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What does a nanny do? Please describe nanny duties.

Ideally, a Nanny is a highly experienced person whose primary charge is the children. Many nannies are willing to do other household duties, i.e. laundry and light housework, but their priorities will always be in the care of the children. Parents should understand that children leave their mark on a home, and that it is more important that their child's nanny engage in an impromptu picnic on that balmy April afternoon than that the laundry be folded and neatly put away. Families are cautioned to be realistic in the amount and scope of proposed housekeeping responsibilities, if any.

A nanny should be willing to do any and all domestic activities related to her charges, including cleaning their rooms, doing their laundry, entertaining them, disciplining them, teaching them manners and caring for them when they are sick or upset. A nanny works as a partner with the parents to help raise their charges to be responsible, competent young men and women. One would expect the nanny of older children to be introducing them to food preparation skills, supervising (as opposed to doing) cleanup after activities, teaching age-appropriate laundry skills (sock matching, folding, putting away) and generally helping them to aquire the skills they will need later in life to take care of themselves. A nanny must be the child's friend, understand them, respect their feelings, love and comfort them, and be someone for the child to look up to.

Some nannies, especially nannies of school aged children, may agree to perform some other household duties such as meal prep, grocery shopping or errand running. These activities, if mutually agreeable, should occur either when the children are in school (groceries or errands) or be performed with the children (meal prep), making this a learning activity.

TIP: Hiring families should write down the duties they expect the nanny to assume before they interview. Use this list of duties as a reference when interviewing. If you expect meal preparation, be sure to screen for that. If you expect clothes to be ironed, make sure the candidate knows how!

Caring for children 10 hours a day without a meaningful break is a very demanding, stressful job. Ask any 'at home' mother! The nanny should be encouraged to take a few minutes for herself during nap time or when her charge is in a preschool class for a few hours. Play groups, gymboree, library reading hour, and other 'social activities' for the preschool set are also a good way for the full time nanny to have a bit of adult interaction in her work week.

The realities of full time nanny employment often overwhelm the new nanny. There are many 'entry level' nannies whose direct childcare experience is limited. Many agencies do not refer nannies under the age of 20. The younger nanny may be a very good candidate, but the employer must consider maturity, experience, and aptitude when evaluating nanny candidates.

Most experienced nannies will not assume general housekeeping responsibilites such as parent's laundry, errand running, vacuuming, dusting, and bathrooms. If they do accept these responsibilites they will be expecting to be compensated accordingly.

There are articles relative to nanny duties and responsibilities in the NannyNetwork.com Library.

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