June 4, 2014

Taking your childcare provider with you on summer vacation

2 minutes
Advice for host families

Summer vacation is nearly here and with it comes family trips to the beach, to the mountains, to national monuments or theme parks or to visit relatives. But have you ever left a family vacation feeling like… well, you needed a vacation? Many families are opting to take childcare along with them on their family trips.

Here are some tips for considering whether to bring your childcare provider with you on your next family vacation:

What are some of the things parents should keep in mind when planning for childcare on vacation?
If you are bringing along your regular provider, like a nanny or au pair, you should remember that this is a change in routine for everyone. Set boundaries and expectations in terms of work hours and leisure time ahead of time. For example, on a normal week, you may need your au pair during the day but on vacation you might be more likely to give them parts of the day off and want them to be on duty in the evenings.
Make it clear with the caregiver what he or she will be expected to participate in, versus what is optional or when you will want time on your own as a family.
Also be clear about what her duties will be – helping at the airport, entertaining the kids in the car, watching them at the pool, etc.
Provide alternate activities for your au pair or nanny to do during their “off hours,” and allow her time to really be on vacation, but be clear ahead of time if this is something you will be paying for or something you’ll require her to foot the bill for.
If you’re planning on hiring temporary care at your destination, do research ahead of time and book early.

Are there any disadvantages to having childcare on your vacation?
Many parents worry this is a “cop out” or that they should be spending their whole vacation with the kids. But for many working moms and dads, this is the only chance they get for vacation all year, and it needs to serve as a time to recharge for them, too!
Families do want “bonding” time during vacation and may worry that having a nanny, au pair or sitter along for the ride will detract from that. But by setting good boundaries and expectations ahead of time, this can be easily navigated.

Why are families choosing to bring childcare along?
Taking child care along gives parents a chance to enjoy their vacation as well. For example, it gives them the opportunity to go to dinner after the kids go to bed, or read on the beach instead of chasing the kids.
Many families have trusted childcare providers that they want to include on the vacation. Au pairs are like members of the family and their host families want to have them be a part of the family vacation experience