Nannies and Au Pairs: Do You Make the Children’s and Parents’ Bed?

There are some tasks that nannies and au pairs despise. Doing housekeeping duties for other adults in the home enrages some nannies and au pairs. But, many of us do make the adult’s and children’s beds and here is advice on how to do it properly.

Remove Used Linens
Take off the used linens and put them in the laundry. Shake out any mattress pads, pillow protectors, and comforters that don’t need to be laundered. If you use a bed skirt and it needs to be laundered occasionally, remove, and replace it.

Put the Bottom Sheet On
If the bottom sheet is fitted, simply slip the corner pockets onto the ends of the bed and adjust the fitted sheet around the perimeter underneath the mattress pad and mattress. If the bottom sheet is flat, arrange the sheet so that 1 foot of sheet hangs over the edge of the top of the bed. Beginning with the sides of the bed create hospital corners and fold under the mattress and mattress pad. Continue on each side, creasing and folding as you go.

To Make Hospital Corners

Tuck the foot edge under the mattress from corner to corner. Make sure the sheet lies smoothly. Pull one long edge onto the mattress so that the sheet goes smoothly around the corner. The folded edge of the sheet should form a 45 degree angle (approximately) from that corner on the surface of the bed. The neater and more wrinkle-free you can pull this off, the better your hospital corner will be. Put your hand on the long side of the corner to keep the edge smooth. Tuck in any part of the sheet that is hanging below the mattress. You should be able to remove your hand, and the corner will stay smooth and tight. A good rule of thumb is that both edges of the sheet should be lined up and vertical (only one edge is vertical in this case). Bring the sheet corner on the bed over the edge of the mattress. In some hospital settings, you stop here, as shown in the picture. Some families prefer you to tuck the hanging edge tightly under the mattress.

Add the Top Sheet
Place the top sheet evenly on the bed, and fold under with hospital corners only at the end of the bed. Leaving the sides untucked, makes it easier to get into the bed, but if it is a guest bed that is only rarely used, or you boss is a stickler about folding under, you can tuck under the sides as well. Just remember your comforter, quilt, or duvet will likely cover up the little bit of sheet hanging down.

Add a Blanket, Comforter, or Duvet
Smooth your choice of blanket evenly over the top of the bed, smoothing the edges as you go.

Add Pillows
To place pillows under the blanket, fold the top sheet down over the blanket. Place pillows flat on the top sheet at the head of the bed. Fold blanket over the pillows towards the head of the bed, and smooth. Pillows can also be laid upright against the head of the bed. Do what makes the bed have that finished look that you love.


  1. I am trying to encourage the children to help me make their beds. But I am responsible for their beds.If the parents don't make their bed I leave it. I try to avoid their bedroom anyway.

  2. No I don't do any chores for the adult parents in the home. I am an au pair and my Visa doesn't allow it.

  3. I only make the parents bed occasionaly. When the housekeepers can't come in that day I'll do it.

  4. I was never told I should make the parents bed. Then I heard the mother mumble as she went into her room "she's here all day and can't make our bed?" I know for a fact they don't make their bed on weekends when I'm off. She doesnt' go to work those days and she can't make it all day. Now I never will make it?!! As if I don't have a lot to do all day? I work my butt off. Some parents need to stay home and see how "easy" it is.

  5. I actually don't mind making the parents bed. I don't like it, but I am working for them to make their lives easier. Priority is children of course, but it literally takes me 45 seconds to make their bed. Not a big deal and random acts of kindness don't go unappreciated or paid for.

  6. That is an interesting perspective Steph 6 but if I'm not paid to do it I just don't do it. When I was a live in I over did it and was more of a maid. Now I make it clear in my work agreement that I only do household tasks related to the children.

  7. I don't think making the parents bed is a ~nannies~ job.I think that falls into more of a house-keeper's job.In one job I accepted a postion as a nanny for older children and the job was labeled Nanny/Housekeeper.The family was very neat-and it was hard to live up to her expectations since the mom was very particular about how she wanted things done. She wanted her bed made a special way-with 10 decorative pills arranged in a special way- and try as I might..I just could not do it right.Also- It made me uncomfortable making their bed every -as the sheets were all jumbled up- and I had to take off everything to get it neat.Going forward I stick strictly to child related duties and am willing to help maintain any rooms used by the children.But if it's stickly a parent area or parent need- I generally don't agree to-as I don't ever want to be a house-keeper again.

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