The Benefits of Nanny Care

Our guest blog comes from Sue Downey, Nannypalooza 

Happy National Nanny Recognition Week. It is a week of celebrating in the nanny community. Last year I wrote a blog post about what NNRW means to me. I love celebrating nanny care. It has been a great career for me and the community of nannies means quite a great deal to me.

But NNRW is also a great opportunity for us and I am not sure we are doing enough to capitalize on it. The nanny industry as a whole has changed immensely in the past few years. Big sites like Care.com have increased not only our visibility but also have made having a nanny something that even more families desire. There are more and more nannies across the U.S., and not just in the big East and West coast cities where they have been for decades. It is not uncommon to find families looking for nannies in cities like St. Louis, Cincinnati and Dallas. It is not only for the ultra wealthy families anymore either. Certainly, having a nanny is more expensive than other forms of child care, but more and more upper middle class families see the benefit and decide to make the sacrifice necessary.

Read more benefits of Nanny Care by Sue.

National Nanny Recognition Week Begins Sunday, September 24

National Nanny Recognition Week (NNRW) is a week long event, created in 1998, to bring awareness to the positive impact nannies and caregivers have on the children and families they work with. All too often we hear the negative stories of caregivers, but not enough of the positive. Nannies give their hearts to the children they care for, often sacrificing time away from their own family and friends. Being a nanny isn’t about working for wealthy or celebrity parents – it’s walking in the door and having the child run to you with open arms because they are happy to see you and can’t wait for the next adventure. It’s about the child drawing a picture of their family, with the nanny proudly displayed for all to see.

What began as an effort of few now spans hundreds of professionals the last full week of September each year.  NNRW continues to focus on the positive, quality aspects that nannies bring to their charges and jobs every day; and for parents and agencies to say “Thank You” to their wonderful caregivers. ~ www.nnrw.org 

How can you say Thank You to your nanny?

♥ Say Thank You ♥ Tell your friends good things about her knowing she will hear them back ♥ a surprise day off ♥ Have the children say Thank You ♥ Treat your nanny to breakfast or dinner made by the family ♥ a card and framed photo of the family ♥ Membership fees to a local nanny support group or other Professional Organization ♥ Pay for conference fees to Nannypalooza or INA with paid professional days to attend the event ♥ Pay for dinner out with friends ♥ gift basket of favorite treats ♥ gift certificates to favorite stores ♥ movie tickets ♥ gift certificate for manicure/pedicure or massage ♥ handmade card or gift from the child/children ♥

From the TLC family to all our nannies … Thank You! We appreciate all you do day after day, and are grateful to have you as part of our family of caregivers.

Tips for checking a childcare reference.

This post originally appeared June 2011, but the information is still valuable. Reference checking can be a daunting task, but don’t delay in this important step in finding and hiring your nanny. 

As the Placement Counselor for TLC for Kids in St. Louis, I often take for granted the things I do everyday.  For example, this morning I was talking to a client who was ready to call references on a nanny she was interested in hiring.  She said that she had her questions ready – but just wasn’t sure how to go about it.  She didn’t know how to start the conversation and needed some tips.  It dawned on me that this is definitely a topic that St. Louis parents  are interested in learning a little more about.

When taking a childcare reference on a potential nanny:

  • Introduce yourself and explain why you are calling.  Let the person know you are a parent and the ages of your children.  Explain that you promise to keep confidential all of the responses and that the feedback of their former nanny/babysitter is extremely important to you.
  • When you ask the various childcare related questions, pay attention to the person’s voice inflection and pace of their  answer.  If the person answering the questions is hesitant or seems unsure of any of the answers, this is a definite red flag.  Many people are hesitant to talk negatively and this is when you must push a little and assure the reference that you are considering bringing their former nanny into your home.  You are counting on their honesty!
  • If the reference seems unsure of information or answers to the questions, something isn’t adding up.  This could indicate a false reference, which is something that is of course unacceptable.
    When in doubt, trust your gut instincts and make sure that you are 100% comfortable with the applicant you choose.  References are a great way to get a feel for the integrity and character, not to mention the experience level of a childcare provider.

At TLC for Kids, we love it when a parent gushes and is super excited to talk to us about their former nanny…usually, that means her other references are also stellar and she is a great find!

Good luck and if you have any comments or suggestions please let us know!

Jessica Friedman
TLC for Kids, Inc.

