Year-end bonuses are the norm for most in the professional world. A nanny falls into the category of a working professional, but she is also so much more. This is the person who spent an entire year caring for your little ones, and maybe even your home and pets in some cases as well; she was there on good days, sick days, and those horrible, awful, no good terrible days, and don’t forget the occasional minor holiday, too. Rather than look at providing a year-end bonus as an obligation that you must comply with in order to protect your reliable caretaker from poaching, consider it a relationship builder and a way to show your appreciation for someone who does a very important and personal job.
A typical year-end bonus for a nanny is equal to a week’s salary. This can and typically does grow based on long-term service, though if you don’t want to extend yourself financially in that way until a hallmark occasion and create a precedent, you might just add some thoughtful touches to give along with the amount of cash you decide to gift.
Add It Up
If you are happy with your nanny’s services, she has likely gone above and beyond on occasion. You might have thought of showing your thanks with a tip at the time, but been understandably leery of raising expectations or opening the door to future financial hits your childcare budget couldn’t support. For your own benefit, and to make an incredibly lovely token, spare a page in your agenda or organizer to jot down these little moments of nanny brilliance throughout the year. “Ran to the school to bring forgotten report.” “Brought first grader to pro lice remover straight from school to avoid potentially infesting house.” “Came in spur of the moment when we needed her most.” “Went unasked to our youngest child’s first piano recital to support him.” “Spent eight hours alternating between two stomach flu-ridden little ones (resulting in her catching it two days later).” “Worked through the in-laws visit.”
At the end of the year as you look over the list, you might have a different feeling about her bonus. Noting all these in a thank you card or having your children write them out in a “Why We Love You/Why You’re So Great” style piece of art might make her feel almost as appreciated as the bonus itself. Almost.
New Nannies or Partial Year Nannies
If you feel like your relatively new nanny will be with you for the coming year or you have been looking for a way to show a stellar caretaker how pleased you are that she joined your family, by all means feel free to opt for giving a full typical end-of-year bonus. However, this is in no way expected. Simply divide a typical bonus by the length of time your nanny has been with you and round up if you feel it’s appropriate or include a personal gift like flowers or something the kids made with a small gift card to a favored coffee shop, bookstore or iTunes if you feel the amount seems skimpy.
Think Out of the Box
If the end-of-year budget is a little tighter than you’d like and you wish you could do more, consider adding some perks for the coming year and announcing them within a nice handwritten card of thanks. If your business or schedule permits, you might find alternate care for the day of your nanny’s birthday or anniversary of her service and give her a paid day off. If she travels with your family and has proven herself responsible, you might offer to allow her to bring a guest so she has someone to spend her off hours with while away. You can also check into the family’s health club, gym, pool, beach or museum memberships; many allow you to add a nanny for free or at a nominal fee.
Other options could include transportation costs (many of which can net you tax breaks) as a perk for the coming year. In some urban areas, public transportation cards can be freely transferred between individuals, allowing nannies and employers to hand the card off, along with the kids, for free transportation to and from work. If you have come to the conclusion that providing a car for your nanny’s use with the kids will work best for your family, announcing this in conjunction with an end of year bonus can add to feelings of nanny appreciation.
More personal perks could be opting for a Netflix, Hulu or Amazon subscription so that the overall cost of the gift will just be a small monthly amount added to your credit card. You could also purchase a SpaWeek giftcard. These can often be bought at a discount around the holidays ($40 for a $50 card) and can be used for discounted spa services at high end spas in most metropolitan areas. Twice a year, top of the line day spas across the country offer their normally pricey treatments and beauty services for a flat $50 fee to create ”SpaWeek” buzz and open their doors to new clientele. A little pampering throughout the year can go a long way in creating a happy nanny.
Remember, whatever you give, it really is the thought that counts. Consider what your nanny has contributed to your family and make a point to show your appreciation. When do you, your thoughtfulness will be greatly appreciated.← Just Breathe: How Nannies Can Teach Children Patience | How Children Learn From Failure →