The real question to ask yourself is what don’t nannies do? A nanny is an extremely talented individual who takes on an amazing number of roles in their job. In honor of National Nanny Appreciation Week, here’s an extensive (but by no means complete) list of things that nannies do. Buckle up.
For the Child
- Discuss and explore the child’s interests
- Talk about who the child wants to be when they grow up
- Share what it’s like to do “adult” things: go to college, get a job, pay bills, etc.
- Practical tasks like: ways to tie your shoe, getting a zipper to line up, etc.
- Question Answerer: Why is the sky blue? Why does my nose get runny when I have a cold? And on, and on…
- Encouraging words when they’re still learning how to do something.
- Praise for accomplishing something tough.
- Building their self-confidence and agency.
- Talking about favorite foods, games, movies, books, etc.
- Making up silly stories and inside jokes.
- Making fun memories together.
- Knee and elbow scrapes on the playground.
- Caring for tummy aches and sickness.
- Bumps and bruises from exciting games.
- Sunscreen protection when outside.
- Diaper changing/potty training.
- Teaching personal hygiene, like washing hands, brushing teeth/hair, etc.
- Overseeing necessary bathtimes.
- Able to notice specific learning needs or developmental delays that might require help from a professional.
- Observations from someone outside of the family to share with the parents.
- Making space in the day to discuss feelings.
- Working to name what makes them sad/frustrated/angry.
- Practicing coping skills for when they’re upset.
- Recognizing when others are hurt/upset and how to appropriately respond.
- Practicing how to ask for help when they need it.
- Learning the parent’s approach to discipline and rules.
- Establishing themselves as authority figures.
- Following through on family discipline practices and communicating with parents.
- Learning and understanding all of the developmental stages in children.
- Recognizing the signs of developmental milestones and supporting the child and family accordingly.
- Recognizing signs of developmental delays and communicating observations/concerns with the parents.
- Incorporating activities into a child’s daily life that support their current developmental stage.
With the Child
- Homework help after school.
- Tutoring on a specific school subject.
- Supervision over school projects.
- Finding new places in their town/city to visit.
- Going outside to see what nature is doing around them.
- Visiting museums to learn something new.
- Improvising stories to tell with toys and dolls.
- Trying out new arts and crafts activities together.
- Singing and dancing to music.
- Role-playing different characters to act out stories.
- Building forts to pretend they’re in another place.
- Creating new worlds by playing with different toys.
- Going to parks to meet up with other neighborhood kids.
- Setting up playdates with family friends or classmates.
- Developing a friendship of respect and fun with each other.
For the Family
- Detecting hunger in children before a meltdown happens.
- Preparing and having snacks available.
- Preparing meals for kids and the family.
- Grocery shopping for the family.
- Planning meals for the family.
- Coordinating with contractors for home repairs.
- Planning and organizing activities for the kids.
- Managing the family calendar.
- Washing and drying.
- Folding and putting away.
- Noticing when kids outgrow certain articles.
- Teaching kids to pick up after themselves.
- Keeping important items tidy and in findable locations.
- Light cleaning of a room after making a mess.
Transporting Kids Around
- Pick-ups and drop-offs from school.
- Getting to playdates or summer camps.
- Going for walks around the neighborhood.
Nannies are such versatile professionals. They know how to keep multiple plates spinning while also caring for the emotional and developmental needs of the children in their care. Thank you to all the nannies who ever have, are, or will be helping to raise the next generation.