Household duties – What can I expect from my nanny?


One of the perks people imagine when hiring a nanny is coming home to a tidy house, with the laundry basket empty and perhaps some left over lasagne for dinner. But just how much can you expect your nanny to do around the house?

A lot of job descriptions use the terms ‘nanny duties’ or ‘nursery duties’. This means it is part of the nanny’s job to take on household chores relating to the children. A brief summary would include:

  • The children’s laundry, including changing their bed sheets
  • Light ironing and sewing for the children, eg school uniforms, adding nametags
  • Keeping all areas the children use tidy, such as the lounge, kitchen, bedrooms and playroom
  • Cooking for the children, and cleaning up (stacking the dishwasher, cleaning the kitchen sides)
  • Batch cooking to keep extra food in the freezer
  • Hoovering if and when the children have made a mess, eg food, sand, mud and leaves

If you have young children that nap for a few hours a day, or pre-schoolers attending nursery for half days, these ‘nanny duties’ can easily fill that spare time.

Some families do not ask for any duties around the house, instead the focus is on childcare (with a little tidying up as you go). This could be the case for an after school nanny, as for the few short hours she is working, she will be juggling after school clubs, play dates, homework, cooking tea and playing with the children, so there simply isn’t time to do anything else! Sometimes, employers hiring an after school nanny offer a few additional hours during school hours to do these chores, but this is optional.

If you want your nanny to take on more household duties, such as parents washing, ironing and hoovering, this is above the norm and should be discussed at interview. I would describe this level of housekeeping as ‘light housekeeping’ in adverts. Some nannies will be happy to do it but not everyone – after all, they chose a career in childcare because of their love of children, not housekeeping!

Anything more ‘heavy duty’ would be described as a nanny-housekeeper role. This usually fits a family with children in school all day, offering a full time role. During the school holidays/inset days/when the children are sick, the nanny will have full care of the children, but when they are in school, she can still earn her full time salary. This would involve light to full cleaning (again the level would need to be agreed in advance, from hoovering and dusting to cleaning bathrooms), all family laundry (including bedding and towels), all ironing and cooking for the family. This can also include errands such as doing the weekly shop, collecting dry cleaning, and dealing with tradesmen.

Sometimes a role morphs more into that of a nanny-housekeeper as time goes on and the children get older, as the nanny wants to stay with the family but has more free time. This would be a real shift in responsibility so you and your nanny would need to discuss your expectations, but it can be a great way for the nanny to stay with the children as they grow up, without cutting her hours.

June 25, 2015
by Abigail Plested

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