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caedmyn

hiring a sitter/nanny for school hours--reasonable expectations

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Does she have any training at all? Anything? Red Cross babysitter course, early childhood development vocational program certificate, annnnnything?

I don't think she's qualified. 

Pay-wise, for future reference, I would contract (key word) for 4 day weeks, regardless, for a 36 week school year. There's already a flex day each week. I would pay her but not expect her to come if my kids had the stomach bug or a fever. I would offer a certain, set number of paid sick days for her, per semester.

You need a qualified, capable person and a proper contract.

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I think it's reasonable for her to ask for that pay. I don't think you have to give it though. A good employer would generally give tons of warning or give some or all of the pay for a period like that. But it's awkward because she's new and you're not even sure if you like her performance yet. If you don't give her anything and she ends up working out, maybe remember that come Christmas and give her a nicer bonus.

I would not pay her for sick days where she chooses not to come. But you really shouldn't have her come if people are throwing up unless it's for a reason that you know is not contagious.

I think it's literally her job to come up with amusements for the 3 yo. Obviously you should give her general ideas and guidance, but you should expect that she do it. It's a 3 yo. It's just an endurance test. If she can't do that, you don't need her.

I'm confused about why she's involved with the older ones at all. Isn't her job to watch the baby and toddler while the others do school? Yes, she should be firm... but it's going to be really hard for her to establish a rapport and be the one involved in discipline when she doesn't watch them. Like, that just seems like an awkward situation for her. You're presumably there and these older kids aren't her job. She sees one do something against the rules while you're in the other room... That's a weird, gray area. I think you need to spell out exactly what you want from her in that sort of situation. It would not be immediately obvious to me if I was in her shoes.

 

Edited by Farrar
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1 hour ago, caedmyn said:

 

 

 

8 minutes ago, Farrar said:

 

I'm confused about why she's involved with the older ones at all. Isn't her job to watch the baby and toddler while the others do school? Yes, she should be firm... but it's going to be really hard for her to establish a rapport and be the one involved in discipline when she doesn't watch them. Like, that just seems like an awkward situation for her. You're presumably there and these older kids aren't her job. She sees one do something against the rules while you're in the other room... That's a weird, gray area. I think you need to spell out exactly what you want from her in that sort of situation. It would not be immediately obvious to me if I was in her shoes.

 

 

I wondered about that, too, but upon rereading: Babysitter is to watch the 6yo for an hour after he's done with schoolwork, and supervise all of the children while they eat lunch and Mom has some down time.

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12 minutes ago, Lang Syne Boardie said:

 

 

I wondered about that, too, but upon rereading: Babysitter is to watch the 6yo for an hour after he's done with schoolwork, and supervise all of the children while they eat lunch and Mom has some down time.

Ah. You're right.

In a case like this, you really need someone who is going to be firm then. Because there's no more boundary pushing moment than someone else in charge when mom is right there in the next room or upstairs or whatever.

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She sounds like she is doing a job of a mother's helper while wanting to receive pay and treatment of a nanny. So I wouldn't be paying for any time she is not there, regardless of whose "fault" it is.

 

 

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My 2 eldest dd's have been nannies for years, so my feedback is based on intimately knowing the nanny end of these situations.

1) Yes, you should pay her for the week you'll be gone. 

2) Yes, it's reasonable for her not to work with very sick kids but still get paid for her time. Her boundaries on how sick sound reasonable.

3) If she's sick, you should not have to pay her.

4) It's not your job to come up with ways to entertain the kids. That's her job. As long as you are giving her adequate space and resources, this isn't a problem that you should have to solve.

5) Discipline personality can be a deal breaker. You'll have to decide if it's something you can live with or not. Finding a match between nanny and family discipline styles is the hardest part about the nanny/parent relationship. Believe me, it's a consideration for the nanny, too.

 

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I would pay her for when you are going away but in the future set a policy that you will not pay if she is given X number of weeks notice(theory being she has time to set up other day jobs if she needs to with enough notice.)

She should certainly be coming up with activities for the 3 yr old. That is her job.

I would not pay her for the days she chooses not to come if one of your kids is sick. That day you are responsible for the sick kid but she has other kids that are still her responsibility in your home and she can tend to them like normal or choose not to risk exposure and not be paid. If all the kids she normally watches are sick then I'd pay her.

Paying for when she calls out sick is unreasonable.

As for the discipline issue, I don't know. I would possibly give her more time to get comfortable in the position before bringing it up.

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Given your situation, I would let her go and start over You need a better fit, and a contract with more clarity on responsibilities and benefits. 

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13 hours ago, Lang Syne Boardie said:

Does she have any training at all? Anything? Red Cross babysitter course, early childhood development vocational program certificate, annnnnything?

I don't think she's qualified. 

Pay-wise, for future reference, I would contract (key word) for 4 day weeks, regardless, for a 36 week school year. There's already a flex day each week. I would pay her but not expect her to come if my kids had the stomach bug or a fever. I would offer a certain, set number of paid sick days for her, per semester.

You need a qualified, capable person and a proper contract.

