Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What Do You Love About Your Nanny Agency?

The Responsibilities of Nanny Referral Agencies
By Annie Davis, Agency Owner, former President of APNA

When discussing issues of privacy for nannies we must include privacy and confidentiality of nanny placement agencies.

A diligent nanny employment agency will ask for sensitive private information from prospective nannies so that a thorough search of the candidates can be conducted.

The research examines and verifies the information provided by the job seekers. This knowledge is then used by the agency to try to establish the best match between employees and employers.

Nanny candidates can expect that the agency will keep their job search information confidential and not reveal the name of the candidates to the nanny’s current employers.

Nannies also expect that the personal information given to the agency will not be sold to solicitors or to mailing lists.

Most nanny referral agencies make a concerted effort to protect the privacy of both the employers and the nannies.

It is prudent to question the agency you intend to use about the privacy policies in effect.

Annie Davis,
former President of the Association of Premier Nanny Agencies http://www.theapna.org/ created a checklist for Best Nanny Newsletter in April, 2008. Here is her agency confidentiality and ethics checklist:

Good Nanny Referral Agencies:
1. Do not talk a nanny into taking a position that just came up when the nanny is with another family and is happy in the job.
2. Do not give substandard service after the fee has been paid.
3. Do not over promise and under deliver.
4. Do not advertise as a family looking for nannies to get out of paying the advertising costs.
5. Do not gossip with nannies about clients or with clients about nannies.
6. Do not bad-mouth other agencies.
7. Do listen to any grievance, even if it is unwarranted, and then they try to make it right.

© 2009 Annie Davis, former President, Association of Premier Nanny AgenciesHave you ever had a privacy issue with a nanny placement agency?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Do the Parents Respect Your Privacy?

Parent/Employer Checklist

Yesterday we discussed how important it is for nannies to respect their employer's privacy. Today we list the privacy issues parents who employ nannies should consider.

1. Respect fair hiring practices and laws. Do not ask the nanny about their religion, race, sexual preference, and so on.

2. Provide private sleeping quarters for live-in caregivers.

3. Provide private bathing accommodations, phone use, and email access when possible for live-in nannies.

4. Do not gossip or share personal information about the nanny with friends such as salary, contract negotiations, or pet-peeves.

5. Do not enter the nanny bedroom or inspect nanny personal items without permission (call a police officer for assistance if theft is suspected).

6. Do not read the nanny's personal letters, emails, look in drawers, or snoop into their personal belongings.

7. Be upfront about use of nanny cams in public areas of your home.

8. Never use nanny cams in personal areas such as bedrooms or bathrooms.

9. Create a confidentiality clause for employees to sign that they won't repeat personal information to others.

10. Avoid excessive prying into employee private time or private lives.


11. Teach your kids to respect the nanny's private space when she is working and her time and space when she is not working.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Have You Signed a Confidentiality Agreement?

Nanny Confidentiality Checklist

Whether you have signed a confidentiality agreement with your employers or not, an important characteristic that separates a professional nanny from a mere babysitter is that a professional nanny respects the private family issues of their employers. The next time you feel like complaining to your friends (and the friends of your employers) about your employer's family life consider our nanny confidentiality checklist.

1. Use discretion about the family's privacy. Do not gossip about private family issues. Refrain from using names of family when getting advice for general issues.
2. Do not post photos of the children in emails, on web sites, Facebook, or anywhere online without parental permission.
3. Do not share personal information about the children online or in nanny chat groups (ages, names, or where they attend school).
4. Do not read family personal mail, emails, or snoop into their personal affairs.
5. Do not enter parent’s bedroom, closets, drawers, and bathroom without permission.
6. Do not discuss important issues about the child to the teacher or doctor without the parent's knowledge (unless criminal child abuse may be suspected, when communicating with teachers and doctors for advice is recommended).

Sunday, February 26, 2012

What Type of Thermometer Do You Use With Your Charges?

