Matching Nanny Qualities to Your Child's Age

While many nannies stay with families for years, it is also not uncommon for a parent to reach out to me for a new nanny because their child’s needs have evolved. They loved their current nanny for a certain phase, but now they are seeking out new qualities to match the needs of their child(ren). We get it! There are some characteristics that are universal, but some just seem to be the right match for a select time.

Let’s start with some qualities that never go out of style:

  • Kind and caring
  • Proactive
  • Positive attitude
  • Safety-minded
  • Patient
  • Trustworthy
  • Dependable and punctual
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Problem solver
  • Professional
  • Engaged
  • Flexible

As we move into age-specific qualities, this doesn’t mean we haven’t had families keep their nannies from the time their first child was born to the time they have 2-3 children that are school-age. Unfortunately, it just isn’t as common. Below is what we look for in the various stages.

  • Newborn – 1 year: At this age, you need a Nanny with a nurturing and calming presence, who will follow a nap routine such as a sleep/play/eat schedule and show your baby tons of love and cuddles.
  • 1 year – 2 years: This nanny has a bit more of a daily routine as your baby is awake more. They know that toddlers need a combination of unstructured, child-led playtime (playground, dress-up) and structured, adult-led playtime where a child follows directions or rules (board games, puzzles, etc.).
  • 2 years – 5 years: This nanny is education-minded, and is creative and resourceful. She/he is organized, building a daily routine, and coming up with ideas for crafts, activities, outings, etc. She/he is health-minded, teaching your child about nutrition and healthy eating, and is active, energetic, and outdoorsy to keep up with your little one. She encourages curiosity and builds your child’s independence.
  • School-age: Time management skills are paramount for this age. Nanny will manage the laundry and prepare your child’s snacks and meals. She/he will make sure that the items your child needs for their activities are ready to go (water bottle, uniform, ballet shoes, etc.). Nanny is comfortable toting the kids around and may help with carpools. She/he provides homework supervision and makes sure they practice for their lessons. Nanny researches activities and camps, schedules appointments, and manages a calendar.
  • Multiple Children/Age Groups: You will need a nanny with a combination of qualities, as well as experience caring for multiple children.

While the qualities that make a nanny exceptional can vary depending on the specific needs of a family and the age of the children, certain characteristics are universally valuable. As children grow and their needs change, the ideal qualities in a caregiver may also shift, requiring adaptability and specialized skills at different developmental stages. Whether you need a nurturing presence for a newborn, a structured playtime organizer for a toddler, a creative and educational guide for a preschooler, or a time-management expert for school-aged children, we can help!