Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Coaching Motivation

Dorothy Rich, author of Megaskills shares activities that help children gain the sense of discipline it takes to stay motivated, to work against discouragement, and to face competition and challenge. Below are her activities from her book Megaskills to coach motivation and beat boredom.

These activities will help children (and adults) see the world with new eyes.

JUST OUTSIDE (Any Age)
While children are young, start to share and discover the joy and mystery of the world: a walk as it is turning dark, a stroll through light rain. Talk together about what you are sensing and feeling. Use a magnifying glass to look closely at those small objects that fascinate small children. Listen to the wind and the birds. Smell the rain and the burning wood in the fireplace. Observation and use of the senses are crucial to a scientist and to a poet.

SHOPPING CENTER STROLL (Ages 4 to 7)
Most of the time we shop at breakneck speed with kids being dragged along. Try a walk with no other purpose than to show your children some of what goes on backstage at the local stores. Go into the florist's and watch the making of corsages. And go "backstairs" in the supermarket, if permitted. That's where the supplies are kept and where the meat is cut...where the action that makes the market look good takes place.

SITTING AND WATCHING (Ages 4 to 7)
There is a lot to be seen and learned while watching the workers at a construction site, at an airport or train station, or at your own corner. Look, listen, and talk about what you see. How many different jobs do you see being done? Do you see workers using tools? What kinds? Are others reading plans and blueprints? What do they say to each other? How are they dressed? Do they seem to get along? Who is the boos? How can you tell? As children watch others working, they become familiar with what jobs are like and what they might like to do when they grow up.

Some of the happiest moments, and the most motivating ones, are the ones in which parent [caregiver] and child sit together and talk about what they see together as the world goes by.

GETTING AROUND (Ages 8 to 12)
Learning to get around without a car can be a valuable lesson. Gather bus route maps and schedules to a place around town. These are usually available by calling the local transportation company. Let children use the schedules to figure out what transportation is available, how much time it will take, and how much it will cost. Destinations might be a library downtown or a movie theater or a park. Once the most economical and fastest methods are identified, put the youngsters to the test. Let them take the trip, if possible, by themselves, or with the whole family. One of the fastest ways to have youngsters appreciate the service of the family car is to let them take public transportation.

THE FOREIGN TOUCH AROUND TOWN (Any Age)
Visit foreign restaurants and stores in your community. You do not have to buy a fancy meal or an expensive souvenir. Just give children time to browse, have dessert, and perhaps buy a postcard. If you visit a large city like New York or San Francisco, be sure to visit neighborhoods like Chinatown or Little Italy. Even just visiting a Spanish grocery or an old-style delicatessen is educational.

All of these activities have provided a platter of experiences, a smorgasbord to delight and excite the eye and the palate.

Next (tomorrow) is the time to move children from seeing to doing.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Motivating Children for Nannies and Au Pairs

Dorothy Rich, the author of MegaSkills says, "Children are born motivated, not bored. They come out into the world eager, reaching, looking, touching -- and that's what we want them to keep on doing."

She continues, "Just outside our front door is a world of experiences waiting to delight even the child who complains bitterly, 'There's nothing to do around here.'"

Rich explains, "We want children to do things, eager to learn. We want them to do schoolwork and household jobs without a lot of nagging. We wish they would say, 'Yes,' more than they say, 'No.'"

"Sorry to say, there is no medicine that turns an apathetic youngster into one bubbling with enthusiasm," says Rich.

"Parents [and caregivers] can help with activities that generate a child's excitement for learning. But children have to catch this fire and start fueling up on their own," she explains.

In the book Rich writes, "Attitude counts for so much. The youngster with an IQ of 160 might not study or get good marks while the kids who keeps plugging away receives good marks and goes on to do what innately gifts cannot accomplish."

She continues, "How do people become motivated? I think it has a lot to do with catching a feeling or excitement, or some one thing that gets us going, has us saying to ourselves, 'I want to learn more about this' or "I want to be better at this.'"

"Certainly we can't catch "fire" for our kids," says Rich, "But they can catch some of our fire or the fire of those in the vicinity."

All this week we will share activities from the book MegaSkills that help children gain the sense of discipline it takes to stay motivated, to work against discouragement, and to face competition and challenge.

How do you get kids motivated to do their schoolwork or household jobs?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Understanding Babbling

Survey About Language Development in Children for Nannies and Au Pairs

In the book, How to Talk to Your Baby by Dorothy P. Dougherty it reads, "Researchers have concluded that all infants make the identical babbling sounds -- "ba," "ka," "ma," and "pa." It does not matter with which language the infant is surrounded."

The book explains, "Remarkably, even deaf babies who cannot hear any language utter these sounds until six-months of age. Researchers believe that a child's brain is actually programmed for babbling during the first six-months of life. After that, babies begin to concentrate on the language that the people around them are speaking."

We want your input about the topic. The Best Nanny Newsletter monthly poll about language development in children is now available at the top of our blog which can be found by clicking here.

Nannies and au pairs are invited to take the poll. The survey can be taken by clicking here.

The results will appear in the November 2009 issue of Be the Best Nanny Newsletter.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Weekly Trip to the Library for Nannies and Au Pairs

Book Review of Touchpoints by T. Berry Brazelton, M.D.

The past two days we quoted T. Berry Brazelton, M.D. in two articles that show his empathy for mothers and deep respect for in-home childcare providers. See his list of best characteristics a great caregiver should have by clicking here. His book, Touchpoints, is easy to understand and the author’s approach to childcare is very gentle.

Based on over three decades of continuous practice and internationally recognized research, his book, Touchpoints is the only childcare reference by a pediatrician who has both medical and psychoanalytic training, and who offers parents a complete understanding of child development from a physical, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral point of view. No other childcare guide offers supportive, empathetic insights into the parents' own emotions, and no other guide includes both chronological chapters and alphabetical topics on all issues faced by families from conception through age six.

"Touchpoints" are the universal spurts of development and the trying periods of regression that accompany them throughout childhood. Dr. Brazelton uses them as windows to help caregivers understand children’s behavior.

Part one of the book discusses the "Touchpoints of Development." This section covers the chronological account of the basic stages of early childhood. Every chapter covers: feeding; crying; temperament; social learning; stranger awareness; discipline; sleeping; learning; emotions; independence; self image; sexuality; communication; motor skills; attachment; play; self-esteem; and toilet-training.

Part two covers the "Challenges to Development." The challenges of development section is a complete alphabetical reference. Each entry shows how to understand, defuse, and prevent potential problems such as: allergies; bed wetting; crying; depression; discipline; divorce; fears; feeding problems; headaches; hearing problems; hospitalization; hyperactivity; hypersensitivity; imaginary friends; loss and grief; lying and stealing; manipulation; nightmares; school readiness; self-esteem; separation; sibling rivalry; sleep problems; speech problems; stomachaches; television; and toilet training.

Part three discusses “Allies in Development." This section explains the important role of each person in a child's life: fathers; mothers; friends; caregivers; grandparents; and doctors.