Technology and Kids

Another great guest post from Sue Downey, Nannypalooza

A friend of mine posted this article– I figured it was the standard article about internet safety and warning of some new way kids were in danger using social media. 

I was half right. The article does warn of the new way kids are using instagram to hold beauty pageants. It is alarming and the author made good points. But I stopped short when she said that her kids had to share their passwords until they were 13. What? Then she goes on to say these kids including hers that were on instagram were in 4th and 5th grade.

I had the standard nanny reaction You know- we all love kids and most of us rail against thee kids using tech. In fact I am always boring people about studies that show that TV is so harmful for young children and have been very strict with my former charges who wanted Facebook pages or the like.

Continue reading for what we need to be teaching children about technology. 

Helping Children Prepare for Natural Disasters

With all the coverage of Hurricane Harvey the past two weeks, and now Hurricane Irma headed to Florida, we thought this would be a good reminder that children, especially young children can become anxious and confused about all that is happening around them. natural disaster

We found a few great resources for you to share with your children and families.

Books for Young Children About Hurricanes

Talking to Your Kids About Hurricanes

How to Talk To Your Kids about Natural Disasters

Free PDF download! Disaster Preparedness Book from the American Red Cross featuring Mickey Mouse & Friends

25+ Resources for teaching kids about disasters

 

Our thoughts and prayers to all affected by Harvey and we’re keeping an eye on Irma. Be prepared and be safe!

Nannying For The Child With Special Needs

Our guest post today comes from International Nanny Association

As modern families continue to grow, they have become more prone to hiring professional, experienced nannies to support the day-to-day management of their busy households. As a result, Nanny and Parent FAQnanny roles have become much more complex and integral to the family dynamic than ever before. Nannies are expected to be more deeply involved in the physical and emotional development of the children, along with managing the basic needs of the kids.

Given the high demand, nannies have become more skilled in how to take care of varying types of children in multiple situations. Furthering their knowledge and continuing their education to include specializations and certifications, today’s modern nanny is well-versed in the intricacies of childcare.

Children with Special Needs

Families who have children with special needs often face different challenges than other families, and as they grow together they develop effective ways to best support and nurture their kids. Families with differently abled children often develop a dynamic support system to ensure that all members of the family are well cared for, respected, challenged, and loved.

As a result of generally busy lifestyles, this amazing family support system is not always available to the families in need of support, so this is where exceptionally talented nannies come in and play a gigantic role.

A nanny for a child with special needs is typically more skilled and often has more experience than their peers.  Children with special needs can have varying communication abilities, dietary concerns, or behavioral differences, depending on the specific situation. No two kids are alike, so although personal experience is extremely helpful for nannies wishing to work with differently abled young ones, it is essential to approach each situation with an open mind and desire to identify what is best for that specific family and child.

Continue reading for more information on skills, training and more. 

 

TLC For Kids, Inc. has been St. Louis’ premier nanny and babysitting agency for over 30 years. TLC For Kids’ dedicated staff is ready to assist you in finding nannies, tutors, newborn care specialists, sitters and more.  Reach us at tlc@tlcforkids.com or 314-725-5660

Back to School Favorites

Our guest post today comes from Regarding Nannies

I love to find and use other people’s bright ideas. Lately I have been frequenting more blogs. Secret experts hiding with the “I did this and it was successful” post, for every day of the week. It always feels like a little treasure that I find as I venture through these posts. It can become very time consuming! See, the bloggers are finding each other, so that when you find one great blog, you then have a blogroll (aka list of the blogs those bloggers are reading) of even more blogs. So yeah, I guess I have become the dork that not only writes a blog, put keeps up with bloggers like I have known them all my life. [And you are thinking, did she just say “blog” 8 times?] But, my little obsession will hopefully be your reward today, as My Favorite Things – Back To School Edition comes to you from some of these said bloggers. After all, they are the ones living the examples of creativity, first in real life and then again in pictures and text. So I thank you, bloggers. You not only save me time and money, but give me daily inspiration.

Get all of Regarding Nannies Favorite Things here!

TLC For Kids, Inc. has been St. Louis’ premier nanny and babysitting agency for over 30 years. TLC For Kids’ dedicated staff is ready to assist you in finding nannies, tutors, newborn care specialists, sitters and more.  Reach us at tlc@tlcforkids.com or 314-725-5660

Every Family Needs A Work Agreement With Their Nanny

TLC Family Care has always asked families and nannies to complete a work agreement before the nanny begins. Our friends at Breedlove and Associates share with us why the nanny work agreement or nanny contract is so important.

