...


Hang in there, especially if you like the job otherwise.

Nanny jobs are hard to find now.

If you can wait a little bit longer and see if you're allowed to break out of jail.

I'd ask at least one more time before quitting, and if you decide to quit make sure you have a job lined up first.

MaryPoppin'Pills said...


Thank you for moderating your own thread, lol... I have had my hands full the past few days!

Ice queen said...

After reading your responses the best advice I have is to make sure to find a new position beforehand! That and make sure they're clear that they will burn through a lot of nannies if they never allow their kids out of the neighborhood, since any good nanny knows that's neglectful to a child's growing mind, especially for learning life skills!

I wouldn't partake in a job like that because I don't want to assist someone in messing their kids up for life. I'm here to make your children better, not worse.

utnanny said...

So sorry to hear this OP, i cant imagine how hard that is to never be able to get out. Some days thats the only thing that saves my sanity. Would your mb be open to having other kids come to their house and you can host a playgroup?

Ulchen said...

It is so strange for me to hear that mothers would not allow you to take baby outside. I have the opposite problem - I want my nanny to take my daughter who is 9 months old for at least short outings outside in the park but she does not want to. She actually said that in all her experience I am the first one to ask for it. She has some skin and general health issues that prevents her from going outside and she is very scared of skin cancer. I have to start supplementing with vitamin d now because she is not getting it from the sun.I wish I had known about my nanny's condition beforehand , I now have to ask my boss to allow me to work more from home so i can be home before noon to take my daughter out so she sees a little bit of sun and spend time outside. I do not know how to deal with this problem I like the nanny, she is very good person. Ulchen

knitting magazine reading baby watching gypsy said...

Then find a robot nanny. Because real nannies are real people. We don't get anything out of staring at a baby play for hours on end. We need something to fill the time. Just like all parents do. FYI: you can "actively" care for an infant while knitting AND reading a magazine. I've done with my own children, I can certainly do it when I'm being paid. Not that complicated. And it certainly doesn't take away from meeting the childs needs.

Brat said...

I would talk to the parents because being limited to where you can go is very taxing on you. I watched kids for a family of 4 over the years. The oldest would go if I said we're going somewhere without complaint but would eagerly stay behind if he could or go somewhere else if possible while the middle two I could and would take all over town by bus and I didn't have a cell phone. MB didn't mind and in fact I was going to take the ys somewhere and asked to borrow her cell phone in case of an emergency but nope she'd rather I take him without anything okay fine. Then you got yd who you'd think I've lost a kid. Going 5 blocks to the store, she'd call to make sure we didn't get lost, going across the street to a townhome where I knew some of the residents she'd call like I'd just let her run off. In all my years of nannying I have never once lost a child closest was a blankie and it turned out the sister hid it. Yeah we need to get out more often and if they're infants the parents might feel they're too young for storytime and think you're up to something else where you might neglect them. I'm not saying you will because no good nanny does that but the parents don't know that. Offer to call/text before you leave and when you return. Take pictures of the kids at the outing and send it to the parents as proof or just as a look at what fun so and so is having. I did that only because she was having fun and photos for my own personal collection.