Holidays….relaxing, refreshing, taking a well-earned break…..words that perhaps can be associated with holidays but not when you have children! Aren’t they simply the same old routines but in a different location and without your usual creature comforts (or washing machine!)?! But they don’t have to be! We all use some form of childcare at home (whether this be our neighbours helping out in emergencies, to family and friends or full-time nannies) and whilst of course holidays are times for families to spend quality time together, it is important for all family members to enjoy the holiday!
So what are your options?
Take a grandparent or family member with you? I look on in jealously to see those that travel regularly with their families and the obvious help this brings… I’ve been there and done that and sadly decided we can’t do it again for fear of too many long term issues!!
Look for a resort/location with childcare provisions? Many family friendly resorts have onsite babysitters so talk to your travel company or the concierge direct to book ahead. Villas can sometimes come with local staff to help out these can include babysitters and also housekeepers who could help alleviate the pressure of the cleaning or even cooking occasionally during the holiday. Every little helps!
But maybe at the time you decided you would enjoy a family holiday all together and have booked a wonderful place but now there is no childcare available. No need to despair there is a solution…take a Nanny!
If you already employ a nanny then this could be an easy, providing she is happy and able to come with you. However, some nannies are not keen on travelling and the biggest mistake employers can make when taking a nanny on holiday is to assume they are getting a holiday too!
Many nanny agencies, such as Parental Choice, can source temporary nannies who are recruited specifically to travel with you. Our advice in these situations; interview your nanny at length before agreeing she (or he) is the one; and where possible have them come for a trial before the holiday so that you feel comfortable that you will all get on…you want your holiday to be relaxing!
Taking someone on holiday with you might seem like the ideal solution but in order to ensure it provides the help and support you are expecting (and not additional headaches) here are our top tips…
It is very important before travelling, to discuss both your and their expectations;
Duties – Are they there to sunbathe or care for your children?! New environments can be stressful for children (and parents!) especially with added dangers of pools and the sea, so who is in charge at what time? Will they be responsible for all children or perhaps one at a time if you have multiple children to enable you to spend quality time with the others? Will your routine/rules for the children change? Confirm these with your nanny to ensure you are all giving the consistent message and working as a team.
Hours and Pay – Will the nanny work her normal hours? Do you want them up early to help with the children or babysit in the evenings? Will you pay her extra? Agree an overtime rate or babysitting rate if necessary. What can she do in her free time? Her travelling days will need to be classed as working hours and therefore unless you give her time off when in resort you will need to consider either extra pay for these days or time off in lieu. In addition she has been inconvenienced by being away and therefore some form of compensation (whether this be a bonus or time off in lieu) would not be out of the question.
Sleeping arrangements – will she have her own room or share with the children? For short periods this might be an acceptable solution but for longer holidays it would only be fair to give the nanny some level of privacy and be able to have some down time. Or perhaps if you are travelling with another family and their nanny, it would not be unreasonable to ask the nannies to share a room.
Expenses – a nanny should not be out of pocket for travelling with you. You will need to pay for flights, food and accommodation plus any general expenses whilst caring for the children. Don’t forget to include her on holiday insurance as well or check if she has her own. Does she need a visa (she might depending on her what passport she holds)? Check her travel documents and ensure they are all valid!
Open communication – encourage both parties to discuss any issues (especially even when on holiday) so that they don’t escalate and you all enjoy your time away.
And finally … most nannies would appreciate a small bonus or extra time off in lieu if you felt they have gone over and above their duties and of course a “thank you” helps strength your relationship!
Taking a nanny on holiday, like all holidays that offer childcare, can work out expensive but the benefit of a real holiday is something that pays itself back over the course of the year. Here’s to holidays once again being relaxing, refreshing and that well-earned break you really deserve…
Stephanie Rough, Parental Choice