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Nannies, also known as au pairs, care for children in the parents' homes. The children usually range in age from infant to 10 or 12 years old, but sometimes may be older. The nanny's responsibilities may include supervising the nursery, organizing play activities, taking the children to appointments or classes, and keeping the children's quarters clean and intact. They may supervise the child part of the day or the entire day.
In a large and growing percentage of American families, both parents hold full-time jobs and require full-time child care, which has resulted in increased employment opportunities for nannies. In many other families, parents are opting for part-time work or running businesses out of their homes. Although this allows the parents to be with their children more than if they worked a traditional job, the unpredictability of children's needs makes a nanny's help welcome. A growing segment of parents prefer that their children be cared for at home as opposed to taking them to a day care facility or a babysitter. Thus, the nanny has become a viable and often satisfactory solution.