The Difference Between a Nanny and a House Cleaner (there is a big difference!!)

nanny vs house cleaner

A nanny and a house cleaner have two very different jobs. Sure, a nanny takes on some tidying tasks around the house, but they are always centred around the children’s activities.

It’s their role to provide a safe, nurturing and stimulating environment for the children in their care.

nanny vs house cleaner

We believe this is a topic not spoken of enough, or people are generally unaware of. It’s time we set some records straight for nannies, babysitters, house cleaners, and families out there.

Nanny & Housecleaner Costs/Wages

An average house cleaner wage in Australia earns on average $25/ hour, and a nanny earns $25/ hour (depending on the nanny’s experience and skill set of course). We understand that raising a child is costly, but hiring one person to do both the role of a house cleaner AND a childcare professional for the cost of one person’s wage is simply unreasonable.

Some nannies are keen to do both roles, but when you’re finding the candidate to fill the position, make sure it’s clear from the start that you are looking for both a house cleaner and nanny. We can’t stress enough how important it is to establish an employment agreement contract with the people who work in your household. This clearly communicates the job description and so much more essential information.

What should go into an employment agreement contract? 

What should go into an employment agreement contract? 

What are a nanny’s responsibilities?

  • Create a safe and stimulating environment for children
  • Run errands
  • Light housework (general tidying, dishes, taking out the trash, etc…)
  • Reinforce appropriate discipline for the children
  • Help with homework
  • Tidy children’s bedrooms and play areas
  • Plan and supervise nap and bedtimes
  • School and activity drop-offs and pickups
  • Take the children out for outdoor activities and schedule children’s activities
  • Wash and clean up after the children’s meals
  • Prepare meals and snacks for children
  • Dress the children appropriate to the child’s activities
  • Bathe babies, change nappies, and prepare bottles, and feed

Although cleaning is not on this list, the reality is nannies clean a lot--all day, in fact. We all know kids and babies are messy. Nannies clean up the crumbs and spills after each meal, load and unload the dishwasher, tidy and organise the kids play rooms, disinfect toys, do the children’s laundry, wipe down the kitchen counters, and clean up after activities.

Nanny vs House Cleaner

Manageing Expectations

You wouldn’t ask your house cleaner to pick up your child from school or expect them to cook dinner for your minis, so it’s not appropriate to ask your nanny to clean the bathroom or do the whole family’s laundry.  

Most nannies are happy to do household chores like the dishes, tidying up after the children’s things, and light washing. If you’re asking your nanny to go above these duties, you will need to pay them for more for their time and workload, as nannies typically don’t look for positions to clean up after the whole family.

Mini Nanny Agency Kids Mess

Your Nanny is a Part of the Team

Messes that happen before a nanny is on duty, should be the parents’ responsibility. Please do not leave a mess behind for the nanny to pick up when they come on the clock. A great nanny will go above and beyond for their families because they are eager to help the family, but there is a point where the nanny begins to feel taken advantage of especially when families begin to take the nanny’s extra efforts as expectation. A little appreciation goes a long way, and teamwork is key to a happy household.

Are you a nanny who is doing more chores than you are comfortable? Please, speak up. Most the time, parents don’t understand it is not typical for nannies to pick up after the parents too, so have a meeting to voice your concerns. Are you willing to take on more household chores if the family compensates you with a raise? Or do you want your duties to remain childcare oriented?

If your nanny is happy to do so, you can schedule one day a week when you need your nanny to do some extra tidying up on top of their childcare duties and pay them a higher rate for that day.

Parents, are you thinking this might break the bank? Consider what is more important to your household at this time: a house cleaner or a nanny?

Brisbane, Gold Coast, Byron Bay, & Sydney Premier Nanny Agency

Recent Blog Posts:


mini Guide: to Hiring a Nanny & 12 Questions You Need to Ask in an Interview

mini guide hire a nanny manny

The team at mini Nanny Agency are the nanny recruitment experts. Our job is to take the legwork out of job postings, preliminary interviews, reference and certification checks to save our clients time and extra resources. We present our clients with a short list of only the ideal candidates to best match your family's nanny needs and values. 

