I've been a nanny now as a profession for four years, and this fall will be five. I have learned a lot, such as what to expect, what to prepare for, and most importantly how to make sure the kids I work with have an amazing summer! Being a nanny is a lot different from being a babysitter (see my previous article here), but to sum it up quickly: a babysitter is occasional, and/or holds a lot less responsibility. Nannies are a legit profession and we wear many hats aside from caregiver. We are chauffeurs, cooks, housekeepers, pet watchers, and more. But after my years of learning and growing, I feel it's safe to say I am an expert on how to have an amazing summer working but not feeling like it is a job at all!
1. Make a bucket list on day one.
I've been with my current family for 2 summers and this past semester. Not only do we now have a bond, but I know what they enjoy! We made a bucket list during our first week last summer, and it was a huge success! Having the bucket list allowed us to never be bored, and when we were feeling like we were in a rut we could refer to the list of where to go! For my Indy readers, some things on our list include: Visit a state park, go to the Children's Museum, Bike to the park and hammock, $2 movie Tuesdays at Regal Cinemas, and go bowling!
2. Have a checklist for their activities.
The two boys I nanny are super active and very involved in many different sports! Our summers are pretty packed with their sports, which means it can be really easy to lose track of what happens on which day. I keep a note on my phone which has each day bolded and then each kiddo's schedule for that day on me. With each sport, I have what is needed to bring to that activity so I can refer to it when we take off. For example the oldest swims for Carmel Swim Club, so he needs to have a water bottle, his swim bag, his mesh bag, a towel, and his goggles. It's not always perfect and sometimes we forget something. But it helps make those sometimes rare and allows me to be in tune with what is happening for the day.
3. Always have snacks.
SERIOUSLY. Every time you leave the house, throw some snacks in your purse or a nanny bag! I usually grab the squeezable apple sauces or a package of goldfish. You never know when one of your kiddos may get hungry and it's always nice to have something on deck!
4. Make a budget.
The family I nanny for are very generous, and would definitely give me whatever I may spend on the boys that are over our limit for the week. But I have found setting a budget per week (or if we do a special activity like the Children's Museum that activity budget) is both really helpful and successful. When they ask me "can we go get ice cream?" I get the cash out to show to them, and say "We have X amount of money out of our X budget for the week. If we do this, we will have X amount left to do other things. If you're okay with that, then yes we can!" It helps you stay on track, the parents' wallet stays happy, and the kiddos learn the value of a dollar as well as how to make the best choices for the summer treats!
5. Have rest days.
As I said before, my two boys are very busy! Even though they can 9 times out of 10 go from activity to play to the next activity, there are days when they just need to stay home and relax. Be sure to check on their energy levels and give a good balance between constantly being out and giving them time to veg! I tend to give an hour around lunchtime so they can watch a tv show, do their chores, and I can make sure the house is in check before we leave for the rest of the day. Having that hour time after their AM practices make a HUGE difference in our days! I also make sure we get rest days when they are needed. It makes for happy attitudes!
I love my job! I wake up every single morning at 6:45 excited about what we will do for the day. Being a nanny is very rewarding day in and day out, so making sure I accomplish these 5 things have been why the job is so enjoyable! If you can do these 5 things, you too can rock as a nanny this summer!