10 Essential Things Your Summer Nanny Needs to Know

need to know

Even though your summer nanny is only watching your child for a few months out of the year, she still needs to be well-informed about your children and your household. Before you leave your nanny in charge, make sure she knows:

1. The details of your child’s allergies and food sensitivities. Specifically outline what your child can and can’t eat and the risks associated with different foods so your summer nanny understands how to best feed your child. Armed with the correct information she can prepare healthy meals and snacks that work with your child’s particular diet. Make sure your nanny understands how to accurately read ingredient labels and menus so she can make safe and healthy food choices even when she’s out of the house. If your child has a severe allergy and requires an EpiPen, give her written permission to use it, show her how to administer it, and let her know it must be within arm’s reach at all times. 

2. Emergency contact information for a trusted adult. Of course, you should always be the first call your nanny makes if there’s an emergency with her, your child, or your home. However there may be times when your nanny can’t reach you or when you’re not able to get home as quickly as needed. Providing your summer caregiver with emergency contact information for a trusted, close-by person like a grandparent or neighbor is an essential part of an emergency plan. You never know when something unexpected will happen and she’ll need a trusted person to step in and help out.

3. What to do in case of a medical emergency. The time to talk about what to do in an emergency is before anything happens. Some situations, like when a broken bone is suspected or your child is having a severe allergic reaction, clearly require immediate medical attention and your nanny should know to call 911 or immediately take your child to the emergency room.

Other situations, such as when your child twists an ankle or gets hives, are more subjective and require clear direction from you. Let your nanny know what you want her to do if your child gets hurt or sick. Do you want her to treat your child based on her own judgment or do you want her to contact you and wait for instructions? If you’re not immediately available, how long should she wait before taking action? Being clear about who the decision maker is in advance is the best way to make sure your child gets the type of treatment you want for her.

4. What to do in case of a pet emergency. Provide your summer nanny with a written medical history of your pet including all medicines he’s taking, any allergies he has, and his microchip details. Also provide full emergency contact information for your vet and the address of the emergency animal clinic nearest your home. During the summertime, pets often escape the house or yard or eat things that make them sick. Giving your nanny the information she needs to act quickly if there’s a pet emergency could save your dog’s or cat’s life.

5. Utility fundamentals. It doesn’t happen often but it does happen: a circuit overloads and trips the breaker, a pipe bursts, there’s a small kitchen fire. Spend a few minutes showing your nanny where the breaker box, water shut-off valve, fire extinguisher, and other key utility features are and she’ll be equipped to handle whatever comes up.

6. How the security system works. Your security system protects your house and your family. Show your nanny how to turn it on and off so she can safely come and go throughout the day. Many companies allow you to create a second set of passcodes for household staff, allowing them to use the alarm without giving them access to your personal information or permanent codes.

7. Your child’s daily schedule. Kids do best when they have a predictable schedule. Although summertime means more relaxed days, it’s still important for your nanny to stick close to your child’s established meal and nap schedule. Write out what time your child generally eats, sleeps, and does other favorite activities to help your nanny stay inside your child’s scheduling comfort zone.

8. General house and yard rules. Every household has a different set of rules. The only way for your summer nanny to follow the rules of your house is to fill her in on what your child can and can’t do. Can your child eat in the play room? Is she welcome to play in the formal living room? Is she allowed to water the flowers outside? There’s no way to cover all of your house rules, but by outlining the important ones your nanny will get a good sense of what you feel is appropriate and can make smart decisions about other issues.

9. What your child is allowed to do independently. If you have older kids, at some point your summer nanny will hear, “But Mom lets me do that by myself!” Sit down with your nanny and outline what you’re comfortable allowing your child to do independently to avoid creating a power struggle between the nanny and your child. This will also show you respect your child’s hard-earned independence. Can he play in the backyard by himself? Is he allowed to ride his bike to his friend’s house a few houses down the block? Can he be on Facebook without an adult checking in on his activities? Letting your nanny know what boundaries to set around your child’s activities will help her find the right balance between freedom and supervision.

10. Any must-do projects, assignments or chores. Sometimes children have academic assignments, school projects, or household chores they have to do during the summer months. Most kids won’t volunteer this information to the nanny so make sure you loop her in on anything your child needs to complete during the day. This will allow her to plan a fun day that allows enough time for your child to finish anything on his to-do list.

Having a summer nanny is a great childcare option for both you and your child. By making sure she has all the information she needs, she’ll be ready to do a great job and handle any emergency that comes up.

Creative Summer Child Care Options

So summer’s almost here and you’re not sure exactly what to do with your children. Many parents simply throw their hands up at the thought of having to coordinate a summer full of care yet again.

To help you sift through some of the more creative (and often better) options, here are some ideas that are available in most cities: 

  • Summer School.  Many schools offer a summer program that includes educational, fun-filled activities to keep students engaged, having fun, and academically-stimulated while you’re away earning the dough. Check with the communications office of your local school district to inquire about any programs in the district.
  • Summer Day Camps/Recreational Programs.  Summer day camps and recreational programs vary in the type, length, and frequency. Whether it’s a Cooking Camp, Nature Explorations Camp, or Mad Scientist Camp, kids usually experience hands-on fun and learning. And don’t forget your local YMCA or Community Center–they typically offer fun, affordable programs to keep your camper well-inspired.  To find a listing of summer camps in your area, go to your favorite search engine and type in “summer camps” along with the name of your city/area.

