Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Michigan Nanny Appreciation Week!

It is with great excitement and deepest gratitude that we thank
Governor Rick Snyder 
on behalf of the Michigan Professional Nanny Association
and on behalf of the extended nanny community
for naming September 20 - September 26, 2015, as 
Michigan Nanny Appreciation Week.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has proclaimed the week of September 20, 2015 through September 26, 2015 as Michigan Nanny Appreciation Week (MNAW).  This marks the first time any state has formally recognized the nanny profession with a week for appreciation, and coincides with National Nanny Recognition Week, an industry wide annual effort to shine a light on an oft misunderstood and overlooked profession.

"For the past two years, Michigan Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley has proclaimed a Michigan Nanny Appreciation Day, " says MPNA Director, Tara Lindsay.  "This year, we decided to seek a broader recognition with which to honor all of the hardworking, dedicated nannies in our state."

Lindsay was originally moved to seek the formal recognition after receiving a tearful phone call from a fellow nanny who was distraught.  "She was in tears because her parents had asked her to consider returning to teaching.  They were ashamed to tell their friends she was a nanny, even though she was earning twice as much money and was infinitely happier as a nanny," Lindsay explains.  "I realized that I've been incredibly blessed with family and friends who are proud of what I do for a living.  My dad brags about my work to his friends because he realizes the importance of helping to raise children.  Bu,t nearly every day I encounter nannies who are in the position of having to defend their choice of profession to their family.  That wasn't okay with me, and I knew we needed to do something to honor them for the love, effort, and expertise they share with the families who employ them."

Nannies serve an unknown number of Michigan families, estimated in the thousands.  These caregivers, mostly women, devote their days to the care, safety, and education of other people's children.  While a nanny is an employee, most nannies and their employers would agree that the nanny/family relationship often extends far beyond a typical employee/employer relationship.

Nanny Sarah Blower, of Lake Orion, works for Melany and Brian Bigham of Oxford.  She cares for their three young children on a full time basis, as well as raising her own daughter.  An active participant in the local nanny community, Blower provides her nanny family top quality care along with a preschool type curriculum complete with themed weeks, field trips, and playdates.  But, her job as  nanny goes far beyond lesson plans and nutritious snacks.  "I love these children so much, and I feel that love is reciprocated! It's an amazing feeling when a child who you did not birth reaches for you and seeks your comfort when they are hurting physically or mentally."  

Blower proudly shares a recent conversation with her youngest nanny child, aged 20 months: 

"I was talking with the 20-month old baby about the members of his family.
 'Who is in your family?' I asked. 
 He responded with Daddy.
 'Who else?' I goaded.
 'And who else?' I prodded. 
 I was the third person that little boy mentioned. Third!"  

Blower's employer, Melany Bigham, delights in the closeness that her children share with the nanny they call "Ms. Sarah."  While at first nervous about moving their children from a wonderful daycare to being at home with a nanny, Bigham and her husband quickly realized that "it was one of the best decisions we've ever made in raising our children."  

While some parents might find the love shared between a nanny and child as cause for jealousy, Melany and her husband appreciate what a nanny brings to their family for what it is:  an added, priceless value in the lives of their children.  "A nanny, much like a teacher, cares for our greatest gifts in life, our children. And they do more than watch - they nurture, shape and encourage them during the most formative years of their lives. While our children may not remember the details - details like the days she took them to the zoo, or the day they learned the sign for "water" - they will always remember how they felt in her care, described in one word...loved." 

Bigham continues, "And, that's the difference when you have a nanny, a very special nanny. My kids know, it's not that Ms. Sarah is on the clock from 7am-4pm, then mom and dad from 4pm to 7am. It's that Ms. Sarah, along with mom, dad, grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, cousins...we're all a part of the same community, cheering our kids on, and doing all we can to make them the best they can possibly be. The difference is that a nanny doesn't just watch the most precious gifts in my family - a nanny IS family."

