The Nanny Profession Differs from Babysitting
The Nanny profession is quickly and quietly expanding. Nannies are becoming much more commonplace. Celebrities have them, royal families have them, and everyday working-class families have them. Yet, the average American does not know all that a nanny does. Many use the title of “babysitter” and “nanny” interchangeably. To summarize, I borrow a great quote ”Calling a nanny a babysitter is like calling a wife a girlfriend” -source unknown.
The nanny profession and babysitting are both respectable jobs, but a babysitter is usually more of a side gig and casual care. A babysitter comes occasionally to help a family for a few hours per week, and her main objective is to keep the children safe, have fun with them, and maybe order a pizza for them to share.
In contrast, a nanny is a caregiver who works in a family’s home on a regular basis for a set number of hours. A nanny’s responsibilities go far beyond that of a babysitter. Nannies are responsible for all aspects of childcare. A nanny’s duties include, but are not limited to, diaper changes, bathing, dressing the children, cooking for the children, light housekeeping pertaining to the children, and establishing or keeping a sleep schedule. Activities are intended to engage and interact with the children to promote optimal growth and development. This includes fostering social, emotional, and educational development.
Professional nannies take the children to extracurricular activities, set up play dates, assist with language acquisition and development, lead arts and crafts, and read with the children. Essentially, they act as a stand-in for the parent(s). The nannies that I know genuinely love the children they care for, and the children know it! The nanny is an extremely important part of children’s everyday lives. Often, they are considered to be a member of the family.
Read more on differences between a babysitter, nanny, and household manager in Great Expectations: Nanny Responsibilites and Rate.
If you are contemplating entering into the nanny profession, ask yourself these questions:
Do you have experience with and a passion for caring for children? Are you able to multitask? Calm under pressure? Willing to become CPR/First Aid certified? Are you interested in an exciting career where every day is different, the world is your classroom, and your boss is a tiny dictator? If your answer to these questions was “Yes!”, then becoming a nanny may be right for you!
So what type of nanny do you want to be? There are many different kinds of nannies.
- Live-in nannies reside full time with their Nanny Family. At a minimum, they have their own room. Some nannies who live-in have an entire floor of the house to themselves. Some are offered a separate apartment, a carriage house, or a mother-in-law suite. Live-in-nannies differ from au pairs, who are typically from another country.
- Live-out nannies do not live with their Nanny Family. They commute from their own homes. Full-time nannies work 30 to 120+ (yes, really!) hours per week. Part-time nannies work from 5 to 29 hours per week.
- Weekend nannies work (yep, you guessed it!) on the weekends only.
- There are also many subgroups of nannies. To name a few: Nanny/House Manager, Nanny/Housekeeper, Nanny/Personal Assistant, and Nanny/Governess.
Once you decide what type of nanny you’d like to be, research the going rate in your area for your services. And be sure to know your rights as a domestic employee. A great resource for the nanny profession is the International Nanny Association (INA).
You will then want to get started on your portfolio. Read more at Nannies! How to Ace Your Interview.
After that is all together, time to begin your job search! Advertise yourself by word of mouth or on social media. There are also a variety of online platforms that match families and nannies. If you would like a more specialized matching system, you can go through an agency. The INA also has a list INA-approved agencies near you.
Good luck with your search! If I can be of any assistance at any point, please do reach out to me at Nanny Know How.