It isn’t always obvious what a nanny should wear to work. She’s a professional, but she also works intimately with children. She’s a professional, but she isn’t a teacher. She’s a professional, but she needs to be comfortable.
I would never claim to be the most fashionable nanny out there. In fact, I don’t even like half of what I wear to work. I choose it because it’s practical, comfortable, and I’d be okay burning it after a diaper explosion. Don’t be like me.
However, you can still follow these five basic rules when deciding what to wear…
1. Wear Comfortable Shoes
Nannies are on their feet most of the day. Whether we’re taking the kids on a walk, running around with them at the park, or completing tasks around the house, our job requires comfortable footwear. This doesn’t mean you have to spend a large portion of your paycheck on the best shoes on the market. Just ask yourself before leaving the house, “Could I wear these shoes all day?” Or bring along a change of shoes in case you aren’t sure.
2. Lose the Jewelry
If you care for older kids, jewelry may not be an issue, but babies especially, cannot keep their hands off shiny, pendulous objects. Babies and toddlers can easily (and will likely) break necklaces, dangly earrings, and beaded bracelets by pulling on them using their surprising strength. If the jewelry has small pieces, it can also be a choking hazard. If you must wear jewelry, it’s best to wear teething necklaces, banded bracelets or stud earrings only to avoid losing your favorite statement pieces.
3. Dress Modestly
I can’t tell you how many nannies I’ve seen wearing clothing that isn’t appropriate for someone in such a critical role. I’m not saying you have to wear turtlenecks and slacks down to your ankles, but there is a posture of professionalism that nannies should consider. As someone with such power to influence a child’s view of acceptable dress and behavior, it should be taken seriously. Dressing like you’re going to a college party, in shorts that don’t completely cover your cheeks, or low-cut tops just isn’t appropriate…or practical.
4. Dress Practically
Dressing for your day is probably the most important factor to consider when getting ready for work in the morning. If you know you’re going to be spending a lot of time sitting on the floor with your nanny kid, consider yoga pants or stretchy jeans. If you know you’re going be going on a hike, wear a breathable top. And even though your sandals might be exceptionally comfortable, they may not be the best choice for a day at the zoo.
For those of us who experience seasons where we live, don’t forget to check the temperature and weather forecast for the day. There’s nothing worse than wearing canvas shoes and a light sweater on a rainy fifty degree day.
5. Keep an Extra Outfit On Hand
It may not always be necessary to have an extra outfit with you in case of a diaper accident or art spill. However, in the situations when it is, it really is. You don’t want to be stuck with poop on your shirt and nothing to change into. Best case scenario, you need a change of clothes because of an impromptu work sleepover. They happen. Take a lesson from the Boy Scouts and be prepared for all situations.
Unless your employers say otherwise, there really isn’t a specific dress code for nannies. Ultimately, it’s important to dress appropriately for the role you’re in, and to remember the influence you have on your nanny kids.