Lindsay hopes that Michigan Nanny Appreciation Week will help to bring more attention to the thousands of incredible nannies in the state of Michigan, and even to those across the industry. "As nannies, we spend the better part of our day supporting, encouraging, and recognizing the efforts and milestones of the children entrusted into our care.  This week is an opportunity for us to do that for each other, as professional peers, and for those outside the industry to gain an insight as to the beauty that exists in the relationships between most nannies and nanny families.  We, as a community, thank the Governor for this recognition and opportunity."  

Michigan Professional Nanny Association will celebrate Michigan Nanny Appreciation Week with a full week of social and professional gatherings in the metro Detroit area.  Details for each event,along with the full Proclamation, can be found on the MPNA website or via our facebook events list.  We strongly encourage nannies, families, and agencies across the state to gather in celebrations and recognition of all nannies.  

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A Cautionary Response to the Babysitter Wages Survey

Flaws in the newly released babysitter wages survey.

Making waves today are the newly released results of a survey on babysitting wages. However, there are several reasons why these results should only be taken as a very loose, somewhat inaccurate guideline with regard to what a babysitter or nanny should be paid. On behalf of the Michigan Professional Nanny Association, we offer parents and caregivers the following critique and advice:

First and foremost is the sample size. 1000 families nationwide cannot provide a substantial enough sampling to accurately reflect wages in individual cities. Even though claims to use internal data, there is no revealing of how that data was collected. Considering that families are not required to report back to the site what they pay the caregivers they hire, and that a family can enter a range of pay rather than an exact amount, it begs the question as to how, exactly, the site was able to use this internal data to accurately assess what caregivers are actually being paid.

Second, a national average is simply that. A national average. Like housing prices, there is a great range from coast to coast on sitter wages, even within each metropolitan market. In the metro Detroit area, wages vary greatly even within a single suburb. Parents and caregivers are wise to realize that the average rate may not be anywhere close to the actual going rate in their locale. You wouldn't take the national average for the cost of a house and insist on paying that, and only that, on any house that catches your eye, would you? Neither should these average wages be taken as what a sitter MUST be paid, regardless of any other factors.

Third, there is no information on whether or not the survey made any distinction between babysitter and nanny.  The infographic gives no definition for what consititutes a babysitter vs. a nanny, although there is a brief mention further down in the article that the two are different.  The article gives false information in stating that the law requires all babysitters be paid at least minimum wage.  In fact, the article they link to for this, of their own publishing, even contradicts that point.  According to the IRS, a babysitter, an occasional as needed caregiver in the child’s home, is not subject to minimum wage laws. A nanny, that is, a regularly schedule caregiver in the child’s home, is a non-exempt employee. Under federal law, a nanny, as a non-exempt employee, must be paid for every hour worked, at or above minimum wage, with overtime in accordance with state law. Yet, the infographic offered claims that all babysitters are subject to minimum wage laws. This can be confusing for parents, especially those who might hire younger, inexperienced minors as occasional babysitters in markets where the going rate is far lower than what the study states. Nannies, in general, make several dollars more per hour on average than babysitters. In fact, the International Nanny Association recently released the results of their 2014 wage and benefits survey which showed that nannies in the U.S. make, on average, $18.66/hour.  (for information on Michigan nanny wages, please see our article here.)

Fourth, there seems to be little to no accounting in the infographic or published results for the wide variance in age, training, and experience of caregivers. To put it frankly: What you plan to pay the high school student from down the street to babysit your children is not what you should plan to pay the babysitter with 10, 15, 20 years experience in childcare who may also be a teacher, professional nanny, or early childhood educator. If care were to separate out wages by the experience and education of caregivers, they would find what the INA found: The more experience and education a caregiver has, the higher the wage. Several other factors also affect what constitutes an appropriate wage for a sitter, including location, number of children, extra tasks involved, the length of time, additional required qualifications, and more.  While the article states these things should be taken into consideration, there's no breakdown of the actual numbers on how these factors affected survey results.

