National Nanny Standards

Why Create Standards?

Being a nanny is a huge responsibility. Families trust nannies with the care and well-being of their most precious family members – their children.

The US Nanny Association’s National Nanny Standards provide a comprehensive approach to childcare and child development that enable nannies to successfully use and adapt caregiving techniques. The standards include diverse, proven methodologies and childcare skills that align with the differing needs of families, parenting customs and laws in the United States.

The US Nanny Association National Nanny Standards for childcare are based on the research of childcare educators and industry leaders. The National Nanny Standards are aligned with national early childhood development post-secondary curriculums, the National Council for Curriculum and Assessments, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the US Center for Disease Control (CDC), and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). While there are no laws requiring nanny standards in the United States, industry standards and credentials recognize quality training and work experience.


The National Nanny Standards were established and approved by the Standards Advisory Team. The US Nanny Standards are reviewed and updated by the Standards Advisory Team. The Standards Advisory Team includes select members of the US Nanny Association Board of Directors and additional faculty, professional nannies, newborn care specialists, agency owners, nanny employers, and other childcare industry leaders.

"I didn't know what I didn't know. Reviewing the standards helped me identify my strengths and gaps in my childcare knowledge."

Get a Basic or Professional Nanny and Childcare Provider  Credential Based on the National Standards

The standards are divided into two categories – Basic and Professional - that align with the skills valued by nanny employers. In the United States, some families maintain that the childcare provider’s primary role is to supervise children and ensure they are kept safe. These families hire sitters and entry-level nannies, often paying entry-level wages. Other families want to hire a fully trained childcare specialist or nanny, viewing childcare as a profession. These families expect training and additional qualifications and can pay competitive wages.

Each standard has an alpha-numeric reference number. The first number identifies the standard (#1-7). The second number denotes if the standard is for Basic (B) or Professional (P). The third number is the unique identifier. The Professional Standards include the Basic Standards.

National Nanny Standards (Basic)

Standard #1. Commit to ethical behaviors and professionalism.

1.B.1 Nannies are dependable, ethical, reliable, and are positive role models for children who demonstrate virtuous attributes including integrity, truthfulness, fairness, and sincerity.

1.B.2 Nannies are courteous and respectful, demonstrating appropriate business etiquette when meeting potential employers, networking, and interacting on social media.

1.B.3 Nannies communicate openly and honestly, always communicating accurate information (incidents and accidents, resumes and work experience, et al).

1.B.4 Nannies are trustworthy, accountable and fulfill their commitments and agreements.

1.B.5 Nannies are active listeners who genuinely listen when others are speaking.

1.B.6 Nannies know that all photos of children are the sole property of the parents and will not post or share any images without the parents’ expressed permission.

1.B.7 Nannies respect confidentiality agreements, non-disclosure agreements, proprietary materials, trademarks, and copyrights.

1.B.8 Nannies have a combination of knowledge, skills and experience to adequately supervise children and are willing to learn and adapt to align with the needs of a family.

1.B.9 Nannies invest in educational qualifications and continuing education to gain specialized knowledge about early childhood development and education, elevating their skills and the nanny profession.

Standard #2. Establish and maintain a safe environment.

2.B.1 Nannies always carefully supervise children, remaining onsite and present at all times, providing indoor and outdoor activities (weather permitting).

2.B.2 Nannies never smoke, consume alcohol or are under the influence of drugs while looking after children, including prescription or over the counter medication that may affect a nanny’s ability to provide appropriate childcare.

2.B.3 Nannies wash their hands regularly and routinely clean and/or sanitize supplies as a standard practice.

2.B.4 Nannies can recognize and respond appropriately to a variety of first aid, breathing and cardiac emergencies involving adults, children and infants.

2.B.5 Nannies know what an AED does, when an AED is used and how to use an AED with CPR.

2.B.6 Nannies know how to correctly identify when an epi pen is required and how to administer it when necessary.

