Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Review of America's Supernanny

Did You Watch America's Supernanny?

Unlike many nannies on Facebook nanny groups and Yahoo nanny groups who said they would not watch America's Supernanny because the new host Deborah Tillman is a daycare owner and mother, rather than having experience as working as a nanny, I watched the show.

In this first episode of America's Supernanny I felt it was simply a carbon copy of the original Supernanny with Jo Frost. It followed the exact same format and the "nanny" spent most of her energy time dealing with the parents rather than the out-of-control kids.

The new show lacked as many creative teaching techniques as found in the original Supernanny with Jo Frost. I did feel like it was more scripted. In this first show I didn't feel a connection to Deborah Tillman like I used to feel with Jo Frost. Plus, I feel as if the new host wasn't as emotionally involved with the family as her predecessor. But, this was just the first show highlighting the new host's basic techniques, so I look forward to seeing if she uses more techniques in the shows to follow.

The problems the "nanny" tackled this week were kids that hit, experienced terrible separation anxiety, and an oldest daughter who had low self-esteem (I wasn't actually convinced she had low self-esteem but that Miss Deborah forced those answers from the child).

A common discipline technique used in the daycare centers is a Calm Down Corner when the kids misbehave. Miss Deborah showed the parents how to use a Calm Down Corner when their children misbehaved. When they were calm for three-minutes the parents explain why the child was put in the Calm Down Corner, then the child could apologize and play again. We never actually saw if the parents could use it successfully on their own, but the father worked up a sweat getting the son to sit in the Calm Down Corner (after more than 100 escaped from the corner by the child).

Again a common problem for children in daycare centers is separation anxiety. With a simple hug and a kiss, the distraction of a fun activity, and a quick exist by the parents her strategy of kicking separation anxiety worked.

The host and mother stuck post it notes with positive messages in the oldest daughters bedroom to help her feel better about herself.

Here are America's Supernanny, Deborah Tillman's Rules and Techniques:

America's Supernanny Discipline Rules

• Praise and encourage positive behavior
• Set clear guidelines and expectations
• Implement consistent consequences for choosing negative behavior
• Ask yourself “What lesson am I trying to teach my child?”

America's Supernanny Discipline Techniques

Calm Down Corner: Her fundamental discipline technique is intended for children between two- and eight-years-old. It’s a way to train and teach your child that there are consequences when a house rule is broken.

Lose What You Like: This is her fundamental discipline technique that works for children over eight-years-old. It teaches children that you will lose something that YOU value when a house rule is broken.

America's Supernanny Parenting Rules

• Provide routine and structure for children
• Model the behavior you want
• Cling to consistency
• Follow through
• Be responsible and accountable

What did you think of America's Supernanny? Did you like the show?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

America's Supernanny PremiersTonight

Will You Be Watching America's Supernanny?

America's Supernanny premiers tonight on Lifetime at 9pm, pm Central. There has been venom on private nanny groups on Facebook and nanny Yahoo Groups about the fact that Deborah Tillman, who has been casted as "America's Supernanny" has no nanny experience.

In fact, original "Supernanny" Jo Frost has publicly shared her disappointment in the show's choice of main character as well. Ms. Frost told the Daily Mail that Deborah Tillman doesn't have the right credentials for the job.

According tot he America's Supernanny official website, Tillman quit her job as an accountant to start a home-based school where she could provide quality daycare and instruction to her son and other children. An immediate hit among other families in the community, Tillman soon expanded her business into a 5,600 square foot space with a staff of six serving 45 children. Shortly after that, her center amassed a six-month waiting list and in 1998, she opened a second site to accommodate more than 100 students and 16 full-time staff. Today, Tillman operates three centers in Virginia.

 Tillman holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from Upsala College and a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Special Education from The George Washington University. She also studied at Oxford University. Tillman has presented workshops on child care throughout the country and is the author of the book Stepping Out on Faith, a guide to opening a quality child care center.

Will you be watching the premier of America's Supernanny tonight?

Monday, November 28, 2011

3 Basic Skills to Teach Kids About Money

Money Management Requires Basic Good Habits, Willpower, and Discipline

In the children's book, Not Your Parents' Money Book: Making, Saving, and Spending Your Own Moneyauthor Jean Chatzky explains money management to children. One of the most basic lessons in the book is that in order to be a financial success -- in order to be rich someday you have to do three basic things:
1. You have to earn money.
2. You have to spend less than you earn.
3. You have to save and invest the money that you don't spend so that it can grow into more money.

Think of these like directions on the bottle of shampoo: Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Do them over and over, again and again, and that's really all it takes.

The catch is that these steps may sound like easy things to do. But in practice? Doing them over and over, day in and day out, is not such a no-brainer. You need good habits, you need willpower, and you need discipline. Why? Because doing any one of these three things means choosing not to do something else that, at the time, you'd prefer to do.

The other way to think of these steps is like an equation. If you're going to be financially successful, the number one rule is that money in should equal money out. If you are bringing in less than you are spending, you are living beyond your means. and that's not sustainable.

Whenever you see a person or a family struggling financially, chances are it's because they didn't live by this principle. They spent more than they made -- sometimes by choice because they wanted things they couldn't afford and bought them anyway. Other times they lost a job and they had to rely on credit cards or stop saving because there was no other way to stay afloat. No matter the reason, the more you understand about these three steps -- and this one equation -- the better you will be able to manage them to your advantage and the better your financial life will be.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Toys and Games to Teach Kids About Money

Product Review Sunday

During the holidays we spend a lot of money to share gifts with others, making this the perfect time to teach kids about money. Yesterday, we highly recommended sharing the children's book, Not Your Parent's Money Book by Jean Chatzky with your charges to help teach them about money management. Below are some super games and toys to help teach kids about money.

Learning Resources Money Bags A Coin Value Game

This is a fun way to learn about combining coins. The object of this colorful and compact board game is to earn money while winding along a cartoon path. Money is earned by landing on a square labeled with a practical chore, such as setting the table (31 cents), or an entrepreneurial endeavor, such as a lemonade stand (15 cents). In order to collect money, the spinner is used to determine which coins can or cannot be taken from the bank. If the spinner lands on "no nickels" then you collect your change with any coins except for nickels. There's an additional incentive to use critical thinking and coin combining skills. Extra money can be earned if you land on a "Bank Exchange" space and exchange your coins (for example, two nickels for a dime). As you may have suspected, the player with the most money at the end wins.

Learning Resources Pretend and Play Checkbook with Calculator

Kids love to play like they are a grown up. With this pretend checkbook they can fill out pretend checks, make payments, and calculate their balances as they learn about check writing. The calculator is battery-powered, and the checks are actual size for even more realistic play. Includes 25 checks, check register, pen, calculator, deposit slips, and an instruction card. Replacement set includes: three pads of checks, three pads of deposit slips, and three sheets of check registers.

