Friday, April 30, 2010

A Bad Nanny Caught on TV Show Ghost Whisperer Tonight

When a ghost tells Melinda a neighbor’s nanny is a threat to children, Melinda unravels a twisted relationship between the two women, revealing a haunting secret history. Meanwhile Melinda and Jim’s romance kicks into high gear with ‘date night’. LETHAL COMBINATION was written by Consulting Producer Stephanie SenGupta; it was directed by Executive Producer Kim Moses.

This episode guest stars: Erin Cahill as Kelly (Boogeyman 3, Saving Grace); Catherine Dent as Laura (The Shield, Criminal Minds); Samantha Bailey as Emily (The Young and the Restless, Criminal Minds); Jay R. Ferguson as Gil (Easy Money, Sleeper Cell); Kirsten Nelson as Sarah (Psych, Eli Stone); and Deidrie Henry as Dr. Mavis Boyd (Three Rivers, Southland)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Celebrity that Lovers Her Nanny

We love when celebrities compliment a nanny, (rather than gossip about them sleeping with their husbands, about the nanny spreading a smear campaign, or a nanny cam abuse story). One such celebrity is Gwyneth Paltrow.

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow admits hiring a nanny to help raise her kids was one of the best decisions of her life — because it has allowed her to go back to work. The actress says she, "couldn't work" without the additional home help. She has hired a professional to help take care of her children, and she couldn't imagine working without the "life-saver."

She tells Britain's The Sun, "I have a nanny and she's just like part of our family. She's lovely and a life-saver and I couldn't work without her."

"I couldn't be here without her because she loves my children and they love her."

Please let us know if you have ever seen other articles about celebrities that love their nannies!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sleep Lady Answers Does It Matter Where the Baby Sleeps?

Sleep Myth Buster

Kim West is the author of The Sleep Lady's Good Night, Sleep Tight with Joanne Kenen. On Saturday we will review the book that offers a practical, easy-to -follow, gentle, and effective approach to getting children to sleep and sleep through the night.

The author explains that many caregivers believe it doesn’t matter where a baby sleeps – in a stroller or riding in the car is just as good as at home. Sleep is sleep.

But the The Sleep Lady explains, "Motion lulls babies to sleep. However, it keeps them in a light sleep – not the restorative deeper sleep they need. If the baby does fall asleep while riding in the car or stroller, transfer him to his crib as soon as you can. Or, you could just park the car in your driveway and flip through a magazine while he snoozes. An occasional motion nap is not a problem. You just don’t want it to be the only way the baby can go to sleep."

Do you make sure infants sleep in their cribs for naps during the day?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sleep Myth Busters

The Sleep Lady Sets the Record Straight

In the April 2010 issue of Be the Best Nanny Newsletter we discussed infant sleep. On Saturday we will review The Sleep Lady's Good Night, Sleep Tight by Kim West. The author, (also known as The Sleep Lady), shares common sleep myth busters with nannies and au pairs.

If I skip a child’s nap, he will sleep longer at night. Also, the later I put a child to bed, the later he’ll sleep in the morning.

Sleep Lady: The more overtired you allow the child to get, the more wired he’ll get – making it harder for him to get sleep and stay asleep. I know it sounds counter-intuitive but the later the child goes to sleep, the earlier he’ll wake up.

Newborns sleep all the time and know what they need. You don’t need to schedule their sleep times.

Sleep Lady: Even very young babies benefit from scheduling and consistency at night time and nap time. It cuts down on their crankiness and crying, and lays the groundwork for learning how to sleep through the night once they’re a little older.

Children know when they’re sleepy and when they should go to bed.

Sleep Lady: Not once they learn to fight sleep for your company! Children need our direction and guidance with a soothing bedtime routine to help them slow down and transition to sleep. Once you get the child on a consistent schedule, you can plan your day better and can count on having a happy awake child.

Stop by tomorrow for more Sleep Myth Busters by Kim West author of Sleep Lady’s Good Night Sleep Tight.

Do you have any infant sleep tips for other nannies and au pairs?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Six-Part Video Series on Hiring Nannies Online Featuring The Nanny Doctor has created a series of six educational videos on how to find and hire the right nanny or nanny babysitter for your family online. The videos are hosted by "The Nanny Doctor," Dr. Lindsay Heller, a professional nanny consultant. has developed a series of videos to help parents through the nanny search and hiring process.

Each video guides parents through the online process of finding and hiring the right nanny for their family.

The six-part series includes:

Part 1 – Overview of (nanny care) hiring online. Learn the basics of finding and hiring a nanny.

Part 2 – Identify your family’s needs in a nanny or nanny babysitter. What makes your family unique?Do you have pets?How old are your kids? What is your family’s schedule?

Part 3 – Developing your online nanny job description. What will you require of a nanny? Do you need a live-in or live-out nanny? Do you need someone who’s experienced with nanny care for infants?Do you need housekeeping help as well as child-care?

Part 4 – Screening eNannySource nannies. Get practical tips on how to use the tools to make the nanny hiring process more efficient. Learn how to: narrow down your search. Keep track of your top picks. Find the nanny that’s truly right for you.

Part 5 – Nanny phone interviews, email screening, and in-person interviewing. The interview process is the most important part of determining the right nanny for your family. Get tips on:using our exclusive Nanny Success Kit, what questions to ask nannies, how to have a discussion about salary, and where and how to conduct interviews.

Part 6 – Nanny reference checks and nanny background checks. This part of the process is crucial to your family’s safety. Get invaluable advice on what to look for when checking references. Which background checks to conduct. Nanny background check services offered by

In addition to these videos, offers their Nanny Success Kit to all members which provides interview questions, hiring forms and tips to help families hire like a professional nanny agency.

