Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Safety Products

Product Review Sunday

Keep children safe this Halloween using the products below. Light up their costumes using these Halloween strobe lights. These lights are 2-inches in diameter and project a flashing strobe effect to let cars and others see children in the dark. Pick and choose from the products below to keep the kids safe while trick-or-treating.

Stop by next Sunday for another Product Review Sunday.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Weekly Trip to the Library

Halloween Children's Books

Halloween, the last day of October, has children dress in costumes and knock on neighborhood doors shouting "Trick or Treat!" Neighbors fill children's bags full of candy. Here are some children's books to share about the holiday with children.

Click here to see our recipe for candied apples. Click here for our ghost cookie recipe and our meatball bug recipe for Halloween. Click here to see how to make some Halloween decorations. For a list of age appropriate Halloween movies and DVDs click here.

The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin
By Joe Troiano

I love books that come with a CD and so do children. Spookley the square pumpkin is different. He delivers a special message of tolerance and self-acceptance that's just right for Halloween and every day of the year. A story about how good being different can be. And the imaginative end -- a patch filled with all sorts of oddly shaped and colorful pumpkins -- will thoroughly delight kids!

By Jerry Seinfled

In his first picture book, comedian Jerry Seinfeld captures on the page his hilarious views on Halloween, from Superman costumes that look like pajamas to the agony of getting bad trick-or-treat candy. Seinfeld's tale resonates with vivid experiences of a night every kid loves. I think all nannies will love this book.

Too Many Pumpkins
By Linda White

Because she had to eat too many pumpkins when she was a child and money was scarce, Rebecca Estelle grew up hating them. As an adult, she never ate or planted them. One fall, a big surprise, too many pumpkins in her own garden, made her change her mind.

Celebrate Halloween with Pumpkins, Costumes, and Candy
By Deborah Heiligman

Holidays Around the World: Celebrate Halloween is part of National Geographic's Holidays Around the World series of nonfiction books. The book uses color photographs of children celebrating fall and Halloween in several different countries to illustrate the story of Halloween, its history and celebration. An afterword provides directions for a Halloween game, information about The Day of the Dead, a recipe for a Spooky Graveyard cake, a glossary, a map showing where the photographs were taken, a one-page essay by scholar Jack Santino about Halloween, and recommended books and web sites for readers eager to learn more about Halloween.

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

Friday, October 29, 2010

The More Exposure the Better!

Safety Concerns Finding Nanny Jobs on Social Media Web Sites

We have been discussing taking your nanny job search into the new technological age. We highly recommend using social networks to help with your job search. When looking for jobs the more exposure the better!

If you have a MySpace page or use Facebook you need to be careful about the information you post. Also, click here for our safety advice using job placement web sites.

Parents who may become future employers will google your name and search for you on social media web sites. Be careful of what you post so not to deter future employers. You've probably heard not to post wild party photos online. Once on the Internet, anyone can copy and paste the photos and you don't want future prospective employers to ever see such images.

Do not post photos of other people's children on Facebook. Respect your employer's privacy. Don't make comments about families you wouldn't want them or future employer's to hear.

Do not contact parents who might be future employers on Facebook. Be respectful of their time and privacy. If they want you to connect with them on Facebook, let them contact you, not the other way around.

Beware of scams. The Internet is a haven for shifty pyramid schemes and fake "work-at-home" jobs. Make sure an employer is legit before sending them any personal information.

Although we highly recommend searching for jobs on social media networks and even creating a web site for your nanny resume, always be thoughtful about what you post. Realize that there is a difference between what you and a potential employer might think is appropriate and what you might want your friends to see.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Making a Web Site for Your Nanny Resume

Marketing Yourself for a Great Nanny Job in a Tough Economy

We have been discussing how to find a nanny job in a tough economy. Now that more nannies use nanny web sites to find nanny jobs than any other method it's time for job seekers to use the Internet to market themselves. This week we have discussed how to use social networks to find nanny jobs. Today, we highly recommend creating a web site for your resume. You can link to your resume web site on all social networks.

Although you want to list specific job duties in the resume you must not include specific information about any of the families that have employed you. Until you are certain you want a job you should not share any contact information about references or the families you have worked for, especially on the World Wide Web.

Avoid posting personal information on your web site along with your resume information. Personal information, such as religion, ethnicity, and political opinions, can possibly jeopardize your chances at finding a job.

Keep the layout simple. Avoid bright, clashing colors, and crowded images. A simple, clean layout looks more professional than a cluttered one.

Click here to learn more about creating a nanny resume.

1. Register your domian name. When making a web site to market yourself, first you must register a domain name. Several companies like Yahoo and Homestead offer free domain names. Free domain name companies often include the company name as part of the web site link and require you to use them as your host as well. If you want to consider registering your own domain name since it is relatively cheap, and gives your web site a professional appearance, you can register your domain name with several domain name registrars online. One of the most popular options being

2. Choose a web host. Search for the web host that will most accommodate your needs, including reliability, speed, amount of advertisements, bandwidth, and file space. Most likely if you only using your web site to post your resume, you won't need a large amount of space. Free web hosting services, including Homestead and Geocities, have more advertisements than paid web hosting.

3. Design your layout. You can either hire a professional web designer to create the layout to your web site or design it yourself. There are free tools to help you design your layout, such as Dreamweaver CS4, and several free design layouts and design tutorials are available online.

4. Add your resume. Your resume should be on the first page of your web site for easy access. Don't forget a photo of yourself on the home page too. If you have difficulty organizing your resume, there are several resume builders that can assist with organizing your resume for placement on your web site, including, which instantly formats your information into already prepared templates.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

How to Use Facebook to Find a Nanny Job

Thinking Outside of the Box to Find a Nanny Job

The biggest social media tool is Facebook. Facebook allows you to connect with friends in a more relaxed setting than LinkedIn. It also allows you to follow the nanny industry businesses you prefer.