Learning Resources - Buy it Right Shopping Game

Teach kids the importance of money recognition, adding, and making correct change through interactive game play. Kids can set prices, buy and sell items, and learn the value of money as they move across the game board. Includes game board, calculator, game pieces, 40 paper play bills and 100 plastic coins. Game board measures 19" x 19". For 2-4 players.

Learning Resources Cash N' Carry Wallet

Get set for a pretend shopping spree with this grown up wallet. Includes 30 bills, 40 coins, credit card, and bank card. Made of nylon fabric with Velcro close. Features driver's license window, zippered coin compartment and suggested activities. This toy is intened for children 4-years and up.

Summit Zillions Deluxe ATM

Smashing your piggy bank is a thing of the past with this ATM machine that works as a personal savings bank. The large screen welcomes you by name, then gives you all of your up-to-date account information. Its built-in camera and sound effects are so real, you'll think you just pulled into the bank! Requires 3 "AA" batteries (included).

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Teaching Kids (and yourself) About Money

Not Your Parents' Money Book by Jean Chatzky

Now that it is holiday season it's the perfect time to teach kids about giving and money management. Most books about teaching kids about money are written for adults. But, Jean Chatzky wrote Not Your Parents' Money Book: Making, Saving, and Spending Your Own Moneyfor children.

You will recognize Jean Chatzky as the financial editor for the Today show and frequent contributor to other talk shows and media. She draws on her expertise in personal finance, as well as research from a series of focus group interviews with middle school students, to write this crash course in economics and finance for children.

Many reviews of the book recommend it for young pre-teens and teens (about 12-years-old to 17-years-old) but my eight-year-old charge is reading it. Interestingly, the information at the end of the book, especially on how to spend smartly, how to use credit cards and debit cards correctly (avoiding high interest rates), investing, introducing stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, are lessons many adults have not yet learned. So, you may even learn a little when reading this with your charges.

The first chapter opens up the book by describing the economy at large, and particularly how the government influences the economy, from printing money to the basics of the Federal Reserve.

Chapter two looks closer at the basics of individual money management, noting some basic tips to do financially well in life.

Chapter three starts to cover the basics of earning money, from the importance of higher education in increasing your income prospects to the realities of taxes when you get into the work force. There’s also a list of possible ways for the target population to earn money besides baby sitting.

The fourth chapter looks at some of the ways young people can spend money after they make it, and includes ways parents can monitor the allowance they give their children. It also includes a table listing the average income for numerous professions.

Chapter five discusses how to spend less than you earn, providing ways to help control your wants and emphasizing the importance of saving.

Chapter six discusses the basics of banking, covering some of different types of banks, and similar organizations. It also provides some basic instructions on how to balance your checkbook.

The seventh chapter covers how to spend smartly, including how to comparison shop and other methods of saving while shopping. There’s also an introduction to credit cards and debit cards, both things people are using when they are younger and younger. There’s also a few warnings about gift cards, particularly the fact that they expire pretty quickly.

Chapter eight provides a crash course in investing, introducing stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, as well as providing some basic advice on how to invest given your time frame for needing the money.

Chapter nine finishes off the book by talking about the emotional aspect of money, particularly how it can drive people so crazy.

The book finishes with some advice on how to give back to charity. There are a few appendices at the end, including the history of money, how money is made in the U.S. today, and a glossary of terms used throughout the book.

I highly recommend this book for a brief, simple, easy-to-read and easy-to-understand resource for teaching youngsters (and some adults) about money.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Are You Shopping for Black Friday Deals?

What Do You Think About Black Friday Shopping?
  • I wouldn't go shopping on Black Friday if you paid me.
  • If I can get a deal, I'll be there. 
  • I'll go shopping on Black Friday, but don't shop on Thanksgiving Day.

Toys 'R Us probably opened the earliest this year at 9 pm Thanksgiving Day with items up to 50 percent off.

Macy's opened at midnight for the first time in the store's history with discounts between 20 and 50 percent off.

Walmart opened at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day and is offering a number of deals for Black Friday shoppers including video games and big screen TVs.

Old Navy gave the first Black Friday shoppers who spend more than $40 free Kodak digital cameras (worth $100) when it opened at midnight.

The Gap is offering 60 percent off selected items.

From 6 m to noon, Staples is offering a Targus Leather iPad Cover for $9.99 (normally $50) and an HP Photosmart Plus wireless printer for $49.90 (from $149.99).

Amazon is offering smartphones for reduced online price of just one penny until November 28.

Despite a petition with thousands of employee signatures protesing the hours, Target opened at midnight. Target has many one day deals.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Why an Au Pair Loves the American Thanksgiving

What Are You Grateful for This Thanksgiving?
By Nanami

Three-years ago I came to America from Japan to work as an au pair for a family with two girls in Morristown, NJ. It was a difficult adjustment.

Not only was there a language barrier, but I owned just a few non-Western clothes and I was not used to the American diet. In fact, the first dinner I ate in America was a half of one slice of pizza and my stomach was full. Today I can easily eat three slices of pieces of pizza at one time, (why I have gained nearly 15-pounds since coming to America).

The American family that hired me lives in a large home with more toys than I have ever seen in one place, even in a toy store in Japan. The girls’ closets were filled with clothes, some they had never worn before they had outgrown the outfits. The family with only four members had two refrigerators packed with food.

In Japan, my three sisters and I shared one bed in a small room. The home in America had extra rooms for guests, a room just for playing piano, two for the kids to play, one room for each parent to use as an office, another for movie watching, one for doing laundry, and so on.

The selection of food at the grocery store was overwhelming. I still do not understand why Americans won’t eat a bruised piece of fruit or need so many brands of the same product (for example, just think of how brands of toilet paper there are to choose from). It is also shocking how much perfectly good food the family I work for throws away.

I had to learn how to make pancakes, cheesy scrambled eggs, French toast, bacon, and waffles for the girls’ breakfast. All I have for breakfast in Japan is Miso soup. On a great morning we might add rice to the soup. Yet, even with so many breakfast choices the girls in America would complain. And it is the complaining and whining by the children who have so much that has been the hardest adjustment of becoming an au pair working in America.

If I make pancakes and the girls don't feel like eating pancakes on that particular morning their mother simply throws out the pancakes and will make another meal. It is still upsetting to me that children can be offered such lavish meals, only to complain and then turn-them-down. I think of my clear Miso soup that I typically drink each morning in Japan, and I never even thought to complain.

Coming from such a modest life, to the American culture was difficult mostly because the children are so ungrateful. They seem to lack thankfulness. Having to listen to the two privileged girls whine and complain, despite having so much is very difficult. They have so much: nutrition, material possessions, love and nurturing -- but they always want more. They always compare themselves to each other and then to their friends.

