Mean Routine

I am a nanny for an almost 3 year old and 1 year old. Often when I walk in the door and greet the children, the older one yells 'no' at me. Other days, I am greeted cheerily with a hug. I do understand transition can be difficult and children are often looking for a reaction, so I haven't worried too much about being yelled at. Mom has often corrected the child by saying "don't be rude," or "that's not nice," etc. I have either just ignored the yelling, greeted cheerfully and changed the subject and moved on into the day, and the behavior changes either immediately, or immediately after mom leaves for the day.

Recently, the 1 year old has also started yelling at me when I walk in the door (doesn't talk yet, but gets the point across), copying the older child's behavior. Both children are well behaved and we do have fun for the day, so it's not as if they are unhappy with me. I haven't minded just allowing the older child to work through the transition time, as I know that can be tough for young children, but I don't love being yelled at by two children first thing in the morning, especially when I know the younger one is happy to see me and is just learning habits from the older one. Any suggestions on how to change this morning greeting routine? - Anonymous


RBTC said...

how about a reward system of some kind. maybe - have a sticker ready of their favorite cartoon character and when you get a big smile coming thru the door - they get a sticker

Scttygrrl said...

I honestly would just continue to ignore it. I get greeted that way by a 2.5 year old. It is improving a bit and I am sure it won't last forever.

Lyn said...

Oh hon! I know that can be rough! I actually dealt with something similar myself not long ago and now thankfully the situation is 100% better! Cheerful hugs and kisses the second I walk in the front door!

This is what I did: Have a talk with your mb, let her know that how morning transitions happen needs to change because the occasional rough starts can mess up the kids mornings and your morning with the kids.
Ask her to have a talk with the 3 year old about what using our manners means and to act out some "nice" ways to use our manners and greet ms.*insert name* every morning when she comes over. have a talk with the older charge yourself and let her know that it hurts your feelings when you are greeted with a "NO!", ask her what are some nice ways to greet you and nice things to say when you arrive. If she greets you the next day with a "no!" again do not ignore it, get down on her level, put your hand on her shoulder and ask her "do you remember what we spoke about yesterday? What is a nice way to greet someone when they come to play with you?" Have mom know to get involved in this quick 2 minute conversation when/if it needs to happen.
Also tell her that a very fast transition time is key in overcoming this situation. If she usually stays for 10 minutes ask her if she could leave within 5 minutes. A quick turn around helps everything.
When you arrive after your hellos and quick morning catch ups with Mom, tell the kids to give mom one last hug goodbye and then guide them to a window where they can see the drive way, have them count how many times mom honks the horn goodbye to them.

Distractions don't always work with this age so I don't think pulling out a fun craft the second you arrive will necessarily work but that is an option as well.

I'm greeted everyday now with hugs/kisses, my 1 year old charge has (thankfully) not picked up the "bad" behavior, and the kids LOVE sitting in the window seat and coutning the honks!

Good luck OP! You've got this!!

Nanny who loves what she does said...

IT IS TOTAL SEPARATION ANXIETY for the 3 yr old. For the one year old- like you said- he is copying off his brother. Couple things you could do: have mom set up an activity for you and the kids- when u come in. Have her (mom) give 10, 5 and 1 min countdowns. Make it fun, by knocking on the door- have mom say "Oh, who can that be". With the 1st activity, have mom sit and play a little bit- backing up quietly (going back if she has to) This really worked with my charges. Good Luck.

Brooklynanny said...

I don't really have any advice but I can sympathize! My charge who is also almost 3 often does this in the mornings. He will either get upset/whiny when he sees me and tell his parents "no go" or lately he has been saying to his mom "nooo, shut the door" when they are in her room together. However, once his parents leave in the morning he and I have a blast and he is a happy camper. I don't really worry about it because lately, at the end of the day when I am leaving, he is telling me not to go :-)

Village said...

The next time they do it, get down on their level eye to eye, and tell them that hurts your feelings and they mustn't do that anymore.

