Types of Childcare

Information for Parents on different Childcare Roles

We find parents the best childcare available. We provide the most comprehensive nanny screening service and help at every stage of the recruitment process.

Nannies look after children in the home, offering individual care. They can be “sole charge” which means that the parents of the children are not at home, or they can work alongside the mother or parents. Nannies offer a complete care package as they also clean up after the children and cook for the children. They may live-in or live out.

Live-in Nannies
Normally work 12 hour day, Monday to Friday, together with 2 nights babysitting included. They can be in sole charge of the children and they perform “nursery duties” i.e. doing the children’s washing and ironing, keeping their rooms tidy, clearing away the toys, cooking for the children and clearing up in the kitchen afterwards. The primary role is care of the children and therefore household cleaning is not normally included but should be specifically discussed if it is required. On the weekend the nanny should be allowed her own free time but still be allowed to stay in the home.

Live Out Nannies
Normally work a 10 hour day, Monday to Friday. They only do babysitting if this is agreed in advance and is an additional pay to their regular salary. They can be in sole charge of the children and they perform “nursery duties” i.e. doing the children’s washing and ironing, keeping their rooms tidy, clearing away the toys, cooking for the children and clearing up in the kitchen afterwards.
Nannies may hold a childcare qualification, or have previous experience of being a nanny. They look after babies and children of all ages. Salaries vary enormously according to the type of job and the region. It also depends on where the job is, whether the job is live-in (which is often cheaper but that is because accommodation is provided) or live out, and the hours that are required. Please speak to any of our Consultant who will be able to advise you on the costs.

Mother’s Helps
A Mother’s Help can be live-in or live out. They do the same sort of hours as a nanny. The difference between a mother’s help and a nanny is that a mother’s help does not yet have enough experience to be left in constant sole charge of children. They normally work alongside the mother, caring for the children. A mother’s help is not a cleaner, and so is not expected to do household duties, but she may do light duties such as the family shopping, or loading and unloading the family washing. These duties should be discussed and agreed in advance with the childcarer. Salaries vary depending upon the region, whether it is live-in or live out and the hours and duties. Please speak to any of our Consultant who will be able to advise you on the costs.

This is where the job of caring for the children and managing the household are combined so that the nanny is also responsible for shopping, cooking, light housework and supervision of other household staff where necessary.

Emergency Nannies
Emergency Nannies are nannies that can be found at very short notice to cover a breakdown in a family’s existing childcare arrangements or for ad hoc childcare. Emergency Nannies are normally highly experienced childcarers so that they can immediately step in and take over the care of the children.

Temporary/Permanent and Full/Part Time
All childcare positions can be temporary or permanent or full time or part time. Some families may be looking at having a nanny or a mother’s help for anything up to 6 months, perhaps to cover an existing nanny’s maternity leave, for example. Part time nannies can work any periods from a few hours a day to 4 days per week. However it is harder to find childcare for short periods of time during the day, therefore you may consider a nanny share (see below).

Before and After School Childcare
One of the most popular positions today is the before and after school childcarer. This is where families need help getting children off to school and getting them picked up at the end of the day, with the childcarer providing help with homework, as well as doing the tea and bedtime until the parents get back from work. This is one of the hardest positions to fill and therefore you should give yourself plenty of time to find the right person. Spectacular Childcare can help but we often recommend that families look at childminders as an alternative.

Nanny Shares
Sometimes two families (or more,) will get together to share a nanny. This can help to reduce the costs of childcare and can also increase your chances of finding a nanny, particularly if you are only looking for childcare for a few days a week or a few hours a day. If you are having difficulties locating a family to share with, why not try a nanny share website at www.nannyshare.co.uk

Proxy Parenting
A proxy parent role is where a nanny takes on full 24-hour responsibility for the house and childcare arrangements whilst the parents are away on business trips or holidays.

We register childcarers who are also looking for babysitting work in the evenings. If you need a babysitter, Please speak to any of our Consultant who will be able to advise you on nearest babysitter to you.

Au Pairs
An au pair is typically a national from either the EU or from other Western European countries. She is normally aged 17-27 and comes over to England primarily to learn English. An au pair lives with a family and in return for board and lodging and a small allowance she does a mixture of childcare and light housework. She must be given the opportunity to study and should only work a maximum of 25 hours a week. She should be paid an allowance in the region of £50-100. She must not be left in sole charge of children for long periods of time. Au pairs should only look after children of school age, or at the most 3 years and above. Most au pairs are very young and have little experience as childcarers.


A Childminder is someone who looks after children in their own home. Whilst standards vary, lists of registered childminders are available from your local Children’s Information Service. Childminders must be registered by Ofsted in England/Wales, or be regulated by the Care Commission in Scotland. Most childminders work in their own homes, sometimes with a partner or assistant. Childminders are self-employed and negotiate a fee with parents for the service they provide. Childminders must have had basic training and hold Public Liability Insurance. For more information visit: www.ncma.org.uk.

Maternity Nannies
Typically Maternity Nannies give an expert service in all areas of infant care especially feeding and sleep routines, weight gain patterns, dealing with minor ailments and maintaining good hygiene. Care and support of the post natal mother and helping with breast feeding is especially important.
There are many different types of Maternity Nanny:

Maternity Nanny
These are experienced maternity nurses & maternity nannies, ideal for supporting first time mothers or those who have special needs, for example following Caesarean Section delivery.
There are also maternity nannies who are good for mums with older siblings, as they will not only care for the new baby, but will also help out with the older children.

Multiple Birth Maternity Nanny
These are very experienced maternity nurses & specialise in multiple births. They are ideal for parents expecting twins or triplets and are great at establishing routines.

Doulas will be experienced in childcare (particularly with babies) as well as being willing to assist in household duties and the general running of the home. This service will include light housework, shopping, cooking, ironing and general assistance in childcare. They tend to work 4-8 hours per day. They can be both pre and post natal. Pre-natal doulas can be available at the birth if required.

For more information on all of the above, or to register with us please contact us on 0845 4633 619 or 01859 710572 or email info@spectacularuk.co.uk.