Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Governor David A. Paterson today signed into law a landmark bill to grant workplace protections to domestic workers, the first such law to be enacted in the nation.
Domestic workers had been excluded from many of the rights granted to other employees by legislation enacted in the past.
"Today we correct an historic injustice by granting those who care for the elderly, raise our children and clean our homes the same essential rights to which all workers should be entitled," Governor Paterson said. "I am grateful to the sponsors for their extraordinary efforts to enact this landmark bill, and most of all to those domestic workers who dreamed, planned, organized and then fought for many years, until they were able to see an injustice undone."
This legislation was a result of an agreement between the Governor and the Legislature and will serve as a protection for domestic workers against potential abuse and mistreatment. In addition, the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights will help ensure that domestic workers are provided with industry-specific protections and labor standards.
Among other provisions, this bill provides for:
• The right to overtime pay at time and a half after 40 hours of work in a week, or 44 hours for in-home workers;
• A day of rest every seven days, or overtime pay if it is waived;
• Three paid days of rest annually after one year of work;
• The removal of the domestic workers exemption from the Human Rights Law, and the creation of a special cause of action for domestic workers who suffer sexual or racial harassment;
• The extension of statutory disability benefits to domestic workers, to the same degree as other workers; and
• A study by the Commissioner of Labor on the practicality of extending collective bargaining rights to domestic workers.
Governor Paterson added, "I understand that similar legislation is now being considered in California. I profoundly hope that New York's efforts in this area will serve as a national model, and remove the exclusions which have wrongly applied to this class of workers for too long."
Domestic Worker's United asks domestic workers to join them at the historic signing of the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights into law at the new Harriet Tubman Memorial Plaza, a traffic triangle, at the intersection of Frederick Douglass Boulevard (formerly Eighth Avenue) at St. Nicholas Avenue and 122nd Street in New York, New York today at 11:00 am.
In San Francisco there will be a gathering at 12 noon at the Womens Building, 3643 18th St, to commemorate victory in New York and the passage of a domestic worker resolution in California. Si se puede!
Photo: Domestic Worker's United rally in Albany.
Monday, August 30, 2010
NEW YORK (CBS) You may think kids are behaving responsibly online and know everyone they talk to on Facebook. But in a startling new AOL survey conducted by The Nielsen Company more than half of the children surveyed - 54 percent - said they don't personally know all of the friends accepted into their social network.
Well, parents are trying to stay involved in their kids' online lives. According to the survey, 76 percent of parents with kids on Facebook claim to have "friended" their teens.
But 29 percent of teenagers apparently would have their parents butt out, saying they're ready to "un-friend" their parents if given the choice. And who do they want out of their social networking lives the most? Mom. These kids are twice as likely to want to "un-friend" mom versus dad.
What can parents do if their child decides to "un-friend" them or hide online? There's a variety of software programs available to monitor your child's habits both on his or her phone and online. Check out a few of the best featured on "The Early Show."
Do your charges have Facebook accounts?
Sunday, August 29, 2010
This Sunday we review the Mommy's Helper Perfect Feeder. What we like the best is the divided feeding bowl. The divided bowl easily holds baby food jars and the divided bowl allows feeding two different flavors. You can easily put a fruit on one side to mix with cereal on the other side. We also like the snap on snap off lid making food easy to store or transport.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Popular Washington Post education columnist and veteran educator Evelyn Vuko shares the inside scoop to ensure children get the best education possible. Drawing on her experience in the classroom-as well as input from authorities ranging from creative writing experts to solar physicists-Vuko gives grade-specific advice from kindergarten through high school.
Not only do children need to pledge they'll change their behavior, habits, and thinking to make each school year brighter than the last. Parents, caregivers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, principals, school bus drivers, mentors, and tutors need to take the pledge, too. In fact, anyone who cares about a child in school should renovate, revamp, and revise their thinking at the start of every school year. All it takes is a brave heart and an open mind.
The following suggestions help caregivers make every school year more successful and healthier for children:
Be a teacher. If you are involved in any way in a child's growing up, you are a teacher to them whether you've had formal training or not. Be proud of it. And stay with it until they are at least forty years old. Caring, conscientious, and ever-teaching adults are the most powerful change-makers in a kid's life.
Be the boss. You can be a friend and still be a kind source of authority to children. Boundaries are benign parameters that make kids feel safe and secure to do the difficult growing they all have to do. Don't be afraid to set limits, stick to them, and smile. Whining, pleading, and negotiating with kids undermine your role and cause them to lose respect for you. Be as good as your word.