2.B.7 Nannies have a clear plan for responding to illnesses and injuries, recognize when a child needs to go to the emergency room and know how to notify the family.

2.B.8 Nannies know and can appropriately implement first aid for medical emergencies including fevers, choking, diabetes, seizures, and shock.

2.B.9 Nannies know and can appropriately implement first aid for injury emergencies including bleeding, mouth and tooth injuries, broken bones, sprains, bruises, and burns.

2.B.10 Nannies know and can appropriately implement first aid for environmentally caused medical situations including bites, stings, lice, temperature-related emergencies, poison, and drowning.

2.B.11 Nannies know the current legal requirements and recommendations for car seats and wearing helmets. Nannies ensure car seats and helmets are used appropriately for all children in their care.

2.B.12 Nannies recognize common dangers in a home and mitigate risk to create safer environments for the children in their care.

2.B.13 Nannies know the signs of abuse, requirements to report suspected abuse, and how to report suspected child abuse.

Standard #3. Promote child development and growth.

3.B.1 Nannies adapt their childcare approach based on the age and development of the children in their care.

3.B.2 Nannies can recognize developmental milestones including physical, social/emotional, language/communication and cognitive for newborns (2 months), infants (6 and 12 months), toddlers (2 years), preschoolers (4 years), and kindergarten (5 years), notifying the family if milestones are not achieved.

3.B.3 Nannies know and provide a range of age appropriate activities and/or toys for newborns, infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarteners.

3.B.4 Nannies create and maintain a calm atmosphere conducive to child development and growth.

Standard #4. Promote physical, emotional, and social development.

4.B.1 Nannies can properly provide infant care including diapering, bathing, dressing, and oral care. Nannies know that infants are placed on their backs to sleep with no other items in or attached to the crib.

4.B.2 Nannies know and use proper infant feeding amounts and techniques for breast milk

and formula including correct handling of frozen or powdered solutions.

4.B.3 Nannies know proper infant lifting, carrying positions (snuggle, cradle, face-to-face, belly, football, facing out, hip), and safe swaddling techniques.

4.B.4 Nannies can define gross motor skills, fine motor skills and can provide activities that help children develop physically.

4.B.5 Nannies can define and use reflective listening with children.

4.B.6 Nannies understand the differences between and benefits of adult-directed and child-directed or self-directed play, providing opportunities for both types of play for the children in their care.

4.B.7 Nannies encourage children to play and work together and provide children with opportunities to learn and develop through exploration and play.

4.B.8 Nannies know how to answer age appropriate questions about gender, genitals, and sex in the manner desired by the family.

Standard #5. Support cognitive development and academic advancement.

5.B.1 Nannies know toddler cognitive milestones and can provide activities designed to help children get better at problem solving, reasoning, and language skills.

5.B.2 Nannies know that literacy includes reading, writing, and communication (speaking and listening) skills and are able to select appropriate books and activities for a child’s skill level (board books, picture books, phonics, simply rhyming books, playing ‘Simon Says’, chapter books).

5.B.3 Nannies encourage infants and toddlers to play with toys and art materials that “do something” based on the child’s actions (building a tower with blocks and knocking it down or using playdough).

5.B.4 Nannies know the benefits of and can provide age appropriate activities in art and music.

Standard #6. Promote nutrition, health and wellness.

6.B.1 Nannies know the national nutrition recommendations ( and use this information when creating menus for children in their care. Nannies provide nutritious snacks and foods, reducing or eliminating processed foods in a child’s diet.

6.B.2. Nannies know how to read a nutrition label and the importance of serving size, calories, sodium, total sugars, nutrients, and ingredients. Nannies use this information to create nutritious meals for children in their care.

6.B.3 Nannies understand that water should always be offered to children and that juices and other processed or artificially flavored drinks should be limited.

6.B.4 Nannies know foods that have common allergens and can appropriately care for a child with a food allergy, including managing a severe allergic reaction and avoiding cross-contamination.