You can utilize your Facebook account much like your Twitter and LinkedIn accounts and connect with friends who may be able to help you as you are looking for employment. You can send messages to them to inform them of your situation and see if they know of any openings or leads.

Facebook also allows you to post status updates, much like Twitter posts, that can reach all of your friends. You can announce to your friends on Facebook that you are looking for a nanny job. You can also post “notes” on Facebook, which are similar to blog posts, to announce your job search. In these notes, you can include more information than a typical status update but still detail all your qualifications, background, and what you’re looking for. To ensure that your friends read these notes, you can “tag” them and they will receive a notification that the note has been posted.

Join the Facebook pages of the businesses you like to help you find nanny jobs. Click "Like" on the nanny placement agencies and nanny referral web sites you prefer. Visit the nanny agencies pages often to see what nanny jobs they have posted either daily or weekly.

But you must be careful what you post on Facebook so not to ruin your chance of landing a great nanny job in the future. Stop by Friday when we will discuss Facebook safety issues.

Do you follow your favorite nanny placement agency or nanny web site on Facebook?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

How to Find a Nanny Job Using Twitter

With New Technology Comes New Ways to Find Nanny Jobs

Twitter has surprisingly emerged as a great way to network and continue your job hunt. Although Twitter messages are limited to 140 characters per "tweet" that's enough space for nanny agencies and nanny web sites to advertise a nanny job.

When opening a Twitter account use your name since it will make it easier for others to find you through a search. Also make sure to fill out your biography section thoroughly to let others know who you are, where you’re from, and what you are interested in.

Include a link to another site that can provide more information about you and your background. I would suggest linking your Twitter account to your LinkedIn profile since it would most likely contain the most thorough information on you and your qualifications.

Once you have an account, you can create posts that detail your job search and what you’re looking for. If you have any followers, they will see these posts. And if your account is linked to your LinkedIn page, your LinkedIn connections will be able to see these posts as well.

One of the major benefits of Twitter is the opportunity to connect with people who you may not already know but have similar interests as you. By connecting with such people, you can network and find out if they know of any open jobs or other ways to search for employment.

Twitter also allows you to follow nanny referral agencies and nanny referral web sites. Most nanny referral agencies and nanny web sites will post select jobs on their Twitter page, which would obviously help in your job search.

Have you ever contacted a nanny placement agency or nanny web site after seeing a Tweet of an interesting nanny job position?

Monday, October 25, 2010

How to Find a Job on LinkedIn

Finding a Nanny Job in a Tough Economy

The October, 2010 Be the Best Nanny Newsletter survey shows that nannies find jobs on nanny web sites more than any other method (a big change from just three-years ago).

In fact, 20% of nanny placement agencies that took our original poll in 2007 have closed. With less nanny placement agencies and more nannies using the Internet to find jobs it's only natural they start using social networks to find jobs too.

Our poll shows clearly that classifieds are out and there is no stigma that you’re looking right now. So, the more people who know you’re looking for a job, the more likely you’ll find a job. This week we'll discuss how to do that using social networks.

LinkedIn is a great tool to promote yourself professionally because your personal profile on LinkedIn looks like a resume (but you can add Internet bling). The site is built to network you and your resume. Then, you can add your personal blog or links and personal recommendations from others to improve on your resume.

To market yourself on LinkedIn you want your profile to read like your resume. When creating your profile, fill out your profile to the fullest, but leave the names and contact information of your former employer's off the profile. By adding as much information about yourself, your qualifications, and job duties as possible, you’re more likely to appear in search results.

Be sure to connect to your personal Twitter account (stop by tomorrow and we'll discuss Twitter), blog, or web site (come back on Friday to see how to make your own resume web site) if they are professional and will add to your resume. This allows your LinkedIn connections to view your activity on these sites, even if they don’t actively use Twitter or subscribe to your blog.

Connect with former employers, classmates, and friends. You can leverage these connections by contacting them about any job leads they may know of and be sure to sign up with nanny groups on LinkedIn. These groups sometimes have their own, more specific, job boards which can help you narrow down your search. You can also make new connections with other members of the group that could potential be beneficial in your job search.

You can have others recommend you and have it posted on your profile. If you can get someone to recommend you, potential employers will see that as a definite positive.

Do you have a LinkedIn profile?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Chicco Caddy Hook On Chair

Product Review Sunday
Nannies, we understand how frustrating it can be to feed little ones when out on the town. Youngsters don't want to be fed sitting in their strollers. They want to be allowed to sit at the table with you and their family.

That's why we love the Caddy Hook On Chair. This Hook On Table Chair is safe and sturdy and uses a secure system designed to fasten to the bottom of table. The padded handles sit flat against the top of your table and the universal double locking system hooks and locks to secure the chair to your table. Folds compact for storage.

It is easy to carry and transport, and folds compactly for storage. For safety, the table chair includes a three point safety harness system that retrains but does not restrict baby for maximum comfort. The seat padding can be removed and machine washed. Lightweight in its design, the Hook On weighs only seven pounds. The removable seat pad is washable.

Stop by next Sunday for another product review for nannies and au pairs.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

How to Find a Job on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and Other Social Networks

Weekly Trip to the Library

For two weeks we discussed many ways for nannies to market themselves and to find a great job even in a tough economy. Click here to see the start the series.

The October, 2010 Be the Best Nanny Newsletter survey shows that nannies find jobs on nanny web sites more than any other method (a big change from just three-years ago).