About was launched in 2001 by former full-service nanny agency owner, Steve Lampert, who used his nanny expertise to develop the site. Families can search the database of nannies and use vetting tips and tools like the Nanny Success Kit and nanny background checks to hire a nanny just like a professional nanny agency.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Review of The Babywise Method

Weekly Trip to the Library for Nannies and Au Pairs

The Babywise Method On Becoming Baby Side: The Classic Sleep Reference By Gary Ezzo

This book has become very controversial with a concern among pediatricians that this method outlines an infant feeding program that has been associated with failure to thrive (FTT), poor weight gain, dehydration, breast milk supply failure, and involuntary early weaning. But, the techniques are widely liked so we will explain them here. Click here to see an article by Mathew Aney, M.D. that outlines the concerns.

The Babywise Method encourages parents to adopt a routine with both feeding and sleeping from day one. The Babywise approach encourages parent directed feeding (PDF) as opposed to demand feeding your baby whether breast feeding or bottle feeding.

The Babywise Parent Directed Feeding concept has enough structure to bring security and order to a baby's world, yet enough flexibility to give the parents freedom to respond to any need at any time. It teaches parents how to lovingly guide their baby's day rather than be guided or enslaved to the infant's unknown needs. The information contained within On

Instead of putting the baby to bed right after feeding, feed the baby after she wakes up from naps. This way, the baby will stop eating when he is full, not when he is tired, which is a huge problem, especially with very little babies.

Briefly, the basic principles covered include:
1. Feeding approximately every three hours.
2. Trying to keep the baby awake during feedings and a little afterwards.
3. Putting the baby down to sleep before the next feeding
4. Keeping the baby on a eat-wake-sleep routine to help their hunger stabilize for faster nighttime sleeping.
5. Trying not to allow babies to become overly dependent for sleep on any one prop such as: rocking, swings, slings, pacifiers, car rides, and so on.
6. Generally helping the baby's needs to fit into your or the family's routine, rather than arranging your or the family's needs completely around the baby's routine (or having none at all).

Have you used the Babywise Method to help an infant to sleep?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Rain or Shine Get Outside

Nannies and Au Pairs Can Head Outside in the Rain with Children
By Raechelle Masuda

Rain or shine, getting outside with children provides endless possibilities. Walk around your neighborhood with a garbage bag and some gloves, pick up as you go. Take a field guide book with you on a hike and look for birds, animals and plants. Try to park the car for the day. Walk, Bike, roller skate instead, breathing in the fresh air.

A rainy day does not mean you and the children have to stay inside. There are many opportunities to play outside even on wet, cooler days. Seize the day, learn more about nature, experience the outdoors when it rains, get wet and dirty. It is a whole new world out there when it rains. The earth changes color, it smells different, looks different, and feels different. Try to share that with the kids.
Bees cannot fly in the rain, neither can most flying insects. Earthworms come to the surface once the dirt is saturated. Birds do not like to fly when it is raining, they like to find shelter instead. Here are a few ideas to inspire you:
  • Take a wet, rainy walk. Make sure to take a few umbrellas, they are always fun!

  • Jump in the puddles. Make a splash with your rubber boots!

  • Let pots fill up with rain water and float things in them.

  • Take toy animals, dinosaurs, and toy boats out to get wet along with you. Let the toy boats race in the water. The animals can gather at the watering hole, discuss the importance of water for the survival of animals. Let the animals go swimming!

  • Make roads in the mud with your diggers for your cars.

  • Do some digging. Find a safe spot to dig some holes.

  • Make a mud stew, add leaves, twigs, and other bits of nature for flavor.

  • Leaves and twigs float, yet rocks sink. What else can you find that floats and sinks?

  • Measure rain and pour it. Have a plastic container to catch the rainfall, then measure how much you had. You can compare it to a weather website. You can pour the rain water, in different containers, add mud, then see what happens.

Remember to come in before your children catch a chill. Once inside take a nice warm bubble bath, or change into clean, dry clothes, snuggle up, and read some rainy day stories. Make sure to have a cup of tea for yourself and hot chocolate for the kids to take away the chill.

What kind of activities can you do with children out in the rain?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Goin' Green for Nannies and Au Pairs

Easy Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint at Work in Honor of Earth Day

Cycle or Walk for Short Trips

Instead of driving to school or playdates, children will love to cycle or walk instead. A walk of just half a mile takes less than 15 minutes. The children will love the fresh air, exercise, and time to talk to you. You will save fuel and the world will be spared more greenhouse gas emissions.

Dress Children in Layers

The bulk of the energy bill is for heating and cooling, (not light bulbs). So, dressing children in layers keeps those costs down by allowing kids to bundle up or strip down as needed. Being able to control their personal body temperature can also help cut down on colds; in layers, kids don't ever have to be too hot or too cold in their clothes.

Buy Organic Food for the Family

Studies have shown that human exposure to pesticides can cause neurological disturbances, increase the frequency of certain cancers, damage the immune system, and reduce fertility. Pesticides degrade soil and contaminate drinking water, leading to significant clean-up costs. A conventional farmer might use as many as 450 different authorized pesticides, whereas an organic farmer might use just seven natural pesticides, and only then in a controlled way. At least give priority to feeding organic foods to babies and young children. The average child has four times more exposure than an adult to at least 10 widely used cancer-causing pesticides. Pesticides can increase susceptibility to certain cancers by breaking down the immune system's resistance to cancer cells. Infants and children are among those at greatest risk. Click here to download a list of which fruits and vegetables have pesticides.

