This morning, my wife told our nanny not to let our younger son, who's 2 1/2, eat popcorn. We're worried he might choke on it because he stuffs it into his mouth. Well, when my wife came home today, she caught the nanny feeding him popcorn. "He cried so much when I told him no," the nanny told my wife.
How does one deal with this situation? Our nanny knows that, as working parents, we depend a great deal on her to look after our two boys. So I get the feeling she thinks she can get away with anything. For the most part, she's responsible and dependable. We've had her for nearly 4 years, and the kids love her. I don't want to fire her. But is there anything we can say or do that would make her listen?
Over 4 years, i'm not sure how you've dealt with disagreements before...but my very first thought was, treat it like the business that it is. Perhaps if you wrote up a formal "reprimand" and signed it and gave it to her, and told her you're keeping it in her "file", it might just be the "whoa" factor you need??
Out in the business world, people get "written up" for such things... its an idea?
Also..perhaps if she was given an alternative to offer him when he starts to ask for popcorn...and let your son know in advance that thats what he'll get when he asks for popcorn...??
It makes me wonder what other rules she has broken and you did not come home and catch her. Timing is everything, as they say. I wonder if you started coming home at slightly different times, or pop in during the day, what you may find. I have a friend that set up a webcam system (?) so she could see her living room during the day from her office, just a thought.
I like the "write up" idea. But geez, if she can't handle some tears over the fact that he didn't get popcorn, what else is she giving in on? I mean she has to lay down the rules when you're not there.
None of us are perfect be us nanny's or parents, but that is a safety issue with the popcorn. I'd talk to her from that angle. If she puts your children in harm's way again she will be let go. Whether you would actually fire her over that or not, it will probably scare some sense into her. And if your gut starts to bug you about stuff like this...get a nanny cam. The kids come 1st!!
"Go slowly, breathe and smile" Thich Nhat Hanh
Another idea might be to eliminate popcorn from the household until your son is old enough to eat it without harming himself. If anyone else in the household objects, tell them that it is only temporary.
DS is almost 3 and we give him popcorn, but he doesn't stuff it in his mouth like a chipmunk and we as his parents are supervising him. He's pretty "dainty" when it comes to eating it.
However, popcorn is the top choking danger to small children -- I thought it'd be hotdogs, but according to my MIL who teaches nursing and attended recently attended a class that talked about this -- popcorn can be very very dangerous. I'd talk to the nanny again -- and just keep the popcorn out of the house or away from DS until you feel he's old enough to have some.
Thanks for your suggestions, everyone. We've decided to institute a "no popcorn" policy around the house when she is here. Our older son, who is six and a responsible popcorn eater, will just have to wait for us to be around if he wants to eat it, because we can't trust our nanny not to let both of our boys have it.
I don't like the "write up" idea. You have your kids alone with her and if she is unhappy with you she can treat them bad. You better of replacing her all together at once if you are not happy.
I like idea to give kid something instead of popcorn much better. Why don't you take kids to big daycare where it will be more than one provider and more control. If you can't afford it just put up with the one you have.
You know they make a popcorn without hulls. You can find it in the potato chip aisle at the grocery store. I've let my little girl eat that since she's been able to master finger food. It kind of melts in your mouth. It comes in butter, movie theater butter and cheese flavor. My kids love it. I never let my kids eat regular popcorn before bed because way back in our family I had a great great aunt who died as a toddler because she choked to death on a hull of popcorn that was in her mouth when she was sleeping. It's always been a no-no in our entire family.
You might give the hull free kind a try it's really good.
Well she probably think that it is no big deal and you are being over protective (which still doesn't mean she can disobey you). Does she know how to deal with a choking incident? What if you had her make sure he isn't stuffing handfuls in his mouth? My son likes to stuff food in his mouth and has nearly choked before so I have to slow him down. He is 2 and has been having popcorn for a while. We just make sure he isn't stuffing handfuls in his mouth and he has been ok. You know she probably has done other things that she views as ok but you don't approve of. She might figure since she is the one taking care of him that she can bend the rules. This is a problem when your not taking care of your kids and letting someone else do it. I think you need to have a sit down conversation and let her know that you expect the rules to be followed and tell her when you guys say no to something it is serious.