Your Holiday Tipping Guide: What to Give Your Childcare Provider

They do so much for you and your child all year long—now is the time to say thank you, with the help of a holiday tip or gift. Here’s what’s appropriate to give.
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Updated December 17, 2018
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The holiday season is a time to show others how much you appreciate them—so when it comes time to dole out presents and holiday tips, don’t forget to include your child’s care provider! Whether you employ a full-time nanny or au pair, use a babysitter on the regular or send your tot to daycare, a tip or gift is a thoughtful way to thank the person who cares for your little loved one when you’re not there. And the more your provider feels appreciated, the happier and more motivated they’ll be in their job.

But what’s appropriate to give a care provider for the holidays? Is it best to give a gift or cold hard cash? Turns out, it’s totally up to you! “Don’t feel like you have to tip your au pair or nanny a lot of money—or at all, if you’re purchasing holiday gifts for them,” say Evie Granville and Sarah Davis, the etiquette experts behind the website Modern Manners for Moms and Dads. “Gifting and tipping can become quite expensive, so don’t feel obligated to do both.”

If you decide to go the tipping route, how much should you give? Or if you opt for a present, what would make a great gift? Read on for everything you need to know, for every type of caregiver.

What to Give Your Nanny

How much to tip your nanny

If you have a nanny who’s working full-time for your family, consider tipping a full week’s pay if you choose to skip a gift. If that seems like a lot, remember how much you look forward to that end-of-year bonus at work! It feels great to be appreciated for a job well done, and let’s face it—life would be way harder without your nanny’s help, right?

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What to gift your nanny

iIf a tip seems too impersonal, we’ve got a few fabulous gift ideas.

Image: Courtesy Spa Week

You need some dedicated “me” time every now and then, right? Chances are, your nanny does too! She works hard every day to keep your kids safe and happy, so treat her to a spa day on her next day off with a Spa & Wellness gift card. It can be used at thousands of spas across the country, and it never expires!

Buy it: Spa & Wellness Gift Card,

Image: Courtesy Madewell

As a mom, you know how important it is to have a fantastic catch-all bag for everything life throws at you on a daily basis. And since your nanny is with your kids all day, she likely understands the importance of a great bag too. We love this roomy leather tote from Madewell that offers tons of storage space and a sleek, trendy look.

Buy it: Madewell Transport Tote, $188,

Image: Courtesy Fitbit

Help your nanny track her steps as she chases your kids around with a fitness tracker. For a high-end tracker that pretty much does it all, we love the Fitbit Charge 3. It has an interactive touch-screen display, tracks tons of activities like walking, biking and swimming (bonus points for it being waterproof!), and it can even track sleep quality.

Buy it: Fitbit Charge 3, $128,

What to Give Your Daycare Providers

What to tip your daycare providers

If your kids go to daycare, you may want to gift their daycare providers something special during the holiday season to let them know you appreciate their hard work throughout the year. In this case, it’s fine to keep things small. A tip or gift in the range of $25 to $50 per provider is appropriate, depending on your family’s budget, the cost of your childcare and the number of caregivers there are, Granville says.

What to gift your daycare providers

We’ve come up with some great gift ideas for daycare providers:

We can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t love to be on the receiving end of these drool-worthy chocolate-covered strawberries from Shari’s Berries. Enough said.

Buy it: Shari’s Berries Dipped Strawberries, $25-40,

Image: Courtesy Paper Source

Help your daycare provider keep her busy life in line with a beautiful journal, like this violet suede option. It’s an excellent way to keep life organized and goals top of mind. Make it extra-special by having it wrapped in a sequin gift bag for a small extra fee.

Buy it: Violet Suede Foldover Journal, $30,

Image: Courtesy Vic Tsing

It’s no secret daycares have their share of funky smells to deal with, so when your child’s teacher heads home, you better believe she wants a sweet-smelling room. Why not gift her an essential oil diffuser? This model, by VicTsing, makes a great choice: It offers three timer options and 14 soothing LED light colors.

Buy it: VicTsing Essential Oil Diffuser, $20,

What to Give Your Babysitter

What to tip your babysitter

If you use a babysitter, they probably don’t spend quite as much time with your kids as a nanny. “If we’re talking about a babysitter you use on a really infrequent basis, holiday tipping isn’t necessary,” Granville says. But if you call on them pretty regularly to watch your kids, or if you use them around the holidays, a small gift may be appropriate as a token of your appreciation.

If you choose to give cash, give the equivalent of one night’s pay (around $30 to $75, depending on regional differences), Malson says.

What to gift your babysitter

If you choose to give your babysitter a gift, consider these options:

Image: Courtesy Skull Candy

These wireless, sound-blocking headphones are all the rage among music-lovers. They’re high-quality, over-ear headphones that deliver superior sound quality and a snug, comfy fit. What’s more, your babysitter can choose from a huge assortment of “skins,” giving give their headphones a customized look.

Buy it: Skullcandy Hesh 3 Headphones, $78,

Image: Courtesy Bauble Bar

These on-trend resin earrings are about to become your babysitter’s new go-to accessory. They’re just the thing to pull together any outfit and make a bold, oh-so-chic statement.

Buy it: Baublebar Shailey Resin Hoop Earrings, $42,

Image: Courtesy Loong Son

This fun little gadget lets you use your smartphone as a movie projector. Your babysitter will love playing movies and YouTube videos with their friends, or even outside to put on a movie under the stars!

Buy it: LoongSon Mini Portable LED Projector, $45,

What to Give Your Au Pair

What to tip your au pair

If you employ an au pair or a live-in nanny, a holiday tip and a few gifts may be in order. “Live-in nannies and au pairs can be extensions of the family, and may be included in some holiday events,” says Elizabeth Malson, president of Amslee Institute, an online school with a curriculum for professional nannies and sitters. “A gift exchange during dinner can also be a nice way to celebrate.”

Consider tipping your au pair a least one week’s pay to make her feel appreciated. Running low on funds? Give her an IOU for several paid days off in the coming year. This is something you can have professionally printed and tucked into an attractive envelope, or stuffed into her Christmas stocking. Another monetary gift for an au pair could be travel tickets, either for a trip home or for a vacation. Au pairs hired from abroad especially appreciate funds for travel and time off to visit a new destination in the US, Granville says.

What to gift your au pair

Looking for some gift ideas for your au pair? Check out these just-right ideas for some inspiration.

Image: Courtesy Anthropologie

There’s nothing like snuggling up under a deliciously soft blanket after a long day at work. And if your au pair is planning to travel home for the holidays, there’s no reason she should have to forgo her comfort—this alpaca wool (read: insanely warm and soft) travel blanket is the perfect winter companion.

Buy it: Anthropologie Alpaca Travel Throw Blanket, $198,

Image: Courtesy J. Crew

Another way to keep your au pair feeling cozy and warm (and deeply appreciated)? With a luxurious robe. This sherpa-lined flannel robe from J. Crew makes an excellent choice, and can be monogrammed with her initials as well. (Want to really up the ante? Toss in a pair of these heavenly sheepskin slippers.)

Buy it: J. Crew Sherpa-Lined Flannel Robe, $128,

Image: Courtesy Amazon

When those run-of-the-mill wants and needs unexpectedly pop up, it’s not just moms who turn to Amazon. An Amazon gift card is one of the best gifts for an au pair—it’ll give her some extra purchasing power to get whatever she desires.

Buy it: Amazon Gift Card, amount varies,

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