We've put together some points to consider when hiring a nanny for your household as well as 12 key interview questions you might want to ask to get a better idea of how this nanny will fit into your family's routines.

Andre Hunter Family

The hours of work

When will your nanny be required to work? Do you need an extra set of hands to help the kids prepare for school in the morning? Do you need them for after-school pickups, entertainment, and dinner until you get home for the evening? Or will they be staying with your young bub for a full-time role? 

Bear in mind, the more hours you can provide a nanny, the easier it will be to find someone who can commit more of their time for your children. 

If you are looking to fill in a part-time position say, twice a week for three hours, your candidates might be looking for more options to fill in work hours or will most likely be a uni student. 

Nanny Duties

Clarify the nanny duties ahead of time so your nanny better understands the offered role and your expectations. What do you consider “light house cleaning” Does this mean general tidying after the children or full on cleaning? Nannies don’t generally like to be full house cleaners but are happy to clean up after the children. Please let the mini team know in advance what you're after so we can find you a nanny to suit your household needs. 

This includes any pet duties: feeding, walking the dogs, changing the turtle cages. Some nannies are happy to do all, just let us know in advance for a heads up for any pet allergies a candidate might have. 

Special requirements: 

Do your children have any special requirements? Would you prefer a nanny who has experience in similar situations or are you willing to educate your nanny about any additional care requirements for your children? 

Andrew Branch Interview


The mini team will set up your interviews to meet with your potential nannies to best convenience your schedule, and we will provide support throughout the process. After all, hiring a nanny is a very important decision for your family and should be treated with the utmost professionalism. 

In the childcare industry, behavioural type questions are a common interviewing style. Behavioural type questions ask your candidates about their past actions and behaviours in specific situations to give you an idea on how they will succeed in future roles.

Read our mini Guide here on behavioural interviewing for nannies. 

12 Questions You Need To Ask

When we send you your shortlist of nannies and prepare for the nanny-family interview, we will provide you the copies of their reference checks, as well as our honest first impressions of the candidates and their overall nanny story. Here are some question to get a better idea of your nanny and clarify some expectations on your first meet and greet. 

1. What are you looking for in an employer? /What are you expecting from me as your potential employer? 

2.Why do you enjoy nannying?

3. Can you recall a specific time you had trouble communicating with a child or parent and what did you do to overcome the situation?

4. Are you willing to travel with us for family vacations? 

5. Can you tell me about the most difficult child/ parent you've worked with and how you handled the situation?

6. Have you ever had to handle an emergency? How did you react?

7. Can you give me some examples of unexpected issues that have come up in your previous jobs and how you and your former employer worked around it?

8. Are you willing to do overnight stays with the children? 

9. What additional responsibilities are you willing to take on as a nanny? (Family PA, house cleaning, tutoring, pet care etc...)

10. What is your child caring and discipline philosophy? 

11. What is your outlook on nutrition for children?

12. Are you willing to sign a confidentiality clause? 

Once you've found your perfect nanny, we will guide you through setting up an employment contract. Here's a quick read on our blog on Nanny-Employer agreements to give you an idea of what is expected from you as a nanny employer from how to pay your nanny, superannuation, insurances,  social media policies, and more.

We're offering peace of mind throughout the hiring process at mini Nanny Agency. So please let us know if you have any questions, comments, or concerns throughout any stage of the employment process. We're happy to help. 


Meet Nanny Gemma

Nanny Gemma A.k.a Jimjams

It's with great pleasure that the mini team introduce nanny Gemma a.k.a  Jimjams. She’s a full-time Mary Poppins to a beautiful family with 4 children plus a cat and a big dog. 

Gemma loves campervan camping and is a major foodie. She loves to dine out for inspiration to take back into her kitchen where she enjoys creating delicious and nutritious meals from scratch.

