The role of the nanny is traditionally seen as someone who flies into a child’s life (quite literally in the case of Mary Poppins, fiction’s most famous nanny), looks after them for their formative primary school years, and is then gone again in what seems like a flash.
However, a recent Telegraph article has revealed the extent to which this state of affairs is now quickly becoming a thing of the past, as so-called ‘helicopter nannies’ are being employed well into the teenage years of the children they were called upon to help bring up.
The phrase is an adaptation of the concept of ‘helicopter parents’, which tends to be applied in a negative way to mothers and fathers who are seen as being an overbearing influence and imposing themselves on every aspect of their child’s life.
It is perhaps unfair, therefore, to refer to the growing band of nannies looking after teenagers in these terms, as the reality is that these household staff company representatives provide an increasingly invaluable service in our busy modern world.
More ex-teachers becoming ‘helicopter nannies’
One of the most famous advocates of this new breed of nanny is the BBC television presenter Fiona Bruce, whose children are still supervised by a paid guardian, despite being 15 and 19. As she explained in an interview with the Daily Mail, “I’m working a lot and my husband works a lot, too, and it’s really important for me that someone is in the house when Mia comes in from school”.
The aforementioned Telegraph article quotes one director of a nanny agency as saying that many ex-teachers are now becoming ‘helicopter nannies’, largely due to the academic intelligence and diverse skill set that is required – and, of course, the attraction of excellent remuneration.
The source is quoted as saying that “with children aged 12 and above, [parents] want someone with a teaching or tutoring background, and some PA skills, so someone who is willing to do not just the children’s organising…but also someone who might book flights for the parents or do some background work on places to stay”.
Image Credits: Sikeri