Light Housekeeping: The Job Description Term That Has No Meaning

Let’s get rid of the term light housekeeping. Although it’s used by agencies and parents in almost every job description and nannies often say they’re willing to take it on, it has no real world use. (Kinda like competitive negotiable salary.) Light housekeeping means something different to every person. Some families mean just picking up the normal messes of the day. Cleaning up after meals, putting toys away in the playroom, wiping down the highchair. Other families mean everything except the heavy cleaning like washing windows and vacuuming behind furniture.

Because so many nannies have ended up in jobs doing way more housekeeping than they thought was required, the term has also become a red flag in the job search. Nannies see it and often assume it means more than it does so they skip right over the job.

The best approach is to simply describe what your housekeeping requirements are.

Since the basic nanny’s job description includes cleaning up the messes of the day, you don’t have to detail every task included in that (e.g. wipe down counters and table after meal, put dishes in the dishwasher). You can simply say “normal daily clean-up” or something similar. If the person you’re hiring doesn’t understand the basic job description of a nanny or doesn’t feel it’s her job to do those basic tasks, there’s a bigger problem.

If you want your nanny to take on additional duties, you can outline your expectations by including phrases like “change sheets”, “vacuum daily”, or “family laundry”. This gives a nanny a good insight into what you need. (Remember to outline everything in detail in your nanny contract.)

Writing a clear job description is the first step in finding a great nanny. If you’re using an online job site it’s also your best pre-screening tool. So be specific and you’ll save yourself time, energy and frustration.


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