6.B.5 Nannies limit foodborne illnesses by cooking food to safe temperatures (poultry is cooked to 165°F, ground meat is cooked to 160°F and fresh beef, veal, seafood, pork and lamb are cooked to 145°F).

6.B.6 Nannies know the food danger zone, when food is at room temperature and bacteria thrive (between 40°F and 140°F). Nannies never serve food that has been left at room temperature for more than 1-2 hours.

6.B.7 Nannies know proper storage of common foods and are aware of expiration dates and shelf life. Nannies dispose of any foods that have not been stored properly or are past their expiration dates or shelf life.

6.B.8 Nannies utilize the proper technique for cleaning fruit and vegetables as well as safely defrosting meat.

6.B.9 Nannies can manage common health issues including constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, flu, colds, RSV, pneumonia, allergy rashes, roseola, fifth’s disease, scarlet fever, fever blisters, sunburns, eczema, athlete’s foot, scabies, ringworm, ticks, lice, and know when these ailments require professional medical support.

6.B.10 Nannies use appropriate methods to take a child’s temperature (axillary/underarm,

tympanic/ear, temporal/forehead).

6.B.11 Nannies know they must have permission from parents before administering any medications, and keep a record of administrations (time, amount, type). Nannies always double check medication amounts, only using measuring cups provided with the medication.

6.B. 12 Nannies know the vaccination recommendations and proactively communicate with families about their vaccination status.

6.B.13 Nannies are familiar with the benefits of regular physical activity, the elements of fitness (cardiorespiratory endurance, body composition, muscular strength, muscular endurance, and flexibility) and use this knowledge to recommend different physical activities for children.

6.B.14 Nannies know that children need at least one (1) hour of moderate activity per day and can customize fitness programs to different age groups (4 to 7 and 8 to 11-year-olds).

6.B.15 Nannies can recognize and manage the physiological (physical) and psychological (emotional) signs of stress in children and adults.

Standard #7. Establish positive relationships with children, family members, and employers.

7.B.1 Nannies can communicate the benefits of work agreements for nannies and employers, are aware of different types of contracts (written, oral, implied) and can use work agreements to clarify duties, compensation, and align on expectations.

7.B.2 Nannies know the federal (FLSA, Fact Sheet #79B, Fact Sheet #79D, Final Rule) and state employment laws as well as tax laws (IRS Publication 926) for domestic workers.

7.B.3 Nannies are familiar with child custody rights (legal, physical), personal and auto liability in childcare and are aware that hidden cameras in a home are legal except in private areas such as the bathroom.

7.B.4 Nannies provide families or employers regular, often daily information about the child’s health, wellness, development, behavior, and learning.

7.B.5. Nannies are strong communicators who are genuinely enthusiastic, aware of their body language, maintain eye contact, have a positive attitude, and ask open ended questions.

7.B.6 Nannies respect all types of families including traditional (nuclear) and non-traditional (single parent, teen parent, blended, adoptive, generational/grandparent, same sex, never married).

"Published standards take the guesswork out of advancing from sitter to nanny to professional nanny. Knowing the standards align with teaching and other childcare degrees helps me invest in a career path."

Professional providers work with parents, providing childcare recommendations and insights based on proven techniques. Professional Nannies have invested in comprehensive knowledge that includes advanced child development, nutrition, health, and fitness as part of their training and continuing education. The Professional Standards, which include all of the Basic Standards, demonstrate advanced knowledge and skills that provide care for the whole child. 

National Nanny Standards (Professional)

Standard #1. Commit to ethical behaviors and professionalism.

1.P.1 Nannies know the different communication styles (analytical, intuitive, functional, personal) and can use them in their interactions with children and families.

1.P.2 Nannies show respect and tolerance for all cultures and religions, teaching children about diversity and inclusion.

1.P.3 Nannies know the significance of their legal responsibility to protect the children in their care from negligence.

1.P.4 Nannies strive for excellence and provide a superior quality of service which surpasses basic childcare standards.

