With Summer on the way your charges will soon be free from school and looking for plenty of things to do. If you’re struggling with ideas to keep them busy we’ve got a tip for you – set up a ‘nanny camp’!
Rather than going it alone, why not group together with other local nannies and form a nanny camp to share your ideas and tasks. After all, a burden shared is a burden halved!
How you set up a nanny camp is up to you – for example, each nanny could be allocated a specific day of the week to organize and then everyone meets and enjoys the fun together. Or you could meet once week to plan together or organize a calendar of events. However you go about it, a nanny camp should be for nannies to gather together with their charges to learn, explore and have fun.
With nanny camps becoming increasingly popular with both nannies and families we’ve set out 8 steps to starting a nanny camp below to help you get started:
1. Small is Beautiful
Limit the size – say no more than 10 nannies and their charges. If your first camp is a success, be prepared for others wanting to join in the future. Not everyone will be able to show up to every event, but by keeping numbers low, the group will be more manageable.
2. Decide on a Leader
Depending on the size of the group, organization will only really happen if someone is in charge and overseeing the details. While you might be splitting the planning, someone has to make sure all your bases are covered.
One or two nannies could take on the task of being the leaders. It’s also important that the nannies and kids enjoy one another’s company so get together with nannies that you can get along with, and have the same qualities and beliefs.
3. Plan Early
Nannies should be organized and have a plan before they start the camp. Make sure there is some input from the children too, if they are old enough, as they will like to know they can have some say in what they do. Most importantly, make sure to have fun as well, because if you are not having fun, then that will rub off on the children.
Begin with an email group and a shared Google spreadsheet specifically for nanny camp to organize ideas, make plans and schedule specific days. And don’t forget to have back up plans for rainy days, sick nannies, etc.
4. Write The To Do Lists
Once the activities are planned, share the calendar with the group and distribute sign-up forms with a detailed listing of each event, along with the cost (if any) and location, so nannies can determine if they’ll attend. Be sure to have sign-up deadlines!
As the planning gets underway, also look to the future. You’ll need to get information out early about the activities, so the nannies can present it to the parents and make sure the suggestions are okay.
5. Come Prepared
Since there will be field trips and a lot of kids, keep paperwork organized. Forms to have on hand include:
- Sign-up forms
- Permission slips
- Authorization to seek medical treatment
- Emergency contact information
6. Be Creative
As you become more familiar with the other nannies, expand what you’re doing. Think of fun ideas like a group name, matching T-shirts or camp bags for attendees. This is a great way to encourage camaraderie among the kids and nannies. Also, look to the parents and share information on potential contacts amongst yourselves.
7. Go Low Cost
Activities can start with things around the house. Parents may help out with any supplies you need, but less is more — concentrate on the warm weather and tap into kid’s imagination.
Go out into the community and find free venues. Do potluck picnics at a park, where all the families and nannies contribute food. See if local fire departments, police departments, zoos and children’s theaters have inexpensive activities for kids. Other tips include creating relationships with the vendors and asking for group rates.
And don’t forget that since this is a ‘work-related’ activity, parents should assume the cost of the camp for the nanny and the child/children. It also makes sense to put together a small fund in the very beginning for things like administrative costs and group snacks. Determine the cost to participate in the camp and vary the events so some are free while others have additional costs that are upfront.
8. Have Fun!
Be creative with camp activities, and plan outings you think kids of all ages and interests will enjoy. But know that, no matter what, you won’t please everyone every day. Nanny camps involve lots of compromise.
Treat each outing as an adventure. What can kids learn from it and how can you make it as fun and enjoyable as possible?
Nanny camps are wonderful for both the kids and the nannies, but, don’t get so bogged down in the organization of it that you don’t enjoy it yourself. And while nannies are splitting the workload, it’s truly the kids who reap the benefits: socialization, education, enrichment and — most importantly — a summer full of fun and friends.
Have you ever run a nanny camp over the summer? If so we would love to hear your experiences! Please share them with us using the comments box below.