Full-Time Nanny Duties

Typical Duties of Full-Time Nannies

A nanny is a childcare specialist who is hired by parents to care for their children in their private home. While their primary duty is child safety and meeting the child’s physical, social, emotional and intellectual needs, nannies typically undertake all tasks related to the children. These can include doing the children’s laundry, keeping the children’s rooms clean and organized, disinfecting the children’s toys and preparing nutritious meals and snacks. Nannies also typically transport the children to and from activities and plan age-appropriate social and educational activities.

Nannies may give the children baths, get them dressed and help them with hygienic tasks like teeth brushing and toileting, as well as toilet training.  Nannies may also be responsible with putting the children to bed at night, depending on the hours she works and putting the children down for a nap, depending on the age of the children.

Nannies partner with parents to meet their children’s needs and to be independent, responsible individuals. Nannies implement discipline strategies, curbing unacceptable behavior and positively reinforcing acceptable behavior.

Nannies of older children may take on more of a supervisory role and focus on strengthening self care skills, overseeing homework completion and reinforcing the family’s values and moral code.

As children enter the school years, many full-time nannies transition into the role of nanny/household manager. While the children are in her care she takes on the traditional nanny role and while they are at school, she undertakes home management tasks. They tasks could include supervising maintenance men and projects, running errands for the parents and other agreed upon household related duties.

While some employers want their nannies to double as housekeepers, nannies are not responsible for the care of the family’s home, the parent’s laundry or the parent’s meals. While a nanny may agree to undertake these tasks, the agreement should be in writing, should include additional compensation and the parents should ensure that the nanny has time when the children are not in her care to complete the tasks. The parents should reinforce that the children’s safety and needs are to always be the nanny’s number one priority.

Depending on the model of care, the parents may or may not provide daily oversight of and direction to the nanny. Nannies who provide coordinated care are considered true parenting partners and are entrusted to create the tasks, activities and schedule and to complete their duties in accordance with the family’s philosophies, principles and expectations. Nannies who provide supervisory care tend to have more oversight from their employers and the parents may provide a daily schedule that the nanny implements and a task list she completes. Nannies who provide custodial care serve as the children’s primary caregiver and typically receive minimal guidance or oversight, as the parents often travel excessively or aren’t involved with the day to day childcare.

Since the specific duties of a full-time nanny will vary from job to job, it’s important that the nanny and parents have a written agreement that specifically outlines the nanny’s duties. Instead of using vague terms like “light housekeeping,” the duties and tasks should be individually and specifically defined to prevent misunderstanding and incorrect expectations.

10 Additional Duties of a Full-Time Nanny

In no means is a nanny a basic childcare provider. Going above and beyond the call of duty is par course for most nannies. The following 10 duties, while not typical are definitely not uncommon. Depending on the agreement between the nanny and parents, the following duties may or may not be expected of the nanny.

Nannies may be asked to:

  1. Provide 24-Hour Duty. Many nannies will be asked to provide overnight care if the parents are traveling. With prior agreement, nannies may also be expected to get up with the children at night, be available to provide coverage should an unexpected business trip comes up or to provide care if the parents are ill.
  2. Run Errands. Even though nannies are hired to provide childcare, they are often asked to run errands for the household, especially if they are loosely related to the children. For example, it is not uncommon for employers to ask their nannies to pick up dry cleaning, mail or a gift for an upcoming birthday party.
  3. Attend Children’s Extra-Curricular School Activities. Nannies may be expected to attend children’s sports games, school plays and even attend parent-teacher meetings from time to time.
  4. Attend Doctor’s Appointments.  Nannies may be asked to accompany the parents to their children’s doctor’s appointments or to take them themselves.  For nannies who have these duties, it is essential that the parents present the children’s healthcare provider with an authorization to treat form and provide permission for the doctor to discuss the children’s care with their nanny.
  5. Help With Party Planning. Nannies may be expected to help plan the children’s parties. The nanny may also be asked to create the invitation, plan the menu, devise the games or to write thank you cards on the children’s behalves for gifts that are received at their parties. The nanny may be an invited guest or may be asked to work during the party.
  6. Assist With Education.  Nannies are sometimes asked to help children with their homework. This might include minor tutoring or correcting homework assignments. It might also include clarifying instructions for assignments or reading book chapters aloud to the child. Some specialty nannies, called governesses may be responsible for educating and homeschooling the children.
  7. Be a Wardrobe Specialist.  There are times when busy parents do not have the time to choose appropriate clothing for their children to wear on special occasions. Nannies are sometimes asked to shop for particular types of clothing and are put in charge of making sure that these clothing items are well cared for and properly stored.
  8. To Travel.  Certain nanny jobs entail travel. At times, this could include international travel. During these times, the nanny might be put in charge of taking care of the children’s passports, and for making sure they are entertained safely in the foreign country destination.
  9. Gift Shopping.  When birthdays or holidays roll around, a nanny might be asked to shop for gifts to give to friends and family members on the children’s behalves. This might include wrapping and distributing the gifts.
  10. Be Sports Coach. A nanny might be asked to help her young charges go through sports drills or to work with them on certain fitness routines. Some may be asked to volunteer as the children’s coach.

Before accepting a nanny position, the parents and nanny should draft a written work agreement that entails the duties and expectations of both the parents and the nanny. Doing so will help prevent confusion about and the misunderstanding of nanny duties.


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