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The main responsibility of a nanny is to provide safe, nurturing care for one or more children. A nanny is employed by the parents either on a live-in or a live-out basis. As opposed to babysitters, who often look after the child on occasional or ongoing evenings, nannies usually work full time during the day for about 8 to 10 hours. Patience and a responsible attitude are absolutely crucial qualities of good nannies.
Nannies usually start work early in the morning, as they must arrive in the family's home before the parents leave for work. Live-in nannies have a set work schedule and must be prepared for the workday on time, just like any other job. A live-in nanny may have cleaning and cooking responsibilities, but these must be paid for separately or made up for with room and board. Being a nanny is about providing child care and the cooking and cleaning associated with that is very light, such as preparing a child’s soup and sandwich for lunch and cleaning up afterward.
A nanny helps children through their day with patience, kindness and a genuine concern for their safety and well-being. Nannies aren't merely babysitters, but actively help with things like potty training, table manners and homework. They may drive or walk children to and from school. Nannies follow the parent's rules.
When parents hire a nanny, they expect that person to provide safe, personalized care for their child or children. Nannies are expected to interact with the children rather than using television or computer games as a babysitter or engaging in those activities themselves. Teaching the children a ball game in the back yard, playing a board game to learn numbers or working on an arts and crafts project together at the kitchen table are all activities that nannies could do with children after tasks such as chores and homework are completed.
Most parents, especially those who choose to have live-in child care help, want nannies to be a part of the family and prefer at least a year or two commitment to the job. A work schedule with the duties and expectations of the nanny job should be agreed on and signed by nannies and employers. Having the expected tasks and house rules in writing can make communications between nannies and employers much smoother. It's also easier for both parties to negotiate a fair wage after all of the expectations and exact duties of the nanny position are written down.