What Services Are Typically Provided by a Nanny?

Updated on July 13, 2010
C.R. asks from Plain City, OH
12 answers

We tranisitioned from inhome childcare (someone else's home) to a nanny 2 months ago. We initially negotiated the services and pay but have already been asked back to the table to re-negotiate. We have 2 children, a 3 1/2 year old and a 19 month old. Besides the essential childcare duties, what services are typically provided by a nanny? What household duties do they do? Several nanny ads indicate light housekeeping, what does that really mean? Do they vacuum, load and unload the dish washer, empty the diaper pail when full, etc.? If it is solely duties related to the kids, what does that include? Do they operate on a schedule for activities and learning opportunities? Do they research these activities or do you? Bottomline is that I am trying to determine what are reasonable expectations. Thanks!

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answers from Toledo on

I would expect a nanny to do anything required for the kids, including reading stories, learning colors and letters, preparing and cleaning up after meals, and outdoor activities like going to the park or pool. That would include loading the dishwasher, not unloading it, and emptying the diaper pail when needed. I wouldn't expect housework unless you agree specifically that she'll do it. If you expect more, you should pay more. You've been asked to renegotiate, so she must feel that you expect more than she thought. You need to be very specific about what you want her to do. Every family is different, and she needs it all spelled out for her. Make a list of what you expect her to do on a daily basis, and go from there. (Just imagine starting an office job without a clear understanding of what you're supposed to do--scary and frustrating.)

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answers from Detroit on

I'm a nanny, been with Miss Monkey since she was 6 weeks old (17 months now). Here is what I do:

Monkey's laundry 2x a week (depending on how much there is)
Prepare/serve/cleanup Lunch/snacks
Wipe down counters/child-related dishes & things we use during the day.
Read stories,
play with toys,clean up toys (once a week, I will wipe down the toys), etc.
I take her on playdates, music in the park, story time at the library. Kindermusik once a week.

I will fold mom/dad's laundry if it's in the dryer when I change over Monkey's stuff. I sweep the floor if we have made a mess, but other than that, I am not the maid, we have a housekeeper that comes twice a month to do all the superscrubbing. I also will do the family dishes IF I am up to it. I like to go above and beyond, and my employers appreciate that, as long as it's not expected of me.

Get job expectations & pay in writing (a contract) and let her know that this is whats expected, and what the rate of pay is. Let her know at the 6 month or 1 year mark, you will sit down and renegotiate her pay but this is what she agreed to. Make sure you include an Emergency Release form for her in case of an emergency. Make sure to get it notarized or it's no good.

Hope this helps you,

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answers from Dallas on

When I was a nanny, I would make meals for the kids and clean up after the meals, do basic tidying, e.g. pick up the toys we'd been playing with, etc. I worked briefly for a family that wanted me to cook for and clean up after the parents, too, but left them for a family that wanted me more focused on the kids, b/c that's what I was interested in. I carted the kids around to activities, but the parents picked out and scheduled the activities. I would empty the diaper pail when necessary. I didn't do laundry, but the family I worked for had a cleaning lady who came in once a week to do all the heavy cleaning and catch up on laundry. I would put the dogs out in the yard, bring them in, and feed them, but not take them on walks (I felt this was just too much when I was alone with 3 kids. Initially, when the parents traveled, I was left alone with 3 kids + 2 dogs. I negotiated to have the dogs put in the kennel on these occasions). As a basic rule, I'd take care of the kids and see that we cleaned up after ourselves, so in general things were as clean in the afternoon as they were when the parents left in the morning, but I didn't do much if anything beyond that.

All of that is negotiable, however. As I mentioned, I worked briefly for a family that wanted more housekeeping done--they were clear about expectations for that job, which was fair, I just left when I found a job with responsibilities that better fit my preferences. You just need to be clear about what you expect, and negotiate hours and pay accordingly. For instance, at the family described above, where I worked for 6 years, I was able to do my own homework (I was working my way through school) while the youngest napped and the others were at school. I was willing to take less pay in order to have a job that allowed that. But if housekeeping had been a priority for them, they could have found one person to do my job + the cleaning lady's job. Communicate openly, and be willing to look around for the person who is the right fit. GL!

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answers from Cleveland on

I would sit down with your nanny, and find out what it is she's looking for or willing to provide and compare it with what you're looking for and willing to pay. I was a nanny for awhile, and let me tell you that it didnt take long for me to really frusturated because what we verbally agreed to went out the window shortly after I started. The mother was NEVER on time, and also NEVER paid me an extra cent. She'd come in with shopping bags, or eating food she had stopped off to get with a colleague etc. It was maddening. I had agreed to light housekeeping which I verbally told her was obviously cleaning up any mess the kids had made on my time, and that I would run the vacuum 1 or 2x a week, in the general areas not the whole house, and dusting in the same areas, loading the dishwasher and running it. She quickly began leaving notes for me to strip beds, do laundry, vacuum the whole house, leaving a full clean dishwasher for me to unload every day etc etc. I quickly became very resentful, and eventually just quit. I tried speaking with her, and she just didnt seem to get the idea. I felt very taken advantage of. And the sad part was that I could've really seen having a great friendship with this family, but she blew it. So LONG story short lol, absolutely sit down make a list of things you'd like for her to be doing, then meet with her and see where she stands, and what she expects from you, and then STICK WITH IT!!! Everyone has different expectations!