1.P.5 Nannies positively represent themselves and the nanny community, sharing their knowledge and experiences.

Standard #2. Establish and maintain a safe environment.

2.P.1 Nannies understand the benefits of an emergency kit, know what should be included in the kit based on local environmental and other threats, and know where the kit should be stored for maximum availability.

2.P.2 Nannies are prepared to handle medical emergencies, execute a fire escape plan, know what to do if they encounter an active shooter, manage an auto accident and care for children during a power outage.

2.P.3 Nannies are prepared to handle natural disasters including earthquakes, thunderstorms, tornadoes, floods, forest fires, winter storm or heat wave.

2.P.4 Nannies use their water safety training to keep children safe around water. These skills include how to reduce drowning risk, the signs of secondary drowning, how to correctly use approved floatation devices, enforcing pool safety laws, and interpreting beach warning flags.

2.P.5 Nannies can go room by room to identify and remove child hazards, making the home a safer environment for children. Known hazards include loose bedding, accessible cords, potential poisons (including medicines and cleaning supplies), breakable items, small refrigerator magnets, and many others.

Standard #3. Promote child development and growth.

3.P.1 Nannies can define childhood developmental theories and know how they are used with children including Attachment Theory (Bowlby, Ainsworth), Psychosocial Theory (Erikson), Cognitive Development Theory (Piaget), Sociocultural Theory (Vygotsky), and Social Learning Theory (Bandura).

3.P.2 Nannies can define Classical (Pavlov) and Operant (Skinner) Conditioning and how positive reinforcement can be used with children.

3.P.3 Nannies can define different learning approaches and know how they are used with children including Montessori, Reggio Emilia, Waldorf, Pikler, RIE, learning styles (visual, aural, verbal, physical, logical, social, and solitary), and gender neutral.

3.P.4 Nannies can articulate the benefits of early childhood education.

3.P.5 Nannies are familiar with the general skills children need to be ready for preschool and kindergarten and provide activities to enhance these skills.

Standard #4. Promote physical, emotional, and social development.

4.P.1 Nannies know the reflexes of infants (root, suck, moro, tonic neck, grasp, stepping) and can differentiate reflexes from infant developmental milestones to monitor the infant’s growth.

4.P.2 Nannies know infant physical milestones (roll over, sit upright, crawl, walk), sensory milestones (recognizes faces, turns head when called, copies expressions), and social-emotional milestones (smiling, eye contact, self-soothing, fear of strangers) and can provide supportive activities for each milestone.

4.P.3 Nannies can identify and care for ailments including cradle cap, hair loss, teething, baby acne, colic, diarrhea, constipation, croup, chicken pox, hand-foot-and-mouth, measles, and sprain.

4.P.4 Nannies know when and how to introduce solid foods.

4.P.5 Nannies can identify signs a child is ready for toilet training and are familiar with methods to support toilet training.

4.P.6 Nannies know the average amount of sleep needed per day for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers and can create schedules that allow for enough sleep

4.P.7 Nannies know child nutrition needs and the average caloric requirements by age, providing a daily diet that meets these nutrition needs.

4.P.8 Nannies understand positive discipline techniques (distraction, redirection, natural and logical consequences, 1-2-3 Magic) and know how to use them appropriately in situations such as temper tantrums and biting.

4.P.9 Nannies help children develop self-regulation skills and resiliency through delayed gratification, patience, positive self-talk and resolving conflicts by identifying feelings, describing problems, and trying alternative solutions.

4.P. 10 Nannies know the social-emotional milestones of elementary aged children and are equipped to help children manage independence, peer pressure, stress, insecurity, and view of self (self-concept).

Standard #5. Support cognitive development and academic advancement.

5.P.1 Nannies know infant (different cries, looking for hidden objects, respond to simple requests) and toddler (experimentation, sequence of steps, deferred imitation) milestones and can provide supportive activities for each milestone.

5.P.2 Nannies are familiar with the Common Core curriculum and skill-based reading levels, are able to assist children who are behind, support those who are accelerated, and use conversation and/or games to improve reading comprehension.