The overall response among the national nanny community, from those who babysit, is that the results of the survey are lower than what most professional caregivers are making. This survey absolutely should not be used as the rule of thumb for figuring nanny wages, which are typically several dollars higher per hour as a base rate. So, how is a parent to know what a fair, going rate is for a sitter in their area if this survey isn’t the be all end all final answer?

Check with your neighbors, or at least people within your own zip code. When you ask what they are paying their sitters, be sure to clarify that it is an occasional sitter who comes to their home, whether it is a teen, a college student, or another adult. Ask how much experience/training that sitter has. The reason for the extra questions is simple: What is fair for a teenager is not necessarily fair for a 32 year old nanny who picks up babysitting on the side. Their experience level, training, and judgment level are different. In the metro Detroit area, date night babysitters are making anywhere from $5/hour (high school students, lower income neighborhoods) to $25/hour or more (highly experienced caregivers, higher income neighborhoods).
Check with the sitters, to see what they are paid and what they will charge. Be fair…if your neighbor has one 8 year old, and you have twin infants with a toddler and a preschooler, expect to pay the sitter more than your neighbor does.

And if the going rates for date night sitters are too high for your budget, or simply too high for your liking? Consider swapping care with another family for date nights, hiring a less experienced sitter, or sharing a sitter with friends for an evening. Typcially, in a sitter sharing situation, each family will pay the sitter 2/3 to ¾ of what the sitter normally charges, lowering the amount a parent pays but increasing the overall amount the sitter earns. Thus, a deal for the parents *and* a win for the sitter.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

New Michigan Minimum Wage Laws

Earlier today, Governor Snyder signed a bill which raises Michigan's minimum wage incrementally over the next four years.   Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), a federal law, nannies are household employees and are classified as non-exempt.  This means that a nanny MUST be paid for every hour worked AT OR ABOVE minimum wage, with overtime in accordance with state law.  For live in nannies, overtime is straight hourly rate.  For live out nannies, overtime is one-and-a-half times their hourly rate.

So what does this new law mean for Michigan nannies?  It means an increase in the minimum legal amount you can be paid for your work.  Currently, Michigan minimum wage is $7.40/hour.  Over the next several years the following increases will take place:

September, 2014:  $8.15/hour
January, 2016:       $8.50/hour
January, 2017:       $8.90/hour
January, 2018:       $9.25/hour

Beginning in 2019, minimum wage will automatically increase each year based on a rolling five year average consumer price index for the Midwest, which has consistently been about 2.6%.  These increases are applicable to all workers age 18 and over in the state of Michigan.

Most nannies in Michigan make more than minimum wage, however we believe it is important for both nannies and employers to be aware of what the legal minimums are with regard to nanny pay.  

Nanny wages vary wildly, making it difficult to state a true average or "going rate" because so many factors affect nanny wages.  Location, experience, training/education, job responsibilities, and employer budget all factor in to what a nanny earns.  Based on conversations within the MPNA nanny community, we know of nannies earning anywhere from $10-$30 per hour.  The average for the metro Detroit area seems to be around $15-$16/hour, with slightly higher rates in Ann Arbor and slightly lower rates in other areas of the state. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

What Does Obamacare Really Look Like for Michigan Nannies?

Michigan Professional Nanny Association would like to thank Traci McGowan for her work in producing this article for us.  For Michigan nannies who have further questions regarding their tax status or the Affordable Care Act, Traci is happy to answer questions.  She is also happy to help with resolving tax issues (for a fair fee).  We look forward to Traci's ongoing help and to having her as a featured workshop presenter at National Nanny Training Day 2014.  Thank you, Traci!! 

