Gift ideas for teachers, nannies and child care providers
As you think about the people who help you raise great kids please avoid at all cost the "gifts for teacher" aisle with its apple-related knickknacks, apple-themed jewelry and we beg you, put the coffee mug down. They have tons of them. Instead, think about a nice warm thank you note and maybe throw in some cash or a gift card for movies, coffee or groceries.
A teacher once wrote to me to agree with this advice saying, "Every thank you note that I have ever gotten from a parent or student is in a pile in my drawer, and when I need a boost, I do go back and read them again." Talk about the gift that keeps on giving!
Here's some other gift ideas we have gathered over the years that teachers and child care providers tell us are most appreciated:
Say thank you: We can't stress this enough, what they most treasure is a heartfelt note of thanks with specifics on why they make life better for you and your kids. The first one to make her cry wins!
A nice plant: Have your child bring it to her with a note saying, "Thank you for helping me grow." Then add your own note about how she makes your life better by helping you raise great kids.
Wish list items: Ask the teacher or room mom if they need a microwave, a new rug for the reading corner or maybe some thumb drives for the computer. Then the parents can pool their money and buy it as a gift from the class.
Gift cards: Keep them practical. An office supply store, groceries, coffee, movies.
Restock the shelves: New games for the classroom's rainy day stockpile. Or you could restock frequently used supplies like Play-Doh, dry erase markers, paint, pencils, tissues and hand sanitizer.
Homemade: Make a personalized Christmas ornament with the names of the kids written on it. Or a nice framed picture of the teacher or nanny and the kids.
But not TOO homemade: One tip that a veteran child care worker shared with me: If you bring in a plate of cookies gushing about how little Susie helped make them, chances are the image popping in the preschool teacher's head is little Susie sticking her fingers in the batter after picking her nose. Home-made gifts are great, but not for eating.
Money: If you don’t want the other parents rightfully resenting you, make an effort to team up with other parents for any gift over $20. This isn’t an arms race and if you have a great idea, pool the resources. For child care providers and nannies, if you have the budget for it, giving a generous cash bonus or grocery gift cards can make her Christmas easier for her own family. If you are in a large preschool, you could set up a fund everyone could give to that is divided among the child care workers as a cash bonus.
— Sharon Kennedy Wynne
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