Products Nannies Love: Behind the Ear and Pacifier Thermometers

Do you know anyone that still uses the manual, mercury-filled thermometers anymore? In these modern times most parents and nannies use digital thermometers. There are rectal thermometers, oral thermometers, ear (tympanic) thermometers, under arm thermometers, and thermometers that can take a temperature by on a forehead (temporal thermometers).

But have you tried the thermometer which takes the temperature in one second from behind the ear or a digital baby pacifier?

The thermometer that takes the temperature behind the ear flashes green, yellow, and red for easy reading. Reviews of the product explain that the behind the ear thermometer is very sensitive and as accurate as a rectal thermometer but finding the exact spot behind the ear to place the thermometer can be tricky.

The pacifier shaped thermometer also takes an accurate reading. They are easy to read, inexpensive, and more accurate than many ear thermometers, but the tricky part of using a pacifier thermometer depends on whether the baby is willing to keep the pacifier in their mouth long enough to take the reading.

Click here for the proper procedures to use a rectal, oral, and auxillary temperature. Click here to see proper method to read a mercury thermometer.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Child of the Civil Rights Movement by Paula Young Shelton

Great Children's Book for Black History Month

Each Saturday this month we have reviewed great books for Black History Month. Paula Young Shelton, daughter of Civil Rights activist Andrew Young, recalls what it was like growing up during the Civil Rights Movement in her book "Child of the Civil Rights Movement."

Paula grew up in the deep south, in a world where whites had rights and blacks did not. With an activist father and a community of leaders surrounding her, she describes having dinner with "Uncle Martin" (Martin Luther King) and other prominent figures of the Civil Rights Movement. Paula watched and listened to the struggles, eventually joining with her family—and thousands of others—in the historic march from Selma to Montgomery. Poignant, moving, and hopeful, this is an intimate look at the birth of the Civil Rights Movement. An end note provides additional information about the people depicted.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Have You Heard of National Nanny Training Day?


Saturday April 28, 2012

On April 28th, 2012, nanny-related businesses, support groups and individuals will come together and hold a training event for the in-home caregivers in their local communities. This is taking place across the U.S. and Canada (31 cities and still growing).

National Nanny Training Day falls on the last day of Week of the Young Child. The Week of the Young Child’s purpose is to focus public attention on the needs of young children and their families and to recognize the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs.

Click here to find a nanny training opportunity near you.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

What Do You Do to Build Trust Between Your Parent Employers and Yourself?

Attachment: An Important Part of Your Job

We have been discussing how important it is for nannies and au pairs to make attachments with the children in their care. We explained how daily routines are essential to forming attachments with kids. But an in-home caregiver's attachment with their parent employers is equally important.

The most obvious reason for nannies to maintain a great relationships with their parent employers is they work for the parents. Obviously, to keep their job nannies must communicate effectively with their employers. If caregivers maintain open communication and follow the parents' directives it will create a happier, trustworthy, and longer lasting working environment.

Nannies and au pairs really must work hard on their relationships with the parents. Children will trust caregivers their parents trust. Nannies and au pairs must encourage the relationship of the parents and children. To do this, caregivers should never speak negatively about the parents in the presence of their children.

To further build trust between caregivers and parents, nannies and au pairs must follow the parents directions and wishes. Nannies and au pairs should never lie to the parents about any part of their charges' day. For example, many nannies may feed the kids a snack or two not permitted by the parents or they may allow the children to play video games or watch tv longer then their employers' allow. Nannies and au pairs may break a directive or two set up by the parents thinking it's no big deal, but both the children and parents know when a caregiver doesn't follow the parents directives. Ignoring parents' wishes destroys employer/caregiver relationships, not builds them.

When nannies and au pairs perform random acts of kindness and are flexible by pitching-in when needed, they build bonds with their employers as well.

What do you do daily to help build trust between your parent employers and yourself?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Routines are Essential to Building Attachments Between Nannies and Children

Attachment: An Important Part of Your Nanny Job

Children thrive in predictable environments, where mealtimes, nap times, separating from their parents, and toileting are dealt with consistently. Daily routines include greeting children in the morning, how the parents leave for work in the morning, how you serve their breakfast, how the kids get dressed, to doing homework, and more.