Touchpoints is an essential reference is a great resource for parents and all at-home caregivers.

If you have a great book you would like to share with other nannies or au pairs please email Stephanie@bestnannynewsletter.com with your book review. Stop by next Saturday for another Weekly Trip to the Library for nannies and au pairs.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Parents that Have Separation Anxiety

What Parents Need to Know to Feel Comfortable with a Caregiver

In the book Touchpoints the Essential Reference, T. Berry Brazelton, M. D, explains, "We are all aware of how critical a nurturing environment can be to a small child, and that separation from a parent is traumatic in itself."

But what about when the parent has separation anxiety for leaving their child in the care of someone else so the can work? Worrying about leaving a child in someone else's care is normal for parents. Finding the perfect caregiver can alleviate a parent's separation anxiety.

How do parents who must share a small child protect themselves and the child they must share? When is it best done? Can the separation be softened? Can a small child adjust to more than one caregiver and not give up the primary attachment to his parents?

The author explains, "Caring parents will grieve about sharing their baby with another person."

He continues, "The competitive feeling for the child is a normal, inevitable part of caring deeply." Although the feelings may not be conscious, deep-down parents question, "Will he remember me? When will I lose part of his love -- especially if the other person is good with him?"

To reduce anxiety parents should hire quality caregivers. Brazelton tells parents, "If you can afford it for the child in the first year, at-home childcare might be optimal."

He continues, "Your child will be in familiar surroundings. The separation from you and the accompanying bustle in the morning and evening can be somewhat less abrupt and hectic."

"This demands that you find a special person, indeed. She must offer your baby an environment you would be proud of. The person must respect you and your household. She must have enough training and experience to understand babies, must be patient and respectful, and above all, adjustable," explains Brazelton.

What parents need to look for in a caregiver, Dr. Brazelton says is, "consistency of caregiving behavior, the emotional investment from the caregiver, and the ability of each caregiver to respect the individuality of the baby."

Brazelton continues, "She should be ready to respond to and prevent emergencies. She shouldn't be passive, depressed, or in too much of a hurry."

He suggests, "She should be full of ideas about what she can do with the baby all day and be ready to share them with you."

Dr. Brazelton says, "The qualities of warmth and empathy become the most critical things in any supplementary caregiver."

He suggests parents should ask themselves, "Does she [the caregiver] respect each baby in her care? I she sensitive to each child's varying needs for food, a diaper change, sleep, and playful interactions?"

"Watch her when she holds the baby to see if she observes and adjusts her rhythms to the baby's," says Dr. Brazelton.

Hiring a quality in-home caregiver can help parents reduce their separation anxiety when leaning their children in the care of another.

What do you do as a caregiver to ease the parent's separation anxiety?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Jealous Parent

The Nanny or Au Pair and Parent Relationship

The relationship between a parent and nanny (or au pair) is just as important as the relationship between the caregiver and the child. Although caring for children is a nanny's top priority, if the caregiver cannot communicate effectively with the parents, or help raise the children as the parents wish, the nanny won't have a job.

One of the most complicated aspect of the nanny and parent relationship is jealousy.

In the book Touchpoints the Essential Reference, T. Berry Brazelton, M. D. discusses the common jealousy parents feel when they go to work leaving their child in the care of another person.

The author says, "Of course, parents will feel jealous. They will mourn the loss. This mourning is accompanied by three defenses: denial, projections of their feelings onto others, and detachment from the baby's care. These defenses can interfere with the parents' relationship to the other caregivers, as well as to the baby."

"If they are understood as normal defenses -- necessary for protecting vulnerability -- parents can have some perspective and avoid becoming hostile with the very person upon whom they will depend," explains Brazelton.

He suggests to parents, "If you find a warm, caring person, you need to be aware of your competitive feelings and to talk them out from time to time."

To keep jealousy from ruining the parent and nanny (or au pair) relationship the author suggests parents, "Give her your backing. If she does things slightly differently from you, don't worry. A child can adjust to several different styles and can learn to be flexible in the process. If you respect her ways of caregiving, the child will too, as she gets older."

"I'd want to know whether the caregiver can also respect and nurture you as involved parents," says Brazelton.

"Can she allow you time to tell her why your baby has been like at home the evening before? Will she sit down to tell you about your baby's day when you come home? This is hard to tell ahead of time. But if a caregiver seems judgmental about your leaving your baby all day, I would look for a person who can understand your anguish and can accept your reasons for going back to work," writes the author.

Brazelton describes, "The sort of person you want would say, 'you know, I think he's about to start to walk,' instead of, 'He just walked for me today."

"A person who can remain nurturing is likely to be one who is well trained in child development and who is not overloaded by too many other responsibilities and too many children to care for.He states,"To expect this of her, she needs to be adequately paid. Quality childcare is not cheap, more should it be."

He concludes, "Early experiences shape your child's future. Giving him the best care and environment becomes an investment."

Parental jealousy is a natural feeling when sharing the care of a child. Both nannies and parents should remember this rather than becoming resentful or hostile towards one another.

How do you ease a jealous parent at your nanny or au pair job?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Nannies, What's Your Advice for Weaning Children Off the Pacifier?

Pat Cascio, Owner of Morningside Nannies in Houston, Texas and The Association of Premier Nanny Agencies 2008 Agency of the Year award winner emailed Be the Best Nanny Newsletter stating, "I would love to hear what professional nannies have to say about giving up the pacifier by age two."

Well known pediatrician and author of 30 books, Dr. Bill Sears, discusses the use of pacifiers and how to wean tots from using pacifiers in his article, "Bye Bye Binky," on the Dr. Sears web site.

The pediatrician says, "Babies have an intense need to suck, and some have more intense needs than others. Babies even suck their thumbs in the womb. Next to holding and feeding, sucking is the most time-tested comforter."

In the book Touchpoints The Essential Reference, T. Berry Brazelton agrees. Dr. Brazelton writes, "thumb sucking is a healthy self-comforting pattern."

Dr. Sears says, "Pacifiers are just that –- "peacemakers" –- which children return to as an attachment object. Some infants and young children have an intense need to suck for comfort, which lasts well into their preschool years. Seeing a plug in a three-year-old's mouth actually bothers adults more than children. This does not imply a psychological problem or a need unfulfilled by parents. On the contrary, the ability to use objects to self-comfort is a sign of psychological health."

He continues, "The only problem with pacifiers at three-years of age is the likelihood of exerting pressure on the upper front teeth, resulting in an overbite."

But, Dr. Brazleton also explains, "Very few people go to college sucking their thumbs or pacifiers. The children who keep on as late as kindergarten or the early grades are those in whom the habit was been reinforced by parents who interfered with it. If you want to set a stubborn pattern in a child, just try to interrupt it at a time when he needs solace."

If you are having trouble weaning a child off of a pacifier Dr. Sears recommends the following tips:

1. Use the distract and substitute technique. As soon as she reaches for her comforter, distract her ("Let's play…") and substitute an alternative activity.