That is why I was so pleasantly surprised about celebrating my first Thanksgiving in the United States of America! What a great way to be thankful. Family and friends come together without sharing any material gifts –- just a lot of food. Unlike the American birthdays or Christmas that I have witnessed in America, during Thanksgiving week the girls' negative attitude changed due to the hard work of their mother. Their mother made an effort to have her children focus on their blessings and on others instead of just themselves.

Here are some of the activities the mother did with the girls to prepare, celebrate, and conclude Thanksgiving week:

1. For a week before Thanksgiving she took the girls to donate ten frozen turkeys and all the side dishes to a local food bank for ten complete Thanksgiving dinners for those that might not be able to afford the meal that year.

2. Each night before bed for that week leading up to Thanksgiving she helped the girls list reasons why they are thankful for each guest they had invited to Thanksgiving dinner. They made lovely cards and listed on the cards the reasons they are thankful for the person. Then, during the meal, they asked everyone at the table to voice at least three things they are thankful for as well.

3. The week of Thanksgiving she also helped her children clear out their playroom and closets to donate old toys and clothes to the Salvation Army.

4. Then, on Thanksgiving day the family invited a few elderly guests to join their extended family for dinner. The seniors were members of their church who have children or other family living far away.

I just loved that each guest brought a dish to share at the Thanksgiving dinner. I loved that the mother asked everyone to say what they are thankful for before eating. I loved that we packed up food for each guest to bring home with them after dinner.

I was also pleasantly surprised that on the day after Thanksgiving (which is known as America’s busiest shopping day of the year) the mother took me with the girls shopping to make holiday care packages for American soldiers. The packages included soap, razors, toothbrushes, and travel-sized toiletries. But the most fun was packing cards and games (like crossword puzzles) and books and magazines for the soldiers.

I am thankful the family opened their hearts, home, and minds and invited me into their home. The mother bought me American style clothes to help me fit in, I gained nearly 15-pounds (I just love French fries and pizza), and have made friends with a great family. I hope I will be able to come to America to visit them again and someday they can me in Japan.

Most of all, I loved Thanksgiving. I hope all nannies and au pairs reading this will incorporate some of the activities my Host Mom did with her girls for Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Spirit of Thanksgiving for Nannies

More stuff does not guarantee happiness, serenity, or satisfaction.

Thanksgiving is an opportune time for reflection about the nature of thanks and appreciation, wants, and needs, desires versus necessities.

As nannies, we do not own a home the size of our boss' or posses the goods our employers have in abundance. Our charges often have bigger bedrooms and newer, more sophisticated electronics than the we do.

It is easy for many nannies to be envious. It is so easy to become fixated on jewelry, clothes, computers, and technological belongings. It is not uncommon to covet what we would like, even if we do not need it.

But envy is all-encompassing and debilitating. Envy saps the body and mind of resources and energy besides being time consuming.

Mature nannies understand that more stuff does not guarantee happiness, serenity, or satisfaction. In fact, the complications and stress from trying to "keep up with the Joneses" tends to impede the search for inner peace. Instead, we need to find joy in helping shape our charges and not feel a sense of entitlement.

This Thanksgiving be thankful for the blessings you find in your life, to appreciate the small things you may take for granted, and to celebrate the big things you tend to overlook. And to spread that joy of life to others.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I Am Thankful Book

Teaching Kids to be Thankful

Make a Thanksgiving keepsake for the child that truly embodies the spirit of thankfulness. You can purchase a small scrapbook or use paper from home to make this a really simple project.

What You Will Need:

• A holiday picture
• Crayons
• Several sheets of paper
• Stapler

The easiest way to make it is by printing out pages from enchanted learning, click here to visit that site. One page reads, "I am thankful for my family," then have the child draw a picture of his family. On the next page it reads, "I am thankful for my friends," then have the child draw a picture of her friends. You can even take this further by having them draw pictures of what they are thankful for.

If you prefer:
1. Print out a holiday picture and let the child color it.
2. On the sheets of paper, ask the child what they are thankful for like listed above.
3. Write down each thing they are thankful for on a separate piece of paper.
4. Assemble all the sheets with the holiday picture on top and staple it along the side like a book.

There are so many variations of how you can do this book and make it a meaningful activity for the child.

What do you do with your charge's to help prepare for Thanksgiving?

Monday, November 21, 2011

3 Tips for Taking the Stress Out of Thanksgiving

Nannies and Au Pairs Should Help Keep Things Calm During the Holidays

The holidays can be a stressful time for everyone, especially children. Busy parents, a hectic and disjointed schedule, and time off from structured school activities all add up to an unhappy child. What can you do to help?

As the nanny or au pair here are three tips on taking some of the stress out of Thanksgiving for your charges:

1. Set a schedule: Kids love structure. They need it. They need to know when to wake up and when to go to sleep. They need to know what they are going to do each day. Structure gives them security. During the holidays, however, school is out and their schedule is thrown for a loop. Help them by setting up a schedule of your own. As best you can, make sure they have a set time for activities, just like they do at school. This will give them a sense of security and stability during a hectic time.

2. Make it fun: Holidays are supposed to be fun, but frequently they’re just stressful. Bring the fun back. Have craft times, cooking times, and play times. Don’t get caught up in the holiday rush and forget what it is all about. Teach children the origins of the holidays, have puppet shows or plays, and sing classic songs.

3. Relax and remain calm: The most important thing to keep children stress-free is to be stress-free yourself. Remember to take time to relax. Take a break from the mad rush and just enjoy a cup of hot cocoa. Even when the parents and other people around you are going crazy, remain an oasis of peace and tranquility. Remaining calm is your best defense against stress. And if you are calm, the kids will be calm too.

There are many things that are stressful about the holidays, but do not let them get to you. Fight back and regain your peace. Don’t forget what holidays are all about- togetherness and love. You can make a difference and give children happy memories of the holidays as they grow up and have families of their own.

Author Bio
Nancy Parker was a professional nanny and she loves to write about wide range of subjects like health, parenting, child care, babysitting, nanny background tips etc. You can reach her @ nancy.parker015 @

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The 5 Best Thanksgiving Gifts to Give to Kids

Do You Share Thanksgiving with Your Employers?
By Farrah, Nanny, Los Angeles, CA

As a live-in nanny in Los Angeles, originally from Louisiana, I celebrate Thanksgiving with my employer's family each year. The entire extended family comes for the big dinner in which my employers absolutely refuse to let me work. They don't allow me to help in the kitchen or dining room with cooking, setting-up, or clean-up. So, to share my gratitude for sharing their family holiday with me I have a traditions of buying a gift to share with the kids. The games are the best gifts since both the parents and children can play these games around the Thanksgiving table year after year.