What Does Obamacare Really Look Like?
By Traci McGowan

I would be completely lying if I said I understood all the babble the media has been presenting about Obamacare. They’re just…arguing. While the big eared politicians fight with each other, I thought I’d share what Obamacare could look like for those of you who belong to the Michigan Professional Nanny Association.

Obamacare is Law
The law does require practically everyone in the country buy and/or be covered by a health insurance policy no later than March 31, 2014.

Wait…Practically Everyone?
Yes. You may not be required to buy health insurance if you:

·        * Have financial hardships (you have to prove this).
·         *Have been uninsured for less than three months (this could change).
·         *Have religious objections (This does not mean you can avoid the whole thing by saying “I’m religious!”).
·         *Are an American Indian (If you fall under this, you’ve most likely been contacted by your council).
·         *Are a prison inmate (Which would mean you would not be working as a Nanny).
·         *Are an undocumented immigrant (Self-explanatory).

What if I Don’t Qualify for an Exemption?
Here are a few suggestions:

*Mom and Dad
·         Under age 26? You could remain covered under your parent’s policy until you turn 26. Talk with your parents about what staying on their policy would look like financially. For those currently on their parents’ policies, it could mean no changes at all. For others it may not make sense financially.

*Nanny Family (Employer) Helps with Premium Costs
·         Household employers are not required by the healthcare law to provide insurance coverage for their household employees. However, states that they could qualify for health care tax credits if they do provide health insurance or at least contribute towards your health insurance coverage.

·         The maximum credit possible for the 2014 tax year for a small employer is 50 percent of contributions made to qualified health care premiums/coverage.

·         The IRS still has yet to explain the fine details for claiming the credit. Regardless, for your employer to qualify for the tax credits, the following guidelines must be met:
o    You must be a full time employee (aka: FTE).
o    Your income must be reported. This means you receive a regular paycheck where taxes are withheld, and you receive a W2.
o    Your annual income must be less than $50,000.
o    Your employer must purchase health insurance through the Small Business Health Options Program (aka: SHOP).

What if I Receive Form 1099?
Your Nanny Family is not eligible for any credits and therefore cannot benefit from assisting you with healthcare coverage.

Healthcare Exchanges
Michigan does not have a State healthcare exchange, so everyone must use You are not able to shop for policies. You are required to offer up all your info.

Side note: you cannot go back and make any changes to your profile. Nor can you create a new profile. What you see is what you get.

Coverage Explained
·         Bronze – it’s called 60/40 – that means the insurance company will pick up 60% of the health care costs and you will have to pick up the remaining 40%. AFTER you meet the deductible. A deductible is what the policy holder has to pay out of their own pocket before the insurance company kicks in that 60%. This is how it looked for me:
o    Deductibles ranged anywhere from $4,000 to $6,300.
o    Monthly premiums ranged anywhere from $179 - $351 a month ($2,100 - $4,200 annually).
o    Annually (Premiums and Deductibles) potentially could cost me $7,300 - $10,200.

·         Gold – it’s called 80/20 – the insurance company picks up 80% of the health care costs and you pick up the remaining 20%. Again, AFTER the deductible is met. This was my breakdown (I only qualified for one Gold plan):
o    $250.00 deductible.
o    $379.00 monthly premium ($4,500 annually).
o    Annually (Premiums and Deductibles) could run $4,800.

·         Silver – it’s called 70/30 – the insurance company picks up 70% of the health care costs, you pick up the remaining 30%. AFTER the deductible is met. This again, my breakdown:
o    Deductibles ranged from $1,650 to $4,600 per year.
o    Monthly premiums ranged anywhere from $203 to $459 ($2,400 to $4,300).
o    Annually (Premiums and Deductibles) could run anywhere from $4,700 to $7,300.

·         Platinum – it’s called 90/10 – the insurance company picks up 90% of the health care costs and you pick up the remaining 10%. AFTER the deductible is met. Me again:
o    Deductibles ranged from $500-$1,000.
o    Monthly premiums ranged from $265 - $430.
o    Annually (Premiums and Deductibles) could run anywhere from $4,200 to $5,700.