She has 4 kids of her own, so that seemed sufficient for qualifications and experience.  But she's definitely going to have to show that she can be firm enough to get them to listen to her or she's not going to work out.  If my older ones decide that they can ignore her with impunity it's going to be virtually impossible for her to manage them, and so far I've not seen that she's willing to do more than tell them they need to do something.  We've had this problem before with sitters...I don't know why it's so difficult to understand that if you tell a kid to do/not do something, you have to be willing to follow through and make sure they do it/stop doing it.  I don't know what questions to ask to find somebody who understands this.  I thought hiring somebody with kids of their own would solve that problem.  We did ask if she could be firm and she said yes.

I can see that we needed to spell out the details more clearly.  We'd set it up for M-Th because that's when we normally do school, but I can see that it would be better to do it for a 4 day week instead of those 4 days. 

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Maybe your kids are more difficult than she’s used to, so that “firm” means something different to the two of you. 

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I'm especially surprised that she has 4 kids but struggled to keep the 3 yo amused for a few hours.

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She may have kids who naturally are more compliant. Also...

are you within earshot all of the time? I think I would struggle to figure out how to boss someone else’s kids around in their own home with their mom right there. It would just feel weird. So she may need more direct instruction or reassurance that you do really need her to follow through with consequences every singles timer.

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Yeah, I've worked in preschools/ babysat/ nannied/ taught pretty much since I was 12.  But the dynamics of getting compliance from children when their parents are on the premises is just weird and awkward and hard.  I would not like that set up personally at all.  

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For interviewing, I think it helps to describe a situation and ask how the potential caregiver would handle it. 

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9 hours ago, caedmyn said:

But she's definitely going to have to show that she can be firm enough to get them to listen to her or she's not going to work out.  If my older ones decide that they can ignore her with impunity it's going to be virtually impossible for her to manage them, and so far I've not seen that she's willing to do more than tell them they need to do something.  We've had this problem before with sitters...I don't know why it's so difficult to understand that if you tell a kid to do/not do something, you have to be willing to follow through and make sure they do it/stop doing it. 

Fwiw, she's not the pay grade of person to solve your family problems. You have unmedicated ADHD, kids with social thinking deficits, all kinds of stuff going on, and you're asking some random person off the street to come in and do something about it. 

If your kids were thinking in a socially typical way, they would understand the expectation that they obey her and they would comply. But for whatever reason, that's not where they are, and that's not her fault.

I'm pretty realistic about the pay grade of people ready to work with my ds, and I can't expect random people to be ready to do it. If you want professionals, hire professionals or put them in school. 

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If you have employed her for 4 days a week she needs to be able to count on being paid for those days each week.  If she can't then you can't really expect her to hold that time for you.  It is fine to say term only especially as she has kids.  In this case you forgot about the week so you pay her.  If all your kids are sick you pay but if even one is well she cares for that one.  She doesn't care for really sick kids but kids nearly better but wouldn't be sent to preschool are fine.

I am not surprised a mother of four can't entertain a 3 year old.  It sounds like you have unusual kids.  Her kids were probably complaint kids who entertained themselves or watched TV.  I know a number of people with 4 + kids I would have manage ds10 when he was 3.

 

It may be easier to send the one and three year old to some kind of childcare a couple of times a week.

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On 9/9/2019 at 5:46 PM, PeterPan said:

Fwiw, she's not the pay grade of person to solve your family problems. You have unmedicated ADHD, kids with social thinking deficits, all kinds of stuff going on, and you're asking some random person off the street to come in and do something about it. 

If your kids were thinking in a socially typical way, they would understand the expectation that they obey her and they would comply. But for whatever reason, that's not where they are, and that's not her fault.

I'm pretty realistic about the pay grade of people ready to work with my ds, and I can't expect random people to be ready to do it. If you want professionals, hire professionals or put them in school. 

The only problem I expect her to solve is the "it's really hard to do school with a crazy 3 yo running around" one.  I'm only asking that she make a reasonable effort to get the older ones to listen.  Telling them once and then doing nothing if they don't isn't a reasonable effort in my book. 

My kids understand very well that they are supposed to obey...they just generally don't care to.  They are quite capable of adapting their behavior based on who is supervising them--they listen much better to DH or their extremely no-nonsense female Sunday school teacher than to me, so I know it's largely a matter of them being motivated to listen.

 

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13 minutes ago, caedmyn said:

My kids understand very well that they are supposed to obey...they just generally don't care to

Look, I've had in-home workers with my ds and I've had it go south, so it takes very little imagination for me to get what is happening here. I lived it. I fired people. 

So to me, the issue is that your kids aren't ready to comply and it's not HER job to make that happen. That is a significantly higher pay grade than what you're paying for. The help you've hired, around here would be in the $14-18 an hour range. That's what I would pay that person.  It's basically some nice person, maybe with a little college education, who comes in and does things with the kid, makes light demands, and has no authority to enforce anything. That's what I pay for that level of person.

If I want someone with some gravitas, someone who will follow through, that person will have a bachelors or masters and that person will get paid a MINIMUM of $60 an hour. And the people who do it in schools, like an intervention specialist, who will come in my home and follow through on behaviors and do what it takes, bill at $100 an hour.

The pay grade of person you've got is a VBS worker. They smile nicely, ignore behaviors, smooth it over. If the kids have social thinking difficulties and aren't understanding why they obey not only you but also the worker and their father and the policeman and and and... the end result is they treat YOU worse too. Because then they've had practice not obeying. So then YOU are frustrated.

That's why I fired my workers at that level, because MY DS wasn't ready to understand and comply and it was actually making things worse in the long run.

