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What Does a Nanny Do?


Nanny Requirements and Qualifications

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Prior experience in childcare settings (daycare center, nursery, babysitting, nanny)
  • Certification in infant and child first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
  • Fluent in spoken and written English
  • Understanding of child psychology and stages of development

Nanny Duties and Responsibilities

  • Tend to the general and basic needs of the children while providing supervision to ensure the children’s safety in day-to-day activities
  • Engage children in age-appropriate activities—including free play, arts and crafts, games, and reading—to encourage the children’s intellectual development
  • Supervise homework and assist if needed
  • Model appropriate social behaviors to encourage children’s social and emotional development, such as developing empathy and cultivating interpersonal relationships
  • Teach children safe behavior based on environmental context; for example, seek adult assistance to cross the street
  • Monitor the children’s behavior for irregularities pertaining to their health and well-being as well as their physical, emotional, and mental development
  • In case of illness or injury, provide necessary medical attention; for example, transport the child to a doctor or hospital, take the child’s temperature, and administer medications as directed
  • Instruct the children on proper health and personal care habits, such as diet, exercise, and toilet behavior; provide assistance as needed
  • Assign chores as appropriate to teach the children responsibility, self-control, and self-confidence
  • Praise the children for targeted behaviors to encourage appropriate conduct
  • Create a safe environment for the children by removing hazards and enforcing appropriate boundaries
  • Transport the children to school, extracurricular activities, social outings, and medical appointments
  • Perform housekeeping tasks related to the children’s care
  • Meet with the parents regularly to reflect on and plan for  the children’s activities and development

How Do You Become a Nanny?

There are many ways to become a nanny. Formal education is not required, but some nannies complete a bachelor’s degree in early childcare education or development to gain insight into working with young children. Teachers looking for extra income may take nanny positions during summer vacation and other breaks in the school year. Mothers with grown children may utilize their parenting skills as a nanny to earn additional household income. Many nanny job listings have safety requirements, such as completing a basic CPR and first aid course, and may ask you to pass a background check or be fingerprinted.

What Are Different Types of Nanny Jobs?

Children of all ages can benefit from a nanny. There are different types of nanny jobs to suit the age of the child and the careers of the parents. For infants and toddlers, a nanny may be needed to help the mother adjust and care for older children. Some nannies are full-time, live-in nannies who live with the family and are available to help at all hours. A combined nanny/housekeeper role is ideal for school-age children; the nanny will tidy and organize the house before the children get home from school. A house manager nanny takes care of the whole house; laundry, organization, child care, and appointment scheduling are all on this nanny’s to-do list.

What Is the Difference Between a Nanny and a Babysitter?

There is a difference between a nanny and a babysitter. While both play a role in supervising and caring for children when parents are away, a nanny is a daily fixture. Nannies will provide housework and are very involved in the children’s lives. Babysitters are short-term caretakers who are typically hired to watch the children for a set period. Babysitters often stay with children while their parents go on a date, or meet the children after-school if the parent has an appointment.