How Much Housework Should You Expect From Your Nanny?
Nanny FAQ

How Much Housework Should You Expect From Your Nanny?

by Martha Scully

From Child Care to Housekeeping: Will My Nanny Take Care of The Kids & Clean The House? What About Laundry & Cooking?

This is a common question from parents when hiring a nanny for the first time. It’s important that you know which duties are typically standard and which are considered additional work.

When hiring a nanny, it’s essential that she knows what type of housework duties to expect. You must decide what duties are right for your family, which duties your nanny is comfortable with and how to compensate accordingly for any additional work before you even begin to interview nannies.

This article will review the typical child care and housekeeping duties you can expect from your nanny and which tasks should be considered additional.

We’ll also discuss how to handle asking for additional work, and how this should factor into your nanny’s compensation.

Typical Nanny Child Care Duties

There are certain child care duties you should always expect from your nanny. These duties should always come first for your nanny, and they should be expressed clearly in the contract. These duties include:

  • Caring for newborns by changing diapers and giving bottles.
  • Bathing the children
  • Helping children dress
  • Helping with brushing and flossing teeth, or supervising older children while they brush
  • Teaching kids to read and write
  • Teaching toddlers and older children new skills like tying shoelaces or riding a bike
  • Helping toddlers learn language
  • Potty training toddlers
  • Playing games with children, especially games that teach number and word skills
  • Teaching manners
  • Doing arts and crafts or helping children discover fun, new hobbies
  • Taking kids to the park, museum, zoo or aquarium
  • Taking children to school and activities like soccer or dance class
  • Helping children with homework
  • Caring for children when they’re sick, including giving medicine
  • Organizing play dates

Typical Nanny Housekeeping Duties

There are certain housekeeping tasks that are a standard part of a nanny’s job. Nannies typically complete any household chores that involve taking care of children. Here is a list of basic housekeeping duties you could reasonably expect from your nanny:

  • Emptying diaper pails or genies
  • Cleaning bottles
  • Taking trash out of the child’s room
  • Making the child’s bed
  • Cleaning the child’s room
  • Organizing and cleaning out the child’s closet and room
  • Cleaning playroom including dusting, organizing, vacuuming, etc.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting toys
  • Doing the child’s laundry
  • Washing dishes and cleaning the kitchen after meals with kids
  • Picking up toys, books and clothes from around the house
  • Cleaning up the bathroom after attending to the children’s personal hygiene
  • Caring for the child’s pet, including feeding and cleaning up
  • Cleaning up messes made after arts and crafts activities
  • Preparing and cooking meals for the children
  • Preparing school lunches or snacks to eat during activities, trips or outings
  • Packing for the children when they go on trips
  • As the children get older, making sure they complete their chores
  • Preparing meals and snacks for the child’s friends when they visit
  • Cleaning up after the child’s friends when they visit

Additional Housekeeping Duties

There are additional housework and day-to-day activities your nanny may complete. However, these duties are in no way required of your nanny. It is up to her to agree to these additional duties and be compensated accordingly for them.

Here are some optional duties:

  • Making household beds
  • Doing all laundry
  • Making up beds and preparing fresh sheets for guests
  • Running errands, including dry cleaning, grocery shopping or going to the post office
  • Preparing and cooking meals and snacks for the entire family
  • Picking up after everyone
  • Organizing, vacuuming or dusting rooms besides the children’s bedrooms and playrooms
  • Buying supplies or clothes for the family
  • Cleaning kitchen, including organizing shelves, emptying the dishwasher or cleaning out the fridge
  • Cleaning the bathroom on a weekly basis
  • House sitting or pet sitting
  • Sweeping and mopping floors
  • Bringing the household car to a mechanic
  • Caring for a sick family member
  • Cleaning up after and preparing meals for guests who aren’t children
  • Attending activities or trips that involve the entire family
  • Answering the phone, sending mail or faxing documents

How to Handle Additional Duties

Nannies are very helpful by nature. They enjoy caring for children and will go above and beyond to help out the whole family in order to look out for the best interest of the children.

However, if you don’t handle additional duties properly, your nanny may feel she isn’t getting enough compensation in return. It’s also possible that she may feel overwhelmed by the additional work and quit. Because of these risks, there are certain guidelines you should follow when you’re asking your nanny to complete additional work:

  1. Decide the type of duties you wish your nanny to perform. For example, do you want her to also take on the duties of a housekeeper or a personal assistant? Also, she needs to be a caregiver for your children first and foremost. You need to be realistic about the number of additional house cleaning tasks you can ask for. You also need to consider how much time your nanny has to complete her work. If you have a newborn, for example, it’s unrealistic to expect her to do anything but care for your baby.
  2. Once you’ve established realistic duties, you need to think about what’s fair for your nanny. If she is going to complete additional work, you must offer additional compensation. You can’t expect to have a housekeeper and a nanny in one if you’re only going to offer compensation fit for the nanny duties.
  3. Lay everything out in a contract, especially the additional duties and compensation. Make a detailed list of all the responsibilities your nanny will have. Make the compensation clear in the contract. Your nanny should know exactly what’s expected of her so she can decide whether the compensation is fair and if she can take on the work.


Nannies who handle housekeeping and chores in addition to taking care of children are undeniably valuable and life changing. However, you shouldn’t expect this from every nanny, child care alone is a full time and important job. Make sure your nanny is fully on board with every new assignment that you give her. When nannies become dissatisfied with their positions, it’s often because their employers’ expectations repeatedly change, sometimes arbitrarily.

Remember if you ask you nanny to perform additional duties outside of the typical childcare, meal prep for the children and light housekeeping you should include the additional duties in your nanny’s contract and absolutely compensate accordingly. Take care of your nanny for taking care of you.

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About the Author
Martha Scully
Martha is the founder of Martha has been featured as a Child Care Expert in hundreds of publications across Canada including The Globe and Mail, CBC, Today's Parent and The National Post, She lives in British Columbia with her husband and two daughters.