Being an excellent nanny requires exceptional time management skills. To support your nanny family efficiently, each moment of your workday should be used to make the upcoming moments run smoothly.
Some nannies work with their families to develop a strict schedule to stay on top of everything, while others have a general sense of what needs to be accomplished and follow-through during the time when the kids are at school or at other activities. Be sure to check in with your nanny family before setting out on any of these re-organizational tasks and make sure that you are respecting the family’s boundaries while helping out! Here are a few tried-and-true ideas of how to spend that valuable kid-free time to set the family up for a great evening, and wow them with your thoughtfulness!
1. Organize The Pantry
Directly after school, the kids are likely going to want a snack or some refreshments. Taking the time to organize the pantry and fridge will make snack time, and eventually dinner time, much easier for everyone. Rotate items so the older items are on the front, check dates on perishables and toss anything questionable. Be sure to let the family know what groceries are needed as a result. If it makes sense in your specific situation, create an entire grocery list and offer to do the shopping while the kids are in school.
2. Prepare Meals
Now that the kitchen is more organized, you can set about the meal prep for the evening/next day/week. Prep healthy snacks that are ready-to-eat for the kids, and make the healthier options more physically accessible to them in the pantry and fridge. Some nannies like to create a schedule for meal prep and plan their meals a week at a time. If you are responsible for all of the kids’ meals, it might make sense to batch cook larger amounts of unseasoned items that you could then use differently in multiple recipes throughout the week. Think lentils, meatballs, baked pastas, riced cauliflower (full of fiber, low carb and a delicious replacement for rice or potatoes!), black beans, etc. For more inspiration check out #mealprep on Instagram, and this article.
This time, while the kids are at school, is perfect for these larger projects, and will assist in freeing up your time during dinner prep for more fulfilling quality time with the kids!
3. Clean + Sanitize Toys
We all know that trying to clean the toys when the kids are around is next to impossible. The best time to do this is when you’re kid-free and have a few hours for the toys to sufficiently dry. Some toys can be cleaned in the dishwasher or washing machine, while others can be cleaned with soaks in a sanitizer solution. Here’s a great resource for how to specifically clean every type of toy. Do bear in mind the families habits when it comes to chemicals in the home, and be aware of what items they would not want to be used in this process.
4. Organize Closets
Getting kids out of bed, then dressed and ready for school feels like a miracle anytime it goes well. You can make this entire process much simpler by keeping the closets and clothing organized, and even setting out outfits for the following day. Make sure dirty clothing is washed daily, check the bedsheets, and make laundry a regular part of your kid-free time so that it’s never overwhelming. Keep socks and underwear stored neatly, socks matched together. Create a simple system for placing dirty clothing in an easily accessible hamper, and when the kids are home, show them where the dirties go! The best option for keeping kids clothing looking great is to hang up as many items as you’re able to. Shirts, dresses, and pants may need to be hung carefully to avoid wrinkles and damage. Be sure to use the correct hangers for the job, some clothing requires being folded on the hanger versus being clipped to the hanger, etc. Organize the kids’ shoes, if they’ve got all of their shoes out, but you’re in a location where the seasonally specific shoes will not be used regularly, get those into storage! These details need to be per your nanny family’s expectations, so check in with them for more specifics. Make a habit of showing the kids where things should go, when they get home from school they should know where to put their backpack, lunch sack, shoes, school uniform, etc.
Setting the family up for easy transitions from school to home is an essential, and incredibly meaningful part of your job. When you create a structure for your kid-free time, you’re able to maximize your effectiveness while accomplishing a lot, and spending more of your kid-time focusing on the kids!
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