Q&A: Helping child with losing deceptive nanny

Anonymous writes in on behalf of a friend:

"A friend of mine is in the middle of a nanny nightmare. Short story: trusted nanny of two years, f/t, has traveled w/family and has even been living w/them for the last few months while between apartments. They just found out this woman has been lying to them for months – dropping their daughter off at a daycare center for hours at a time (center run by her SIL so no paperwork) every week. Also told them she was taking her to "the pool" which turns out to be at her boyfriend's house, where little girl watches TV (it was an explicit part of the written contract with the nanny that the girl not watch TV) and eats candy.

My friend is trying to decide what if any recourse they have (they fired her and she's moved out) to make sure this doesn't happen to other families thinking about hiring this woman, and also what to tell their daughter. It all came out because the little girl told them (she's been trying to, for months, but they couldn't map what she was saying about "playgroup" to the reality that she was being left alone at a daycare). They don't want their daughter to think she got this nanny in trouble, or that if she lies that she will be kicked out just like the nanny. Any ideas?"

Whoa. This is a really tangled web. Wow.

They definitely need to get the word out about what the nanny did to other parents in the community. I don't know how big an area they live in, or what kind of parent networks they have, but they need to start telling the story as much as possible to make sure this doesn't happen to any other family. They are really, really lucky that the worst that happened to their daughter was TV watching and eating candy at the boyfriend's house, and another child might not be so lucky.

Now, as for the daughter, I think it's a shame that she's going to lose a person who's been with her for the last two years, but they clearly can't continue to have contact. They certainly don't need to let the daughter know that she was the one who ultimately uncovered the deception. They can say that they found out that the nanny was not doing what she was supposed to do, and this "finding out" doesn't have to ahve anything to do with the daughter. So I wouldn't be too worried about that.

The problem is that it's a little tough for a 3-year-old to understand that a paid caregiver is a paid caregiver. The best angle I can think of to explain the firing of the nanny that isn't going to make the little girl afraid that she could be sent away if she misbehaves is emphasizing that the nanny was doing something unsafe. Remember last year when I had to fire the nanny who was 30+ minutes late picking up my kids three times in two days and then didn't answer my calls so I didn't know where the kids were for a long couple of hours? The way we explained that to my kids was that what the nanny did was dangerous to them. My younger son was 4 and understood that, so it might be worth a try with the 3-year-old to say that what the nanny did was dangerous to her, so they needed to make sure that their daughter was safe by having someone else take care of her.

I am so sorry they are going through this. The betrayal and guilt and anger and sadness must just be so intense for them. I hope that they find another, quality nanny that they can really trust right away.

Does anyone have any other suggestions for how to make sure the daughter understands that she's not going to have to leave for misbehavior?

I think it would also be good if people could share stories of really great nannies/babysiters they have so we can remember that there are truly quality people out there who care for children.

(If any of you remember our Nanny B, who moved away last summer, she's happily working with kids and doing theater across the country in an area that's more her style than NYC and we still talk to her often. We had three great babysitters–after the big firing incident–last year and hope to see the two still in NYC often this coming year.)

40 thoughts on “Q&A: Helping child with losing deceptive nanny”

  1. I think I’d keep it even simpler for the kiddo and just say that [nanny] isn’t going to be able to look after her anymore and leave it at that. My kids understood the concept of “private reasons” at that age (though they didn’t LIKE it) as a response to a why-type question about someone else’s behavior.We’ve had two fabulous nannies. The first took my older when she was just 9 months and (1) treated her like she was one of her own (she had one of her own that was just a month older AND (2) appreciated how hard working and raising kids was and did all kinds of extra stuff she didn’t have to do to make my life easier (think cleaning the crisper drawer in the fridge during naptime). She was with us until I had another AND she had another and all 4 would have been under 2 at the same time. We still see her once in awhile and would take her back in a heartbeat if she hadn’t moved on to managing a Babies R Us.
    The other great one started when my older one was 2 and my younger was about 9 months. She had an 8 month old and maybe lacked a little confidence, but made up for it in reliability. She was with us full-time until she got divorced and went back to school, but has returned (and it’s been just lovely to see the changes in her personal life manifest themselves as increases in confidence) several times up to and including this past summer. I consider her a family friend at this point and I hope we never lose touch.