Whatever, it's your situation. But if you go in any public setting, like say the Y gymnastics program, where they have their "discipline" guidelines for employees posted, you'll see that noncompliance is handled the way your worker is handling it. That is what that paygrade of person is allowed to do. 

If you want the olders to obey, then you have to walk up, when you see them not complying, and YOU enforce it. YOU have to make it happen and prewarn them of the expectation and follow through. It may take you several weeks to follow through enough, setting aside serious academic plans and just working on behaviors, to get everyone complying at the level you need. IF YOU WANT IT, that's what you would have to do. YOU will have to follow through every command, you will have to give consequences, you will make it happen. And then they will know you have the worker's back.

I'm surprised the worker isn't quitting. If you don't want to have her back and follow through, I would completely limit who interacts with her to the youngest on the assumption that the youngest can comply with her. If the youngest are not able to comply (and we're talking age 1 and 3), then you're back to the suggestion of preschool with professionals, that something more is going on. 

So no, the issue is that you have to follow through, you have to make it happen. I've had a number of workers in my home, and they're usually a catch-22 and take a lot of effort from me. I've had ONE in-home worker (out of a fair number) who was above the rest, but she was in a doctoral program for OT. So even though she was billing at under $20 an hour she was way, way more qualified and experienced. She was credentialed in multiple things, had a masters, had substitute taught, and she could just come in and make things happen, lol. But I've never had another worker at that pricepoint be ready to do that. 

23 minutes ago, caedmyn said:

they listen much better to DH or their extremely no-nonsense female Sunday school teacher than to me, so I know it's largely a matter of them being motivated to listen.

So let's be honest. You used to be a police officer, yes? Like you have some ability to crack down and be firm and you're a sensible, intelligent, no nonsense kinda person yourself. So what is happening there? I've had that kinda skewed dynamic with my ds, so I'm not criticizing you here. I've had it happen, and I had to realize *why* it was happening and get really point blank honest about it. 

1. My ds struggles to understand authority because of his social thinking deficits.

2. His concept of who was in charge was really, really screwed up. Basically for a long time it was Alpha Male, Biggest Person in the room. Then it turned into he's in charge, haha.

3. If anything is dividing my attention from ds and taking my time from him, he sorta forgets I'm a Serious Mama Despot in my own right. So I have to take him away and get in his head and get really reconnected and get him snapping.

4. I have to be very careful about religious figures around me who will say crappy things like clearly he just needs a man, he responds better to men, blah blah. That's DANGEROUS. My ds deserves to have the social thinking that allows him to understand that the person in charge is who he obeys unless it is against the law or harmful to himself. Not who is biggest or who is alpha male or any other screwed up, mixed up social thinking he comes up with. He deserves to understand that so that he can go into ANY SETTING and be safe. What happens if he meets a woman cop? A quiet this or that? 

So you do have to be realistic. It is not that woman's job to solve these deep problems like "can but doesn't want to." That is so way deep and beyond her paygrade. It's totally reasonable to expect her to be able to work with the 1 and 3 yos unless they turn out to have developmental issues beyond ADHD. If there's more than ADHD, that is completely unreasonable also. And it's unreasonable to expect her to corral, correct, wrangle, etc. anyone else. That is your problem. And I would pre-warn every one of those older kids till their skins shown with the heat of your expectations and follow through. If you want it, that's what you have to do, light a fire under their butts.

And personally, I'd send anyone to school who is making life hard, whether your dh or anyone likes the ps or not. "Doesn't want to" is not good preparation for life. And I'm not saying something I don't tell myself. My ds is wicked hard honestly. He'd make your kids look like SAINTS. But if you don't have their hearts on "I might not want to but I'm doing it because my Mama said it's the right thing to do" then what are you winning on, kwim? Your influence on them is paramount. Win on it. If you like the worker, then this is worth winning on.

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So the other thing is that behavior problems, compliance problems, sometimes clear up amazingly overnight with ADHD meds.

Edited by PeterPan
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I just think the situation you're setting up is really difficult. Everyone has their own way of establishing the type of rapport and relationship that leads to authority and respect with kids. With you right there, it's going to be hard for her to establish her own rapport and authority.

It's easy to babysit (or, easy enough usually) because you're there, you're in charge, it's clear. You are the one keeping them safe. You have guidelines from the parents - no TV, only this single cookie, pick up the blocks when you're done, whatever. But you have the power to determine everything else. And maybe you leave the blocks out longer (gasp). Or maybe you aren't the sort of person who does cookies at all. Regardless, it's up to you. And you get the say, next we do this or that. Or  next you get to pick. You get to get investment from them and build a relationship. This woman can't do that. You're right there. She's just backup to your words and directives.

Which is fine. You say, do this and she does it. Get the 3 yo outside. Put the food out for the older kids so you can settle the little ones for nap or quiet time. Give the baby a snack. That's a totally useful role. She's an extra pair of hands. But she isn't going to have the power to decide anything. And the older kids will know that. So why bother to listen to her. She's not in charge. 

It really sounds like the older kids are boundary pushers. Two cooks in the kitchen is just going to give them more power to push those edges. Which is not a solution, just an observation. Maybe the best solution is that she's really just in charge of the littles. And maybe she gets her own space. The littles are outside or in the playroom (or den or sunroom or their bedroom or whatever). She's in charge there. She keeps them there and that's it.