Ask them if they would like to develop a happy routine for saying hello to you. The more fun it is to greet you, the easier it is for MB or DB to leave as well. Children love to be individually greeted as adults, and they crave routine and repetition as well.

You might want to give MB a heads up, as you want her to be supportive, not surprised.

Stay positive said...

Because they are young children your hurt feelings are pretty irrelevant, this is a stage. Just stay positive, switch gears and get the morning rolling. It's hard for all children to say goodbye from time to time, the less you ponder this the better. You can't control the emotions of young children, let mom know (if she is dragging out good-bye) that a short and sweet is more helpful for everyone.

Birminghamsitter said...

I have worked with different families and, through every experience I saw different behaviors. I used to work for another family whose kids were the opposite. Besides of getting up at 6 AM, they were all energy, smiles, hugs, and talk; so I knew that I could go in the house and greeting veeeery cheerfully and they would run to give me a hug.
I had a similar situation like yours when I babysat a 5 year old cute boy. But I discovered that also he wasn't a morning child and when I would get there and if he was still sleeping, his mood wasn't that great. Their parents would tell him to be polite, to greet back and to be nice. So I suggested the sticker reward. And his parents then added a behavior board which also included rewards for other duties. Needless to say, he loved it and little by little he start changing and being a different little awesome guy. In the most positive way,besides he also got prizes,my best reward was when I heard a happy greet and a big hug.

Caring Mom All Day said...

Id smile, get on their level and say, "Hi, Tommy! I've missed you! What do you mean by, "no?" I wouldn't press for an answer, just give them a chance to self-exam & quickly move on. Id be cheerful, inquisitive & Id keep it short & sweet. It will pass. Try not to take it to heart. They're just having trouble transitioning, which is age aproppriate.

Best wishes, OP!

world's best nanny said...

You coming through the door represents mommy leaving. Is it worse on Mondays, when the kids have had mommy all weekend? I wouldn't worry about it. The kids seem to get over it quickly and move on to a fun day with you.

Bethany said...

You say it doesn't happen all the time, is there a patern to when it happens? For example the outburst occurs after mommy has been away for a long while and now she's leaving again.

I'm torn on this, because I don believe it is important to teach children manners, I don't feel a child should be made to act pleasant towards an adult when they are not happy and suppress those feelings. Maybe eventually taught to express them more appropriately. I also think that in these situation scolding no matter how mild can prolong the behavior.

If you don't wish to ignore. I would try giving the same greeting each day. Down on their level, say something like I'm happy to see you today, and if they are the hugging type give a hug. Go on with business as usual.

OP said...

Hi All,

Thank-you so much for all the ideas! I think I'll give the sticker system a shot next week and see how that goes. I had already tried all the ideas I could come up with, so it is nice to have some new suggestions to try.

As many of you have suggested, I have ignored it for quite some time (months) and I do recognize that it is separation anxiety, and probably more for mom's benefit than for mine. While I don't love being yelled at, I'm not really offended by it as I do think it does show that the child would rather be with mom, which is a good and healthy and normal thing, and really not about me at all. It shifted to being something that we should try to work on (in my opinion) when the younger one started to copy and learn this behaviour. I don't want the younger one to think there is a reason to be upset when I arrive each day, and learn insecurity and separation anxiety from the older child. Each one will have their own fears to work through as they grow and go through different phases and I would rather work with each child through his or her own feelings rather than fears they have learned from their siblings.

Anyway, that's why this seemed to me to move from something to just let pass, to being something we should try to work on.

Thanks again for all ideas and support, it made my day to see all the responses and I'm excited to go back next week and try some new things!


MissMannah said...

If this is true separation anxiety, a rewards system is not going to help. By saying "you will get a sticker if you don't pitch a fit when I get here" you are more or less saying "your emotions are invalid to me and I want to repress them." Some kids have a very hard time with their strong emotions and this is how they react. You ought to ask yourself why it bothers you so much. You don't need to take it personally. And they will get over it eventually.

