The holidays can be a joyful time – but they can also be stressful for nannies. We’ve provided tips for how to navigate some challenging and common situations nannies face around the holidays. For even more in-depth advice, check out Barbara’s conversation with Nannypalooza’s, Sue Downey.
Visiting Grandparents: How do you handle grandparents being in the home while you are scheduled to work? Each set of grandparents is different – some may be very hands-on, whereas others may just wish to observe. Some visiting grandparents may come from other cultures and have a different expectations around what falls within your scope. So how can you avoid some uncomfortable situations for each?
For hands-on grandparents:
First, we recommend having a conversation with your boss or bosses before family arrives. Talk about how your boss thinks the grandparents’ stay is going to go – how they want you to maintain the kids’ schedule-or not- while the grandparents are there. It can be frustrating to feel idle if a grandparent wants to take the lead, but your presence may still necessary. While they are with the children, find other childcare related chores to attend to. Offer to make lunch for everyone. Be ready to take over to give them a break.
For Observer Grandparents:
These grandparents want to be WITH their grandchildren and OBSERVE them but not necessarily be the ones on the floor or doing the activities. Physically they may not be up to the kind of tasks that a nanny can handle. There could be health-related backstories which you may not be informed about.
For Grandparents From A Different Culture:
Definitely have a conversation with your employers about what they think their parents are going to expect from you. These grandparents’ idea of your job description may vary widely from the one you currently have. Your boss remains your boss and you’ll want to make sure they are prepared to advocate for you if necessary. At the same time, you may have to make some accommodations to ensure that everyone can enjoy the holidays.
Extra Kids: What Happens if Visiting Family Bring Extra Kids
This should absolutely be addressed before visitors arrived. Is your nanny family expecting children to be visiting during your working hours? If so, will they have their own care? Some visitors may just assume that you will be providing the care. Depending on the ages of the children and your comfort level, it could be a “the more the merrier” situation. In other scenarios it could be a serious safety issue. While there is no law dictating how you should be compensated for extra children, if you are taking care of more than your charges, you should be compensated — either by your nanny family or the families of the extra children.
Establishing Days Off
This one is easy. Your days off should be clearly laid out in your contract. Don’t assume that because a holiday falls on a Thursday that you will be off that Friday. Feel free to confirm dates with your family, but unless explicitly outlined in your contract, your are expected to work those days around the holidays — even if your nanny parents are not. If you are working without a contract, now is the time to fix that!
How To Handle Not Getting a Holiday Bonus
Our advice around the topic of bonuses is simple: keep your expectations low and you won’t be disappointed. Do you love your job and your nanny family? Don’t let the fact that you didn’t get what you were expecting ruin your relationship. Not all families are in a position to give more. As Sue Downey pointed out, for those nannies who share information about their enviable bonuses on social media, ask yourself if you know how they are treated the rest of the year? A one-time bonus doesn’t make up for an otherwise unhappy work situation. And if you get joy from gift-giving – gift away! Don’t let a lack of bonus stop you from sharing in the holiday spirit.