10 False Expectations of a Live-In Nanny

There are many false expectations that parents have for a live-in nanny, especially if they’re in the process of hiring their first one. There are some things that parents assume are part of a nanny’s standard job description, and the confusion can lead to high turnover rates when frustrated nannies seek other posts. Here are some of the things that are not usually in a nanny’s job description.

  1. Running Errands Not Related to Childcare – An especially thoughtful nanny may occasionally go out of her way to help out, but this should be seen as a favor. Picking up your dry cleaning or running other errands that don’t directly relate to the daily care of your child are not standard for a live-in nanny.
  2. Cooking Meals for the Entire Family – Though nannies are responsible for preparing meals for the children during the time that you’re out of the home, cooking meals for the whole family changes her status from “nanny” to “household manager.”
  3. Doing Everyone’s Laundry – Children generate enough dirty laundry throughout the course of a workday; adding the rest of the household’s washing is a very large burden. Like cooking for the whole family, this falls under the responsibilities of a household manager.
  4. Deep House Cleaning – Most nannies will never even enter your bedroom or home office unless specifically asked to; making your bed or doing other household cleaning in areas that the children don’t frequent are more tasks that generally belong to housekeepers or household managers.
  5. Constantly Being On Call – For nannies that live in your home, it’s easy to blur the lines between working hours and off hours. If your nanny is firm about keeping her personal time to herself, realize that it’s an attempt to keep those lines well defined. A nanny with no time to herself can quickly become burnt out.
  6. Your Vacation is Her Vacation – If your nanny accompanies your children on a family vacation, that is not necessarily her vacation. Unless she has her own room and is not required to perform any childcare tasks whatsoever, this should be considered a working trip. She should still receive her own vacation to take as she pleases at a later date.
  7. Working for the Holidays – Remember that nannies usually have families too, and unless it’s clearly discussed in advance, they will expect to spend the holidays with them.
  8. Providing Their Own Food – Room and board is part of a live-in nanny’s salary. If there are specific items that you don’t keep in the house, she should expect to buy them for herself, but she should not be required to do all of her own grocery shopping. Providing a shelf in a cupboard or a small refrigerator in her room for items she buys herself is a nice perk, as well.
  9. Getting Up With Your Infant – Caring for an infant can be strenuous work, but it’s important to remember that getting up in the middle of the night for feedings and diaper changes is the responsibility of the parent, not the nanny. Unless it’s clearly defined in her nanny agreement that she is the one to care for an infant at night, you should never expect her to get up with your children.
  10. Using Their Personal Vehicle – Using her personal vehicle to run errands for your family or transport your children should only be done if you plan to reimburse her for gasoline and mileage. Ideally, a nanny should have the use of a family car for these trips, but that’s not always feasible and should be discussed during the interview process.

Remember that these tasks are just not a part of the standard nanny agreement; if you’ll be requiring some of these services and are willing to pay accordingly, feel free to discuss it during the interview. All responsibilities and expectations should be included in a written nanny contract to avoid future disputes, especially if she’ll be required to fulfill duties that aren’t typically those of a nanny.