OP said...

Hi Miss Mannah,

I guess what I was thinking was not a true reward system, but to have a sticker for the child when I arrive, making it a bit more of an exciting thing, rather than just seeing me and being disappointed that it means mom is heading to work, it could be more of a "hmmm…. I wonder what nanny will have today?" I figured stickers are relatively cheap and we could do this for awhile and gradually shift away from giving a treat each day.

I would like to think of a good way to help the child express the emotions that cause her to yell "no" when I come in the door as well. I'm still thinking through this part of things… Possibly telling mom 'I wish you weren't going to work today, I'll miss you."

I'm really not trying to repress feelings, and it really hasn't concerned me too much as I do know what she is trying to express and I get it, it makes sense. Like I said above though, I don't want the younger one to learn to be upset when I get there or that this is how we greet people. I guess I posed the question to see if there are some ways I can help make it easier and maybe shifting the focus from mom leaving to curiosity could help, but also helping her to learn to express what's going on.

Anyway, if you have any other thoughts or suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

Lyn said...

I agree with Mannah. If this is true separation anxiety a reward will not alleviate the problem. You can try that and i hope it works for you as it's fairly simple.

MissMannah said...

I really don't have any suggestions for you because if I were in your place, I would just ignore it. express how happy you are to see the children, wish mom a good day and then carry on with your business. If the mom isn't dragging the good-bye out for a long time and you aren't feeding into their yelling, they will eventually stop.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
NYCsitter said...

I have and had this problem several times and what I use/used to do was...nothing! I just keep smiling and ignore the problem altogether.

IMO, there are two causes for this kind of behavior:
1)Separation Anxiety- I currently babysit for two children and the 2-yr old baby most of the times starts crying and running away from me as soon as I enter the house. I feel upset about it but I know it's not about me but rather about the fact that me coming to the house translates to her immediately as mom leaving the house.
2) Kids are very smart-I cannot repeat this enough. I used to babysit this spoiled 4-yr old that would cry and yell every time I would go to his house (I mentioned this in a previous post)because he knew that doing so he could get mom and dad attention and try to talk them into not leaving the house. And the problem is that the parents would totally fall for it! Then, after 1 hr of this, they would finally give up and leave and the child would be suddenly all smiles because he knew there was nothing that he could do anymore.

To summarize, my suggestion is to let it be and don't take it personal. There's not much you can do and the problem is not that serious afterall. But I agree with some previous posters-do not use a reward me, it is totally non-educative and it would improve the situation only temporary without really solving the problem!

anon nanny said...

I recently went through this with the 2 year old I watch. Starting at about 1.5 years she would screammmmm like crazy when I came in because she knew her mom would be leaving and she wanted her mom to stay and play. The screaming was excruciating. And after about 5 minutes after the mom left it would stop. One day a few days ago though, it just stopped. Now she smiles and laughs when I come through the door. I really think it is a phase.

I think children at that age sometimes worry that their parents aren't coming back. So I started saying, "It's okay. Mommy will be back soon. Mommy is working." She caught on to that and now we always talk about the fact that Mommy will be back soon. Maybe try giving the child a context to where Mommy is so that he knows that she is coming back. :)

anon #1 said...

I played along with it and made a theater out of it all. Boys laughed and became interested in me all of a sudden. we ended up making a happy ending. They would say "go away" I said where do you want me to go it is 8 am and I have only one place to be , I do not want to go anywhere else. I love it so much here with you.

underneath I was slightly annoyed not at the greeting just that the creative part of me had zero transition time as I entered the door.

piece of cake

once I heard that "Go away" the I...
I turned into a dinosaur and said I was a T rex. immediately they changed their tune and started making roaring noises to and stomping . We stomped together to kitchen where I served them pre historic breakfast and they chomped on it like dinosaurs

fun times

anon opinion said...

If it's really just happening once in the day and the parent doesn't do much about it, all you can do is ignore it and carry on.

It probably is separation anxiety. Don't take it personally!! :)