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Nanny etiquette – do’s and dont’s

Because having a nanny in the home crosses professional and personal boundaries, it can be difficult to know what behaviour is acceptable, in a variety of situations. For au pairs who live with the families of the children they look after, it can be even more confusing.

Here are some general rules that need to be considered when working as a nanny or an au pair in addition to the individual house rules of the family:



Just like the nannies are expected to behave a certain way, parents should also respect the nannies by providing an environment in which they can do their job most efficiently.



Nannies speak about their different situations:

Simone looks after a sixteen month old little girl and twenty one month old boy who are cousins and says, “The parents have asked that the little boy sleeps no longer than two hours so I wake him up each day. Also the family eats very healthily and mostly organic food since both mothers are vegetarians. So I only prepare food that is in the house and if we go out we take our food.”

Neroli, an experienced nanny who has worked for lots of families says “Discipline is always discussed, I will always follow the parents lead on this and usually parents like to use time out as it works very well. Generally I’m expected to keep the children’s rooms and play areas tidy, prepare their meals, sometimes do the washing an occasionally ironing but only the children’s.”

“Live in nannying is extremely different to live out nannying. With live in nannying the day begins before the children get up,” says Jacinta. “Jobs are always evolving as the children’s needs change and the parents circumstances change too and routines are altered with school holidays, hours, etc. You need to be flexible and adaptable to maintain solidity and stability for the children you care for.”

Emma who has nannied for five different families says, “I am employed a little differently as I am also a trained chef and plan, prepare and shop for the evening meals and other housekeeping duties are kept to a mimimum. Probably the biggest area of concern for the parents I work for is diet and that they don’t eat too much close to mealtimes. You always know that when you begin a job it has a shelf life but it doesn’t stop you from getting in there and being a part of the family.”

By Brooke Tasovac

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