Chapter 2: Nanny Job Title and Duties

The Ultimate Guide to Hiring a Nanny

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 child care for their family.

Understand Your Family Needs

Every family is unique and so your child care 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 child care 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 Child Care Job Titles

Matching the family needs to child care 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.

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. An entry-level position in child care, parents’ helpers should have CPR and First Aid training but may not have experience working with children.

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 child care 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.

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 child care 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 child care providers.

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 child care 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 child care 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.

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 child care 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 child care 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 child care providers.

Family Assistants and Household Managers
Family assistants (sometimes referred to as household managers or nanny managers) perform child care 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 child care experience, training, and organizational skills. Family Assistants often have between 2 to 5 years of in-home child care 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 child care 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.

Other Nanny Industry Terms

With so many different terms and titles, it can certainly feel overwhelming. “A big challenge in the industry is that terms are often confused. It leads to a disconnect in expectations making it harder for families and nannies to manage expectations about job duties and compensation” shares Erin S., a nanny agency owner in New York. Nannies often describe their careers and experiences using many of these terms.

Career Nanny
A career nanny has chosen child care as their profession and has worked as a nanny for a significant amount of time. He or she has made a conscious choice to remain in the field and has no intentions to leave.

Nanny Sharing
When two or more families employ one nanny, it is a nanny share. In this situation, the nanny either watches the children as a group or splits her time among the families. Most nanny shares watch the children together, but many families work together to come up with a schedule tailored to their specific needs. In a nanny share, nannies earn 65-75% of a non-share nanny salary. This allows the nanny to make more than average for the added complexity and care of multiple children. Parents also benefit financially as they get a 25-35% discount by sharing a nanny.

Overnight Nannies
Overnight nannies care for children off-hours and for a specific period, often a few weeks, allowing parents of newborns to get some much-needed rest. Overnight nannies can also be on-call when parents have jobs that require night shifts or job-related travel.

College Nanny
These nannies are full-time students with a flexible schedule. While not available to work full time, college nannies are great for weekends and evening care. They may have advanced skills if they are studying nursing or early childhood education. If they are studying to be teachers, they may be available to tutor.

Summer Nanny
Often a college student, these full-time nannies care for children during the summer break. Summer nannies make sure the children have their basic needs met as well as provide activities to do throughout the day. They may provide transportation for the children to and from day camps and other summer activities. Some summer nannies are live-ins while others work specified hours each week.

Nanny Mom
Nanny moms are professional child care providers and career nannies who bring their own child to work. Families with only one child may seek out a nanny mom so their children can interact with other children while some nanny moms arise when families hire a great nanny who then starts their own family. When considering a nanny mom, many families have concerns about the nanny paying more attention to their own child, planning for backup care when the nanny mom’s child is ill, and the logistics of having food, toys, and supplies needed by an additional child in the home. Additional concerns include liability in the event of an accident.

Au Pair
Au Pairs are part of a one-year culture exchange program where a host family in the United States provides room, board, a weekly salary, and a class. In exchange, an au pair provides child care as well as household duties pertaining to the children. The Au Pair program is a government-regulated foreign exchange program in the United States. Au Pairs provide child care for a maximum of 10 hours a day and 45 hours per week in exchange for room and board, an approved training class, and a weekly stipend. Au pair programs have specific requirements, and more information can be found at the US State Department (

Live-in versus Live-out Nannies

Live-in nannies work and reside in their employer’s residence while live-out nannies have their own residences and come and go to their place of employment.

Live-In Nannies
There are a lot of things to consider when hiring a live-in nanny as this is not a typical job. A live-in nanny will work, eat and sleep under the same roof as your family, children, and pets. This means they will not leave your home when they finish work, so you will have to be disciplined to ensure you give them time off from their job duties at the appropriate times.

A live-in nanny wears many hats. They may be a teacher, a best friend, a mediator, an assistant, a first aid technician and so much more. Whenever they are in the home, even when the live-in nanny is not ‘on the clock’, they should act as an extension of the parents regarding care of the children and household management. It is imperative that you and the live-in nanny be cohesive with the child-rearing philosophy for the children and be consistent with the household rules.

Having a great relationship with a live-in nanny is wonderful. You may become great friends but remember that you are also an employer. If you are going through a personal issue that may impact your family (such as having to travel more for work), then it is important to share this information with your nanny. However, if you and your spouse are having an argument, it is not appropriate to share this personal information or vent your frustration with your employee.

A live-in nanny can be a rewarding experience but do not offer this type of position without understanding all the expectations. Working and living within the same residence as your employee takes discipline and accountability as the nanny has a right to privacy and boundaries within your home.

Social Media Lingo

Like all industries, child care has social media shorthand. Here are some common abbreviations you will see in job descriptions and on social media.

  • B2 – 2-year-old boy
  • DB – dad boss
  • G8 – 8-year-old girl
  • HP – high profile
  • HNW – high net worth
  • LO – little one
  • MB – mom boss
  • NCS – newborn care specialist
  • NF – nanny family
  • NK – nanny kid
  • NP – nanny parents
  • NWOC – nanny with own child
  • STAP – stay at home parent
  • WFH – work from home
  • UHNWI – ultra-high net worth
  • USNA – US Nanny Association