logo AyiConnect Staff, Feb 20, 2024
Read 20 hours ago
How Much Housekeeping Work Should You Expect From A Nanny?

The role of nannies has evolved in modern households, with their duties now extending beyond just childcare. However, it's important to understand what constitutes reasonable expectations for housekeeping tasks from a nanny. 

In this article, we will examine the balance between prioritizing childcare responsibilities and navigating additional housekeeping duties. By the end of this article, you will understand how a housekeeper is much more involved in household tasks than a nanny, whose responsibility is to tidy up the mess related to the child.

Key Takeaways

  • A nanny's primary role is childcare, not housekeeping. Their core duties revolve around the direct supervision, safety, and development of children.
  • Standard housekeeping responsibilities related to childcare are reasonable. This includes tasks like preparing the children's meals, organizing play areas, and doing the children's laundry.
  • Additional tasks like household cleaning or running non-child-related errands should be optional. Extra duties need clear communication and appropriate compensation.
  • Maintaining open and ongoing dialogue regarding housekeeping expectations is key to preventing unrealistic assumptions or resentment.

Primary Focus of a Nanny: Childcare Over Housekeeping

The most fundamental responsibility of a nanny must be the hands-on care and engagement with children. This includes activities like playing, reading, teaching, preparing meals & snacks specifically for kids, organizing play dates, and transporting children to school, activities, or appointments.

While nannies may take on additional housekeeping duties within reasonable limits, child supervision and development should remain their priority on the job. Trying to juggle intense house cleaning with properly caring for kids can lead to unsafe multitasking situations.

Nannies typically don't mind if they have to do some extra household work if it surrounds the childcare responsibilities.

Common Housekeeping Tasks Within a Nanny's Scope

When you hire a nanny, it is important to understand their responsibilities. Standard child-related light housekeeping responsibilities that can be expected of most nannies include:

  • Washing bottles, sippy cups, pacifiers, and any other dining items used by kids
  • Doing children's laundry
  • Cleaning up kids' meals/spills
  • Tidying play areas and children's rooms
  • The basic organization of children's clothes, toys, books, etc.
  • Monitoring household supplies related to kids' needs (diapers, wipes, non-perishable snacks, etc.)
  • Preparing healthy kids' meals and snacks
  • Helping kids follow age-appropriate hygiene routines

As long as these tasks are directly related to maintaining cleanliness standards for children's spaces and care routines, they generally fall within the normal duties of a nanny.

Optional Housekeeping Duties: What's Reasonable to Ask?

While nannies primarily focus on childcare, some additional housekeeping tasks may overlap with their role depending on the context. However, any duties beyond the standard scope should be optional, not mandatory. Some examples include:

  • Doing non-kid laundry like the parents' clothes or linen
  • Tidying general living spaces like the kitchen, living room, etc.
  • Running occasional errands for household needs (groceries/supplies)
  • Making meals for the whole family
  • Caring for pets
  • Watering plants
  • Letting in service providers like cleaning personnel

The key is moderation. Trying to offload all housework onto a nanny overburdens them to the point where it can negatively impact their childcare duties. As such, parents need to seriously assess what's reasonable to assign without compromising their kids’ safety and care.

Housekeeping Work Outside the Scope of Nannies

While limited housekeeping duties may be part of a nanny's role, certain tasks fall outside their main scope of childcare responsibilities. These include:

  • Deep Cleaning: Intensive scrubbing of floors or vacuums, appliances, window treatments, walls, or furniture should not be assigned as a nanny's responsibility. These require uninterrupted blocks of time without having to also mind children, which compromises their safety.
  • Private Spaces: Bedrooms, bathrooms, and studies used exclusively by parents should be off-limits for nannies in terms of cleaning expectations. These are private spaces and require boundaries.
  • Pet Care: Unless specifically agreed upon, all pet-related duties like walking, feeding, cleaning litter boxes, or picking up waste should be handled by parents or professional pet sitters. These can distract from child supervision.
  • Property Maintenance: Any interior or exterior maintenance, including mopping the floor, is not a nanny's job. This includes gardening, dishwasher, pool cleaning, home repairs, etc. These require specialized skills and tools.
  • Personal Errands: Grocery shopping, clothes/dry cleaning drop-offs, waiting for service provider appointments, or administrative tasks for parents should not be assigned as mandatory. Limited reasonable requests are fine if paid overtime.

