If you have been to the toy aisles of your local EverythingMart lately, you know how overwhelming shopping for toys can be. There are so many choices! Do you choose based on age? Gender? Television show or movie tie-in? How in the world can you figure out how to best stock your playroom with toys that the kids will actually play with? It is very disheartening to buy a toy that you’re sure your child will love, only to have them play with it for a day and then shove it in the bottom of the toy box. In this article I am going to share some tips for getting the most bang for your buck in the toy aisle!
There are many things to consider before bringing a toy into your playroom – especially if you are concerned with creating an atmosphere that is fun, supports your family’s values, and promotes early learning. The toy industry’s marketing machine is a huge behemoth that will make you feel that if you love your children, you always have to be buying the latest and greatest buzzing, light up, battery-operated monstrosity. Don’t get me wrong- some of those toys can be FUN! There is certainly a time and place for them.
However, there are a few other things to consider when choosing a toy … read more from Nannypalooza.com
As a nanny, the family you work for is like your second family. You want to find the perfect gifts for the parents and children you adore, but they may be a bit difficult to please. This holiday season, take into consideration the family members’ personality types, brainstorm thoughtful gifts, identify undeniably helpful, practical items and employ efficient and skillful shopping methods. With the right approach, you are sure to find gifts that will wow. Here are some tips and methods that will help you find the perfect gifts for your nanny-family:
A gift won’t make an impact unless it is something that relates to the giftee’s personality. You want your gift to reflect the child or parent that you give it to. Have a brainstorming session where you write down each family member’s name and explore the most prominent parts of their personality. Identify traits, hobbies, likes and dislikes so you have a thorough list for each individual. Record your list and brainstormed thoughts on a digital or physical notepad so you can use this as a guide when you shop for gifts. If you struggle to come up with ideas on your own, write down some questions you can ask the children or parents to find out more about them. Make sure you do this in a tactful way, so you don’t come off as too intrusive or give away the fact that you’re searching for the perfect gift.
Separation anxiety does not have a particular “cause.” It is a perfectly normal and important developmental adaptation of a child’s emotional and mental growth. Nothing you have done has “made” your child develop separation anxiety.
Even though separation anxiety has not been caused by any particular action or event, there are caregiver actions that can either heighten or reduce a child’s normal anxiety. There are many things that can help build a child’s trust and confidence in his relationship with you so that he can transfer these feelings to other trusted adults who will help him feel safe away from his home base.
Nearly all children experience some aspect of separation anxiety. For some children the stage begins earlier, even at a few months of age. For some, the effects begin later, and some children have anxiety that lasts for longer spells than others. Some children have very visible, intense or obvious indicators of their feelings, but there are also children who have less apparent reactions. There is no exact pattern or set of symptoms, but almost all children have it to some degree.
The development of separation anxiety demonstrates that your child has formed a healthy, loving attachment to you. It is a beautiful sign that your child associates pleasure, comfort, and security with your presence.
This stage, like so many others in childhood, will pass. In time, your child will learn that she can separate from you, that you will return, and that everything will be okay between those two points in time. Much of this learning is based on trust and experience, which, just as for every human being young or old, takes time to build.
by Elizabeth Pantley, Excerpted with permission by McGraw-Hill Publishing from The No-Cry Separation Anxiety Solution (McGraw-Hill, 2009).
Children need to be taught the proper way how to care for their teeth as soon as their teeth begin to develop – and if you start them on the habit early, they’ll have good dental hygiene as an adult.
You’ll have to carefully brush a baby’s teeth with a soft brush and don’t use any toothpaste until your child is aware that the toothpaste shouldn’t be swallowed. For most children, that awareness is around the age of two.
By this age, under adult supervision, children should be in the habit of brushing their teeth – and if you make it fun, children will want to brush their teeth. By the time a child reaches kindergarten age, he should be able to brush his teeth without adult supervision.
Children should avoid sugary snacks like lollipops that coat the teeth with sugar for long periods of time – and they should also avoid high sugar beverages that can damage the tooth enamel.
Though it’s a fairly common practice, discourage your child from thumb sucking, which can lead to buck teeth and poor tooth alignment. Teach your child to keep his fingers out of his mouth, since this is one of the main ways that kids pick up germs.
If your child is very young, to help him understand and get into the habit of taking care of his teeth, use a colorful chart to teach about good oral hygiene. You can use a blank calendar that has squares for every day of the week and let him put a check mark in the box every time he brushes his teeth.
