10 Things Nannies Don’t Want to Do for Families

What Tasks Do You Resent Having to Do at Your Nanny Job?

Roxanne Portrer of nannyjobs.org asked us to share a clever article found on their blog, with our readers. Click here to see original article.

Working as a nanny since 1993 I have always ran personal errands for the parents, done laundry for the family, made the beds with the help of the children (until my charges are old enough to do it themselves), and  all the dishes. I am valuable to the parents because I help them as much as I can when they are at work. But, I know many nannies resent having to do some of the same chores that I have come to expect working as a nanny.

In the article the author explains to parents, “If you have ever hired a nanny, you know how easy it is for lines of responsibility to become blurred. Your nanny will often become ‘part of the family’ and it is easy to dump chores on the member of the family who is at home during the day. Everyone needs to remember why a nanny was hired in the first place, and that is to care for children. Below is a list of some of the more common instances where a nanny may be ‘mis-employed.'”

  1. Excessive Housework – Depending on how many children a nanny is entrusted with and how old those children are two things that matter in dealing with the subject of housework. A nanny’s primary job is childcare; housework above-and-beyond trying to keep up with a child’s daily path-of-destruction should not be expected.
  2. Errand Service – Grocery shopping, dry-cleaning pick-ups and other related services go beyond normal expectations.
  3. Free Time – A nanny’s free time is personal, and should not be presumed upon by an employer.
  4. Cooking – A nanny may be required to prepare meals for the children she cares for, but cooking for an entire family would have to be considered an extra chore.
  5. Out-of-Pocket – There are often small expenses that a nanny has to pay for during the course of a day, whether it is a package delivery or a parking spot or a snack, but these expenses should not come out of the nanny’s own pocket. A petty cash supply should be made available to the nanny, as well as instructions on how the money is supposed to be spent.
  6. Referee – You hired your nanny to take care of your children, not to mediate family squabbles, so a nanny shouldn’t feel constrained to wear a striped jersey and carry a yellow flag and a whistle to work every day.
  7. Yard Work – Lawn care and gardening chores are not part of a nanny’s purview, and a nanny shouldn’t have to wield a rake as part of the work day.
  8. Laundry – Normal wash associated with childcare, such as diapers and towels and soiled clothing may be considered as a part of the job, but not laundry that accumulates during a nanny’s time-off or other family laundry.
  9. Schoolwork – If there are school-age children in the household, it is fair to expect that a nanny oversee homework assignments. But, [you shouldn’t expect] your nanny to teach your child another language.
  10. Bed Making – A nanny is not a maid; a nanny is a caregiver. A nanny should not expect to come to work in the morning and have to make the beds, or wash the breakfast dishes.

Common sense, and a little bit of give-and-take are all that is required to ensure a good working relationship.

Are you expected to do many of the chores listed above at your nanny job?


  1. I love this article for all parents to read.But to be honest I have grocery shopped, picked up dry cleaning, done dishes at every job. I hate, hate, hate doing weekend dishes on Monday morning but it has happened at all my nanny jobs. It was my husband that explained to me that I usually don't do dishes or make my bed before I leave to go to work. He made me realize it never takes more than 10 min to load dishwasher. The dry cleaners deliver to the house. But I always do all the grocery shopping. Are there any nannies that don't grocery shop? I'm not expected to cook for the parents but it's not hard to just make more of whatever I cook for the kids so there are enough for the parents too. Just because I hate doing the parents dishes doesn't mean it's not part of my job. We all hate some things about our jobs. My husband made me realize that not liking doing it doesn't mean I'm not going to be expected it to do it. I've been doing it at all 5 families I have worked for.

  2. I don't mind helping the family out, but when it starts to be taking advantage of me,then I get upset. What upsets me the most is the the parents make time in the a.m. to check their e-mails and then run short on time, so they leave their breakfast dishes, coffee cups on the counter or table. And also their mess in the living room from the night before. If every family would follow the rule of, we leave it clean for you, you leave it clean for me, life as a nanny would be so much nicer.I also don't like to have extra work on Monday, because they had guests over and were too tired to clean up. If they have children over and the playroom gets wreaked, have the kids clean up before they leave. It's dis-respectful and out of the nannies line of duties to expect the nanny to clean up after guests.

  3. I don't like when I am expected to do parents laundry, dishes or bed. I do not do their weekend dishes. My agency told me its no big deal. Well if its no big deal why can't the parents do it?

  4. my pet peeve is cleaning up parents stuff. The parentsshould know if they don't do it I am doing it. I hate when they leave dishes in sink or don't help load + unload dishwasher. I don't mind running errands + I have always done the grocery shopping.

  5. I like the list and hope parents see it. But by far my biggest pet peeve is being asked to stay late at the last minute is a pet peeve. I am not talking about having to stay late at work or bad traffic.

  6. That was lovely and a bit of an epiphany.Thanks for the share….RESUME OBJECTIVES

  7. I think this is the perfect list for host parents for au pairs. The au pair program is much more strict and regulated. Nannies can take on more duties though. I think as a nanny cooking, laundry, making beds, grocery shopping and running errands seem expected. In my nanny jobs those are normal.

  8. I think this is a good list. I have never grocery shopped, picked up dry cleaning or ran family errands. Each nanny is different however I make sure parents I work for understand that I am there to care for the children. To be there with them and be attentive to their needs while they are awake. While children are asleep or at preschool I will do child related chores. If there are dishes from the weekend when I arrive on Monday, I leave them, if the playroom is trashed from a play date the night before then the kids and I may play else where that day – take a trip to the park or just be outside for the majority of the day. If it's the first time, I will probably straighten the playroom and mention to the parents when they get home, something like "I took some time while the kids were sleeping and straightened up the playroom. It looked like you all had fun last night." I have learned over the years that you have to take a stand for the things you don't feel are right because no one else is going to. I have everything in my contract so there is no mistaking what my duties are. I respectfully talk about the things that are my pet peeves while discussing the duties and non-duties in the contract. This gets everyone on the same page form the get go.

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