Routines are a great way to healthy habits like brushing teeth and hair and washing hands after using the toilet, as well as a great way to strengthen relationships between the nanny and child like when a nanny reads a book to a child before naps or when sharing a snack before soccer practice.

The way nannies handle daily routines is especially important for babies. Through such tasks as feeding and diapering, nannies communicate to infants that they can trust caregivers and that their nanny can be relied on to nourish and provide for them. This special bond of trust is called attachment. Establishing routines that are based on the baby's needs and by trying not to rush through daily tasks helps builds bonds too. Holding babies during bottle feeding builds attachment because feeding is a wonderful opportunity to form warm, nurturing relationships.

A routine also helps organize the entire family so that everyone is clear about their schedules, activities, and duties. It can also ensure each gets the quality time they deserve, and each knows clearly their responsibilities. Making checklists for older children is extremely helpful in developing children's independence, responsibility, and self-esteem.

Nannies should try to create nurturing, flexible, and positive environments where the children's needs are met through their daily routines. Daily routines provide wonderful opportunities for children to learn more about themselves, the world, and other people. Daily routines offer children a sense of stability and a feeling of caring from their parents and caregivers. Be sure that these routines are responsive to the individual needs of each child in your care.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Attachment: An Important Part of Your Job

How To Build a Bond with New Charges

In our country, shared care is a way of life and how secure a child feels with their nanny is essential.

When a child feels secure and cared for by his caregiver, it helps both the caregiver and child in so many ways. The child has an easier time separating from their parents. He is friendlier and plays better with other children. The child develops good self-esteem. He will be willing to allow the nanny to comfort him when he is sad, uncomfortable, or sick. And all of these wonderful rewards makes the nanny job easier and more enjoyable.

Nannies should start learning how to bond with their new charges before they even start a new nanny job. In-home childcare providers should ask the parents as many questions as possible to learn about their children. Caregivers should ask the parents what are the kids favorite activities, games, songs, and books. Who are their best friends? What are their favorite security blanket or stuffed animal? What are their favorite foods and comfort foods and how should the nanny prepare them (very specifically)? What is their daily routine?

Considering what the parents have shared about their kids, the new nanny should come prepared to bond with the kids on the first day on the job. If the daughter likes arts and crafts, the caregiver can simply stop by the dollar store and bring a craft to do with the new charge on the first day. If the son loves Star Wars, the nanny can print out free coloring pages to bring for the child. It also couldn't hurt to watch some of the Star Wars episodes so the nanny can talk about the movies with the boy in detail.

Plus, kids typically love when the nanny interviews them! The nanny can ask them specific questions (like the ones asked of the parents above) and ask the children to not only answer the questions, but actually teach their new caregiver how to make their favorite snack, introduce the nanny to their favorite stuffed animal, and actually play their favorite game together.

How do you help children make these important attachments to you?  What ideas do you have to share?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Do You Have President's Day Off as a Paid Holiday?

President's Day Activities

Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12th in 1809. President's Day, which is celebrated on the 3rd Monday in February, honors Lincoln and Washington. We recommend nannies and au pairs try share some of the following activities with their young charges in honor of Abraham Lincoln's birthday. George Washington is infamous for telling the truth to his father when he chopped down his father's favorite cherry tree. In his honor make some cherry thumbprint cookies.

1. Make edible log cabins by using thickened frosting and pretzel sticks to make log cabins. You can also use graham crackers.
2. Use Lincoln Logs and make log cabins.
3. Use craft sticks and paste glue to make log cabins.
4. Make penny rubbings by putting a coin under a sheet of thin paper and rubbing it with the side of a crayon or pencil lead.

George Washington Cherry Thumbprint Cookies

1 teaspoon vanilla
2 sticks butter or margarine
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
maraschino cherries

Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. In a large bowl, mix together the vanilla, butter, egg yolks, and brown sugar until creamy. Add the flour and salt and mix well.

