Are you considering a position as a live-in nanny? If so, there are a lot of things to consider as this is not a typical job. As a live-in nanny, you will work, eat and sleep under the same roof as the family and children. This means you do not leave your job in the same manner as others, so you will have to be disciplined to ensure you have time off and leave your job duties.
A live-in nanny wears many hats. Sometimes you will be a teacher, a best friend, a mediator, an assistant, a first aid technician and so much more. Whenever you are in the home, even if you are not ‘on the clock’, you must act as an extension of the parent, guardian or employer in regard to the care of the children and household management. This means that although you may have your own style, it is imperative that you be cohesive with the parent’s philosophy on raising their children with their household rules.
There are some unique and wonderful benefits to live-in nanny jobs. These include:
1. Special bonds with the children and family. This is a wonderful way to engage on a more personal level with the children and parents as you will be there for the bumps and bruises but also the milestones and triumphs. You gain an extended family as you are part of the family day-to-day activities.
2. Save money. By living where you work, you can save money on housing, utilities, food, and other household costs like buying pots and pans. This really adds up and you can save a lot more of your income for other things.
3. Save time. Since there is no commute to work, you can save a lot of time each day and re-allocate that time for other activities such as fitness, education, or fun.
4. Benefits. Depending on the family, you may get additional benefits which may include a paid cell phone, use of a family car, domestic and international travel, and access to community amenities such as pools, basketball courts, and walking trails. Families may also invest in online training, so you can better care for the children and advance your childcare career. If you are seeking a career in a new city, being a live-in nanny or childcare provider can take you almost anywhere you wish to go, especially big cities like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.
Working as a live-in nanny is a unique job and comes with some important considerations:
1. Household Management. It’s important to know that living with an Employer is different from sharing an apartment; a Nanny is not an equal housemate. Therefore, you must be sure to discuss all information including the policy for friends visiting, overnight guests, and pets during the interview process.
2. Privacy. When moving into the house, it’s important to establish privacy rules for the quarters that are dedicated to the Nanny. This means politely but consistently asking the family, including children, to knock at your bedroom door and not to enter the room. This may be best accomplished by keeping your bedroom door closed when you are not working.
3. Professional Boundaries. As you become more comfortable with the family and they become comfortable with you, make sure you keep some professional boundaries. This is where the delicate balance of being a live-in nanny comes into play. Its best to decide which information, in terms of yourself, should remain personal or private. It’s up to you to be able to differentiate which boundaries you hold in your professional life vs. your personal life.
When interviewing for a live-in nanny position, there are a lot of things that should be discussed with the family. A work agreement or employment contract can be used as a tool to help cover all the topics. A free 30-minute class, as well as a live-in work agreement template, can be found at AmsleeInstitute.com/courses. Sharing this agreement and discussing the details for employment, childcare needs, and household management expectations will make sure everyone has the same expectations. A mutually agreed-to work agreement created before accepting the live-in nanny role will help ensure you get uninterrupted time off as well as prevent job creep (additional duties that arise and get added to the job as time passes).
Having a great relationship with the family is a wonderful benefit. You may become great friends but remember that you are also an employee. If you are going through a personal issue that may impact your work (such as learning a direct family member has a serious medical issue), then it’s important to share this information with your employer. However, if you and your best friend are having another argument, it’s likely not good to share this personal information with your employer.
Being a live-in nanny is a very rewarding experience but do not accept this type of position without understanding all the expectations. Honestly, working and living within the same residence as your employer takes a certain amount of discipline, character, and hard work. If you truly love children, and you present yourself in a professional manner both on and off work hours, you may find a live-in nanny position to be a very rewarding job.
To learn more about becoming a Live-in Nanny, a Tips for Live-In Nannies course is offered free with enrollment in any program at the Nanny Institute.
About the Author. Karli Ortmann is a professional nanny with over 8 years of experience including live-in and live-out positions. Karli is working on her Master of Art in Counseling from Chicago Professional School of Psychology and earned a Bachelor of Art in Psychology from St. Xavier University. Karli is an adjunct faculty member of the US Nanny Institute.