Learn how to calm yourself. Continue that deep breathing; take martial arts, yoga, exercise classes, or long walks. There's a lot to be gained by finding your center point and learning to stay there. Practicing your methods in front of kids every day teaches them that knowing how to calm yourself is critical to living healthfully and successfully in the world.
Be mannerly. Simple good manners aren't simple at all but powerful lessons that reinforce for kids the importance of human kindness and consideration. Hold the door open for the people behind you, listen more, don't interrupt others, and write thank-you notes. By your example and your instruction, you'll teach children to do it, too.
Leave neatness trails. Even if you never considered yourself a neat or organized person, pick up after yourself when a kid is near or watching. This could form a good habit. Leaving a clear, clean space behind you demonstrates thoughtfulness, reinforces order, and models efficiency. Kids need all those things for daily living and for facing the constant challenges of school.
Speak a foreign language. Research shows that all language skills improve when kids under 10-years-old become familiar with a language other than their own. So do not stop speaking your native language or an adopted second language just because the kids attend English-speaking schools. Learn and speak and give them directions in a new foreign language. Venga!
Think out loud. Talking out loud as you ponder a new problem provides a time saving and simple way to teach kids how to analyze a challenge, consider alternatives, select a course of action, and solve the problem at hand. Do this for your own problems and offer your out loud strategies whenever thorny issues face them. If not for you, how many opportunities will they have to witness the inner thinking of an adult, especially of an adult that you want them to emulate?
Friday, August 27, 2010
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
On the first day of Ramadan we posted an article by a Christian nanny working for a Muslim family. Please click here to read that article.
Some of the comments left after posting the article discussed the controversy over a mosque proposed to be built in Manhattan. While some fear Muslim mosques being built, others are able to respect the needs of families practicing Islam in their communities.
For example, the South Brunswick, NJ school board has approved closing for the end of Ramadan and for the Muslim Feast of Sacrifice.
The board also recognized the Hindu new year, Diwali.
School board president Matthew Speesler says it was time. Speesler says some parents were upset that there were too many holidays already on the school calendar.
The New Jersey School Boards Association says 10 of the state's nearly 600 districts recognize Muslim holy days as official school holidays.
Click here to see entire article.
What do you think about the additional religious school holidays?
Monday, August 23, 2010
This campaign embodies the essence of working woman. The importance of using non-toxic cleaning chemicals and the importance of lobbying for a Domestic Worker's Bill of Rights.
Que vivan las mujeres!
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Last week we highly recommended the Beaba Babycook Baby Food Maker.
This week we review the The First Years Babypro All In One Baby Food Maker. Similar to the Beaba Baby Food Maker, this also steams and grinds baby food. It's easily cleaned in the dishwasher and is BPA free. But it's cheaper than the Beaba Baby Food Maker.
The First Years babyPro All In One Steamer and Food Processor is both a steamer and a food processor, providing everything you need to make nutritious homemade baby food in minutes.
It's simple to use and easy to clean, and the compact two-in-one design occupies limited counter space. Quickly steams fruits, vegetables, and even meat, then purees food to the consistency that's right for the child. Food containers easily disassemble to clean in the dishwasher.
Have you used The First Years Babypro All in One Baby Food Maker? What's your opinion of this product?
Saturday, August 21, 2010
LEE HILL: Hey, Michel. Well, I think it's fair to say this week's parenting conversation made a lot of jaws drop, and it definitely inspired people to get online and share their feedback. Tuesday, we talked to a group of moms who share a unique experience. They were mistaken for the nannies of their multiracial or simply different-looking children. Here's a clip from that conversation with featured mom, Jamila Bey.
Ms. JAMILA BEY: I am African-American. That's incredibly obvious, especially if you're looking at my hair. My husband is a Caucasian. My son, he's got blond hair and grey-blue eyes. I was in an elevator one day. He was in a stroller, and a woman looked at him and said, oh, so beautiful, so beautiful. Are you looking for more work? And she said, oh well, you know, you're just so good with him. And when I realized what she was asking, it hurt.
HILL: And, as you might imagine in response to that conversation, we received quite a bit of feedback. Here's a note we received from listener Ingrid. She writes: I'm white, my husband is Ethiopian. Our three children are grown now, but when they were young, I was sometimes asked where I had gotten my children and complimented for having helped children in need.
MARTIN: Oh, my.
MARTIN: But other listeners, like Michael, had a different message. He writes: Good God, people. Toughen up. It's a hard world, and getting questioned if you are a nanny for a baby of a different color than you is hardly anything to get worked up over. He goes on to write, I'm white. My wife is black. Our child is also black. I have been questioned and could care less about what people think. Thank you, Michael.
To hear entire interview or read entire transcript please click here.
Reference: National Public Radio.
