Ultimate Guide: Traveling with Your Nanny Family

So, you’re about to travel with your family, huh? Well, here are some things to consider and hash out before you make that Jamaica dream a reality.

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So, you’re about to travel with your family, huh? Well, here are some things to consider and hash out before you make that Jamaica dream a reality…

Get EVERYTHING down in writing.

I know that many of you may have working verbal contracts with your families and that’s fine, but when you’re traveling with your family, especially for more than a day or two, it’s so worth it to write your terms down. This protects you. This protects them. Plus, if you do your write up and they refuse to sign it, you’ll know something’s not right. Then you’ll want to nix the trip altogether. I’d also suggest typing your terms ahead of time and presenting your draft to them. Make sure all points sound fair and you agree on each one. Then whip out a pen and get those John Hancock’s down to bind the agreement. With this signed, you’ll have the peace of mind that you’re covered and comfortable with all the expectations. And should there be any disagreement on your terms later on, you’ll have the contract to refer to. Two copies should be made, one for you and one for them. 

Clarify what YOU are paying for and what THEY are paying for.

You don’t want to be half way around the world before you have that dreaded money or responsibility talk. Get it all out on the table now, trust me. Ultimately, everything revolving around this trip is all up to you. Worst case scenario, you could decide you just wont go and they can’t make you. So stick to your guns when you are discussing what your services and time is worth. I would suggest that you have them at least pay for the minimal: the round trip ticket, your time while you are on duty, your SEPARATE room, your food when you eat together and all travel while you are there. Beyond this, you may have individual agreements as to who pays for what. 🙂

Get your own room.

Did I say that already? 😉 Well, good. It’s important! There’s nothing more awkward than sharing a room with another couple and their kids. (well, maybe a couple things) You’re not family as much as you may feel like it. And even if you were family, you still wouldn’t wanna be stuck in a room with a couple and their kids while they’re on THEIR vacation. Its just awkward. Save yourself some very tense and awkward situations, and just have them book you a very separate living space, OK? And remember me when you are able to take an uninterrupted shower, nap on your bed or stroll on your oh so quiet patio. 🙂

Write down your hourly schedule. Be very clear about when you’ll be on and off duty.

Most likely while you’re away in Rome, Greece, Ireland or wherever you’re flying off to, you’ll want to explore. And you should! In order to make this happen, you’ll have to be forthright about the YOU time on this trip. Yes, you’re going with them to work, but just like them, you would like to have a break from responsibility at various times too! I’d suggest starting no earlier than 7 am, taking a midday break for at least an hour or two, enjoying one meal separate from the family responsibilities, and ending your work day by 7 pm. Again, this is all up to you, but be kind to yourself and don’t overwork girl!

Things will run smoother if when you are on duty, YOU are the only one.

This will be the time when the parents can get a spa session, take a walk on the riviera or go out to dinner a la solo. There is a very good reason for this. Things can get very complicated and confusing for the children (and us) when there are more than 2 adults “in charge”. The roles are blurred. This begins to create tension between everyone. Maybe you’re traveling with more than one child. Great! The parents take one child to a park or zoo and while you keep the other around the resort. Then switch. I’m just saying, if they’re looking for a tag a long who is going to corral their little ones, wipe their noses, sing distracting songs to them while waiting for dinner to be served and carry the diaper bag around, then make sure you know that. If you go into this trip thinking you are going to be assuming the same roles as when you’re a nanny during a normal work week and they think you are going to be a travel helper with all the messes and tantrums, then this will make for some tension. You’ll begin to build resentment over not being respected as the professional that you are. Open and pre-trip communication is key. Know what you’re getting yourself into before you commit to be in an inescapable situation hundreds of miles away. Doing this will make roles, duties and everything a little less awkward and messy.

Be clear about expectations.

Think about your expectations for transportation, the flight, meal times, different excursions, who’s responsible for packing and managing items, etc. It may seem like a little much but take it from me, you can’t be too clear about how this trip will go.

