Tipping Etiquette for Your Nanny or Babysitter

You trust them with your children, so what do you get them for the hoidays to show your appreciation?

I'm talking about the perfect gift for your nanny, babysitter or child care professional. While I figured cash was the obvious choice, I wondered how much and did it depend on if their status was full time or part time.  "Etiquette always boils down to either safety or feelings" says Paula Penna, who is an Etiquette Instructor in Manchester. While talking to Paula, she gave me a few key pieces of advice when trying to determine how much is appopriate for your caregiver. "Whatever is affordable, don't over give, it's not authentic and it's not appopriate" she tells me, which I thought was a great point.  You don't want to break the bank and go over your budget, you want your gift to be genuine and thoughtful.  Specifically, Paula suggests twenty percent of what you normally pay your full time nanny a week or ten percent for a part time babysitter.  If your child attends daycare or the facility is part of an association, the "general rule of thumb, ask the providers" Paula says.  She tells me they may have a policy forbidding tips but they may accept gift cards, for example.  Paula, who offers etiquette classes for both adults and children, got her start in music education and music etiquette.  "I was teaching them why you curtsy or clap and parents suggested she start offering general etiquette classes."  So, she took a bunch of courses and has been the Director of Music Makers International Academy for the past seventeen years.  Each year, Paula tells me she caters to the demand out there and now has individual classes for girls and boys and has been hired by educators and businesses as well.  She tells me her two teenage daughters "help design some of the activities to make sure it's relevant and both assist in teaching."  And, for anyone who has a preconceived notion of proper etiquette, the classes she says are "very interactive and not stuffy!" You can check out all the programs offered here on Paula's website.

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