  2. Certainly, she should be fired, but I don’t know about warning the community. If she asks for a reference, decline to offer one. If she does give someone your phone number and someone calls looking for a reference, be truthful but not alarmist. You can say, “She violated our trust and our nanny contract. We thought she was a good and trusted caregiver until we discovered otherwise. She was a skilled liar and deceiver. I would never trust her with my child again.”Nothing she did was dangerous. She lied and broke her contract, but I still feel like the little girl was well cared for during her time with the nanny (even if it wasn’t the nanny doing the watching). She displayed a moderate amount of good judgement even in her bad judgement.
    If you find her on sittercity, of course, give a zero star rating and then give concrete reasons why: dereliction of duty, violating nanny contract, lying, etc. But I would not go out of my way to notify the community at-large if not directly asked because it seems risky somehow. Like picking a fight. Or antagonizing a formerly trusted caregiver.
    Now, if she had hit the child or exposed her to pornography or if her boyfriend was a child molester or if she hadn’t supervised the child while swimming in a pool or had left her home alone while she “just ran out a minute”, then I would be all about warning the community (and the authorities).
    I think the less said to the child, the better. Obviously it needs to be addressed, but you can just say something about how So-and-So could no longer take care of you and we’re sad about that, but we’re going to find a new friend to come and watch you during the day.

  3. I think the less said the better in some ways too. We had a GREAT nanny for my son, but when we went to needing full-time care and he was older, we went with a centre – 4 days a week for a while with one day with the nanny, to transition everyone.We explained that his nanny would be working with a new family and that we would always have the memories. I don’t think your friend needs to get into the rest of it. I agree that it might make the little girl nervous about a pretty complex situation. I guess they could say that as an ADULT she made GROWN-UP mistakes. But really I’m not sure I would want to go there.

  4. I would not get into any of the details with the child.But I would also followup with Community Care Licensing (or whatever it is called in your state) and Child Protective Services about the daycare. The daycare owner clearly is not making safe decisions for children. This daycare was complicit, and accepted a child with her parent’s permission. This is not legal, and this daycare should lose its license. Honestly, this is probably criminal (along the lines of holding a person against their will), and even if the nanny doesn’t get in trouble, the daycare should.

  5. I would report the daycare to the state licensing agency, assuming it is licensed. Accepteding a child dropped off by someone other than her parents without any sort of paperwork is completely inappropriate.I think her behavior regarding the pool is potentially dangerous enough to alert the community, but that would involve really knowing how supervised (or not) the child was.
    We never had a nanny, but we had an amazing daycare center. And our babysitter came from there, and she was awesome.
    I don’t know how much I’d say to the kid about why the nanny isn’t coming back. We tend to err on the side of more information. We might say something about not making safe choices.

  6. We had a wonderful nanny for 2 years. My daughter was just 1 year old when our nanny started, and we transitioned to a Montessori program when she turned 3. My husband occasionally worked from home or came home earlier than usual, which allowed some impromptu observations of our daughter’s day and her interactions with our nanny. This provided us some peace of mind, especially at the beginning. I can really empathize with the sense of betrayal and regret and distress this family must be feeling. Our relationship with our nanny fell into a gray area of ‘almost family;’ I was surprised at how personally I took our very occasional differences of opinion or brush-off from her, so can only imagine how distressing this kind of deception would feel.I too agree that a general explanation to the child is best. We did not enumerate the reasons we shifted our daughter to Montessori at age 3, which included (among others) the expense! Just said that our daughter was going to start “school” and her nanny would care for another family, and we would make plans to see her occasionally.
    I tend to think that being a reference is the most powerful way to get the word out in a way that’s influential; any future family or employer would presumably contact her most recent family.

  7. OMG…I can’t even imagine. I can’t imagine that the former nanny will give the OP’s name as a reference.On the positive side, we have a nanny that we love. I work from home and need help with my now 1 yr old and 4 yr old. Granted I am right downstairs but she has been very trustworthy…I even let her drive our family car. This summer the kids were taken on some fun adventure nearly every day…the pool, the park, the museum, etc. Plus she cleans! When the kids napped, she would fold laundry, mop, etc. All voluntarily. She is an absolute treasure and my kids adore her. She is teaching my preschool to count to 50 and helped him with his fine motor skills (cutting curves, writing).
    So there are good nannies out there! Our first one wasn’t a great fit but my oldest still really missed her when she left (after 6 weeks or so)

  8. If she put the child in danger, she could press charges and that record would stick with her so she would be unlikely to work for others.I would probably also report the day care. If it’s even licensed.
    Thank God the child is OK. I hope she never does that all to another family though. What a breech of trust.

  9. What @multimomma said!I actually feel sick to my stomach reading this because I can’t even comprehend the major, serious TRUST violation this is for the OP’s friends! My heart goes out to them. For me, the worst feeling in my gut while reading this was actually the part about spending all of that secret time at the nanny’s boyfriend’s house. My main rule for all sitters is NO MEN!, ever! in the presence of my small children whenever I or my DH are not there. It’s a rule I adopted after reading Gavin de Becker’s “Protecting the Gift,” an excellent book on safety recommended here awhile back by @Hedra and others.
    Actually, I’d also look into suing the nanny beeyotch and recovering the salary paid to her, but I realize that’s knee-jerk and not really a helpful piece of advice. I’m definitely in one of my moods right now. I’m told lawsuits never really solve anything anyway…
    Rest assured though that TRUSTWORTHY SITTERS and GREAT DAYCARES actually do exist! We’ve had several. Our current sitter is actually one of the named guardians for our kids if we should die or become incapacitated. I’ve personally found that sitters who are also moms seem to bring a certain extraspecial skillset to their work that really clicks with our family’s needs vs. single childless ladies who are also good but haven’t been as great a fit overall for us, FWIW.

  10. Although I generally think SarcastiCarrie is the bee’s knees, I have to disagree that the nanny didn’t do anything unsafe. What if the nanny had been in a car accident while the child was at daycare? There would have been absolutely no way to reunite mother and child. Or god forbid, an accident at the daycare – again, no way to get in touch with the parents. Plus, if the daycare is so irresponsible as to take a child without her parent’s permission, who is to know that they have made safe choices in terms of employees.

  11. We’ve had a couple of great nannies – a just-graduated college student who was planning to attend medical school and specialize in neonatology and had nannied for a family with a 4 year old, a 2 year old, and newborn twins!! She started when Casper was 3 months old and did the kind of brain-stimulating games you read about in child psychology books but no actual parent of a 3 month old has the spoons to do. She also washed dishes unasked while Casper napped. We trusted her deeply (let her drive the baby, take her everywhere) and never had any trouble at all.When she left for med school we entered a nanny share which was more complex and lasted for a long time, so a less unalloyed joy, more human scale. But the nanny there was very trustworthy and loved Casper and we kept in touch until we moved away. We moved Casper to group care when we got a spot after 2 years on the wait list because the nanny was DAMNED expensive. Worth it, but mr. flea was in grad school at the time and my work subsidized the center (which was why it had a 2 year waiting list.)
    I can’t imagine that betrayal of trust of someone you let live in your house. I agree that you should tell the child little to nothing – Casper does not remember her second nanny even though she left her care when she was 2 1/2 and we saw her every couple of months until we moved when she was nearly 5.

  12. I would be so sick at heart if this had happened to me. How awful. Enormous trust betrayal and I completely agree that it was dangerous in about 8 million different ways. Pool safety, unknown people safety, unknown sketchy daycare safety (!!! totally report them)…. lying and deceit at this level implies a total lack of concern about the child and her welfare. I do not consider myself a ridiculously overprotective parent, honestly, but that situation would give me nightmares.I want to agree with Moxie, but I’m concerned that the OP’s friend could open herself to legal trouble by purposely “getting the word out” to other parents. I am totally not at all a lawyer but IIRC, libel/slander start when you start potentially impacting someone’s earning power. Even if you’re telling the truth, 100% (and there’s no question about that from me, I want to make clear).
    Ethically, I agree with Moxie 100%. But in this lawsuit-happy age, I’d probably end up being careful about how far I went to make sure others knew about this nanny.
    About the child, yes, I would just avoid detail, saying that instead of having x take care of her, now it is y. Depending on the child’s age she may or may not ask a lot of questions (3+ being a major question-asking age, it seems) but I don’t think that kids always actually need the level of detail they may request. Just say that x had to take another job and now y will be there, lather rinse repeat. You can talk about the difficulty of missing x or being shy with y without going into detail about x going away. I have done this with mother’s helpers/babysitters, though of course it is a different level of acquaintance when your child is with someone for 3 months vs. 2 years.

  13. We had to fire our nanny last month after I found out she had lied about some things. This discovery was on top of consistent lateness/calling out/etc. I felt like I couldn’t trust her anymore.My daughter is 27 months so all I said was that “Nanny” couldn’t come to play anymore. It is a real shame because my daughter really liked her and she seemed so nice and with it when we first hired her. It breaks my heart that my daughter asks for her.
    She was our first nanny and the whole experience has kind of scarred me. I have yet to look for another nanny/babysitter even though I desperately need one.
    Not really a happy nanny story but thought I’d share what we told my daughter. Keeping it simple seemed best.

  14. I’m with L. My real reason for not wanting to shout about the bad nanny from the rooftops is based in corporate-land. We don’t “do” references. We can confirm dates of employment and job titles only, so once you go around unasked trashing someone’s reputation, it seems a little dangerous (and like asking for trouble). I worry about lawsuits but also revenge. I don’t need that. Not from someone who knows everything about my family and my children.I hadn’t even thought about the licensing of the day care. I assumed since it was the sister-in-law’s day care that there were contact numbers should they need something in an emergency, and that they were trustworthy and decent and that the girl was well cared for during her time at “play group”. But yes, you could totally (and should!) rat them out to the authorities. A business is a business.
    I’m willing to reconsider my original answer now that you are all coming up with great (horrible) things to consider.

  15. Holy Toledo. I am completely with @multimomma on this one. So many betrayals, where to start?! I have no ideas about the law, but some of the ex-nanny’s behavior does seem to border on criminal, if not actually so.My heart goes out to the parents and I wish for them peace of mind and a wonderful childcare outcome to all of this.

  16. This is the kind of situation where I think it would be hard to overreact. Report the day care center, certainly. As for getting the word out about the nanny herself, that’s important as well but more tricky, and I’m not sure what you can do beyond being brutally honest with anyone who calls for a reference (not that she’d be stupid enough to give their name as a reference, but you never know).As far as what to tell their daughter, I don’t agree that she should be kept in the dark *if* they sense that she senses that something is up. I think on the contrary that kids often perceive conflict even when we think we’re shielding them from it and that this can be particularly scary to them. I would probably try to explain the situation in an as age-appropriate and reassuring a way as possible.
    I would likely explain (if she asks) that “Daddy and Mommy need to know where you are at all times so that we can make sure you are safe and so that we can help you if you need us. [Nanny] took you places without letting us know where you were. This scared us, and it is not safe and not OK.” A clear safety lesson, and not an unimportant one to start learning even at age 3, IMHO.
    However, there’s absolutely no need to go into all the terrible what-ifs that leap into your head when you think about this situation as a parent.
    To mention a positive nanny experience, today we’re saying goodbye to our amazing nanny of two-and-a-half years, and I’m quite sad about it. (My son is hopefully starting nursery school on Thursday — we’re making a go for half days and crossing our fingers on the potty front — and I’ll soon be on maternity leave, so our nanny will be starting with a new family tomorrow.)
    She’s been great with our son, and I’m still amazed and grateful when I think back at how she calmed and reassured my son (and gently got him to nap in his own crib!) when I went back to work at the height of nine-month separation anxiety. She’s been incredibly reliable and trustworthy, and we feel incredibly lucky.
    She most likely will still be with her new employer when I go back to work again in September 2011, but I’m crossing my fingers and hoping anyway that she just might be available again.
    Good nannies do exist!

  17. Two more things — I just realized that “it’s hard to overreact” doesn’t parse too well. What I mean is I can’t imagine being TOO scared, or TOO angry, or TOO ready to take action against the nanny in this kind of situation. In my opinion it is criminal behavior on her part. So what I mean to say is that I, at least, wouldn’t worry about treading lightly.Also, I could be totally wrong about this, but I think that kids understand that adults are held to different standards and have different responsibilities than children do. I kind of doubt that understanding that it was the nanny’s job to make sure that the kid was safe, she didn’t do her job, therefore she no longer has the job would necessarily correlate to “I do something wrong, I have to go away” in a child’s mind.
    I guess this is another one of those situations where you just have to carefully listen and observe your kid to see where their reasoning takes them with it…

  18. I am curious as to the process OP went through when she hired this nanny. Did you do a background check? Did you get any professional references, not just friends but places of business? I find it baffling that you did not know what “pool” she was taking your little one to. Did you ever say “What pool and where is it located?”I also am having trouble understanding why your daughter would ever think you would send her away. I just don’t understand that. Why would she think that? She is your daughter. The above posters who said keep it simple are correct: just tell your daughter that nanny will no longer be with us. That’s all. 3 year olds do not need to know all the ins and outs of adulthood: they shouldn’t know them.
    Please do your homework next time and do background checks if you decide to get another nanny.

  19. I have to agree that the daughter is likely to sense that something is going on. Kids pick up on that.Also, I wonder if the best way to prevent another family from using her as a nanny would be to contact her former family. I assume that this family had people to contact as references before they hired her. If she has two brain cells, she won’t offer this family as a reference, but she might give the names of previous families. That might be a good way to protect another family from hiring her, without making a big public spectacle of her.

  20. We use a home-run daycare, so I don’t have any personal experience with nannys. I think it would be a gut-wrenching experience to find out this trusted person wasn’t caring for your child the way you thought they were. I would definitely refuse to offer a reference, and contact the appropriate agency about the daycare doing business under the table.Surprise drop-ins with care givers always seem like a good idea- regardless if you have any doubts about the place/person your child is with. When we were shopping around for a daycare, I ultimately trusted my gut feeling (some places made my gut scream NOOOO).
    For the daughter, keep it simple and just say nanny won’t be watching her during the day anymore, similar to @parisenne’s thoughts.

  21. @Tel — Whoa! Your comment was way out of line. I suspect you may be a troll (and I should ignore you), but I can’t help myself. How do you know the parents weren’t asking where the pool was? How do you know they didn’t do background checks? The sort of behavior described in the original post is not criminal and wouldn’t turn up in a background check. It sounds like the misbehavior was pretty recent too, so prior references may not have experienced anything like it.Your difficulty understanding why a 3 year old would ever think her parents would send her away is what makes me think you’re a troll. That reaction leads me to believe you don’t have kids, have never been around kids and don’t have a very good memory of your own childhood.
    Anyway, on to my good nanny story. My current (and only) nanny has been with us for 2 years. When we’re out and about on weekends, people who have seen her with my daughter come up to me and my husband to tell us what a great job she’s doing. She’s experienced with several different families but doesn’t question our parenting decisions. In addition to being a great caregiver, our nanny is a very good employee who always shows up on time, doesn’t take unplanned time off and handles any disagreements/annoyances directly.

  22. Kate:I merely asked OP what methods she used to screen this nanny. I was trying to understand and ask questions, not be accusatory. I did not call names, (like you did) and I did not mean for my comment to be out of line. And I’m not an internet troll. I am a teacher, a parent of a four year old daughter and I employ a part-time nanny who is wonderful.
    I interviewed approximately 14 nannies before I hired our current nanny and it was worth the leg work. A background check is necessary not just to turn up bad records but to get a well-rounded feel for who this person is that you are considering for hire.
    I found it strange for the OP to be afraid that her daughter would think she would be “sent away” and I mentioned it because I found it to be strange. I just cannot imagine my daughter ever thinking that. If she did, I would of course be heartbroken, but I just can’t imagine her feeling that way.
    I do not in any way know if OP asked her nanny what pool and location: that is why I asked the question, so that I could find out. It did not say in her post and I was curious.
    I also find it odd that you attack me and my opinion, my method of asking questions, while at the same time name-calling and insulting me and being extremely judgmental and rude.