Hiring a nanny can be both exciting and nerve-wracking, especially for ultra-busy, sleep-deprived families. Often, the obsession with finding the perfect caregiver causes families to overlook important employment details.

The Mistake

A Virginia family began searching for a nanny to care for their new bundle of joy. After an emotionally-draining 6-week quest to find the ideal nanny, they hastily agreed — verbally — on a work schedule and hourly rate. The nanny started work the next day without any kind of written agreement in place.

The Law

In some jurisdictions, a basic employment agreement is legally required. Whether required or not, we highly recommend that families use a placement agency or an attorney who can facilitate a comprehensive contract between family and nanny.

The discipline of drafting detailed job responsibilities, house rules, emergency procedures, work schedule, vacation/sick time procedures, compensation, pay frequency, communication/review procedures, etc. radically reduces problems and misunderstandings. It also tends to lengthen relationships because it makes the employee feel like a valued professional. Finally, it can be an important and cost-effective means of arbitrating any family/nanny issues.

The Mess

Within a few weeks, the honeymoon was over:
The family had trouble hiding frustration with the nanny’s housekeeping habits. She was tidying up the baby’s room and kitchen as well as cleaning toys and baby clothes. But the family had expectations of the nanny doing the family’s laundry and light housekeeping.
The nanny resented not getting paid for Labor Day. She needed the money and had assumed that she’d get paid for major holidays.
When the nanny got her first pay check, she was confused by the tax withholding’s. She thought the agreed-upon amount would be her “take-home” pay.

The Outcome

The family talked to friends and did some online research into the typical duties of nannies. They quickly realized that nanny job descriptions vary wildly and that they had done a poor job of articulating their desires at the beginning of the search process.

Similarly, although the family had done some research on household employer tax and legal obligations, they had not discussed the compensation and benefits offer at the appropriate level of detail for their nanny.

Despite the rocky start, the family really liked the way the nanny took care of the baby so they made a considerable effort to keep her. They created an employment agreement and sat down with her to discuss all the “relationship details” they should have discussed a month earlier.

Unfortunately, the nanny took another job shortly after their meeting. She did not feel valued or respected and opted for a fresh start with another couple.

The family hired their next nanny through one of our agency partners. The agency used a thorough job description process to focus the search on nannies who met the family’s expectations. After a comprehensive vetting process, the agency held the family’s hand through an employment agreement that left no room for misinterpretation or confusion. It’s been almost 18 months and the relationship is going strong.

How the Whole Thing Could Have Been Avoided

When searching for household help, busy families are tempted to take short cuts. Aside from being pressed for time, it can feel somewhat awkward to have a formal contractual agreement with someone with whom there is such a personal relationship.

However, in our experience, the formal work agreement is the single-best predictor of the long-term success of the relationship. Without one, the relationship almost always seems to be rife with misunderstandings and resentment. With one, the relationship enjoys clear direction and increased professionalism.

We encourage families to retain a reputable placement agency that can guide them on employment agreements and other important aspects of due diligence involved with household employment. It dramatically enhances the odds of an endearing and enduring employment relationship.

If you have additional questions about this or any other aspect of household employment tax and labor law, visit them online.

 

Having a nanny doesn’t make you less of a mom!

This article was first published June 2010, but the message still resonates today with moms, and dads everywhere! St. Louis Babysitters

As I flip through the latest editions of newsstand magazines, I often notice articles that feature celebrities boasting that they don’t require the services of a nanny. The articles usually then go on to quote the celebrity stating their intentions to raise their children alone. While this is all well and good, when it’s true, we usually see the same celebrity featured shortly after they’ve publicly denied employing a nanny out and about with a nanny or two in tow (think Jennifer Lopez).

While there are those celebrities (like Gwyneth Paltrow) who praise their nanny and admit that they couldn’t work if they didn’t employ the services of a qualified in-home child care provider, they are sadly the minority. Generally it seems that most high powered women and celebrities simply avoid the child care topic and keep their nanny a deep dark secret. Why is that?

While I don’t have the answer, I do have some theories. First, I think that our society still harshly judges working moms and has certain expectations regarding a mother’s role.  Although more women than ever work outside of the home and more women than ever hold leadership roles in major corporations and  government,  if they have children, there is an underlying current of judgment that says they don’t spend enough quality time with their children. But what is “enough” and why aren’t men subject to that same judgment?

