A Mothers help/Junior Nanny is employed to help the parents with childcare in a ‘shared care’ capacity. A mother’s help is usually newly qualified with limited ‘hands on’ childcare experience. A Mothers help/Junior Nanny role is a generally the ‘first step’ on the career ladder of becoming a Nanny.
The key duties include:
- Some preparation of meals
- Looking after the children alongside the parent
Occasionally, a more experience mother’s help will be asked to take sole charge of the children or in time will progress to sole charge when the parents feel confident that they are ready for the additional responsibility.
When Sandy O’Neill, the Director of Absolute Childcare started in Nanny recruitment, the Nanny market was very different to how it looks now. Back in the late 80’s and early 90’s Nannies tended to work full time in sole charge roles OR full time as a Mothers help.
Mothers helps used to be classed as Junior Nannies , they traditionally left college and would take their first role as a Mothers help, working in partnership with the parents. After a year or two of supervised childcare they would progress to the role of a sole charge Nanny.
Mother’s helps were there to gain experience caring for the children and progress their childcare skills, to include meal planning and preparation, activity planning, weaning, potty training, discipline, sleep routines etc. They also helped out around the house, but with the main emphasis on child related duties.
Mother’s helps sadly don’t really exist in title anymore and we miss them!
A Sole charge Nanny has the experience and knowledge to care for children without supervision and tend to have a vocational qualification in childcare. (but not all are qualified).
A shared care Nanny is happy to work in partnership with the parents and ‘share the care’ of the children. Shared care nannies can be more than capable of sole charge – they just tend to be more relaxed about having the parents around. They can also be qualified and experienced.
The ‘Mothers help’ job title is perceived to be a lesser role to that of a Nanny. Nursery Nurses starting their first role in a private household, even with the parents around will now call themselves a Nanny. Its up to the recruiter to ascertain their experience and suitability.
When agencies were the main source to find a Nanny, (with The lady magazine being the other option!) the fresh out of college applicants relied on Nanny agencies to place them in a suitable role. A reputable agency wouldn’t place an inexperienced applicant in a sole charge role, so they were encouraged to work as Mothers Helps before progressing to a sole charge nanny role. This was accepted and worked really well for many years.
Fast forward to 2021 with a huge increase in on line job boards and independent recruitment, Mothers helps now market themselves as Nannies and parents seeking more affordable childcare are happy to recruit Mothers Helps to work in sole charge. That was the end of the Mothers help title.
Nowadays if you need help with the children and you are a stay at home parent, you will need to recruit for a Nanny happy to work in shared care