What About Those Government Subsidies – Won’t Those Help with the Premium Payments?

·         The only plan eligible for subsidies and low-cost options are the Silver plans - that’s per Bronze, Gold and Platinum plans are not eligible for any out of pocket savings regardless of how far down on the poverty calculator you are.

·         The “Subsidies” come to you in the form of a tax credit when you file your 2014 taxes in 2015. While the credit is a nice perk, it doesn’t provide any help on a month to month basis.

·         Persons who do not report income are not eligible for any subsidies. Please contact us for additional information on this particular item.

What If I Opt to Not Purchase Health Insurance
Persons who elect not to purchase health insurance by March 31st, 2014 will have to pay penalties:
·         $95.00 per adult. Married or have a partner? $190.00.
·         $47.50 per child. Say you have three children? $142.50.
·         Penalty would be $332.50.
·         1% (one percent) of your gross income, whichever is greater.

Each year the penalty increases. This also does include any fees or interest the IRS may or may not charge.

If you have questions regarding Obamacare, feel free to get in touch me at

About Traci:

Traci McGowan is a writer, an accountant of 20 years, and Chief People Officer of By The Numb3rs, located in Royal Oak, Michigan. When not crunching numbers or reading up in the latest IRS updates over a bag of pretzels, Traci dreams of new AppleCrack toys. Traci is also involved with the creation of a new exercise/fitness area at the S.A.Y. clinic in Detroit, and is in the process of writing her first book.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

If you give a nanny a naptime...

Inspired by our own experiences, the planners of National Nanny Training Day - Michigan Edition offer this children's book parody on behalf of Michigan Professional Nanny Association.

If you give a nanny a naptime…
By Kristin Grau, Candice Kovach, Tara Lindsay, and Jessie Richmond

If you give a nanny a naptime...

She’ll finally get to go to the bathroom in peace.

While she’s washing her hands, she’ll look in the mirror and realize she’s still wearing a tiara and a superman cape, and has six stickers on her face, which will remind her to clean the playroom.

While she is cleaning the playroom, she’ll find 3 dirty socks and a sippy cup of sour milk, so she’ll go to put those away and that’s when she’ll notice that the dishwasher needs to be emptied and the laundry needs to be done.

While she is doing laundry she’ll remember there are dirty clothes in the nursery, so she’ll tiptoe upstairs and as she opens the nursery door it will creak and wake the baby.

As she rocks the baby back to sleep she’ll notice her manicure is a mess, which will remind her that she missed her nail appointment two weeks ago because she agreed to stay and babysit.

As she puts the baby back in the crib she’ll notice her shoulder is covered with baby drool and she’ll remember about the laundry.

While she is doing the laundry, she’ll realize you are almost out detergent, so she’ll start to make a grocery list.

When she opens the fridge to see if you need milk, her tummy will start to rumble and she’ll remember that she never ate lunch.

She’ll make herself a sandwich, add bread to the shopping list, and sit down to eat. As soon as she sits down to eat lunch, she’ll hear the baby on the monitor so she’ll wrap up her sandwich and go to get the baby.

As she dashes back up the stairs, she’ll realize how tired she is and wish that she had a naptime too.

But if you give a nanny a naptime…well, we all know how that goes.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Healthy Nanny Project: Kristin's Story

As the inspiration and driving force behind MPNA's Healthy Nanny Project, nanny member Kristin Grau has shared with us her personal journey towards healthy living. We deeply appreciate Kristin's openness, honesty, and generosity in sharing her story with us as well as her committed efforts towards supporting her fellow nannies in their own journeys.

Coming from a family with weight and health issues, I have been overweight all my life. As a nanny I know I was so busy taking care of someone else all the time that I didn't notice how big and unhealthy I was.