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answers from Sacramento on

I nannied for two summers when I was younger. Once for a family with a 4 and 2 year old. Once for a family with 7 and 10. Each time I basically did:

All childcare
preparing and cleaning up after meals for kids
planning and organizing daily activities
driving to lessons

I did some very light house work, but nothing that checked a box of the cleaning list for the parents (if that makes sense). I made sure that the house was as clean at the end of the day as it was at the beginning. So I...

made beds/supervised kids making them
made sure toys got picked up and put away
picked up yard toys
cleaned up the kitchen after meals
-loading dishwasher
-wiping down counters
-hand washing as needed
-running dishwasher if full
-unloading dishwasher IF I had started it AND I had more dishes to load
-sweeping kitchen floor

Once a week or so I would do (or have the boys do) a couple of loads of laundry, but basically just putting it in the washer on our way our for the morning, then moving to the dryer when we got home for lunch and throwing another load in. I MIGHT have folded and put away the little boys' clothes, but definitely NOT the bigger ones, and not the parents.

With the younger family, one night a week I would prepare the family dinner before I left, but I neither served nor cleaned up after.

I also did reading readiness with the little boys and worked on reading with the 7 year old and math with the 10 year old.

I think what you pay depends on what you expect her to do. I imagine you are already paying what you are comfortable with, so I'd probably have a frank conversation with her about your expectations and be willing to compromise a BIT there, but who knows. When I was nannying I was not live-in an I made about $350 a week.




answers from New York on

When we had a nanny, we requested that she kept the place neat and clean. Laundry, swept and mop our floors were the 2 things I asked for the household. I did ask she clean up after the baby's mess as well especially during feeding time, but other then that, I didn't require her to cook any of the meals for us or the baby, though she occasionally did. I think it's important you have a clear understanding with your nanny what you expect of her, when her days off are, etc...


answers from Chicago on

Our nanny does DS's laundry 2x/week, unloads/loads the dishwasher, changes the diaper pail and on occasion (we don't ask her to do this) will sweept or vaccuum the floor.
She'll also fold our landry if it's still in the dryer when she's doing DS's. Again, a nice bonus, but we don't ask her to do that.

These are fairly common for the nannies in our area.



answers from Nashville on

We have a nanny and I learned when hiring a nanny there is a standard in this industry. Our nanny takes our kids to school/library/parks/other activities and she does the kids' laundry. She also picks up kids toys but is not expected to do other cleaning (although she often does and I often tell her she doesn't have to do that). She feeds them breakfast (unless they manage to eat it before I leave then I prepare it) and lunch and she cleans up those dishes. We give her 2 weeks of vacation but in reality she gets more because she is off when we are off and we still pay her. We have had the same nanny since my oldest son was 3 months old and he is now 4 years old. It is wonderful to have a loving caregiver who truly loves our sons and takes wonderful care of them while we work. If you have a good nanny, I would be fair, discuss expectations, and find out more about the norm in your area.



answers from Cleveland on

I was a nanny when my oldest was very young, and he was with me all day while I cared for 2 young girls. I now do in home childcare. I don't find the expectations to be much different. As a nanny, I spent lots of time playing with the kids, helped and made sure their toys were cleaned up, cleaned up any mess we made, dishes, floors, counters ect. I made sure clothes went in the hamper and that wet towels got hung up, but did not clean for the family. It's not a lot different than what I do now, I don't clean my home while I have kids here, but I do clean up after us all as we go about our day. I also planned some fun activities, and got the kids where they needed to go when the parents set things up.

IMO I did light housekeeping, but my job was to care for the kids, not clean.


answers from Seattle on

I am a nanny of a little girl, age 3 1/2. She will be 4 in about 2 months. I have been with this family since she was 11 mos.
I did not go through a nanny service, but was hired privately. Your nanny should be in charge of your children. You have two small kids, her day should pretty much be just your kids. YOu should expect that your kids are kept on your schedule (napping, playtime, ect), that they are fed how you would normally feed them (health food, water, juice, bottle, whatever) that they are taken to parks, zoos, palydates.
THe only thing that I do in the house is dishes that we have used. I actually got a little perturbed when I started to do other dishes (from the dinner the night before) and STOPPED doing them, because I am not a housecleaner. I am in charge of the kids.
If you hire a nanny that says that she is going to do household duties, remember that that means time away from your kids. Time she could be reading, coloring, imaginary playing, dancing (I dance with my kids!) ect, with your children. Maybe hire a housekeeper to come out once a week. My boss does, it's once a week (Tuesdays) and she is $60 for 3-4 hours of work.



answers from Cincinnati on

First I would make a list of what I would expect and then allow her to veto or ask for additional money if she thinks the list is to much for her.
I knew a girl who did nanny services and light house keeping to her was just cleaning up after the kids washing dishes and cooking only for the children. No real general house keeping.



answers from Chicago on

I work with families who hire au pairs for chidcare. I know nannies and au pairs are fairly similar with some minor differences. Here is what I au pairs can do. The childrens laundry, prepare meals for the children, anything that pertains to the children can be expected. Now that being said, when I am talking with my families they agree that the childrens care comes first. They want the au pair playing with the kids and making sure they are safe. If the kids are napping or at school then the au pair should do the laundry, pick up the toys, etc. I do suggest to host families to write everything down. Even if you have discussed it still write it down. Then you have something to go back to as proof that you discussed it. As for activities, I suggest au pairs research on the computer things to do with the kids. At our training school they give them craft and activity ideas. I tell them they need to plan daily activities for the children. Of course they need to let the parents know the plans to make sure its ok but most host parents love when the au pair plans the activities for the children. If your nanny is new to the area or a new nanny she may not know that you want her to take charge. Let me know if you have any specific questions.

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