Responsibilities of a Nanny

Responsibilities of a Nanny

The responsibilities of a nanny can vary widely from household to household, depending on their arrangement with the family. Even though there is a great range, there are many duties that nannies typically perform. Asking other people who employ a nanny and searching NannyLane.com can provide you with a good idea of what is typical in the field these days.


From A Nanny Perspective


A Nanny's Housekeeping Responsibilities

As a nanny, you are expected to clean up after the children throughout the day. The majority of people who hire a nanny expect them to perform some light housekeeping, too. These responsibilities can include:

  • Laundry: be prepared to wash the children's clothes
  • Cooking: You will need to cook meals for the children in your care. Depending on how long the children are with you each day, you may be cooking breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Be prepared to also load and unload the dishwasher after cooking.
  • Shopping: Many employers will see it as the nanny's responsibility to grocery shop. If a parent works a lot, he or she may not have time to get to the store, so be ready to shop or run other errands as designated.

Be a Positive Role Model

Part of being a nanny is being a good role model. Nannies should not spend all day talking on the phone about personal matters nor should they park themselves in front of the TV for hours. Another thing to remember is that even though your cell phone has text messaging capabilities, you shouldn't be using it while working nor should you be surfing the Internet. Making the kids your main focus is what being a nanny is all about.

Nannies should also avoid entertaining guests that were not approved by the parents beforehand. Don't invite friends or a significant other over to the family's house unless the parents have given prior approval. Even in that instance, you should be conscious of the amount of time they are visiting and be sure that your main focus is on the kids.

Be On Time As a Nanny

It is imperative that you are on time for work as a nanny. The reason most families hire a nanny is that the parents are working. If you are a live-out nanny and arrive late, you're causing the parents to be late to their job. This is considered unprofessional and could affect your job status or pay.

If you are a live-in nanny, you are expected to be awake and ready to go at a designated time. You should never put yourself in a position where you oversleep and your employer must wake you up. Not only is that irresponsible, but it is also unprofessional. Just because you live in the home doesn't mean your nanny job doesn't have a specific start time.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

An important nanny responsibility is to communicate with the people who hired you: the parents! If you don't have time to talk to the parents at the end of the day, then you must find a way to share what happened that day with the children. If you need to, you can start a journal or a log where you record important pieces of information such as where you went for nanny activities, what was eaten during the day, how the child's appetite was, what behaviors you saw throughout the day and even any school work that may need to be done. These are important pieces of information and should be shared with a parent.

The best way to communicate with a parent is of course, face-to-face. Having a candid conversation every evening before you are done for the day is a good way to do this. A parent should expect an update from you daily and if you can't do it in person, use email, a note or even a phone call to let them know how the day went.

Keeping Kids Safe

A nanny has many responsibilities and the most important one is keeping the children in your care safe. Because a nanny is usually responsible for transporting children to and from activities and school, it is essential that you have a safe driving record and that you know the car safety requirements for the state you live in. If the children under your care require car seats, make sure you have the seats installed correctly. You must also remember that each and every time you get in the car, the children are buckled up. Keeping kids safe in a car is one of the most important nanny responsibilities.

A nanny should also be CPR-certified and trained in case a child needs simple first aid or is choking. If you are not trained or certified when you take the nanny job, make it a priority to become educated as soon as possible.

Provide Stimulating Activities

As a nanny, part of your job is to provide the children with stimulating activities. Few parents want to pay a nanny who lets their children sit in front of a television all day. An important nanny responsibility is to ensure the child is getting academic and social stimulation throughout the day.

Reading is a great activity for a nanny and child to do together. Read to the children daily. Not only is it stimulating, it is also a good way to endorse the importance of reading at an early age. You should also designate playtime on a regular basis. Take trips to the park, go to a playgroup and allow for interaction with other children. Take the children to the library for free activities; keeping a child engaged in play is a must when being a nanny.

Another great idea for nannies is to do arts and crafts activities with the children. Arts and crafts can get messy, but it is a rewarding and engaging activity for children to participate in.

If you have a school-aged child in your care, be prepared to help them with their homework.

Time Commitments As a Nanny

When you agree to take on a nanny job, you will discuss the time commitment that is expected of you. However, there will be instances where the family might need more of your time and you should be prepared to handle a request for additional nanny time commitments professionally.

If you are scheduled to nanny until a certain time, but a parent asks you to work late (they're stuck at work themselves or an emergency came up, for instance), you must be flexible enough to stay and care for the children until a parent arrives home. Your contract should state how you will be compensated in such an instance. It is the parent's responsibility to contact you in enough time to let you know you are needed longer than usual. If a parent is continuously asking you to stay late or asking you to work late with little notice, you should speak up and talk to them about this problem.

Some nannies are asked to work nights so that the parents can go out for the evening. It should be stated in your contract that you will be asked to provide childcare on designated nights each month for a specific compensation.


From A Family Perspective


Keeping Your Nanny For The Long Haul

The hiring process for finding the right nanny can take weeks, if not months if you’re holding out for the perfect childcare provider to work for your family. It’s a smart move for you, as the employer, to think of how you’ll be keeping your nanny for the long term.

During the interview process, when you’ve found the ideal candidate, be prepared to ask whether she’s willing to make at least a one-year commitment to care for your child. Her response and reaction to the question should give you an idea of what her goals are for the immediate future.

Keeping your nanny becomes a task that you need to work at as her employer. Since it’s impossible to reinforce a nanny’s commitment to staying with your household for a period of time, you need to foster a solid working relationship with her. Be clear and consistent with her duties and role as a nanny, keep the lines of communication open, and iron out any issues as soon as possible.


