What Does a Nanny Do? A Job Description From a Pro Nanny

Mother and 20 months old child reading picture book

If you’re asking, “Should I be a nanny?”, get the inside scoop on nanny work here! Most nanny job descriptions vary by family and nanny, but there are things all nannies do.

Here, a professional nanny tells all about her job — which she’s been doing for 20 years.

There’s a lot of freedom in working as a nanny — but also a lot of repetitiveness. “I have to repeat myself a hundred times, or, worse, the TOTS repeat themselves a hundred times,” says Siobhan O’Keefe, who lives and works in Vancouver. “Children will do anything to keep the conversation going no matter how limited their vocabulary, so conversations often go in circles. Or they like the same book over and over or the same game over and over. It can be quite mind-numbing!”

Despite this, she loves working as a child care worker for two families. She’s also worked in daycare centres and has run her own home day care. Here, she describes her nanny work and shares a couple of surprises about her child care work.

Nanny Job Description

“I look after two children from two different families in a nanny share situation,” says O’Keefe. “They come to my house and generally I work from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The duties of child minding are fairly straight forward – feeding and caring for the children, playing with them, educating them. An average day consists of playground or library and tot gym – basically an active outing of some sort. Home for lunch, stories and nap, up for snack and back outside!”

How Much Do Nannies Get Paid?

The salary of a child caregiver varies wildly, anywhere from $8 per hour to $22 per hour. Nanny agencies are working hard to increase the wage and keep it up there.

“Sadly, most families hire someone who is willing to work for $8, and often take money off the cheque for room and board if it’s a live-in situation,” says O’Keefe. “It’s a controversial subject in the world of nannies.”

If this doesn’t sound like enough money, read 10 High Paying Part Time Jobs for College Students.

The Best Parts of Being a Nanny

“I love the freedom of my day,” says O’Keefe. “I’m not stuck in an office and have a lot of downtime in the afternoon when the children nap. I can go pretty much anywhere I want, so long as it entertains the kids of course! Parks and pools, aquariums and museums – the day is wide open.”

She also likes that her days can be surprisingly relaxing, partly because she has so much freedom.

The Downside of Nanny Work

O’Keefe dislikes dealing with parents who don’t understand her value, and who haggle her about money. Sometimes parents ask her to do more than should be expected because they’re paying her. Or, they don’t feel she should be paid if they go on holidays or their child is sick and can’t be with me. “If I wasn’t paid every time a child stayed home with a cold or because Grandma is in town and wants the kids for the day, I’d never be able to pay my bills,” says O’Keefe.

Nanny jobs don’t often offer benefits such as dental or RRSP contributions – which makes nanny jobs a self-employed profession.

The Biggest Surprise About Nanny Work

“By choice, I have no children of my own,” says O’Keefe. “Yet I choose to work with kids every day!”

You’d also be surprised at how much this nanny can do. For instance, she can handle two or three toddlers at once, including getting them all down for nap at the same time. “I guess I’ve been doing it for so long that it feels like nature. I don’t find it difficult, but it can be mentally challenging at times!”

If this nanny job description made you decide not to be a child care worker, read How Do You Choose a Career?

And if you any thoughts on this nanny job description, please comment below.

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