Use Biodegradable Cleaning Products

In the local supermarket we can buy acids, phenols, oil derivatives, corrosive solutions, chlorine, and an entire arsenal of toxic products, all supposedly necessary for keeping our homes clean (according to the advertisements). Choose environmentally friendly and biodegradable household cleaning products that do not contain the most dangerous substances. You will be contributing to the preservation of the soil, air, water, and health of children.

Properly Dispose of Grease Before Washing Dishes

After cooking meat most people either pour grease down the toilet or down the kitchen sink. Neither method is good for the plumbing or the water supply. The best way to dispose of grease and oil is to solidify them as much as possible, and then throw the solid materials in the trash.

Click here for more ways nannies and au pairs can teach children to go green.

These ideas from:
365 Ways to Save the Earth by Phillippe Bourseiller

Philippe Bourseiller teams 365 photographs with a daily ecological action. Each of the initiatives is accompanied by facts and statistics that illustrate the threats to the environment posed by our behaviors, and demonstrates the beneficial consequences of the recommended actions. Each day reveals the image of a wonder of nature along with the guidelines to preserve our planet.

Do you have any ideas on how nannies and au pairs can help children "go green" we didn't think of?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides

Earth Day is this week so today we encourage you to purchase some organic fruits and vegetables.

Download this Environmental Working Group Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides to remember which fruits and vegetables have the most pesticides.

The fruits and vegetables with the highest pesticide load should be bought organically.

For example, you definitely should consider only buying organic peaches and apples, but you might not need to worry about buying organic onions or avocados.

Do you serve the children organic foods? If so which organic foods do you serve your charges?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Behind Closed Doors

Protect domestic workers, the people who raise your children and clean your house

This is an excellent article posted on the BLOGGING MOLLY blog by Molly Knefel.

If you live in New York City and have ever walked past a playground, you may have noticed the park benches are lined with women of color watching, feeding, changing, cleaning, and playing with children who are not their own. I should specify that this phenomenon is unique to certain neighborhoods– much of Manhattan, and the wealthy neighborhoods in Brooklyn. In the lower income neighborhoods of NYC, of course, you see the playgrounds filled with children, but they are being taken care of by older siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins. But in the wealthier, predominantly whiter parts of the city, if you look closely, you’ll notice an incredible phenomenon– a city full of children who are being raised by people who aren’t their parents.

Ah, nannies. What would we do without them? Seeing women of color walking around the West Village or the Upper East Side pushing strollers with little white babies whose clothes are more expensive than mine is such a common sight in this city that most people hardly notice. Amongst those who have money, it’s an equally normal thing to have a few other people who help you, too– women who clean your house once or twice a week, women who do your laundry, men who drop off your groceries for you, and men who open the door for you (although, pretty soon, people may have to start opening their own doors). But I digress– I mean to talk not about groceries or opening doors, but about domestic workers.

According to Domestic Workers United, there are 200,000 domestic workers in New York City, and 93% of them are women of color. Domestic workers have historically been denied equal labor rights– something I discovered firsthand when, last year, I was a nanny working 50 hours a week and was told that domestic workers don’t qualify for overtime. It’s pretty shocking that a group of people so large (not to mention so incredibly important) can be blatantly denied basic labor rights. According to a video posted by Feministing, half of domestic workers work more than 60 hours a week and 67% don’t receive overtime.

This is so frustrating, not only to see such a large group of workers get so little respect, but to think about what would happen without them. Can you imagine Manhattan without nannies, cleaning women or home health aides? The city would grind to a halt. I imagine million dollar apartments buried in grime and dirty laundry and well-dressed children freely roaming the streets, starting stylish little street gangs. It’s a really complicated issue, and I don’t want to suggest that there’s anything wrong with families who depend on domestic work (although, growing up in the Midwest, the concept of a "nanny" doesn’t exist– instead, daycare exists, where one frazzled grown-up is responsible for an unruly gang of children). But the fact is, domestic work as it exists today relies heavily on institutionalized racism and exploitation of women of color. The NYCLU has adapted this video from a longer piece, "Behind Closed Doors," which talks about the historic roots of domestic work:

Click here to see video, read rest of the article, and comment on the article.
Do you know any nannies mistreated? For example, do you know anyone making less than minimum wage?

Children's Books for Earth Day

For Earth Day Read a Book

To start celebrating Earth Day go to the library and borrow some books on the topic to read with children. Here are some great suggestions. Click here for a list of Earth Day movies for kids. Click here for more Earth Day children’s books.

Let’s Celebrate Earth Day by Peter and Connie Roop

Using a question-and-answer format, the authors introduce the history and importance of Earth Day. They discuss Senator Gaylord Nelson's creation of the celebration in 1970; the 1969 Cuyahoga River fire that led to the Clean Water Act; the concept of endangered species; some positive results of forest fires; and recycling. Full-color artwork appears on every page, breaking up the text and clarifying information. Numerous sidebars, some incorporated into the illustrations, supplement the basic facts, and quotes, most from famous Americans, decorate the endpapers. The authors also include directions for creating a composting tower using plastic soda bottles. -- By Kay Weisman, American Library Association

Clifford's Spring Clean-Up by Norman Bridwell

In Clifford’s Spring Clean Up, Emily Elizabeth, her family and Clifford do some spring cleaning at home. Clifford’s attempt at being helpful often causes more messes. For example, he licks the windows clean and dries them with his tail, leaving dog fur all over the windows. Another time, Clifford shakes out a rug, but shakes too hard and shreds it. For Earth Day, the neighborhood children decide to clean up a vacant lot and plant a garden. This time, Clifford’s size comes in handy, especially for digging. The story ends with Clifford cleaning out his doghouse and throwing out a huge pile of bones and rubber dog toys into the garbage truck. The final page is a short blurb about Earth Day and encourages readers to “Make every day Earth Day.” The text and vocabulary are perfect for young children. There are generally just a few lines of text per page. The color illustrations are simple but do add to the story.