The author, Annabel Karmel, is the mother of three children, a bestselling author of books on nutrition and cooking for babies and toddlers, and a familiar face on British television. Annabel has appeared on many American TV programs, including the Today show and The Early Show.
This book has beautiful photographs and the recipes are user-friendly. She clearly shows the ingredients and the time it will take to make the recipe. The baby puree book, in particular, describes appropriate ages for particular foods.
The book explains that making your own baby food is not only more economical than buying commercial brands, it also assures that the child consumes only the freshest, top-quality ingredients.
From first tastes and weaning, right through to meals for older babies, all the recipes are suitable for children aged six months and older. And with all these fruit and vegetable favorites, and innovative fish, meat, and chicken purees, the dishes are so tasty you will want to eat them yourself!
In addition to easy and delicious recipes, Top 100 Baby Purees also includes information on: weaning a baby and transitioning to solid foods, food allergies, time-saving food preparation tips, freezing and reheating your homemade baby food, and tricks on finding the hidden nutrition in everyday foods.
The book does not stress the importance of organic foods and it's not written for vegetarian families.
Tomorrow: Sunday Product Review of The First Years Babypro All In One Baby Food Maker
Friday, August 20, 2010
There is never a reason to add salt or sweetener or sugars to baby food. Babies' kidneys are not enough developed to be able to handle too much salt, so the salt can has been linked to diabetes later in life.
Never serve children under two-years-old honey because honey can contain bacterial spores that can lead to infant botulism. This is a rare but very serious disease that can be fatal.
Fish and Eggs:
Many pediatricians recommend against giving eggs and fish in the first year of life because of allergic reactions.
Also avoid spinach, cabbage, beets, turnips, broccoli, and carrots because these vegetables are high in nitrate and are foods to avoid for babies younger than four-months-old.
Nuts should be avoided because children may develop allergy, especially peanuts are very allergenic and they are a potential choking hazard.
In the United States, the general recommendation is to start with small servings of dairy products when the baby is nine-months-old and to wait with cow's milk as a drink until the baby is one-year-old. Infants fed whole cow's milk receive inadequate amounts of vitamin E, iron, and essential fatty acids. They also receive excessive amounts of protein, sodium, and potassium. These levels may be too high for the baby's system to handle. Additionally, whole cow's milk protein and fat are difficult for an infant to digest and absorb. Also, some babies may not be able to handle the milk protein. If your baby throws up or has a stomach pain after consuming dairy products, contact a pediatrician to schedule an investigation.
Babies can develop gluten intolerance, also called celiac disease. Celiac disease is a digestive disease that damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. People who have celiac disease cannot tolerate gluten, which is found in wheat, rye, and barley. Gluten intolerance is hard to diagnose, but if a baby has diarrhea that won't go away, smelly stools, does not gain weight, and maybe has a bloated abdomen, you should contact a doctor. The tendency to get the disease is inherited.
Reference: American Academy of Pediatrics
Have any children under your care ever been ill from feeding them ingredients on this list?
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Once a baby is 10-months-old they have already chosen favorite tastes. Some babies like feeding themselves and no longer enjoy runny purees.
Babies can become picky eaters and have a varied appetite. One day you will think that you don't have enough food to feed the child, then the next day you will wonder if the baby will ever take another bite. They are individuals and have a right to decide when and what they will eat. If you push them they will stop eating. Keep eating light and fun.
Once the baby is one-year-old they can start trying small chunks of food. Now you can introduce: strawberries, citrus fruits, and berries. This period is excellent for baby finger foods. Baby finger food should have texture but should be soft enough. Remember never leave baby unattended with finger foods. Be alert to the risk of chocking.
Baby finger food recipe:
You will need:
One or two ripe bananas (not overly ripe or mushy bananas)
Slice bananas thinly, coat with pancake batter. Lightly fry in pan until golden brown.
Serve as baby finger foods for snack or at breakfast time.
Tomorrow: What to Never Serve a Baby
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Now that the baby has tasted fruits, vegetables, and single grain baby cereals you can try to introduce meat and fish, pasta, or noodles. Fruits to try after eight-months include: blueberries, cherries, cranberries, grapes, melons, watermelons, cantaloupes, mango, and papaya.
You can introduce some raw fruits now too. Vegetables, pasta, and rice should be soft cooked and mashed with a fork. While giving meat remember to cook and chop into small soft pieces.
At this age the baby may become a picky eater. Do not worry. They are just to interested in exploring the surrounding world. Later the baby will start showing some preferences for certain food. Don't get frustrated during this period. It is important to observe what the baby likes eating and give him or her their food.
Blueberry, Banana Yogurt
You will need:
One or half mashed banana
One cup plain yogurt
½ cup blueberry puree (recipe is given below)
When you make blueberry puree mix it with yogurt and mashed banana. You can chunk banana instead of mashing it.