2. The trade technique. Here's a binky-breaking trick I have oftentimes advised in my pediatric practice. Take [the]child to the toystore and let her pick out a toy to "trade" for the pacifier. Experienced toystore clerks are used to this trading game. By making the pacifier less convenient to use, distracting her, and substituting a treasured toy, you should be able to close the pacifier chapter of normal childhood.

3. Lose it. Make his plug less convenient to find. When he starts to look for it, engage him in such a fun activity that he forgets his rubber friend. Then, arrange for the pacifier to be permanently "lost," meanwhile substituting other touches of comfort, such as lots of snuggling, and a few cuddly toys.

References:
T. Berry Brazelton
Bill Sears

What successful tips can you share about weaning a child off the pacifier? What has worked for you?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Bill would require background checks on people who work inside other's homes

Article from macon.com
By Amy Leigh Womack

This summer we discussed that some nanny web sites have misleading advertisements claiming they have pre-screened nannies on their sites. Click here to see the beginning of the series about misleading advertising.

The discussion lead us to share how parents must complete background checks on in-home childcare providers. Click here to see how to properly conduct a background check.

Today, Kathy Webb of HomeWork Solutions brought the following bill to our attention that would require background checks on all people who work inside other's homes found on macon.com. Click here to read the article.

As a nanny or an au pair you think all household employees should be required to have a background check?

Monday, September 21, 2009

HEALTH INSURANCE FOR NANNIES -- AN UPDATE

What Should a Nanny Interested in Obtaining Health Insurance Do?
By Richard A. Eisenberg, CLUY, ChFC, CLTC of Eisenberg Associates

Health insurance options for nannies as they exist right now.

Everyone interested in health insurance has been following the national debate on health reform. Nannies have a special interest in the outcome, since almost all nannies that obtain health insurance purchase it as individual policies.

Regardless of the outcome on national health reform, it will be many years before those possible reforms take place. We need to review options for nannies as they exist right now. There are several states that have moved to guarantee issue. Those states are Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Maine, and Vermont. Connecticut has just passed new legislation.

What this means is that individuals can obtain health insurance without answering medical questions. There still could be restrictions on pre-existing conditions. However, eventually all pre-existing conditions are covered. In Massachusetts, pre-existing conditions are covered right away.

In the rest of the country, there is a choice between short term and permanent coverage. Short term never covers pre-existing conditions or routine checkups, but can be very inexpensive. Permanent plans need to be applied for and there can be exclusions or extra costs. Once obtained, any new conditions are covered. The cost is usually higher than short term plans.

So what should a nanny that is intersted in obtaining health insurance do? Since most nannies work in a place other than their permanent home, they should deal with a national insurance agency that understands the rules in all states. They need to understand all their options including what the employer is willing to do. It has become much more common for families to pay part or all of the cost of insurance for nannies. There might even be some tax advantages.

Richard Eisenberg is the principal of Eisenberg Associates and has been working with nannies since 1975. He and his staff can work with nannies across the country. He can be reached at (800) 777-5769 or nanny@eisenbergassociates.com.


If you work as a nanny do you have health insurance?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

National Nanny Recognition Week

September 20 - 26, 2009

National Nanny Recognition Week (NNRW) was started in 1998 by a group of nanny industry professionals to promote and honor professional nannies. In 1999, the National Association of Nannies took the lead with NNRW, and held it the last week in September. In 2007, the Association of Professional Nannies took over the reigns of NNRW and continues to hold it the last week in September, celebrating and honoring nannies across the country and the world.

The National Nanny Recognition Week blog recommends the following ideas for parents to show their nannies how much they appreciate them during National Nanny Recognition Week.

1. Say, "Thank you" to your nanny.
2. Tell your friends good things about her knowing she will hear them back.
3. A surprise day off.
4. Have the children say, "Thank you."
5. Treat your nanny to breakfast or dinner made by the family.
6. Present your nanny with a card and framed photo of the family.
7. Membership fees to a local nanny support group or other professional nanny organization.
8. Pay for conference fees to Nannypalooza or International Nanny Association with paid professional days to attend the event.
9. Tuition for college courses.
10. Pay for CPR training.
11. Pay for dinner out with friends.
12. Give your nanny a raise.
13. Start an IRA.
14. A gift basket of favorite treats.
15. Gift certificates to favorite stores.
16. Movie tickets.
17. A gift certificate for manicure, pedicure, or massage.
18. A gym membership.
19. A handmade card or gift from the child/children.
20. Frequent flier miles to travel home.

Click here to view National Nanny Recognition Week video.

How have the parents shown that they appreciate you for National Nanny Recognition Week?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

MegaSkills for Babies, Toddlers, and Beyond

Weekly Trip to the Library for Nannies and Au Pairs

Book Review of MegaSkills for Babies, Toddlers, and Beyond
By Dorothy Rich and Beverly Mattox

MegaSkills are the attitudes, the behaviors, the habits that determine achievement in school and beyond. The work of the MegaSkills is to build success for children, parents, and teachers (nannies and au pairs) through books, trainings, conference presentations, and partnerships with schools and communities nationally and internationally.

I love using this book as a nanny. It provides simple activities to do with children to help them develop confidence, motivation, effort, responsibility, initiative, perseverance, caring, teamwork, common sense, problem solving, focus, and respect.

It is specially designed for school-aged children, this cornerstone guide provides you with hands-on techniques and kid-friendly activities to teach children the MegaSkills that are essential to success in school and life.

Along with the specific activities, this guide contains academic objectives for each MegaSkill, tips for getting the best from technology, MegaSkills report cards for parents and children, research notes, and a wealth of additional resources.

Dorothy Rich, Ed.D, is an acclaimed educator and expert in how families can help children succeed in school and in life. Dr. Rich is the author of MegaSkills, now in its fifth edition, which has been used by more than four thousand schools and thousands of families across the United States and abroad. She is founder and president of the nonprofit Home and School Institute, based in Washington, D.C.

I recommend parents (and caregivers that work in the home) to take the following test by Dorothy Rich to measure how they are helping the children’s achievement. Click here to take the test.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Nannies and Au Pairs Should Help Children Create a Homework Schedule

Having a regular routine and schedule each school day helps children achieve well in school.

Last week we started discussing how vital it is for nannies and au pairs to help childen with homework.

Having a regular routine and schedule each school day helps children achieve well in school. The Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory (NWREL), an education and tutoring center, explains that established routines set expectations, helps create a focused atmosphere, and models time organization.

The daily school routine should begin the evening before children go to school. In the evening caregivers and children should gather all school supplies and completed homework needed for the next day. Backpacks should be packed, school lunches and snacks should be made and stored in the refrigerator, and clothing should be picked out for the next day of school. Having these tasks completed before going to bed helps the children get ready for school in the morning.

In the morning nannies should provide children with a healthy breakfast. Once dressed and fed caregivers and students should check one last time to ensure that children have their lunches and snacks in their backpacks and that they have all schoolwork and materials needed for that day in school.