In December, 2010, with the help of my best friend I got the nerve to finally get on the scale. I weighed in at nearly 450 pounds. I remember just crying. I was ashamed, depressed, and in disbelief that I had let myself go like that. I made the choice: I want to change my life.

I joined the gym local to my house, began working out, and made small steps towards eating better. By March, 2011, I had lost 30 lbs by myself, but I knew if I was going to really succeed on this journey that I needed to recruit help. I purchased sessions with a personal trainer, Mike.

From the beginning Mike explained to me that if I wasn't serious then I didn't need him but, if I was, then it would be the best thing I've ever done. He changed my diet, set up a workout plan, and pushed me hard. Really hard. There were days I hated him. But, within one month of working with him I had lost an additional 18 lbs in just that one month! I felt great and by June I had lost 50 lbs. I even jogged in a 5k.

The best thing was people were really beginning to notice the differences in me. I was happy and had more energy. My nanny children loved this! We got out more and did more activities that I wasn't able to do before starting my journey.

With continued hard work and commitment, and with the continued help of Mike, by December 2011 I accomplished another major goal: I had lost 100 lbs!!!

While I still have a long way to go, my journey has affected many. My family has begun to eat healthier. As of 2012, with the help of another member of the Michigan Professional Nanny Association, I set up the Healthy Nanny Project. We came up with ways to work out together and to go to exercise classes.

Taking care of other people's children is a privilege and honor that carries a lot of responsibility. I know I couldn't take care of the children if I didn't take care of myself. I still have a long way to go on my journey, but I'm proud I've made it this far.

Kristin Grau is a full time, live out nanny in Oakland County, MI for a family with three children. She is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University with a bachelors degree in Social Work. She has been caring for children professionally for 12 years in both a daycare setting and as a nanny. She is an active and valued member of MPNA.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Tips and Tricks for Sane and Safe Holidays!

April Krause, MPNA Co-Director, recently led a workshop for us on how nannies can help their employers have GREAT, low stress holidays this year. In addition to April's awesome suggestions, I've added the ideas and tips that MPNA nannies had to offer, as well!

General Holiday Tips and Tricks

*Continue with routines when you can, including bedtimes, naptimes, and eating. Continue to have children eat healthy and limiting junk food. No one wants a cranky kid to deal with.
*Continue to let children get some fresh air, it will not only de-stress them but also you.
*Make sure to ask parents if there is anything extra you can help with, this might just include getting a few extra items at the grocery store, or straightening up the extra bedroom.
*Make sure you know your schedule for the holidays, usually grandparents are in town, so you might not be needed as much
-If grandparents are around while you're working, try to work *with* them on schedules and activities. Visiting grandparents are often a source of stress for nannies. Many grandparents judge their daughter/daughter-in-law for having a nanny, some are jealous that the nanny gets to spend all this time with the grandchildren, some feel awkward and out of sorts and this comes across as being unfriendly. Whatever the reasons behind any stress or strife, a nanny can minimize this by engaging the grandparents and communicating openly.
-Invite grandparents on outings, playdates, classes, and activities whenever possible
-Print out the daily schedules and routines so grandparents can see them, point out where there are gaps in time or open time to do fun things with their grandchildren and ask for their input on what they'd like to do
-Realize that grandparents are often there to spoil...and are thus probably going to want to allow cookies for lunch, or skip naps, etc. Nannies are wise to not take this personally or as an insult and to find workable, win/win solutions. Flexibility goes a long way!
-Don't allow unhealthy communication triangles between grandparents, parents, and nanny.
*Check out this list of articles from Although it is referenced for Christmas, most of the strategies are applicable to all holidays.

