Thinking about hiring a holiday nanny?

Have you ever thought about hiring a holiday nanny? Families book a holiday nanny to join them on their family holiday, to help keep the children entertained whilst they enjoy some time away.

The Nanny has been specially selected and matched with the family to make sure they will bond with the parents and children, which is so important for a temporary position. A lot of families who have never booked a Nanny before can be unsure of what is expected from a holiday Nanny. Here is a list of what a Nanny might be able to help you with, whilst you are away on your family holiday.

A Holiday Nanny can….

  • Help throughout travel day, on the flight, at the airport, in transit etc. But please remember the Nanny will be as tired as you are if they have been on a long haul flight!
  • They can be on hand for any daytime activities, such as swimming, the beach, walks, sledging, arts and crafts etc. The Nanny should have activities prepared in advance to keep the children entertained.
  • They can help out with mealtimes, preparing or cooking for the children.
  • They can help with bath and bedtimes, morning and night
  • They can provide evening babysitting
  • They can share a room with the child, the Nanny will need to be notified if this is the case.
  • They can help out with light housework, children’s laundry and tidying up after the children.
  • They can help with homework
  • They can become their friend and someone who they can trust to share their thoughts with.

Nannies hired by Vacation Nannies are all flexible, friendly and happy to offer help whenever possible. If you would like to find out more information on booking a holiday nanny why not drop us a line or call to discuss your plans?

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Top 5 Travel tips for all Vacation Nannies

If you are about to embark on your first ‘holiday nanny’ job role, we’ve have compiled 5 top tips to help you survive and to help you provide the best service to your holiday family.

1: Be prepared for anything and everything!
As a holiday nanny, it is so important to be prepared and to make a good impression. You should know the ages and sex of the children you are going to be caring for, so I would recommend creating an activity/craft bag for the trip. My bag usually contains colouring, cut and stick materials, travel board games, Dobble, a few books, stickers, play-doh and bubbles. All of these items are fairly small and light, so they don’t take up much room in my bag and provide endless amounts of fun. If you would like to gain some serious brownie points; A plane friendly activity bag, for the travel day, is also a great way of keeping children entertained on a long haul flight and distracting them away from the screen

2: Communicate with your family
After your interview, the next time you meet your ‘holiday family’ will be on the first day of your trip. So, therefore, it is so important that you communicate with your family. The agency will pass on the details of the family and it is really encouraged to ask any questions you might have before you go. Questions such as; children’s interests, have they had a nanny before, dress codes, are you going to be sharing a room, are you going to be expected to drive? All of these are really important questions to cover because it helps you and the family feel prepared for the trip, and it will make the family feel reassured to have such a thorough nanny who is taking an interest in finding out about the family post trip.

3: Dress appropriately for the style of job
I learnt on a recent holiday nanny job how important it is to ask the family if they have a dress code to follow. This job was classed as a ‘VIP’ job in the Caribbean, so when I was gathering my normal ‘nanny beach clothes’ together; shorts, vest and beach dresses, a friend, who is an experienced worker on a superyacht, suggested asking the family if there was a dress code to follow. I was so pleased I did ask because they asked me to wear ‘boating’ wear, such as a navy polo shirt and khaki short combination and to dress modestly. So, therefore, I bought a rash vest and swimming shorts to wear in the sea.

Initially, I was very self-conscious of my uniform, as I had never had to follow a dress code before, but the feedback I got from the family was so worth it. Even though I ended up being the only nanny wearing a smart uniform, I felt and looked the part, which made me feel confident whilst working alongside high-status guests.

So in conclusion to this, it is always worth asking the family if there is a dress code to follow. You can never sound or be too prepared for a holiday nanny vacation.

4: Be flexible and muck in
Sometimes a job of a holiday nanny isn’t just playing with the kids, swimming with them, taking them to the beach. Some parents really do love the opportunity to spend special times with their children doing these activities too! So, therefore, you should be ready and flexible to offer any kind of help when you may feel at a loose end. As It is quite common to find yourself with suddenly no children to look after! Depending on your package, being child-free doesn’t always mean you can put your feet up, you should use your initiative and have a scan around to see if anything can be done. Children’s laundry, meal prep, bath time prep etc, small offers of extra help never goes unnoticed, and you will reap the rewards at the end of the holiday with a fantastic reference and maybe a tip!

5: Be happy
Work with a smile! There will be moments where you might be feeling fed up, but you have always got to remember that it is only for a short duration, and you will never have to see them again, after saying goodbye at the airport! I find it helps to take your exercise gear with you, so you can fit in a run or a HIIT workout, or go for a power walk with the pushchair to get some head space. I like to treat Nanny holidays as a retreat. You’ll most likely be somewhere beautiful, possibly hot, with fresh food and no alcohol consumption! So just embrace the whole experience, you will always come home with a story to tell!

Nannys top-tips for getting your child to stay in bed!

Whether you’re a Nanny or parent; Bedtime, or witching hour as I like to call it, can be a nightmare. Children try every trick in the book to divert bedtime, and as a Nanny, I’ve heard them all!  Whether they are ‘hungry’, ‘missing Mummy’, ‘needing a wee’, the list goes on and it’s usually always an excuse to not go to bed!

Children need routine, especially on weeknights if they have school the next day. A good evening routine to follow would be; some outdoor play early evening or some indoor play/ limited television/screen time before supper, supper, a calming bath, story time and bed. Obviously, we all know that it never goes as smoothly as that… Especially with toddlers who have just been transferred from a cot to a ‘big girls’ bed.

