Babysitting Boost: Don't Forget To Pack a Nanny!
By Rebekah Rich
Families save and plan all year for their family vacation. But when they return they often feel like they need a vacation from the vacation. One way to help ensure that everyone in your family has a relaxing and fun time — and is still on speaking terms when you return — is to bring a nanny along.
What to look for
Nanny placement agencies have summer nannies available who can go on vacation with your family, as well as care for them throughout the summer. Agencies require a placement fee to secure a summer nanny, but in most cases the placement fee can be more cost effective than summer camp!
A nanny should be experienced, mature, responsible and dependable. Make sure that any potential nanny has had an extensive background check, drug test and reference check before you agree to let anyone care for your children. If you don't have time to do this on your own, a nanny agency is an excellent resource to help you find someone who has already been properly screened.
If the nanny will be driving your children while on vacation, it is important to verify that his or her driver's license is current and that your family car is properly insured to allow someone else to drive. DMV records can be checked while conducting a background check to make sure that the nanny has no major violations on their record.
The nanny should be properly insured, which means having insurance coverage that allows for the transportation of your children in her vehicle. If your family is renting a car, check with the rental agency to make sure that the nanny may be an authorized driver.
If your family will be vacationing near water, it is extremely important that your nanny has the ability to swim and is CPR/ First Aid certified. And make sure that proper swimming assistance devices such as life jackets are available for children who are just learning to swim while in your nanny's care.
Start your search
Begin searching in March and April for a summer nanny so that you have plenty of time to interview. Don't feel pressured to make a decision. Once you have hired the right person, plan several occasions for the nanny to spend time with your children prior to the beginning of the summer placement. This way, everyone will be more comfortable with each other. This is also the ideal time to start making plans for your family vacation with your nanny.
Outline the plan
Once you have your vacation dates set, it is important to give a nanny as much notice as possible and discuss the expected schedule. Talk about such things as:
• what time the workday starts
• what time the workday ends
• what nights the nanny is expected to work
• whether or not the nanny is "on call" during the night, and
• allotment of time off during the week.
Also, this gives you an opportunity to partner with the nanny in planning activities for the children during the vacation. A nanny may even be able to help you pack and make necessary arrangements a couple of days in advance.
Work out the specifics
When taking a nanny on vacation, the following costs are the responsibility of the family:
• meals, and
• sleeping accommodations.
The nanny's weekly salary depends on several factors such as the number of children to be watched, the number of working hours required, child care responsibilities, family care responsibilities such as dishes, laundry, light housekeeping and meal preparation, etc. The family also should pay the nanny's activity fees during the vacation.
Spending money for souvenirs and any activities that are outside the planned activities for the children should be the responsibility of the nanny. If the nanny decides to eat outside the planned meals for the family, then it should be the nanny's responsibility to pay for those meals.
Don't forget the essentials
While the nanny is caring for your children, provide him or her with:
• a cell phone
• an extra house or hotel key
• bug repellant
• snacks, and
• any other items necessary for the nanny to take care of your children.
Create a communication plan and make sure the nanny checks in and updates the family on a regular basis throughout each day. Make a list of emergency numbers, as well as local hospitals, police stations and other contact information for the nanny. Note: the nanny's emergency contacts should be given to your family while discussing the details of the vacation.
Now it's time to relax. That's right: RELAX. Packing a nanny means you probably won't need another vacation as soon as you get home!
For more information, visit www.aeph.org, or call (336) 650-9750 or toll-free (888) 942-4263.
Rebekah Rich is the owner of An Extra Pair of Hands, Inc., which provides babysitters and nannies.