Having a strong relationship with your “family” can be one of the best parts of being a nanny. When the parents and children consider you one of their own, it can feel incredibly gratifying. And when you’ve formed a good professional relationship with your employer, you may even be asked to come along on their vacation to help watch the children.
If you’ve never gone on vacation with your nanny family before, you may not know what to expect, what to ask for, and what to plan in advance. That’s why we’re sharing our tips for going on vacation with your employers and their family below.
Discuss accommodations and compensation beforehand
Before the trip begins, it’s important that you sit down with the parents to discuss everything. Since they are bringing you along on their vacation, they must pay for your accommodations, travel expenses, and meals while on the clock. Find out if you’ll receive a stipend while caring for the kids to pay for snacks, souvenirs, train rides or cabs, or activities while on the trip. Also check on overtime pay, as the odds of going over 40 hours are high.
You can also discuss accommodations to make sure you will have at least a private bedroom, separate from the children. You need time to rest and relax so you can do your job well. If you don’t need to share a room with the children because of a special condition or illness, and your employers are pushing you to, speak up. Let them know you’re not comfortable with that arrangement.
Go over schedules and responsibilities
Going on vacation with your nanny family will be very different from your regular nanny duties. You usually watch the kids when the parents are working or have other obligations, which means that you alone are the authority figure. It’s understandable that kids might get confused when both parents and nanny are present while on vacation.
Prior to vacation time, talk about who’s in charge when everyone is together. The parents may want to work with you, play it by ear depending on the situation, or automatically defer to you in all cases. Make this clear before the trip starts so everyone is on the same page.
Pack appropriately…and don’t forget travel papers you might need
Don’t forget to pack appropriately for the trip! What you bring for a fall camping trip to Illinois Beach State Park will be wildly different from a summer getaway to Disney World. Find out your tentative vacation schedule and activities planned for the trip so you know what you need to bring. Check the weather ahead of time so you can pack extra layers or rain jackets just in case. Are there any special events at the destination that you’ll need to pack for?
And don’t forget: if you’re traveling to an international destination, make sure your passport and visas are valid. Some countries require that your passport is valid for a certain time; for example, it can’t expire within 3 months of your trip.
Ask for time off to recharge
You’ll be working on this trip and it’s not your vacation, so it’s reasonable to ask your employer for a little time of your own so you can recharge. Ask the parents if they have activities or blocks of time that they want to spend with just the family. Maybe that’s a few hours in the morning or evening, or maybe it’s an entire day. Either way, your bosses will likely be happy to oblige.
Relax and go with the flow
Being a nanny is challenging enough on its own, but if you’ve never traveled with your family on their vacation, it can be even tougher. Even though you’re working, remember to relax and be flexible. The unexpected can often happen any time you travel with children. You can’t control everything that happens, so just go with it and do the best you can. And remember to enjoy yourself! Traveling with your nanny family is a great way to bond with the kids and parents.
Need more tips on navigating new experiences with your nanny family? The Chicago Collegiate Nannies blog has advice on other common nanny questions, like finding a new position in Chicago and kid-friendly summer activities in the city.