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April 28, 2008

National Care Provider Appreciation Day

We all know that May means Mother's Day—but did you know that May is also the month for celebrating our caregivers, with National Care Provider Appreciation Day on Friday, May 9th?

Every year since 1996, on the Friday before Mother's Day, parents across the nation have been taking time out to thank those who care for our most precious loved ones: our kids, parents, and pets. Especially as a working mom, I know that I definitely couldn't accomplish half of what I manage to get done and have a healthy and happy family without the help of babysitters, nannies, day care providers, and family members like Grandma.

Take the time this week to say thank you or buy a gift for the caregivers and service providers in your life. I always like to give my nanny a "paid day off" in the form of a bonus or a gift certificate to show her how much I appreciate the loving care she provides for my Little Guy when I'm at work or away. These tokens always feel like extra-special treats, and are things that most people are reluctant to buy or indulge in for themselves.

Stuck for ideas? Check out these resources:

  • Spas
    My favorite way to find local spas is to purchase a gift card from, which has partnered with thousands of spas, salons, and resorts nationwide. The Spa Week web site allows you to peruse locations in your area and easily see which ones accept  Spa Week gift cards, as well as choose from six different gift cards designs. Your caregiver will love choosing their favorite pick-me-up! Present the gift card along with a cute note, like "Thanks so much for taking such great care of our (kids / parents / pets) this and every year! Enjoy a Day of Beauty on us at the spa of your choice."
  • Restaurants
    Getting out for dinner and drinks at the new trendy nightspots with friends is something your nanny or babysitter probably doesn't get to do very often—especially if they live with you or have kids of their own. Grab a gift certificate for a hot foodie hangout by checking out restaurant reviews at, or the companion web site to the popular restaurant and hotel guide, If you want to offer your caregiver more flexibility for personal taste, make a card from a photo of them with your kid(s) at mealtime at, and then enclose an American Express gift cheque or VISA gift card.
  • Shopping
    The online shopping scene is exploding, and—though both you and your caregiver probably spend most of your days in more kid- and pet-friendly duds—who doesn't love a little retail therapy? Gift certificates to chic department store Nordstrom will delight everyone on your list, and even allow for redeeming online at (where the best sales are!) Or, if you prefer to get your caregiver something a bit more personal, check out the fun and quirky gift center at

Making your caregiver or care provider feel appreciated is an important part of making sure your kids are in good hands—not just on National Provider Appreciation Day, but throughout the year!
For more information and celebration ideas, check out



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Carol D. O'Dell

I didn't know about National Care Provider day, and I'm glad I do. As a daughter (and caregiver) to my mom, I also relied on many others to help us along the way.

These care providers--bathers, house help, respite help, adult day care centers make caregiving possible.

Saying thank you to those who give is a small token for those who impact our lives.
I'll spread the word--May 9th!

~Carol D. O'Dell
Author of Mothering Mother: A Daughter's Humorous and Heartbreaking Memoir (available on or at

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