How to make blueberry puree:
Take about ½ cup frozen blueberries and put them in to the microwave for about 20 seconds until you see the juice starts to run.
Tomorrow: Baby Food for 10- to 12-months
Do you have any favorite baby foods to recommend for eight-month-old babies?
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Once you are ready to introduce fruits and vegetables to a baby's diet, the easiest way to prepare homemade baby food is using a steamer and a food grinder made for the purpose of making baby food. For example, we recommend the Beaba Babycook Baby Food Maker (we reviewed on Sunday) or the The First Years Babypro All In One Baby Food Maker (which we will review this upcoming Sunday).
But, you can use hand operated products which are designed for grinding food, or you can use food processor which purees food. You can freeze the food you make too. For freezing use ice cube trays. Ice cube trays provide perfect portions.
When boiling baby food, use as little water as possible without risking to burn the food. This way you'll keep more of the vitamins in the food.
Always clean your hands and all utensils you use for food preparation.
Newborn to Six-Months:
During the first six-months breastfeeding is recommended. Some formulas in the United States contain probiotics. While these formulas do not provide the full benefits of mother’s milk, they are designed to increase a formula-fed baby’s digestive bacteria to a level closer to that of breastfed babies. Babies grow at different paces and in order to be sure that an individual baby is ready for solids, you have to consult with their health professional. Click here to see the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations on how to choose a formula.
Cues Babies are Developmentally Ready for Solid Foods:
- They are able to sit upright
- They open their mouth when they see a spoon coming towards them
- They can move the food from the spoon and swallow without pushing back out of mouth
- They make chewing motions
- Drooling decreases as they become efficient at swallowing
- They have doubled birth weight
- They have ability to reject food by turning their head, keeping their mouth tightly closed, forcing food back out of mouth
At six-months it's time to add some variety to baby's diet.The first food to add to the baby's diet is rice cereal. Have them eat a serving of rice cereal once a day for a week. The next week choose one of the following ingredients in addition to rice cereal: avocado, apricots, apples, bananas, nectarines, pears, peaches, plums, and pumpkin.
Banana Applesauce Mush
one ripe banana
1. Peel, core, and cut one sweet apple into small chunks.
2. Place the chunks into a pan with just enough water to slightly cover apples.
3. Boil until tender; be sure to check on the water level. Or, you can simply steam the fruits in the Beaba Babycook Baby Food Maker or The First Years Babypro All In One Baby Food Maker listed above,
4. Apples may be mashed with a potato masher to achieve a smooth applesauce consistency or you can puree in an appliance like the Beaba Babycook Baby Food Makeror the The First Years Babypro All In One Baby Food Maker just steam then blend in the product you are using.
5. Peel a ripe banana and mash in a bowl with a fork (heating in the microwave for approximately 20 seconds will soften the banana up if needed).
6. Add applesauce to the banana
7. Puree if necessary but mashing with a potato masher will typically get this mix smooth
Avocado, Banana Puree
You will need:
one or half banana
one or half sliced avocado
You do not have to cook avocado and banana. Peel avocado and remove pit. Cut out the "meat" and mash it with a fork. Next peel banana and mash it. Place fruits into food processor. Puree until you get proper texture of food.
Tomorrow: Baby food for Eight-Months-Old
Monday, August 16, 2010
There are many advantages to making homemade baby food. You can control the ingredients, such as using only organic produce. You don't add preservatives or unnecessary additives, like artificial colorings, that are commonly found in commercially made baby foods. It is also cheaper to prepare homemade baby food, even when it has organic and high quality ingredients.
The "Four Day Wait Rule" is an an easy way to check for food allergies or sensitivities. Introduce new foods, one food at a time, and at a space of four days apart.
For example, introduce baby to avocado on Monday and then wait until Thursday to introduce another food. When you introduce a new food over the course of several days, you are better able to determine exactly how the baby is reacting to that food. It is very important to follow the "Four Day Wait Rule" when introducing a baby to new solid foods. This is most important if the baby's family members have a history of food allergies.
After each new food, watch for any allergic reactions such as diarrhea, rash, or vomiting. If any of these occur, stop using the new food and consult with the child’s doctor.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics single-grain cereals are usually the first solid food to introduce to infants at six-months-old. Baby cereals are available premixed in individual containers or dry, to which you can add breast milk, formula, or water. Premixed baby cereals are convenient, while dry cereals are richer in iron and allow you to control the thickness of the cereal. Whichever type of cereal you use, make sure that it is made for babies because these cereals contain extra nutrients babies need at this age.
