Our friends Allen at parttimenanny.org has asked us to share his tips on what extra tasks your nanny can pick up when they head to school.
When your kids head off to school, your nanny will suddenly have a lot of extra free time on her hands – sometimes up to five or six hours each day. Nannies still expect to get paid for these hours, so the question often becomes what responsibilities can she pick up to make up for the downtime? The exact tasks really depend on the needs of your family and the skill set and willingness of your nanny. Here are some ideas to consider.
Family laundry. Most nannies are already responsible for your children’s laundry, so it’s usually a pretty easy stretch for her to begin doing your laundry also. This can save Mom and Dad a lot of time in the evenings or on weekends, when they normally have to find time to get it done.
Grocery shopping. Food shopping is one of the most time intensive chores in a busy household, especially if the food shopping includes stopping at more than one grocery store, the warehouse store, the farmer’s market, the bakery or the deli. With some guidance from you, your nanny can tackle the grocery shopping for your family and take this burden off your shoulders. She can develop weekly menus herself or work off of menus that you create. She can make sure everything needed for meals is stocked and that everyone has their favorite snacks and drinks on hand. This task often goes hand in hand with preparing some of the family meals.
Family meals. This is one of the most popular tasks that families want their nanny to take on. It’s wonderful to be able to walk in after work and have a healthy, tasty meal waiting for you. This means you won’t have to rush home to feed the kids or yourself and that you can simply sit down and enjoy dinner together. Not all nannies are great cooks, but if your nanny is willing to learn, a few simple classes can greatly improve her skills. She can take specific classes that will teach her how to prepare the kinds of food you and your family like, which is always a nice bonus.
Errands. Often parents spend much of their free time running errands. This is an easy task you can hand over to your nanny. Make a list of all the places you stop by on your way home from work or that you run to early Saturday morning before the weekend can really begin. Your list might include the pharmacy, the dry cleaner, the mall, the warehouse store, the farmer’s market or the clothing store. Most of those errands are ones that your nanny can do for you. Imagine how much more free time you’ll have when those things aren’t pressing down on you?
Supervising household projects. Your nanny can also take on the time intensive tasks that come with running a household. This could be waiting for the cable guy to arrive, supervising the installation of a new dishwasher and showing the new interior designer the rooms you’ll be remodeling. Your nanny can look to you for complete directions on these issues or you can ask her to take more initiative in carrying out the projects.
Household organization. It’s already part of your nanny’s job to keep your child’s areas clean and organized. However, she can extend her organizational skills to the rest of the house too. You can ask her to organize the pantry so items are easy to find and it’s more user friendly for the whole family. She can tackle the many closets in your home, sifting through the things that family members have outgrown or don’t need any more, and arrange the rest of the items to make the best use of even the smallest space. These tasks can keep your home running smoothly throughout the year.
Personal shopping. Most parents spend a lot of time shopping for kid’s clothes, school supplies, birthday presents, shower gifts for colleagues and things for the house, along with lots of other items. These are all things that your nanny can take on for you. By keeping a running list of the things you need and your preferences, your nanny can keep you stocked on everything your family needs. She can use internet shopping to make sure you have the opportunity to offer input into the available choices and get approval before making the final purchase.
When your kids go to school, there are many extra tasks your nanny can pick up to fill in her new downtime. Having the security of an available, familiar caregiver that can step in when school is closed, a child is sick or during school breaks often makes it well worth reevaluating a nannies duties and coming up with a revised plan.