Making Reasonable Requests Of Your Nanny

It’s ultimately your nanny’s responsibility to perform all of the duties you’ve discussed to the best of her ability. However, keep in mind that it’s important for you as an employer to be reasonable with your expectations. Keep in mind that if your nanny has a long list of daily tasks such as cooking, picking up the dry cleaning, and running miscellaneous errands for you during the day, she’ll have a harder time tending to the most important task at hand – caring for your children. Consider your requests and whether or not they are all things that are reasonable to accomplish in a day, given her role as caretaker of your children.

If you have a need for a spotless household, but also have an infant and a young child in the care of your nanny, consider hiring a separate person to take care of household duties. You can also stress that household chores unrelated to the care of your children take secondary priority over making sure your children are safe, happy, and healthy.


Nanny Responsibilities: What’s Typical

When you’re hiring a nanny, you should be clear about the responsibilities you’d like her to have. While nanny responsibilities may vary from household to household, the basics remain the same. Typically, nanny responsibilities include everything that correlates to the care of the children in her charge. This can include preparing meals for the children, clothing them, providing mental stimulation for them, doing laundry for the children, and reinforcing appropriate discipline. Additional nanny responsibilities can include providing transportation for the children and facilitating playgroups and outings.

It’s important to keep in mind that some nannies will only perform duties associated with the care and cleaning of the children and will balk at performing other household duties. Other nannies have no issue with providing services such as meals and cleaning for the remainder of the family. The most important task at hand is for you as the employer to discuss and clearly outline the duties you expect with your nanny.

Nanny responsibilities can include the care of just one child or multiple children. If she’ll be responsible for more than one child in the family, be clear on how many children she’ll be caring for and compensate her accordingly.


Parent Expectations For Nannies

Parents can be full of worry when hiring a nanny. This is especially true for parents who are leaving their children in the care of a nanny for the first time. However, if you’re a parent who has been through in the hiring process and clearly outlined your nanny’s role, you should try to put your fears at ease and let your nanny do her job. Here are several childcare requirements you should expect from your nanny.

  • You can expect your nanny to arrive on time for work.
  • You can expect your nanny to notify you in a timely fashion if she is ill or will be late in arriving.
  • You can expect your nanny to keep you up to date on any significant milestones, changes, and issues regarding your child.
  • You can expect your nanny to keep you informed of your child’s activities, whereabouts, and eating habits during the day.
  • You can expect your nanny to provide a positive environment for your child where all of her basic needs are attended to.
  • You can expect your nanny to respect your privacy and behave in a professional manner with you and your children.

Signs You Should Be Letting Go Of Your Nanny

If you ever have an instinctual feeling that the care your nanny once provided is no longer up to par, it’s always a good idea to listen to your gut or at least investigate it. If you’re not certain if you should be letting go of your nanny, here are three signs you definitely should.

1 - You see a noticeable drop in the quality of care your child is receiving. For instance, your child used to be in fresh, clean clothes and had activities to fill her day and now she seems to be watching more TV and needs a change of attire when you see her.

2 - You should be letting go of your nanny if she often appears impatient with your child. Watch for her body language and speech to see if she appears to dislike being around your child.

3 - You should expect your nanny to follow through with your instructions. If she isn’t, she’s either not understanding you or doesn’t respect your authority as the parent and employer. If it’s the former, try to make yourself clearer. If it’s the latter, it may be time to let her go.


The Word On Nanny Cams

If you’re concerned about what your nanny does at home while you’re at work, you may have thought about adding a nanny cam to your house. But is it legal and ethical to do so? It’s always in the best interest of the relationship between you and your nanny for you to disclose that you’ll be installing a nanny cam if you plan on doing so. It’s also a good idea to inform your nanny at the time of her hire if possible. You should not only discuss it with your nanny but address the issue in your written contract with your nanny.

On a legal note, you can technically put a nanny cam in your home. However, there are laws regarding using electronics and a person’s privacy. According to the Federal Wire-Tapping Law of The Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986, it’s illegal to tape a conversation if that person has no knowledge his or her conversation is being taped.


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Your Nanny’s Role And Your Changing Family

You’ve hired the perfect nanny and been very happy with her care. However, with a changing family, nanny roles change also. Usually, a few things can happen. The nanny that you’ve hired who so lovingly has taken care of your infant isn’t as ideal for the needs of your now active toddler. Or the full-time nanny care that you required is no longer necessary as your child heads off to preschool. Sometimes, you have an additional child in your fold and while your nanny’s role was ideal for your first child, her skills and personality aren’t a match for the needs of your second child.

Whatever the situation is with your changing family, there always comes a time to reassess your needs. You can deal with the changes in a number of ways. You might decide that you no longer need the nanny you’ve hired and can do without. You might decide you need a new person to fill the role. Or you might decide that part-time hours are an option for your nanny if she’s willing to reduce her hours and find work with a second family.

Finding a nanny that meets your needs can take a little bit of time, but it is well worth the search if you wind up with someone who can deliver what you are looking for. Since there are many different types of nannies out there, it pays to be clear about what you are looking for so that you can connect with someone who is a good fit for your household. Thinking things through on the front end, having a frank discussion with a potential nanny and utilizing resources, such as NannyLane.com, can all contribute to finding the ideal person for your family.

Have your own amazing story about balancing parenting and a major life event? Or want to share how having a nanny changed your families life? Email your story to [email protected] and you could be featured.

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