5.P.3 Nannies understand the positive developmental impact of art and music on children with respect to creativity, academic performance, motor skills, confidence building, visual learning, decision making, perseverance, focus, collaboration and accountability.

5.P.4 Nannies are familiar with songs that teach children listening, math and counting, movement, color association, and body awareness.

5.P.5 Nannies know how to create an age appropriate schedule of play with activities that include science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

5.P.6 Nannies understand the goal of homework and can help students organize their environment, manage their time, work independently, manage their emotions, and take breaks.

5.P.7 Nannies are familiar with Bloom’s Taxonomy and how to use it with elementary school aged children to advance their levels of understanding.

5.P.8 Nannies understand and can apply Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Theory (linguistic, musical, spatial, logical-mathematical, bodily-kinesthetic, existential, naturalist, interpersonal and intrapersonal).

5.P.9 Nannies have at least an introductory understanding of children with special needs including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Specific Learning Disability (SLD) and Dyslexia, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Asperger Syndrome (AS).

5.P.10 Nannies understand that any child can be at risk or a youth in crisis (health, family, drugs, peer pressure, bullying, etc.), can identify the warning signs and knows how to get help.

5.P.11 Nannies are aware of the six areas of giftedness (artistic & visual performing arts, leadership, creative thinking, intellectual ability, academic, and psychomotor), can debunk myths and can identify and support challenges facing children who are gifted or academically advanced.

Standard #6. Promote nutrition, health and wellness.

6.P.1 Nannies know the importance of macronutrients (carbohydrates, fat, protein) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and use this knowledge to create a well-balanced diet.

6.P.2 Nannies understand the labeling differences between organic, natural, fortified, and whole foods and apply this knowledge when choosing foods and snacks.

6.P.3 Nannies know the average nutritional needs (calories, protein, fat, carbohydrates) of children aged 2-3 and 4-8, including the difference between boys and girls and apply this knowledge when creating daily menus.

6.P.4 Nannies can promote healthy eating choices, role model healthy eating and create a healthy, balanced daily food plan for children aged 2-8.

6.P.5 Nannies use techniques that encourage children to try new foods and overcome food “dislikes”.

6.P.6 Nannies are familiar with common special diets including vegetarian, vegan, elimination, gluten free, high energy, low FODMAP, Mediterranean, and paleo, using them as requested by families.

6.P.7 Nannies are familiar with medical diets including those for cystic fibrosis (high fat and calorie), epilepsy (ketogenic/low carbohydrate), diabetes (low carbohydrate), underweight and failure to thrive (high calorie).

6.P.8 Nannies understand how body mass index (BMI) differs from weight and ways obesity impacts health.

6.P.9 Nannies know how to support child athletes and teach good sportsmanship through age appropriate activities and goals, strong communication, encouragement and by making it fun.

6.P.10 Nannies can identify and use stress management techniques (lifestyle changes, reframing, thought stopping, thought challenging, journaling, taking a break, deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation) to help themselves and children in their care.

Standard #7. Establish positive relationships with children, family members, and employers.

7.P.1 Nannies identify family characteristics (attachment, financial resources, emotional support, permanency), family dynamics (egalitarian, patriarchal, matriarchal), and view of parenting (lifestyle and discipline strategies), using this information to adapt to the needs of the family.

7.P.2 Nannies are aware of their culture, as well as the family’s culture, cultural relativism, multiculturalism, stereotypes, and can share differing cultures with children through stories, crafts, holiday celebrations, music, and other play.

7.P.3. Nannies understand the most common parenting styles (authoritative, authoritarian, laissez-faire) and can adapt to the preferences of the family. Nannies are mindful of stereotyped behaviors (attachment parenting, free-range, helicopter parent, tiger moms, and lawnmower parents).

Are you fluent in English and another language? Are you willing to volunteer your time to get the National Standards and Review Courses translated? If so, contact us.

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