What is a nanny? | Care types explained

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With so many types of care available, how do you know which one is going to fit right into your family? Here we explore the world of nannies, what they do, don't do and what they cost as well as the pros and cons of employing a nanny.

A Nanny is employed by the family on either a live-in or live-out basis to undertake all tasks related to the care of children. Duties are generally restricted to childcare and the domestic tasks related to childcare.

A Nanny may or may not have had any formal training though often has a good deal of actual experience. A nanny's working week ranges from forty to sixty hours per week.

Nanny arrangements

There are a few types of nannies out there, each one with their pros and cons to consider. Depending on the level of care you require, the length of time you need them for and the amount of children you require them to look after there is sure to be a nanny out there to suit your needs.

  • Live In Nanny – a nanny who lives in your home
  • Live Out Nanny – a nanny that comes to your house each day
  • Nanny Share – the nanny works for two families either at different times or cares for both sets of children at the same time

Advantages of a nanny

  • Individual attention for your child. One-on-one care is especially important for children under one.
  • Consistent care from one person.
  • Generally a professional child carer, with relevant qualifications.
  • Hours are flexible, depending on your contract agreement.
  • Child stays in own home and familiar environment. Routines do not have to change. No need to travel and less exposure to illness.
  • You can have more say in child care as nanny is your direct employee.
  • Some nannies do light housework.

Disadvantages of a nanny

  • Can be expensive compared with other child care if you have one child.
  • Child may miss out on daily social interactions if there are no regular play dates and outings.
  • You will need to arrange back-up care if the nanny is ill, takes holidays or leaves.
  • If you employ a nanny directly, rather than use an agency, you will be responsible for wages, tax, superannuation etc. Read about your obligations for employing a nanny.
  • You may feel you lose some privacy and space with a live-in nanny sharing your home.

How do you find a nanny?

  • Nanny Agencies - while it is possible to find childcare independently, using an agency can make the process easier and less time consuming by taking away a lot of the leg work involved in advertising for and interviewing potential candidates. Use our guide on how to use an agency to assist you further.
  • Advertising – place an ad in your local paper detailing your child care needs
  • Network – speak to other parents to see if they know of any nannies who are available in your area although this maybe difficult as parents tend to keep good babysitters and nannies to themselves for fear of losing them
  • Careforkids.com.au has a childcare search function suitable to searching for a nanny near you

Interviewing a Nanny

Now you've shortlisted a few, how do you know when you have found the right one? Our Interviewing a Nanny or Au Pair Checklist has been developed to help with interviewing a potential nanny. It covers off on security, safety and questions for specific age ranges.


Childcare costs vary based on experience and qualifications and they are not regulated by the federal Government. A guide to assist you further is $10-$25 per hour live in $14-$35 per hour live out (+agency fee)

Other Useful information

We have developed a handy guide to provide parents with information on key responsibilities and considerations for hiring a Nanny, also including a sample guide to assist in creating an employment contract for a Nanny. The guide can be printed out, along with keeping a Nanny/Parent Diary that is useful to keep lines of communication open and keep you up-to-date with your child's development.

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