Just to be clear, I’m writing this from my perspective – as a nanny. I’ve never officially worked in a childcare centre. I totally understand that many educators love working in centres and that there are some positives to it. But for me, when I consider the differences between being a nanny and working in a centre, nannying is the clear winner. Let me tell you why…
When job-searching as a nanny, I get to choose the families I work with. Not only does this allow me to choose the location I work in, the hours I do, and the duties I take on but it allows me to choose to work with particular families. So many factors go into the choice, but usually I will love the age or stage of the children, feel like my skills will be particularly valuable to a family’s circumstances, and/or connect with the parents when it comes to caregiving philosophy or lifestyle.
Every nanny and family is unique, and the wonderful thing about working together directly is being able to find the right fit – to match or complement you. When I’ve chosen a role that I love, it makes the time I spend at work enjoyable and satisfying.
Being a nanny allows me to typically work with one family at a time – one set of siblings or even a solo child. I truly adore the strong and close connections I’ve been able to form quickly with children while being a nanny. Nannies don’t have to juggle the needs of a large group of children, so in my experience it’s easy to create tailored routines and activities that result in positive outcomes for the children and our relationship.
Working in a home environment might be weird at first, but once I settle into a household I become really comfortable and it truly is such a uniquely personal job. I get to know the parents really well when I work in their home, which contributes to the children’s consistency of care and to building a great environment for us all.
My nanny hours are spent specifically on time with the children and doing tasks that actively support the family. I don’t spend a lot of time reporting on what I’ve done or ensuring that I’ve checked off certain boxes guided by generic regulations. The parents and I are able to decide together what the priorities are and they usually revolve around what is best for their particular children.
It’s important for nannies to keep parents informed on the things that are important (and fun) for them to know, but a lot of the paperwork that educators in childcare centres get bogged down with is unnecessary when it comes to being a nanny. We instead get to focus on what the family actually needs.
The choices don’t end once I find a job. Being a nanny means my days are varied and I have a lot of flexibility in what we do. Depending on the role and the children’s needs and preferences (and putting aside the Covid complications), my nanny weeks usually involve things like visiting playgrounds, libraries, and cafes. We get to choose the right balance for us between being indoors and outdoors, restful moments and plenty of active opportunities.
There’s usually time for bigger adventures too – visiting the zoo, a performance, or a museum are all very standard ways to spend some of my work hours! The children and I can choose to set the right mood by nominating times to listen to music, meet up with friends to socialise, and have quieter moments together.
I need to also address the impact of Covid-19 on nanny life, since it’s been a big shift for the world in many ways. Nanny care can be a safer option for us as nannies and for the families we work with, because there is usually a lower risk of exposure with less households involved. We have more control over who we see and what we do, and usually know each other so well that we are able to communicate openly about our risks and comfort level.
In Australia we’ve also seen a massive increase in families wanting nannies over the past few years, so there’s never been a better time to consider being a nanny. With nannies in such high demand there are so many jobs to choose from that every great nanny (or wannabe nanny!) can find something that works well for them.
Have you considered being a nanny? What are you waiting for??