Secondly, women often feel guilty for working and are torn between their work obligations and their family obligations. The result of this tug-of-war is that oftentimes working moms are left feeling like they aren’t adequate at either being a mom or being an employee, which can negatively impact a woman’s self-esteem and overall happiness.

A hundred years ago, many extended families lived in the same neighborhoods (if not the same house), so Grandma or Auntie helped with the children, did much of the cooking, etc. Today, this simply isn’t the case. For most families, Grandma doesn’t live around the corner, and if she does, she may have a life and career of her own, so she isn’t willing or able to help with the children as much as grandmothers of  two or three generations ago did. While the living arrangements of families have changed over the years, the fact that many families need help raising their children hasn’t. The result is that these families are now forced to look outside the family unit for the assistance that they need.

Not so long ago, a high profile client hired a wonderful nanny through my agency. The client, who is a successful business woman, was interviewed on T.V. and when asked about her family and her children she made not one mention of having a nanny. While the woman talked about how the children are on a schedule and eat only healthy meals, she never once mentioned that it was in large part due to the nanny who had planned the schedule, cooked the meals, etc!

Another time I was on vacation, relaxing by a pool, when the woman lying next to me and I began a conversation. She asked me what kind of work I did, and when I told her that I owned a nanny agency she really started telling me off!  She told me how supporting mothers so that they could go to work was undermining our society, etc., because they were supposed to be home with their children full time. I really got quite a lecture.

While INA has worked so hard to educate the public about nanny care, I tell you these stories to remind you that we still have a lot of educating to do.  If a mom wants to continue her career and doesn’t have a mother that can help her, isn’t the most responsible thing to hire the best possible care giver to care for her children? And, wouldn’t it make sense for that mother to work with an agency that is screening these care givers and only presenting to her those candidates that meet her standards and needs? And might this mom be happier pursuing both a career that she loves and raising a family that she loves, with some help from a loving, knowledgeable, experienced nanny that loves her work? The answers are yes, yes and yes!

INA members are the cream of the crop when it comes to quality in-home child care. With nearly 25% of our membership in attendance at our 25th Annual Conference, it’s evident our membership takes continuing education seriously and embraces the mission of INA, which is to educate the public and industry professionals on the importance of in-home quality child care.

As our keynote speaker, Marybeth Phillips, founder of Trustline, said, “We must all do our part.” When it comes to educating the public, the quality of services you provide, the way you represent yourself or your business and the information you share with others about the importance of choosing a quality child care provider speaks volumes. When we all do our part we can help working mothers know that they are not alone and that there are quality agencies and nannies who can partner with them to ensure their success at work and at home. So, please, do your part!

By Susan Tokayer
(past) International Nanny Association Co-President

TLC For Kids, Inc. has been St. Louis’ premier nanny and babysitting agency for over 30 years. TLC For Kids’ dedicated staff is ready to assist you in finding nannies, tutors, newborn care specialists, sitters and more.  Reach us at tlc@tlcforkids.com or 314-725-5660

Recognizing Post-Partum Depression

Our guest post today comes from Newborn Care Solutions

Recently I had a chat with a friend that made me sad and happy all at the same time. She is a friend I have known for years and a fairly new mother—within the last year. She also took one of my classes to learn more about being a Newborn Care Specialist. Our Foundational NCS Training Program is quite comprehensive and covers not just the fun stuff of new babies—it also covers the hard stuff. Even the stuff people still seem reluctant to talk about, including Post-Partum Depression.

The part that made me sad was that my friend shared with me that while she has known about it for years, seen it in clients and knows it is a very real condition, she didn’t recognize the signs in herself until after she took our class. And even then, it took some time for her to realize something more than the usual exhaustion of motherhood was affecting her. She talked to her doctor and was helped to realize she was suffering from Post-Partum Depression. My heart hurt for her as it does for anyone battling any form of depression.

However, I’m not writing about this to give a dissertation on the signs and symptoms—others out there have already done an excellent job. One of my favorite sites for great information in “plain mama English” is this one. Please take some time to look it over and read it; it could help you or someone you love.

Read more at Newborn Care Solutions on how an NCS can help the entire family when presented with PPD. 

To learn more about Newborn Care Solutions Foundational Program visit their website and view all their programs!

TLC For Kids, Inc. has been St. Louis’ premier nanny and babysitting agency for over 30 years. TLC For Kids’ dedicated staff is ready to assist you in finding nannies, tutors, newborn care specialists, sitters and more.  Reach us at tlc@tlcforkids.com or 314-725-5660