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Skills Needed for Being a Professional Nanny

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

Being a nanny is more of a calling than a job. Salaries vary depending on the family, number of children and scope of duties, but hourly wage is $9.12 per hour on average, with an annual salary of $18,970-almost no one is a nanny for the money. However, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says opportunities for professional child care workers are expected to increase by 11 percent. Nannies can be placed by an agency or can find their own clients; however, to get hired in the first place, there are certain skills most agencies and families are looking for; without them, you may need to rethink your career choice.


Nannies are generally hired to look after young children, and young children can be exhausting and frustrating to manage. Daily duties are apt to be long in number and may include feeding, cooking, games, setting the kids down to nap, bathing, dressing, making lunches and helping with schoolwork. Both children and parents will have a variety of needs and expectations, and a person who is easily angered or who cannot handle stress well may not be suited to being a nanny.


Nannies need to be dependable for a number of reasons. Paramount is that nannies are entrusted with the care and safety of children for long periods of time. Another reason is that nannies cannot afford to be habitually late, as this may cost the parents wages, or to not fulfill the duties asked of them, as these usually pertain to the overall well-being of the children. Also, nannies need to be trusted to model appropriate behavior at all times. A nanny who sits and watches TV all day, uses foul language, drinks alcohol or spends time on personal errands or phone calls is not a suitable role model or caregiver for young children. Additionally, nannies usually have unrestricted access to the family home and may be given funds for lunches or grocery shopping; they need to be able to be trusted with the possessions and money of others. Families and lives are put in the hands of nannies; they must be able to handle them with the utmost integrity.

Early Childhood Education

It’s not a legal requirement that a nanny have training in early childhood education; however, some agencies and families may ask for it, and receiving such training will make it easier to understand children, as well as plan and execute appropriate games, meals and activities for them. Families who hire nannies want personalized, engaged care for their children, not just someone to make sure they don’t get hurt. The children will need to be involved in many social, educational and physical activities, and nannies should be able to plan and take part in them.

Good Communications Skills

Nannies will need to communicate and report to the parents on a daily basis. Good communications skills are mandatory for working well with the parents and in representing the children. Someone who cannot articulate the child’s needs, accomplishments, behavior problems and daily activities will not work well with a family. Also, a nanny who cannot get along with the parents and listen to or implement their plans and ideas is not well suited for professional child care work.



About the Author

Amber D. Walker has been writing professionally since 1989. She has had essays published in "Fort Worth Weekly," "Starsong," "Paper Bag," "Living Buddhism" and more. Walker holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Texas and worked as an English teacher abroad for six years.

Photo Credits

  • happy kids image by Marzanna Syncerz from Fotolia.com