Now we know the primary responsibilities for both a nanny and a governess, let’s compare the two roles and highlight the differences.
Both are childcare professionals who form an essential part of a child’s early years. The main differences are around the age group they are responsible for and the specific focus they have. Both nannies and governesses can work on the various basis’ too, from part-time to full time, live in to live out, and both are usually able to travel with a family, to ensure continuity of care and presence away from the child’s familiar surroundings, e.g. on vacation.
The subtle differences are significant, however, because it depends on what you want to achieve in terms of which childcare professional you employ. In this article we know more about what is a governess and its all details.
A nanny is more likely to work with babies, toddlers, and young children, focusing on their primary care needs and supporting their developmental milestones. However, a governess is more focused on education, and as such, they usually work with children who are at school, from around age six upwards.
A nanny will help a young child with their homework, but that isn’t their specific role. A governess, however, is mostly employed to support a child’s educational needs and allow them to flourish within whatever schooling arrangement they have.
Governesses can be employed to home-school a child, but they are more likely to give extra tuition on subjects or areas which a child is struggling with it. A governess can also work as a part-time teacher within the home, for children who need more structure to their education.
To sum up, the main differences are:
- Nannies typically work with a younger age group than governesses.
- Governesses are focused mostly on the development of a child through their education and personal development.
- A nanny is more focused on the general care and wellbeing of a child, e.g. dressing, playing with them, feeding, changing, setting routines, etc.
- A governess is likely to be a trained teacher, who knows the UK National Curriculum.
Which Professional is Best For Your Family?
Now you know the specific roles of a nanny and a governess, and you understand the critical differences between them, you’re in a better position to know which professional is best for your child, or children.
It all comes down to the age and needs of your child and what you want to focus on it. If you need someone to help you with primary care, someone to take the pressure off or care for your child when you’re at work or away due to other commitments, a nanny is the right choice for you.
However, suppose you need someone to focus on your child’s education, supplementing what they’re learning at school or helping to educate them generally, whilst also focusing on general childcare to a lesser extent. In that case, a governess is a right route.
A governess will help with essential childcare duties; however, they are far more focused on learning and aren’t there to watch your child and assist with day to daycare. In that case, a nanny is the specific childcare professional you need.
Many people confuse these two professionals, but it’s vital to know the differences to get the right person for the job. If you hire a nanny and you’re expecting him or her to sit down and help your child with their homework, going into specific details on the ins and outs of the National Curriculum, you’ve made the wrong choice. As a result, you’re going to need to let them go and rehire someone else. It is a long process, and disrupts your child, as you’re introducing them to several different people, rather than the right one from the start.
On the other hand, if you’re hiring a governess and your child is very young, and you want someone to help them hit developmental milestones and help to get them into a routine, along with general childcare duties, you’ve made the wrong choice once more.
It’s essential to try and get the choice right from the start, to minimise disruption and ensure that you hit the ground running with your childcare and educational needs covered as well as they can be.