Here are the five best Thanksgiving gifts I have given to my charges and their family over the years:

The Thanksgiving Game
For players ages seven to adult. Three or more players sit around the table, between dinner and dessert. The game gives everyone an opportunity to express their gratitude to God and to each other. When friends and family gather to show their love and appreciation, everyone is a winner! However, we suggest that a prize be offered to the official winner, such as candy, a plant, or a new Christmas decoration. If you don't have a prize, you can offer something else, like the largest piece of pumpkin pie! Or add your own family tradition. The Thanksgiving Game is great for any time of the year, that will bring you years of enjoyment and meaningful memories with family and friends.

Thanksgiving Box of Questions
Thanksgiving will be even more festive with clever, engaging and entertaining Conversation Starter question cards. A Box of Questions also makes a special holiday hostess gift that doubles as a centerpiece for the Thanksgiving table. Bond with family and friends and involve everyone in your new tradition. The decorative gift boxes filled with 82 glossy cards printed with Thanksgiving themed Box Girl question cards. The Box Girls started in 2002 when BFF moms Cece Feiler and Heidi Hadda were at a restaurant with their hungry husbands and six kids and the service was slow. To avoid a mealtime meltdown, the two moms started asking questions to engage their kids and what was potentially a disastrous night turned into a magical night of bonding and sharing. That night the first game in the successful Box of Questions original series was launched. Hundreds of thousands of boxes in this successful series have been enjoyed by families and friends across the globe. These clever, age-appropriate, party, and holiday themed question-games instantly unite any group while re-establishing the art of storytelling. Since the first game was sold, The Box Girls has donated a percentage of their profits to charitable organizations.

Little People Thanksgiving Celebration
A pair of playful pilgrims and two trusty Indian friends gather 'round the table to give thanks together for a fantastic fall feast! Thirteen-piece set includes four Little People figures, table and two benches, turkey platter, horse and detachable cart, pumpkin, and two connectible harvest fence pieces. Great for children one-year-old and up.

LEGO Seasonal Exclusive Mini Figure Turkey
This turkey Leto has 53 pieces and flapping movable wings. The LEGO Thanksgiving Turkey is the perfect addition to your collection of holiday figures! Makes a great holiday gift and a fun party favor. This is a choking hazard for children under three-years-old.

Thanksgiving Paper Dolls Set
This 18 piece thanksgiving set includes eight Adorable Kinders Paper Dolls (four boys and four girls), two pilgrim boy outfits, two pilgrim girl outfits, two Indian boy outfits, two Indian girl outfits, one re-stickable glue stick and one blunt tip scissors. The paper dolls are made of a durable UV coated card stock and come with a foot stand. They are perforated for easy removal and assembly. The accessories outfits require scissors cutting and may be attached to the dolls using the re-stickable glue for reuse as in dress-up play, or using permanent glue for single use such as scrap booking, greeting cards, and other arts and crafts projects. The paper dolls and their outfits are made in USA.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Children's Books in the Spirit of Thanksgiving

Weekly Trip to the Library

In the spirit of Thanksgiving (coming up on Thursday) I borrowed some books from the library about thankfulness and the many blessings we have, rather than specifically about the holiday of Thanksgiving. I think these are great choices for children to share the spirit of Thanksgiving.

Of course if you prefer a fun craft book to use with kids for Thanksgiving click here or you can click here for more children's books about Thanksgiving.

In Every Tiny Grain of Sand
By Reeve Lindbergh
Review by By Elizabeth Kennedy, Guide

In Every Tiny Grain of Sand is a picture book in that it is divided into four sections, each with a different illustrator, and uses the writings of many writers not often associated with children's books. The selections in the book are from a variety of authors, cultures, and religions. These encompass Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Native American, Muslim, Baha'i, Algerian, Buddhist, Celtic, African-American, and East African, among others.

The authors and sources range from the anonymous to the well known. They include the Bible, Robert Browning, Christina Rossetti, Walt Whitman, Pope Pius XII, Anne Frank, Margaret Walker, Black Elk, and Albert Schweitzer. One of the greatest assets of this book is the quality of the writing. Children are not often introduced to writing of this caliber, in a way that has meaning for them, at an early age, and this book provides such an opportunity.

In Every Tiny Grain of Sand is a 10-inch by 11-inch hardbound book with a colorful dust jacket and different colorful illustrations on its cover.

The book's four sections are "For the Day," "For the Home," "For the Earth," and "For the Night." "For the Day," was illustrated by Bob Graham. His watercolor and ink illustrations provide scenes of children in all seasons and many different places enjoying their activities, creating an effective accompaniment to the prayers and poems of thanks in this section.

The delightfully detailed watercolor and collage artwork of Elisa Kleven reinforces the joys of home, family, and nature that are celebrated in "For the Home." "For the Earth," broadens the celebration of nature with lively watercolors by Christine Davenier. Here the emphasis is on both being thankful for the earth, animals, and seasons, and on taking care of the earth.

Anita Jeram is a master at painting night scenes that are both dark and vibrant with color and life. Her dense acrylic illustrations in "For the Night" cover every page and incorporate the poems and writings into the artwork. Jeram's artwork embodies both the mysteries and the beauty of the night, a fitting finale for In Every Tiny Grain of Sand.

This is not a book meant to be read at one sitting. Instead, it is a collection to be dipped into, enjoyed, and discussed again and again. In her introduction to the book, Reeve Lindbergh describes the collection, stating, "Some of them were written in appreciation of nature, or to praise God, or to celebrate good things in our lives like our families, our homes, and our love for one another. Others were written when the writer needed strength, comfort, or courage." I hope you will enjoy the book as much as I have.

The Book of Giving Poems of Thanks, Praise, and Celebration
By Kay Chorao

This is a collection of 61 poems of praise, thanks, celebration, and sharing, ranging from an excerpt from the Bible's "Book of Solomon" to a Native American prayer. Langston Hughes, James Weldon Johnson, Robert Louis Stevenson, William Blake, William Butler Yeats, and many contemporary poets are included, along with lesser-known writers. There are several selections celebrating Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Valentine's Day, and birthdays, as well as the seasons and the Earth. Different cultures are represented by an Irish folk blessing, an Algerian prayer, and several Chinese poems, adding to the book's universal appeal. Soft, finely detailed illustrations in pastel colors enhance the warm, joyous spirit of the collection.

I'm Thankful Each Day
By P.K. Halinan
This book is intended for ages one- to six-years old. The colorful illustrations and simple text make this story perfect for toddlers. Every facet of God's world provides a reason for a child to be thankful: from the glorious sunset to the beauty of the seashore, trees, and flowers.