So here is an outline of a simple bedtime routine you should follow, being consistent and staying calm is the key!

  1. After the child has had their bath, you should take them into their bedroom, where the curtains have already been drawn and the bedside lamp/’Gro Lamp’ is on, creating a calming environment for the child to start getting them ready for bed. All excuses have been covered; teeth brushed, toilet trip covered, beaker of water is next to the bed, their comforter is in the bed. Anything you think they might ask for, try to cover it before they get into the bed.
  2. Once they are all in their pyjamas and if they are old enough, let them choose two or three short stories they would like you to read. If you have more than one child, maybe let them choose two each?
  3. If your child like having some warmed milk at bedtime, let them snuggle into bed with it whilst you start reading them their stories. Once the final story is over, you make it clear that it is bedtime now and that they need to shut their eyes and dream of whatever it is they love doing. A lot of children I babysit for have a ‘Gro company Gro Clock’ for Sleep training. This is a really good way of trying to make them understand that it is now bedtime and when the sun comes up, they can get out of bed. It’s amazing how well it can work.

With toddlers who are just starting to get used to being in a bed, it is expected that they will keep getting in and out! They see it as a game, but you must not let a game be created.

Here is how:

  1. The first time they get out, explain to them it’s bedtime and lead them back to their bed, make them comfy and make sure you and they remain calm, then leave after giving them a kiss/cuddle good night.
  2. The second time, do the same as the above but a little firmer. Don’t sit down on the bed with them, just tuck them back in and leave.
  3. The third time, which will most likely not be the last time. Lead them straight back into bed and tuck them up without saying anything. (You may end up being sat outside the door for a while!) Keep repeating this until they learn they must stay in bed. Don’t lose your temper, or start conversations with them, as they will keep getting out and create a game from it. I had the experience of looking after a little boy who loved getting out of bed, sometimes 10 times before he would finally go to sleep, and I learnt that the less attention you gave him when he popped his little head out, the fewer times he started getting back out of bed. The transition from bed to cot is a real novelty for them, so it is natural for them to want to explore, but you have to persevere with your routine! Don’t let them start sleeping in your bed!!

If all of these routines don’t work, you can’t beat a good old awards chart! Especially if they are siblings, as they love to compete with each other. I have seen these charts work really well for families with children who won’t stay in bed. There are templates on line, or you can make your own.

There are lots of forums online to also help, so keep up to date with blogs such as ‘MumsNet’ which always has lots of helpful advice and discussions.

Here is a link for the Gro Clock:

Keeping babies safe in the sun

Keeping babies safe and comfortable in the summer heat can sometimes be quite challenging. Whether you are inside or out, you need to choose clothes which are lightweight, loose and made from a natural fibre such as cotton. This is to avoid risks of the baby overheating and developing a heat rash, or in serious cases, heat stroke. Overheating can be fatal and linked to sudden infant death syndrome, a fatal sleeping disorder (SIDS).  

It is recommended that you dress your baby similar to how you are dressed, so if you are only wearing shorts and a t-shirt, then dress your baby in a similar weighted outfit; you can always add layers such as little trousers and a long sleeved shirt or a wide-brimmed hat to shield their face. Don’t be fooled by cloudy days, harmful rays can still pass through the clouds,

Here are some tips of my top tips to stay safe in the sun:

Stay out of direct sunlight

It is advised that babies should stay out of the direct sun between 11 and 3 and a wide-brimmed hat is worn at all times to protect their face, and help keep their head cool. A sunshade umbrella is also recommended for the pushchair, not a blanket or sarong tied and draped over the pushchair, as this could make the baby overheat.

It is also quite a nice idea to have a little paddling pool set up in the shade for the baby, as this way the baby is able to have a fun splash around and stay cool at the same time, never leave the baby unattended.

Keep hydrated

Babies under the age of 6 months should stay hydrated through the formula they are drinking, or breast milk. If the baby is loosing fluids to perspiration, it is recommended to replace lost liquids with extra feeds or formula. Babies usually drink up to 50% more in the hot summer months.

Baby carriers

If you are using a baby carrier, make sure it is a lightweight one, as the baby will be at risk of heating from your body heat and being restricted in the baby carrier.

Reapply Suncream regularly

Babies skin is extremely thin and delicate, so they should always be kept out of direct sunlight. If you take the baby swimming, you should apply at least factor 30 waterproof suncream on the baby. Please be aware that some baby skin can be extra sensitive to this type of cream, so when they are not in water, use normal suncream for baby sensitive skin, without forgetting the ears. Always remember to suncream the entire body, as a normal t-shirt only has the SPF of around 5.

Irritable skin

In the heat, babies often suffer from irritable skin due to hot and humid weather. You may find red blotches or a rash in the groin, neck or folds of their skin, sometimes at the back of their knees too. To help relieve the rash, give the baby a cool bath and dress in loose cool clothing and apply baby powder to the area. Make sure the room the baby is sleeping in/playing in, is kept well ventilated.

Sunburn is extremely serious with babies if this occurs apply a cool towel and seek medical help.

I hope that all these tips help you keep your baby safe whilst you enjoy your family holiday. If you would like any more childcare tips, PocketNannies often post lots of interesting childcare related topics and top tips.