Give the baby just one tablespoon portion of food you made to taste. If the baby has just started eating solid foods, it will be rather difficult for her to eat even half of the portion.
Remember, that it is a new experience for the baby so don't force baby to eat. When the baby gets older you will increase portion sizes.
Tomorrow: Introducing Foods to Babies in Stages
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Today we start a new feature on the Be the Best Nanny blog. Each Sunday we will highlight some of our favorite products for nannies and au pairs to use at work. Our first product is the Beaba Babycook Baby Food Maker.
For those working with infants this is the easiest way to prepare baby food. This French baby-food maker is a compact counter top appliance that multitasks as a steamer, blender, warmer, and defroster to prepare fresh, healthy meals for babies.
It starts by steam cooking vegetables, fruits, meat, and fish in less than 15 minutes, preserving their vitamins and flavors, then purees or blends them to your desired consistency.
You can also use it to quickly reheat or defrost precooked foods. Prepares fresh, healthful meals for baby. Includes 2 1/2-cup plastic bowl, cooking basket and spatula, with recipe booklet.
You can also purchase accessories along with the steam and puree machine Beaba B2066 Baby Cook Set - Baby Cook and Multiportions - Blue.
Have you used the Beaba Babycook Baby Food Maker? What do you think about the product?
Saturday, August 14, 2010
How to Get Kids to Love Math
We already have discussed that the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) shows that the defining factor in having academically successful children of parents that work outside the home is the household help that they hire. Click here to see that discussion.
We also discussed a study by the National Institute of Child & Human Development that shows quality care is essential in raising successful children. Click here to see our discussion.
Clearly, nannies and au pairs play a vital role in encouraging children to learn. So for this Weekly Trip to the Library we will review Jo Boaler's book, What's Math Got to Do with It?: How Parents and Teachers Can Help Children Learn to Love Their Least Favorite Subject.
Review of What's Math Got to Do with It? By Jo Boaler
Jo Boaler, a former mathematics professor at Stanford University, offers advice on teaching children to love math in her book, What's Math Got to Do with It?: How Parents and Teachers Can Help Children Learn to Love Their Least Favorite Subject. In the book, Boaler outlines solutions that can change a student's perspective on math, including classroom approaches, essential study strategies, and advice for parents and caregivers.
Boaler believes that all children start out being excited by math. Mathematical ideas that seem obvious to most adults fascinate young children, such as counting a set number of items, rearranging them, counting again and getting the same number. Easy puzzles, games, and patterns are all that a child needs to become mathematically inspired.
"Playing games with dice helps when children are learning to add and subtract. Any activities that help children get a sense of numbers -- what they look like, how big they are, where they occur in the world, is helpful," Boaler explains.
Children begin to understand the idea of numbers around the age of three, and Boaler suggests parents (and caregivers) concentrate on helping their children get a feel for numbers through the age of seven.
Some easy math activities for early learning include:
- Building blocks, interlocking cubes, or kits for making objects. These help develop spatial reasoning, a foundation for mathematical understanding.
- Jigsaw puzzles, Rubik's cubes, and anything else that involves moving, rotating, or fitting objects together will also help develop spatial reasoning.
- Exploring mathematically interesting items like house numbers, fence posts, and patterns in nature.
- Reading books with a mathematical undertone, such as The Father Who Had 10 Childrenby Benedicte Guettier.
- Learning about shapes and addition together with fun, early learning printables.
These simple interactions and early learning activities in the home lay the foundation for enjoying math. Fostering a love affair with math at an early age can give children a better chance of being excited about the subject throughout their school years.
Stop by next Saturday for another Weekly Trip to the Library for nannies and au pairs.
Friday, August 13, 2010
Cindy Strasheim, Nebraska Cooperative Extension explains that the bond with a caregiver may be the most stable relationship for the child during a divorce.
She explains that no one likes to feel like they are in unfamiliar territory. Changes during divorce can feel very uncomfortable. A sensitive nanny can establish a safe, secure, and familiar place for the child to rest and regain perspective on family life-although they may not be able to understand the meaning of divorce in a family. Nannies become a friendly adult who cares about the children and is not as sad or angry as the parents might be.
Here are some things that childcare providers can do to help infants and toddlers during a time of divorce. Nannies may want to share these suggestions with parents who are worried about the changes that they notice in their children.
Keep normal schedules and routines. Encourage parents to do the same at home. Try not to change any more things than necessary.
Reassure infants and toddlers. Let them know that you are still there. Use lots of hugs and loving words.
Keep children's favorite toys, blankets, or stuffed animals close at hand. Allow children to bring items from home to the other settings. Find some things that the child can hold for a long time.
