How many children can a nanny look after?

The question of how many children a nanny can look after depends on many factors, and there is not one clear answer. Here, the childcare experts at Nannies Matter will explain how many children a nanny can look after according to the legal considerations, and explain how to find an appropriate balance within your work that will ensure that children are benefiting from your full care and attention.

Legally, a nanny can only take care of the children of two families at any one time, at the home of one of the families. If more than two families are using your services at the same time, you will be considered a childminder rather than a nanny, and will have to register with Ofsted. Nannies can also register with Ofsted, which may enable parents to gain financial assistance on the costs of childcare, but there is no legal requirement to do so.

Unlike nannies, childminders can look after a maximum of six children at once. A maximum of three of these children can be under five years old, and a maximum of one child per childminder can be a baby. This is because research shows that children respond better to the care of an adult who can be focused and attentive to their needs, both in terms of their early education and in the relationships they form with their carers.

Is there a limit on how many children a nanny can look after?

While there are limits for childminders, and there is a limit on the number of families that can use a nanny’s services, there is no official legal limit on the number of children that one nanny can care for at one time. This is because nannies are usually expected to deliver more focused care to the children of one or two families than childminders - they may live on the same premises as the children, for example, and can work up to five days per week for up to ten hours per day to provide dedicated care.

Nannies (especially live-in nannies) will often undertake housekeeping or other duties in addition to their childcare responsibilities, which ensures that they offer value for money to their clients. Alternatively, childminders will usually work in their own homes and because parents usually prefer part-time care for their children, they will work shorter hours than nannies.

While there are no legal limits on the number of children a nanny can supervise, there are practical considerations - younger children will often need much more careful supervision than older children, for example. How many children an individual can supervise effectively will usually depend on the individual level of skill, experience and confidence of the nanny in question.

Nannies have certain childcare responsibilities under the early years foundation stage (EYFS) statutory framework, and so if you are a nanny trying to determine how many children is too many to take proper care of, you should consider this in light of the responsibilities you need to fulfil. 

If you feel that you have what it takes to provide high quality childcare, you may not need any qualifications to start a career as a professional nanny. You can browse our current job listings for opportunities, call us on​​​​​​​ 0800 121 4881 or fill in the contact form on this page to get in touch

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