6 Reasons Why Being a Nanny is Different than Being a Daycare Worker

GUEST COLUMNSubmitted by Sandra McAubre
All quality caregivers have a genuine love and working knowledge of children; however different care giving environments require a different type of childcare. For caregivers with other types of care giving experience who enter into the world of nannying, the change of environment often comes along with an unexpected change in expectations. While daycare providers and nannies may share similar skill sets, the dynamics of working in a private home are much different than those in a home, family, or daycare setting.
When considering a career as a nanny, there are several differences from being a daycare worker that you should be aware of. Here are 6 reasons why being a nanny is different than being a daycare worker.
1. Accountability. Unlike in a daycare environment, nannies typically work unsupervised. Parents depend on nannies to be totally transparent about everything while on the clock. The level of trust a nanny employer must extend to a nanny is typically far beyond what is extended to daycare providers, since nannies work alone, without coworkers or supervisors. They must be trusted to do what their employer asks and to report any questions, concerns or problems that arise.  Nannies must be transparent and trustworthy to succeed in providing in-home child care.
2. Relationships. The nanny and employer relationship one is complex. Nannies and parents develop a true partnership in raising the children. Nannies step in to meet the child’s physical, emotional, social, and intellectual needs while the parents are away from the home. This requires nannies and parents to closely work together. While a nanny is an employee of the family, she often becomes more than just a worker. She becomes a valued contributor of the family unit that is significantly depended on for the family to function as desired. Since the nanny’s workplace is the private home of the children, the relationship is naturally more intimate than the relationship between a daycare worker and the family.
3. Employee status. Unlike in a daycare center where the caregivers are the employees of the center owner, nannies are employees of the families for whom they work. Rather than the family adapting to the policies of the program, as employers, the parents set the rules, establish the policies, and call the shots that the nanny must adhere to.
4. Isolation. Since nannies typically work alone with the children, there isn’t regular interaction with other adults throughout the day. There’s no one to take over for a formal break and no one to lend assistance should the need arise. Nannies must facilitate social opportunities for the children and avoid isolation by attending playgroups, going on outings and developing relationships with other parents and caregivers and their similar aged children so that they can connect during the week.
5. Hours. On average, nannies work 40 to 60 hours per week. A nanny’s work day often starts hours before centers open and extends well past when they would close. Nannies must be prepared and be willing to work 10 to 12 hour days. Given the nature of the job, flexibility is also required. If a parent gets stuck in traffic on the way home or if a meeting runs over, they can’t leave work until the parents return home.
6. Regulation. Daycare centers, at least licensed ones, are overseen by local and state regulations. Nannies work in a largely unregulated industry. Unlike preschool teachers, there is no universal certification for nannies, and unlike centers, no one comes to inspect the private home for safety standards and concerns. Nannies must be proactive and work with the parents to develop a safe environment that encourages exploration. Nannies may also opt to attend formalized nanny training or take voluntary exams, like the International Nanny Association Nanny Credential Exam. Nannies should also maintain current CPR and first aid certification.
While all caregivers play an important role in the lives of the children for whom the care for, nannies tend to work for a family for at least one year and typically, if they start when a child is an infant, will work for several years with the same family. For caregivers wishing to become a nanny, careful consideration of the differing expectations and demands is required.


gypsy said...

I can't see the article. The font is the same color as the background.

Lyn said...

"Rather than the family adapting to the policies of the program, as employers, the parents set the rules, establish the policies, and call the shots that the nanny must adhere to."

I never like the "tone" of these sort of articles. I am far from being one of "those" Nannies who think they are God's greatest gift to their charges and get super snooty whenever their methods are questioned. But quotes like the one above I find are very common in these sort of posts and it confuses me.
I have never had a parent "set the rules and policies I must adhere to". I am very open about what "kind" of a Nanny I am in my interviews. I believe my career is all about helping little ones to grow into kind, aware, curious, and inquisitive members of society. I would NEVER do something against the parents wishes mind you. However I "sell myself" during interviews more as a program and routine with sample schedules rather than a a household servant, haha. I find most Nannies who have been in the biz for several years do the same. I believe that is the main reason I have NEVER had an interview and not been offered the job. I don't think it has anything to do with how "super awesome" I trick my ego into believing I am. I have a skill, I market that as a package, my employers pay me but I alone plan my days. The above quote just makes me think about the micro-managers who are out there waiting for a Nanny to bend to their every whim and it puts a bad taste in my mouth.

Forgive me if I am just being over sensitive. I've been eating pretty much nothing but chocolate and greasy pizza today. So you can expect LOTS of whiny sounding posts from me this week, haha.

MissMannah said...

I agree with you, Lyn. I see myself more as a partner to the parents and we discuss things about my charge, such as appropriate rules for her. We make these plans together and respect each other's decisions. All of these articles confuse me because they seem more like "Top 10 tips for your teenage babysitter" rather than how to employ a professional nanny.

Lyn said...

Haha, that would have been a GREAT title for this Mannah!

i see fine said...

gypsy, try another web browser (i guess thats what they're called: mozilla, safari, I.E., google chrome, etc)

UmassSlytherin said...

I completely agree with Lyn and Miss Mannah.

Furthermore, I think that there should be strong parent/caregiver partnerships in both childcare centers as well as private childcare. Any good childcare center will advocate strong parent/caregiver teaming.