Give children a little more time to say goodbye. Encourage parents to spend more time when they are dropping off or picking up children from the home you work in.
Be patient. Allow children to be upset. Let children be babyish for a while. The more advanced behavior should return soon.
Find out what the children know about the divorce. Ask the parents what they have said. Ask what the parents would like you to say.
Ask the parents about their plans for schedules and living situations. Help the child understand what will change and what will not change.
Consistent discipline. Do not change the rules just because of the divorce. Discipline as you always would. The child needs guidelines.
Nannies must communicate with the parents so there is no confusion about who is in charge and when. Caregivers need to know about all custody and visitation issues. Rules may change from house to house. Yet often the nanny travels with the children and works in both homes. In these situations nannies and parents should talk without the children present and respect the consistent discipline and communication the nanny has to encourage.
Both parents and nannies should consistently explain to children that they are not responsible for the divorce. You may need to say it many times. Nannies should help create stability and security in the lives of children.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
According to Jan Hare, Ph. D., Associate Professor, Oregon State University There is nothing typical about the typical modern American family. The blended family is becoming increasingly common. One of three Americans is now a stepparent, a stepchild, a step sibling, or some other member of a step family.
Because society tends to promote the traditional family as the norm through literature, schools, and television, children who live in non-traditional families may feel that theirs is not a real family and may be embarrassed by their different family structure.
It is important to let children know that currently in the United States non-traditional families are more common than traditional families. It is also important to help children understand that what the family provides for its members is more important than the way it is structured.
Children living in nontraditional families often face social challenges. Although loyal to their family, they may sometimes feel self-conscious about being part of a family that is "different."
Children can be secure and well-adjusted in all kinds of family structures. However, even in the best of circumstances, being from a non-traditional family is sometimes difficult because of misunderstandings outside the family. As a nanny for a nontraditional family, you can help the children cope with these sometimes complicated situations by regularly encouraging open discussion. Here are some suggestions for creating an environment conducive to open communication.
1. Have the parents tell you how they want you to define their family to their children. Speak to the children as the parents direct you to. One of the best definitions of family is: A family is a group of people who love and take care of each other.
2. Consider your own attitudes. Sometimes caregivers unknowingly convey a negative sense of the family to children.
3. Talk about the many different ways people can be a family.
4. Encourage children to ask questions. In order for children to understand what might be a complicated family situation, they need to feel comfortable asking whatever questions may be on their minds.
5. Recognize potential societal barriers. A complicated situation may develop when adults of the same sex join together. Gay men and lesbians often experience prejudice. As a result, children can be fearful about disclosing information about their family.
6. Patience and understanding often go a long way toward creating acceptance. Many children who are allowed to control what their peers know about the family eventually gain the confidence to acknowledge the adults' relationship and cope well with responses from others.
7. Help children to creatively describe their family. Picture drawing: Ask children to draw a picture of the whole family. When they are finished drawing, simply ask them to tell you about it. This drawing may give you a good idea about each child's view of the family.
Family maps: Drawing a map of family relationships can help children to understand connections among immediate and extended family members. It can be fun, too! Young children live in a very literal world. They need simple explanations. Giving a simple description of what may be a very complicated family situation is not an easy task.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
By Melissa Silvester, Nanny, New York, NY
Photo of the Al-Zaim family gathered for dinner to break the Ramadan fast. Adult Muslims are required to fast during daylight hours this month as a form of worship. (Justine Hunt/Globe Staff Boston.com)
I am a Christian who has been working as a nanny for a Muslim family with a six-year-old boy and twin infant boys for more than three years. I have been hired to help care for the boys as the mother volunteers for charity and the father works as a surgeon.
At at time when scared American citizens are protesting the building of a mosque in Manhattan, and since Ramadan begins at sundown tonight, I feel there is no better time to let other nannies know about my experience working with, and falling in love with, a Muslim family in America.
I know it sounds cliche, but I truly have learned there is more in common between our religious beliefs than different. The children are being raised to follow the same moral codes and values as I was.
I could go through the checklist of similarities between the two religions but you can do that yourself by clicking here ,or clicking here ,or by simply googling to find those similarities.
I just want to share that I know first hand that there is much more to praise and respect than ridicule or fear about the faith.
I just want to encourage nannies to consider working with families that worship a different faith. There is nothing to fear and it has been an enlightening and wonderful experience for me.
Ramadan is about generosity and gratitude. Although charity and good deeds are always important in Islam, they have special significance at the end of Ramadan. As the month draws to a close, Muslims are obligated to share their blessings by feeding the poor and making contributions to mosques.
The children I care for will not fast, of course. Since the children don't have to take part in the Ramadan traditions like fasting I can still have them do plenty of meaningful, fun activities about the holiday.
