Nannies: 5 tips to help you adapt to a summer schedule

By Nanny X,

summer can usher in a very different schedule and pace for nannies. Some of us used to working around the fixed school calendar and in a certain locale can find it hard to adjust. But the summer can be an opportunity to embrace new things, experiences and challenges. Here are 5 tips to getting the most from your summer.

 

  • Communicate. Don’t wait until you are packed up in the family car and en route to the country house before you ask about your hours and duties.
  • Work. Will your duties change? If the kids are in camp all day long will you be expected to do other things like, shop for groceries, run the laundry and tidy up around the house?
  • Budget. Will your new schedule mean less pay or more? Is there any added compensation for living-in?
  • Meals/Pay. (1) Will all your meals be provided for? In theory this should be a given, but you don’t want to be sat in an expensive Marina one evening and handed a bill to figure out. (2) Being away from home shouldn’t change the way that you receive a salary. If you are used to being paid weekly – expect to be paid weekly. If you are used to receiving cash payments request cash payments and the time it takes to deposit your money into your bank.
  • Downtime. If you are required to live-in for the summer make sure you get fixed hours. You are not required under the Law to work 24-7, unless that is something you have specifically negotiated with an increase in salary. Your average working day should involve no more than 8 hours, with any extra hours counting as over-time. While you should endeavor to be flexible -shifting your hours to cover your employer’s evenings out, for example – you should keep track of them. Hours during the summertime can be like a runaway train. Your employer might think that the time you spent on the beach with the children was downtime for you – but it was actually work. Nannies offer a professional childcare service with definitive duties and hours. The summer is not about you taking a mutual vacation, it’s simply a relocation of your workplace.
Another issue that can arise during the summer is one of over-familiarity. Nannies do well to maintain their boundaries. The odd social glass of wine with an employer at the end of a long day might come as a relief, but if it becomes a daily habit it can encroach upon a nanny’s sense of privacy and professionalism. Remember, you are not your employer’s caregiver, your time and efforts should be engaged on his or her children. You will also need some daily downtime and adequate sleep just to refuel the energy you spent during the day.
If you begin to feel trapped and/or exhausted speak to your employer about taking a little added break. You don’t want to burn out and become resentful or even sick. Take a walk down a country lane or along the beach. If you are feeling isolated or homesick take a break and call someone you love. Stand in your power.
Finally, always have an exit plan. Remember, that your choice of work is your choice. Don’t render yourself helpless. Before you go away check on boat schedules or train times. Get the number of a local cab company. Make sure that you can get reception on your cellphone somewhere on your employer’s property or have access to a landline or a pay-phone. Have some money on a credit card in case you do need to leave. Try to keep enough cash on you for a cab ride. We do not live in the 18th century and nannies are not indentured servants. You can leave anytime you want.
So … embrace the summer for all that it can bring you and the children in your care. They say that a change is as good as a rest and with a positive attitude you can make a summer schedule a pleasurable experience.