Nannies are childcare professionals who work at the home of one family at a time, and are employed by a parent rather than being self-employed. Nannies often have sole charge of a family's children, and can also work for two families at once as part of a nanny-share arrangement.

Being a nanny can be such a rewarding job. Nannies form close bonds with the children they care for, looking after their daily needs and early education in the family home.

Whether you're interested in being a nanny in England or in Wales, you'll find information here on the training and registration or approval processes. You'll also discover the many benefits of joining PACEY as a nanny member, helping support your career choice now, and for the future.

What does the job involve?

Most nannies consider their job to be looking after every aspect of a child’s wellbeing. This usually includes: 

  • providing a safe, fun and stimulating environment for the children while planning and supporting play and educational activities
  • doing nursery and school runs, and taking children to appointments and activities and organising play dates with other children
  • preparing meals and cleaning children's bedrooms, bathrooms and playrooms.

Nanny posts vary greatly in terms of working hours, location, perks and pay. Before you apply for a position as a nanny, consider the following points:

  • Would you prefer to work with just one child or several?
  • What age children would you prefer to work with, or would you like to work with a range of ages?
  • Would you like to work with disabled children or additional needs?
  • Would you like to have your accommodation provided as part of your job, or would you prefer to keep them separate?
  • Are you happy to work alone?
  • Would you prefer to work with just one family, or would you prefer to work with more than one?
  • Are you happy to work irregular hours (for example, evenings and weekends) or part-time?
  • Would you prefer to work in a city, town or rural area?

Live-in nannies live with the family in their home, and the family will provide the nanny with their own bedroom, and usually their own bathroom (although they may share this with the children). Sometimes nannies have separate accommodation such as a studio or flat.

A live-in nanny normally works for 11 to 12 hours a day, five days a week, and is often expected to offer an additional two or three evenings’ babysitting each week – although the exact working hours will depend on the family.

Live-in nannies are generally paid less than live-out nannies because they receive accommodation and food as part of the job package, although nannies with separate accommodation are entitled to the minimum wage. More information about the minimum wage is available from the Acas Pay and Working Rights helpline on 0300 123 1100.

There may be positions where the nanny is expected to provide 24-hour cover, five or six days a week. These positions are usually abroad and salaries slightly higher.

A live-out nanny travels to the family’s house each day. Live-out nannies generally work for up to 12 hours a day, five days a week, and may be required to do evening babysitting as well. This may be included in the salary or paid as extra.

Live-out nannies sometimes work in nanny share arrangements, where two or more families employ the same nanny to either care for all children at the same time or to work part time in each home, for example, three days with one family, and two days with another.

A night nanny has a special knowledge of caring for babies from newborn up to one year old. They may be hired for anything from a few nights to several weeks and usually work eight to 12 hours a night. The night nanny is expected to take care of all the baby’s needs throughout the night, such as changing the baby, settling the baby, supporting the baby to get into a good sleep pattern and feeding the baby (either by taking the baby to the mother to breastfeed or bottle feeding using expressed milk or formula).

Most night nannies have significant baby experience, and usually have a qualification in caring for newborn babies and new mothers such as the Maternity Nurse Training by Babyem, or other specific maternity qualifications such as sleep training, midwifery or nursing qualifications. 

Shared nannies are becoming increasingly common - this is where two or more families share a nanny between them. This can work well for all involved, but the employment and tax situations can be complex, and it's worth investing time in getting appropriate advice.

Finding work as a nanny

If you're looking to become a nanny, or searching for your next position, you might consider joining a nanny agency.

An agency can help you find a job with a family looking for help. The nanny agency will perform the necessary pre-employment checks, such as getting references and processing your Disclosure and Barring Service check.

Using a nanny agency as an intermediary also provides you some protection when searching for a job, as you know that the families, you'll come into contact with are also registered with the agency.

Interested and what to know more

Training is key to your professionalism. It gives you the confidence and skills you need to do the best job you can. And if you're just starting out, PACEY's training course in home-based childcare meets all the requirements.

Find out everything you need to know about becoming a nanny in England and Wales.

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Working as a nanny can be a bit lonely, but being part of PACEY really gives you extra support.

Lucia, Nanny Network