After school nannies need to help children develop a daily routine as well. The NWREL recommends that homework helpers start the homework routine by taking a few minutes to talk about the children's day or chat over a snack. They explain, "This is an important part of getting homework done. Remember, children have been in school for six or more hours before sitting down to do homework. A moment to decompress, collect thoughts, and relax the body and mind will result in a more successful study time."

But, the NWREL advises caregivers that it is best to have children complete their homework before going to other activities or having playdates. Although, extra curricular activities may require children to complete homework after activities or dinner.

Julie, a nanny from Seattle, advises nannies to let children have a healthy snack after school and a little exercise, then do homework. Julie believes that it is "best to have as much homework done before dinner when possible. Never have kids go to sleep before homework is completed."

The U.S. Department of Education (U.S.D.E.) explains that what works well in one household may not work in another. The U.S.D.E. explains that a good schedule depends in part on the children's ages as well as their specific needs. For instance, one child may do homework best in the afternoon, completing homework first or after an hour of play and another may do it best after dinner.

The U.S.D.E. also recommends that caregivers should help elementary school children develop a schedule. Older students can probably make up a schedule independently, although homework helpers should make sure that it's a workable one.

It may be helpful to write out the schedule and put it in a place where everyone can see it often, such as on the refrigerator door. See our Homework Contract posted on Tuesday September 8, 2009.

What are your tips to help children with homework?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Nanny Nation

Two Final Notes on Healthcare Reform
By Polly Sci

Whenever I google the term “Nanny” I find more links to political blogs, than to blogs written for in-home childcare providers.

Some opponents of healthcare changes express disdain for all government intervention in an individuals life by describing proposed changes in healthcare as the spread of a "nanny nation."

The United States should be so fortunate to have leaders of government and business exhibit the degree of care and concern that nannies do for their charges. If the leaders did behave like nannies, the nation would be more patient, more ethical, more tolerant, and more polite than it is now.

Opponents and proponents of healthcare changes make widely different claims about the needs and benefits of various proposals. I urge you to assess those claims by searching non-partisan fact-checking sites for objective appraisals of facts versus myths.
If you work as a nanny please take our survey about health insurance so your input can be included in our October 2009 issue of Be the Best Nanny Newsletter, by clicking here.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Nannies and Healthcare Reform Part IV

The Elderly and Death Panels
By Polly Sci

We have been discussing healthcare reform. Changes in Medicare could alter how seniors use healthcare services, at least as outlined in House versions of the bill.

Current proposals attempt to promote preventive services and medical screenings by eliminating co-payments for those services. The purpose of this approach is to lower program costs and improve wellness by catching and treating chronic illnesses before they evolve into serious disease.

The House bills also try to control cost increases by increasing payments to providers of primary care services while decreasing payments for certain specialists.

A committee will also be formed that scrutinizes the scientific evidence of the efficacy of various treatment protocol. These types of science review committees are formed by every insurer constantly and continuously. The object is to provide the best care available and to discourage unproven and ineffective treatments. We can find no proposal to force any change in the doctor-patient relationship. The choice of treatment will still be left to the best judgment of the doctor and the patient.

If there is "rationing" of any sort we envision that it will be in the selection of healthcare providers. We expect that there will be a shortage of primary care physicians. We think that shortage will lead to levels of medical providers who are trained to diagnose, treat, and prescribe for minor and common health issues. No proposal exists that promotes this approach. This is merely a change that we anticipate will be implemented out of necessity.

Somehow, a clear, simple, and prudent proposal to allow patients to confer with their doctor about end-of-life planning once every five-years has morphed into "death panels" and "pulling the plug on grandma."

We find no evidence of any such intent in any proposal. In fact, it is prudent for every family to memorialize end-of-life decisions. The purpose of such declarations are to be certain that the wishes of the patient are followed and that those decisions are known and legally enforceable and not arbitrary. The reality is that a for-profit corporate hospital is content to care for a vegetative state patient as long as Medicare pays for the care, regardless of the chance for recovery or the quality of life.
The elderly should be alert to healthcare changes but we see no reason for them to be apprehensive.

As we end our current discussion of healthcare changes, we urge you to consider whether healthcare should be a right available to all citizens or whether healthcare is a privilege available only to those who can afford it.
If you work as a nanny please take our survey about health insurance so your input can be included in our October 2009 issue of Be the Best Nanny Newsletter, by clicking here.
Please note the opinions of the author may not match the opinion of Be the Best Nanny Newsletter. The article is published to encourage a mature and respectful debate.
What are your concerns about healthcare reform?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Healthcare Reform and Nannies Part III

Will Illegal Immigrants and Young Adults Have Coverage?
By Polly Psi

During the 2008 Presidential campaign the daughter of a Vice Presidential candidate became an unwed mother. As an unwed teen mother, she was covered by her parents' health insurance.

The unwed teen father was probably covered by his parents' health insurance.

But, the teen’s baby was not likely covered by her grandparents' insurance. The baby would need to be covered by insurance purchased by the teen mother.

Under proposed healthcare changes, the baby, mother, and father, whether living as a family unit or not, could purchase or be subsidized to purchase "public option" insurance.

But, what if the baby's father was an illegal immigrant? If the baby was born in the United States he would be a United States citizen regardless of the status of the parents as citizens. And that baby would get entitled to all the benefits of a citizen.

Even though all proposals for healthcare changes prohibit insurance for illegal immigrants, there are circumstances where they would get care even if they lack insurance or credit worthiness. For example, if the father were an illegal immigrant and became seriously ill and went to a hospital emergency room, the hospital would be legally obligated to provide treatment regardless of his citizenship or ability to pay.

Currently, American children are covered by their parent’s health insurance policies possibly until they are 20-years-old to a maximum of 25-years-old. Current proposals could increase the age of coverage to 35-years-old.

Stop by tomorrow for a discussion about the elderly and "death panels."


If you work as a nanny please take our survey about health insurance so your input can be included in our October 2009 issue of Be the Best Nanny Newsletter, by clicking here.


Please note the opinions of the author may not match the opinion of Be the Best Nanny Newsletter. The article is published to encourage a mature and respectful debate.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Healthcare Reform for Nannies Part II

What About Death Panels? What About the Disabled?
By PollyPsi

Today we will continue our discussion of proposed healthcare changes that we started last week (click here to see article last week) by focusing on how a revised system might impact a typical family.

Recently, a well known former United States Vice Presidential candidate stated that in a “public option” healthcare system her Down Syndrome baby boy would not have been allowed to be born because he would not have passed approval by a proposed healthcare "death panel." We could find no proposal in any bill that forms a "death panel" or that gives a government bureaucrat or insurance company employee the right to order the termination of a pregnancy. A "death panel" is said to exist for a gravely ill patient. That panel is composed of close family members and perhaps, perhaps, their religious and medical advisers.
Please stop by on Tuesday, September 15th when we will discuss end of life care more extensively.