  • Local Stay-at-Home Mom.  Is there someone you know and trust who’s a stay-at-home Mom who may be interested in earning extra money for the summer? Think about neighbors and friends who might enjoy an opportunity like this one and afford you the peace of mind of knowing your child is safe and happy.
  • In Home Childcare (e.g., licensed in-home childcare).  Many in-home childcare providers have numerous vacancies during the summer due to families taking children on vacation, school teacher Moms being home for the summer, etc.) Enrollment for these providers can typically drop more than half! Call your local Chamber of Commerce to see if there are any caregivers listed. Many churches may also be able to put you in contact with an in-home childcare provider.

  • Hire a Summer Nanny.  Caregivers are often looking for summer work while off from college, teachers off for the summer, or other seasonal reasons. Take advantage of the large pool of summer job seekers to help keep your kids active, engaged, and cared for. Find caregivers seeking summer work by running a search and setting your search criteria for those who have selected “Summer” availability.

Whatever option(s) you pursue, remember to lock in your plans EARLY. Everyone is feeling the same burn, so options can start to become unavailable super fast.

20 Fun, Free Summer Activities To Do With Children

Summer has just begun and parents and caregivers everywhere are already looking for activities to keep the kids occupied and happy without breaking the bank. To get you started, we’ve compiled a list of our 20 favorite FUN, CREATIVE, and FREE activities to do this summer.

  • Have fun bowling this summer with Kids Bowl Free. Children can enjoy 2 free games of bowling everyday. For details and participating centers in your area, visit www.kidsbowlfree.com.
  • Attend a free Build and Grow Clinic at your local Lowe’s Store. Your child will receive a free wooden project, apron, goggles, project themed patch, and a certification of merit. Free clinics are held every Saturday at 10 a.m. Details at www.lowesbuildandgrow.com.
  • Attend a free Kids WorkShop at your local Home Depotstore. Children participate in a free project, and receive a free kid-sized apron, and achievement pin.
  • Target has partnered with Children’s Museums, educators, and arts organizations nationwide to help children and their families engage in arts and cultural eventsVisit their websiteto find free admission to Children’s Museums and free and reduced price events in your area.
  • If you’re a Bank of America cardholder (ATM, Credit or Debit), take advantage of their Museums on US program, offering free general admission to museums, botanical centers, zoos, science centers, and more on the first full weekend of every month. Visit their websitefor participating museums and program details.
  • Visit your local farmer’s market.
  • Earn free books by participating in the Barnes & Noble free Summer Reading Program.
  • Visit your local Barnes & Noble Store for free story time and costume character visits (e.g. Clifford, Winnie the Pooh, Curious George, Peter Rabbit and more). Visit their website to view upcoming events at your nearest Barnes & Noble location.
  • Feed the ducks or go fishing at your local pond.
  • Sign your child up for a free Apple Store iMovie Camp to learn the ins and outs of film making. Details and sign up at their website.
  • Enjoy the playground at your local park
  • Pottery Barn is offering several kids events, including a Father’s Day Lego Duplo Jams, Sing-a-long concerts, and meeting National Geographic Explorers!  Details at their website.
  • Visit your local library. Most libraries have a schedule of summer story times and other fun activities for both older and younger children, and of course, you can check out books, movies, and other media for free.
  • Take advantage of the free trial classes offered in your community for popular activities such as swimming, tumbling/gymnastics, dance, golf, karate, music and art.
  • Get wet in the backyard! Take advantage of your pool (if you have one), water balloons, squirt guns, running through the sprinklers or playing in the kiddie pool.
  • Have a craft day with the kids. You can find lots of free craft ideas and printable worksheets and activities online.
  • Volunteer. Let the kid’s pick out a worthy non-profit cause and make a commitment to donate your time to help others this summer.
  • Go on a nature walk or enjoy a day at the beach or lake.
  • If you’re going to be eating meals on the go, be sure to check your community restaurants and compile a list (or obtain one online) of all the Kids Eat Free days and locations near you.
  • Lastly, make sure to search online for your local free attractions. Most cities will publish a list of free activities and events in your area.


Do you know of other great and FREE summer activities?  Comment and share!


Hiring a Summer Nanny

Don’t look…summer is almost here AGAIN!

If you’re looking into hiring a summer nanny, read on for things to consider during your search.  Make sure you discuss any applicable items with your prospective nannies during the interview process.

Summer Travel?  Will you be traveling and would you need the nanny to accompany you?  If so, confirm their availability to travel.  If not, confirm that they can accomodate a schedule that has breaks.  Also determine how/whether you will compensate them during your absense.

Driving?  Will the nanny need to transport the child(ren) to activities, camps, playdates, etc?

Flexible Schedule?  How flexible does the nanny need to be…will your scheduling needs vary?

Summer Only?  Are you looking for someone ONLY for the summer, or is there the potential to keep them on longer term if things go well?  If so, be sure to pursue people who will be available longer term.

Swimming?  Do they need to be able to swim?

Academics?  Do you want the summer nanny to include any tutoring or academics for your child(ren) during the summer to keep their skills sharp.

Once you’ve selected your new summer nanny, be sure to perform the proper screening steps recommended for a successful hire.  We recommend you perform these steps on anyone you plan to hire to work in your home.

Are there other critical areas you ask about when looking for a summer nanny? Comment and let us know!