Earth Day by Linda Lowery

Lowery addresses the concerns that eventually brought about Earth Day and the laws and programs that have come about due to its establishment in 1970. Written in easy-reader style, the book has large type and soft pastel illustrations to inform readers of the vital importance of ecological concerns. A variety of ethnic/cultural groups and ages, as well as both genders, are represented in them. The most helpful part of the book is its last three pages. There, realistic activities that can make every day an Earth Day are cleverly presented in a bulletin-board format. Also useful is a list of addresses to write for more information. This book not only raises the level of concern for a serious problem facing all of us, but, more importantly, also gives good, clear strategies for everyone to do today. – By Eowana Bradley Jordan, Westgate Elementary School, Manassas, VA

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Are Nannies Making Less Now?

The Wall Street Journal Says Now is the Time to Hire Bargain Nannies

The Wall Street Journal published the article, Soft Economy Eases Cost of Hiring a Nanny by Pui-Wing Tam last week. The newspaper reports the best place to find a bargain nanny is in California.

The article says that nannies in California used to charge up to $25 an hour to watch the children and now can hire nannies for $17 an hour.

"Whenever I called the nanny agencies before, right away they'd give me some families who wanted to interview me," Natasha Ivanov, a Silicon Valley nanny for the past 15-years, tells the newspaper.

Not anymore. Nanny agencies, such as Stanford Park Nannies in Menlo Park, CA and Aunt Ann's Agency in San Francisco, CA tell The Wall Street Journal the demand for nannies has dropped because more parents are staying home with their children because of layoffs.

Meanwhile, the article states the number of nannies seeking employment has grown. Laid off teachers and other childcare professionals are turning to the nanny business to make ends meet.

So, when the demand goes down and supply is up, wages are going down.

Daryl Camarillo, the owner of Stanford Park Nannies, tells the paper her agency's profits dropped 30 percent from 2008's revenue. "There has been a slowdown as people move out of the area and cut back any way they can," Camarillo tells the newspaper.

What do you think? Have you noticed this trend? Are parents offering less than before the reciession in 2008?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Weekly Trip to the Library - The Ferber Technique

Firm Sleep Method: Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems By Dr. Richard Feber

In the April 2010 Be the Best Nanny Newsletter we discussed popular infant sleep methods.

We have already reviewed a few books about gentle infant sleep methods on our blog. Last Saturday we reviewed how to comfort a newborn with the help of Dr. Harvey Karp in The Happiest Baby on the Block. We have also reviewed other gentle infant sleep methods of The No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley, as well as The Baby Book and Nighttime Parenting both by Dr. William Sears.

Today we review the old and well known firm infant sleep method by Dr. Richard Ferber in his book, Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems. Dr. Ferber has become a world-famous pediatric sleep expert; however, some see his views as rather controversial.

Dr. Ferber's book is easy-to-understand and a guide to common and uncommon sleeping problems for children ages one- to six-years-old. He provides advice on developing good sleeping patterns and daily schedules. Sometimes referred to as the "cry it out" method, Ferber dislikes the label and says it minimizes his advice and individual children's needs.

The Ferber Technique is centered on putting the child to bed awake so he can learn how to fall asleep on his own. Often misunderstood as a cold and insensitive parenting style, many completely miss Ferber's approach to helping a child fall asleep and stay asleep.

Dr. Ferber strongly recommends developing a loving and predictable bedtime routine for children to help ensure that the transition to falling asleep without a parent is comfortable for the baby.

Before using this method, Dr. Ferber says you should be sure that the daytime necessities and living environment (feeding, stress, playtime, and parental attention) are all operating well, as these can all contribute to a baby's problems falling asleep. Also, keep in mind that Dr. Ferber only recommends using his method if the baby is six-months or older. As most sleep experts agree, by this age most infants no longer need a nighttime.

Have you ever used The Ferber Technique? What are your thoughts on this sleep method?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Monthly Poll for Nannies and Au Pairs

Caring for Children with Special Needs

Are you an in-home childcare provider that has cared for a special needs child? What are your biggest challenges caring for special needs children? Do you charge more when caring for special needs children?

The May 2010 issue of Be the Best Nanny Newsletter will discuss caring for children with special needs.

Some of the children we will discuss include those with developmental disabilities, autistic spectrum disorders, physical disabilities, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and behavioral challenges.

We would like to know your answers to these questions and more. So please take our monthly poll by visiting our blog or by clicking here.

The results will appear in the May 2010 issue of the nanny trade publication.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Parents, to Keep Your Nanny Offer Tax Deductible Health Insurance Benefits

Tax Deductible HRA and HSA for Parents to Offer Nannies

Providing benefits for your nanny is a great way to keep her long-term. Benefits that you may want to offer your nanny include: paid vacation (2 weeks minimum); paid Federal holidays (at least six days including New Years Day, Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas); paid sick and personal days; and mileage (which is required by law). Visit for the current mileage rate. Also, standard benefits include maternity leave, (offer three months non-paid maternity leave); a mobile phone and cellular phone usage; a vehicle to drive for personal use; and apartment rent. But, by far, the most desirable benefit for nannies is health insurance.

According to a poll about benefits for nannies by Be the Best Nanny Newsletter health insurance benefits are very important to 72% of in-home caregivers. Forty-percent of the nannies who took our survey admitted they are staying at their current nanny job just to keep their health insurance coverage.

Health insurance benefits are so important to nannies that 57% that took the poll said they would consider accepting health insurance coverage instead of a raise.

Plus, health benefits are not taxed.

Some health benefits to consider include a Health Reimbursement Account (HRA), or a Health Savings Account (HSA).

