A Day in the Life of a Professional Nanny

Meet Allie! Allie is a professional nanny of 10 years and has worked a variety of nanny positions across the U.S. including live-in, travel, and tour-based positions. She currently works for a wonderful family taking care of a toddler boy in Nashville, TN. Allie works full-time and her nanny family depends on her reliability, knowledge, passion, and dedication to her job. In addition to her Bachelor's Degree, Allie also has spent considerable time obtaining many other childcare related qualifications and credentials. Nanny Counsel shadowed Allie for one full workday to document a day in her life, and this is what it looked like…

It's 9am and Allie arrives at work with her diaper bag in tow. Her charge, L, is eating breakfast with his dad. Allie immediately gets to work by tending to some chores. We asked Allie about her morning routine...

Nanny Counsel: How does your day typically begin? 

Allie: I arrive at work around 9am and basically jump right in. Sometimes that means there’s laundry I had thrown in the dryer the night before or sippy cups that need to be assembled. I usually take about 5 minutes to do these chores while L is still with his dad. Today is an extra busy day for a couple of reasons: I’m off tomorrow, the next day is L's 2nd birthday party, and the following day we leave for a trip. Also, our house manager is out of town so I’ll probably be doing a few extra things to keep the house running smoothly.

I generally try to get out the house as quickly as possible, but realistically it takes a good 30+ minutes to get out the door. Before we leave we have to tidy up the playroom, get dressed, brush teeth, and pack lunch. This can take an extra long time because L can get very distracted by other people in the home — in addition to a full-time housekeeper there are always people in and out. I try to keep it fun for L to keep him motivated, but as everyone who works with kids knows, two year olds are dwadle-masters who aren't the best at following directions.

After breakfast, L runs off to help the housekeeper dust. Allie let's him do this for a couple minutes before making their way to the playroom for cleanup. After cleanup, it's time to get ready for the day. L insists on bringing his blue telephone into his bedroom to play with while he gets ready.  

After brushing teeth, Allie calls for L to come to his bedroom to get dressed, but he decides he'd rather hang in the bathroom. Allie then goes to get L as he tries to dart away, but there's nowhere for him to go. Allie easily wins this battle. 

Even though L was upset about getting dressed, he is quickly all smiles as they prepare to head out for the day!

Allie preps some snacks and a lunch to bring with them for the day. L is a very active and growing toddler, so Allie likes to ensure she has healthy snacks on hand throughout the day. 

Nanny Counsel: What’s on the agenda for today?

Allie: Umm, let’s see, we need to get L’s hair cut, do a Target run, finish packing for the trip, and find some time to let L run and play. We are usually out all morning at an activity, but today we have a few errands to run first. Then we come home around 1pm for the nap routine, which I have condensed into less than 5 minutes to maximize our morning time.

Since Allie and L will be making a trip to Target today, Allie finalizes her shopping list before leaving the house. 

We have to say, it was exhausting just watching Allie get L in and out of the car. Allie has to lift him up quite high to get him in his car seat since her nanny car is an SUV. We'd also like to point out that even though L is a tall 2-year-old, he is still rear-facing! Doesn't he look perfectly comfy? Allie is a CPST and brings her car seat safety expertise to her nanny positions. 

First up on the agenda is L's haircut appointment. L was not too happy about getting his hair cut, but as soon as Allie let him watch a video on her iPhone, he was suddenly okay. Allie limits screen time for moments like this, which is why her phone worked so well in this situation! We also can't help but laugh at the photo on the right. This sums up #nannylife. Nannies are always getting something on their clothes, whether it be spit up or food. Not ruining an outfit is a constant struggle for a nanny. In this instance, L has dripped some of his lollipop onto Allie's dress. 


After the haircut it's time for a snack for L and some much needed coffee for Allie. Allie's bosses understand that she works a very exhausting job, so they don't fault her for stopping for coffee. 