In fact, 20% of nanny placement agencies that took our original poll in 2007 have closed. With less nanny placement agencies and more nannies using the Internet to find jobs it's only natural they start using social networks to find jobs too.

Our poll shows clearly that classifieds are OUT. It’s time to LINK IN! Finding the job of your dreams the old way just doesn’t happen anymore. If you want great pay, great benefits, and great satisfaction in your career, you must begin social networking.

How to Find a Job on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and Other Social Networks by Brad Schepp and Debra Schepp

This book shows how each of the major social networks works and how you can make the most of these networks to get a job.

The three most talked about social media sites are LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. They are each very different and have their own benefits when it comes to searching for a job.

Mailing a resume and hoping for the best simply puts your fate in the hands of others. To stay in the running, you have to take control by keeping your information fresh and current —i n real time. Online social networking is the only way to go, and this forward-looking guide is the best way to get there.

Next week we will discuss each of these three individually in our blog series about using social media to find a nanny job.

Table of Contents
Pt. I Getting Linkedln 1
Ch. 1 Putting the Work in Social Networking 3
Ch. 2 Create Your Best Profile 29
Ch. 3 Build and Work Your Linkedln Network 57
Ch. 4 Use Linkedln to Job Hunt 83
Ch. 5 Questions? Linkedln Has Answers. Answers? Linkedln Has Questions 107
Pt. 2 Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Plaxo and Beyond 147
Ch. 7 Facebook: For College Kids and Their Parents, Too 149
Ch. 8 Twitter Your Way to that New Job 169
Ch. 9 MySpace Can Be a Showcase for Your Skills 189
Ch. 10 Plaxo and Other Social Networks 203
Index 225

If you have a book you would like us to review please email us your suggestion. Don't forget to stop by next week for another Weekly Trip to the Library.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Beware of Nanny Scams

Be Aware of Con Artists That Prowl Nanny Matching Sites

A safety concern about using nanny web sites are scams. Unfortunately, just as nannies and families have discovered these web sites, so have scammers looking to perpetrate fraud on unsuspecting victims.

How Nannies Get Ripped Off
Scammers fill out an online profile at the nanny web site. They pretend to be a wealthy family in need of a new nanny urgently, stressing their willingness to pay a very high wage in exchange for top notch care for their children. To further attract the nanny's interest, the con artist sends a large check or money order to the nanny. Right away they say they sent too large a sum by mistake and ask for part of it to be returned. Of course this is done before the original funds clear the bank because when they do, the nanny will realize they've been tricked by a traditional money order scam.

Good scammers understand how to take hardship and especially fear and turn it to their gain. Many nannies really need these positions and receiving a generous amount is meant to disarm you and make you think you've hit the jackpot. It's not hard to see that many nannies could fall for this scam.

Remember the old adage, "if something seems too good to be true then it probably is". Individuals don't send large amounts of money to others they neither know nor trust.

How Families Get Conned
Unfortunately, families can get conned just like nannies can. The con artist will sign up and pretend to be a nanny looking for work. They portray themselves as experienced with excellent skills and references. They lie in wait for families to contact them. Once contacted, the fake nannies take great pains to develop close relationships with the families searching for a nanny.

When convinced the nanny is eligible to work in the United States, the family offers the position to the bogus nanny. Everything seems like it's going well, but at the last minute the nanny sends a message saying they're just short of the funds needed to purchase the plane ticket or a close family member has suddenly taken ill and needs money for treatment.

Because of the time taken to develop the relationship, most people feel they can trust the nanny at this point. Beware as con artists work very hard to trick you and can be very believable. No matter how swayed you may be, never send money to strangers. To protect yourself from these types of scams, check references right away, before establishing a relationship with any potential nannies. If the references seem dubious or don't check out completely, stop working with this particular nanny and move on as they're many legitimate nannies looking for work.

Scam Red Flags
*Family offers to hire you without interviewing you.
*Family offers you money in advance.
*Any references to a cruise ship.
*Any references to Africa.
*Any references to textile importing or fashion boutique.
*Amazing salaries or work conditions.
*Mother died in a horrible car accident.
*Asking you to open a bank account, especially with Wells Fargo and Bank of America.
*Needs a 'favor' with you to forward money someplace for medical care, furniture moving, via Western Union.
*Any pre-payment or overpayment for services such as the 'family' will have an emergency and need the 'money' back before your bank tells you the check was bad.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Safety Concerns Using Nanny Web Sites

Use Precaution When Finding Nanny Jobs Online

The Be the Best Nanny Newsletter October 2010 survey shows that more nannies are using nanny web sites to find jobs than any other method. While nanny web sites are an extremely convenient, inexpensive, and efficient way to help nannies find great jobs you must use caution when using web sites to find jobs.

When using a nanny web site no one has pre-screened the parents posting jobs online. Anyone can post a job on a nanny web site and it's easy for the poster to lie.

The very first thing you should do before signing up with a nanny web site is to create a new email address to use specifically for looking for nanny jobs. Use this email address that doesn't publish your contact information anywhere else online.

Never post your phone number for potential employers online. Only share phone numbers once you are certain you are interested in meeting the family. Phone numbers can easily be used to find your address by using a reverse phone directory.

Choose what you publish wisely. Do not divulge private details about yourself online. The information that you must include in your profile should contain your detailed work history but do not include phone numbers or names of former employers for the general public to read.

Check the family's references (a former nanny or babysitter) and google their name before arranging an in-person interview.

For your first meeting with a potential employer always meet in a public place. Always inform a family member or friend when you plan to attend an interview you have met online. Provide details about the venue and the time of the interview. That way you can be easily found in cases of emergencies and accidents.

If you follow these simple safety precautions when using nanny web sites to find nanny jobs, you can initiate contacts via email and only talk to the families that appeal to you.

