The holiday season is upon us! And with the holiday season comes lots of travel. Whether it be a trip to Grandma and Grandpa’s an hour away or an international itinerary, families all across the country are prepping for upcoming trips. As families plan their vacations, it’s important to know how significant a role you will play in their travel itinerary. Though some families utilize travel nannies, oftentimes, families will invite their regular nanny to join, as this maintains consistency for the children while in a different location.
As a nanny, you should be prepared for all-things travel! From the pre-trip planning through arriving back home, you must not only anticipate all the kids’ needs but should also be ready to attend to any unexpected needs that may possibly arise. But fret not! It may seem like a challenging task, but we are here to give you all the pro-tips you need to excel at the task at hand.
Nanny Pro-Tip # 1 When it comes to the travel itinerary, make sure everyone is on the same page
First thing’s first: once you’ve been asked to join in the travels, have a short meeting with the parents to discuss the travel plans. By doing this, you get a picture of the whole trip and can purposefully prepare for the children’s needs ahead of time. Asking the right questions can help you anticipate solutions should problems arise.
Questions to Pose:
- Would you like me to be responsible for packing for the children?
- Would you like me to research child-friendly activities in the destination in addition to any activities you may have planned??
- What kind of schedule best suits your family while you’re traveling so that I can best prepare?
- Are there any specific non-clothing items I should bring based on the itinerary and schedule?
Nanny Pro-Tip # 2 Create a packing plan
Once you know the travel itinerary, you can get to packing. If it’s your first time traveling with a family on a holiday, the idea of packing your nanny kid’s suitcase may be a bit daunting. But we’ve got you covered! Here’s how to go about it:
How to Pack Like a Pro:
- Make a list. Or multiple lists! There’s enough to consider when traveling; creating a list and sticking to it will keep you organized and on track. It’s helpful to list the items according to categories (clothing, non-clothing, toys, toiletries, etc.), but use whatever system works best for you.
- Pack comfortable clothes and focus on layers. Check the weather conditions in your destination, and consider this when packing for your nanny kids. Cute outfits are a plus, especially when on vacation, but practicality and comfort should be the top priorities.
- Limit the number of shoes you pack, but opt for at least two pairs. One pair should be suitable for comfortable walking and daily activities, and another should be suitable for nicer occasions and match an array of outfits.
- Don’t forget the essential non-clothing items. This may include children’s medications, sunscreen, their favorite stuffed toy, a first-aid kit, toiletries, or even travel blankets they can snuggle into.
- Consider packing a small carry-on backpack for the kids to bring. This may contain snacks, their favorite toys, sanitizing wipes, an empty water bottle to fill up at the airport’s water station, and anything else you know your NK may appreciate. This can be a fun way to incorporate your NK into the packing – have them help pick a few of their favorite toys or books to bring along.
Something to consider: don’t overpack! It can feel tempting to throw everything in sight, and the idea of keeping it in a suitcase may feel a bit overwhelming, but always consider the length of the trip and pack only the essentials. This is the best way to ensure that you have what you need and you can find what you need when you need it!
Nanny Pro-Tip # 3 Be creative, and come prepared with fun activities and boredom busters
While traveling can be incredibly exciting for kiddos, travel days can be long and tedious. Keeping your nanny kids entertained while you travel to your destination may mean preparing some fun activities ahead of time that you can do together while waiting to board the plane, during long layovers, while on the flight, or any time for that matter! We recommend exploring ways to keep them busy that require little to no movement so they can have fun while staying in their seats on the plane, or location-specific activities so they can enjoy themselves while in transit.
Fun Activities to Try:
- Engage them in an Airport Scavenger Hunt, using a printed/laminated copy for the kids.
- Play “I spy” to encourage them to explore their surroundings while staying put.
- Take a trip to the dollar store,get some fun little items, and gift wrap each separately to allow the kids to open exciting gifts one at a time. Breaking up the excitement is key, and it gives them something to look forward to!
- Have fun at the play area! Some airports offer a play area for the kids to visit and enjoy during long layovers. Some airports even have museums!!
- For children ages 2-4, prepare activities such as coloring books, play doh, baby dolls, lacing toys, etc. For ages 5-8, come prepared with card games, travel spirographs, or age-appropriate puzzles.
ARRIVING AT THE DESTINATION
Nanny Pro-Tip # 4 Keep things organized
Arriving at your destination is so exciting! But first, there is still one thing that needs to be done in order to ensure that the rest of the trip is a breeze: unpack your nanny kid’s luggage. Unpacking makes everyone feel more at home and allows for better organization throughout the course of your stay. You are responsible for the children’s clothing and other belongings throughout the stay, so it’s important that you keep them as organized as possible.
What We Recommend:
- Have a separate bag for dirty clothes. If the kids will swim at their destination, a wet bag may come in handy!
- Create a designated place for toys and games so the kids know where to find things to keep them entertained. Make a habit of returning them to their designated location after they’re done being used
- Store the belongings close to where they exist in your nanny family’s home. For example, if they keep the toothpaste in the bathroom, make sure that’s where you put it on vacation, too. Easy enough, right?
VACATION MODE: ON
Nanny Pro-Tip # 5 Pack your patience
Though it can be an exciting time, being away from home on a holiday trip may be unsettling for children, as they’re experiencing a lot of newness. They may need to adjust to time changes, to climate changes, to being around extended family members, or to a new routine, and these may cause irregular behaviors. It’s best to come prepared for these possibilities!
Ways to Deal With Unsettling Moments:
- Prepare the kids for the possible changes and new experiences they may encounter at the destination. One way of doing this is to show them pictures of the destination and the people they may encounter (if traveling with/to extended family/friends).
- If visiting friends or family members, have a conversation with the parents prior to traveling about communicating their parenting philosophies to the group. For example, it’s ok for the kids to say no to hugs from relatives. This helps avoid putting pressure on the kids and to not add to any discomfort the kids may be feeling while on vacation.
- Make sure that the kids are comfortable being with members outside of their immediate family. If they are not, acknowledge their feelings, make time to listen to them, and perhaps offer a solution.
Nanny Pro-Tip # 6 Find Ways to Enjoy yourself!!
A holiday trip may keep you busy, but it is also a time to enjoy traveling with your nanny family! Although you are on the clock, this might be a new and invaluable experience for you, too! So don’t forget to take it all in and enjoy yourself. Chat with the family about the time you are off the clock, and don’t forget to have some fun, too!