Have the children roll the dough into 1" balls and place them on greased cookie sheets. Have the children make a thumbprint in each ball and then place a maraschino cherry in each thumbprint.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. (Makes about 3 dozen cookies).

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Is the Gyro Bowl Really Spill Proof for Kids?

Product Review Sunday
Nanny and au pair friends keep asking me if I like the GYRO BOWL Spill Resistant Kids Gyroscopic Bowl with Lid. The name and television advertisements claim it is spill resistant for kids. So I decided to test the claims of the nice looking, colorful, cleverly advertised bowl.

I first tried it out on an 18-month old boy. I put dry Cheerios in the Gyro Bowl and handed it to the 18-month old who was sitting at the kitchen table ready to have breakfast. He was excited to pick the colorful bowl and immediately dropped it, (typical for babies and toddlers), and out came Cheerios all over the floor. I picked it up off the floor gave it back to him and the same scenario happened again and again. Less cereal fell out of the Gyro Bowl than if the Cheerios had been in a typical, uncovered bowl, but the cereal did fall out every time he threw or dropped the Gyro Bowl.

Next, I tried the same thing with a three-year old. She had much more success using the Gyro Bowl as she can handle objects more carefully. But, when she accidentally dropped the bowl the dry cereal spilled out as well.

So, my review is it's a fun, colorful bowl which reduces spills, but certainly does not eliminate them.

Have you had better luck with the GYRO BOWL Spill Resistant Kids Gyroscopic Bowl with Lid?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Let It Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters

Children's Book for Black History Month              Review by Elizabeth Kennedy, About.com Guide

 Let It Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fightersby Andrea Davis Pinkney is geared to upper elementary and middle school age children. Let It Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fightersis organized chronologically and covers the lives of ten women: Sojourner Truth, Biddy Mason, Harriet Tubman, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Mary McLeod Bethune, Ella Josephine Baker, Dorothy Irene Height, Rosa Parks, Fannie Lou Hamer, and Shirley Chisholm. The first page of each of the ten biographies faces a stunning oil on canvas portrait of the featured woman, which contains a variety of allegorical images. These images reflect each freedom fighter's accomplishments. The effect of the artwork is so strong that you can't help but want to read the biographies to learn more about each of the amazing women pictured.
I was at first taken aback by the tone of the writing but quickly came to the conclusion that it is one of the major strengths of the book. Since these are biographies, I was expecting writing that was heavy on facts and somewhat academic in tone. Instead, the stories are in the voice of an expert storyteller. The language, the phrasing, and the emotion all come from the oral tradition. While the facts are there, it is the emotions the author elicits that makes you care about them. As I was reading the stories, I almost felt as if a storyteller were standing nearby and telling me about women she knew and understood. As a result, both my attention and emotions were engaged. I will remember what I read. In recognition of the quality of the book's "artistic expression of the African American experience via literature and the graphic arts," it was designated a Coretta Scott King Honor Book in 2001. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Do You Have a Written Work Agreement?

Why Nannies Need Written Work Agreements
By Tom Breedlove, Breedlove & Associates, LLC

A Virginia family began searching for a nanny to care for their new bundle of joy. After an emotionally-draining six-week quest to find the ideal nanny, they hastily agreed -- verbally -- on a work schedule and hourly rate. The nanny started work the next day without any kind of written agreement in place.

The Law
In some jurisdictions, a basic employment agreement is legally required. Whether required or not, we highly recommend that families use a placement agency or an attorney who can facilitate a comprehensive contract between family and nanny.

The discipline of drafting detailed job responsibilities, house rules, emergency procedures, work schedule, vacation/sick time procedures, compensation, pay frequency, communication/review procedures, etc. radically reduces problems and misunderstandings. It also tends to lengthen relationships because it makes the employee feel like a valued professional. Finally, it can be an important and cost-effective means of arbitrating any family/nanny issues.

