Nannies, like teachers, can be subject to high expectations and low gratitude. Many families, especially in this economy, have to really stretch their dollars to afford in-home care and avoid daycare. As a result, to provide any extra bonus or gift above and beyond a nanny’s salary may seem really tough. If you’re like me, my favorite gifts are not typically the ones with the highest price tag attached but the ones with the greatest amount of obvious thoughtfulness. I love the bell pull that my mother-in-law needle pointed for me my first year of marriage and the stocking that my husband’s grandmother made before she passed away for my daughter, the gifts we will treasure and remember always for their sentimental value.
Nannies, having entered this profession because of their love for children, will also treasure the gifts that show forethought. Knowing how busy you are and that you took time out to think of them and plan something special means the world to a dedicated caregiver. They are always caring for others and feel so valued when the roles are reversed and they are the ones being cared for.
You may plan a fun dinner at her favorite restaurant where each family member shares what they most appreciate about her. She may enjoy a gift card to one of her favorite restaurants, places to shop, or even something as practical as a gas card or gift card to the grocery store, Target or Walmart, to help with every day expenses .Most nannies live paycheck to paycheck and even something that may seem small and insubstantial to you may mean a lot to her.You might also let her off early unexpectedly and give her a day for herself that she did not plan on. Practically, this doesn’t “cost” you anything (if you can work from home or do without her for a day) but is very meaningful for someone who works all day for you and comes home fatigued, trying to then gear up for her own set of household responsibilities. If it doesn’t break your budget, you might also have a spa treatment scheduled for her during that time off, where she can relax and unwind and come back refreshed and re-energized .Homemade cards from your kids are a very special way to remember your nanny. My oldest daughter loves to write acrostics for special people in her life and lists horizontally a character trait for every letter of their first name (vertical).
I could list many more ways that you can show appreciation to your nanny but everyone is motivated differently and uniquely and the best way to determine what makes her feel most valued is to ask her! Seems simple but we often give what we think we would like to receive rather than asking for suggestions! At Mom’s Best Friend, we give all new staff a motivational survey that asks for “favorites” – favorite place to shop, restaurant, place to receive a $5 gift card, activity, collectible, scent, color, Starbucks drink, etc. and this helps us gear our appreciation efforts in a more targeted way to ensure the greatest degree of satisfaction. I would highly recommend this practice with your nanny, and once you have gathered the Intel, then remember to act upon it, with enough frequency to keep her “in the game” and let her know that you truly value her!