A Day in the Life of a Nanny

ICI UK - Life of a Nanny

Thinking about becoming a nanny? Ever wondered what the job entails? Nannying might not be exactly like Mary Poppins makes it out to be, but it’s a fun and rewarding job where no two days are the same.

What is a nanny?

A nanny is someone who looks after children in the children’s home. Their work includes many aspects of childcare like early education, play, social activities, providing nutritional meals, keeping the children’s sleeping and playing areas tidy, and driving the children to appointments. Being a nanny is an incredibly rewarding job that allows you to form special bonds with children and their families.

What does a typical day look like?

The daily routine of a nanny may look slightly different depending on the type of nanny you are.

Some nannies are live-in, meaning they have their own space within the family’s home to sleep and wash. Day nannies have their own home and stay at the family’s home during agreed upon daytime hours. Generally, day and live-in nannies will work around 12 hours per day. There are also night nannies who help families during the nighttime to allow new parents to sleep.

The day-to-day activities of a nanny will also vary based on the age and number of children. Babies and infants require different kinds of care and will have different daily routines compared to school-aged children.

But despite some variations, the typical day-to-day life of a nanny will look something like this:

1. The morning

Whether you’re a live-in or live-out nanny your day will start early. You’ll be responsible for getting the children out of bed, feeding them breakfast, and getting them dressed and ready for the day. If the children are school-aged, your job will also include packing their lunch and school bag, as well as driving them to school.

2. The day

For the children that aren’t at school, your day will include dividing your time between playing, teaching, nursing, napping, and quiet time. You’ll most likely use any down time in your day to wash and iron the children’s clothes, tidy their rooms, and prepare bottles and meals.

You’ll typically have a daily schedule prepared the night before and this might include taking the children on outings during the day. You can take them to the park or to meet up with other children, and you’ll need to keep track of any appointments they need to go to. In the afternoon, you’ll need to pick up school children and take them home to help them with their homework.

3. The night

After homework it’s time for playtime, bathtime and dinner. Generally, the children’s parents will come home from work sometime between 5pm and 8pm and will want to spend time with the kids. Now’s your time to prepare any meals, wash up, and head home for your own downtime before you start all over tomorrow.

The things you might not have expected

Every job has its ups and downs, and sometimes you just have to roll with it. Here’s some parts of the job you might not have been prepared for – both the good and the bad.

1. Housework

Some parents will have higher expectations of the role of a nanny than others. Most parents will only expect you to look after the children’s laundry and keep the children’s areas clean and tidy, but some might leave you whole lists of housework to do. It’s all about what you’re comfortable with and whether the job fits the pay. It’s important that when applying for a job your expectations, and the family’s expectations, are clear from the beginning.

2. You’ll get emotionally attached to the kids

This is one of the best parts of the job. What you might not expect going into nannying is that you’ll become personally invested in it. Once a child gains trust in you, you become a really important person in their life. Watching them grow and learn, and celebrating their birthdays, becomes something you’ll look forward to. But this can also be the hardest part of the job – once that child becomes old enough to no longer need you, it can be hard to say goodbye.

3. It can be physically demanding

You won’t realise how much lifting you’ll need to do until you start. Kids need lots of attention and will be asking to be lifted up and held a lot. They’re also bundles of energy, so you’ll find yourself chasing after them a lot during playtime and cleaning up plenty of messes they leave behind. Plus, you’ll be working long hours, so be prepared to feel tired.

4. Glamour and nannying don’t go

You’ll spend most of your time in the family’s home, so there’s no need to be dressed up all the time. Leave the makeup and nice clothes at home, and keep your hair tied up. Kids love to pull on hair, throw and spit out food, and spend a lot of time playing on the floor. You’ll learn to wear comfy clothes and not worry too much if you get a little dirty during the day.

How much do nannies get paid?

Your salary will depend on the type of nanny you are and the hours you work. But typically, the more you know, the more you get paid. Education and experience gives you a better chance of securing a higher amount, so make sure you get yourself qualified. The Nanny Diploma from the International Careers Institute UK is a great place to start.

A full time live-out nanny can expect around 11 – 13 pounds per hour, while a full time live-in nanny is looking at around 400 – 550 pounds per week, which incorporates the additional cost of your accommodation and food for the family.

Become a nanny

If you love children then nannying could be the job for you. Check out the Nanny Diploma from the International Careers Institute UK and kick-start your career today.

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Gladys is the Associate Director of Admissions & Student Services with over 10 years of experience at the International Career Institute.