It’s the time of year when nannies and their employers start thinking about the upcoming holiday season – schedules, responsibilities, and of course presents. Nanny jobs are unique in that they are not only a work relationship, but a very personal one as well. It can be tricky to know what to do in terms of gifting.
It does depend somewhat on the relationship – how long the nanny has worked with the family, how close they are with the parents (sometimes through no fault of anyone, a nanny is very close with the children but doesn’t spend much time with the parents), and how many days a week the nanny works. It also depends on financial abilities.
Personally, I think it is always appropriate for a nanny to give the children at least a small present, and for the parents to make sure that the nanny gets a present from the family (even if it is something small just ‘from the children’). Heartfelt cards are also always appreciated and really lovely to exchange. If you have a close relationship and/or know each other well and can afford it, more elaborate gifts might be exchanged. The more personal a present is, the better it will be received, but here are some ideas for nannies and for families to get you thinking.
Nanny Gift Ideas
1. Something related to their interests. This is really vague, but the key is to pay attention to what your nanny says and does. I feel so seen and special when an employer notices something about me and chooses a present that fits in with my interests. This special something might be a coffee gift card, a household appliance that the nanny appreciates using in your home, or a voucher for an activity they enjoy. Hot tip – ask the children! All of my nanny kids, from probably age 2, would be able to answer the question of “what does Manda like?” with a range of relevant things!
2. Extra paid time off. Particularly if you have more downtime during the holiday season, consider giving the nanny some bonus free time. This could be anything from a half day to a week, and you could combine it with treating the nanny to a special activity they could do during time they’d usually be at work. They might enjoy a spa treatment, or if you have friends who employ their nanny friend you could get together to surprise them with an adults-only high tea. (Give them some heads up about the need for whatever clothing or preparation they’ll need, even if the main event is a surprise!)
3. Cash bonus. Usually I agree with the idea of tying a bonus to the ‘Nanniversary’ (the completion of each year of employment) rather than to the holidays, but 2020 has been a strange year. If you have required your nanny to adjust their schedule, responsibilities, or ways of doing their job this year and are in a position to give them a bonus, that could be a really wonderful way of thanking them for their service, flexibility, and support. So many nannies have stepped up in unexpected ways and dealt with challenging changes this year, so a monetary bonus coupled with that heartfelt card I mentioned earlier…. What a treat!
Family Gift Ideas
1. A photo calendar. I take soooo many photos of the children I work with! One great way to share those with the family is to give them a calendar with images you’ve taken of their children’s experiences over the past year. There are several companies where you can design them and have them printed. Takes a bit of planning, but it’s reasonably cost-effective, useful, and very personal. If (or when) you have too many photos to choose from, you might want to create photo books as well!
2. A voucher for an experience they can do as a family. Maybe you often take your nanny kids to the zoo, but the family doesn’t tend to go together, you might want to provide the incentive. Some other ideas are mini golf, an upcoming concert or show, a special animal experience, or an art workshop.
3. Free babysitting. It can be tricky or even awkward to purchase something for parents who pay our wages. But as nannies we can provide the invaluable service of childcare! Offering an evening of your time as a gift for a family can be a way of giving parents something they will appreciate at a low personal cost.