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Caedmyn, to be clear, you are saying that your children are well-behaved, attentive, and on task when your dh is in charge? 

Has he ever done a school day with your children? (Obviously not a good long-term solution, but this was very helpful in getting dh and I on the same page about understanding behaviors.) 

I think my advice really differs based on your response to the question. In all of your other posts, I have gotten the impression that you have a lot of unmedicated kids with attention issues, a lot of sprectrumy behaviors, and some learning issues. That’s a lot to deal with in just 1-2 kids, let alone several.

If that’s the case, odds are that the 3 year old has some behaviors rooted in neural diversity also and depending on the severity of those I think PeterPan is spot on—your sitter may be well over her head in how to manage that. My high needs preschoolers needed highly structured daily schedules with consistent routines, immediate feedback, a lot of sensory input, and a lot of intervention. It was absolutely exhausting (physically and emotionally) and more than what someone untrained working at babysitter rates was capable of doing.

I also think the Mother’s helper role for a mother of kids has got to be beyond awkward. Agreeing with the others there. She needs her own space in the house and I think more to the point needs to see you consistently doing GOYBP (get off your butt parenting—very consistent, immediate, effective parenting). 

 

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I think maybe if you don’t pay her for the time she asked about, she will use that as a justification to quit.  It doesn’t sound like it’s going great for her either.

I say this as someone who has had my own more-difficult kids..... when people know they can get an easier job working somewhere else, they don’t last long.  It’s not what they want to be doing.  They want to be working somewhere that everything will be easier for them.  

I agree with some previous posters, maybe it’s some feedback for you to take some more steps wrt your kids.

I have seen a dynamic at church before where kids will listen to the strictest person at church, and dad if it gets to the point he comes to deal with them.

It’s not a good situation!  The kids should be listening to any adult.  

It’s a long story, but I was at a church picnic once and a boy who was this way was playing on construction equipment and wouldn’t listen to anyone until his dad was hunted down.  

For an age where the expectation really is to obey a verbal direction for an adult. 

And I completely get not meeting that expectation for reasons, but it is an issue and deserves to be investigated.  

Edit:  and it was hard on this boy that people would be frustrated with him, and the other children would be frustrated with him also.  He would be fun to play with when he wasn’t kind-of out-of-control, but other kids did not like how he acted. 

It was not fair to him that it was all swept under the rug as “his mom is just a weak person.”  I was younger then and did not know any better.  But I think now — it was just not a good situation, and the dad did not want to see any of it, and his mom was basically a saint.  

 

Edited by Lecka
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9 hours ago, prairiewindmomma said:

Caedmyn, to be clear, you are saying that your children are well-behaved, attentive, and on task when your dh is in charge? 

Hahaha, I'm not Caedmyn, but we can get cynical on that REAL FAST! Lots of men seem to be in charge and have control because they don't do it for very long and don't do it with highly non-preferred disability areas. Or they smooth over the academics when they do the worksheet with the kid by giving all the answers and going into lectures that make them feel really good, snort.

So no, if my dh does school work with ds, he does very little and it reinforces his grandiose ideas about how great he is at it. I can't leave him anything real and I have to re-do everything he did because HE did it, not ds.

3 hours ago, Lecka said:

It’s not a good situation!  The kids should be listening to any adult.  

Bingo. And when they're not, it's not that Mom is a problem, the way uninformed outsiders paint it. It's that that kid has social thinking deficits and doesn't yet understand how authority works.

3 hours ago, Lecka said:

It was not fair to him that it was all swept under the rug as “his mom is just a weak person.”

Bingo. People who aren't trained in disabilities say this stuff, that it's just the mom, and it's not true. It's blameshifting and denying the disabilities. That didn't change till I brought in professionals. And actually what changed it was paying someone else to do the academics with ds. They could seen then that any reasonable dc would have been able to understand the expectations and comply, that it was HIM, not me. 

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9 hours ago, Farrar said:

It really sounds like the older kids are boundary pushers. Two cooks in the kitchen is just going to give them more power to push those edges. Which is not a solution, just an observation.

I really like the two cooks in the kitchen illustration. So just as an aside, what workers usually want, if they need to have some control with the dc, is time with them without the other person. So it's another thing op could do is FLIP the dynamic and have herself with the 1/3 and worker with the olders for an hour supervising straightforward, shut up and do it work. That work would be stuff they already do with mom that is completely independent, open and go, stuff they can do without assistance.

So yes, that would be another strategy. If you want the kids to mind her, they have to be taught HOW to mind her, what it means to mind two people, what the expectations are, how to do it.

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Another strategy I use with workers is having an activity afterward that is motivating. That's a lot harder to learn how to do well, and it takes some study of your kids. So with ds and a worker, I will have a list and a thing at the end that they want to do together that is motivating to ds. Usually the worker already has that thing in mind. So ds is doing his list to be able to do the thing he's wanting to get too. 

In other words, you can PAIR your worker with good things coming their way. Like if you do the FLIP to give her time with them, then it's like an hour but the last 15 minutes is something they really want, kwim? So like book and a snack, book and we order pizza because it's Friday, I don't know. I'm just saying pair her with good things, not only with compliance. Kids are going to buck if the person comes in and is only doing negative and crackdowns. There has to be positive time. 