The Mess
Within a few weeks, the honeymoon was over:

The family had trouble hiding frustration with the nanny's housekeeping habits. She was tidying up the baby's room and kitchen as well as cleaning toys and baby clothes. But the family had expectations of the nanny doing the family's laundry and light housekeeping.
The nanny resented not getting paid for Labor Day. She needed the money and had assumed that she'd get paid for major holidays.
When the nanny got her first pay check, she was confused by the tax withholdings. She thought the agreed-upon amount would be her "take-home" pay.

The Outcome

The family talked to friends and did some online research into the typical duties of nannies. They quickly realized that nanny job descriptions vary wildly and that they had done a poor job of articulating their desires at the beginning of the search process.

Similarly, although the family had done some research on household employer tax and legal obligations, they had not discussed the compensation and benefits offer at the appropriate level of detail for their nanny.

Despite the rocky start, the family really liked the way the nanny took care of the baby so they made a considerable effort to keep her. They created an employment agreement and sat down with her to discuss all the "relationship details" they should have discussed a month earlier.

Unfortunately, the nanny took another job shortly after their meeting. She did not feel valued or respected and opted for a fresh start with another couple.

The family hired their next nanny through one of our agency partners. The agency used a thorough job description process to focus the search on nannies who met the family's expectations. After a comprehensive vetting process, the agency held the family's hand through an employment agreement that left no room for misinterpretation or confusion. It's been almost 18-months and the relationship is going strong.

How the Whole Thing Could Have Been Avoided
When searching for household help, busy families are tempted to take short cuts. Aside from being pressed for time, it can feel somewhat awkward to have a formal contractual agreement with someone with whom there is such a personal relationship.

However, in our experience, the formal work agreement is the single-best predictor of the long-term success of the relationship. Without one, the relationship almost always seems to be rife with misunderstandings and resentment. With one, the relationship enjoys clear direction and increased professionalism.

We encourage families to retain a reputable placement agency that can guide them on employment agreements and other important aspects of due diligence involved with household employment. It dramatically enhances the odds of an endearing and enduring employment relationship.

If you have additional questions about this or any other aspect of household employment tax and labor law, please call 888-BREEDLOVE (888-273-3356) or visit us online.
 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

What are Your Favorite Classes to Take with Babies and Toddlers?

photo from www.culturemama.com
Spending long work days with children in the house can get frustrating and boring for any nanny and child. That's why I love taking infants, toddlers, and preschoolers to mommy and me classes, especially in the winter. Mommy and child classes are a perfect introduction to acitivities for kids that are not quite ready to separate. Not only do the child and I love learning something new, the child meets new friends, learns to follow rules, and I get to meet other nannies and parents.

Consider the child's interests, and yours, when signing up for classes. Take classes that offer options you might not have in your employers' home. For example, I love messy art classes so I don't have to make messes at home, gym classes with equipment my employer's don't have in their home, and music classes since I'm not a musician.



When choosing mommy and child classes consider the following:

1. Consider the child's napping and eating schedule when chosing class. I took a toddler to a gym class she loved one semester and then cried every class another semester because one class was scheduled too close to her nap time.

2. Small class size. Too many kids and too much noise can be overwhelming for children.

3. Give the child a snack before class to prevent fussiness.

4. Dress the child in something comfortable.

5. Meet and schedule playdates with other nannies and parents.

6. Have fun! Children respond to enthusiasm. If you have fun the child will model your proper behavior.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

How Many Hugs Do You Give Your Charges Each Day?

photo from health-family.net
Are You Practicing Love?
By Lynn Wariara, Author of How To Get The Best Out Of Your Nanny

As we share love in this special month, (Valentine’s Day was yesterday), it’s very important, as parents and caregivers to give love to the little one's that surround us. Love is a medicine like no other; it promotes good health, joy and confidence. Smother your little ones with lots of kind hugs and kisses, I have found out that it helps tremendously with their psychological growth. Not only that, studies have shown that children who are shown love in their lives tend to have a more positive outlook on life, lead healthier lives and have a more improved memory, characteristics that are vital for a child to grow into.