Take into account the family you’re traveling with.

There are many, many, many different personalities within a family. Now you’re adding to the mix. To nanny for a family Monday-Friday, 9-5, is completely different from being on a trip with them. Now you’re technically available 24/7. (Even if you say you’re not, technically you ARE. So think about whether or not you can stand being with this family for a week or two) Once you’ve decided, yep, I can do this. Think about the personalities you’ll have to navigate and expect throughout the duration of the trip. Does the father like to control situations and get tense when they’re out of control? You may want to prepare for some of that. Do the parents get along or will you be needing to referee some disagreements on the trip? (That could get awkward) Think about it. Weigh the pros and cons.

Power to you, Nanny, who is choosing to travel with your family! You’re serving them in a huge way. Remember: know what you’re worth and own it. Hey, why not enjoy some sunshine and beach too? Go for it!

Buen Suerte!

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NannyBeth

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5 Ways to Impress the Family

As nannies, we can experience a lot of pressure from the family we nanny for. Want to go above and beyond your family’s expectations? Make an impression by following these 5 ways to impress the family.

As nannies, we can experience a lot of pressure from the family we nanny for. Want to go above and beyond your family’s expectations? Make an impression by following these 5 ways to impress the family.

1. Dress for the job

Casual and Active attire is the name of the game. When we come to work dressed formal or to ‘uppity’ it doesn’t give off the impression that we will be interactive and relaxed with the children. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself, “Will I be able to walk at least an hour, sit on the floor play, get spit up on, or climb a ladder in what I am wearing.” If the answer is yes, you are good to go. Some ideas for comfortable work attire would be: jeans or work out pants, simple t-shirt or sundress, and definitely sneakers, sandals or boots. (I tried heels when I first started out…not a good idea!)

2. Have an art or craft to show at the end of the day

A drawn picture hung on the refrigerator, clay creation on the dining room table or a fort set up in the living room is a perfect display of the fun you and the child have had! It is so nice for a parent to come home and see evidence of their child learning and being creative. I would say though, with the fort in the living room or bedroom, to just ask the parents before you venture into this project. Sometimes it can be a little overwhelming to come home and find sheets, towels and pillows strewn all over. Better to ask first than be greeted by an unhappy parent later.

3. Bake or cook a snack

This is such a fun thing to do with the children and also a great sight and smell when mom and dad come home from work! By baking or cooking with the child, you have provided an example of how they could include the children in baking adventures in the future, displayed one of your skills as a nanny, and also supplied a yummy snack for them to enjoy when you leave for the day. Toddlers could be your expert pourers/mixers and older children could practice their measuring and adding skills.

4. Offer to do extra activities and take interest in the ones they attend

Switching up the ol’ routine is a great thing to do sometimes to keep you and the kids from getting bored. A few creative and fun adventures could include a trip to the Zoo, Aquarium, local nature reservation or beach. Another great way to let the parents know you care about their children’s development, interests and activities is by noticing when their current activities end and start back up. A friendly reminder to their busy parent about when the next music class will be starting is so helpful and appreciated.

5. Be reasonably flexible

It is a good rule of thumb to plan for occasional overtime hours when a parent has to work late or is stuck in traffic. The original hours that you agree upon at the time of contract SHOULD be the hours that are normally kept. If the tardiness or expectation of you staying 20-30 minutes late becomes normal, then this should be addressed. But it is good to be somewhat flexible with the give and take that comes by nannying. For example, I have been asked to come in 2 hours early on Monday because a parent is leaving for a business trip, in exchange for me leaving 2 hours early on Friday. Likewise, I have asked for an early leave one day in exchange for a little extra work on another. Some parents and some careers do not allow for such flexibility and availability, but it is good to be aware that this could happen.

Follow these 5 tips and you’ll be well on your way to blowing your family away!