EXPERT Q&A

How do I ask my nanny family to call me a nanny instead of a babysitter?

Professional nannies work hard to get their nanny title. Learn how to ask your nanny family to call you a nanny instead of a babysitter—and learn the difference between the two.

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Question

I recently started a new position as a nanny with a family I really love, but the family continues to introduce me as their babysitter. This is the first time the family has ever used a nanny, and I believe it’s not malicious. The family is just unaware of the difference. The family is also struggling with the idea of needing a nanny because it’s perceived as fancier than a babysitter. However, as a professional nanny who has worked hard to build up my resume, I would like to be introduced as such. How can I gently ask the family to call me a nanny instead of a babysitter?  

Answer

I deeply appreciate this question. You are a professional nanny and deserve to be respected as such. Being a man myself, I am consistently referred to as a manny by those around me, though I too much prefer the title nanny.

And kudos to you for being proud of what you do. The nanny career track is often seen as something to do between jobs when in fact is a perfectly legitimate career that requires specific skills and expertise. It is also an occupation necessary to allow parents to stay in the workforce. It is nannies like you that make the at-home caregiving industry stronger.  

For the matter at hand, you’ll want to have a conversation with your nanny family. Ask them if they have time to connect—a term I like to use when I need to discuss an issue without causing alarm. Be sure to find a good time that works for the family and for you, ideally when the children are not around or are sleeping.

When you connect with the nanny family, be sure to have a transparent conversation. Transparency is key to many of the conversations you need to have with your nanny family—and the same applies here. Don’t get in your head and worry about how you will be perceived. By being transparent, it shows that you are a professional who cares.

First, let the nanny family know that you enjoy working for the family and watching the children thrive. Then, add that you’d prefer to be referred to as a nanny rather than a babysitter.

While you can stop there, you can always share more to drive home the message. And I don’t want to put words into your mouth, but the language below might spark ideas for your conversation.

“Thank you for taking the time to connect. I really enjoy working for your family and my experiences with the children. But if it isn’t too much to ask, I would appreciate it if you referred to me as your nanny, rather than your babysitter. Being your family’s nanny means I am a fixture in your home and in the lives of your family. A babysitter is someone who comes in and watches the children but often doesn’t have the commitment to ensure that your children grow up instilled with confidence, knowledge, and so much more. Partly, I feel that people lose trust in me when I am introduced as the babysitter and I don’t understand what role I play with your family. I’ve worked tremendously hard to earn the title of nanny—and this means a lot to me. So if you don’t mind, I would really appreciate it if you thought of me as your nanny.”

Further, you mentioned that the nanny family might feel that it’s too fancy to have a nanny and may not appreciate the connotation of having a private caregiver. But it’s important to recognize that many families need caregivers these days—it is no longer a luxury. With parents and families working—even grandparents—coupled with the risks of COVID-19, it is reasonable for a family to have a nanny or in-home caregiver. Learning that it is okay for the family to employ a nanny may require some time, but you can connect with them on this issue as well.

You’re a nanny and proud to be one! You’ve got this—and remember, we’re here for you!

Meet The Expert


Danny Rosenthal

Known as Danny J Nanny, he is the author behind Nanny ABCs: The Sitter’s Handbook and the host of Nanny ABCs’ Next Step. Rosenthal created Nanny ABCs to simplify childcare. His program keeps families and caregivers from reinventing the wheel. He has been recognized by Chicago Collegiate Nannies for his Outstanding Performance and Rosenthal’s expertise has been featured by the US Nanny Association, Care.com, and the Association of Premier Nanny Agencies. Learn more and connect with Danny J Rosenthal at www.NannyABCs.com or via social media @NannyABCs