How do I ask my nanny family for materials and supplies for activities?

by | Nanny Job, Work

Our community asks and our wise Village Connections answer! Knowledge is power.


I just started a new position as a nanny for two children. I am interested in accessing new materials and resources, such as art supplies, books, and educational toys for the children. This will help me keep the children engaged and learning while they are in my care. Is this typically something the family is responsible for purchasing, or should I be buying the items I need—and if so, should I expect to be reimbursed? Better yet, how should I speak with the family about purchasing what is needed?


This is such a great question. Money for many is a sensitive issue, but this is something that should be communicated with the nanny family as you provide care for their children.

Like so many things when it comes to families and nannies, the key to answering this question is communication. If you are interested in materials for the children, you should absolutely bring up the request with the family. Once you have talked to the parents about what is needed and a rationale why it’s needed, they can choose to green-light the purchase, in which case they would pay for it. Alternatively, the parents can say no, which is an appropriate response that should be respected. While a family may say no, they may elaborate on why they are saying no which can help you and the family figure out an alternative. For example, are they saying no because the item is too expensive? If that’s the case, perhaps there is a less expensive option. Or are they are saying no because the family has a similar item stored away. Or maybe it’s a food item that involves sugar. If the family says no to the purchase and you, in your role as a nanny, are interested in purchasing it, be sure to ask. This could be a gift from you to the family.

Another great idea is to plan your activities weeks in advance and consider items that are needed. If you decide to engage the children in a new art activity or journal writing exercises, create a list of what items are needed, why they are needed, and a price range. Share this with the parents, who then are given advanced notice to purchase the items and time to budget for the expense.

If you find that you are frequently needing to buy materials for the kids in your care, speak with the parents about what this budget looks like. You can speak to them about setting up a monthly fund from which you can draw to purchase the items. Remember, every family is different—some are open to getting a credit card for their nanny to purchase materials, others may want to do the shopping on their own or reimburse the nanny after each purchase.  

The best advice I have is to work out a system that works for everyone and this requires communication. Do not hesitate to bring in ideas that you think would be helpful—parents are busy enough so they will likely value the initiative. And if you are a new nanny hire, be sure to discuss the purchase of materials as you create your nanny contract. This will help guide you in how to navigate these conversations starting on day one.

You Also May Like…

Coaching by Emily Louange

Hey there, I'm Emily

I’m a nurse, holistic work-life wellness coach, wife & mama of two young children.

I would love to support you using my education, certifications, experience & the best resources I’ve found to help you reach your goals & live your best life.