  23. Wow. This is scary. I’m so sorry this happened to the OP– I can’t imagine the sense of violation. I would report the daycare center, pronto. That’s a clear violation. While it is true that the nanny didn’t do anything directly dangerous, as other posters pointed out, anyone of the situations she put the child in could’ve become dangerous because the parents and the people she left the child with didn’t know where each other were. In our area we have a parents resource and childcare referral agency where many babysitters are listed– if anything like that (or an on-line parents network where babysitters are rated) exists in your area, I’d report her there, limiting my comments to just the facts (i.e. “violated contract in x, y, z ways”).I have to say, this is, generally speaking, one of the advantages of free standing licensed day care centers. I expected to hate daycare, but after my son started at a wonderful center, I realized that having several women working supervised as a team was, for me, a more comfortable scenario than one individual alone w/ my baby all day calling the shots. Plus, one can look for past problems with the licensing agency, talk to other parents and, if problems arise, there are more direct lines of recourse.
    That being said, we’ve also worked with a wonderful baby sitter who was wonderful with our son– loving and sweet, very respectful of our wishes, and our son adored her. ITA that wonderful nannies and baby sitters are indeed out there and far outnumber the bad apples.

  24. I agree with Tel. I find it strange that the parents didn’t know – I chat with my 3yo about her day in daycare every day, and it seems like these kinds of things would come up in conversation. Maybe the child isn’t very verbal? Mine would be going on and on about the TV shows she watched, the friends she played with, the candy she ate, and the jig would be up in no time!And I also agree that the child isn’t likely to worry about being sent away – at least I can’t imagine that mine would be – and that the nanny leaving could be explained simply as “she can’t be with us any more, so we’ll find a new nanny to take care of you” (or whatever) and leave out all the talk about danger or lying.

  25. In OP’s defense, the OP states that he/she is a friend of the family in question; not the parent of this 3-year-old. Maybe we got a blip of information that doesn’t speak to the whole story.As for the child thinking, I would wonder that, too, but I’ve seen/heard of plenty of children who jump to some rather unexpected conclusions. This could be a reasonable fear of the parents who know their child.
    I haven’t used nanny care for my daughter, so I have no stories to contribute, but I wish the best for the family. I’d be utterly outraged.

  26. A couple of people have said that the nanny’s actions weren’t criminal, but as a former prosecutor, I think the parents should contact the local DA/police department. She absolutely committed fraud, and with a little digging, I bet there is a child endangerment or kidnapping-type charge to be made. Depending on state law, it may be a crime to take a child somewhere the parents have not authorized. Also, based on the reactions here, I don’t think a misdemeanor charge would be a tough sell to a jury.Plus, even if she’s not convicted, the charge will show up on any background check, and in most states you can’t be liable for slander/libel for making a police report unless you intentionally fabricated it. So, it will allow future unsuspecting parents to protect their kids.

  27. Yikes. No actual harm done thank goodness, but way too much risk taken and trust absolutely shattered. We only had a nanny for 6 weeks – which enabled us to hit for the cycle on pre-elementary paid care arrangments, I believe: home daycare, center daycare, nanny, preschool – but we did lose her to a sudden unfortunate incident and have to explain it to Mouse.There was a horrific violent event in our nanny’s family and she had to return to her home state to see to things there. Before that happened, she was wonderful. But there it was, mother’s day 2007, and after a sobbing call from J we had no childcare for the next day and a 3-year-old who was very perplexed. We chose to conceal the details entirely in this case, and simply explain that J had to leave to do something very important for her own family. Since it wasn’t a conflict situation, J wrote Mouse a letter a little later saying sorry and goodbye. Mouse still talks about her sometimes, but it was an arrangement that was always expect to be short, so it’s different. I think it would be OK in this case for the little girl to remember the nice times she had with the nanny fondly – but to know that not everything was safe and so the nanny had to stop taking care of her. She might, if she’s like my kid, worry about whether she did something wrong or should have known something wasn’t safe, and I would say the answer is no, neither – just tell mommy and daddy all about your day and what you do. We want to hear.
    I wish the parents healing and a better next situation!!