And really, I think you want time with your littles, kwim? It shouldn't seem unnatural to your others that you want maybe 45 minutes with your littles and that you're going to flip workers like that. So you teach them the expected behaviors, set them up for success, and put something motivating at the end that they get to do WITH THE WORKER when they meet expectations. 

My ds is socially motivated, so doing something *with* someone is a motivator for him. It doesn't have to be stuff or food, kwim? For him, a nerf war is a consistent winner on motivators. Doesn't cost anything, is good for social thinking and self-regulation goals, and he'll work toward that. So it doesn't have to be so novel or expensive, just things, hopefully relational things, that they can do together that motivate them.

It could be a chapter read aloud, kwim? That could be HUGE. Give her a chapter book to read to them, something you know they'll get into, and they work nicely for 30 minutes while she supervises and then they get 15 minutes of read aloud and a snack.

And yes, I've done read alouds on the list like that. I've done Wii/nintendo, because often I get workers who are good at that, college age kids. 

But yeah, try a flip with some kind of positive end note. She is going to need to build some relationship with them to have the room to make demands. That's how it works. People don't just come in and make demands and bark orders. They ALWAYS build relationship first. It's unreasonable to expect her to make demands without relationship. Only the police do that, kwim? Everybody else builds relationships first. And even the police are out in the community, doing things, trying to build relationships. Making demands always starts with relationships.

Edited by PeterPan
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And sorry, I'm not trying to seem hard. Figuring out how to work with workers in the home is HARD. I've done it for several years now, and there were a lot of bumps. But I think you can find some positive strategies. 

-FLIP

-build relationships before making demands

-have her back

-clear expectations

-pre-teaching expectations

-motivators

-end on a positive note

And know that the worker can move on at any time and that you're probably not paying her enough to keep her if you don't do those things. Workers will take less money to have a more comfortable job, and right now there are a lot of more comfortable jobs. Target starts at $13 an hour. If I offer a worker $15 an hour but they have to put up with flack and have stress, they'd rather go to Target.

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How’s it going now?

Did you explain to her in advance that your children seem to have “spectrum-like” behavior (even if not diagnosed that way) or at least unmedicated adhd-like behavior?

Does she get a rest break during her time with your kids? 

It kind of sounds like you are expecting her to manage behavior problems and do some things with your kids that even you yourself are having trouble doing.

Another option to putting kids in school and or daycare might be for you to be the disciplinarian and entertainer all the time for all of them (if you are able to do that successfully) and hire tutor(s) to teach the older ones their academics.  

 

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Is the situation that the children have significant issues but there has been no evaluation...? And they're all homeschooled, and it's all on Mom?

I wonder if there's been some unexpected benefit to trying the mother's helper idea, or if this experience could be leveraged this way: If anyone who is blocking evaluations and treatment had an idea that a "better mother" (someone more experienced? just somebody else?) could easily handle all the children, then maybe they've had a reality check now. 

Obviously, I'm not really caught up on the issues. But I have had experience with people who would prefer to blame the mom rather than get the children some real, qualified help. Sometimes it's the mother blaming herself, hoping she'll woman up somehow and just do this, when what's really needed is professional help. Whoever is blaming mom or holding prideful or unrealistic expectations, I hope the experience with this other under-qualified but totally normal person is a wakeup call.

 

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On 9/10/2019 at 8:27 PM, Farrar said:

It really sounds like the older kids are boundary pushers. Two cooks in the kitchen is just going to give them more power to push those edges. Which is not a solution, just an observation. Maybe the best solution is that she's really just in charge of the littles. And maybe she gets her own space. The littles are outside or in the playroom (or den or sunroom or their bedroom or whatever). She's in charge there. She keeps them there and that's it.

Yes, the older 2 boys are big time boundary pushers.  I can have her just be in charge of the littles, but then I want to cut back her hours to 3 or maybe 3.5 a day, because the reason we hired her for 4 hours a day was so she could supervise lunch the last hour and then supervise the olders doing kitchen cleanup while I spent time with the littles.  I did find out this week that she plays the piano, so maybe I'll have her fix their lunch and I'll take a short break then.  Then I'll sit with them for lunch and afterward she can sit with one at a time while they do 10 minutes of piano practice, since I can't seem to get piano practice to happen regularly.

 

On 9/10/2019 at 8:59 PM, prairiewindmomma said:

Caedmyn, to be clear, you are saying that your children are well-behaved, attentive, and on task when your dh is in charge? 

Has he ever done a school day with your children? (Obviously not a good long-term solution, but this was very helpful in getting dh and I on the same page about understanding behaviors.) 

I think my advice really differs based on your response to the question. In all of your other posts, I have gotten the impression that you have a lot of unmedicated kids with attention issues, a lot of sprectrumy behaviors, and some learning issues. That’s a lot to deal with in just 1-2 kids, let alone several.

If that’s the case, odds are that the 3 year old has some behaviors rooted in neural diversity also and depending on the severity of those I think PeterPan is spot on—your sitter may be well over her head in how to manage that. My high needs preschoolers needed highly structured daily schedules with consistent routines, immediate feedback, a lot of sensory input, and a lot of intervention. It was absolutely exhausting (physically and emotionally) and more than what someone untrained working at babysitter rates was capable of doing.