The parent employer sponsors the tax exempt HRA which reimburses the employee for eligible medical care expenses, as defined by the IRS.

The HSA is a tax-exempt trust established to pay for qualified medical expenses. Both the employer and employee may contribute to the HSA account. Families and nannies can contact many businesses that offer nanny health insurance plans (both short-term and long-term plans).

Visit the IRS web site for more information about HRA and HSA accounts.

Nannies, would you accept health insurance benefits in lieu of a raise?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What if the Parents Don't Want to Pay My Nanny Taxes?

April 15 is Tax Day

In a monthly poll about nanny taxes Be the Best Nanny Newsletter conducted in April, 2006 the most common reasons parents gave for not paying their employee's nanny taxes were that there was too much paperwork, it's too confusing, and costs too much.

That is why we suggest the nanny purchase inexpensive nanny tax software (available all over the Internet) herself and give it to her employer. The software is not only inexpensive but eliminates both the confusion and paperwork.

Next, make the following points to your employer:

1. It's the law. Your employer is breaking the law by not being tax compliant. Doctors, attorneys, and accountants can lose their practices and licences if they do not pay their nanny on-the-books.

2. Tell your employer that you want to apply for a credit card, buy or lease a car, rent an apartment, or get a mortgage on a house. To do so you must prove you are working. You must pay taxes to prove you work.

3. You must be paid on-the-books to receive social security, unemployment insurance coverage, and an Earned Income Credit.

4. Paying taxes protects the parents in case you ever get hurt on the job. You must be paid legally to be eligible for Medicare benefits, disability benefits, or workers' compensation.

5. If your employer pays you legally they will be able to take advantage of their flexible-spending plan and deduct your salary as a qualifying expense.

6. Your employer has to report your wages and the taxes they withhold for you on their personal income tax return or be liable for hefty penalties.

7. The only difference between working as a legal American citizen rather than an illegal immigrant is that American tax payers are protected by the system with Social Security, unemployment benefits, Medicare, disability, and workers compensation.

8. Feel free to ask your nanny agency staff or any nanny tax company employee to talk with your employer about both the risks of not paying their employee legally and the benefits of tax compliance.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

If You Get Laid-Off Will You Be Able to Collect Unemployment Benefits?

Must Be Paid On-The-Books to Collect Unemployment or Disability Benefits

Tomorrow is tax day! Being paid-on-the-books is the best way to protect yourself in case you are laid-off or get sick. If you are one of the 70% to 80% estimated domestic employees that are not tax compliant (according to IRS estimates) there is no better time to bring up the topic with your employer's while taxes are on their mind.

Last tax season there were dozens of articles discussing that when the economy is bad nannies are the first to be laid-off. For example, "Nannies No Longer Rule the Roost," "Recession Shakes Up the Nanny Business," and "Feeling the Pinch."

In February, 2010 the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that 14.9 million Americans were unemployed.

In the current economy do you know what will happen to your job if your employers suddenly lose their jobs? If you are unexpectedly laid-off the only way you can receive unemployment benefits is if you have been tax compliant.

It is the responsibility of the nanny to ensure her tax paperwork is filled out and submitted as required by law. Many nannies incorrectly assume it is only the parents responsibility to be tax compliant. It is the nanny’s responsibility to ensure her wages are being submitted.

Also, many nannies and parents incorrectly assume that process of paying and submitting wages and taxes is difficult. Submitting taxes may sound confusing but it could not be simpler than using nanny tax software available to purchase online.

Each tax season I recommend that professional household employees purchase the nanny tax software themselves and give it to their employers. It is inexpensive and the software makes the process of submitting taxes simple.

No more excuses! This year buy some inexpensive tax payroll software which makes it easy to get paid legally and receive the tax benefits that you, and all hard-working American’s, deserve!

Are you paid on-the-books? If not, why?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Donate to Help Heroine Nanny Pay for Medical Expenses and Learn From Mistake She Made

By now we have all heard about the heroine nanny, Alyson Myatt, who rushed barefoot through flames to save the five-year-old boy in her care on March 23, 2010. She is a true "Super Nanny."

But, firefighters say the story also brings a lesson for everyone, because of a mistake the nanny made. And, she doesn't have health insurance to treat her own burns so there is a web site for you to donate to help pay for her medical expenses.

The nanny's big mistake was not calling 911 earlier that day when she put out a small fire herself. An article, "Fire involving nanny rescue under state investigation" says, "Shelbyville fire chief Willard Tucker said Myatt believed she had extinguished that first fire, without a need to call the fire department for help.

'She said she put it out with some water and spoke with the owner of the property,' Tucker said.

But later, a loud noise, smoke and flames awakened the nanny, and she headed for the child's room. Myatt burned her feet and hands walking across a flaming hallway. The child was not hurt.

Tucker wishes she had called 911 at the first sign of trouble. However, 'It doesn't discount the events that took place and the risk she took to save Aden,' Tucker said.

Tucker believes firefighters would have found a smoldering fire before it put the boy and nanny at risk."

The heroine appeared on the Ellen Show and on the show gave her $20,000 to help with her recovery. To donate to her medical expenses please visit the web site by clicking here.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Five S's

Review of The Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp

Author of The Happiest Baby on the Block and the more recent The Happiest Toddler on the Block books, and DVDs, Dr. Harvey Karp is endorsed by the Surgeon General as well as La Leche League, Lamaze, and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

Dr. Karp has been teaching his specialized calming techniques for more than 25-years. His methods are extremely simple and absolutely work! His theory is that by creating a comfortable environment similar to the womb will allow a baby to happily sleep more. It does work.

