Archive for October 2014

How to Make Halloween Fun and Safe

Most kids love Halloween.  They look forward to the costumes but most importantly kids love the candy and the treats!

Trick or Treating is fun and should be remembered as a fun activity for kids.  But, there are a few things we as parents and caregivers need to do to keep our kids safe this year.

1. Use the buddy system.  Kids should not be out by themselves trick or treating.  Getting a group together makes the night more fun for everyone.  Just make sure you have a few parents to watch the group.   Older kids who don’t need parent supervision should also go trick or treating with friends.

2. Check to see if your town has an evening curfew.  Make sure everyone in your party is aware of the curfew and knows it’s important to follow the law.

3. Make sure costumes fit properly.  A loose fighting costume or a too big cape can be a safety hazard.  Make sure costumes and shoes fit so that little kids don’t trip while trick or treating.

4.  Instruct the kids not to eat anything until it has been inspected by an adult.

5. Make sure your group is using a flashlight, glow sticks, or reflective tape on their clothes.  You can also add reflective tape to trick or treat bags.  This make it easier for cars to see you while you are out trick or treating.

 

We hope you have a fun Halloween.  Don’t forgot to send us pictures of your little ghosts and goblins!

Reading Activities for Kids

A lot of the children we spend time with have a stack of their favorite books. Instead of just reading their books, we can enhance the reading experience by planning activities to do that go along with their top picks.

Here are a few ideas:

1.     We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. You can reenact the book with the children by hiding teddy bears around the house. To dramatize the experience, let the kids use binoculars and flashlights to find the different bears. While searching for the bears, encourage conversation and imaginative play by asking the children what sounds they hear and what they see. You can pretend you hear growls and see bear tracks.

 

2.     Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is all about the alphabet. Just reading the book is a great learning activity, but you can make it even more interactive by planning a craft to go with the reading. One activity to do along with the book is simple: all you need is a baking sheet, magnetic letters, and a palm tree (you can create this yourself with construction paper). Tape the palm tree to your baking sheet. Then, with the magnetic letters, you and your kids can mimic the actions in the book.

 

 

3.     The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The Very Hungry Caterpillar gives you lots of opportunities to do color recognition (along with food recognition) and opportunities to practice counting. After you finish reading the book, you can create the very hungry caterpillar with just a few items: play dough, pipe cleaner, and sticky eyes. Look at the picture below to show you how to create the caterpillar. Now you have included sensory play and fine motor skills.

Instant Nanny-Priority Shipping Please!

Special thank you to Stanford Park Nannies for sharing this blog with us!

“You missed the last few episodes of ‘Mad Men’ recently; but don’t worry, click click, within seconds the entire season is in your queue! Your family is hungry… NOW! Click click, and soon…. ding-dong! Meal delivered! Instant solutions at the click of a mouse—great, right?

In this day and age, we are accustomed to having our needs filled in an INSTANT, and often times we will settle for nothing less. I can’t tell you how often we see our busy clients growing more and more anxious about the time it takes to hire a nanny. After all, you can post and ad online and see hundreds of available nannies ready to hire now, so why, oh why, does it take so long to hire YOUR nanny? If you can spare 3 minutes, allow me to explain why, when it comes to hiring a nanny, patience is a virtue.

– Your Nanny Soul Mate

Anyone can check the “search criteria” boxes that define availability, years of experience, and education level, resulting in the message that “350 Nannies Are a Match!” Considering the fact that you are selecting a person who will become an extension of your parenting team, your “matching” criteria should go well beyond the check boxes.

When I meet families, I focus my attention on subtle characteristics and while they may seem insignificant, they are actually the core basis that forms a critical picture of the best match. Consider parenting style and personality attributes alone; is she a loud talker, and you’re a soft talker? Are you a straightforward communicator and she avoids confrontation at all costs? This type of matching takes time, and requires deeper evaluation beyond basic check boxes.

– Digging, Sleuthing, and Checking It Twice

Although our clients understand that we conduct background checks and call references—much like families do on their own—they don’t always understand how in depth that process can be. When you are hopeful about a possible nanny “match,” you may quickly call 1 or 2 references and assume that you have covered all your bases. Since you like the nanny and are eager to close the deal, you hire her quickly and cross your fingers that it will work out. After all, you are a busy parent with diapers to change, groceries to buy, crying children to console, and sibling fights to referee.

By contrast, our research team is on duty 5 days a week, 8 hours a day, with ONE purpose—to VET. They specialize in digging deep into each nanny’s work history, questioning, verifying and relentlessly investigating every detail. This information helps us to completely understand a nanny’s skills, personality attributes, and natural tendencies. Families can almost be blinded by a 5-star review, or an excellent reference, but we are trained to look past that. Is this process tedious and time consuming? Absolutely. Is it worth it? Always.

– Word of WHOSE mouth?

Word of mouth referrals can lead to a successful hire, and can be a big time saver!

When a nanny is referred to you by a friend, you have observed her dedication to your friend’s family and know she is trustworthy, so you open your doors to her without hesitation. What you haven’t done is taken the time to consider YOUR needs and how they may differ from those of your friend.