I also think the Mother’s helper role for a mother of kids has got to be beyond awkward. Agreeing with the others there. She needs her own space in the house and I think more to the point needs to see you consistently doing GOYBP (get off your butt parenting—very consistent, immediate, effective parenting). 

 

I wouldn't go that far.  They definitely listen better to DH than me, and they behave somewhat better.  The attention issues and overall problems are still there.

She has done fine with the 3 yo this week.  He is not high needs (at least compared to DS10 who was very high needs) but super active and fairly strong-willed and a bit of a Houdini when it comes to defeating childproofing.  OK maybe he is high-needs as far as being exhausting, but he doesn't scream about everything like DS10 did, he isn't destructive, he doesn't seem to have attention issues, and I don't think he's unusually impulsive...just really fast.  A lot of this is a non-issue for her because they mostly stay in the family room downstairs where there's not much he can get in to, and the only way he can escape is up the stairs, and they're playing all the time so she's not trying to juggle a bunch of other kids, houseworking, cooking, etc while watching him.  So she does have her own space to watch the littles.

Edited by caedmyn

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2 minutes ago, caedmyn said:

Yes, the older 2 boys are big time boundary pushers.  I can have her just be in charge of the littles, but then I want to cut back her hours to 3 or maybe 3.5 a day, because the reason we hired her for 4 hours a day was so she could supervise lunch the last hour and then supervise the olders doing kitchen cleanup while I spent time with the littles.  I did find out this week that she plays the piano, so maybe I'll have her fix their lunch and I'll take a short break then.  Then I'll sit with them for lunch and afterward she can sit with one at a time while they do 10 minutes of piano practice, since I can't seem to get piano practice to happen regularly.

 

I wouldn't go that far.  They definitely listen better to DH than me, and they behave somewhat better.  The attention issues and overall problems are still there.

She has done fine with the 3 yo this week.  He is not high needs (at least compared to DS10 who was very high needs) but super active and fairly strong-willed and a bit of a Houdini when it comes to defeating childproofing.  A lot of this is a non-issue for her because they mostly stay in the family room downstairs where there's not much he can get in to, and the only way he can escape is up the stairs.  So she does have her own space to watch the littles.

 

Wouldn’t she want extra money if she is going to be the piano teacher in addition to her regular duties? Piano lessons would seem to be a separate service, and she wouldn’t really be able to supervise the kids’ piano practice without offering some form of instruction when they make mistakes. 

I have never heard of a sitter who gave piano lessons as part of her regular sitting fee.

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On 9/11/2019 at 6:33 AM, PeterPan said:

And sorry, I'm not trying to seem hard. Figuring out how to work with workers in the home is HARD. I've done it for several years now, and there were a lot of bumps. But I think you can find some positive strategies. 

-FLIP

-build relationships before making demands

-have her back

-clear expectations

-pre-teaching expectations

-motivators

-end on a positive note

And know that the worker can move on at any time and that you're probably not paying her enough to keep her if you don't do those things. Workers will take less money to have a more comfortable job, and right now there are a lot of more comfortable jobs. Target starts at $13 an hour. If I offer a worker $15 an hour but they have to put up with flack and have stress, they'd rather go to Target.

That is just way too much to have to do to get them to sit for 15 or 20 minutes at lunchtime.  A sitter is supposed to be making my life easier, not more complicated.  We are actually paying very well for the job.

Overall it seems easiest to change up her job responsibilities until I find something that works with the older ones (such as having her make lunch instead of supervise them eating it), or else reduce the hours to just the ones needed for school.  I'd feel bad about reducing the hours but it just doesn't make sense to be paying for the time if I can't use it effectively,

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9 minutes ago, Catwoman said:

 

Wouldn’t she want extra money if she is going to be the piano teacher in addition to her regular duties? Piano lessons would seem to be a separate service, and she wouldn’t really be able to supervise the kids’ piano practice without offering some form of instruction when they make mistakes. 

I have never heard of a sitter who gave piano lessons as part of her regular sitting fee.

It wouldn't be giving lessons, just supervising them while they're practicing.  I think they need an adult to sit with them while they practice for a while, both to make sure it gets done and to make sure they're practicing what they're supposed to be practicing.  Even if she gave a bit of direction here and there, I don't see that that qualifies as giving lessons.

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4 minutes ago, caedmyn said:

That is just way too much to have to do to get them to sit for 15 or 20 minutes at lunchtime.  A sitter is supposed to be making my life easier, not more complicated.  We are actually paying very well for the job.

Overall it seems easiest to change up her job responsibilities until I find something that works with the older ones (such as having her make lunch instead of supervise them eating it), or else reduce the hours to just the ones needed for school.  I'd feel bad about reducing the hours but it just doesn't make sense to be paying for the time if I can't use it effectively,

That's challenging. I didn't realize you were paying her for even more hours. Will she clean your house or do *light* house cleaning? 

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1 minute ago, caedmyn said:

That is just way too much to have to do to get them to sit for 15 or 20 minutes at lunchtime.  A sitter is supposed to be making my life easier, not more complicated.  We are actually paying very well for the job.

Overall it seems easiest to change up her job responsibilities until I find something that works with the older ones (such as having her make lunch instead of supervise them eating it), or else reduce the hours to just the ones needed for school.  I'd feel bad about reducing the hours but it just doesn't make sense to be paying for the time if I can't use it effectively,

 

There have been a lot of posts and I’m still new to this thread, so I apologize if I’m misinterpreting the problem here, but it seems as though the main issue is that your older kids won’t obey the sitter, and they aren’t 100% great about obeying you, either (but they are worse with the sitter.) 