Click here to make this "Good Deeds Calendar" and other arts and crafts to do with kids for Ramadan.
Click here to make an easy Ramadan puzzle.
Children's Books for Reading:
The Night of the Moon: A Muslim Holiday Story by Hena Khan
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
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.
Children of working parents that do not have the support of 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.
Doing homework is also an opportunity for children to gain self confidence and good self-esteem.
Monday, August 9, 2010
To see the entire article please click here.
Below are five suggestions for getting children ready for school:
1. Start the school schedule early. Break the summer sleep-in/stay-up late mode. Begin the morning and evening school routine at least two weeks before school actually starts. Don't expect that a child will be able to make the adjustment to getting up for school quickly or easily without a break in period.
3. Visit the school. Reacquaint your child with the school. Go to the school and play on the play ground, meet the new principal or office personnel, talk to the janitor if they are around.
4. Set goals for the upcoming school year. Help children create realistic expectations for themselves about school. Talk about what they want to accomplish this school year, not what you want them to accomplish. Remember not all of school is about grades. Making new friends, speaking out in class, standing up for oneself, staying organized, and managing behavior are all crucial skills for a successful school year.
To see the entire article please click here.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
This week's children's book is Alexander and the Terrible , Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. After the book review are activities meant to supplement the story. There is one activity for each day of the work week. After reading this book is a great opportunity to learn about Australia's animals, language, and geography. Kids will love making the aboriginal musical instrument below.
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
From the moment he wakes up with gum in his hair, things just do not go Alexander's way. Getting out of bed, he trips on a skateboard and drops his sweater into a sink full of water. At breakfast, Alexander's brothers Nick and Anthony reach into their cereal boxes and pull out amazing prizes, while all Alexander ends up with is cereal.
On the way to school, he doesn't get the window seat in the carpool. At school his teacher doesn't like his drawing of an invisible castle (which is actually just a blank sheet of paper) and criticizes him for singing too loud and leaving out 16. His friend Paul reduces Alexander to third best friend and there is no dessert in his lunch.
At the dentist's, the dentist tells Alexander he has a cavity, the elevator door hurts his foot, Anthony pushes him into the mud, Nick calls him a crybaby for crying, and Mom catches him in the act of punching Nick.
At the shoe store, they're sold out of Alexander's choice of sneakers (blue ones with red stripes), so Mom has to buy him plain white sneakers, which he'll refuse to wear.
At Dad's office, Alexander makes a mess of things when he fools around with everything there (the copying machine, the books, and the telephone) getting to the point where Dad tells him not to pick him up from work anymore.
At home, Alexander's bad day is far from over. The family has lima beans for dinner (which he hates), there is kissing on TV (which he also hates), bath time becomes a nightmare (too hot water, soap in the eyes, and losing a marble down the drain) and he has to wear his railroad train pajamas (he hates his railroad train pajamas).
At bedtime, Alexander's nightlight burns out, he bites his tongue, Nick takes back a pillow, and the family cat chooses to sleep with Anthony. No wonder Alexander wants to move to Australia. The book ends with his mother's assurance that everyone has bad days, even people who live in Australia. In the Australian and New Zealand versions he wants to move to Timbuktu, not Australia.
Consider doing these supplemental activities after reading the book:
Monday: Activity One
Write a Story
Help children write a story about a time they had a really bad day. Did the day get better? What happened to change their feelings? Ask them to write about a place they would like to move to when they have a bad day. Why did they choose this place? What would they do there? Could what happened to Alexander happen there too? Encourage them to use the following vocabulary words found in this book: sailboat, invisible, sixteen, Australia, terrible, skateboard, breakfast, cupcakes, dessert, cavity, pajamas, dentist, horrible, and strawberry.
Tuesday: Activity Two
What Can You Do With the Number 16?
Sixteen is the number Alexander forgot in the book. Ask the children see how long 16 paper clips is? Go outside and see if you can find 16 of anything. How many different ways can you come up with $0.16 cents? What grade will they be in when they turn 16-years-old?
Wednesday: Activity Three
Help children learn about animals in Australia, For example, all children love kangaroos and koala bears. You can find coloring pages for Australian animals by clicking here. Make masks of Australian animals and pretend you are visiting an Australian zoo. Find out more about animals from Australia by clicking here.
Thursday: Activity Four
Have a blast spending the day trying to speak in Australian slang. Can you find the meanings of: Mate, bush, G'Day, outback, boomerang, down under, didgeridoo, barbie, car park, Cozzie, joey, knickers, mum, roo, roundabout? Do Americans use slang words too? Find a translation dictionary by clicking here.
