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Being a Rota Nanny: All You Need to Know

Updated: Jul 17, 2023

Rota nanny jobs are highly sought after, and some of Homebodies’ most qualified and experienced nannies seek this type of role. But what exactly is a rota nanny? In this blog we’ll explore the role of this exciting childcare position, and speak to Emmy, a wonderful rota nanny, about her job. So if you would like to hire a rota nanny for your family, or if you are choosing this as your next career move, read on…

What is a rota nanny?

A rota nanny is a highly-skilled childcare professional who works on a rotational schedule. Many have worked their way up the career ladder and see it as the highest level they can reach. It offers the opportunity to work half the year, travel worldwide, and receive a full-time salary. Being a nanny on a rota is not for everyone as it is very demanding and requires flexibility to work long unsociable hours. It suits nannies with no dependents and who are happy to be totally flexible to meet the demands of the role.

For our clients who need 24/7 cover, a rotational nanny schedule is the answer. Nannies provide 24/7 childcare and work on an alternate number of weeks with at least one other nanny. For example, nanny A will work for 2 weeks, and nanny B will work the next 2 weeks, and so on. This arrangement can be highly advantageous to both the family and the nanny.

What are the benefits of being a rota nanny?

Being a rota nanny offers several advantages. Firstly, it allows for a balanced work-life schedule, with nannies typically working on a rotational basis, alternating weeks with at least one other nanny - this means that although a demanding job while at work, there are long periods of free time to enjoy. Additionally, there is the opportunity to travel extensively while providing childcare, experiencing different cultures and environments. Moreover, they receive a full-time salary, despite working for only half the year.

What are the drawbacks of being a rota nanny?

While the role of a nanny on a rota has its perks, it is not without challenges. The demanding nature of the job requires nannies to be highly adaptable and flexible, often working long and unsociable hours. They must be prepared to put their personal lives on hold during the periods they are working, as they are expected to be fully dedicated to their duties. Balancing personal commitments and maintaining relationships can be a significant challenge for nannies.

Emmy’s story

So what’s it really like being a rota nanny? We asked our wonderful Homebodies nanny, Emmy, to tell us more:

How does a rota nanny differ from being a nanny?

Being a nanny on a rota has a different mindset. You are not only trying to work alongside the parents' wishes but also match the care provided by your counterpart rota nanny. It is important for the child to have smooth transitions between each of the nannies' shifts, but also when the parents are around.

How did you get into becoming a rota nanny?

I was headhunted by an agency for my first rota nanny role, and then I applied for the second through the same agency which gave me the initial experience I needed.

What are the main skills you need?

Nannying already puts you in the home, a very personal space. Each family has different expectations, and I call it learning the "dainty dance" - They have full-time care, so you have to learn to understand if they ever want space as a family and how to navigate being at intimate events. For example, when I worked Christmas, I knew to let the parents open gifts with the children, but I was within earshot, ready for my cue to take over.

Can you describe the typical daily routine/day/week?

Both my rota roles had the same schedule - a Monday morning handover between nannies. If I was switching to my week on, I was then responsible for all details that fell within that week.

What are the pros and cons of working as a rota nanny?

The huge pro is that you only work half the year. Every other week off! And even though you work more hours, you only work 7 days out of every 14, opposed to 10 out of every 14 in a regular role. The con is that you are expected to put your life on hold when you are working. You have half the year for appointments, holidays, and seeing your friends. So there is a lot of compromise and making your personal life wait until "next week."

Do you have any advice for someone who wants to become a rota nanny?

If you have the stamina to do the role to the best of your ability for the entire shift length, go for it!

Why do you love your job?

I adore caring for children and experiencing the world from their perspective.

If you choose to have a rota nanny or feel this is the next step for you, it is important you consider the following:

  1. Take care of your nanny and ensure her well-being is cared for.

  2. Ensure your nanny has time for regular breaks during the day, especially if she has been up during the night.

  3. Your nanny is on call during the night, but she still needs to get some well-needed sleep. Make sure she has a comfortable bed and her own bathroom.

  4. Ideally, nannies prefer to sleep next-door to the child or children and use a monitor, rather than in the same bedroom if this is possible.

  5. Treat a nanny as part of the family rather than as a member of staff – she is caring for your children and should be made to feel respected and valued.

  6. Your nannies will still need holiday time off, and this needs to be considered, especially if you are travelling or need them to work around your schedule.

To find out more about our rota nanny roles, or if you are a family looking to hire a rota nanny, then contact us today.

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