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Nannies and Housekeeping

housekeepingWhen it comes to parents and nannies, one of the most common issues that arise in the working relationship is centered on the understanding of the nanny’s housekeeping responsibilities.

Typical Housekeeping Duties

Nannies are typically responsible for what is often referred to as light housekeeping. Unfortunately, this term is vague and results in more confusion that clarity for both nannies and families. Light housekeeping is intended to include the undertaking of all household tasks that are included in providing childcare. These tasks include wiping kitchen counters down after meal preparation, doing the children’s laundry, cleaning up spills and messes made by the nanny and children, keeping the children’s rooms and play areas neat, clean and organized and otherwise ensuring the home is left in the same condition or better each day as when the nanny arrived. Nannies may also be in charge of organizing the children’s clothing and closets, stocking the nursery and doing the grocery shopping for the children.

Additional Housekeeping Duties

Tasks like mopping the floor, dusting the furniture and cleaning the bathrooms are not typically part of the nanny’s duties and responsibilities. However, if the parents wish their nanny to take on these additional housekeeping tasks, they should discuss them with the nanny during the interview process. Some nannies are willing to double as a nanny/housekeeper, depending on the children’s schedule and additional compensation.  If the nanny is required and agrees to take on additional tasks, these tasks and the frequency they must be completed should be included in the written work agreement. The nanny should be provided adequate time to accomplish these tasks and should receive additional compensation for doing them. The parents should also reinforce regularly that the children are the nanny’s main priority and housekeeping tasks comes second to the care of the children. As such, the parents should evaluate if the nanny can realistically provide care for the children and complete the additional tasks.

The Written Agreement

Having a detailed, written work agreement can prevent misunderstandings regarding housekeeping responsibilities. The written work agreement should have a detailed list of housekeeping tasks that are the nanny’s responsibility. A bulleted list of specific tasks will provide greater clarity then a general summary of responsibilities. Instead of writing keep the children’s playroom clean, the list should include tasks and frequency, like disinfect the children’s toys weekly, vacuum the playroom floor daily and put the children’s toys away at the end of each day.

Preventing Job Creep

If a nanny notices a housekeeping task that needs attention, perhaps the clean dishes from the weekend need to be unloaded from the dishwasher so she can load the dirty ones or the parent’s laundry needs to be moved along to the dryer so that she can complete the children’s laundry, she’ll most always address the need and complete the task as a courtesy to her employers. When acts of courtesy become expected, nannies can become resentful. For this reason, parents should be mindful of their work agreement and always discuss changes in housekeeping expectations with their nanny.

Morningside Nannies encourages parents and nannies to have a mutually agreed upon work agreement. Morningside Nannies provides our clients with a sample contract to use so that they can avoid common pitfalls in the nanny and employer relationship. If you have questions about housekeeping responsibilities, please contact one of our placement specialists at (713) 526-3989. Our experienced staff is prepared to answer all of your nanny related questions.


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Morningside Nannies 22136 Westheimer Pkwy #704
Katy, TX 77450
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(713) 526-3989
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I described the person I wanted and that’s what you found for me. Thank you.
Penny Featherston, NorAm Energy