Can you let the sitter know that she is allowed to be strict, and that you will back her up if the kids disobey her? And can you force yourself to be strict with your kids so they know they can’t get away with disobeying the sitter? 

I realize that it will take some time to get your kids to comply. I know it will be a nuisance for you, and will probably be more work for you at first than it would be to just watch the kids yourself and ditch the sitter. But if you are consistent and if you back up the sitter every time the kids disobey her, it probably won’t be long before the sitter can handle the kids on her own. 

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Just now, caedmyn said:

It wouldn't be giving lessons, just supervising them while they're practicing.  I think they need an adult to sit with them while they practice for a while, both to make sure it gets done and to make sure they're practicing what they're supposed to be practicing.  Even if she gave a bit of direction here and there, I don't see that that qualifies as giving lessons.

I did that as a babysitter, and I found it awkward. (do I correct, do I not, blah blah) If the kids have behavioral issues, it could be awkward. It's still a demand and something where you'll have to have her back. I think the idea is good. Is it something where she can be monitoring 2 others in a room and in the adjacent room the kid plays? 

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4 minutes ago, caedmyn said:

It wouldn't be giving lessons, just supervising them while they're practicing.  I think they need an adult to sit with them while they practice for a while, both to make sure it gets done and to make sure they're practicing what they're supposed to be practicing.  Even if she gave a bit of direction here and there, I don't see that that qualifies as giving lessons.

 

She might disagree with you. 😉

But even if she agrees to it, the biggest problem I see is that it sounds like your kids aren’t excited at having to practice the piano, so if the sitter is already having problems getting your kids to obey her, it seems like by making her force the kids to do something you already know is tough to get them to do, I think you are setting her up for failure. 

Edited by Catwoman
My iPad changed my words! Grrrr!
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2 minutes ago, Catwoman said:

Can you let the sitter know that she is allowed to be strict, and that you will back her up if the kids disobey her? And can you force yourself to be strict with your kids so they know they can’t get away with disobeying the sitter? 

I realize that it will take some time to get your kids to comply. I know it will be a nuisance for you, and will probably be more work for you at first than it would be to just watch the kids yourself and ditch the sitter. But if you are consistent and if you back up the sitter every time the kids disobey her, it probably won’t be long before the sitter can handle the kids on her own. 

This is so true. I do think it will be awkward if the sitter is thinking up consequences, with no behavior plan or prediscussion with you. I personally don't like it if my workers make up consequences on the spot when we haven't talked about them, because I don't like getting pinned with enforcing some consequence I'm not willing to enforce. But I do agree that with most kids, just in general, showing you have her back and pre-warning ought to be enough.

 

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Just now, PeterPan said:

I did that as a babysitter, and I found it awkward. (do I correct, do I not, blah blah) If the kids have behavioral issues, it could be awkward. It's still a demand and something where you'll have to have her back. I think the idea is good. Is it something where she can be monitoring 2 others in a room and in the adjacent room the kid plays? 

If she supervised piano she would only be responsible for the one child practicing during that time.  I would be in an adjacent room and can crack down on them if necessary.  They know if they slouch off they get time added to their 10 minutes so they should have some incentive to listen.

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1 minute ago, Catwoman said:

 

She might disagree with you. 😉

But even if she agrees to it, the biggest problem I see is that it sounds like your kids aren’t excited at having to practice the piano, so if the sitter is already having problems getting your kids to obey her, it seems like making her be the one to force the kids to do something you already know is tough to get them to do, I think you are setting the her up for failure. 

And, fwiw, when you're doing this you're covering for their EF deficits. The kids ought to have a work list from the piano teacher, and their checklist for the day should say go practice piano and they should go work the checklist from the piano teacher. That mother helper should need to do nothing more than sit in the other room and say good job. 

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1 minute ago, caedmyn said:

If she supervised piano she would only be responsible for the one child practicing during that time.  I would be in an adjacent room and can crack down on them if necessary.  They know if they slouch off they get time added to their 10 minutes so they should have some incentive to listen.

Is that really necessary? I mean, clearly you're finding it necessary, but man that's some serious issues if the kid cannot walk in, open up his list from the teacher, and do the list. Something is not right there.

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5 minutes ago, Catwoman said:

 

There have been a lot of posts and I’m still new to this thread, so I apologize if I’m misinterpreting the problem here, but it seems as though the main issue is that your older kids won’t obey the sitter, and they aren’t 100% great about obeying you, either (but they are worse with the sitter.) 

Can you let the sitter know that she is allowed to be strict, and that you will back her up if the kids disobey her? And can you force yourself to be strict with your kids so they know they can’t get away with disobeying the sitter? 

I realize that it will take some time to get your kids to comply. I know it will be a nuisance for you, and will probably be more work for you at first than it would be to just watch the kids yourself and ditch the sitter. But if you are consistent and if you back up the sitter every time the kids disobey her, it probably won’t be long before the sitter can handle the kids on her own. 

I have told her that.  I have given her a specific consequence to use if they don't listen.  I'm also giving consequences when I'm nearby and I catch them not listening to her or doing something they're not supposed to.

