ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What Is a Nanny?

Updated on February 29, 2020

Individuals who are interested in caring for a child on a long-term basis become, over time, more than just your average babysitter.  A nanny is a person who provides specialized and focused care for one child or the children of one family.  This type of job is an old one, with its modern traditional origins lying in the care of wealthy house’s children.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
image from cariocando on flickr
image from cariocando on flickr
image from cariocando on flickr

Nanny vs. Governess

Contrary to what may be thought, a nanny’s function in a household, both classically and in the modern world was the care and well-being of children, not in their formal education.  This area of a child’s life was ruled by a governess.  While a nanny would feed, bathe and clothe children, a governess’ duties included teaching reading, writing and arithmetic, as well as music, language and artistic pursuits.  A nanny’s usefulness continued so long as there were children to tend to, whereas a governess is called upon many years later when the children reach the age of learning.

The typical day of a Nanny

A nanny’s day is dictated by the needs of the child in their care. Nowadays, this may mean arriving at the home of the family a short time before the child is due to wake. In other cases, it means waking before the child. To provide an example, let’s examine the day in the life of yours truly.

I nanny for two boys. One, who was a toddler when this hub was originally written and is now eight years old, and his little brother, who is four:

  • 7:00 - 7:30a.m. – wake up, prepare breakfast
  • 7:30 – 8:00am – walk eight year old to school if necessary, feed four year old breakfast, set to play
  • 8:00 – 10:30a.m. – play time, including possible ‘learning’ games
  • 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. – clean up from morning play, prep lunch
  • 11:30 – Noon – lunch, four year old plays while lunch is cleaned up
  • Noon – 2:00 p.m. – Naptime, nanny relaxing time (or nap time, yay!)
  • 2:00 – 6:00 p.m. – Free time, play, possible snack if requested, homework time for eight year old
  • 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. – Dinner, usually prepared by parent
  • 7:00 – 7:30 p.m. – Bath time, pajamas
  • 8:00 p.m. or so – Sleep!

There were plenty of days when the schedule deviated based on situations that came up. Interesting events such as potty training, the toddler fighting sleep, the terrible threes and all the like are perfectly normal hurdles, but perfectly aggravating at the time.

Being Hired as a Nanny

Beyond having a true love for children and the capability to responsibly care for them, a prospective nanny should also have a clean criminal record, be free of damaging habits and behaviors, and possess a large degree of patience. Training in CPR and first aid are essential skills, as well as a willingness to be flexible in your day to day life. When interviewing with a family, be truthful of your background and experience, and do not be surprised to be asked possibly strange questions. Do not let a family’s wariness lead you to believe they dislike/distrust you, and remember that while you have possible income to lose, the family’s primary concerns lie in the safety and livelihood of their children.

Hiring a Nanny

Unless you’re very close with an individual who displays talent with children and a measure of responsibility, the process for hiring a nanny should be one moved through cautiously.  A capable nanny is not difficult to find, and those individuals to whom you can entrust your children will have no issue with a thorough and cautious approach on the part of a parent.  To minimize possible issues, and provide you with another level of security and assurance, interested parents may wish to seek a nanny through an agency.

Famous Nannies

While the name Mary Poppins may be the first nanny to enter your mind, there have been numerous nannies throughout history, some real and some fictional whom you may recognize:

  • Jo Frost – the extremely successful nanny and host of Supernanny
  • Charlotte Bill – nanny to King George V’s son John in the early 1900’s
  • Hulk Hogan – fictional character in the movie Mr. Nanny
  • Robin Williams – played a character called Mrs. Doubtfire in a scheme to see his own children more
  • Nanna – in Peter Pan, the overseer of the Nursery for Wendy and her brothers was a dog!


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)