Day in the Life of a Nanny

A day in the life of a nanny or au pair can often be more than shuttling children back and forth from school. Children’s schedules are chock full of extra-curricular activities, from soccer to chess to band. As a nanny, you will likely be responsible for more than just getting the kids from place to place, but also for making sure that they are successful at their activities as well.

Female Au Pair Playing with Small Child Photo

While every nanny and au pair job is different, there are a few core activities that go into being a nanny:

1) Housework

This can include everything from picking up after the kids, to doing loads of laundry and dishes. Every family has their own definition of “housework”, but as a nanny, these tasks generally related to the children. This means that if you are making meals for the kids, you will also be expected to do the dishes and wash up. You might also be asked to throw their dirty clothes in the washer at the end of the day, and take the dog for a walk. Beyond those kinds of chores, the line between “housekeeper” and “nanny” starts to become a little more blurry.

2) Meals

Most nannies will be charged with cooking meals for the children in their care. This may sound like a simple task, but not every child eats the same thing, and some are simply not content with hot dogs and macaroni and cheese (even though most are!). There are many things that go into preparing meals for children, like allergies, finicky eating habits, and behavior issues.

It is also important to remember that you can’t always be the good buy. While your instinct may be to “treat” the children with sweets and snacks that mom or dad may not give them, if you want to develop a long-term respectful relationship with the children, you will need to fight the urge to give them everything they want.

3) Children’s Activities

Keeping the children active (and safe!) is the most important part of the nanny’s job.
Each family will give you an idea of what kind of activities the children enjoy doing, but you should also be prepared to introduce new games and craft projects in order to carve a place for yourself within the family. It’s a good idea to get a sense of what the children like to do during the interview process so that you can be armed with supplies on your first day. Once you know what the children enjoy doing, you can request that certain items are on-hand in the house (although you may be responsible for the shopping) to make it easier to have things to do at any time during the day.

4) Driving

While driving is not necessarily the bulk of your duties as a nanny, it is still an important duty. For many working parents, driving children to their after school activities can be time-consuming, and they enlist the nanny’s help for that very reason. If you are not comfortable driving, be upfront about it! Make sure that you check about the best routes to get to school and other activities, and make a few practice runs so that you can get the children on time to all of their appointments.

Most families will require at least some activities in each of these categories, but more importantly, they will ask that you keep a daily log off the work that you are doing. There are a number of places online where you can find templates of daily logs, but its best to discuss the formatting with your employer.

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