Working as a nanny, 9 things nannies wish their employers knew.
Interestingly, many people outside assume that the nanny job is all about the kids. In reality, it’s equally (or sometimes more) about the parents, the family, the employer.
A good employer can make your work life wonderful, a real pleasure. A bad one can make your workplace miserable, even if the children are angels.
With this in mind, Jobs in Childcare asked nannies who use our platform to tell us what they wish their employer understood.
Read on to see the most popular comments; do any of these sound familiar to you?
1. We need time off - we are not slaves!
Despite all the hard work nannies are capable of, of course we need a break to recharge and to allow us to work our best. Nobody can work nonstop and doing your best work when you are exhausted is virtually impossible.
As well as the impracticality of overworking your staff - not giving your nannies any time off is pretty hard hearted! Remember that we are caring for your most prized possessions - your kids! That’s not to say we can’t be flexible for you - it’s just that sometimes we have our own plans and our own lives outside of work. Appreciate us and treat us well and you won’t regret it.
2. Don’t move the goalposts
From the outset, our precise role should be defined and agreed upon. We need our employers to be clear in what they want from us. Please don’t add extra tasks that were not in our contract or agreed in advance as it puts us in a difficult position; we don’t want to be rude, but this really isn’t part of our job description!
If you want a housekeeper, hire a housekeeper - we already have enough on our plates with your little ones! And please bear in mind that changing the finish time at the last minute can really ruin our plans. We have our own lives to live after we go home and having to change plans due to a lack of organisation can be really upsetting!
(On this - be sure to check out our nanny contract guide on things to watch out for in your agreement here).
3. Trust us!
Nannies are worth their salt. We are experienced professionals - that’s why you hired us. There really is no need for grandma to barge in and micromanage!
As a parent, please don’t step in just because your child is crying about something. Of course you may want to know why your child is crying, but please don’t automatically assume that the nanny is doing something wrong. It’s natural that charges get upset sometimes and although that may be difficult for a parent to accept, it’s just part of growing up that not everything goes your way.
If nanny says ‘No’ and mum or dad says ‘Yes!’, that undermines our authority with the children. A qualified nannies knows how to do his/ her job and we always put your children and their safety first! Please trust us, and let’s work as a team!
4. You can ask your nanny for ideas
Nannies and babysitters are not the same thing. We are experienced and we know what we are doing. If you’re unsure about something - ask us! Nannies can handle challenging situations and we can also give you advice. Not sure what to do about feeding, bathing, sleep patterns, or challenging behaviour in kids? Planning a trip or a day out that suits everyone? Or need some activity ideas for when it’s our day off? We can help - let’s think about it together!
5. Nannies need to be paid properly
Some people look at the salaries for nanny jobs and somehow deduce that nannies are overpaid. We really aren’t! This is a difficult job that requires people skills as well as the right work ethic (without even mentioning the hours and money already dedicated to study, qualifications and years of experience).
We love your kids but we can’t work for free - and why should anyone?
So be fair with your nanny! Long hours should be compensated accordingly. You want us to be punctual and professional, so you should be too. Paid holiday is a given. Overtime should be agreed in advance and paid promptly and in full. Chat time (about work) counts as working time - we would rather be living our own lives than spending our very limited free time discussing work when it’s time to go home!
6. Your holiday and our holiday is not the same thing
For you, holidays are about sitting on the beach or in a hammock, sleeping in late and drinking cocktails. For us, it’s 15 degrees hotter than usual and we are in a new environment where we don’t know where anything is. There’s extra to plan, extra to carry, extra hours to work and we are trying to keep your kids calm when they’re ultra excited. Yacht trips are even worse - there’s just no way out of what can quickly start to feel a bit like a floating prison. For us - this is not a holiday.
Please try and give us breaks where possible, be considerate and bear in mind the hard work we are putting in so you can enjoy your trip. Some extra days off to recharge after a work trip wouldn’t go amiss either!
7. We won’t jump ship for more money
The nanny world can be dog eat dog. People put their kids above all else so neighbours or friends will try to take good nannies away from their current employers more often than you might think. Just bear in mind that the nanny/ employer relationship is a two-sided affair! If you treat us well, we will value you and want to stay with you. If not - well, you can’t blame us!
8. We can’t always be right
We’re all only human. Employers make mistakes, as do nannies occasionally. If we do something wrong, please simply explain fairly and expressly how you would approach the given situation. There is no need to shout! We are trying our best, so give us a little leeway.
9. We love kids!
That’s why we do this - it’s our calling. At the end of the day, it makes us happy to watch your little ones grow and to make a difference in their lives. We are good people and want to be role models for your children. Build a good relationship with your nanny and she will forever be a part of your family, with a true connection and a lifetime bond.
At the end of the day, this job is not just about the kids - It’s about YOU! Parents are a big part of any nanny or childcare job. The way you act and treat us can be even more significant than our relationships with our charges. Don’t be the worst part of this wonderful job! Be the best!
Oh - and please feed us properly! Regular and healthy meals are much appreciated 😉
Is there anything else you wish your employer understood?
Let us know!