Tomorrow: How to Avoid Nanny Scams Online

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Nannies Use Web Sites to Find Jobs More Than Any Other Method

First Questions Nannies Should Ask Parents in an Email Interview

Now that nannies are using nanny web sites more than any other method to find jobs (click here for poll results) it's likely they will make their first impression with potential employers in an email.

Just like potential nannies should ask the parents open ended questions about their children when speaking on the telephone and in-person, nanny job candidates should ask the parents about their children in emails.

Open ended questions require the parents to respond with more than a “Yes” or “No” answer. For example, prospective nannies should ask: “How would you describe your
children?” Or,“What activities would you like your nanny to do with your children?”

These questions encourage the parents to describe activities their children enjoy to see if the nanny has an interest in those areas. The job applicants and parents can also explore if they have similar parenting philosophies in the first emails.

Emails will never replace the gut feeling parents and nannies feel an in-person interview. But as
more nannies are using web sites to successfully find jobs there is likely more hiring decisions made via emails than ever before.

Please click here for a long list of questions you can pick and choose from to ask during a job interview.

What are the most important questions you parents ask in a nanny interview?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

With New Technology Comes New Ways to Find Nanny Jobs

Using Proper Interview Etiquette Online

A new Be the Best Nanny Newsletter survey shows that more nannies are using nanny web sites to find nanny jobs than any other method. Click here to see the results.

When using a nanny web site to find a nanny job the first communication between the applicants and prospective employers is via email. These first emails are the first interviews.

Just as interviewees want to impress future employers during a phone or in-person interview, nannies must always use perfect manners when emailing potential employers.

Proper email etiquette includes returning all emails from possible employers immediately in a professional and friendly manner.

When emailing parents, ensure that grammar and spelling is perfect. Use spell check in addition to proofreading.

Address the parents with their last name using Mrs., Ms., Mr., and Dr. in emails just as they would when speaking to parents on the telephone or in person.

What was your first contact with your current employer? Was your first discussion via email, telephone call, or in-person?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Our Survey Shows How Nannies Find Jobs Has Changed

More Nannies Use Nanny Web Sites to Find Nanny Jobs

In 2007 Be the Best Nanny Newsletter asked 503 nannies how they found their nanny jobs. Then, we asked 618 nannies the same questions in September, 2010.

It appears that with new technology comes new ways to find nanny jobs.

In our most current poll 38% of nannies say they found their current nanny job on a nanny web site compared to 20% three-years ago. And although 42% nannies found their nanny jobs with the help of nanny placement agencies three-years ago, this year only 19% of the nannies that took our poll answered they found their current job with the help of nanny placement agencies.

How Nannies Found Jobs in 2007
42% Nanny Placement Agency
20% Nanny Web Sites
15% Word-Of-Mouth
15% Classified Ads in Printed Publications

How Nannies Found Jobs in 2010
38% Nanny Web Site
29% Word-Of-Mouth
19% Nanny Placement Agency
14% Craigslist

How did you find your most current nanny job?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Secure Blankets to Keep Babies Warm as it Gets Cooler

Product Review Sunday for Nannies and Au Pairs

The weather is getting cooler and the baby I care for keeps kicking blankets off of her in the stroller and car seat. If you care for a baby that has a habit of kicking blankets off of herself, the Secure2Me Clip-On Baby Blanket has created a great blanket that won't fall off.

These super soft blankets have clips. The clips to keep this blanket secure resemble suspender clips. They are easy for adults to use but babies can't figure them out.

These are the warmest and softest blankets you will ever find. The blankets are available in some gorgeous brocades, quilts, and fleeces and when you check out the web site, you will honestly want to buy all of them!

Another really great secure blanket option is made by Two Flowers One . They offer a Secure Blanket that connects to strollers, swings, and car seats with a series of hooks and loops. They are fairly flexible, so you’ll probably find that it works on many different items. The blankets are available in different prints and patterns, and are made of warm and comfy fleece. Plus, they are machine washable.

Also check out their web site for the most adorable cold weather clothing for babies.

Don't forget to stop by next week for another Product Review Sunday.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Weekly Trip to the Library

Children's Books About Leaves Changing Color and Leaf Project

It is Autumn and leaves are changing color for a large portion of North America. Colorful leaves are beautiful and children love to collect leaves and make crafts with them. Below are some children's books to share with your charges and a project to do with them after reading the books to them.

Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf By Lois Ehlert
This children's book classic has watercolor collage and pieces of actual seeds, fabric, wire, and roots in this innovative and rich introduction to the life of a tree. A special glossary explains how roots absorb nutrients, what photosynthesis is, how sap circulates, and other facts about trees. It's a favorite of children everywhere.

Why Do Leaves Change Color? By Betsy Maestro
This book is written so that children ages 5 to 8 can read the book to you. But we can certainly read it to younger children who cannot read. It offers children a clear, concisely written, impeccably illustrated story about the life cycle of leaves. Why are leaves green in the first place? How do changes in light and temperature affect them? Why do leaves fall from the trees? Maestro gives detailed yet easy-to-follow explanations. Several pages feature large leaf identification pictures-one reason why this book is a great family companion to bring along while in search of the actual specimens. At the back of the book are activities and places to visit to see leaves in all their glory.

Leaf Sun Catcher
You will need:
Wax Paper
Fall Leaves
Crayon Shavings
Iron (do not allow children to iron)

Cover work surface with newspapers. Sprinkle a small amount of crayon shavings on a piece of wax paper. Arrange leaves on top. Sprinkle more crayon shavings and cover with another piece of wax paper. Place a piece of newspaper on top and iron with a warm iron until crayon shavings melt. Trim and hang in the window.
If you have a favorite book you would like to share with nannies and au pairs let us know.
Don't forget to stop by next Saturday for another Weekly Trip to the Library.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Are Your Salary and Benefit Demands Reasonable?

