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Nannyquette 101: Holiday Tipping

Wendy Sachs
July 19, 2017

When it comes to showing the love to those who love your kids, your pets, or your aging parents, don't be a Scrooge.  Even in a challenging economy where companies have slashed or killed bonuses, downsized, or frozen pay raises, one thing remains constant - holiday tipping for caregivers.  


Holiday Tipping

I've found that the holiday tip for nannies is recession proof.  Some parents tip out of fear that their nanny will slack off, become ripe for poaching, or even quit if they don't get a bonus.  Other parents feel compelled to tip out of obligation and good old fashioned holiday cheer.  Whatever your motivation, appreciating those who take care of those most precious to you, is part of the holiday protocol.  If you are the type to stiff your postal carrier, or are new to the world of hiring caregivers, then heed our tipping guidelines below to make sure that you maintain the proper Nannyquette and Petiquette this holiday season.  We also share advice for tipping senior caregivers - we just haven't given it a cutesy name for that type of etiquette.  Happy tipping!       




A full time nanny usually expects a bonus of one week's salary.   Other bonuses I've heard of and had to compete with include: round trip airfare to the nanny's home for Christmas, a Caribbean cruise or an Apple Macbook computer.  While those are generous bonuses, an extra week's salary is the typical tip.  Aside from a cash bonus, a thoughtful gift from the children can go a long way.  This doesn't have to be a purchased item; a card, drawing or something handmade and personal is a special way to show your appreciation. 

Baking your nanny's favorite cookies or cupcakes is also a sweet way for the kids to say thank you.  A gift certificate to her favorite store with a personal note from you expressing your gratitude is another way to show thanks. 

Vacation time

Most nannies do not work Thanksgiving, the day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or New Years.  I encourage you not to ask them to work these days unless you plan to compensate them at least time and a half.  Many nannies also take their vacation between Christmas and New Year's to coincide with family vacations or when children are off from school.  Prepare for this.    

Bottom line:  Remember that the job is personal. Your nanny isn't your garbage collector - although you should compensate your sanitation workers as well, they work hard.  Your nanny is a part of your family; treat her that way (or better) and remember to show some love.

Part-time Babysitter

For the part time sitter, depending on the hours she works, a $25-$50 gift certificate at her favorite store is an appropriate thank you.  You may also want to get a gift certificate to a nail salon, Starbucks or iTunes.  A card from the kids, some cupcakes or a drawing can also show your appreciation.

Pet Sitters/Dog Walkers:

The average tip falls between $35-$60.  Most pet sitters or dog walkers expect a holiday tip.  They are picking up the poop, entertaining your pooch, and keeping them healthy and happy when you're not around. Many people consider their pets their children, so make sure that you properly recognize the one who is caring for your four-legged child.


The range is 50% to 100% of their usual fee.  A "thank you" card and a plate of cookies or a bottle of wine or in my case vodka is also a nice gesture.

Senior Care

For a caregiver who is employed by the family, a one week's salary tip is the rule of thumb.  A thank you card or a gift certificate to her/his favorite store is an appropriate gratuity.  You may also consider splurging for a massage, a mani/pedi or some other spa indulgence.  A senior caregiver's job can be stressful and physically exhausting.   Showing your appreciation, particularly during the holiday season is important.

  • For a caregiver who is employed by an agency you should check with the agency about its tipping policy. You can also consider a gift or donation to the agency.
  • For a caregiver who is employed by a facility, you should also check about its tipping policy. You can consider giving a gift to the facility's staff as well.
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