As the holidays approach, your time becomes more limited while your to-do list grows. Planning your holiday schedule with your nanny now will help your holiday season be more about family and celebration rather than chaos and misunderstanding. Communication is key, especially at this time of year.

Here are a few simple tips to help you get started:

Communicate in a clear and concise manner.

The importance of communication cannot be stressed enough, not only in life but specifically when planning the holidays with your nanny. Be clear and direct about what your needs are so the potential for misunderstandings decreases. Also, ask your nanny what his/her needs are for the holidays, as well, to help you understand what is expected of or available to you. Taking the time to let them know what your expectations are will let them confirm whether they’re available and willing. The last thing you want is to not have a sitter when it’s the night of your company party or a kitchen full of dirty dishes and spills when the guests are arriving in a few minutes. Communicating clearly to your nanny will not only reduce the chances for unwanted complications but will also help you both prepare before the fact.  

Create a schedule.

Even if you all have unbelievably great memories, writing down your plans on paper or a shared online calendar will ensure everyone is on the same page and committed to the same things. After taking the first step of being upfront and clear about what you expect, the next step is to write down the schedule. Are you taking a vacation? If so, when? Will you want your nanny to travel with you? Does your nanny desire specific time off? These are important things to discuss and schedule in written form. Figure out how hosting or attending special events will affect the normal nanny schedule? And will you need extra hands around the house to help? Answering these scheduling questions before the fact will help everyone involved plan for the finest holiday season – and who wants anything less, right?

Discuss holiday compensation.

If vacation pay and time off have not yet been agreed upon, this is definitely the time to do it. Before you talk with your nanny about the holidays, take the time to figure out how you will pay for the additional work (such as overtime, for example.) Since you are employing your nanny for holiday work that falls outside your regularly agreed-upon compensation schedule, payment needs to be addressed clearly so everyone is in agreement. And remember, nannies are paid employees and should be treated as such in regards to vacation and overtime pay.

Show your appreciation with a holiday bonus or gift.

Who doesn’t like to be appreciated for a job well done? So why not show your nanny how much you appreciate him/her with a holiday bonus or gift? A fun idea is to get the children involved with the gift giving, such as allowing them to choose what to give or making a part of the gift with their own hands and imaginations! Also, who knows the nanny best if not the kids? Asking the children what they think the nanny would like can help you figure out what the gift should be. But whatever you decide to do, your nanny will likely appreciate the gesture and find happiness in knowing the work they’ve done for you has not gone unnoticed.

Communicating with your nanny about your expectations for the holiday season and planning accordingly will help ensure the seasonal festivities can be a time for focusing on family and friends. Take the time to figure out the logistics so you can relax and enjoy your holiday.   Happy Holidays everyone!