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1 minute ago, caedmyn said:

I have told her that.  I have given her a specific consequence to use if they don't listen.  I'm also giving consequences when I'm nearby and I catch them not listening to her or doing something they're not supposed to.

Or think the other way and praise positives. This is going to go negative really, really quickly. So like with the FLIP and read aloud idea, she's in the room supervising the olders while they do their independent work. Each goes out for 15 minutes and practices their piano (hopefully with headphones, haha) and comes back. When they've all done it, she does the read aloud. Kids are motivated, kids have success. Kids should have checklists from the teacher and be checking off their practice. Piano teacher can fry their butts. Mother helper doesn't supervise that at all. She just shuttles them out to the keyboard at the right time and then does the read aloud and snack.

All positive. No negative. Just saying.

When kids are very oppositional and opinionated and self-determinate, you need a lot of positive, more positive, so much positive. Lots of winning and positive reinforcement.

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Just now, PeterPan said:

Is that really necessary? I mean, clearly you're finding it necessary, but man that's some serious issues if the kid cannot walk in, open up his list from the teacher, and do the list. Something is not right there.

They do have work lists.  The two boys don't want to practice, so that's an issue.  Filling up the 10 minutes is an issue also--they want to run through everything on the list as quickly as possible which takes about 5 minutes.  They need supervision to make sure they're not running through pieces at lightening speed, and to make sure they're playing pieces several times each.  If we could set up a consistent time to do it that would help, but establishing structure is very much my nemesis.

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5 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

That's challenging. I didn't realize you were paying her for even more hours. Will she clean your house or do *light* house cleaning? 

 

The light housekeeping sounds like an excellent idea, because even if it didn’t help with the kids, it would still free up some of Caedmyn’s time because she wouldn't have to do the extra household tasks.

4 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

This is so true. I do think it will be awkward if the sitter is thinking up consequences, with no behavior plan or prediscussion with you. I personally don't like it if my workers make up consequences on the spot when we haven't talked about them, because I don't like getting pinned with enforcing some consequence I'm not willing to enforce. But I do agree that with most kids, just in general, showing you have her back and pre-warning ought to be enough.

 

 

Absolutely! I definitely don’t think Caedmyn should let the sitter set strict consequences without having given the woman fairly specific direction as to what is and isn’t acceptable and appropriate. All of these things take time to plan and discuss with the sitter, but in the end, the adults will be on the same page and can be a united front when the kids are being difficult. 

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5 minutes ago, caedmyn said:

I have told her that.  I have given her a specific consequence to use if they don't listen.  I'm also giving consequences when I'm nearby and I catch them not listening to her or doing something they're not supposed to.

 

What kind of consequences are you giving? Is there a way to get the kids to comply without the threat of consequences?

I don’t want the sitter to become the enemy in your kids’ eyes. 

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I should add that I’m not a “consequences” or “punishment” kind of parent, so that’s why I’m asking questions about this. I have really never done that sort of thing. (But I’m also the parent of only one child who responded very well to discussions and positive reinforcement, so I’m definitely not trying to say that my parenting style is anything special.)

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2 minutes ago, Catwoman said:

The light housekeeping sounds like an excellent idea, because even if it didn’t help with the kids, it would still free up some of Caedmyn’s time because she wouldn't have to do the extra household tasks.

I find when I have someone to help with cleaning my own stress drops (if I trust the person), and I get some enthusiasm to do it myself. So it might become a little herd thing she could get going.

4 minutes ago, caedmyn said:

The two boys don't want to practice, so that's an issue.

Hmm. Is it worth it? People have opinions. I'm of the if you don't want to practice I've got other work you can do. So the woman is in the other room supervising those who go to their piano times, and the boys go mop, chop wood, whatever. My ds is 10 and pretty pick your word, but with instruction (which took months btw), he can unload a dishwasher or take out trash. So if they are done before the 10 minutes is up they go work xyz. And if they don't want to practice, no problem, more xyz. I'm not sure that forced lessons for boys works out well, and work is always good, a universal good. So the practicing was work and the compost bin is work so pick your work.

6 minutes ago, caedmyn said:

If we could set up a consistent time to do it that would help, but establishing structure is very much my nemesis.

Ok, so if I could make an insightful suggestion (haha), use the worker to create the structure you lack.You're thinking in terms of tasks, but what she's actually bringing is CONSISTENCY. She's there every day, on time, same time, cheerful face, game on, ready to go. Hopefully, lol. And that CONSISTENCY is the structure you were lacking. So what could your kids do better if they had that structure? How could you use HER to create a tidal wave of structure, momentum, herd effect? Like sorry, have to be out of jams with beds made, have to be to the office to work, Suzy is coming... Kwim? That's her biggest, biggest benefit to you.

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So think about locations for the worker and how she can help you create momentum and herd effect and structure. Like sorry dorky, pokey boys, but we only have from 10-12 to work in this room together, then I have to go to the other room. She's giving you that, kwim? That's how you want to use her.

Kids can work within structure and use structure. Post the structure and make it simple, visible, clear. 9am here, 10 am here, 11 am here, and so on. Visible. Or less tight than hourly, haha. My ds can't do hourly. But in blocks where there's flex, that really works. Like he has a block of time, a list of tasks, and we're going to get done as much as we can. And it's going to end and we're going to move on, the plan is clear. If you didn't work your plan, the consequence is x (do it later while we eat fudgesicles).

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