Finding a Nanny Job in Tough Economic Times

We have been discussing how to find a great nanny job during an economic recession.

I would never say a professional, experienced, reputable nanny cannot find a great salary and good benefits during the economic recession. But it's common sense that there are less nanny jobs available, and more nannies looking for jobs. During these tough economic times job seekers need more time to find good jobs.

If you have enough time to search for a great job there are still some awesome nanny jobs available. If you walk out on a job, or get laid-off but didn't pay taxes (so you won't be able to collect unemployment benefits), there is more urgency to find a job -- any job. If you are desperate for work, the salaries being offered may be lower than you are used to in the past.

So, if you are desperate to find a nanny job right now, you really must ask yourself if your salary and benefit demands are competitive with others in the same boat as you.

The fact remains that many parents have lost jobs. I know so many nannies that had to cut back hours at work, or take on a second nanny job to make ends meet when their employers are cut back at their own jobs.

To remain competitive nanny candidates should keep their salary requirements reasonable. Caregivers should speak with all local nanny placement agencies to determine the going rate where they hope to work. Nannies should be flexible and professional when asking for salary and benefits.

Our best advice is to get paid-on-the-books so you can collect unemployment benefits if you are laid-off and if you want a new job, start interviewing while you are still employed. During tough economic times you need more time to find a great job.

Were you laid-off? How long were you unemployed?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Market Skills, Without Ego Trips

Finding a Nanny Job in Tough Economy

We have been sharing ways to market yourself to help find a nanny job in a tough economy. Today we suggest you market your greatest skills, without sounding arrogant.

You can find nannies that have marketed their specific skills all over the Internet. There are traveling nannies, baby nurses, nannies that specialize in working with multiples, newborn specialists, night nannies, and so on.

But, there's a big difference between marketing skills and ego trips. If you find yourself too busy bragging about your skills, you may forget about the interviewer. Don't lose sight of what the interviewer wants: information needed to make a good hiring decision. You must emphasize your skills in a manner that helps them visualize you working for them.

For example, which two statements markets skills better during a nanny interview? "I have worked as a lifeguard and know all about water safety." Or, "I love to swim. I would love to help Johnny learn to swim."

Ask yourself what makes you unique in a way that benefits children and parents? Are you comfortable working for children with special needs? Do you have a degree in early childhood education? Let potential parents know what skills you have that will benefit them, while avoiding ego trips.

What makes you stand out from other nannies?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Preparing for a Nanny Interview

Landing a Great Nanny Job in a Tough Economy

We have been discussing ways to market yourself to get a great nanny job even in a bad economy. If you have marketed yourself well you will be invited to a job interview.

When planning to go on a job interview, follow our advice from yesterday about making a first good impression by dressing neatly and conservatively.

To be considered for the nanny position, you must arrive on time, be polite, and carry your resume, portfolio, and any identification needed to prove they can legally drive and work in the United States when meeting potential employers.

Always arrive to your job interview on time. You can arrive 15-minutes early but don't approach the house until you are just 5-minutes prior to interview time. Arriving too early is just as inappropriate as arriving late.

Listen and don't interrupt the parents. Be prepared and organized but let the parents run the interview. Make certain you listen to understand the parents' goals and concerns. When answering their questions be sure to stay positive. Never speak negatively about former employers.

When it's time for you to ask a few questions be sure to ask open-ended questions that require more than just a "Yes" or "No" answer. For example, you might ask, "What activities do your kids like to do?" Or you might ask, "How do you discipline your children?"

Be prepared to answer these questions on a job interview:
1. Why do you want to be a nanny?
2. What activities do you like to do with the children?
3. Do you prefer indoor activities or outdoor activities? Do you like structured play or free play?
4. What age children are you experienced working with? What ages of children do you prefer?
5. Are you interested in helping with general household chores or child related chores only? (Be reasonable and specific about chores you are and are not willing to do).
6. What was the best part of working as a nanny in the past?
7. What were the worst things when working as a nanny in the past?
8. How do you discipline children? Give an example of what you have done when...."
9. Have you ever had an emergency situation while caring for a child? How was it handled? What would you do if my child were stung by a bee, fell off her bike, was having an asthma attack, and so on?
10. May we obtain written letters of recommendation from your references?
11. May we perform a background check on you by obtaining a copy of your driving record and do criminal backgrounds check?
12. Do you have recent CPR and First Aid certifications? If your certification has expired, are you willing to get certified before starting this position?

Even when you aren't interested in the job be respectful and thank the parents for their time. I have been amazed by stories from nannies who admit to telling a parent "Are you crazy? Just $10 an hour for twins?" It's not necessary to tell the family why you don't want to work for them. And of course if you are interested in the job, send a thank you note.

What questions do you ask on a job interview?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

How Do You Make a Great First Impression?

Landing a Nanny Job in a Tough Economy

We have been discussing how to land a great nanny job in a tough economy.

Our first suggestions were:

1. Network with anyone who will listen and by all means possible.
2. Create a
standout resume.
3. Have stellar job
references, getting as many in writing as you can.
4. Be trained in
CPR/First Aid certification.
5. Get your
driver's license.
6. Take
nanny training courses or some early childhood education courses.
7. Make a professional nanny portfolio.
8. Learn how to swim.

Today we recommend making a great first impression. You only get one first impression so make it a good one.

When meeting parents for the first time think about what a mother and/or father would want a nanny they hire to wear.