It is easy to follow his Five S’s — swaddling, side, stomach positioning, shushing, swinging, and sucking. Each “S” triggers natural calming reflexes to soothe the baby.

Swaddling is an excellent way to prepare younger children and newborns for a good night's sleep. Dr. Karp cites a 2002 study done at the Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine, in Missouri, involving 37 infants (aged 19 days to six-months). The study found that the younger babies went to sleep more quickly after being swaddled. The study also showed that babies who are swaddled, or wrapped tightly in cloth before being put down to sleep, were more likely to sleep on their backs — a position that is now suggested by most pediatricians for prevention of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). "You get the benefit of tummy sleep with the safety of back sleeping," says Dr. Karp. "It extends an hour to two hours a night the sleep of babies, I like to tell my parents."

Side and stomach positioning mimic a baby's posture in the uterus — it also switches off your baby's Moro (falling) reflex. Dr. Karp suggests placing a swaddled infant on a parent's lap while seated; put the child on his right side with his head on your knees and his feet on your hip. Then slide your left hand between your knee and his cheek so you support his head in your palm and fingers. Finally, roll him onto your left forearm so his stomach rests on your arm; bring him in close to your body, lightly pressing his back against your chest.

Shushing and white noise can also be a benefit for many babies and toddlers. Reminiscent of the womb, white noise is especially helpful for soothing newborns. You can add this to your routine simply by softly "shhh"-ing to the infant as you help her to sleep; or you can play a white noise recording (see Karp's website for several examples). The sound works to mask other sounds in your home that may wake up light-sleeping children.

Swinging: Since ancient times, parents have employed swinging to soothe a crying baby. Gentle motion mimics life in the womb for your baby—much like "shhh"-ing—and, as Dr. Karp writes, "[it] turns on 'motion sensors' in [your baby's] ears, which then activate the calming reflex." Dr. Karp's swing motion is achieved by beginning in the same lap position as in the side/stomach posture (baby swaddled, and stomach-down in your arms). Just add a gentle rocking back and forth by swaying your legs from left to right, and add a little jiggle by bouncing your knees up and down. Or, you can try an infant swing as well.

Sucking is another age-old soothing technique. In a modern-day twist, Dr. Karp suggests using the pacifier for children who haven't found a favorite finger or thumb to suck. He prescribes bottle and breast feeding whenever your infant appears hungry (a sure sign is when he turns his head and opens his mouth when you touch his cheek), or employing the use of a pacifier when the infant is merely looking for comfort. But when using a pacifier, Dr. Karp says it is important to know when to stop. "At three-months, phase out pacis and wake them up a bit just before you put them to sleep so they can learn how to self-sleep."

Dr. Karp also covers strategies for calming fussy or colicky babies. The soothing methods are simple and help babies settle down, a prerequisite for falling, and staying, asleep.

Stop by next week for another weekly book review for nannies and au pairs.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Review of The No-Cry Sleep Solution

Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night
By Elizabeth Pantley and William Sears

This book has great tips for setting realistic sleep goals using sleep logs with infants. It does not provide quick fix solutions. Elizabeth Pantley points out each infant is an individual and not every method will work with every infant.

The authors do not believe that babies should be left to cry in order to get to sleep. Dr. Sears explains that research shows that the "cry it out method" is harmful to future brain development and emotional well being of infants. Elizabeth Pantley argues that it is possible to help your baby to sleep through the night without resorting to neglect.

She encourages using sleeping ‘logs’ to track progress, and the safety of baby’s sleeping set-up is prioritized. She explains that daytime sleep is linked to nighttime sleep. She encourages nap and sleep routines to help develop healthy sleep associations to ensure the baby fits conveniently into parents’ lives.

Have you followed the advice of this book? What advice do you have for nannies trying to develop sleep schedules for infants?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Review of Nighttime Parenting: How to Get Your Baby and Child to Sleep

This week we are discussing infant sleep methods. Yesterday we discussed The Baby Book style of attachment parenting. Today we will review another book by Dr. William Sears, Nighttime Parenting: How to Get Your Baby and Child to Sleep.

Like The Baby Book this book discusses attachment parenting, and promotes the benefits of co-sleeping as well as how to get a baby to sleep and stay asleep.
But, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strongly discourages co-sleeping to reduce Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

This book recommends:

During the day:
Carry baby in a sling and cuddle often. By fulfilling the baby's daytime needs for routine and closeness, you will help her develop more consistent nighttime patterns.

Before bed:
Use one of a number of calming-down methods depending on your circumstances such as, bathing, massaging, nursing, fathering down (infant's head nestled in crook of Dad's neck), rocking, wearing down (as in wearing baby in a sling, not horseplay), motoring down (yes, in the car).

Once baby's asleep:
Don't sneak away until she's in deep sleep. Look for limp limbs. The baby will often awaken if you set her down during the first stage of sleep.

During the night:
The parents should sleep close to baby so they can continue to monitor her needs. Comfort, rock, change, or nurse baby when she awakens.

Nighttime Parenting: How to Get Your Baby and Child to Sleep
By William Sears

What are your thoughts of using the Dr. Sears style of infant sleeping?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Infant Sleep Methods

Gentle Sleep Method of Attachment Parenting By Dr. Sears

In the April, 2010 Be the Best Nanny Newsletter we discuss the most popular infant sleep methods.

The most popular infant sleep methods range from gentle approaches which include attachment parenting when a baby sleeps with the parents to firmer approaches where parents let infants “cry it out” learning to settle themselves to fall asleep.

We will briefly discuss the most popular methods to hear what nannies and au pairs have to say about the topic.

The Baby Book
By Dr. Sears

The parenting philosophy of attachment parenting is the foundation for the advice given in The Baby Book. The gentle approach of attachment parenting is that a healthy attachment is necessary during infancy and toddler years.