Kids should learn about flossing as soon as they’re able to hold the floss and should floss every single day. Regular dental visits should be begin as soon as your child starts to have teeth, because regular visits can catch small problems before they become big problems.
Children should brush at least twice a day using fluoride toothpaste. If your child isn’t old enough yet, and you need to brush for him, brush the outside of the teeth first from the back to the front and then switch to the back of the teeth. Make sure you brush the tongue as well.
Your child’s toothbrush should be changed regularly – every twelve weeks – or sooner, if the bristles are damaged. Also, your child’s toothbrush should be changed after every illness because the bristles can house the germs that caused the infection. Don’t store toothbrushes in covered containers, since this provides a breeding ground for germs.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
The nanny placement staff at TLC in St. Louis has been getting a lot of calls lately from nannies looking to transition from a full-time nanny job into household managers. We were excited to come across this article By Kellie Geres, Regarding Nannies Development Team
Today starts a new series on Regarding Nannies. I will be introducing you to the wonderful world of Household Management. I have been a nanny for almost 23 years. With all the families I have worked with, I have held some type of household management responsibilities. With each job the responsibilities became more and more, but I found I like this role I have assumed over the years.
I have been in my current position for over eight years. When I started the kids were 8 and 10 years, they are almost 16 and 18 – soon to be headed off to college! So what does a busy household with two teens, one who now drives, do? The savvy employer approaches the savvy nanny and the two discuss their mutual needs of the job, the expectations, and the changes and come to the conclusion that what this family needs is not a nanny / household manager but a full-charge Household Manager and “Responsible Adult” around when the teens are at home. An agreement is reached, a new contract is worked up and both parties continue doing what they do best …. Screeching halt! After 22 years, I found it VERY difficult to take off the nanny hat. It was very difficult for me to not remind (or nag as Teen 1 and Teen 2 like to call it) the kids to do their homework and stop being on Facebook or a million other little things I would do for them. They are 15 and 17. They can start doing things for themselves, and assume the responsibilities and consequences of their actions.
So after about six months not wearing the nanny hat, I finally settled into my routine of full-charge Household Manager. So what does this mean? How does it differ from what I was doing before? My day is not scheduled around kids’ activities, stopping whatever I was doing at 2:30 to be on ‘kid duty’ and do the after-school runs. My day is now mine to structure for errands, deliveries, repairs, tasks, phone calls, emails, appointments, etc., etc. And I like this! We’ll talk about the addition of a puppy named Riley later on in the series.
Household Management is NOT for everyone. As I said before, I have held some type of HM duties in each position. I think many nannies do. But distinguishing yourself as a Nanny or a Household Manager are two different job descriptions. This has to be a role you want to take on. You have to be organized, be able to multi-task, and have effective communication skills – just to name a few.
Why would you want to take on this role? Many nannies at some point in their career will be faced with parents who are placing child/children in school full-time so don’t find the need to pay a nanny full time rate and offer to cut hours. Many nannies can afford to live on part-time work. By showing parents that by keeping you on and providing these additional services to your job you are actually providing them more time with their family, more flexibility with their schedules, stability in their child care arrangement and consistency in their home. Remind them of summer break, holiday breaks, snow days, sick days and which parent will adjust their schedule to be home with the kids? By doing the homework below, you’ll show them all you can assist with, allowing them more time as a family during the evenings and weekend, when these tasks are typically done.
So where will this series go? I hope to provide the following:
Introducing Household Management to your current position
Keeping job when kids go to school full time
Creating a Household Manual
What should a Household Manager be doing or not doing
Communication and Organization Tips
and much more!
I would love to hear what you want to see in this series or learn more about. Comment below or email me at Kellie@regardingnannies.com with your suggestions.
Lastly, some homework! For the next month track every little thing you do for the family you work with. From emptying the dishwasher, to putting away laundry, to stopping at the store. Who was home sick, who had doctor or dentist appointments. Keep track of it all. You’ll be surprised (or maybe you won’t) at all that you do in a given day or week. Keep this journal for yourself; you don’t have to share with employers. Also, with the journal, invest in a good calendar that you can track all the dates for work related events – appointments, school events, play dates, etc. This too can be just for you. All of this comes into play when laying out your plan of action for incorporating Household Management into your every day job description.
It can be done and it can be very successful. I hope to provide you with the information and tool you need to make it happen.