My Basket of Blessings
By Mary Manz Simon

I picked out this book at the library simply because it looks so cute. It's in the shape of a basket, colorful and sparkly, and fun to touch for a young child. With the topic of thankfulness it's perfect for Thanksgiving. The author, Dr. Mary Manz Simon has embodied thought leadership in the Christian market for more than 20-years and this book shares the reasons to thank God for our many blessings. The publisher recommend the book for children three-years old to but I chose it for a toddler and she loves it.

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

Friday, November 18, 2011

Do You Support or Oppose the CA Domesitc Workers Bill of Rights?

APNA View of Proposed Laws for Household Workers
Risk to safety, business climate & tax collection

We have discussed the CA Domestic Workers Bill of Rights extensively on this blog. Some of the terms the bill had hoped to include (but some have been removed) are: the right to paid sick days and worker's compensation if injured on the job, to report and to be compensated for the actual time worked, an annual minimum wage increase equal to the rate of the annual cost of living increase, and 21-days notice of termination.

On a poll on this blog (see in margin to the right) 76% of readers support or the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, 18% oppose the Bill, and 5% replied they don't know.

Here is the opinion of the Association of Premier Nanny Agencies (APNA):

(November 2011) – Recent legislative activity in New York and California is shining a spotlight on labor laws for nannies and other household employees, reinforcing the presumption that in-home workers are frequently mistreated. “The California laws under consideration (AB889) go too far and if passed, could result in an increased underground of illegal domestic workers – putting them and those in their care at greater risk – and potentially driving businesses from the state, ” explains Daryl Camarillo , president of the Association of Premier Nanny Agencies - A Household Staffing Alliance (APNA ) .

One example of what California’s AB889 would do would be to require families to supply an additional caregiver to relieve a nanny for a documented 30-minute meal break and two, 10-minute rest breaks each day. “ Families who fail to do so would have to pay their nanny more or risk being sued by their nanny and finding themselves liable for lawyer’s fees, fines and court costs ,” says Denise Collins of San Francisco’s Aunt Ann’s In-House Staffing. “It’s impractical on so many levels. It almost defeats the purpose of hiring an in-home caregiver by adding additional costs and administrative duties for the family – not to mention, who will they find to take a job for 50-minutes a day – spread out throughout the day?”

“If these laws pass, parents could also be fined or sued for infractions such as failing to provide the nanny’s requested foods – even if a child in her care is allergic to one of the foods,” adds Camarillo. “The lawmakers’ intentions are good, but we predict passage of AB889 as it stands now would result in so many additional duties, risks and costs for families that many will resort to hiring under the table.”

Illegal hiring can drive down wages and reduce employment opportunities for legally-hired domestic employees. In addition, California’s business climate could suffer if it’s harder for parents to work because of burdensome childcare laws.”

A climate that encourages underground or “do-it-yourself” hiring also creates dangers people can’t foresee . “A perfect example is background checks. Most people don’t understand that the inexpensive ‘nationwide’ background check offered by many online listing services for nannies and babysitters isn’t really nationwide and isn’t very thorough,” says Camarillo.

“We’ve been working for years to sound the alarm that a proper background check involves human vetting, time and some cost. Quality agencies hire professionals to screen candidates before sending them on interviews. People who are hiring nannies, personal assistants, elder companions and housekeepers often don’t even consider that they should check for a criminal record – and they should .”

Respected household staffing agencies safeguard families and domestic workers by educating both sides about salaries, employment and tax laws that can vary widely from state to state, industry norms, and the importance of written work agreements.

“Legal, household employees are already well protected by existing state and federal laws governing human rights, disability, work conditions and overtime. Most earn more than minimum wage. In California their salaries range between $15 and $30 an hour which is taxed and contributes to their ability to collect social security, unemployment and other social safety nets tied to legal employment.”

California is often at the leading edge of social issues, so we want to communicate to its lawmakers, and those nationwide, that proposals such as AB889 might appear to increase worker protection, but unless the laws are carefully crafted, they could result in unintended consequences.”

•Daryl Camarillo, APNA president, (650) 462-4580 or
•Denise Collins, APNA vice president, ( 415) 749-3650
•Go to to find an APNA agency in your community and valuable information for families and people seeking household employment

APNA is a self-regulating organization that helps set the bar for industry standards and practices. APNA member agencies have their contracts, applications and business practices scrutinized by peers to ensure they know and follow all applicable laws. You are dealing with a quality household staffing service when you see the APNA seal.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

10 Reasons Parents Choose Nannies Over Daycare

Why Does Your Boss Hire a Nanny Instead of a Daycare?
By Full Time Nanny

When parents are considering childcare options, daycare centers will generally be one of the possibilities on the list. There are several reasons why a family may choose a nanny to meet their childcare needs instead of a daycare center. Here are the 10 top reasons that parents give.

1. Work schedules – Finding a daycare center that has hours which fit variable work schedules for two spouses can be difficult to do. With a nanny, a schedule of hours can be determined ahead of time that will fully meet the parent’s needs.

2. Safety – Even though licensed daycare centers are limited in the number of children per worker that are allowed, some families still are uncomfortable leaving their children in the care of individuals that are caring for a large number of children at the same time.

3. Convenience – The fact that parents don’t have to take the children out of the house in the morning or pick them up again at the end of the day is a great convenience and time saver for the parents.

4. Exposure to illness – Daycare centers, like schools, are places where viruses and germs are often shared among the children, no matter how hard the daycare provider attempts to prevent these situations. Keeping the children in the home, limits their exposure to illness.

5. Personal attention – A nanny has no other children to attend to (in most cases) than your children. Parents can be assured that their children’s personal needs are not being overlooked.

6. Chauffeuring kids – Parents want their kids to have the opportunity to participate in extra-curricular activities. A nanny can also serve as the kid’s chauffeur to these activities or to and from school, a service not available through most daycare centers.

7. Flexibility – When engaging a daycare, parents are told what the rules are and how the daycare handles situations. With a nanny, a family has more flexibility in coming up with an agreement that fits their specific needs.

8. Specialty needs – Children with special physical needs cannot always be accommodated at a traditional daycare center. A nanny working in the home will have everything she needs to care for the child, right in the home.

9. New infants – Most daycare centers do not accept newborn infants. For parents needing childcare help during the early weeks, a nanny can provide professional care for the infant and professional support to the parents.

10. Extra duties – Many nannies are contracted to perform some light household duties along with their childcare duties. This is not an option available when using a daycare center.

There are many advantages for a family that chooses a nanny to meet their childcare needs. The personalized service of in-home childcare can hardly be compared with the setting of a daycare which is providing services to many different families at the same time.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

How Nannies and Au Pairs Can Cope with Back-Talk

What Are Your Tips For Working With Disrespectful Tweens?

