Your Nanny's Holiday Bonus-To Tip or Not to Tip?

Nanny Holiday Bonus: How much should you give your nanny this season?

Tis the season to be jolly…. and it's time to tip almost everyone in your life. Your doorman, the porter, the hairdresser, and even the mailman....but then there is the nanny. The person who cares for our most treasured gift. The person who hugs them, and loves them. The person who tends to bruises and wipes away tears. We know we need to give her something...but do we tip cash? or a gift? What is really the right thing to do?

Of course each family has a different budget, job requirements, and different relationships with their nanny. But, the gift you give your nanny can reflect that relationship. And so whether it is cash or a personalized item, the gift needs to communicate your appreciation.

In the NYC metro area, the average holiday gift is a cash bonus of 1-2 weeks’ pay along with a small personalized gift from the family or kids. There may be different scenarios or situations that may be impact the amount you give. Here is my advice:

Your nanny has been with you less than one year.

If this is your first holiday season together and you have not had a conversation about the holiday bonus (most families have not) this can be tricky! You have a couple of options: • Give her a week of pay and think of it as an investment into your relationship based on good faith and her hard work so far. Yes, childcare is pricey but what better place is there to invest your money? • Give her a percentage of one weeks’ pay based on the number of months that she has been with your family (six months of employment equals a half of a week's pay as bonus).

You have had your nanny for at least 1 year+ and she's excellent

I would suggest a bonus of 1-2 weeks’ pay (based on what you can afford) and a small personal/homemade gift from the kids. In addition, a heartfelt card from you as a parent telling her how much you appreciate her will be 'icing on the cake’! (Bonus Tip: writing your appreciation out with pen and paper will be good for your relationship and her professional portfolio!)

You have had your nanny for 4+ years and feel like she is a part of the family.

Give the 1-2 week’s pay (or as you can afford to give) and gift her with an event, trip, occasion or outing that she can look forward to and enjoy. Maybe use some frequent flier miles to give her and her husband a weekend away in the sun? Maybe give a paid week off to go visit her grandkids? A trip to Disney? A Broadway show? A cooking class with a friend? A spa day? A gift card to her favorite store?

You have a nanny that you like, but you feel that there are issues that need to be addressed.

Holiday time is never the right time to address serious concerns unless it is simply time to move on. If you feel she is worth keeping around and that with a little teamwork you can fix the problems, then give her the standard bonus. The holiday bonus shouldn't be attached to a performance review. Tell her that you appreciate her role in your child's life and want her to have a happy holiday. BUT, after the holiday, make a date to discuss the job.

As a childcare coach, my goal is to help parents and caregivers build a healthy and quality employment relationship. I advise that if you are already a nanny employer, tip the 1-2 weeks’ standard bonus or the pro-rated amount based on the number of months she has been working for you. If are planning to hire a nanny, or you don't want this to be expected, then let your nanny know that the next holiday season will be more of a personal gift rather than a large cash bonus. Don't wait until the holiday season to discuss job performance, expectations, schedule adjustments, or childcare and household preferences. Set up a separate time to discuss this.

A “thank you” bonus, words of affirmation, and a discussion about how to partner together to keep the kids thriving will be key in creating and keeping a healthy relationship.

Holly Flanders is a Hoboken mom, and owner of Choice Parenting, Childcare Consulting Service. For assistance, questions or to schedule one-on-one coaching or group class, visit: