Nanny tips and tricks – some great ideas here!

Extracted from –

April Krause, MPNA Co-Director, recently led a workshop for us on how nannies can help their employers have GREAT, low stress holidays this year. In addition to April’s awesome suggestions, I’ve added the ideas and tips that MPNA nannies had to offer, as well!

General Holiday Tips and Tricks 

*Continue with routines when you can, including bedtimes, naptimes, and eating. Continue to have children eat healthy and limiting junk food. No one wants a cranky kid to deal with.
*Continue to let children get some fresh air, it will not only de-stress them but also you.
*Make sure to ask parents if there is anything extra you can help with, this might just include getting a few extra items at the grocery store, or straightening up the extra bedroom.
*Make sure you know your schedule for the holidays, usually grandparents are in town, so you might not be needed as much
-If grandparents are around while you’re working, try to work *with* them on schedules and activities. Visiting grandparents are often a source of stress for nannies. Many grandparents judge their daughter/daughter-in-law for having a nanny, some are jealous that the nanny gets to spend all this time with the grandchildren, some feel awkward and out of sorts and this comes across as being unfriendly. Whatever the reasons behind any stress or strife, a nanny can minimize this by engaging the grandparents and communicating openly.
-Invite grandparents on outings, playdates, classes, and activities whenever possible
-Print out the daily schedules and routines so grandparents can see them, point out where there are gaps in time or open time to do fun things with their grandchildren and ask for their input on what they’d like to do
-Realize that grandparents are often there to spoil…and are thus probably going to want to allow cookies for lunch, or skip naps, etc. Nannies are wise to not take this personally or as an insult and to find workable, win/win solutions. Flexibility goes a long way!
-Don’t allow unhealthy communication triangles between grandparents, parents, and nanny.
*Check out this list of articles from Although it is referenced for Christmas, most of the strategies are applicable to all holidays.

Traveling Tips and Tricks 

*Remember lines will be longer in airports, train stations, etc.
*Remember to be sure that you pack extra snacks, toys, and things to do while traveling.
*Pack extra diapers, wipes, and a complete change of clothes for each child to put in carryons. Put extra clothes in a large ziploc…that way, there is something to stash wet/soiled clothes.
*Ask parents if they would like for you to help pack or get anything ready for traveling
*Double check airline security regulations regarding bottles, sippy cups, liquids, etc
*Be sure the kids laundry is all done so that when packing they are not looking around for things
*If your child has a favorite thing such as a blanket have another at home or on hand just in case something happens to the first one
*Find some toys they have not played with in a while or get a few little new ones, so they have something new and fresh to play with.
*If you are packing children’s clothes, it can help to pack each outfit in a large ziploc baggie complete with socks, undergarments, and hair accessories (if appropriate). This helps keep things organized and easy to deal with in a hotel.
*Chocolate does not travel well to warmer climates.

Halloween Tips and Tricks

*Make plan with parents about how much candy a child can have each day and when it will be given
*Save candy for use on gingerbread house around Christmas Time
*Roast pumpkin seeds for a healthy snack
*Use candies for math and science experiments
o Candy sorting
o Candy counting
o Dissolving candy in different liquids, including water, vinegar, and club soda
o Mentos and Coke is a great Gyser!!!
o Try some Candy Experiments

*Make sure that all children’s costumes have all the parts together and are put up, easier to find things on Friday then having parents look for things on Sunday before Trick or Treat
*Offer to run errands for last minute bits and pieces for costumes, hem long princess dresses, trial run monster make up, etc.
*Really don’t want the children to eat all that candy? Consider donating it or participating in the Halloween Candy Buy Back

Thanksgiving Tips and Tricks

*See if there is anything extra needed around the house during the holidays, maybe picking up more things at the grocery store, making sure extra beds are made up with clean sheets and bedding
*Have kids make placemats for the table. Have children write the name of each person on the placemats, laminate them with Contact paper.
*Keep charges and visiting guests busy with some of theseThanksgiving crafts, activities, and projects
*If you are working the day after Thanksgiving, the mall playplace is a BAD idea of an outing for the day.
*Check out places in the area that might be having specials on admission and even running special activities, including museums, libraries and recreation centers
*If relatives will be visiting, communicate with employers about visiting children and what the childcare arrangements will be. It is not unreasonable to request to be paid for watching extra children, but that call is up to each nanny/employer.
*Ask about family plans and what you can do to help. Employer hosting Thanksgiving Day dinner and cooking all day Wednesday? Offer to keep the kids out of the house and somewhere fun for the day. (Detroit Science CenterCranbrook Institute of Science,The Henry FordAnn Arbor Hands On Museum, even the Zoo if the weather is mild enough!)
*Consider helping children find ways to thank people around them. Even small children can help make thank you cards for people in the community (such as the lady who always gives them lollipops at the bank, the friendly waitstaff at your favorite lunch spot, or even make thank you’s for the firemen…and take a chance to tour the firestation!)

Hanukkah Tips and Tricks

*Have children set table for dinner, good time to teach about place settings
*Ask parents if there is any food you need to start ahead of time
*Make sure all clothes and things that will be worn to dinner are out and pressed as needed
*Have children help to decorate house or table, grandparents love to see what children have made, perhaps try some of these Hanukkah crafts and projects
*Talk to parents about going though old toys and getting rid of some so there is room to have the new toys, discuss where they would like toys donated and whether or not they want the children to participate in taking the donations in.

Christmas Tips and Tricks

*Countdown to Christmas either with an advent calendar or a paper chain
*Remind children of manners especially at parties, practice manners at home through play.
*Have children help decorate Christmas tree by making ornaments or other decorations around house
*Talk to parents about going though old toys in the house before the kids get more toys at Christmas, discuss where they would like toys donated and whether or not they want the children to participate in taking the donations in.

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