If you think a formal business suit is the best thing to wear to a nanny job interview, save your money since it's not usually necessary. Parents don't expect you to work in a business suit therefore arriving to an interview in a suit might be a bit much. But, you shouldn't show up wearing sweats either. Dressing business casual and conservatively is best. Interviewees should choose clean, well-pressed clothes.

In-home job candidates should avoid wearing large jewelry, heavy make-up, clothing that exposes tattoos, cleavage, belly buttons, or that is very tight. Wear nice shoes with a low heel or simply nice clean sneakers. It's not appropriate for a nanny to wear high heels.

To make a good impression, do not show up to your first meeting smelling like cigarette smoke, coffee, cologne or perfume.

Be enthusiastic. Be friendly. Don't act nervous or stressed-out. Greet every member of the family, and their staff, with a big smile, a hand shake, and make eye contact. If you are meeting the children during the interview, consider getting on the floor to play with them, if the situation allows you to. Nothing looks better than you interacting well with the children on their level.

Here's what our readers said about how they dress on a nanny interview:

Be the Best Nanny Newsletter asked 740 nannies what they wear on a job interview. Three hundred and fifty-five nannies (48%) responded that they dress business casual when going to a job interview; 200 nannies (27%) answered that they wear a more formal business suit or a dress to nanny job interviews; and 44 caregivers (6%) responded that they feel comfortable wearing a nice pair of jeans like they might wear to work.

Tomorrow: Preparing for a Great Interview
What do you wear on a nanny interview?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Do You Have Columbus Day Off?

Arts & Crafts for Columbus Day

The kids have off from school today, as do many nannies. If you work today here are some really simple projects to do with the children.

Christopher Columbus Telescope
Take a paper towel roll and cut construction paper to fit around the paper towel roll. Have the children decorate the paper. Then glue the paper to the cardboard roll.

Christopher Columbus Map
Cut the bottom off of the brown grocery bag. Cut the brown grocery bag down the center of one of the sides so that you may lay the bag flat on your work area. Using markers draw the seven continents. Use your paint to decorate the map. Set aside and allow to dry. Roll your map up and place the yarn around your map and get ready to set sail like Christopher Columbus!

Christopher Columbus Hat
Fold a piece of newspaper in the center. Fold the top corner to the center line making a diagonal crease. Fold the other top corner to the center line making another diagonal crease. Fold the bottom edge up about one-inch to cover the bottom of the two diagonal creases where they come together. Open the Christopher Columbus hat and place it on the kids' heads.

Columbus Day Preschool Song
Teach the Children the Song “Columbus Sailed the Ocean Blue”* to the tune of “Old MacDonald Had a Farm.”
“Columbus Sailed the Ocean Blue”
Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492.
Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492.
With three tall ships, 120 men,
sailing on, sailing on, sailing on, on, on, on –
Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492.
He proved the earth was round, not flat, in 1492.
He proved the earth was round, not flat, in 1492.
With three tall ships, 120 men,
sailing on, sailing on, sailing on, on, on, on –
He proved the earth was round, not flat in 1492.
*”Columbus Sailed the Ocean Blue” taken from

Click here for some children's books on the subject.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Boon's Squirt Spoon and Dispensing Spoon

Product Review Sunday for Nannies and Au Pairs

Boon’s innovative products are smart, fun to look at, and useful for nannies, au pairs, and parents. They have two great spoons I'd like to brag about today.

The Squirt Spoon came out a few years ago. You simply fill up the handle with baby food, stick on the cap, and feeding a baby on the go is a breeze. But, there is only a small window of time that you will be using a Squirt-handle-full of food. Plus, it's not easy to refill the spoon when you’re out.

Recently Boon developed a new fantastic product to make feeding time even easier when you’re on the go –- or for babies who are ready to eat more. The Dispensing Spoon is made in conjunction with Plum Organics. The Dispensing Spoon screws directly on to Plum Organics’ squeezable, portable pouches (see below) of flavor combinations like apple and carrot, pumpkin and banana, and blueberry, pear, and carrot to make mealtime as easy as squeezing. Brilliant!

Why I love it:
• It allows for one-handed feeding
• Easy clean up, just throw the packet of food away
• Great for meals on the go
• Perfect to keep in the diaper bag
• Each package comes with two spoons and a storage case
• Spoons are dishwasher safe (top-shelf only)
• Free of phthalate, PVC and BPA

I highly recommend taking the stress out of feeding a baby on the go with Boon’s Dispensing Spoon and Plum Organics packs. Buy the two-pack of Dispensing Spoon for $3.99 at Boon’s web site or click our links above and below.

Stop by next week for another Product Review Sunday for nannies and au pairs.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Columbus Day Books for Children

Weekly Trip to the Library for Nannies and Au Pairs

On Monday children have off from school for Columbus Day. Here are some books to borrow from the library (or purchase) about Christopher Columbus.

Where Do You Think You're Going Christopher Columbus? By Jean FritzChristopher Columbus counted on finding gold and spices when he set sail to discover a new route to the Indies, but all he got was parrots, naked natives in grass huts, and mosquito bites. But that didn't stop him from making more trips across the sea. What he never expected was that he'd discover a whole new world. Jean Fritz makes history accessible once more in this wry biography of a legendary explorer. An ALA Notable Book, A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, A Booklist Notable Children's Book of the Year, and an American Bookseller Pick of the Lists.

Pedro's Journal By Pam Conrad
For Secondary school students this is a wonderful book available from Scholastic called "Pedro's Journal." It is the story of a young boy who is sent to sea with Christopher Columbus because the boy knows how to read and write. Pedro records his experiences in his own journal. This book is his account of what happens on that journey.

Click here for more books about Columbus Day.

Don't forget to stop by next Saturday for another Weekly Trip to the Library.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Can You Swim?