Yesterday we explained that eye-rolling, sarcastic, back-talking pre-teens don't have the maturity to know when they've crossed the line. Their highly reactive amygdala (part of the brain) triggers the brains' automatic fight-or-flight reflex. In other words, it's inevitable that pre-teens will speak and behave inappropriately to see what they can get away with.

In her book, Don't Give Me That Attitude!: 24 Rude, Selfish, Insensitive Things Kids Do and How to Stop Them Michele Borba explains how to cope with back-talking tweens. She explains that although you won't banish the back-talk forever, these tips will help you mitigate the issue — as well as develop a thicker skin:

  • Figure out what's behind it. Sometimes an obnoxious attitude is a reaction to stress, disappointment, or even too little sleep. Middle schoolers are trying to prove themselves academically and socially, and it can be a challenge to keep negativity and cynicism at bay when they're emotionally depleted.
  • Target one attitude at a time. Do you bristle at his fresh mouth or sense of entitlement? Are you most offended by her barely-under-the-breath remarks or the way she rolls her eyes when you speak? While there may be several things you wish would disappear instantly, focus on one at a time.
  • Nurture the attitude you want to see. Once you've targeted the offensive attitude, zero in on what you'd like to see instead. For instance, an insensitive child needs to be caring and empathic; the non-compliant child can learn to be respectful and dependable; the demanding child should be considerate.
  • Stay cool. The child wants to see that he's ticking you off — and he's probably quite good at it.
  • Draw your line in the sand. During a peaceful moment, patiently point out the attitudes you're concerned about. Make it clear that, while you understand her feelings and opinions, you won't tolerate her response. You could say, "I know you think I'm not being fair, but I won't be spoken to like that." Or, "That may be the way you talk to your friends, but it's never okay with me." Give her another chance to respond in a kinder, gentler way: "If you'd like me to help you, ask politely," or "You call me clueless, and that hurts my feelings. Can you say it another way?"
  • Follow through with consequences. If the child has slipped into the habit of being disrespectful, he really may not be aware of it or, in the heat of the moment, realize how wounding his words are. Still, Borba advises that you "flat out refuse to respond until he does." If it continues, ground him or take away privileges: no cell phone or X-Box, an early curfew, missing an important social event.
  • Notice the good times. When the infuriating comments cease, let the child know you're proud of her. And hang in there: by the age of 14 or 15, the nice kid you used to know will come back.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Do You Work with an Eye-Rolling, Sarcastic, Back-Talking Pre-Teen?

Middle Schoolers Don't Have the Maturity to Know They Crossed the Line
Photo: Stockxpert

I've been pulling-my-hair-out with an eight-year-old charge that is suddenly giving me back-talk. His once respectful tone has been replaced with rude comebacks, eye-rolling, sarcasm, and bitter refusal to follow through with even the simplest of my requests.

I've been wondering what is wrong with him? What is wrong with me? What am I doing wrong? And most painful of all, why does he suddenly hate me?

So, I am thrilled that I stumbled across a book that explains that his sudden sense of entitlement probably isn't about me at all. He's simply trying out his pre-teen mojo. He's seeing what he can get away with.

According to Lauri Berkenkamp and Steven C. Atkins, co-authors of Because I Said So!: Family Squabbles & How to Handle Them (Go Parents! Guide) the problem is, middle schoolers (starting as early as eight-years-old until they are 14-years-old) don't have the maturity to know when they've crossed the line. The pre-frontal cortex -- the area in the brain that affects reasoning, impulse control, and the ability to recognize the consequences of their actions -- isn't fully formed until the late teens or early 20s. Instead, it's overshadowed by the highly reactive amygdala, which triggers the brains' automatic fight-or-flight reflex.

"When this area fires up, a child may instantaneously interpret just about anything you do or say as hostile -- and react accordingly," say the authors.

"Plus, kids witness the cynical, taunting comments of classmates at school [and older siblings]. In the guise of being 'cool,' a child may adapt the tone of voice or verbal bullying of peers in order to fit in," explains Berkenkamp and Atkins. "His friends get away with it, so he figures, why not try it out?"

This knowledge is liberating! I can stop over-analyzing everything I say and worrying about his hating me (since all kids this age just hate their nannies! Just kidding).  He's simply wired to react aggressively at this stage. But, that doesn't mean I should just sit back and ignore when he makes rude comments or behaves inappropriately. Tomorrow, we will learn how to cope with a bad tween attitude.

Tomorrow: How to Cope with a Bad Tween Attitude

Monday, November 14, 2011

Why No More Tears, Does Cause Tears

Why Has China Pulled Johnson & Johnson Off Their Shelves and America Has Not?

Have you noticed that Johnson & Johnson products irritate the skin of the children in your care?

China has pulled Johnson & Johnson products off their shelves, yet the United States has not.

The reason is Johnson & Johnson products contain carcinogens. The carcinogens found in some of their popular baby products include 1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde.

The Environmental Working Group Campaign for Safe Cosmetics commissioned the study to test 48 products for 1,4-dioxane, and 28 of those products were also tested for formaldehyde.

The lab found:

-  67 % of products contained 1,4-dioxane
-  82 % contain formaldehyde
-  17 products contaminated with both 1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde

The full list of products tested is in the Campaign’s report, No More Toxic Tub. They include: Johnson & Johnson’s baby shampoo, Baby Magic “Soft Baby Scent” Baby Lotion, and American Girl “Hopes & Dreams” Glistening Shower and Beth Wash.

Even if there are only trace amounts of carcinogens in these products, when a baby is bathed in the chemicals each and every day it is common sense that their cancer risk increases.

Considering that formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane are known carcinogens and that formaldehyde can also trigger skin rashes in children it's upsetting that unlike many other countries, the U.S. government does not limit formaldehyde, 1,4-dioxane, or most other hazardous substances in personal care products.

If our government won't do it for you, than consider the risks yourself.

What You Can Do:

1. Choose safer alternatives by visiting the Skin Deep data base maintained by Environmental Working Group.

2. Contact Johnson & Johnson, and urge them to clean up their products by removing dangerous ingredients like 1,4 dioxane and formaldehyde. Here is a sample of what to write:

"Please remove all carcinogens from your products. Since Johnson & Johnson baby products contain the known carcinogens 1,4 dioxane and formaldehyde in which no child should be exposed, I will no longer use your products until these compounds are removed from all your products."

Main Office:
One Johnson & Johnson Plaza
New Brunswick, New Jersey 08933
(732) 524-0400

3. Write to Rep. Henry Waxman, Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee,
with responsibility for legislation and oversight in the areas of public health, consumer protection, food and drug safety, and the environment. Urge Rep. Waxman to convene hearings on toxic ingredients in baby products.