The sleep lesson taught in the The Baby Book is, "Babies need to be parented to sleep, not just put to sleep." Infants enter sleep through a very light initial stage that lasts up to 20 minutes. If parents try to rush a child to sleep during this early stage, he will usually wake up. The method encourages parents to closely watch their infants and observe their sleep stages (when an infant's limbs are limp when lifted, he has entered deep sleep).

The book recommends first incorporating a relaxing practice into the bedtime ritual such as, infant massage or a warm bath. After the baby shows signs of getting sleepy, the method then suggests nursing, snuggling in a parent's arms, rocking, or climbing into bed with the baby to help parent him to sleep.
Please see yesterday’s post with warnings about sleeping with babies to prevent SIDS since the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strongly discourages co-sleeping to reduce SIDS.

"It is not your job to make your child nighttime independent," the authors say, "but rather to create a secure nighttime environment and feelings of rightness to allow your child's independence to develop naturally... When the time comes, your baby will wean from your bed just like all the other weanings."

Have you worked for parent that follow the attachment parenting style? Do you like this style of helping infants to fall asleep?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Preventing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome for Nannies and Au Pairs

In the April 2010 issue of Be the Best Nanny Newsletter we discuss some of the most popular sleep methods for helping infants to sleep.

One of the most important topics about infant sleep is preventing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

To reduce the incidence of SIDS, the following strategies have been recommended by research scientists and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Task Force on SIDS:


By now all caregivers should know to never smoke around children. Second hand smoke is dangerous to everyone.

Avoid overdressing the baby to prevent infant overheating. Keep the temperature in the baby's room at a level that feels comfortable to a lightly clothed adult and avoid overdressing the baby.

Avoid using soft, fluffy or loose bedding in the crib, and should not use pillows, sheepskins or comforters under the baby. Consider using a sleeper or other sleep clothing as an alternative to blankets, with no other covering. Make sure your baby's head remains uncovered during sleep (even during the day).

Placing babies on their backs to sleep is the single most important step that parents and nannies can take to reduce the risk of SIDS. In 1994, the AAP instituted the "Back to Sleep" Campaign, and since then, the number of SIDS babies has declined by 40%.

Do not share a sleep surface with a baby to feed, sleep, or even cuddle.


Recent research has shown that pacifiers can significantly reduce a baby's risk for SIDS. Experts recommend providing your baby with a pacifier EVERY time they are placed down to sleep.

Breastfeeding can reduce the risk of death for infants in their first year of life. If possible, mothers should be encouraged to breastfeed exclusively for at least the first six-months.

Unfortunately, SIDS can occur even if parents and caregivers follow all of these guidelines carefully. Researchers have yet to find foolproof tests to predict which babies are at highest risk for SIDS. Although research is identifying an increased number of risk factors for SIDS, it still occurs in the most capable, cautious, and loving families.

For more information, please check out:
Have you ever worked for parents that do not follow all these recommendations to prevent SIDS? Do you follow these tips to prevents SIDS?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Children's Easter Books

Weekly Trip to the Library for Nannies and Au Pairs

If you work for a family who celebrates Easter we hope you had fun this week coloring Easter eggs, making Easter cards for relatives and friends, and helping the parents make Easter baskets for the children by filling empty plastic eggs with candy, money, and toys.

Eggs represent new life. They have been a symbol of spring since ancient times. Christians adopted the egg as an Easter symbol because of the relationship between Easter and the renewal of life. Exchanging and eating Easter eggs is a popular custom. The eggs are hard-boiled and dyed in various colors and patterns. Many countries have their own traditional patterns. Probably the most famous Easter eggs are those designed in Ukraine and Poland, where Christians decorate the eggs with complicated red, black, and white patterns.

Rabbits symbolize fertility because of their ability to produce many young. Some parents tell their children that the Easter Rabbit, or Easter Bunny, brings Easter eggs.

The lamb is a particularly important Easter symbol in central and eastern European countries. It represents Jesus and relates His death to that of the lamb sacrificed on the first Passover. Christians traditionally refer to Jesus as "the Lamb of God." Jesus is also portrayed as a shepherd that tends to his flock (people). Many people serve lamb as part of the Easter feast. In many homes, a lamb-shaped cake decorates the table. Many Eastern Orthodox Christians hang pictures of the Easter lamb in their homes.

Hot cross buns, now eaten throughout the Easter season, were first baked in England to be served on Good Friday. The buns have a cross of icing on the top. Some people have suggested the connection to the ancient sacramental cakes.

Easter Lilies are used to decorate churches and homes. The large, pure white blossoms remind Christians of the pure new life that comes to them through the Resurrection of Jesus.

Before and After Easter Activities and Ideas for Lent to Pentecost
By Debbie Trafton O'Neal

Debbie O’Neal tells the history of Lent and Easter and then a day-by-day journey through the season, with interesting crafts, activities, recipes, and worship ideas. There are celebrations and activities for Easter Day and each week of the Easter season, plus a bonus punch-out butterfly mobile. This book is a very spiritual and uplifting resource guide for anyone teaching children about Easter.

An Easter Celebration - Traditions and Customs from Around the World
By Pamela Kennedy

This book has great illustrations with fine art reproductions and vintage engravings. Helps children understand how and why each tradition has become a part of today's Easter celebration. It is a good introduction to the symbols and customs surrounding Easter. The book explains how the symbol of new birth and rebirth can be found in flowers, eggs, rabbits, and lambs. The customs of Holy Week and Passover are discussed.

Click here for more children’s books to share for Easter.