As far as "accountability," there is quite as much of this for "daycare workers" (ahem.. totally offensive to EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATORS, fyi, OP) as for nannies. If you have ever been a primary caregiver at a quality childcare center, you would know that the parents put as much trust in their child's EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATOR/TEACHER as they do in a sitter or a nanny.

gypsy said...

Thank you for taking the time to help me figure out how to read this. That was sweet of you. :)

MissMannah said...

Anonymous said:

"@missMannah everytime I read one of your comments I am annoyed. You are an EMPLOYEE of the parents. You are not their partner. You do not share joint responsibility with how to raise their child, unless that task is assigned to you. If you worked for a corporation, you would not 'jointly' manage with your boss. No different here. I would never be able to employ you."

I chose to c&p this gem of a post, even though I know it will be deleted anyway because it is Anonymous. I wonder about anonymous posters...can you people just not follow directions properly? Or are you just far too busy with your daily lives of managing your household staff to bother reading the directions?

I have a very simple solution for your annoyances: stop reading my posts. If you really dislike me and my opinions that much, ignore them! It is amazing how easy it is. As for your specific remarks, yes of course I am an employee, that's why I get paid! But I am also a partner in raising Baby C, that's why my MB is always asking my advice. She is not so conceited to think she has all the answers and she understands I might have something worthwhile to say. That's probably also why she does not employ an unprofessional teenager, because she likes getting my input.

Irish-Gypsy said...

The overall tone of this article is offensive to just about everyone involved....oh, minus the parent. I am so tempted to create a web site that advocates for nannies. I am so sick of this misunderstandings. A nanny is not a servent there to serve the parents every whim. They are not cooks, nor housekeepers & we don't take direction as if they're working in an offfice job. A nannys beliefs, opinions and preferences matter!!! As a mother, a nanny & someone who has hired care for her children, I feel parents & nannys need a lot of help understanding each other. I'm very serious about starting a web site that helps nannies create agreements & helps parents understand what a nanny is and is not. I'm not looking to sell anything. I'm just sick of the crazy expectations parents have and articles like this only encourage it!!!! It truly truly bothers me!!!!!

gypsy said...

As a parent, Id want someone who cares about my children & who takes the time to share her opinions & beliefs with me. But I'm no novice. I have a background in ece & I've been a mom since 1994, although our baby is in preschool. Id still like to know what the nannys views are as she is the one standing in for me & dad should we need a nanny. A first time mother would probably find comfort in an experienced nanny.

As a nanny, I view myself as a partner with the parents. There's a delicate balance one must strike between being an assistant to the parent(in their absence no less) & being the sole caregiver while with the children. You consider the parents views but you've got to consider your own as well. Its never one sided in a healthy mb/nanny relationship. Like any healthy relationship, both parties views, feelings, ideals, etc matter.

I don't know why you assume the anon poster has staff? But their comment was unnecesarry, IMO. Why does it really matter if someone wouldn't hire you? That's perfectly fine. As we all know, the kind of person that wouldn't hire "us" is the kind of person "we" wouldn't desire to work with. Note I said "with" not "for."

Can't we all just get along? (Group hug)

MissMannah said...

Gypsy, I was being totally facetious with my post. I felt that the anonymous post was reeking of snobbery, which is why I added the "household staff" tidbit. It wasn't meant to be taken literally, just your daily dose of snark.

As I've said several times before, my MB is a WAHM and we have a very comfortable relationship. We definitely have a partnership when it comes to C's care because I have the unique vantage point of being able to come to her with any little problem as it arises. Most nannies aren't able to do that and if a problem comes up, they simply have to use their best judgment as to what they think they should do and weigh in what they think the parents would prefer as well. I love being able to discuss every aspect of C's development with my MB, though I definitely understand that having such a hands-on boss is not for everyone.

gypsy said...

Ohhhhh, okay. This isn't the first time I've taken something literally that wasn't meant to be taken that way. I don't know why I'm like that. Sorry about that.

That's great that you can go to your MB about anything. That's the way it should be. I wouldn't feel comfortable working for a MB that I couldn't approach about anything. I'm just a straight forward kind of person. No time for games, you know? :-)

Tired nanny said...

Irish gypsy- please, please create the site. I am in desperate need. As I'm now part time, I work on hourly basis not salary. My bosses have added unseen amount of butt-kissing into my regular hourly schedule. Including, but not limited to: airport transport and reservations, grocery shopping, personal assistant tasks, office assistant, pet care taker, etc etc. If I don't want these tasks I do NOT have to do them. But then I don't get any hours in. Its like they hold it against me. The way they see it.. They pay me as an employee to do what they say. Yes this all falls in contract too, since I've been moved to part time- hours are variable.
Believe me Ive struggled desperately to find a new child care job.. Nothing has come up that's decent pay or hour wise.
Yes I realize all I have to do is say no, but then I'm out hours and possibly a job altogether. (They have gone out of their way to get Auntie to watch the kids). It's these people that are just looking for someone to take advantage of and I don't know if they realize what they're doing is wrong (my word alone aren't enough to tell them obviously.) I get paid to be a nanny.. Not all of the listed above!! I have my degree and 5yrs experience and other certifications and they have me taking animals to the vet and laundry as my (under paid) job.
(sorry for my rant!)

Denvernanny said...

Sorry, but daycare workers are not as accountable as you might think. If the lead teacher does not follow the rules, the assistants might not either. I've quit three daycare positions because the director or lead teacher would not hold the other workers to good policies.