Back to the care of the Down Syndrome baby. When the mother gave birth to the baby, she was over 40-years-old, an age when the chance of birth defects is known to increase. Another woman might decide in the same circumstances to terminate the pregnancy. In America she is legally allowed to do so. But Federal law prohibits use of Federal money to pay for an abortion. Most likely, if the woman uses a proposed "public option" insurance she would also have to pay for an abortion out of her personal funds.

The mother we are using as an example and her family already had excellent health insurance coverage from her government benefits. Now that she is not longer employed by the government she would have excellent health insurance provided by her husband or that she could purchase from private insurance. The mother also has a superior potential to earn huge income as a media personality and/or as an author. Therefore, she will probably pay higher taxes once her income exceeds a probable range of $250,000 to $350,000 to subsidize healthcare insurance for those who cannot afford it.

The care of a handicapped or disabled child is expensive. A family with means can provide the best of care for their Down Syndrome son. Other families, with lesser means or no insurance, find that the level of available services varies widely state-to-state.

The availability of a national "public option" insurance plan and the mandate to cover pre-existing conditions promises to improve the availability and quality of services for children with disabilities.

Please note the opinions of the author may not match the opinion of Be the Best Nanny Newsletter. The article is published to encourage a mature debate.

If you wish to share more about healthcare reform with nannies click "comments" below. Stop by tomorrow for more about healthcare reform.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Children's Books About School

Weekly Trip to the Library for Nannies and Au Pairs

In New Jersey, where we publish Be the Best Nanny Newsletter, we have just started the fall semester of school this week. But for those who started school in August these are still fun books to borrow from the library.

I Am Absolutely too Small for School
By Lauren Child
We love all Charlie and Lola books by Lauren Child! This book introduces children to Lola, the star of this picture book. Lola is sure she is "too absolutely small for school," but her older brother Charlie patiently convinces her otherwise by presenting a series of imaginative and funny reasons she needs to go to school. Not only is the story fun, but Child's mixed media illustrations are a delight, vibrant and highly entertaining.





First Day Jitters
By Julie Danneberg

This is an excellent book for the child who is worried about changing schools. It’s the first day of school and the main character, Sarah Jane Hartwell, does not want to go. She will be going to a new school and she is scared. This is a funny book, with a surprise ending that will cause the reader to laugh out loud and then go back and read the entire story again.






The New Girl… and Me
By Jacqui Robbins
Two girls named Shakeeta and Mia become friends when Shakeeta boasts that she has a pet iguana and Mia learns how to help Shakeeta "feel at home" even when she is in school. When narrator Mia's teacher asks the class to make Shakeeta, a new classmate, feel at home, "I ask Ms. Becky, `How can someone feel at home when she's at school?' The rest of the book explores this idea.




First Grade Stinks!
By Mary Ann Rodman
First Grade Stinks! is an entertaining picture book that can help to ease a child's transition from kindergarten to first grade. The book is about Haley and her first day in first grade. With unexpected sympathy and explanations from her first grade teacher about why so much is different from kindergarten, Haley stops thinking, "First grade stinks!" and begins to think, "First grade is great!"

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Healthcare Reform and Nannies

Nannies have been emailing and calling Be the Best Nanny Newsletter asking to clarify what President Obama's speech last night about healthcare reform meant. One nanny said on our voicemail, "I am more confused now than before."

Currently our October 2009 Be the Best Nanny Newsletter monthly poll (which can be found on the top, right hand column of our blog at: http://bestnannynewsletter.blogspot.com/) shows that most household workers, that have taken our survey about health insurance, do not have health insurance benefits provided by their employers. So the topic of healthcare reform is important to many nannies.

Due to the questions we will discuss the proposed healthcare changes and the effect those changes might have on nannies and their families.

There seems to be a lot of confusion about the proposed healthcare changes and the effect those changes. Various aspects of different proposals have provoked heated and passionate debates. We will try to add some light to the debate.

One of the difficulties in this discussion is that, as of now, no healthcare law has passed. There are at least three different healthcare bills in the House, and different drafts in the Senate but no single set of proposals to consider. The absence of a final bill to consider has led to rumors and fear.

Nonetheless, we will examine the effects of those proposals we consider most likely to be enacted. First though, we will examine the reasons for the calls for healthcare changes and clarify some concepts.

Consider a moment, how would you rate healthcare in the United States? The cost of healthcare compared to the rest of the world? The cost of healthcare compared to other developed nations? The availability of healthcare in the United States?

The United Nations ranks the relative healthcare quality of all nations by measuring a broad range of statistics, services and results. The United States ranks 37th according to the United Nations rating model, the lowest of all developed nations except for South Africa.

For the year 2007, healthcare in the United States averaged $7290 per person. The average annual cost of health insurance in the United States for a family of four without employee or government subsidy is $12,680.

In France, that cost per person was $3601, the United Kingdom $2992, and Italy $2686. Nations with smaller populations, such as Luxembourg and Belgium also spent less per capita than the United States, but by not such a wide margin. Yet each nation enjoyed a higher and broader level of healthcare services than the United States. Similar disparities between the United States and other developed nations extend across the globe, from Peru to Sweden to Japan.

Determining the number of uninsured citizens is difficult. Analysts range from a low estimate of one in every seven Americans being uninsured to the highest estimates of one in five not have access to insurance. While estimates range from 21 million to 60 million uninsured, most analysts use a figure of around 44 million. These numbers do not include illegal immigrants.

Basically, there are four types of healthcare systems used throughout the world.

1. In most third world and poor nations, care is provided to those who can afford it; the rest suffer.

2. In Canada, private doctors and hospitals are paid by a single-payer, the government, financed by taxes.

3. In the British system, the government employs the healthcare providers and supplies the infrastructure and finances the system through taxes.

4. In Germany, hospitals and insurers are private companies and are financed from payroll deductions.

The United States uses all four systems in varying degrees.

1. The American Medicare program is similar to the Canadian system.

2. The Veteran's Administration is modeled after the British healthcare system.

3. Employer-funded programs resemble the German system.

4. Public hospitals are morally, ethically, and usually legally obligated to treat the seriously ill. The financial burden of paying for the poor, whether working or unemployed, usually falls on the state or local government, often through a Medicaid program. Medicaid is for the financially poor, Medicare is for the elderly.

Many fear that healthcare reform will lead to socialized medicine. To define, socialized medicine is direct government financing and direct government supervision of healthcare services. The Veterans Administration that provides care for veterans and soldiers would be the United States example of socialized medicine.

Except for Medicare and the Veterans Administration system, the United States does not have national health insurance available to all citizens.

Traditionally, each state has its own insurance regulatory agency that promulgates rules that usually favor one insurer over another. Therefore, in many regions of the country, few health insurer choices exist. In 26 states, one insurer covers 50% or more of the residents. The largest metropolitan areas often have eight or more choices of insurers.