2204 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Telephone (202) 225-3976
Fax (202) 225-4099

4. Write your Senators and Representative and urge them to support the Kid-Safe Chemical Act, legislation that would strengthen laws and regulations to protect kids from toxins in all products including baby soap and shampoo.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Grandpa Read's Quiet Time Tales

Product Review Sunday

We have been discussing the importance of reading aloud to children. In fact, the Autumn issue of Be the Best Nanny Newsletter explains that even if you don't like reading yourself, it's still important to read aloud to children each and every day. To see the issue you can purchase it here.

But, there are times I just can't read to the kids. That's why I am thrilled that Yes, Dear Entertainment sent me samples of Grandpa Reads Quiet Time Tales  recently and I can highly recommend these adorable videos to you. This are guilt-free DVDs when you need a way to distract children and calm them down.

My employers have a DVD player in their car. Obviously I cannot read to my charges while I'm driving but "Grandpa" can when I play these videos in the car. Using these DVDs while I'm shuttling kids to activities keeps them silent and well behaved as they listen to "Grandpa," (played by actor Gary Sturm), read all the classics stories and fairy tales all kids (and adults) love.

Grandpa Read's Quiet Time Tales is a series of one- hour DVDs highly recommended for children ages two- to eight-years-old. In each volume Grandpa reads five classic children's stories aloud accompanied by original illustrations commissioned for the project. Each DVD also has an original song, with all 13 songs featured on a Quiet Time Tales music CD.

There are 60 classic childhood stories and fairy tales in the entire collection including: The Three Bears, Puss in Boots, Jack and the Beanstalk, Robin Hood, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe, The Ugly Duckling, Thumbelina, Rumplestiltskin, The Velveteen Rabbit, Beauty and the Beast, The Three Little Pigs, The Princess and the Pea, The Emperor's New Clothes, and many more.

This series, was conceived in the spirit of "Mister Rogers" and "Reading Rainbow" to create calming and soothing children's entertainment which fires childrens' imaginations and inspires a love of stories and story-telling.

Click here to visit their web site, sample stories, sample songs, read testimonials, and purchase the Quiet Time Tales products.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

One-Third of Girls and One in Six Boys Will Be Molested

My Body Belongs to Me by Jill Starishevsky

Over the past week there has been tons of media coverage about sexual harassment and sexual assault. Plus, a new survey and a report shows half to 80% of middle school and high school students feel they have been sexually harassed.

That's why for this Weekly Trip to the Library we highly recommend the children's book, My Body Belongs to Meauthored by a New York City child abuse and sex crimes prosecutor Jill Starishevsky. Her book helps make children aware that when it comes to their bodies, there are boundaries. It assures them that it’s okay to tell a parent or teacher if someone touches their “private parts.”

The story is a simple scenario involving a gender neutral child who is inappropriately touched by an uncle’s friend. The powerful message really comes through when the youngster tells on the offender and the parents praise the child’s bravery. The last page shows a proud, smiling child doing a "strong arm" pose. The text assures them that it wasn't their fault and by speaking out the child will continue to grow big and strong. It is a compelling and uplifting message.

The “Suggestions for the Storyteller” section is an important, interactive feature that facilitates the discussion to follow. It will make any caregiver feel more comfortable talking about this important subject, thereby helping to prevent the unthinkable from happening to their child or child in their care.

Studies show that one in three girls and one in six boys will be molested and without educating children as to the importance of disclosing, the abuse can continue and escalate.

Ms. Starishevsky has said, "I prosecuted the case of a nine-year-old girl who had been raped by her stepfather since she was six. She told no one. One day, the girl saw an episode of 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' about children who were physically abused. The episode, 'Tortured Children,' empowered the girl with this simple message: If you are being abused, tell your parents. If you can't tell your parents, go to school and tell your teacher. The girl got the message and the very next day went to school and told her teacher. I prosecuted the case for the District Attorney's office. The defendant was convicted and is now serving a lengthy prison sentence."

The author continues, "I have thought often of that very sweet, very brave nine-year-old girl. It occurred to me that after three painful years, all it took to end her nightmare was a TV program encouraging her to 'tell a teacher.'"

Ms. Starishevsky explains, "I wrote My Body Belongs to Meto continue that message. It endeavors to teach children that they don't have to endure abuse in silence. Parents and educators should use it as a tool to facilitate an open dialogue with youngsters. It is my hope that by educating girls and boys about this taboo subject, My Body Belongs to Mewill prevent them from becoming victims in the first place."

Where to find help:

Darkness to Light®
Darkness to Light's mission is to shift responsibility for preventing child sexual abuse from children to adults by providing information on how to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse.

Love Our Children USA™
Love Our Children USA is the national nonprofit leader in breaking the cycle of violence against children. Since 1999, Love Our Children USA has paved the way in the prevention of all forms of violence and neglect against children, keeping children safe and strengthening families.

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC)
NCMEC is a public-private partnership serving as a national clearinghouse for information on missing children and the prevention of child victimization. NCMEC works in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is the nation's largest anti-sexual assault organization. RAINN created the National Sexual Assault Hotlines, which it operates in partnership with more than 1,100 local rape crisis centers across the country. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual assault, help victims and ensure that rapists are brought to justice.

Stop It Now!®
Stop It Now! offers adults the tools they need to prevent sexual abuse before a child is harmed. They provide support, information and resources that enable individuals and families to keep children safe and create healthier communities. In collaboration with a network of community-based programs, they reach out to adults who are concerned about their own or others’ sexualized behavior toward children.

Stop the Silence: Stop Child Sexual Abuse, Inc.®
Stop the Silence works with others toward the prevention and treatment of child sexual abuse. The worldwide mission of Stop the Silence is to expose and stop child sexual abuse, help survivors heal, and celebrate the lives of those healed.

Since 1959 Childhelp has been dedicated to the treatment and prevention of child abuse and neglect. Childhelp's National Child Abuse Hotline operates 24/7/365 with highly trained counselors, and receives 200,000 calls per year from children, parents, concerned adults and professionals. Childhelp's Good-Touch/Bad-Touch prevention program reaches over 90,000 children annually in 42 states and 14 countries.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Are You Shocked By the Penn State Riots? Why Aren't Students Rioting in Support of Boys That Were Abused?

How Nannies and Parents Should Talk to Kids About Sexual Harassment

This week we have been discussing sexual harassment. Sadly, half to 80% of middle school and high school students say they have been sexually harassed. This is also a current topic for a presidential candidate.

Plus, a sex scandal rocks Penn State as a former assistant coach at Penn State Jerry Sandusky has been arrested due to sexual abuse of at least eight boys and alleged cover up. Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley and Vice President for Finance Gary Schultz are charged with lying under oath and not reporting at least one incident of abuse to police. The football coach Joe Paterno and and the university President Graham Spanier have been fired because they were also told of at least one incident and did not alert police.

