Looking for advice on how to give constructive feedback to nanny

Looking for a way to help 'right the ship' with my new nanny. I really like her and want to build a good relationship. We are 2 weeks in. She is sweet and generally trustworthy, so I fear her feeling attacked or criticized. What approach has worked best for other nannies?

She watches my 4month old weekday mornings from 8am-1:30pm. Here's what I wanted to address. Please let me know (kindly :)) if I am off base on any of these.
- I would like her to spend more time playing and interacting. i.e. Tummy time, and some developmental exercises recommended by the pediatrician. Currently she spends around 3 hours napping with her in the nursery with the door closed which is long to me considering the baby's naps are usually only 20-50 minutes. My husband doesn't think such a short shift warrants needing a nap considering we don't nap during those times. (nanny is in her 40's).
- I'd like her to handle some of the baby chores while the baby naps. Currently she naps with baby in the rocking chair. This does not sound like a safe practice, but as a sleep deprived new mom I know I've dozed off like this in the past so I'm trying not to judge. I'd prefer she put the baby down in the crib for naps and uses that time to get any baby chores done like washing bottles, sterilizing, baby laundry or taking a snack break/reading break for herself. Instead, she uses baby's awake hours to do all this.
- I'd like her to leave a quick note on how things went. Very short, just so we know how much she drank, any diaper changes or anything she noticed that was unusual like wheezing, excessive spit up, started coughing. This can either be on paper or verbally to my mom who takes over at 1:30pm.
- Lastly, I'd like her to put things back before she leaves. Wash any bottles she used, return any toys or books that she took out, move the rocking chair back to the living room (or don't move the rocking chair at all).



Anonymous said...

So, basically you're paying someone to come over and nap?! Completely unacceptable. I don't care how old she is. That's absolutely something I'd address. If you want your baby in the crib, they go in the crib. If you need the nanny to do baby-related chores, then tell her. I assume you interviewed her first? Were any of the expected duties discussed? Look, this isn't someone I'd want watching my baby- I don't care how nice she seems. And I hear you about being sleep deprived, but it's a completely different story if YOU fall asleep with your child in your arms. You are paying this woman, who I hope has infant experience...
Anyway, I wouldn't keep her. That's me. But I wouldn't. She sounds awful. Why is she alone with your baby in a room for 3 hours???

NotJUSTamom said...

I completely agree with Anonymous above! Why are you paying her to sleep?

Leigh Raymer said...

the OP emailed us to say thank you for the support and advice, and mentioned she is paying the nanny $10 per hour which is normal for her area and has a separate housekeeper even though she knows other nannies in the area that combine the two jobs. The nanny answered an ad.

Brianne Wicks said...

You need to have a sit down with her and discuss her job again. Explain that you are having a hard time believing the baby is sleeping for 3 hours and find out why the heck that's going on... demand the baby sleep in her crib, even if that means not super great naps (because that's what sleep training means at times and as a nanny I know I understand that means less of a break for me and a crankier baby but honestly that's the job), and ask her to do the baby chores while she naps (and of course you also need to be understanding, if baby doesn't sleep then

Brianne Wicks said...

Sorry pressed the wrong button.

If the baby doesn't sleep then don't give her a hard time about missing a chore or two). Explain you expect her time with the baby while she's awake to be spent WITH the baby- doing tummy time, looking at books, singing songs, engaging her attention, etc. She's only there a few hours so it absolutely makes sense she not need a nap, and would be using most of the time to work rather than take breaks. I work 9 hours and earn an hour break... if your nanny only works 5 she certainly doesn't need more than a half hour during one of babys naps. The other naps should be spent on the few chores you ask of her.

She should absolutely be keeping a log for you of the babys day. The baby is young enough that you should know how many ounces she drinks per day, and it's helpful for you to see her sleep patterns so you can offer suggestions or make changes if needed. I'd have this talk asap. You're an employer now and employees expect direction. If I didn't hear anything I'd assume everything is going great you know? You must talk to her, and you have the right to get the care and chores you pay her for.

Anonymous said...

$10/hour is really low. What is her state's minimum wage?