Stop by next Saturday for another Weekly Trip to the Library for nannies and au pairs.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Nanny Support Group Community Unity Service: Spring 2010

By Andrea Flagg, Nanny and Co-Founder of Nanny Alliance of New York and New Jersey

In the Fall of 2007 I met with several of the leaders from Nanny Support Groups across the United States while attending Nannypalooza. I admired all the group leaders and how each and every group supported the nannies who were their members.

As we were discussing the types of events our nanny groups hosted, a few mentioned that they participated in community service. This was one area my group, Nanny Alliance of New York and New Jersey was lacking in. Hearing the other groups experience with volunteering inspired me.

At my group’s next meeting I brought up the idea and was pleased to hear the response of suggestions and ideas our members shared. That winter we helped two organizations by collecting items for the local food bank, and then hats, gloves, and scarf’s for the homeless.

In April, 2008 my group banned together with National Association for Nanny Care (NANC) and National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) for Week of the Young Child where Nanny Alliance of NY & NJ’s efforts collected over 750 books for two community centers in the Tri-state NJ, NY, and CT area.

It felt great participating in these events and helping our community! It was wonderful to spend time with the ladies and demonstrate that nannies are caring individuals who are responsible and community-oriented. Having such a positive experience left me wanting to do even more!

In March, 2010 I presented an idea to the nanny support group leaders for us all to ban together where each of our groups chose a form of community service to represent. My goal was to keep it simple and let the groups decide on who, where and what type of event they wanted to partake in.

Nannies are such loving, giving souls and the response was excellent! So, Nanny Support Group Community Unity Spring 2010 was created!

The Association of DC Area Nannies (ADCAN) is supporting the National Center for Children & Families in Washington DC and Maryland for the entire Spring season. Collections will include summer camp items, art supplies, and baby supplies. They will collect supplies at their March, April, and May meetings which are held on the third Sunday of each month. ADCAN has done work with the organization in the past year and they are have been wonderful and appreciative. They provide foster care, transitional housing, a homeless shelter, battered women services, summer camp programs, and the list goes on. To learn more about this organization please visit their website at:

The Boston Area Nanny Support Group (BANSG) in Boston, MA and the surrounding suburbs is supporting the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, MA. On May 1, 2010 BANSG will provide childcare during the yearly regional conference held at the Perkins School for the Blind for parents of visually impaired preschoolers. They are counselors for the day in a well-organized "camp" for the impaired children and their sighted siblings.

Their participation allows parents of an impaired child to learn hope and strategies for raising and educating a blind or visually impaired (often multi-impaired) child, and to meet and talk with other parents who are meeting the same challenges. It is not unusual that they are the first people these parents have ever been able to trust to care for their handicapped child, and that this conference marks their first hours away from focusing on the direct care of their child!

Central Florida Nannies in Orlando and surrounding areas is supporting the March of Dimes April 24, 2010 in Orlando, FL.

CincyNanny Community of the greater Cincinnati Area will participate in "Go Cincinnati" one of the largest serve projects in that cities' history on May 15, 2010.They will be assigned to a project that directly influences children.

The Denver Area Nanny Association is having a children's book drive in the month of April in the Denver, CO area. The group will deliver new and gently used children's books to lower income area pediatric clinics Brett's Place which is a Ronald McDonald type home for families and their children who have cancer and a women's shelter, The Gathering Place. They are going to encourage the members of the group to try and involve their charges in selecting some of their books to donate.

The Northshore Professional Nanny Alliance will host a book drive for the Next Door Foundation -- an organization that provides books to inner-city children in Wisconsin. They will also be volunteering in their Read to Me program. Nannies will read to small groups of three, four, and five-year-olds at Next Door Foundation on Tuesday, April 13, 2010.

The Northwest Nanny Association of the Seattle area will be collecting new and gently used books, as well as other infant and child related items. They will be donating all items to Childhaven in Washington State. Childhaven's four western Washington branch centers provide therapeutic childcare and early childhood education to babies, toddlers, and preschoolers who have suffered from or are at risk of abuse and neglect. The nanny support group is encouraging all nanny members to have the children and the families they work for get involved. Several nanny members from the group will personally be delivering the items at the end of April.

Nanny Alliance of New York & New Jersey is a nanny support group for the tri-state NY, NJ, and CT area. On April 25, 2010 the group will join with others for the March of Dimes Walk for Babies in Mahwah, NJ. The walk gives hope to the more than half a million babies born too soon each year. The money raised supports programs in the community that help mothers have healthy, full-term pregnancies. As well as, funds research to find answers to the problems that threaten babies. If you’d like to support the March of Dimes please make your donation by clicking here.

Once our events take place, I will gather input and photos from each groups day to share.

Thank you,
Andrea Flagg
Nanny Alliance of New York & New Jersey

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Monthly To-Do List for Nannies

File your tax return by April 15th, or file for an extension. If you owe money and do not have the payment, you still must file.

Hide view of your driver's lisence. If you can open your purse or wallet and any bystander can read your name and address from your drivers license, turn the driver's lisence backwards or move it to another part of your purse.

Make your passwords tougher. Combine capital letters, lower case letters, and numbers. Derive your password from an unique sentence that only you know. For example, "John & Sara are 5 & 7 years old and attend Johnson Elementary School" would make the password: J&Sa5&7yoaaJES. A more effective passwod than your birthdate or pet's name.

If your GSP unit is stolen, the thief can find the way to your door of you have enetered "HOME" as your actual address. Instead, enter a location that is near your home, like a retail store.

Don't be a fool. Make no purchases from television or radio or from anyone that makes claims that are too good to be true. Those tutuorials that claim to make you rich, pay off your debt painlessly, or to buy houses for no money should be ignored.

Plan summer travel now. If you want to travel around the 4th of July holiday, start planning now to get the best deals.