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A nanny takes care of children for parents too busy to handle their own child care. A baby sitting job may, in many families, be handed over to elder siblings or the teenage children of friends. Professional nannies offer a little more than just baby sitting.
A nanny may give advice on parenting techniques or assist with behavioral problems. In some cases, she may help teach children. Traditionally, nannies who focus on education are called governesses, although this is relatively unusual in the modern world. A nanny is often expected to play with children or take them on outings.
Some nannies may live in with the family and focus entirely on them and their children. Others may be hired by an agency, on a freelance basis, and work a specific number of hours in different households. In some cases, the nanny may also cook and clean. She may help with other chores as well as just child care, but the children are her primary duty. In most cases, nannies work during the day. Night nannies are often hired to look after babies and very young children, allowing their parents to get some sleep.
Although some families hire a nanny independently, many use a professional job agency. Specialty nanny agencies run background checks and ensure that workers have appropriate training. Agencies may also perform screening for families who already have a candidate in mind.
Nannies generally do not come cheap. They are usually more expensive than putting children in a day care center or creche, but give more individualized and personalized attention.