With a boost in energy from a snack and coffee, Allie and L are ready to hit the park! Because they have a lot of errands today, Allie wants to make sure L has some time to run around. Allie actively plays with L while also allowing him some time to explore and play on his own. 


After the park it's time for a quick Target trip. By the looks of that full cart, it doesn't seem like a quick trip, but Allie is incredibly fast and efficient. Just look at her leaping to reach those pouches on the top shelf! At the checkout, L starts to get cranky because he is hungry and ready for lunch. 

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After Target, they then head to a nearby restaurant for lunch. Allie gives L the lunch she packed while waiting for the food she ordered for him. She does it this way because L is super hungry and sometimes it can take a bit for restaurant food to be prepared. Plus, the lunch she packed is healthier than the flatbread pizza she ordered him, so this way L fills up on healthy food first. By the end of lunch, L is getting very tired, so Allie gently consoles him and lets him know they will be leaving soon. 

Once home, Allie immediately transitions L to nap time. She carries him to his room, lets him choose his diaper and sleepsack, and allows him to help close the window shade. She gives him a quick rock in the chair and then lays him down in his crib. It's a very quick process, which L appreciates because by 1pm, he is more than ready for a nap. 

As soon as L is down for nap, Allie immediately unloads the Target bags and puts everything away.

Nanny Counsel: What do you do during nap?

Allie: If I haven’t eaten lunch out with L, I’ll do that once I get him in bed. Today’s super busy, but normally I’ll unload the car, and then have a couple other chores I have to get done, including prepping L’s dinner. This still leaves me with a substantial amount of time to relax and recharge. If it was a particularly busy morning, I’ll take a break to do nothing before finishing up any chores. My bosses understand that keeping up with a toddler all morning is exhausting, so they never fault me for sitting down and watching a show in the theatre, even if I haven’t put away L’s laundry, or whatever. They’re in and out throughout the day, so I had to get over feeling guilty about “getting caught” taking a break, in order to not burn out.

Today during nap Allie cleans out the nanny car, restocks the first aid kit, and packs L's bag for their trip. 

After she's caught up on all of her responsibilities, she takes a much needed breather and plays on her phone. Unfortunately she doesn't get much of a break today because she had a lot of things to take care of, but she knows that's how it is as a nanny. Some days nannies are so busy they don't even have time to eat lunch, and other days they are able to relax for an hour or two. Most days Allie gets a nice break, which her bosses emphatically encourage!

Nanny Counsel: How long does L usually nap and what are your plans after he wakes up?

Allie: L usually naps anywhere from 2.5 to 3.5 hours. If he wakes up before the 2.5 hour mark (assuming he is fine), I’ll leave him in his bed to finish out that time as “quiet time.” We both need that time apart. Once he is up, I change his diaper and he has a quick snack. We usually stick close to home post-nap. Either go to a nearby park and maybe get popsicles with some buddies, or we sometimes just play at home in the playroom or have friends come over to swim- which is the plan for today. And at least a few will likely stay for dinner— we do these afternoon + dinner playdates often, either at my nanny family’s house or we go over to a friend’s house.

After L wakes up, he has a quick snack with his dad. The photo on the right is so indicative of a nanny's life. Sometimes parents are around and actively engaging the kids, and a nanny's role is to keep the house running smoothly so that the parents can freely enjoy quality time with their children. While L plays with his dad, Allie cleans up from snack time. 

As L continues to play with his dad, Allie changes into her swimsuit and preps some broccoli to roast for dinner. 

Once the broccoli is in the oven Allie and L head outside for some pool time! They've invited several friends over for a pool play date. Of course, Allie lathers L with sunscreen!

In addition to just having fun and playing, Allie utilizes pool time to practice swimming with L. She is working with him on his ISR skills. 

After swimming, another nanny and her two charges decide to stay for dinner. This makes dinnertime easier because Allie and the other nanny work together. It's also nice to have a "coworker" and another adult to talk to. 