  28. Yikes. I have no direct nanny experience, so have nothing to add there.But, like @BlueBirdMama, I’ve been surprised by how much I love my day care center. The teachers are wonderful, and there is very low turnover. They do cool activities with the kids starting from about 1 year old. They cuddle and read to and play with the younger babies. I never worry about how my children are being cared for during the day.
    I love the fact that each room has at least two adults in it for the majority of the day (as the babies go home, the baby room may drop down to one adult, but by that time, the “bigger babies”- i.e., the ones who are walking- are playing outside in a yard that the baby room looks out onto via a wall of windows, so even then, there are multiple adults nearby). I figure that this way, even if one person is having a truly rotten day, the kids will have another adult there who is doing better. Not that I’ve ever seen evidence of any of the teachers having a rotten day- I just figure that it must happen. I mean, I have rotten days sometimes, and I don’t work with people who poop on me. Well, at least not literally.

  29. Sorry, no good nanny story to share (thankfully nothing *bad* just…meh. They were flakes, I’m sorry to say) but we have had very good luck with daycares. Our current daycare/preschool is a bit chaotic, but our kids absolutely love it.For those wondering why conversations with a 3yo didn’t reveal many details, you should meet my 4yo. I can barely get him to tell me a single thing about his day. Me: Did you paint today? Him: Yeah.
    *crickets chirping*

  30. I think if the children are told their nanny did unsafe things that they might not feel safe with other nannies/ sitters, and therefore feel their parents are abandoning them to an unsafe situation.

  31. No harm done, but plenty could have happened. It’s not as if the boyfriend was screened to make sure he wasn’t a sex offender, there was a risk of drowning at the pool (apartment pools seldom have lifeguards), and who knows what other risks are possible at some other person’s home–guns in a drawer, biting animals, and invited guests that you will never know about.This was an extreme breach of trust. A two year old never could have described any of it. My child at three was a motormouth and it would have come out quickly, but I know many are still not uber-talkative at three.
    I would not think the child would personalize any kind of wrong doing, but maybe it is time to talk about how the caregiver is doing work for the mom and dad, and that person is paid to do a job. Then you can say the person is going to work at a different job and mom/dad is finding somebody new.
    I defer to the other commenters on how to lodge a complaint. I feel like independent nannies don’t really have any regulation. Sadly, I just don’t think there is any way to really ensure that nobody else has your same bad experience with this person. You can make it harder for the person to find work through an agency, but if they want to advertise themselves on Craigslist, they certainly can. ::shudder::
    Honestly, I didn’t love our daycare, but I felt like we could trust it. Trust is key; there are no do-overs where child safety is concerned.

  32. P.S. I guess it doesn’t say there was a pool at the boyfriend’s, I just assumed that. Still, the more I think about the boyfriend’s house, the more dangers I think about; you know the place wasn’t childproofed in any meaningful way.I do still disagree about telling the child about the unsafety of it all. No harm was done to the child (thankfully) and I would try to let it go so as not to introduce the fear of a grownup not being trustworthy and safe. I would probably go heavy on the praise for talking all about the child’s day though, and encourage that like mad when a new nanny is found.

