Between summer camps, soccer practices and play dates, summer time means transportation to and from different places, and multiple kids means multiple activities, drop-off points and pick-up times. When it comes down to it, we all need a little help, and hiring a summertime nanny can greatly reduce the stress that comes with inevitable seasonal upheaval of our daily routines.
When the Gross family of Southern California struggled to organize summer's chaos, mom and dad tried out a few different approaches to balance their two kids' very different playtime needs.
"We tried summer camps, but you have to sign up so early to get into the popular ones, and if your vacation schedule ends up conflicting with a camp, it's costly to back out," says John Gross, a father and professor at University of California in San Francisco. "We also have a son and daughter with very different interests, so we end up driving all over town for drop-off and pick-ups."
The Gross' decision to hire a nanny proved a great way to instill order to the whole household. Both parents work long hours, so balancing the demands of their jobs with the active lives of their 9 and 10-year-old kids is a constant challenge, says Gross. Having a nanny allows their children to have downtime and flexibility when school is out, while still engaging in fun and educational activities all summer long.
The family so thoroughly enjoyed the benefits of having a summer nanny the first go 'round, they kept her on all year.
And the Gross family isn't alone; families of every size boast undeniable benefits from hiring a seasonal nanny. Here are six reasons you may want to hire a nanny this summer. And when you want to find one, read up on our 8 Tips for Finding a Summer Nanny »
Unlike day care centers or camps, where you may be billed for care you don't even utilize, nannies are more flexible. Life happens, and plans can change unexpectedly. Let the nanny know when you want a Friday off with the kids and enjoy the day, instead of eating the cost of a prepaid day of camp. Ensure the nanny doesn't lose money by allowing him or her to make up the hours. Take a date night next Saturday and enjoy a little time without the "Hey, mom, mom, MOM!" moments. Also be sure to go over any vacation time you plan to take, and be aware of any holes you might have to fill if the nanny has a vacation planned.
A sitter, especially one with access to a car, can fill the kids' days with a variety of fun outings and amusement around town. A rainy day can be spent at the movies and an extra nice day can mean a trip to the local water park. Instead of their days being centered around what the camp has planned for the hundreds of kids it oversees, a nanny can customize your children's activities to their interests and moods.
Many families have to put extracurricular activities, such as tutoring and music lessons, on hold during the summer because they cannot reliably get their kids to and from the practices. Hiring a nanny can solve this problem and enable children to continue the activities they enjoy during the school year.
Extra Household Help
Depending on the arrangement, nannies often chip in around the house. Many will happily agree to folding laundry or unloading the dishwasher while the kids rest or play independently. Let's face it -- at the end of the day, coming home to a tidy house as opposed to a disastrous mess is an added incentive in anyone's book.
Nannies can provide a parent with reassurances in ways camps generally don't. A nanny will answer phone calls, kiss boo-boos and let you know exactly how your child's day went. When a parent can't be there, it's a relief that you've got a partner taking care of your little one.
Chances are your nanny will be around to babysit occasionally once school starts or better yet, confirm she'll be back next summer for round two. It's always a relief to have a sitter who is familiar with the kids and can be on call when you need her most.
Whether you look through online sites like Care.com, career centers at the local college or simply tap into your network of friends and family, finding and becoming a seasonal nanny has never been easier. And hey, you may just find yourself the perfect date night backup sitter in the meantime.
Erin Darwin is a freelance writer living in San Francisco with her two kids and husband. Not scared to clip a coupon, Erin still manages to entertain herself and her kids while budgeting each and every outing in her beloved, yet expensive city. Her work can be found at here.