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December 09, 2013

Do You Tip Sitters And Nannies At The Holidays?

Our global parenting expert Katie Bugbee answers care-related questions for the media so we wanted to share her thoughts on one of the more frequently asked questions at this time of year: what to tip the caregivers in your life.

Blog-holiday-tippingYou tip the postal workers and give gifts to the preschool teachers – but do you need to tip your sitters and nannies too? 

The short answer is yes. And I can break down just how much for each care-person in your life below. But I also want to shed a little light on why it’s important to tip your caregivers. This is your chance to show just how much you appreciate all they’ve done and how much they’ve helped you throughout the year. Whether they’ve tended your kids, cared for your parents, looked after your pets, or cleaned your home, they’ve been constants.  They’ve been reliable, trustworthy and accountable. They’ve created great relationships with the people they’re caring for. If you can look back at the year and say "He/she’s made our lives better/easier/happier" than this person deserves something special at the holidays... and the most universally needed gift is money.

Nannies: I’ll start with a profession that’s different from the rest. Your nanny might be full-time or part-time, but she is more than help. She has become part of the family – and you depend on her insight, creativity, guidance and compassion. She has the day-shift as you work as a team to raise these amazing kids. Because of her importance in your lives, she gets the biggest tip. It’s really a year-end bonus.
Suggested amount: One to two week’s pay. Learn the average nanny bonus for your state.

Babysitters: I don’t suggest tipping every sitter who has ever worked for you. But do you have a regular person who’s always there for you – even at the last minute? Do you have someone who just loves those kids and wants to do more than just put them to bed? That’s who you can give a holiday tip to. A little extra spending money to show your thanks will only make her more eager to help you next year.
Suggested amount: An average night’s pay ($30-$60).

Day Care Teachers: You can buy the whole day care center something nice to share, but the best gift is gift cards. Make sure you cover your child’s primary teacher – and the assistants.
Suggested amounts: $25-50 for head teacher; $10-25 for assistants.

Housekeepers: If you have a regular person or team that helps make your home look like a page in a magazine (you know, for 30 minutes before the kids take it back over), show her your gratitude this season.
Suggested amount: An average week’s pay. However, if your cleaner only comes a few times a year, give her something extra to say thanks ($30-60). You’ll want her to keep making you a priority next year.

Dog Walkers: Same level of appreciation you would have for a sitter or nanny, but he/she cares your dog.
Suggested amount: Range from a day to a week’s pay.

Dog Sitters or Daycares: Again, this goes for someone your pup goes to regularly. If it’s at a drop-off location, you can bring the team a basket of treats. Or, give them each gift cards of $25, or more. A sitter who comes to your house --especially if you use him/her over the holidays – should have a tip added to the final tally.
Suggested amount: An average day’s pay.

Senior Care Aides: If you manage someone who comes to your house -- or your parent’s house -- you’ll want to treat them well at the holidays. Or suggest that your parent does.
Suggested amount: An average week’s pay.

It’s important to note that if you don’t have a good feeling tipping someone -- if you feel like their work was only "okay" and not great – then you shouldn’t tip them. But if you have that feeling, you should really look into making a change in the New Year. You don’t have to live with just "okay." Tipping or giving bonuses might cause a shift in your holiday budgeting – but it should make you feel good to reward these loving, dutiful caregivers in your life. You’re taking care of the people who take care of you all year. And if you really can’t afford to tip, write a hand-written note saying how important this person is to you. It’s likely your caregiver has a sense that money is tight –especially if she sees you every day and can tell you’re not splurging on other things.

And don’t forget, if you’re tipping someone you pay more than $1800 a year, this money should go through a payroll service, so it can get taxed properly. Learn more about payroll services.

What do you think? Will you be tipping this holiday season?


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Jon in SoCal

Just remember to takes taxes out. That two week pay bonus for your nanny is taxable income. If you are holding an annual review, be sure to include that bonus in your compensation discussion as part of his/her compensation "package", as it functionally raises their pay rate. Plus they are eligible for disability and unemployment benefits with your tax reporting.


I am confused as to why nannies would get so much more than a daycare worker. My daughter goes to daycare and we couldn't be happier. She has three main teachers and I have been trying to figure out what amount to give them as a tip/gift. If I gave them $25 that is a slap in the face. You state that from nannies we, "depend on her insight, creativity, guidance and compassion. She has the day-shift as you work as a team to raise these amazing kids. Because of her importance in your lives, she gets the biggest tip. It’s really a year-end bonus." That's how I feel about my daughter's daycare teachers.


Nannies come to your home or are live in. It's one person doing the same job that multiple people share at a daycare. This absolutely means they get more... If you were doing the work of 3 or 4 wouldn't you expect to get the accumulation of those that do the job of one? I would agree that $25 is low but nannies are way more valuable and get paid more. Kinda like a physician, paid more than a nurse, still both very valuable but one is obvioulsy making more coin.


Do I need to tip the daycare at my childs gym as well? They have 3 employees that take care of the children there. Do I tip all 3?


Our part time nanny (regular, but not full time) just started working for us one month ago. So even though I like her, it feels like overdoing it to give her an entire week's pay. Am i thinking about this improperly?


Re: day care teachers. There are many parents there giving gifts to those teachers, unlike the nanny. I wouldn't consider $25 a slap in the face, especially if they'll probably get ten fold that amount, like any other teacher.


I love my sitter, but one week's pay as a tip is really extreme. Many people who work full time can not afford to do that. What happened to "it's the thought that counts". I will give my sitter a gift, but we can not afford to give her an extra week's salary. It doesn't mean I don't appreciate her, but it is really a huge gift.


Hi Samantha. Yes, I think JoAnn and Tim covered it well. There are often a few teachers, and because you go to them (whereas a nanny comes to you), $25-50 for the main teacher and $15 - $20 for the assistants is a nice gift -- especially since I'm assuming they would get this from every parent in the class. However, you should always give what makes you comfortable. And if that means giving more, that's wonderful.


Hi Michelle.
For the sitters at the gym, it would depend on how often you go. If you're going routinely throughout the week, and the sitters really know your kids, a tip would be very nice. However, I'm guessing you pay through the gym and not the sitters directly. In this case, I'd recommend a gift card. Maybe a $10-20 iTunes or Amazon gift card?


Thanks for sharing. Actually, I often call a babysitter at home to take care of my kids while I am out busy shopping or attending a function. This is a very often case so do you think I still need to give tip/gift to her?

Smiles in Philly

I have worked as a full time nanny for 5 different families and I can tell in the Philadelphia suburbs, the minimum you give your nanny is two weeks bonus....CASH.
I have even gotten one months bonus on top my normal salary. Its call respect and contributions.

Happy new year to all of you.
Open your wallet to those who ease your crazy days and nights.

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