Employee-based insurance plans usually offer s one choice of an insurer, or the company is self-insured. Those seeking health insurance are effectively banned from shopping across state lines, and cannot carry their insurance with them if they move to a different state.

The "public option" is a controversial Federal insurance program that is being considered to be included as a central feature of healthcare changes. The advantages of such a program would be national coverage, portability, and broad-based membership that would provide competition to private insurers.

The fear of the "public-option" insurance is that such a program would be too costly for the government to implement, that it would imperil private insurers and lead to a single-payer socialized medicine model of healthcare. Lacking details of a passed bill, it is impossible to accept any any estimates of costs or cost savings as accurate. Without doubt, some supporters of "public-option" prefer a single-payer model for healthcare. Enacting a "public option" insurance plan need not inevitably lead to a single-payer system.

Other budgetary impacts of a healthcare bill are likely to include an expansion of both Medicare and Medicaid, subsidies for the indigent and the working poor to buy Federal insurance and new taxes or fees to fund the programs.

Additional likely changes would include health insurance being mandatory for every citizen, prohibiting the denial of services because of pre-existing conditions and the removal of caps on lifetime benefits. Coverage of addiction services and mental illness is likely to expand.

We have intentionally skipped mention of some programs that we consider as unlikely to be passed, such as a national non-profit co-op program and an all-ages Medicare system.

Next, we will start inspecting the likely effects of a healthcare bill on you and your family by focusing on a very untypical typical American family.

If you work as a nanny please take the survey so your input can be included in our October 2009 issue of Be the Best Nanny Newsletter, by clicking here.

Nanny and Au Pair / Student Homework Contract

The Homework Contract

Kids are back in school and nannies and au pairs can help children complete their school assignments before the parents arrive home from work each weeknight.

Developing a homework schedule is vital to homework success. After having a healthy snack and a few minutes to relax and tell you about their day, children should be expected to complete homework before other activities (when possible). Once homework is complete, then they can play.

To develop good study habits nannies and au pairs can make a Homework Contract that spells out what is expected of the student and caregiver.

First, make a checklist for each day of the week and every subject the student is studying at school. As they complete each assignment everyday the student should check the box that the subject is done. If no assignment is due in that subject fill in N/A for not applicable. Leave the subject blank if the student needs extra help when the mother or father arrives home after work that evening.

After explaining the checklist to the child, be sure to have parents, nanny or au pair, and child sign the Homework Contract. Be patient, as learning a new habit takes consistency and time.

Homework Rules:
1. The homework area to study will be:
2. Assignment notebook will be checked by nanny and student before starting homework.
3. All homework and school materials are to be placed in backpack for the next day of school by student.
4. No homework in front of TV, with music on, or talking on the phone during homework time.
5. Homework time will be used to study from workbooks Mommy bought for student if no current assignments are due.
6. If nanny and student cannot complete assignments tell the parents to ensure the parents can help the student complete their homework.
If you would like a clear copy of the homework contract posted here simply email Stephanie @ Best Nanny Newsletter .com (with no spaces) and we can email you a version of the contract to print out yourself.
Do you have any tips on helping children learn good study habits?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Nannies and Au Pairs are Homework Helpers

Tutoring and helping children with schoolwork.

Studies by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) show that the defining factor in having academically successful children of parents that work outside the home is the household help that they hire.

The NAS studies show that families that hire great childcare providers are in a stronger position to have children that are successful in school. Children of working parents that do not have the supportof homework helpers are less likely to achieve as well in school.

Therefore, helping children with homework is one of the most important responsibilities for in-home childcare providers. Even caregivers that are learning English as a second language play an essential role inhelping families develop homework routines, schedules, organization, and taking an interest in the children's learning.

Doing homework helps caregivers identify problems or difficulties students are having learning. Homework is an opportunity for children to review what they have learned and prepare for the next day's class. Homework helps teach students to use resources, manage their time, meet deadlines, and become more independent.

While helping children with homework nannies and au pairs can help children develop a love of learning, help encourage self-discipline, and ultimately help children to be successful in school.

Doing homework is also an opportunity for children to gain self confidence and good self-esteem.

As Sylvia, a nanny of two who works in Anchorage, Alaska explains, "Homework is meant to be a positive experience encouraging children to learn. Learning should be fun and exciting. Nannies should always use homework as an opportunity to [help children] feel good about themselves and their accomplishments."

Ways Nannies and Au Pairs Help Children with Homework:

1. Help create a homework schedule
2. Pick a place to do homework
3. Create a trusting environment
4. Monitor TV and video games
5. Don’t do homework for children
6. Help children get organized
7. Encourage good study habits
8. Talk about assignments
9. Watch for frustration

Tomorrow we will discuss creatig a homework schedule with children.

If you are a nanny or au pair do you help the children with their homework?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Nannies and Au Pairs Should Play Kiddie College to Teach Kids About School

All kids like to play school. All chidlren learn through play. Since little kids already love playing school, playing school with children is an effective, non-threatening way to prepare them for a new school year or a way to learn about how they feel about their new school.

Nannies and au pairs should play Kiddie College with their charges. The caregivers pretends to be the college professor. Present clever, imaginative lessons. College could include greeting the teacher, putting coats in a cubby, coloring, and pretend lessons. Read age appropriate books that discuss going to a new school.

On graduation day issue children with diplomas and throw a party. The graduation gift should be related to the children’s “major” such as a new pencil case for school.

You can send children to Kiddie College to prepare them for any experience. For example, to learn to bathe correctly, go to bed on their own, or to behave properly at a wedding. Keep in mind that a Kiddie College graduate makes an ideal teacher later for a younger sibling who is facing a similar challenge.

Kiddie College idea from the book Playwise by Denise Chapman Weston and Denise Chapman Weston.

Do you have creative ways to learn about a child's day at school?

Monday, September 7, 2009

How Will Healthcare Reform Affect You?

Many nannies are scared about what might happen if there is healthcare reform. That is why the Be the Best Nanny Newsletter October monthly poll asks nannies about healthcare. We want your input.

We want to know, if you work as a nanny do you have health insurance? Do you get health insurance as a work benefit? We want to know how important health insurance coverage is in your decision to accept, or stay at, a nanny position. Have you been uninsured at any time? Would you consider health insurance coverage in lieu of a raise?

To include your input click the link on our blog in the top right hand corner at http://bestnannynewsletter.blogspot.com/ or start the survey immediately by clicking here.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Support the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit Bill

The International Nanny Association (INA) is extremely pleased to report that INA's ongoing lobbying effort to increase the federal Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) has resulted in three bills in Congress in support their position.

The bills, H.R. 460 and H.R. 1500 in the House and S. 210 in the Senate, all seek to raise the amount of childcare expenses eligible for the credit as well as the percentage of those expenses eligible for the credit. This is excellent news.

As you may know, currently the CDCTC provides a minimum credit to working families of 20% of the first $3,000 spent on childcare for each of the family's first two children per year. The CDCTC has not been increased in years, and thus it does not even begin to cover a family's childcare costs.