Here's what to tell your charges about sexual harassment:
  • Tell your parents, grandparents, teacher, principal, guidance counselor, doctor, police, or nanny if you think you are being sexually harassed, you need to tell someone who can help you stop it.
  • Don’t blame yourself. The person who is harassing you is the one doing something wrong and you haven’t done anything to cause the harassment, even if you flirted with this person or liked him/her.
  • Say “No” clearly. Tell the person who is harassing you that his/her behavior offends you. They may not realize how hurtful their behavior is and may need a clear message from you to stop. If the harassment does not end, promptly write a letter asking the harasser to stop. Keep a copy of the letter.
  • Write down what happened so you don't forget. When someone harasses you or makes you feel uncomfortable, write it down in a notebook that is just for this purpose. Write down what happened, the date it happened, where it happened, and who else may have seen or heard the harassment. Also write down what you did in response, and how the harassment made you feel. Do not write other information in this notebook, such as appointments or homework assignments. Save any notes or pictures the harasser sent you. It is a good idea to keep the record somewhere besides school, such as your home or another safe place.
  • Report the harassment. It is very important that you tell your parents or another adult, like a teacher or guidance counselor, about the harassment. If you want the school to do something about the harassment, you MUST tell a school official, such as the principal, that you are being sexually harassed. If you do not feel comfortable telling the school official yourself, get the help of your parents, a teacher, guidance counselor, or another adult to go with you. If you and/or your parents tell a school official verbally, also do it in writing and keep a copy for yourself. If the first school official (like the principal) doesn’t respond, go to the school board or Superintendent to complain. The law says the school has to stop sexual harassment of a student whether the harasser is a teacher or another student(s) but the school is only required to stop the harassment if someone in authority at the school knows what is happening to you. So you MUST report the harassment to a school official.
  • Consult the school grievance policies and Title IX officer. Your school is supposed to have a policy against sexual harassment. Obtain and review a copy of the policy. The Title IX grievance policy may also give you a list of the type of behavior that the school considers to be sexual harassment. Find out from your school who the Title IX officer is for your school or district. You should be able to ask him or her questions about how to complain, and to whom.
  • File a complaint with a government agency. If nothing happens after complaining to school officials, you and your parents can file a complaint against the school with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR). Generally, you must file a complaint with the OCR within 180 days of an act of discrimination. You can call them, and they will explain how to file a complaint. (Contact information is listed below.)
  • File a lawsuit. You can also file a lawsuit against the school. If you want to do this, you should look into it quickly, because there are time limits for filing a lawsuit. In California, you must file a lawsuit within 2 years of an act of discrimination. Other states’ time limits vary from one to six years. If you have any questions about finding a lawyer or filing a lawsuit, you can call Equal Rights Advocates free Advice & Counseling Line at 800/839-4ERA.
  • It is important to remember that retaliation for taking action under Title IX is illegal. If you feel that someone is mistreating you or treating you unfairly because you have complained about discrimination, you should contact the Office of Civil Rights.

Office of Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education
(The federal agency that enforces school sexual harassment laws)
800-421-3481: National toll-free hotline to report any educational discrimination, to request information on civil rights compliance programs and procedures for filing discrimination complaints.
415-556-4275: San Francisco, CA local office
All other states, check the U.S. government pages of the telephone book for your local offices.

180 Howard Street
Suite 300
San Francisco, CA 94105
Phone: (415) 621-0672
Fax: (415) 621-6744
Advice and Counseling:
(415) 621-0505
Equal Rights Advocates' mission is to protect and secure equal rights and economic opportunities for women and girls through litigation and advocacy.

11 Dupont Circle NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 588-5180
The National Women's Law Center works to protect and advance the progress of women and girls at work, in school, and in virtually every aspect of their lives.

395 Hudson Street, 5th floor
New York, NY 10014
(212) 925-6635
NOW Legal Defense works to enforce girls' equal access to education. Their work in this area focuses on how sexual harassment in schools operates as a barrier to equal education.

1111 Sixteenth St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20036
The AAUW promotes equity for all women and girls, lifelong education, and positive societal change.

3543 18th Street, #7
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 861-2024
24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (415) 647-RAPE
San Francisco Women Against Rape supports survivors of rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment, their friends and family members, and uses education and community organizing as tools of prevention

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Half to 80% of Middle School and High School Students Have Been Sexually Harassed

Are Your Charges' Use of Electronic Communication Being Monitored?

Not all sexual harassment occurs in the school hallways. Survey shows that children feel sexually harassed by text, email, Facebook, or other electronic means as well.
Sexual harassment is part of everyday life in middle and high schools, affecting nearly half of all students, according to a sobering report released by the American Association of University Women.

But, the Office for Civil Rights under the Department of Education says that even more students are sexually harassed. They report that four out of five (80%) students become victims of sexual harassment. Please click here for more information about sexual harassment at school.

The report by the American Association of University Women, called Crossing the Line, that was released earlier this week, says that of those students surveyed, 48 percent had experienced some form of sexual harassment at school last year, and 87 percent said it had a negative effect on them.
But not all sexual harassment occurs in the school hallways. The survey shows that children feel sexually harassed by text, email, Facebook, or other electronic means affected 30 percent of students.

The effect on victims can be devastating in the short-term, resulting in missed school and impaired social life. In the long-term, some never recover from inappropriate behavior at an impressionable age. For the perpetrator, a life-changing stigma may be attached to the student.

With the permission and cooperation of the parents, your charges must be made aware of what proper behavior is expected. Further, they must know how and to whom to report inappropriate acts or comments (which we will go in detail about tomorrow).

Regardless of being a male or female, each child has the right to know about sexual harassment:

  • Define the term ‘sexual harassment’ to children. The Department of Education gives a perfect definition for sexual harassment. They define sexual harassment as any unwanted behavior in sexual nature. That includes, but is not limited to, sexual gestures, name-calling, jokes, talk of sexual acts in the presence of other people, unwanted or inappropriate touches on a person’s sensitive and private areas, spreading rumors that are sexual in nature, and even picture drawing and graffiti.
  • Explain that sexual harassment is never an act of love. It’s the same thing as bullies do in school; the perpetrator puts himself above his victim and makes advances to manipulate his victim.
  • Sexual harassment is both an illegal and immoral act. Teach children not to allow people to do it to them and immediately tell school authorities (or you or their parents) of the perpetrators. Likewise, parents should educate kids to avoid harassing others.
  • Sexual harassment knows no sex or age. Kids should know that these acts can be done by young or old people, male or female. It can be done by persons on the opposite sex, and even on persons of the same sex.
Tomorrow: What a child should do if they feel they are being sexually harassed.