Friday: Activity Five
Make a Didgeridoo
Have the children listen to didgeridoo music for free by clicking here. Ask the children to describe what they hear. Does it make the sound of an animal? Show them a picture of the instrument which you can find by clicking here. Make a didgeridoo using two cardboard wrapping paper tubes taped together. For children, make it three or four feet long. Once you have the cardboard tubes taped, kids can decorate it using bright colors of paint or markers. Allow them to glue all sorts of objects to the didgeridoo. To play it place it out in front our you, with one end resting on the ground. Place your mouth inside the tube and make a sound of a motorboat.
Stop by next week for another Weekly Trip to the Library for Nannies and Au Pairs.
Friday, August 6, 2010
All this week Sue Downey of the National Association of Nanny Care explained how nannies can find support. She detailed the exciting workshops available by Nannypalooza Nannies Across America nationwide September 18 and 19, 2010.
Here is the most current list of nanny support groups nationwide.
International Nanny Association (INA)
Co-Presidents: Wendy Sachs and Susan Tokayer
National Association for Nanny Care (NANC)
Contact: Lora Brawley and Sue Downey
Niñeras en Español
Contact: Jany Lauren
Professional Nanny Association (PNA)
Contact: Jennie Krogulski, Caryn Haase, Tara Lindsay
Bay Area Nanny Association (BANA)
San Francisco Bay Area
Contact: Margaret Felton
Yahoo Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BayAreaNannies/
East Bay Nannies
East Bay, CA
Yahoo Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Eastbaynannies/
Professional Nannies of Southern California
Contact: Melissa Holmes and Sarah Toscano
Yahoo Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pronanniesofsc
Los Angels Area: Santa Barbara, Pomona, and Orange County
Contact: Buffi Gentry
Kitchener-Waterloo Area Nanny Association (KWANA)
Kitchener-Waterloo area, Ontario Canada
Contact: Erin Collicutt
Denver Area Nanny Association
Yahoo Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DenverAreaNannyAssociation/
Central Florida Nannies
Orlando and Surrounding Areas
Contact: Marcia Van de Kieft (President) or Sherri Askew (Vice-President)
Nannies of Southwest Florida
Naples, Ft. Myers, Marcos Island, Cape Coral and Surrounding Areas
Contact: Jodi Lepp
Metro Atlanta Nannies
Contact: Deborah Brown
North Atlanta Nanny Association
Contact: Jocelyn Kelly
Contact: Pat Rung and Diane King
Association of DC Area Nannies (ADCAN )
Maryland, Northern Virginia, Washington DC
Contact: Kellie Geres
Boston Area Nanny Support Group (BANSG )
Boston and surrounding suburbs
Contact: Janice St. Clair
Yahoo Group: groups.yahoo.com/group/BANSG
North of Boston Nanny Support Group
Suburbs North of Boston, and New Hampshire
Contact: Maryann Kamitian
Ann Arbor Nannies
Great Ann Arbor, Michigan Area
Contact: Sandra Tracey
Yahoo Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/annarbornannies/
Michigan Professional Nanny Association
Metro Detroit Area
Contact: Tara Lindsey, April Krause, and Maria Harrington
Twin City Professional Nannies (TCPN)
St. Paul, MN area
North of Boston Nanny Support Group
Contact: Maryann Kamitian
Contact: Sara Sandstrom and Bethany Farace
Yahoo Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NJNannies/
Triangle Area Nanny Group (TANG)
Triangle Area of North Carolina, which is Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill
Contact: Tracey Chipps and Leanne Osborne
Contact: Greta Schraer
Cleveland Area Nannies
Contact: Cathleen Smith
Yahoo Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ohionannies/
Contact: Sue Downey
Pittsburgh and Surrounding Areas
Contact: Kate Oaks
Yahoo Group: www.groups.yahoo.com/group/pghnannies/
Austin Nanny Connection
Greater Austin Area
Contact: Patricia Kinnie
Dallas, Ft. Worth Metroplex Area
Contact Rowlanda Smith
Yahoo Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DFW_nannies/
Houston Nanny Network
Contact: Tairajae Zachary
Yahoo Group: email@example.com
Association of DC Area Nannies (ADCAN)
Northern Virginia, Washington DC, Maryland
Contact: Kellie Geres
Nanny Network of Richmond
Richmond, VA and Surrounding Counties
Contact: Angela Jackson
Association of DC Area Nannies (ADCAN)
Washington DC, Maryland, Northern Virginia
Contact: Kellie Geres
Emerald City Nannies
Greater Seattle Area
Contact: Anna Stivers and Danielle Burlingham
Northwest Nanny Association
Greater Seattle Area
Contact: Jenny Brown
Northshore Professional Nanny Alliance
Contact: Mary Boyle