How did you get started with mini Nanny Agency? 

It was fate meeting Michelle at a yoga and wellness centre in New Farm. Nannying sort of just made sense for me. Michelle and I connected straight away and had an amazing discussion about our passions. 

I had 10 years of experience running salons and a photography studio which came out of a love of being around people and helping them feel beautiful in their own skin. 

I have always enjoyed working with kids and making them laugh, entertaining them, and having fun. Meeting Michelle and nannying felt like it was all meant to be for me.

What is the day in the life of Nanny Jimjams?

I get up with the sun and am with the family for 6 am. School drop-offs and household duties are part of my morning routine. I make all meals from scratch, keep the house immaculate, and act as a personal assistant to the parents. 

Breakfast has to be nourishing and slow-carb releasing as the kids have such big days! The breakfast winner at the moment is the “avocado smush.” It’s avo and feta on whole grain toast. 

Avo Toast Nanny Diaries

I braid the girls’ hair, tidy the kitchen and check to see that the kids' bed made. At 7:10 it’s a swift exit to the schools and pre-school sports activities! It’s a busy morning, but things start to slow down without the kids around so I do the cleaning, washing, errands and walk the dog. 

What has been your favourite moment as a nanny? 

I can’t get enough one on one time with each child. I love getting hugs and reading books together. The best moments are filled with affection and literally laughing till our bellies ache! 

What has been your greatest challenge as a nanny?

For me, the most challenging thing about being a nanny is creating boundaries and knowing when to step back and when to jump in with both feet.

There’s a lot of learning to do about yourself in the nannying career just as there is to learn about kids and families which makes this role so much more rewarding.

What’s the best thing a parent has done to make you feel appreciated? 

I got a phone call the other night from the kids screaming “love ya! Thank you for everything you do for us!” That was pretty cute! A quiet thank you is always much appreciated

What’s the soundtrack to your life at the moment?

The kids and I love blasting the car stereo to Bruno Mars! 

When you’re not on nanny duties, what inspires nanny Gemma?

My partner and I just bought a camper van, so it’s the gypsy life for me! We love Byron Bay and spend our weekends outside soaking in the ocean spray, paddle-boarding, and winding down the day eating the best slow cooked brisket! 

Beautiful Byron Bay light house 

Beautiful Byron Bay light house 

I train at gym 4 days a week and love yoga and catch ups with friends over food, of course! I’m always keeping an eye out for new restaurants to try. 

Best advice for new nannies? 

A nanny has to understand different personalities in a family and finding the best way to meet everyone's needs to offer the best support. 

I know with teenage boys it’s more of a stern approach. You need to treat them like men and give them that bit of autonomy that they crave. I am there to support them into becoming more independent. With the girls, it’s always more of a trade and compromising. Homework first and baking after. 

With the parents, you need to be able to anticipate their needs to the best of your ability. Be the best support possible and go beyond to exceed their expectations. 

What do you wish parents and outsiders looking in would understand about being a nanny and the nanny field in general? 

The stereotype of the nanny life is that we just play with kids all day, but in reality, nannying requires a lot of emotional support to the parents, diplomacy, and patience

There are days that are tough and mentally draining, but there more days that you feel like you made a difference than not. It's a lot of hard work, but it is definitely rewarding.

Since you're such a foodie, what are your favourite Brisbane restaurants and what should I order? 

Depending on what you enjoy, Katrina, my fav restaurant in Brisbane is Survey Co in the city. Survey co is all about the fresh locally sourced produce and excellent service- the owner takes your order! It’s a little expensive, but it’s the best I have been too! 

On a weekend, I love Miami Marketta.  Marketta is like Eat Street markets but better! It’s full of cocktail bars and has a dance floor. Last weekend, I had the best damn chicken burger of my life!! 

You can’t go wrong with Rouge in Newstead for brekkie dates and cute date nights. The pancakes are legendary!!