The bills in Congress now would raise the amount of eligible expenses to $6,000 per child with a credit of anywhere from 35% to 50%. Obviously, this would be a significant improvement and provide much needed relief for working families trying to pay for the costs of childcare.

Here's what we need you to do now: Contact your member of Congress and two U.S. Senators. Find your Congressman here. Find your Senators by clicking here. Tell them you support H.R. 460, H.R. 1500 and S. 210 and urge them to vote for these bills.

This lobbying effort went from nothing to getting three bills introduced in Congress. We have done a terrific job, but there is still more to do. Contact your representatives, and let them know you support H.R. 460, H.R. 1500 and S. 210 to increase the federal Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit today.

If you have questions about INA's lobbying effort, please contact INA Governmental Affairs Chair Bob King of Legally Nanny at 714-336-8864 or info@legallynanny.com.
Thanks again for all your support, and keep up the fight.

~~~SAMPLE LETTER~~~

Dear Congressman [Name]:

As a resident of your district and a voter, I wanted to contact you to support H.R. 460, H.R. 1500, and S. 210 to increase the federal Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC).

Currently the CDCTC provides a minimum credit to working families of 20% of the first $3,000 spent on childcare for each of the family's first two children per year. The CDCTC has not been increased in years, and thus it does not even begin to cover a family's childcare costs.

H.R. 460, H.R. 1500, and S. 210 would raise the amount of eligible expenses to $6,000 per child with a credit of anywhere from 35% to 50%. Obviously, this would be a significant improvement and provide much needed relief for working families trying to pay for the costs of childcare.

I urge you to support these worthwhile bills to lower taxes for families and enable them to work and provide quality childcare for their children. Thank you in advance for your support.

Sincerely,

INA Member Name

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Supernanny Book Review

Weekly Trip to the Library for Nannies and Au Pairs

Supernanny: How to Get the Best from Your Children is authored by Jo Frost, the host of the ABC television series Supernanny. The book is a lovely presentation. It has heavy, glossy pages, with a lot of photos. Although the book is written for parents, it is useful for nannies and au pairs since we work in the home with children.

The book is easy to read and well organized into nine sections. Jo discusses basic techniques for ages and stages, routines and rules, and setting boundaries. Then she tackles what to do if you have trouble getting kids dressed, toilet training, eating, social skills, bedtime, and quality time.

The book is brief and to the point with no long lectures. She has a simple method to use with children if you need to prevent fussy eaters from taking over mealtimes, how to talk so children will listen, how to establish a routine that works for you, and how to get the most from children and yourself.

The book focuses on child development and working with the skills and abilities a child has and helping them to grow in a positive manner. The author feels that all children can be well-behaved when given the appropriate direction, authority, and skills to do so.

Jo's methods are straightforward. She sums up each topic of the book with her top ten rules approach to caring for children which include:

1. Praise and rewards
2. Consistency
3. Routine
4. Boundaries
5. Discipline
6. Warnings
7. Explanations
8. Restraint
9. Responsibility
10. Relaxation

She explains that setting a regular routine with defined boundaries and consistency, backed up with plenty of love and attention works for everyone caring for children inside their home.

If you have a book review to share please email Stephanie @ BestNannyNewsletter.com. Stop by next Saturday for another book review for nannies and au pairs.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Keeping Motivated During Down-Time

When the third grader is at school full-time and the toddler is napping it can be hard to be motivated to do another load of laundry when your favorite soap opera is on the flat screen and some leftover birthday cake is waiting to be tasted in the fridge.

Most nannies and au pairs have some down time to take a break each day. It is completely acceptable for caregivers to take a much needed rest while the baby is resting too. It gets tiring tidying the same Legos and same Polly Pockets in the same playroom each day while the child naps.

Even if the tasks below are not included as a job responsibility in the nanny's or au pair's contract, random acts of kindness are well noticed and appreciated. To keep motivated, we suggest in-home caregivers try some of the projects listed below while kids are in school, at activities, or napping.

Gratitude Journal:
Write down the funny things the children did that day. Even on the most stressful days children are funny. Not only does finding the humor in the children's actions and words help you keep a positive attitude for your job, you can create a book of funny moments later to give as a homemade gift for the parents at holiday time.

Read a Childcare Book:
Although parents would love you to iron clothes or mop the kitchen floor while the baby naps, sometimes just allowing yourself to read for 15- to 30-minutes can be refreshing. Pick out books at the library or bookstore that discuss a topic you are dealing with at work. For example, The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp is a quick and easy read, plus a very useful guide, for those caring for newborns. There are great resources for every stage of development. So, if you are dealing with discipline problems, finicky eaters, or potty training there are plenty of resources to motivate you.

Organize a Bookshelf:
Some chores are more noticeable than others. Some tasks can be done while listening to your favorite television courtroom drama too. Nothing looks better than a tidy bookshelf and it can be organized while listening to the television or radio. First, pull out books the children no longer read and put them in a pile for the parents to determine if they can be tossed or donated. The best looking bookshelves have books organized from the tallest book to the shortest book, from left to right. But, some families prefer keeping different categories of books on separate shelves or even in other rooms. Respect the family's preference. Alphabetize extensive collections and sort by genre. Wipe off dust with a slightly damp rag. Reserve the most easily reached shelves for books, movies, and music the children enjoy frequently.

Cook a New Recipe:
Boys might love a recipe from the Star Wars Cookbook, girls might love the Strawberry Shortcake Cookbook, and parents will love if you try a recipe from Rachael Ray's Top 30 30-Minute Meals for Kids. Better yet, make a turtle-shaped bread for the children's snack later in the day. Take photos of your creations to add to a scrapbook.

Have a Healthy Snack:
Nannies spend most of their time preparing healthy snacks and meals for the children but forget to take care of themselves. Some lean protein, fresh fruit and vegetables, and a tall glass of cold water can make the hardest working nanny or au pair feel better.

Discard Expired Medications:
Most medicine cabinets are filled with outdated medications. First, ask the parents if you can throw out expired medications. Then, make a list of what items you will need to purchase to refill the supply. Finally, wipe down the cabinet and reorganize the remedies neatly. Nannies and au pairs should feel free to discard of the children's medicines but should ask the parents before discarding their adult medications.

Tackle a Closet:
Parents love it when caregivers take the extra time to reorganize a closet. Never enter a parent's private closet without permission, but feel free to organize the children's bedroom closets, playroom closets, coat closets, and cubbies. Clothes the children rarely wear or toys that are broken should be the first things to go. Clothing that is too small should be donated. Damaged toys that are broken or no longer used should be discarded. Group "likes" together such as all long pants hang together and all long-sleeve shirts together. Then, arrange by color. Some caregivers prefer matching outfits be folded or hung together so that children can choose their own clothing to wear, but they are already paired in matching outfits. The items used most often by the children should be easy for them to access, so hang or store them no higher than eye level for the child.

Wash Stuffed Animals:
Not many caregivers think to wash toys or launder the children's stuffed animals (while daycare centers are required to sanitize toys). But, is anything dirtier than the stuffed animals that sleep alongside the children? Most stuffed animals are chewed on, sneezed on, and full of germs. As long as there are no electronics inside the toys they can be washed in the washing machine, then dried lightly on a low setting in the dryer.

Clean Out a Junk Drawer:
Every household has at least one junk drawer. Ironically, professional organizer, Lea Schneider calls junk drawers "Necessary Drawers" because they tend to hold everything but junk. Dump out the contents of the drawer. Every junk drawer has some trash to throw out. Sort out the items that have "homes" somewhere else in the house and put them away (for example, a compact disc should be in the compact disc drawer next to the compact disc player). But the necessary items that you need often and quickly should remain in the junk drawer such as: a glue stick, scissors, a pencil, an ink pen, quarters, a Phillips head screwdriver, and so on. Cleaning out the junk drawer doesn't take long and you can still listen to your favorite soap opera or listen to music while completing the task.

Clean Out the Fridge:
Expired food is unhealthy, stinky, and gross. Throw out gross or expired foods. Then, remove all the food from the fridge and wipe down the shelves with a solution of two tablespoons of baking soda to one quart warm water or a solution of one cup of vinegar and one gallon warm water to wash the inside of the refrigerator. Dump crumbs out of drawers, then rinse in sink or wipe down with solution listed above. Placing a box of baking soda placed in the refrigerator will also cut down on odors. The task shouldn't take half an hour but will be appreciated. No one needs permission to dump moldy left-overs -- just get rid of them!

What unexpected tasks do you do around the house that the parents appreciate?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Changing Jobs During a Recession?

The Business of Daycare: Making the Transition
By Anne Stephanie Cruz of ownadaycare.com

Nannies considering making the transition into the daycare business may be hesitant given the current unstable nature of the economy. Starting any business can be a lucrative venture and a rewarding career.

According to a recent report by the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies, 24,755,834 of the nation’s children under six-years of age are in need of childcare. In addition, more than 63 percent of children ages five and under are in some type of childcare arrangement every week.

Furthermore, more than a quarter of stay-at-home parents plan to go back to work because of the economy and as a result they require quality daycare. Daycare allows parents the freedom to concentrate on the job hunt and to go on job interviews.

One of the seemingly easy ways to gain additional income is by opening your own home daycare center. With home daycare, you only need your own house as the center for kids and some tools needed for caring toddlers and kids.

There are many things to consider if finances are on an obstacle to starting a daycare business:

Grants Fundraising:
There are a variety of funding options available for daycare businesses, including grants and subsidies. A daycare grant is a one-time payment given to a childcare center for a specific need of project. A subsidy is a need based, ongoing payment usually provided by the government which covers essentials such as food. In this unstable economic climate, fundraising can help keep the daycare business going. Fundraising events also provide a means of increased visibility for your daycare, thereby increasing clientele and profitability.

Low Overhead:
The best businesses generate profit with low start-up costs. Family daycare centers can be started with very little overhead. The main expenses for starting an in-home childcare center are licensing, insurance, advertising, food, and tax deductions. You can legally write-off many of these expenses during tax season. In addition, there are federal food programs that will offset food costs.

Consider Tax Deductions:
One of the benefits of owning a family childcare business is that you can legally write-off business related expenses. Tax breaks can be given on a predetermined percentage of the mortgage, food, and supplies. In addition, the money you spend on equipment like diapers, cleaning supplies, toys, cribs, and stroller for the business, can be deducted.

Specialized Childcare Services are in Demand:
Even in times of economic uncertainty, one thing you can count on is emergencies and unintended circumstances. The demand for specialty daycare services like drop‐in care, 24-hour daycare, vacation care, sick daycare is on the rise. Now, daycare business owners now can carve out a niche for themselves by providing unique services and increase their chances for success.

You’re in Control of your Cash Flow:
Childcare business owners are in control of how much money they make, setting their own rates and hours. Daycare business owners decide who their clients will be. Aside from the usual legal and licensing requirements, the owner of a childcare business generally sets and follows his or her own rules and therefore how much money is the business generates.

Be sure to market your previous experience as a nanny and mention that you can provide excellent references. Parents will appreciate that their child is being cared for by a former nanny who has already demonstrated that she can provide the kind of love, caring, and nurturing that is so essential to a child’s development.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Scam Hits Woman Using Nanny Website

Nannies Beware of Internet Scams

This summer we have discussed that both parents and nannies must be cautious when using nanny websites. Parents and nannies are essentially on their own when using the bulletin board style sites.

Parents must screen caregivers themselves and nannies must know labor laws and protect themselves when using nanny websites. Click here to see article about background checks. Click here for article for nannies about parents offering less than minimum wage on nanny websites.

This weekend Fox station in Denver posted this article.

The same nanny websites nannies keep emailing Best Nanny Newsletter to complain about are discussed, yet again, in this news story.

"Scammers are now using nanny job websites to con women into giving them money they don't have."

"Raven Capps, 18, had a profile on care.com. A conman replied to her ad --and preyed upon her desire for a better job. We learned from a blog website, other victims also got conned while registered with sittercity.com."

"He contacted me and said he had a daughter, 5 years old, named Maria. He said he and his wife were moving to the U.S.," says Capps.

"He said he was Alfred Atakorah, originally from Belgium, but stationed in Malaysia for work. He emailed Capps for nearly two months -- even sending pictures of himself, his wife Jennie, and their child, Maria. "That makes it more personal, thinking you know their faces," says Capps.

So when he asked her for a favor she agreed.

He sent her a check to buy a Nintendo DS handheld video game system and games because he wanted the games in English and said he couldn't buy them online with international credit cards. "I got a check and it was for $2,871. That was way more than I expected," says Capps.

He said his associate messed up -- that the money was also to pay for shipping their property to a home in cherry hills village.

"That sounded like an understandable thing to happen. He asked me to send the money to the shipping company to make sure his properties got here on time," she says.She deposited the check and wired the money to the alleged shipping company in Malaysia.

"That very same day the bank called and said the check came back unverified. I assumed they verified the check because they put the money in my account," says Capps.

Now her bank wants its nearly $3,000 back. "I thought I was helping someone and it turns out someone was just using me," she says.

Capps then learned other girls had been had by the same scam. On a scam website, other victims posted nearly identical emails -- with the same names for the wife, daughter and native country.

"He said God bless you. You're really helping my family. That hurts me. How could he do that to someone he knows has a baby to support and a family?" she questions.

Raven even gift-wrapped that Nintendo game system with pink bows and wrote "for Maria" on it.

We contacted care.com to ask what protections it offers clients from crooks like this. We haven't heard back yet. But its website lists safety tips to avoid scams.

Best Nanny Newsletter does not blame the specific website since this has happened on many job posting websites. This story proves yet again why nannies and parents must be careful when using nanny websites to either find caregivers, or find jobs.