Responsibilities of a Nanny

A Nanny's Housekeeping Responsibilities

When you care for someone else's children in their own home, you should remember a simple rule: the house should be left as clean as when you entered it. 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.

Be a Positive Role Model

Part of being a nanny is being a good role model. Below are some things that a nanny should not do in a child's presence.

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.

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 because 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 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.

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