I recently spoke with a mom who did just this. She was confused and disappointed because she thought by hiring her friend’s nanny she had found a quick and reliable solution. She couldn’t understand why their relationship wasn’t working. During our long conversation, we explored her specific needs as well as her family’s characteristics and style. It became clear that the nanny she hastily hired was indeed a great nanny, but not a great nanny for HER.

So while you sit and dream of the day when you can order an instant nanny and rush the shipping, it is helpful to remember that taking some extra time now could provide your children, family, and nanny with a long lasting and successful relationship. Trust me—leave the click- clicking to Amazon and eBay!”

Fun Fall Crafts

Fall is the perfect time for crafts. The leaves are changing colors, it’s football season, Halloween is approaching, and Thanksgiving is just around the corner. These months present lots of opportunities to do seasonal activities.

Here are a few ideas for fall crafts:

1. Lace up a Leaf, Football, or Apple. Before you go to a job, you can create templates from construction paper of either a leaf, football, or an apple (or anything other shape you think would be fun for your kids). With a hole puncher punch holes around the perimeter of your shape, each one centimeter apart. Then, bring a long string. Your kids will be able to pick their shape and then lace their string through the holes This helps with hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.


2. Hand Paint a Tree.  Bring washable paint, paper plates, and construction paper to your TLC job. Once you find a safe area to paint, pour your different paint colors onto the paper plates. Then, have your kids dip their forearm and hand into one of the paint colors. They will then place their arm onto a piece of construction paper. This is how they will create the tree trunk and branches. To create the leaves, the kids will use their fingerprints to dip in the paint and place along the branches of their tree.

 

3. Do a Leaf Rubbing. As the trees shed their leaves, we can do lots of activities with the leaves on the ground. The next time you are sitting for a family, the kids and you can take a walk outside to collect different shapes and styles of leaves. Once you come back in, you can do an activity by placing the leaves underneath a white piece of paper and coloring over it. The bumps and ridges on the leaves will create different colors. This is a good sensory activity to talk to the kids about the different way things look and feel.

 

 

 

 

What You Need to Know About The Affordable Care Act

What is the Affordable Care Act?The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as the “Affordable Care Act” or “Obamacare,” is a federal law aimed at reducing the overall cost of health care and decreasing the number of uninsured individuals living in the United States.

 

Is my employee required to have health insurance?Yes, your nanny – like all Americans – is subject to penalties if she does not have health insurance coverage. However, you are not responsible for making sure your employee has health insurance.

 

Am I required to offer health insurance to my employee(s)?No, employers are not required to offer health insurance if they employ fewer than 50 workers. However, you are required to provide your nanny at the time of hire, and any future employee with a notice about the Health Insurance Marketplace.

 

What is the Health Insurance Marketplace?The Health Insurance Marketplace is the government-run health insurance exchange – a “one-stop shop” where individuals can compare and purchase health insurance policies. Open enrollment for the Marketplace opens on November 15th for coverage beginning January 1, 2015. Your employee will be able to purchase health insurance through the Marketplace until open enrollment ends on February 15, 2015.

 

How much will health insurance cost?The cost of health insurance will vary depending on the state and the options your employee chooses (deductible, co-pay, etc.). After completing an application, your employee will be able to compare prices and coverage options for different health insurance policies. Depending on her income and family size, she may be eligible for a subsidy if she purchases her insurance policy through the Marketplace. However, she must have documented wages in order to get a discounted policy – meaning she must be paid legally. The Kaiser Family Foundation has a helpful Subsidy Calculator to estimate how much she’ll save.

 

If I contribute to my employee’s health insurance policy, will I be eligible for any tax breaks?If you contribute to your nanny’s health insurance premium, the amount of your contribution is considered “non-taxable compensation” – so neither you nor your employee would have any taxes on that portion of the compensation. In addition to the non-taxable advantage, if you set up a health insurance policy for your employee through SHOP (Small Business Health Options Program) on the Marketplace and pay at least 50% of your employee’s premiums, you may be able to take advantage of the Credit for Small Employer Health Insurance. To take this credit, you’ll attach Form 8941 to your personal income tax return. The credit is up to 50% of the contribution you pay. For more information regarding the requirements for contributing to health insurance, please contact our office as SHOP is a relatively new program and the details may change.Thank you to Breedlove and Associates for this helpful information on the Affordable Care Act.  If you have any questions please contact them directly at 888-273-3356  Monday through Friday from 8am to 6pm CST.

Join the TLC Team for the Autism Awareness Walk

TLC is excited to be a part of this year’s Autism Awareness Walk on Saturday, October 11th.

Please join our TLC for Kids Team as we walk together with families and kids affected by Autism.

We hope to see you on Saturday October 11th! Here is more info on location and schedule of events.

The walk is located in Forest Park and will take place in the morning. Click the link for more info.

Autism Speaks Walk Info

If you are interested in being part of our team, please let us know!  Contact Jessica to register at Jessica@tlcforkids.com

Thanks, TLC