Contributed By:

US Nanny Institute on September 16, 2021

A nanny’s career path ranges from parent’s helper to sitter to specialist and professional nanny. It is important for parents to understand the differences in job titles, duties, and skills so they can determine the right type of childcare for their family.



Nanny Job Titles and Duties is one chapter of an eBook to help parents find, hire and manage a nanny. The Ultimate Guide to Hire a Nanny eBook and webinar series covers nanny job titles and duties, cost to hire a nanny, nanny training and certification, working with a nanny agency, insightful interview questions, how to assess candidates and payroll, taxes and insurance.



Understand Your Family Needs

Every family is unique and so your childcare requirements will also be unique. Some families need daytime help for young children who are still at home. Others need before and after-school care. If both parents are working and travel is involved, families may need overnight care.

Start by determining your childcare needs. Do you have newborns and need overnight care or older children who need after-school care? Is the position for a short time or are you looking for a commitment of at least a year or longer? Do you need full-time or part-time nanny services? Are you looking for a live-in nanny or a live-out nanny?

To determine what will work best for your family, a list of expected duties and responsibilities should be created. This list should include the days and hours care is needed, regular duties, and a backup plan if the nanny or child becomes ill. Take time to write out as many of the logistical needs as possible. Then, create a separate list of all the activities and tasks that need to be completed by the nanny.


Daryl Camarillo, Owner of Stanford Park Nannies, which earned the 2017 Association of Premier Nanny Agencies (APNA) Honors Award, shares “a big challenge in the industry is that terms and skills are often confused. It leads to a disconnect in expectations making it harder for nannies and families to manage expectations about job duties and compensation.”

Align Your Needs to Childcare Job Titles

Matching the family needs to childcare job titles and skills is essential to finding the best fit for your family and situation. Families cannot realistically hire Nanny Poppin at a sitter rate, so it is important to understand the different types of sitters, nannies, and family assistants.

  1. Parents’ Helper. Parents’ helpers are considered sitters-in-training, as they help care for children under the direct supervision of a parent or guardian. Often too young or inexperienced to care for children independently, parents’ helpers play with children, feed babies or make easy lunches, and perform light housework. In an entry-level position in childcare, parents’ helpers should have CPR and First Aid training but may not have experience working with children.


  1. Sitters. Sitters provide for the safety of children for several hours, often with the family members nearby and available by phone. Working in the evening or over the weekend, sitters monitor or participate in playtime, offer parent-approved snacks, and help children get ready for bed. If asked, sitters may do light housekeeping, such as washing the dishes associated with the snack or emptying the diaper bin. Sitters should have CPR and First Aid certification and it is recommended they complete some childcare training. For those less than 16 years old, the American Red Cross offers an online class and the local YMCA’s may host a sitter training day.


  1. Nanny (Part or Full Time). Nannies have contracted, consistent work for at least 3 months but usually a year or more and are responsible for a child or multiple children throughout the workday while family members are at their places of employment. Care includes feeding, bathing, and playtime for the children and nannies manage the children’s daily schedules which are developed in conjunction with the parents. Nannies may also provide transportation to and from school, clubs, sports practices, playdates, and other activities. Nannies work autonomously and may have full responsibility to care for the children when families are out of town.

All nannies, whether part or full time, should have CPR and First Aid certification and invest in childcare training that teaches age-appropriate growth, development, and activities from newborn through primary years. Nutrition, fitness, health, art, music, and communication courses provide practical skills to help nannies excel as in-home childcare providers.


Speciality (including Newborn Care) and Professional Nannies
  1. Specialty Nanny – Newborn and Infant Care Professional & eLearning Facilitators. Specialty Nannies have varying qualifications that may include early childhood education, special needs education, or psychology with childcare experience as a nanny, in daycares, teaching, or in child advocacy positions. Specialist nannies may also be travel nannies or have training in facilitating eLearning or the educational philosophies of Montessori, RIE, or Waldorf. Some specialty nannies help children learn a second language or musical instrument.

Newborn and Infant Care Professionals are non-medical infant caregivers who care for infants from birth to 1 year. Newborn and Infant Care Professionals support new parents and help them gain confidence as they offer hands-on care to establish feeding schedules, develop a routine, and ensure healthy sleep habits. Newborn and Infant Care Professionals typically provide overnight care and may offer around-the-clock or daytime support care as well.

eLearning Facilitators primarily support child development and academics by following a provided curriculum from the local public school district or a private program provided by the parents. eLearning Facilitators provide childcare in the form of snacks, meals and playtime. eLearning Facilitators often specialize with children ages five- to ten-years-old.

Specialist nannies generally have diverse work experiences as a nanny, in daycares, teaching, or child advocacy. Specialist nannies are passionate about their work and are often leaders in the nanny industry. Many specialist nannies work for high-profile and/or high net worth families and are extremely desirable within the nanny market.


  1. Professional Nanny. Professional nannies manage all schedules, logistics, and needs for the entire family. Daryl Camarillo describes the role of a professional nanny: “Families think of [professional] nannies as in-home professionals who do everything to care, nurture, and develop the children. These include household duties related to childcare and the upkeep of the home such as washing bottles, meal preparation for the children, emptying diaper bins, and the child’s laundry. Families are seeking nannies to take the child to activities and invest in their development and growth. They view the nanny as part of the childcare team.” Professional nannies can have different types of specialization based on training and experiences that elevate their skills as family assistants, early childhood educators, or special needs childcare providers.


Family Assistants and Household Managers
  1. Family Assistants and Household Managers. Family assistants (sometimes referred to as household managers or nanny managers) perform childcare duties along with additional responsibilities such as managing a weekly schedule, scheduling and attending children’s doctor appointments, picking up the family dry cleaning, planning and hosting birthday parties, household organization, shopping, pet care, meal planning, and preparing meals for the entire family. Family assistants are often committed to the role as their primary employment and have the maturity to work unsupervised while remaining responsible for several children and an allocated budget.

Family assistants have a combination of childcare experience, training, and organizational skills. Family Assistants often have between 2 to 5 years of in-home childcare experience with additional experience managing their own household or working in the service industry as a personal chef, pet sitter, or cleaning service provider. Most have completed childcare and household management programs.

Many people confuse Family Assistants and Household Managers. Household Managers direct and manage other domestic workers and contractors in the home where they are employed. Household Managers have a working knowledge of human resources, management of service contractors and personnel, and technical experience to perform some maintenance or other service tasks including administrative, appliance cleaning, clothing repair, and formal dining. The Household Manager often hires and manages all domestic staff including the nanny, cleaning staff, and cook or personal chef, and pet-sitter. An Estate Manager is the top-level executive position in a large household or complex of properties that employ a wide array of staff. They are responsible for working directly with the owner to plan and execute the plan to manage the property and other employees.


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The US Nanny Institute provides online childcare classes with certification programs based on a curriculum specifically designed to advance the skills of Nannies and Sitters. The Nanny Institute has over 30 college faculty with a passion for education and childcare, bringing them together to help childcare providers gain practical skills and qualifications that benefit their careers and the children in their care.