We never go outside!

Hey so I work for a very nice family taking care of a 16 month old. I watch her for 40 hours per week. I started working for them this winter when the baby 12 months old. Since it was winter when I started and the baby wasnt walking and napping twice a day still, it seemed to make sense to stay inside. I'd offer to take her to baby playgroup or mention that she would probably start walking at the same time the weather warmed up and so on. When I started checking out books from the library, the librarian told me of a few playtime's and storytimes for kids her age. I offered to take her to these and this is when the mother told me that she wasn't comfortable with me driving the baby anywhere and said that her older child (7) had only been in a car driven by her, the father or grandmom. We continued to talk about the area maybe not being as safe as they thought moving here and her being uncomfortable with the older child playing outside. (Side note they live in a nice neighborhood but this overall area has a wide range). After we had this conversation I have felt like it's inappropriate for me to ask again but at the same time we never go outside. I'm going crazy trying to keep the baby entertained indoors for 40 hours a week but I feel like they're uncomfortable with us even going in the back yard. I want to somehow bring this up with then rather than just quit. Does anyone has any suggestions??


You have every right to feel frustrated. Not being allowed to even go outside in their own yard is seriously crazy to me. If she doesn't trust you too drive, okay (even though she hired you and needs to have trust in you) you can't at least take a walk around the block or to a park? When you decide to talk to her about this again explain to her a few different things, socialization with other children is essistial for proper development and getting involved in library classes or playgroups is great for this. Getting out into fresh air and sunlight has many mental and physical benefits too. This includes improved mood, cognitive function, and helps expand children's creativity. She needs to understand that she's not doing her child any favors by having her stay inside all day.
It's also definitely not fair to you! If she doesn't let up then you need to leave this position. Mom sounds too overprotective in my opinion and also micromanagey-not good. If you do decide to leave make you you let her know why.

I don't want to be a downer here but I don't hold out much hope for you - I think I would ask her to run a background check that includes a driving record ( assuming yours is clean) and give her a list of the activities you want to take the one year old to. I would include the story time at the library, either a swimming, music or gym class, and a trip to the park daily.

If you can't do outings but can take the child in stroller walks that might get you through a few months.

However not being able to get out of me house can be very isolating. I'm old enough and experienced enough to know that that kind of a job isn't for me. I would say something along the lines of " what do you need from me to make you feel comfortable for me to take NK on approved daily outings"

There are a million ways to help parents get comfortable with this ( they can provide you with a phone that can track where you go, there are cars that will send them a text if you go too fast or to far from a certain place) however for me it comes down to trust.

I'd have one quick talk and then give notice if it seems like they won't let you out. It's not that they are bad parents or you are a bad nanny ( at all) it's that they are controlling or scared or overprotective and you are a normal caregiver who wants to expose the NK to all the great things in the world and also have an hour or two out of the house.

Not even for walks? This is a HUGE thing for me! I always ask in interviews what their policy would be. This job *requires* two walks per day of a minimum of 20 mins for outside time and fresh air. I don't drive them but the neighborhood freedom is all I needed given the hours, the day just isn't too long.

If this is an issue for you, as it would be for me, have a sit down to discuss options. I MUST be allowed to leave the house or I go insane. I had one job where I was desperate and took it despite not being allowed past their cul-de-sac, and quit within months because my mental health was suffering. Try to find a common ground, but if they're not wiling to allow you out at all I'd tell them it's a deal breaker and start looking for a new job. I just couldn't be a fully happy employee being trapped indoors.

OMG! I went through the same thing a year ago at my previous job....started when the boys were 11 months old, parents were in the entertainment business. Dad was very controlling and always yelling at the kids; 2 boys and a daughter! Finally after having to stay indoors for 5 months, I literally came to work one day and in a respected way asked if I could take the kids outside for some fresh air and fun time! Dad couldn't understand! What's there not to understand?! I told him kids NEED to go out even if it is just for 15 minutes at a time! Finally after a month of "mom and dad talking" I finally could take them out. I think the main reason was because they had cameras and he knew he wouldn't be able to "watch me" and see what I would do. These kids WILL need counseling later when they get older; a lot of verbal abuse from dad, and I sure didn't appreciate it!

I agree with Elizabeth2011 and will add that going outside for a minimum of fifteen minutes each day, between dawn and noon, helps EVERYONE regulate their sleeping habits; its a proven fact!
I would hope there are some toys the child can take outside to play with, if not, then you can always ask the parents to provide some outside-only toys or toys that can be played with inside OR outside. Vitamin D is just one benefit to playing outdoors, there are a plethora of other reasons to go outdoors and want a child to be able to enjoy being outdoors. Its VERY common for first-time Moms [and parents in general] to be overprotective with their very first child; its like the parents need to be eased into allowing the child to grow and learn while also being explorative and inquisitive. Parents, especially Moms, don't like the idea that their baby WILL get hurt, physically and yet there's really NOTHING that can be done, to prevent some hurts. Getting hurt is a part of life that is something we all must endure, in order to grow and learn our limitations. Hopefully, when you offer suggestions and/or ideas to these parents they will be willing to assist you in setting up an area, just for baby to play, outdoors. Don't forget to post a follow-up because I would like to know the resolve!
Best Regards,

Hey guys. Thanks for all the advise. I haven't directly brought up the issue yet but I'm thinking I need to soon. Recently the mom was asking me bout how I felt about sometimes watching the 7 year old during the summer. I took this opportunity to say that I thought it would be easier with the two of them if we had some sort of outside activity to do so they wouldn't fight just sitting inside. I'm not sure if they got a hint there at all but I'm hoping if they have the other kid here that we could then go outside and not have the nightmare of two bored children inside. Earlier this week I mentioned that the weather was nice and asked if we could play in the backyard. They told me that they since they had some people working on the lawn the past week that they were still keeping her off of it. This really felt like an excuse to me. Even if that was the case wouldn't they let us play on the driveway or something so she could get outside? I'm nervous to directly bring this up with them since I rely on this job to pay my bills. I agree that after a prolonged period of time, it starts to become a mental health issue as well which I would like to avoid. They did tell me that they won't need me for about half of June since they will be traveling, would it be bad of me to just find a new job and tell them I'm done at the end of May?

I've been thinking more about what everyone has said. What do you guys think about me sending a text message? Should I just tell them this isn't working for me and give notice? I feel like if they wanted the baby outside then they would have me do that since they constantly micromanage our day ( pulling out ball pits and tents for me to clean up since he heard her talking while looking at a book and decided her talking meant she was bored) then they would have my take her outside. Maybe present it as my best solution and see if they have others? Just say something along the lines of " I see this is something your uncomfortable with so I don't feel like it's right for me to ask for you to do something youre not comfortable with. At the same time I am not willing to work a nanny job that keeps me inside everyday. The best solution to me seems to be for me to find a different job." Thoughts ??

I don't want my replies on this site to always be: leave! Or quit! But sometimes it's a bad fit. And for me, if I could afford it, leaving a bad fit is worth it. I would advise you to look for another job first. Unless you can truly be jobless for a while.

Get this question answered at your next job right away. Ask at the interview

Thanks everyone. I ended up quitting. It was a hard choice since im going to miss the baby alot but its the right thing to do for me and i sort of hope it gets through to the parents how crazy the situation was. This was def learning experience

Do you feel free?!? I'm celebrating for you.

I'm always astounded when parents expect a nanny to sit in the house for 12 hour days for months at a time.

I agreed to stay for a few weeks while they look for a new nanny. Im so glad I quit when I did. I'm going crazy but only have two days left!!