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 bringing your childcare provider with you on your next family vacation.

Make expectations clear

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. You should also communicate be what their duties will be—helping at the airport, entertaining the kids in the car, watching them at the pool, etc.

You’ll also want to make it clear with your caregiver what she or he will be expected to participate in, versus what is optional and when you will want time on your own as a family. And if you’re hosting an au pair, it’s important to remember that the 45-hour per week, 10-hour per day limit still applies, and travel time should count as on-duty hours.

Lastly, if you’re planning on hiring temporary care at your destination, do research ahead of time and book early.

Talk about finances

Another topic to discuss is finances—who is expected to pay for what? It’s important to communicate in advance what costs you’ll cover and for what your caregiver will need to foot the bill. In the case of an au pair, you are responsible for “room and board”, or the cost of their accommodations and food.

Make sure your caregiver has fun too

For working parents, a great family vacation is hard-won and much anticipated, so bringing along another person to ease the burden of childcare-related duties makes a lot of sense. But while your hired caregiver is there to make your life easier, they will also like be excited about being in a new place and experiencing different foods, sights and people. Try to encourage them to make the most of their time, too. For au pairs, who become extended family members, the opportunity to be travel with their host family is thrilling!

Leave the guilt at home and enjoy!

Many parents worry that bringing a nanny, au pair or babysitter on vacation is a “cop out”. Or they feel they should be spending every moment of their vacation with the kids. But working moms and dads need to recharge too, and family bonding time is still possible during a vacation with a caregiver if boundaries are set and expectations communicated ahead of time. Plus, an extra set of hands and eyes provides another layer of safety when vacationing in unfamiliar surroundings or near water.

We hope these tips for vacationing with a babysitter, au pair or nanny are helpful. Bon voyage!