Adding responsibilities outside the main scope of childcare risks overburdening nannies to the detriment of kids' care. It also warrants reassessing wages and employment contracts to reinforce fair standards.

Compensation and Contractual Agreements for Extra Duties

Taking on additional chores outside the nanny's core childcare role warrants appropriate compensation and clearly defined expectations, which may include:

  • Increased hourly wage rate
  • Overtime pay eligibility
  • Clear documentation of specific tasks in a work agreement
  • Scheduled weekly/monthly time for housekeeping in addition to child supervision hours
  • Annual or semi-annual compensation reviews adjusting for changing expectations

Ambiguity over housekeeping duties leads to inevitable nanny vs parent conflicts. Parents may incorrectly assume all household work is included, while nannies may feel taken advantage of without proper pay.

Defining these gray areas upfront in contractual agreements and having ongoing open communication prevents unrealistic assumptions or rifts down the road.


Should I ask my nanny to do additional housekeeping work?

It depends on your family's needs and your expectations. If you are looking for a nanny whose role includes housekeeping, it should be communicated during the hiring process and reflected in the job description and compensation.

What is the difference between a nanny housekeeper and a nanny?

A nanny housekeeper is typically responsible for both childcare and general housekeeping duties, whereas a nanny primarily focuses on childcare. If you need someone to take care of household chores along with looking after your children, you should consider hiring a nanny housekeeper.

Can I expect my nanny to take care of meal prep and cooking?

It is reasonable to expect your nanny to prepare meals and snacks for your children, especially if it was discussed and agreed upon during the hiring process. However, if you require extensive meal prep and cooking for the entire family, it should be clearly stated in the job description and reflected in the nanny's pay.

How can I communicate my expectations for additional work to my nanny?

Having an open and honest discussion with your nanny about any additional duties you expect is important. Clearly outline your expectations in the job description and have a conversation to ensure that both parties are on the same page regarding the scope of work and compensation.

What should I always expect from my nanny in terms of household chores?

You can always expect your nanny to clean up after the children, do the children's laundry, and keep their play areas and bedrooms tidy. However, any additional household chores beyond the basic childcare-related tasks should be communicated and agreed upon.

Should I expect my nanny to go above and beyond in their duties?

While many nannies are more than happy to go above and beyond for the families they work for, it's important to have clear and reasonable expectations. Expecting a nanny to consistently take on additional responsibilities without appropriate compensation can lead to dissatisfaction on the nanny's part.

How much additional work can a nanny take on?

The amount of additional work a nanny can take on depends on various factors, including the nanny's experience, the needs of the family, and the agreed-upon job description. It's important to communicate openly and not overload your nanny with excessive additional duties.

What factors should I consider when determining how much to pay my nanny?

When determining the nanny's pay, factors to consider include the number of children being cared for, the nanny's experience and qualifications, the job responsibilities, and the local market rates for nannies. It's important to offer fair compensation that reflects the nanny's skills and the scope of work.

What should I do if I believe my nanny's duties are not being performed as expected?

If you believe that your nanny is not fulfilling their duties as outlined in the job description, it's important to have a respectful and honest conversation to address the situation. Communicate your concerns and allow the nanny to share their perspective before determining the best course of action.


The role of nannies revolves firstly around providing attentive childcare beyond just meeting basic physical needs. However, limited housekeeping duties related to maintaining standards for kids' care, play areas, and hygiene do overlap with a nanny's responsibilities.

Navigating additional tasks requires clearly defining optional vs required expectations, appropriate compensation structures, and open communication channels to prevent unrealistic assumptions. Maintaining this delicate balance is key to healthy nanny-family relationships.

The best approach is to respect the agreement on the tasks and compensation in case any additional tasks are being done by the nanny.

AyiConnect is a platform to connect families with helpers who have a language specialty in addition to care. You can post a free job to engage with them through self-service or use concierge service. For self-service, you can even join in the discussion. The concierge service can provide another option to ensure successful matches for busy families who don't have time to search or need language assistance. Schedule a free consultation here for our concierge service, or check us out at ayiconnection.com