Nanny Job Description

Nannies care for children who typically range from newborns and infants to preschool age, providing day-to-day care as well as help with everyday tasks such as eating and bathing. Nannies also help support children’s physical, emotional, social, and behavioral development by creating and enforcing rules, teaching children good manners, and showing them how to independently accomplish tasks.

Nannies work closely with both children and parents to ensure that children are well-behaved and cared for, which can include accompanying children on playdates, to doctor’s appointments, and on other outings. Nannies also maintain safety by treating injuries and administering any necessary medication.


Nanny Duties and Responsibilities

While a nanny’s specific responsibilities can vary greatly from day to day, most share several core duties:

Maintain a Safe and Positive Environment

The primary duty of a nanny is to help families and children by maintaining a safe, positive, and nurturing environment. Most nannies begin working with families when their child is a newborn, so nannies ensure that children develop socially, emotionally, and behaviorally by creating a safe, supportive environment through activities, positive encouragement, and establishment of rules and expectations.

Bathe and Dress Children

Nannies also assist with everyday tasks around the house, such as bathing and dressing children. For newborns and infants, this tends to involve a special tub or insert, while for older children bath time may involve more playing and a greater degree of independence. Nannies also decide on outfits and dress children based on the day’s activities and weather, making sure they’re not too hot or cold.

Prepare and Serve Meals to Children

In most cases, nannies also prepare and serve meals to children throughout the day. For infants and newborns, this can include heating bottles, while for older children this can involve providing baby food or fully cooked meals throughout the day. While preparing meals, nannies keep an eye on temperature and ingredients to keep children safe.

Manage Children’s Health

While caring for children, nannies also manage their health and administer medication. A nanny may notice a change in a child’s health or behavior and alert their parents, for example, or accompany the child to a doctor’s appointment if their parents need extra help. Nannies may also treat scrapes and cuts or take care of children when they are feeling ill.

Perform Housekeeping Tasks

Many nannies also perform basic housekeeping tasks throughout the day, whether they live with a family or if the child stays with them. These tasks generally include cleaning up dishes after meals, picking up toys and objects from play areas, and cleaning clothing and linens. Additionally, the nanny may clean the house while the child is sleeping to prevent the buildup of debris or to address messes.

Transport Children to and from Appointments and Activities

Finally, nannies transport children to appointments and activities such as playdates. Nannies tend to have driver’s licenses and their own vehicles (or use of the family’s vehicle) and follow proper safety procedures and car seat usage guidelines to safely transport children. For shorter distances, nannies may place children in strollers or walk with them if they are old enough.


Nanny Skills and Qualifications

Nannies take care of children, ensuring their safety, happiness, and social development. Most nannies tend to have at least a high school diploma and the following skills:

  • Childcare skills – nannies should be very familiar with childcare basics such as feeding, bathing, and dressing children, as well as managing behavior and teaching skills and manners
  • First aid skills – first aid skills are also helpful in this role, as nannies may need to treat injuries or take care of children when they are sick. Nannies also may need to administer medication
  • Patience and compassion – nannies should possess a great deal of patience and compassion, especially when dealing with children who are throwing tantrums or behaving badly
  • Punctuality and reliability – because nannies often need to bring children to appointments and activities and work with parents’ schedules, they should be reliable and punctual
  • Attention to detail – nannies should be highly attentive to make sure that the children in their care remain safe at all times, monitor behavior and activities, and provide information to parents
  • Organization skills – nannies also need to be very organized, since they may be in charge of determining a child’s entire day and coming up with schedules and activities to encourage social and behavioral growth


Nanny Education and Training

There are no formal education requirements for nannies, although most have at least a high school diploma or GED. A background in caring for children tends to be the most important factor for securing employment as a nanny. There are several certifications available, however, which can also enhance employment prospects. Both the International Nanny Association (INA) and Newborn Care Specialist Association (NCSA) offer certification examinations. Finally, CPR certification is very helpful in this role.


Nanny Salary and Outlook

A nanny’s salary can depend on many factors, including whether they work full or part time and whether they live with the families they work for. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides salary estimates for childcare workers, which includes nannies. The BLS found that childcare workers earn a median hourly wage of $10.72, with the highest-earning 10 percent making over $15.76 per hour and the lowest earning making less than $8.41 per hour.

The BLS estimates that employment of childcare workers will grow 7 percent by 2026, which is close to the average for all occupations.


Helpful Resources

We searched the web and found many resources if you’d like to learn more about working as a nanny:

International Nanny Association – the INA is a professional organization for nannies that provides continuing education and professional development materials and certification examinations

The Best Nanny Handbook: The Ultimate Guide for Nannies – author Emma Kensington focuses on the day-to-day responsibilities of a nanny as well as professional considerations such as salaries and taxes

Newborn Care Specialist Association – nannies who wish to focus on caring for newborns and infants can achieve certification through the NCSA and access training materials and a professional network

The Nanny Textbook: The Professional Nanny Guide to Child Care – read this in-depth guidebook to learn basic and advanced childcare techniques for nannies working with children of any age


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