Traveling Tips and Tricks

*Remember lines will be longer in airports, train stations, etc.
*Remember to be sure that you pack extra snacks, toys, and things to do while traveling.
*Pack extra diapers, wipes, and a complete change of clothes for each child to put in carryons. Put extra clothes in a large ziploc...that way, there is something to stash wet/soiled clothes.
*Ask parents if they would like for you to help pack or get anything ready for traveling
*Double check airline security regulations regarding bottles, sippy cups, liquids, etc
*Be sure the kids laundry is all done so that when packing they are not looking around for things
*If your child has a favorite thing such as a blanket have another at home or on hand just in case something happens to the first one
*Find some toys they have not played with in a while or get a few little new ones, so they have something new and fresh to play with.
*If you are packing children's clothes, it can help to pack each outfit in a large ziploc baggie complete with socks, undergarments, and hair accessories (if appropriate). This helps keep things organized and easy to deal with in a hotel.
*Chocolate does not travel well to warmer climates.

Halloween Tips and Tricks

*Make plan with parents about how much candy a child can have each day and when it will be given
*Save candy for use on gingerbread house around Christmas Time
*Roast pumpkin seeds for a healthy snack
*Use candies for math and science experiments
o Candy sorting
o Candy counting
o Dissolving candy in different liquids, including water, vinegar, and club soda
o Mentos and Coke is a great Gyser!!!
o Try some Candy Experiments

*Make sure that all children’s costumes have all the parts together and are put up, easier to find things on Friday then having parents look for things on Sunday before Trick or Treat
*Offer to run errands for last minute bits and pieces for costumes, hem long princess dresses, trial run monster make up, etc.
*Really don't want the children to eat all that candy? Consider donating it or participating in the Halloween Candy Buy Back

Thanksgiving Tips and Tricks

*See if there is anything extra needed around the house during the holidays, maybe picking up more things at the grocery store, making sure extra beds are made up with clean sheets and bedding
*Have kids make placemats for the table. Have children write the name of each person on the placemats, laminate them with Contact paper.
*Keep charges and visiting guests busy with some of these Thanksgiving crafts, activities, and projects
*If you are working the day after Thanksgiving, the mall playplace is a BAD idea of an outing for the day.
*Check out places in the area that might be having specials on admission and even running special activities, including museums, libraries and recreation centers
*If relatives will be visiting, communicate with employers about visiting children and what the childcare arrangements will be. It is not unreasonable to request to be paid for watching extra children, but that call is up to each nanny/employer.
*Ask about family plans and what you can do to help. Employer hosting Thanksgiving Day dinner and cooking all day Wednesday? Offer to keep the kids out of the house and somewhere fun for the day. (Detroit Science Center, Cranbrook Institute of Science, The Henry Ford, Ann Arbor Hands On Museum, even the Zoo if the weather is mild enough!)
*Consider helping children find ways to thank people around them. Even small children can help make thank you cards for people in the community (such as the lady who always gives them lollipops at the bank, the friendly waitstaff at your favorite lunch spot, or even make thank you's for the firemen...and take a chance to tour the firestation!)

Hanukkah Tips and Tricks

*Have children set table for dinner, good time to teach about place settings
*Ask parents if there is any food you need to start ahead of time
*Make sure all clothes and things that will be worn to dinner are out and pressed as needed
*Have children help to decorate house or table, grandparents love to see what children have made, perhaps try some of these Hanukkah crafts and projects
*Talk to parents about going though old toys and getting rid of some so there is room to have the new toys, discuss where they would like toys donated and whether or not they want the children to participate in taking the donations in.

Christmas Tips and Tricks

*Countdown to Christmas either with an advent calendar or a paper chain
*Remind children of manners especially at parties, practice manners at home through play.
*Have children help decorate Christmas tree by making ornaments or other decorations around house
*Talk to parents about going though old toys in the house before the kids get more toys at Christmas, discuss where they would like toys donated and whether or not they want the children to participate in taking the donations in.

Still looking for activity, craft, and snack ideas? Try some of our favorite ideas websites:

Family Fun


Perpetual Preschool


And never forget to ask your local librarian for book suggestions if you're stuck for holiday themed story ideas!

Happy Holiday Season!