After dinner, Allie cleans up by sweeping up crumbs, loading the dishwasher, and bringing in the pool towels and toys. L is starting to get sleepy. 

Nanny Counsel: What’s the after dinner routine and what time do you generally get off work? Who puts L to bed?

Allie: I generally work until 6:30 or 7. After dinner L usually has a few minutes to play and I finish up whatever last chore needs to be done. Often his dads will do the bath and bedtime routine, but sometimes I’ll stay until he is in bed. Other days I’ll start the bath and then daddies will take over. Sometimes they are around but hosting, so L can play with them for a bit and visit with whoever is over, but then ultimately I am the one who puts him down…  it just depends on the day and what they have going on. Today I am here for bedtime. 

Allie and L then head to L's room to put away dirty laundry and change his crib sheet. Next is bath time!

Daddy is home! L loves when Daddy gets him out of the tub. While Daddy and L are hanging out, Allie gets L's bedtime items ready to go. 

After putting on his pajamas, L helps Allie unload an Honest shipment that arrived during nap time. 

Once L is ready for bed, Allie takes him outside to spend some time with Daddies and the guests they are hosting! L is the life of the party and although tired, he doesn't want to go to bed!

After saying goodnight to Daddies, Allie and L read some books. L gets upset when story time is over, but as soon as Allie lays him in his crib, he quiets down and eagerly embraces sleep. 

Nanny Counsel: We have a few other questions: what do you find to be the hardest thing about being a nanny? What do you enjoy most about being a nanny? What’s one piece of advice you have for newer nannies?

Allie: I'll start with the easiest part.. I absolutely love what I do. It's such a privilege to be welcomed into a family's home to join their parenting team and help raise their little humans. I love making a difference in each of my nanny babes' lives and knowing how much of an impact I have on their development. There is nothing better than being forced to slow down and go play or adventure each day. No two days are the same and seeing life through a child's POV is always inspiring because they are so curious and genuine. Plus, I thrive in positions where I get a lot of autonomy and freedom to plan and run my day. My current nanny family is two dad household and they are incredibly laid back but put up with my type A bossiness, even though I am sure they would love to slip me a xanax. 

That being said, the hardest parts about being a nanny aren't ever because of the kids... it's an emotional relationship and it can be hard to keep open communication with parents. It's challenging to come into a new position and figure out how their household works and what their needs are-- and then to seamlessly integrate myself into it all. Often it is my job to keep things on schedule and running smoothly, even in very chaotic situations that are created by the parents. Employers often expect their nanny to essentially anticipate and then fix every potential issue before they even realize it could be a problem. So while my role may be to directly care for the children, often that means doing a lot of the "background" work that keeps things running smoothly and enables the parents to come in and focus on their children, without having to think about any of those little details. This can be a little thankless and many of the things a nanny does never even get noticed, yet are vital. This would probably be my biggest piece of advice for nannies--- just to be aware that our role does ultimately require a lot of these "thankless", background tasks that may not ever get acknowledged. Of course, this doesn't mean I think any nanny should allow him or herself to be taken advantage of, so please don't let that be the take away!

The other thing that is hard about being a nanny is that it isn't respected as a career, even if the pay reflects that it IS a legitimate career option. I am not simply babysitting children on a daily basis! Nannying is so much more than that. We are dedicated, hard working, experienced, and educated individuals who are passionate about caring for children. 

Allie's bosses wanted us to include this note to her: 

We couldn’t be the fathers we are without you in our lives! Thank you for everything that you do for us--all three of us! We are thankful everyday to have you a part of our family.  
S, J, and L

So there you have it! A day in the life of a Professional Nanny! We want to thank Allie and her Nanny Family for so graciously allowing us to document their lives and share it with our readers. We hope this article gives people an authentic glimpse into the life a nanny  -- how hard they work and just how much they do for the families they work for. If you are interested in hiring a Professional Nanny like Allie, simply fill out our brief application, and Nanny Counsel will be happy to place you with the best nanny for your family!