Tipping your childcare providers every time they looked after you kids would soon burn a pretty big hole in your pocket. As such, it's generally considered appropriate to offer some sort of token of your appreciation to the people who care for your children at the beginning of the holiday season.
Au Pair or Live-in Nanny
If you're cash-rich and time-poor enough to require a live-in nanny, The Emily Post Institute recommends you tip your childcare help one week's pay during the holiday season. You should accompany this with a gift from each of your children. It's likely you'll know your nanny quite well if he lives with you, so can choose a gift you know he'll enjoy rather than something dull and boring such as a bottle of wine or a gift certificate. Try to make any gifts personal.
Child daycare workers were paid an annual mean salary of $19,560 in May 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, so the extra few dollars you throw their ways during the holidays could make a big difference to them. Give each member of staff that works with your kids at your day care center a cash gift of somewhere between $25 and $75 along with a little something from your children.
Your regular babysitter should get one evening's pay and small gifts from your kids as a tip when the holiday season kicks off, according to Emily Post. Use your discretion when deciding whether to tip babysitters you use infrequently. If an on/off babysitter has stepped in to help during an emergency and did a great job at some point over the past year, you may decide to show your appreciation with a festive gratuity.
It's not typically considered good form to give your kids' school teachers cash tips. CNN Money advises that a gift certificate up to the value of around $100 is more appropriate. If you know your children's teachers well, buy gift certificates that will allow them to buy something related to one of their interests or hobbies. As with other childcare providers, a small gift from your kids is also a nice gesture.
Michael Roennevig has been a journalist since 2003. He has written on politics, the arts, travel and society for publications such as "The Big Issue" and "Which?" Roennevig holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the Surrey Institute and a postgraduate diploma from the National Council for the Training of Journalists at City College, Brighton.