Who Are Nannies and What Are They Supposed to Do?
Ideally, a Nanny is a highly experienced person whose primary charge is the children. A nanny’s responsibility is to meet all the needs of your child. This means making sure he’s eating balanced meals and doing plenty of activities to stimulate his development.
A nanny will also need to give your child plenty of love and affection. A nanny is more of a parent figure than other childcare options and your child will build a close bond with her. Many nannies are willing to do other household duties, i.e. laundry and light housework, but their priorities will always be in the care of the children.
Most nannies will agree to taking care of all the domestic chores related to your child. These tasks may include:
- changing your child’s bed sheets
- cleaning your child’s bedroom
- tidying away toys
- washing and ironing her clothes
- making her meals and snacks
Parents should understand that children leave their mark on a home, and that it is more important that their child’s nanny engage in an impromptu picnic on that balmy April afternoon than that the laundry be folded and neatly put away. Families are cautioned to be realistic in the amount and scope of proposed housekeeping responsibilities, if any. A nanny works as a partner with the parents to help raise their charges to be responsible, competent young men and women.
One would expect the nanny of older children to be introducing them to food preparation skills, supervising (as opposed to doing) cleanup after activities, teaching age-appropriate laundry skills (sock matching, folding, putting away) and generally helping them to acquire the skills they will need later in life to take care of themselves. A nanny must be the child’s friend, understand them, respect their feelings, love and comfort them, and be someone for the child to look up to.
Some nannies, especially nannies of school aged children, may agree to perform some other household duties such as meal prep, grocery shopping or errand running. These activities, if mutually agreeable, should occur either when the children are in school (groceries or errands) or be performed with the children (meal prep), making this a learning activity.
Caring for children 10 hours a day without a meaningful break is a very demanding, stressful job. Ask any ‘at home’ mother! The nanny should be encouraged to take a few minutes for her during nap time or when her charge is in a preschool class for a few hours. Play groups, Gymboree, library reading hour, and other ‘social activities’ for the preschool set are also a good way for the full time nanny to have a bit of adult interaction in her work week.
The realities of full time nanny employment often overwhelm the new nanny. There are many ‘entry level’ nannies whose direct childcare experience is limited. Many agencies do not refer nannies under the age of 20. The younger nanny may be a very good candidate, but the employer must consider maturity, experience, and aptitude when evaluating nanny candidates.
Most experienced nannies will not assume general housekeeping responsibilities such as parent’s laundry, errand running, vacuuming, dusting, and bathrooms. If they do accept these responsibilities they will be expecting to be compensated accordingly.
A nanny provides care for your child in your own home. This means your child’s routine won’t be disrupted, and he’ll have plenty of one-to-one attention. It’s also convenient, as you’ll be able to leave for work without having to rush to drop your child off at a nursery or child minder.
The minimum age for a nanny is 18 years old. The majority of nannies are women, but there are some men working in this role. You can have a live-in nanny, who will have her own space in your home, or a day nanny. Although both will work agreed hours, a live-in nanny may be more flexible if you need to change these hours at short notice.