  33. We found her through a nanny finding agency…. spent $2,500 to find her. They did the background check and initial interview with her 4 references. I called and followed up with all the references.We paid for her to have a rec center membership so she could take our daughter to the pool… The first few times I asked if she took her to the rec center and she said she did. So when she later said “we went to the pool” I wrongly assumed she used the membership I paid for her…
    We talked to our nanny about our daughter’s day and then we talked to our daughter during dinner about her day… It is fairly easy to put the little statements that your child says into the story your nanny told you…

  34. @Me: In that case, I woulda) inform the agency
    b) call the references she gave you (if you still have the contact details) so that you can inform them of the situation in case she ever again tries to use any of them as a reference
    c) look into taking legal action – as people have said, not because suing her will solve anything at this stage, but because it will provide a black mark on her record that will be much harder for her to explain away than simply the fact that she is no longer in your employ (she could easily lie about the reasons for that on her CV). Since she violated an explicit written contract, I’m sure there must be some sort of legal recourse. Whether it would be worth it in practical terms is a different matter entirely and worth thinking about carefully before embarking on it, so, if and when you get advice on that front, do make sure the person you talk to gives you a realistic picture of what a legal case will involve in terms of expense, time, and emotional wear and tear for you. But do consider it.
    I also completely agree with the point some people made that you should report the SIL’s day care.
    What a completely horrible nightmare for you and your husband. I am so glad that at least your little girl is fine despite it all. If you are able to post back as time goes on with updates on what steps you took and how it worked out, I know many people here would appreciate hearing that. (Or you may want to think about the whole nightmare as little as possible in future once you’ve informed whom you can inform – fair enough if so!) Good luck.

  35. We had a bad nanny situation too, and it was awful because she lived in the neighborhood and after she quit suddenly, she would skulk around avoiding our daughter, which was painful for our daughter. We always took the high road though, and were polite if we saw her (not friendly, however), and we didn’t badmouth her in front of our child, because she loved her. We tried to explain it at her level too, and she kept asking as she got older and we told more and more of the story, although it’s hard to explain something that you don’t understand yourself!After that incident, we went to a group daycare for all the reasons others have posted. We love it. OTH, my sister is a nanny and she’s excellent. People stop her on the street in her town to ask if she has time available.
    The other thing I thought, and it’s not cheerful, was the nanny going over to have sex with her boyfriend? If they put her in front of the TV and gave her candy, that’s kind of what it sounds like might have been going on. I’d keep (gently) talking to your daughter or maybe keep an ear out for what she says. Maybe you know the whole story; I can’t tell from the question. But there might be other things you’ll need to talk to her about, if she brings them up. But hopefully not.
    I’m really sorry this happened to your family.

  36. I didn’t see this earlier in the comments, so I wanted to be sure to say to the OP’s friend: This is not your fault. Even people who have good judgment and are careful get snookered now and again. I think it’s worth saying because when you discover you have misplaced your trust, it can shake your faith in yourself even though you’re not the one in the wrong.Also, I don’t think anyone should be giving the OP’s friend a hard time about the concern that the child will be afraid she might be sent away. This is exactly the kind of extrapolating and worrying that little kids do — you can’t assume the daughter will understand the context enough to get that her relationship with her parents is fundamentally different and sacrosanct, even as she sees another close tie in her life being suddenly severed.
    I like the idea of not going into too much detail and emphasizing the safety aspect in response to “why” questions. Another thing I think could be helpful is making clear that the parents have control of the situation and the decision-making — something like, “Our most important job is to take care of you, and we feel more comfortable with [new childcare provider], so we decided to switch.”
    I don’t have a three-year-old yet so I am not sure if this would work, but I was the kind of kid who would have jumped to exactly the kind of conclusion the OP describes. Remember that when you are very young you are the center of the universe, and it is only logical to assume that you can exert profound influence on everyone around you.
    For a child who worries about that kind of thing, it can be very reassuring to be hear that somebody else is in charge and you are not the one making things happen.

  37. It doesn’t sound at all to me from OPs post that the child in question said anything of the kind regarding being afraid she would be sent away. I think this whole thread is ridiculous personally.

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  39. I would strongly recommend against going out of one’s way to spread the word about this nanny, as there may well be laws that could come back to bite the parents in this case.Firing her, reporting her to any licensing boards, and checking out the center she’s been dropping the child off at are all good ideas. Not giving a reference or recommendation is well within the family’s rights.
    As for the child in question, any number of answers would be appropriate, so long as they are kept simple and dispassionate. Simply explaining that the nanny had found a place to live and was going to work elsewhere may be all that’s needed. Too many details can just be confusing.

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