I don't have anything to add in regards to the issues, everyone else has been accurate.

rrodriguez said...

I've been a nanny in the past and whenever I've worked with any child below the age of 5, I've been asked to keep a daily log. For babies/infants, this included feeding schedule, sleeping schedule, and a bathroom schedule. At the very least I think you should ask for this info.

Anonymous said...

Career nanny of 12+ years. This woman is not a nanny. She takes the title of nanny and makes the true career professional nannies look bad. What a joke. Fire her immediately.

Miss Dani The Nanny said...

Oh gosh, I don't even know where to start. I'm dealing with a similar situation at work myself and I had to drill into that teacher's head that she has to get off her ass in the rocking chair and actually interact with the babies. She speaks English, but acts like she doesn't understand what I am talking about.

When I babysit, I leave notes for parents about meals and snacks, plus diaper changes, etc. Sometimes I text the parents and let them know how things are going and skip the notes. As a former nanny who worked weekends, I used daily notes for both children so MB could see their day, as she got home later than DB. That's one thing I am doing with my staff: making sure they communicate with families about the child's day, and not just on paper. I encourage my staff to communicate face-to-face with families. Without communication, families won't know what happened during the child's day, especially this age group. Lack of communication is a thing of the past at the center I work at, and families love that. In other words, the old staff never communicated with the families or wrote out daily sheets. That's sad, not to mention rude and unprofessional.

What is her background as a nanny? Light housekeeping is part of most nanny positions. Do you have a work agreement outlining her non-childcare responsibilities? If not, you may want to get one ASAP. Let her know that napping for three hours with the baby is unprofessional, which it is. D and MB didn't care if I took a short nap while the kids were napping, as I had to be there at 715a on a Saturday, based on DB's schedule. I'm sure the other nannies on this blog may take a quick cat nap as well. As a nanny, director and agency owner, I feel cat napping is fine as long as the children are sleeping.

I would sit down and talk to her, putting the work agreement in place immediately. See how things go, and if they go sour or your gut tells you something, find a new nanny, having a detailed description and using the WA.

Good luck and let us know what happens...

SC original poster said...

Hi, OP here. Thank you all for your advice and for validating my gut feelings. (Especially @Brianne Wicks and @Miss Dani The Nanny).

To clarify, yes we interviewed her and outlined the responsibilities in person. The minimum wage here is $8.10

WHAT I ENDED UP DOING: I chose to correct things instead of fire her. I had a sit down talk with a printed out agreement for us to both sign. It scared her at first because it made her worry if we were setting things up to sue her down the road. My husband and I reassured her that wasn't the intent and read through it together. We also laid out her vacation time, paid holidays, and other benefits.

I wanted to respond here to bring to light that we as the employer may not always see things clearly and are quick to write people off as "not the right fit" 1) because it involves our children and 2) our schedules have a lot riding on making the childcare arrangement work well. I want to tell you I was wrong. Yes, there were minor differences in how we do things, but all it took was telling her how I prefer it done. The extra-long naps were unknowingly because of how I communicated the schedule. So a little patience and understanding can go a long way. In our interview I had a post-it that explained the baby's usual food and sleep schedule. I wrote that naps typically follow each feeding. While in my mind this was showing an approximation of the day, she thought I was asking her to stick to this routine and was trying her hardest to get the baby to sleep after each feeding. Compounded by us telling her that I work from home some days, but not able to help out and would be busy in the office. It translated as I am not to be bothered. Therefore she would close themselves up in the nursery trying to make her nap between bottles and trying not to disturb me.

Addressing issues and correcting her felt uncomfortably awkward because she is older than me, has already raised her kids and I also don't want to be a micromanager. I feared addressing it so much that I think I bottled it up until everything bothered me. But really I'm glad I handled it the way I did. I put my big girl panties on and it was very helpful.

Things are going well and I have learned to address things as they appear and not to delay it.

Rebeca Johnson said...

I started out at $10/hr. Depending on the area that could be the norm, it is around here! I make more now but I've also been with my family for 2.5 years

Kat said...

OP I'd seriously suggest a Nanny cam in baby's room. Just to be on the safe side.