Kids look forward to having a break from attending school, but for parents and nannies this can sometimes pose a bit of a challenge. Nannies can alleviate the boredom that kids sometimes face during school breaks. Whether the school holiday is a week or two months, the breaks need to be planned for ahead of time. Here are some tips for planning for school breaks so it is fun for both the parents and the kids.
#1: Talk to the parents about details
Before school break starts, discuss with parents any specific skills they want reinforced or developed while the kids are out of school. These might include reading, math, cooking, or something else. You can talk about some ideas you have to incorporate the plans with games and activities, so the kids have fun doing them. Do be sure to integrate physical activity into your plans each day, too. Keeping children's minds and bodies active will help make things better for everyone.
#2: Prepare the kids for potentially new routines
The school year has its own routine with it and when school is not in session, things will likely be adjusted a bit to fit a new routine. Having a daily structured routine is important for children emotionally as it helps children feel secure. Talk to the children about the potential new routine and ask for them to help make it easier by following directions. Many children assume more household responsibilities during school breaks - from making beds to loading or unloading the dishwasher, even laundry, these are important life skills that teach responsibility and foster independence. And obviously the sooner daily chores are done, the sooner everyone can break out and have fun! Just for grins, watch this 8 year old teach college students how to do laundry!
#3: Have a game plan for screen time
From tablets to TVs, many children would spend the entire day on their devices if allowed. The American Academy of Pediatrics has some thoughtful advice on this subject. Among their recommendations for school aged children are setting consistent limits on screen time and having consistent designated screen free times. Also consider the content along with the media time - watching a YouTube cooking show and practicing a new kitchen skill incorporates learning into time spent with devices for example. Do try to have parents and nanny on the same page here - directing the nanny to limit screen time during the week then allowing the children to do as they want on the weekends is a recipe for conflict.
#4: Discuss nanny responsibilities
If you will be working more during school breaks, talk to the family about your housekeeping responsibilities and discuss any adjustments that need to be made if it will take away from your primary responsibility: taking care of the children. This is the ideal time to broach the subject of having the children pitch in with chores - families have a wide range of expectations here so communication is key! If you are going to be asked to take on more duties during this time, be sure that you are compensated properly and have things clearly written out in writing so there is no confusion or frustration down the road.
School breaks can be full of fun and a little preparation ahead of time can go a long way. This will help everyone – kids, nanny, and parents – to adjust more easily and ultimately will make the time go smoother.