Here’s a look at how we would define the roles. But no matter which name you (or the families you work for) choose, one thing remains the same-a childcare provider has the great responsibility of supervising children in a way that is healthy and safe. And hopefully everyone has fun in the process.
Childminders: Childminders are professional carers who are registered with OFSTED. They look after children in their own home, and will have undergone inspections as well as basic training and first aid courses. There are limits to the number of children a childminder can watch at one time, and they usually set their own hours and rates. They are required to be insured and to keep records that they must share with the parents.
Nanny: A nanny is someone who is fullyinvested in a child’s development and wellbeing. Generally, a nanny will care for children full-time at the children’s home while both parents work, although this regularly scheduled position may be a part-time one too (three days a week, for example). It is a nanny’s responsibility to create daily schedules and engage in activities to ensure healthy development in the children they care for. Most nannies will be tasked with preparing meals for the children, helping with household work (dishes, laundry), driving the children to and from activities, and assisting with homework. Nannies are qualified in childcare, may be OFSTED registered, and some nannies will have come to the profession via work experience rather than training. To learn more about qualifications, see our article on nanny training and education.
Many nannies have their own place of residence (called live-out nannies) but there are some nannies that live with the family (called live-in nannies or au pairs). Au pair is a term generally reserved for foreign students (usually 18 to 26 years of age) who are in the UK to learn English. Often, nannies earn a weekly salary (based on hourly expectations), have taxes deducted from their pay, and work year-round for a family. It is expected that nannies receive at least four weeks of paid holiday and earn bank holiday pay as well.
Nannies often become part of the family, bonding with the children in a different way than parents do. Sure, nothing can replace Mum or Dad, but children will bond with that special someone who sings with them at music class, teaches them to use the potty, and drives them to and from football practice. Some families consider their nannies co-parents or partners in parenting, sharing information and updates with their nannies on their child’s development and interests or asking their nannies to help their kids cope with losses and stress.
Because the job of a nanny is much like that of a parent, families and nannies will work together to create a nanny contract that lays out all terms and conditions of the job, including holiday time and sick days, whether or not the nanny needs to find back-up care if she is unable to work, and much more. Most contracts include a minimum two-week notice if the nanny decides to leave the job.