Summer! It’s right around the corner. Summer is fun, exciting, and a wonderful change of pace (especially here in rainy Seattle!), but it also means that the routines we’ve counted on and been polishing all school-year are about to change. For many families, nannies, and kiddos, summer means travel, playdates, and sunshine. How can we as nannies set ourselves, our charges, and our families up for a great summer?
Plan & schedule ahead of time
My nanny kiddos will get out of school in about a month, and I’m already coordinating with my mom boss about what our summer will look like. I suggest having a shared calendar so you can keep track of all the important dates. We keep a large paper calendar in their kitchen that we can all add to and edit as needed.
Do you have travel plans? Give as much notice as possible so your family can find back-up care. Do they have travel plans? It’s standard that nannies should have guaranteed hours, so their travel plans should not affect your paycheck. What about summer camps? Plans for standing playdates? Visitors to your nanny family’s home? Will your work hours change once the kiddos are out of school? Get everything on the calendar ASAP so there are no unpleasant surprises for either party.
If you care for siblings or a nanny share, it’s likely that the kiddos will be spending significantly more time together during the summer months. This is a great opportunity to work on sibling relationships. Sibling conflict is inevitable, but it’s also a chance for children to learn problem-solving & practice those life-skills we’re always working toward.
Depending on how old your nanny children are, involve them in making agreements for the summer with you. What are the rules in the home you work for? Do the kiddos know and understand the rules? Get specific! Set yourself up for success by agreeing to how much screen time is appropriate each day (make sure their parents are on the same page on this one).
What other pain points or potential conflicts can you plan for ahead of time?
I know that my nanny kiddos and I will need to figure out who gets to pick the show for our screen time each day. Listen to everyone’s ideas and choose one to try first. Settling on these things now will save time, energy, and effort through the summer season, but remember you can always come back to edit things that aren’t working. These conversations are great to have during nanny/family meetings.
Review & update your tools
Either right before or at the beginning of summer vacation, my nanny kiddos will both be updating their Anger Wheels of Choice so that they reflect their current favorite calm-down strategies. We’ll be making a new Wheel of Choice with different options for problem-solving during sibling conflict. Does your time-in/calm-down spot need an update? My charges and I will be reviewing the brain in the palm of the hand, so we can all use it. Have your nanny kiddos make a new routine chart that shows the summer schedule so they know what to expect. This is a bit more challenging than the school-year routine since days are more relaxed and less rigid, but there are surely things that will be the same each day. Also, look for a window to fit in some special-time each day.
What do you want to teach and do this summer?
Chores are a huge self-esteem builder for kids. Are there new chores and responsibilities your nanny kiddos can pick-up this summer? Personally, I’m excited to get my nanny kiddos working on doing their own laundry! Remember when teaching a new skill to break it down into small steps and check for understanding before you hand it over.
What about social & emotional learning?
I’m really looking forward to having more time during the day for practicing these skills over the summer! Even a 10 or 20 minute block of time is enough time to practice a calming breathing technique, to say a positive affirmation, read a favorite feelings book, practice some mindfulness, choose a feelings face, practice a calm down strategy, and/or use a feelings card for discussion. These are all things that help grow your nanny kiddos brain, are so connection-building, & give them the tools they need for self-regulation (which makes everyone’s life a little bit easier)!
Consider academics, too. Some nanny families like to see their kiddos practicing and reviewing academic skills over the summer, while other families love to see a more free-range, play-based summer. Choose the right balance for you, your nanny charges, and the family. I would highly recommend a little reading time together each day.
Make a summer-fun bucket list
Include your nanny kiddos in creating a list of things they’d like to do over the summer. We’re lucky to be in a community with many public playgrounds, so I think we’ll try to visit over a dozen playgrounds this summer. Which friends would they like to have playdates with? Is there a farm, beach, children’s museum, or other child-friendly place that’s a little too far to drive to during the school year? Do you have interests or hobbies you want to share with your nanny children? I can’t wait to take my nanny kiddos bowling this summer and am planning on helping them sign-up for their own library cards, too!
I love Gretchen Rubin’s quote, “the days are long but the years are short.” We never know how many special summers we’ll get to enjoy with our nanny kiddos, so I do try to be intentional and grateful for these days.
Preparing for the summer with intention and collaboration will set everyone up for success.
Model your flexibility, soak up the fresh air, use your Positive Discipline tools, and connect with other nannies and kiddos in your community. Enjoy & make memories!
What are you looking forward to with your nanny kiddos this summer? Comment below!