Show Your Nanny You Care
12 ways to say thanks to a special nanny -- during National Nanny Recognition Week and the rest of the year.
A nanny's role is crucial to holding a family together. Not only is she the main child care provider during the day -- and often at night -- but he or she serves as both a role model and a shoulder to cry on for our little ones. Children often say that their nanny helped shape their lives.
"We are partners in caring for your children, enriching the lives of those children and the families we work with," says Kellie Geres, a professional nanny who has more than 23 years of experience and was named Nanny of the Year in 1997 by the International Nanny Association (INA). "Yes, we get paid to play, but playing also entails education, enrichment, security, nutrition, ages and stages of development, health and wellness and so much more," explains Geres.
Nannies deserve praise for their dedication, and that's what National Nanny Recognition Week was created for. In 2018, the special week-long holiday is celebrated September 23-29.
So let your nanny know how much she means to your family and strengthen your relationship by doing something special for Nanny Recognition Week this year -- your nanny deserves it!
Evaluate Your Nanny's Benefits
Nannies have one of the toughest -- and most important -- jobs out there, yet they don't always receive the kinds of benefits that other professionals have. If your nanny makes $2,100 or more during the year, you should be withholding and paying taxes, which makes her eligible for things like disability insurance, unemployment benefits and Social Security & Medicare benefits.
Talk with the nanny tax experts at Care.com HomePay to make sure you're handling your nanny's taxes correctly. It's a family-friendly household employment service that helps take the stress out of paying your nanny legally. This will help professionalize your nanny-family relationship and take care of her future.
Treat Her to a Spa Day
Everyone enjoys some pampering and indulgence, and after chasing little ones around all day, your nanny deserves some extra-special treatment. Allow her to take a day off for a relaxing visit to the nicest salon or spa in town. Purchase a gift card beforehand or simply ask the salon to bill you for the services. Allow for all the bells and whistles like a manicure/pedicure or a full-body massage. When your nanny feels refreshed, she will come back to work ready to seize the day.
Give the Gift of Cash
Who doesn't welcome a little extra spending money? Award your nanny with an extra day's pay (or more) for doing such a fantastic job all year long. Cash allows her to spend the money however she pleases. Typically, cash is given as a bonus or around holidays, but a "just because" payday goes a long way in showing your nanny that her hard work is truly valued. Just remember to follow the appropriate payroll rules for your nanny's bonus.
Do Something Nice
Think about the little things that your nanny would appreciate and surprise them with it. Have a mobile detailer come out while they're working so they can end the day driving home with a clean car. This type of present is great, especially if your nanny chauffeurs your kids around all day in her car. It shows that you pay attention to your nanny's needs. Maybe your nanny is a dog lover? Find a dog walker for her on Care.com and pay for a week's worth of walks.
Deliver Fresh Flowers
Flowers are appropriate for any occasion. Geres recommends giving a card signed by the entire family and some flowers. "Of all the gifts I have received from families, a card signed by all and flowers are always a favorite!" says Geres. Involve your kids (if they're old enough) and let them help pick out the card and flowers and present them to their nanny. On the card, you can each write the reasons why you appreciate her.
Create a Voucher Book
These are always a hit. Vouchers created by your children serve as a pass for your nanny, good for one year. For example, if your nanny works on the weekends, one voucher could read: "Weekend off of your choice." (Of course, as with any coupon, there should be a disclaimer, like weekends are chosen in advance). Other vouchers could read: "Kids clean up after lunch today" or "Leave two hours early."
Present Her With a Night on the Town
If your nanny is married or has a significant other, treat them to a dinner for two. Pick a restaurant you know she will love, or a local hot spot that is getting rave reviews. If you want to go all out, include some movie or play tickets. If your nanny is single, pay for a ladies' night out where she can go dancing or out to dinner with the girls. She'll appreciate both the night off and the lovely evening she'll get to spend.
Homemade gifts mean much more than the average store-bought present. Let your children use their imaginations to create an arts and crafts project for your nanny. Whether it's a pottery session, finger painting or bead party, have the little ones make something that your nanny can use or cherish for years to come. A seashell-adorned picture frame with a memorable photo inside is a heartwarming and thoughtful gift. Make a photo book with images of your nanny and children.
Get a Gift Card
A gift card to your nanny's favorite store is an excellent idea. It shows you know her interests and tastes. If she's always talking about camping and hiking, choose a store like REI; if she's into fashion, grab a gift card from the mall; if she is a crafter, pick up a gift card to a craft store. "A gift card to a favorite store or activity shows that the family pays attention to their nannies likes and wants," says Geres. "It doesn't have to be much; $25 and a thank you go a long way to show the nanny you appreciate her."
Whip up a Meal
Make your nanny's favorite meal and invite her to stay for dinner with the family. Depending on your children's ages, encourage them to help prepare the main course or dessert. Find out ahead of time -- if you don't know already -- what foods your nanny prefers and if she has any allergies.
Pay for Memberships
It's great when nannies have the opportunity to meet and learn from other caregivers, both nearby and around the world. Memberships to professional organizations (like the INA) provide valuable guidance and networking opportunities.
Cater to Your Nanny's Interests
If she likes country music, treat her to an upcoming country concert. If she regularly goes to the gym, buy her a new pair of gym shoes or sign her up for her favorite workout class. If your nanny likes the ballet, surprise her with ballet tickets. Do a little digging and research into your nanny's hobbies outside of work to find the perfect gift.
So make this a week to remember for your nanny. But know that while presents are a great thing, how you interact with your nanny all year long is even more important. Realize that getting gifts and money is nice and does a lot to compensate your nanny for all the work he or she does. However, treating them with respect is what most nannies are really looking for.
Kelly Johnston is a freelance writer living in Washington, D.C. She graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in fashion retail and merchandising and a minor in journalism. Follow her on Twitter at @kellyfrancess. Her work can be found here.