Abby is one of the
former nannies who now works at Care.com, adding insight from her past
experience to help our company grow. Currently on our Member Care team, you
might talk to Abby if you call with a question. Here, she reveals her tips to
make long summer days fun -- and easier -- for everyone.
As a former nanny, I know that when summer comes around, it can feel like both a blessing and a burden. Each summer break I’d come home from college and be a summer nanny with a new family, then, after graduation, I spent two years with one family. So I know how summers can feel: hot and long. But summer is also one of the best times of the year. With the sunny weather comes tons of new opportunities with the kids. The idea of learning through activities, and that my job was to make each day a productive adventure propelled me to be proactive about summer planning.
So, whether you are a parent who is home for the summer or a parent with a nanny, here are some great ideas for whoever is caring for your kids this summer.
1. Create a routine. I did this for me -- and for the kids. Just having a sense of what we were going to do every day, and what was coming next was relieving. It could change, but I always had our daily routine and schedule to fall back on. I blocked out specific times for outings, rest/nap time, and meals & snacks. It helped the days move smoothly and (seemingly) quickly!
2. Book a class. Whether it’s every day for a week or every Wednesday for six weeks, having a class or group activity to take one or both children to for a certain amount of time was a nice break in the day. The kids I took care of loved music, so we signed up for a summer music class. This not only gave us a fun thing to do, but it provided a blast of cool air conditioning and friendly faces to see each week.
3. Invest in memberships. The zoo was one of our favorite places to go. I think the admission would have been $25 for all of us, but a membership was $125 for the year. Considering we went about 10 times over the summer, and the family went on the weekends, they definitely got their money worth. Look into farm or museum memberships. They usually also let you bring friends.
4. Set a budget. Creating a weekly budget for either yourself or your nanny to spend on outings and activities will help keep spending in check. If you have a nanny, this will clear up some confusion on what she can and cannot do.
5. Explore. Find new playgrounds, new sprinkler parks, new nature trails. Google local activities near you. Don’t settle for the same-old routines. Going out your comfort zone might just lead to a new favorite activity.
6. Make play dates. Find people or other nannies who are up for doing fun things or going to fun places. This will give you or your nanny a little mental break from toddler-talk, while also giving the kids something to look forward to and social stimulation. Plus, the more creative people you surround yourself with, the more activity ideas you’ll generate.
7. Have a back-up list. Some days it rains. Or, it’s so hot you can’t be outside. Create a list of indoor activities that will still engage (and wear out) the kids, but can be done inside. Balloons, puzzles and blocks were always great for the younger kids. I also tried to incorporate some fun art activities such as "paint your own apron!" to stir things up. Then whenever we had a baking project or messy paint activity, they had their own aprons that they had decorated on their own. Get ideas for kid activities here >>
8. Re-invent the ordinary. We’ve all been on nature hikes. This time, call it a "Bear Hunt" and look for animal tracks. We’ve been to the zoo. Next time create a scavenger hunt of icons they check off if they see. Finding ways to make the same-old-same-old a little more exciting makes the adventure a lot more fun. Get inspired by this list of 101 fun things to do with kids this summer >>
Good luck – and enjoy! And please share any of your favorite summer activities below.