Nanny Jobs and Careers

If you not only like children but love them, then a career as a nanny might be for you. Nannies take care of other people's children, with exact duties depending on the age of the children and the needs of the family who are the employers.

There is no finite description of the duties. Here is an overview as to what the work usually entails and what you can expect.

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The Nanny's Role

Most nannies are qualified in childcare - it's fair to say that the majority of families now seek training, due to well publicised cases involving au pairs or inexperienced young minders where children have been hurt. Nannies are typically involved with the care and basic educational development of children from birth to 7 years of age. Nannies can live in the household or live out, working there during the day.

A nanny would normally work closely with the family, so that the development and safety of the children is in line with parental wishes. Their daily duties usually involve caring for the children, preparing their meals, taking care of laundry, organising the children's rooms and toys and possessions. The nanny might deliver and collect the children from nurseries, if they attend these too. Visits to parks, libraries and swimming pool might also be part of the duties. House cleaning isn't normally part of the job description.

Types of Nanny

Live-in Nanny

Residing in the household usually means working at least five days per week and generally upwards of 50 hours per week. There may also be additional late hours if the parents are out in the evening. Normally, a weekly schedule will include designated free time. A live-in nanny can usually expect their own bedroom and bathroom.

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Live-Out Nanny

The obvious difference with the live-out nanny's role is that she doesn't reside in the employer's household. The hours may still be long though, ranging from 40 to 50 hours a week.

Seasonal Nanny

Some working parents wish to employ nannies during the long school holidays, usually during the summer. The nanny may live in or out during this time, earning a weekly salary or a flat rate for the season.

Nanny Housekeeper

This is a combined role, when the nanny is also required to clean the home, prepare meals and do laundry, in addition to driving children to and collecting them from school. It may be a live-out or live-in role. " Part-time Nanny This role may be just two to three days a week, or just mornings, evenings or weekends. Alternatively, it may be just while the parents are at work.

Type of Person

It's a given fact that nannies must love children, but it takes more than that to be suitable for the role. The close involvement with a family in their own home means a particular set of personal qualities and values are needed.

Liking for children

First and foremost, nannies must be passionate about children and be excellent at tending their needs. This can't be faked and must be genuine. The nanny must be able to provide patience and consistency, whether instructing and teaching or at play.

Good with people

Nannies must be able to get on with the parents too. This means being courteous and friendly.

Organisational abilities

A degree of organisation is essential so that all duties are completed and everyone knows what to expect and when.


It takes a special type of person to blend into someone else's home environment. A nanny is likely to witness family 'moments' and needs to be able to blend into the background and keep confidences.

Teaching ability

As nannies are involved in the development of children they care for, it's important that they are good at communicating to the children. This may involve developing creative activities for pre-school age children, or tutoring older children with their homework.


Different family members are going to be dependent on the nanny in different ways. As well as good timekeeping, this means communicating clearly whenever there is a slight deviation from the schedule.


While there is no legal requirement for formal training in the UK, it remains that the best positions will only be available to those who hold qualifications. This is true for every kind of nanny position. If you are serious about doing this work, then it is advisable to be as well trained as possible, as the responsibilities are considerable.

A range of courses are available, from the high quality (and higher cost) training at dedicated nanny schools, to City & Guilds courses, diplomas and vocational training courses. The Norland College even offers a BA (Hons) degree in Early Childhood Studies in association with a university. Part-time foundation degrees and diplomas are also available.

Even when a qualification is held, continuing professional development is desirable. First aid and CPR certificates are advisable for any child carer - these certificates must be renewed regularly.


Nannies usually need to produce verification to show that there is no reason they cannot work around children. This means taking out a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check. This is also known as a police check, being a report from the police which lists any details about the applicant held on their system. It is only a search for relevant records, so speeding tickets won't come into it - this is to protect children from predators.

Public Liability Insurance is usually required. This means the nanny will be covered if a child gets hurt, or if property is damaged. There are numerous situations when this could apply. Insurance often comes with membership of professional associations.

Finding work

The majority of jobs are, for obvious reasons, located in higher income areas. Invariably this includes the major cities and, in particular, London and the south east. The best positions will usually be found through agencies, where families and nannies alike can rely on a degree of background being obtained by the agency. Some of these insist on interviewing nannies prior to accepting them. There are also numerous online jobs listing sites and directories, where families can advertise vacancies and nannies can advertise their services.

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