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10 ways nannies and babysitters can help with the holiday to-do list

From mailing holiday cards to baking, there are so many ways nannies and babysitters can help families — and earn more — during the holidays.

10 ways nannies and babysitters can help with the holiday to-do list

The holidays are hectic (and expensive!), which is why extra help (and money!) are generally welcomed by all. One way for parents to whittle down their tasks and for nannies or sitters to increase their income? Join forces.

“The holidays are notoriously stressful for parents because their already too-big to-do list gets even bigger,” says Lora Brawley, a 30-year nanny veteran and consultant and trainer at Nanny Care Hub in Federal Way, Washington. “However, many nannies have the skill set for, and interest in, taking on extra tasks during the holiday season.”

Important to note, though: Extra work equals extra pay. “Nannies should get additional compensation when they do extra work to help organize, clean, decorate or manage any tasks outside of their job description during the holidays,” says Elizabeth Malson, executive director at the U.S. Nanny Association, who adds that this compensation is separate from their tenure or holiday bonus.

Whether you need help with party prep or additional work hours, here’s how nannies or babysitters can help families during the holidays.

1. Log additional child care hours

According to Lynn Ziefle, a career counselor at the U.S. Nanny Institute, one of the most impactful ways nannies can help out their employers during the holidays is to offer more hours, if their schedule permits. With parties, activities and errands, parents typically need more child care than usual. 

“A great way for nannies to help out during the holidays is to share their availability with their employer well ahead of time,” says Ziefle. “If nannies are open to working more hours or if they need time off, the sooner the parents know the better they can adapt.” 

This is a great option for families with regular sitters who want to earn some extra cash, too.  

2. Help with DIY gifts

For parents who want the kids to make a few DIY gifts, which can be great for anyone from family members to teachers, crafty nannies and babysitters can be a big help.

“Whether they’re doing hand print holiday cards for neighbors or other DIY projects,” says Ziefle, “it’s a great way to spend playtime while also helping the parents create and share personalized gifts.”

3. Help with gift giving

Another potential task for nannies to take on during the holidays, according to Brawley, is regular shopping and/or gift-wrapping, which for some, may be more appealing (and neater) than crafting.

Here are a few gift-associated tasks nannies and even some sitters can potentially take on:

  • In-person and online shopping from parents’ list.
  • Exchanges and returns.
  • Mailing packages.
  • Gift wrapping.

4. Cooking, baking and/or snack prep

“Nannies who like to cook or bake may offer to prepare cookies for school or healthy snacks for family outings,” notes Ziefle, with Brawley adding the following to holiday food-related tasks:

  • Planning and shopping for holiday meals.
  • Prepping for holiday meals (cutting up vegetables, making roll dough for pies, etc.).
  • Locating, hiring and coordinating caterers for holiday meals.

5. Holiday card help

“There are a number of ways nannies can help with family holiday cards,” says Brawley. “In addition to coordinating family holiday photos, which may include finding a photographer, setting up a time and finding coordinating outfits, nannies can also help address and mail the actual cards.”

“Our nanny has stuffed, addressed, stamped and mailed our holiday cards the last few years. It’s a time-consuming task I always dread, so I find it incredibly helpful.”

Janine Goldman, mom of four

And while some families don’t need a photoshoot set up (if they even have one), getting holiday cards out is more than enough help. This is a great task for most college babysitters as well. 

“Our nanny has stuffed, addressed, stamped and mailed our holiday cards the last few years,” says Janine Goldman, a mom of four in Short Hills, New Jersey. “It’s a time-consuming task I always dread, so I find it incredibly helpful.”

6. Holiday party prep

Another way for nannies to help ease holiday stress for families, while making extra money, is to assist with party prep.

“Helping to plan and coordinate a holiday party the family is hosting is a great way for nannies to earn extra money,” says Brawley. Here are a few ways they can help:

  • Creating invitation list with parents.
  • Sending invitations.
  • Managing RSVP list. 
  • Creating and coordinating a parking plan. 
  • Planning, shopping for and helping prepare food and drinks (or organize catering).
  • Coordinating group child care, if needed.

And speaking of parties, “nannies also play an important role in managing the children’s expectations and teaching self-regulation as well as manners during holiday activities and events,” notes Ziefle. Not an easy task!

7. Decorations

Whether it’s buying holiday decor items from a list, pulling them out of storage or helping dress up the house, helping with holiday decorations is another way nannies are typically willing to help, according to Brawley. 

8. Holiday travel

For families who travel during the holidays, nannies can be a great source of help with coordination, explains Brawley. Here’s how:

  • Finding and coordinating pet sitters or boarding for pets.
  • Getting car serviced for holiday travel.
  • Helping with packing. 
  • Shipping items, such as gifts, that aren’t suitable for packing or carry on.
  • Providing transportation to the airport. 
  • House sitting (so long as they’re around).

9. Coordination of holiday activities

In addition to the parties and the gifts, the holidays also present a host of fun family activities — and yes, nannies can help with that, too. 

“Whether they’re coordinating schedules for a Polar Express train ride, purchasing tickets for a lights tour or making sure the kids have Christmas sweaters for their Santa visit, nannies can be a huge help in the organization of holiday activities and events,” says Brawley. 

10. Help with older parents

So long as they’re nearby, helping with a families’ aging parents can be a great way for nannies to earn extra money during the holidays, according to Brawley. From baking and decorating to providing transportation to holiday events, it can be a flexible mini side gig for nannies that provides immense joy to older adults.