Being Able to Swim Can Help You Land a Great Nanny Job in a Tough Economy

It's no joke, according to the National Safety Council an estimated 5,000 children ages 14 and under are hospitalized due to unintentional drowning-related incidents each year; 15 percent die in the hospital and as many as 20 percent suffer severe, permanent neurological disability.

Infants and toddlers drown more frequently than people at any other age. In this age group drowning is the leading cause of death, followed by accidents in and around the home, and road traffic accidents.

If you hope to work for a family that owns a pool or that will expect you to take the children to the pool in the summer you ought to learn to swim, and even earn lifeguard certification.

Have you ever been to a nanny interview and not been asked if you swim? I haven't. To be able to answer positively to this interview question, take swimming lessons. If you learn how to swim or take more lessons to become a stronger, more confident swimmer, you can even offer to help teach your charges to swim, which will be most impressive to potential employers.

If you already know how to swim, earning your lifeguard certification is a great resume booster for any nanny candidate. Imagine how having your lifeguard certification will help your resume stand out among a pile of non-swimmers' resumes. What would look better than a prepared nanny who is certified in both adult and infant CPR/First Aid and has lifeguard certification?

As the saying goes, "Safety First!" And when it comes to working with children, knowing how to swim keeps them safe. It is also a great skill to help market yourself to potential employers.

Stop by next week for more tips on landing a great nanny job in a tough economy.

Do you swim?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Do You Have a Nanny Portfolio?

Getting a Great Nanny Job in Tough Economy

Over the past two-weeks we have suggested a few ways to land a great nanny job even during an economic recession.

If you want to get a professional nanny job, (not just work as a babysitter), follow some of our suggestions:

1. Network with anyone who will listen and by all means possible.
2. Create a
standout resume.
3. Have stellar job
references, getting as many in writing as you can.
4. Be trained in
CPR/First Aid certification.
5. Get your
driver's license.
6. Take
nanny training courses or some early childhood education courses.

Today we suggest organizing a nanny portfolio. Nanny portfolios can be made in a scrapbook, photo album, or a three-ring binder and should include any information a nanny candidate would like to share with parents.

The portfolio should include a current resume, written letters of reference, evaluations or performance reviews, copies of degrees, and a listing of classes taken, workshops attended, or awards received. Also include a current CPR and First Aid certification, a Social Security card, and a driver's license. Photos of activities and projects done with children are a great way for caregivers to show future employers their creativity and enthusiasm for their job.

Though it may sound like this should be a huge book, in fact you really must edit what you include. The most important thing to remember when putting your portfolio together is that less is more. The portfolio should be small enough to be able to flip to any given page to illustrate an answer to an interview question. Feel free to create an index if it will help you find specific pages.

Using a working portfolio may help you organize yourself and keep your professional portfolio up to date. The working portfolio is an easy place to stick any piece of work or sample that you may want to use later, and becomes the source of work for your professional portfolio.

Remember to use your portfolio during your interview, only if you know the parents have an interest to look at it. Certainly don't force them to look at your portfolio. Typically parents are happy to look at your portfolio since words can only portray so much. Showing and telling an answer to a question will be twice as effective in demonstrating your abilities during an interview.

Have you brought a nanny portfolio to job interviews?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Have You Taken a Nanny Training Course?

If You Want to Get a Great Nanny Job in a Tough Economy Get Some Early Education College Courses Under Your Belt

If you want to land a great nanny job in this tough economy you must prove you are a professional nanny, not just a babysitter.

Taking the time and effort to attend a nanny training program, some college courses in child development or early childhood education, or earning an Associate's or Bachelor's degree or higher degree, guarantees higher nanny salaries and more nanny job opportunities to chose from.

Job seekers should let parents know the amount of time and effort they have devoted taking college courses or earning any higher education degree. Nannies should be sure to list scholarships or awards they have earned on their resumes and nanny agency applications.

If you want to get a great job get involved in nanny training programs and attend educational community programs. Read childcare books and publications. Contact local libraries, parks and recreations departments, local colleges, child care related businesses, and child/family publications for listings of educational opportunities. CPR/First Aid certifications can be earned through the YMCA, the American Red Cross, or local hospitals.

Nanny training programs in the United States offer Associate's or Bachelor's degrees. A good nanny training program combines classroom work in child development, nutrition, family dynamics, and play activities, with supervised time working with children. There are also books, online training programs, compact discs, and videos that may be purchased.

It is also impressive when nannies can show their knowledge in their chosen career by taking the International Nanny Association Nanny Credential Exam (visit

Did you take a nanny training course?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Want a Great Nanny Job? Get Your Driver's License

Finding a Nanny Job in a Tough Economy

Since last week we have suggested that to find a great nanny job in a tough economy you should tell anyone who will listen that they are searching for a new nanny position. We also encourage having a standout resume. Nothing is more important to landing a nanny job than great references. Caregivers should ask former employers, parents, teachers, or neighbors to write letters of reference. Nannies will increase their chances of getting a better job by have their CPR/First Aid certification. And if you can't drive, there's no better time to get your driver's licence.

Nannies who have a current driver's license, are willing to drive, and have a clean driving record have an advantage in landing nanny positions over caregivers who cannot drive. Employees who drive can help parents tremendously by taking children to school, activities, and doctor visits and they can run errands to the dry cleaners, post office, or grocery store.

But, a driver's license is also the most important form of identification used in the United States. In countries with no national identification card (like the United States), driver's licenses have often become the identification card for many purposes. All nanny employers and nanny agencies run a DMV report on their nanny candidates.

