The Modern Day Mary Poppins – A Guide to Employing a Nanny

Childcare is one of the key issues for all parents, especially when they decide to go back to work. There are 4 key options that parents are presented with – grandparents, childminder, nursery or a nanny. In recent years, the number of families opting to have a nanny care for their child has increased and it’s no longer deemed an elitist option.

What does a nanny do?

The primary benefit is that a nanny cares for your child in your own home. They provide one to one childcare, building on your child’s learning development as well as performing some light household chores.  They prepare the child’s meals, do the children’s laundry, ironing, take the child to any baby groups etc. For older children, they would take the children to school and collect them, help with their homework and take the children to playdates or after school activities. To have someone dedicated to the care and wellbeing of a child provides enormous peace of mind to any parent.

The Pros to having a nanny

Peace of mind – parents are able to go to work knowing that their child is safe and cared for at home with a trustworthy childcare professional

Emergencies – if your child is sick and can’t go to school/nursery or if you have to work late, then there is someone to take care of them even if you can’t.

One to one childcare – a nanny is there to focus on your child, which builds on the learning and development all in the comfort of your own home. The child is comfortable as they can still play with their own toys and you can maintain their routines.

Family – nannies do this as a career as they have a genuine passion for caring for children. They often become a member of the family and continue to stay in touch with the children once they have grown up.

The Cons to having a nanny

Costs – employing a nanny isn’t cheap, however if you know another family who are in a similar situation, then you could nanny share which reduces your costs. Also there is the option of childcare voucher scheme which some companies offer to employers. This will help offset your childcare costs when employing a nanny.

Paperwork – Essentially you would become the nannies employer which means it’s your responsibility to sort out their salary, tax and National Insurance. Most families use an accountant or a nanny payroll agency to take care of this.

What to look for in a nanny?

Most families choose a nanny agency to help them find a suitable candidate. Nanny agencies take away the stress of finding a nanny. They have interviewed the candidates, do all the relevant checks and thoroughly vet the nannies. They have a large database of nannies for any given area, so you know you are getting the best possible nanny CVs to view for your role. Nannies are also loyal to agencies, so they tend to go back to the same agency that found them a role, which means for some of the established agencies, they tend to have a full employment record for the nanny.


The key things you need to look for when employing a nanny is the following:

  • They must have a valid DBS (formerly known as CRB check)/Ofsted certificate in place.
  • checking CVs and references thoroughly
  • check if the nanny has any childcare qualifications

Manjit Shah, Buttons Nanny Agency, March 2016