Obtaining a driver's license will be slightly different in each state. For most beginner drivers, they will have to go to a local DMV office with a birth certificate and two forms of identification and take a simple written test containing around 30 questions. Once they have a learner's permit they can practice driving in a friend or relatives car or sign up with a driving school before taking the road test evaluation. It will take a few weeks to get a license but well worth the benefits.

If you want to land a great nanny job, learning to drive and getting your driver's license will greatly improve the pool of jobs you can choose from.

If you drive your own car for work, the family must reimburse you for the current IRS gas mileage which is 50 cents per mile.

Do you drive your own car for work? Are you reimbursed IRS gas mileage of 50 cents per mile?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Finding a Nanny Job in a Tough Economy

Do You Have Your CPR/First Aid Certification?

Last week we started discussing how to find a nanny job in a tough economy. First we recommend that you don't put all your eggs in one basket. When looking for a nanny job use all methods available including using a reputable nanny placement agency, nanny web sites, and word-of-mouth referrals.

Next, we recommend creating a stand out resume. To see how to do that please click here.

We also explained why it is so important to procure great job references. Parents and agencies put a lot of weight on references. They cannot learn whether you have a great attitude on a resume, they gain a sense of your enthusiasm and positive demeanor from your references. Do your best to acquire written references that can be read many years after you have lost track of the family. To learn more about getting references please click here.

Our next advice is to get CPR/First Aid Certified. The nanny placement agencies that took our October, 2010 monthly poll said one of the things nanny candidates are most lacking is in safety training and certification.

Even if you took a class in CPR/First Aid a few years ago you must update your certification every two-years. Luckily, finding courses are easier than ever. First check out where the American Red Cross has training in your area by clicking here .

You can also contact your local hospital for CPR/First Aid training and certification and there are even some courses online.

Although the children's safety is a nanny's number one priority, there are still nannies that don't have their CPR/First Aid certification. Before you apply for nanny jobs be sure your CPR/First Aid certification is current.

Is your CPR/First Aid certification current?

Interview with Stephanie Felzenberg, Editor of Be the Best Nanny Newsletter

Thanks to the regarding nannies blog for including an interview biography with Stephanie Felzenberg, nanny and editor of Be the Best Nanny Newsletter. Click here to see the interview.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Does Your Charge Spit Up a Lot?

Product Review Sunday - The OopC!

OopC! is one of the best bibs. The absorbent material, large size, and easy side snap make this the best bib for nannies and au pairs.

It is large enough to cover baby and caregiver and doubles as a burp cloth. As a burp cloth, the OopC! wrap style covers shoulder and upper arms often missed by other bibs (which is where the acid reflux often ends since it shoots out). The bib snaps are out of baby’s reach, but easily reached by caregiver in the front.

The OopC! is reversible. They have a Patent Pending on this innovation that will change the way you think about bibs!

You can buy it online by clicking here. Or, click here to find stores that sell the OopC! bib and burp cloth.

Have you tried the OopC! bib and burp cloth? What's your favorite bib or burp cloth?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Projects to Do With "The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree" by Gail Gibbons

Weekly Trip to the Library

There is no better time to learn about apple trees then the start of autumn, which is apple harvest season.

The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons is about a boy named Arnold who has his own apple tree. The tree is his friend. He watches the tree go through each season, and he explains what is happening to the tree during each season. We will use this book to help teach young readers about the four seasons.

This is a great book to read before taking children to a local apple orchard to pick their own apples.

Before reading the book ask the child to look at the cover of The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree. What do they see on the cover? Ask them what they think the book will be about. Tell them the title of the book and then say with humor, "So this book will be about silly dinosaurs?" Then ask him what they think the book will be about. Ask, "What are the four seasons?" Tell the child to pay close attention to the descriptions and the pictures of the apple tree in each season because they will be doing a project related to the book. Begin reading the book.

After reading the story, ask the child questions such as: What did the apple tree look like in the spring, winter, summer, and fall? What was Arnold’s favorite season? What was your favorite season? What other fruits grow on trees?

Explain to the child she is going to show the different ways an apple tree looks in different seasons. For young children click here to print a worksheet and have the child color it in.

For children who can draw and read make your own worksheet divided into four boxes. Write the name of a season at the top of each box. Ask the child to put their fingers on the word spring, then on the word summer, fall, and winter.

Click here for more apple printables including an apple dot to dot and word search which correspond nicely with the book.

Serve apples to eat the day you read the book. At breakfast you can serve apple pancakes or apple muffins. Serve apple sauce with lunch or pack it in their lunchbox. For snacks simply slice up an apple and let kids dip it in peanut butter. Kids love making baked apples. You can even make an apple crisp or an apple pie for dessert after dinner. Click here for our recipe for candy apples.

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

Friday, October 1, 2010

October To-Do List

In Case of...

In case of an emergency, your identification and contact numbers are stolen or unavailable, or your charges are hurt or missing, develop a system to retrieve vital information.

A quick option is to send yourself an email with the data police or medical personnel might need. Include images, even video, of your charges. Be certain you know how to access your email remotely.

When working with children, carry a cell phone with you at all times. When going out in public to the playground, the pool, an amusement park, or zoo take a photo of each child with your mobile phone in case you get separated. That way if the child gets lost, you can remember what the child was wearing and show security the photo of the child.

Make sure the parents have signed an Authorization to Treat a Minor Consent Form which provides you written permission allowing the you to seek treatment, to authorize treatment, and to discuss treatment with health care providers. Click here to download an Authorization to Treat a Minor Consent Form. You will need a signature from a notary public to make the document legal.

You should also always carry insurance information and other payment options to allow the child to get proper care without delay. The nanny should also insist on an emergency phone number or signal so the parent can be quickly notified in event of an emergency.

Have you ever been in an emergency with a child?