Encourage the child in your care daily, use kind words and avoid harsh responses towards the child. Positive words encourage the child to have a positive point of view in later in life. Its been proven that the first two years of any child 's life has a dramatic psychological effect on the decisions the child makes as an adult. Take time to praise and let them know you appreciate them. I often let the girl I care for know that I appreciate her for listening and praise her for it. Positive parenting/care taking produces positive behavior.

Learn to listen to their needs, children need to know that they are being and can be heard, don't treat a child like their opinion does not matter. When you allow the child to know that they can be heard, it then creates a safe place for them to express themselves. They will know that they can come to you without the fear of being rejected and they can feel free to express themselves without the fear of negative judgment.

Tell them you love them and why you love them. Point out special characteristics about them that make them unique and loved. Express that you care. Some older children tend to be aware of certain flaws about themselves, but your duty as the parent or guardian are charged to build up their self-esteem. For example, I once cared for a girl who was born with a black mark on her finger. As she grew older, she begun to be conscious of it and would talk about it in a negative manner. I told her it was a beauty mark and its because her hands were so pretty so it had to be marked as one of the prettiest finger in the world so that whoever was looking for the prettiest fingers could find it because it was marked. Her face glowed with self-confidence.

Never drop off a child at school upset without letting them know you love them. I know that school mornings can sometimes be stressful especially when you are trying to get everyone out of the house on time, but NEVER drop him or her off without showing them how much you still love and appreciate them. Life is short and tomorrow can never be promised.

So with all that said, practice love with your little one, I promise you, it will make a huge positive impact in their lives.

Happy Valentines!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Don't Spend a Dime Celebrating Valentine's Day With Kids

What Are You Doing With Your Charges This Valentine's Day?

Nannies and au pairs can have a lot of fun with their charges without spending a dime of their own money. Although some in-home caregivers like to buy their charges presents and cards I am not even spending my own money on gifts. Instead, I am just going to make some fun meals and yummy treats with the children, borrowing books from the library, and helping the kids make homemade cards for their family.

Helping the kids make their own Valentines has many advantages. Not only are they inexpensive to make, they can become treasured mementos. Simply gather glue sticks, glitter, markers, paint, crayons, construction and craft paper, doilies, rubber stamps, and anything else the kids like to use to make  their own heartfelt Valentine's Day cards.


Breakfast:
I will start my Valentine’s Day celebration at breakfast. It’s easy to make pancakes, then use heart shaped cookie cutters to cut out a Valentine shaped breakfast. I plan to top the pancakes with strawberries. I actually prefer using a thawed bag of frozen strawberries with the juice than fresh strawberries if available. If the parents allow you to, cover the strawberries with plenty of whipped cream.



Lunch:
For lunch I am using the same heart shaped cookie cutters to make Valentine shaped sandwiches. First, use a rolling pin on the bread to make it easier to cut. Spread peanut butter and red jelly or jam on the bread. I don't recommend cold cuts as they are difficult to cut with a cookie cutter. Use cookie cutters to make the sandwiches fun heart shapes.



Dinner:
For dinner, I plan to let the children make their own heart shaped pizzas. I like to buy pre-made pizza dough from the grocery store but you can find mixes in the baking aisle at the store or find dough recipes online. First, I form the dough into hearts. I fill little bowls with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and other toppings the children like. I let them add their toppings to the dough and cook it.


 
Treats:
If the children love baking you can make a sugar cookie recipe from scratch. But, it is fine to use pre-packaged cookie dough when making Valentine’s cookies with children. Roll the dough out on a non-stick surface. Add a touch of flour to the rolling pin before you try to roll the dough or it will stick. I let the children place the cookie cutters on the dough to cut out Valentine’s shapes. After the cookies cool, allow the children to decorate with white and pink frosting and sprinkles.

Cupcakes are easy to make with a box cake mix instead of making the recipe from scratch. Red velvet cake is great for Valentine’s cupcakes, but any flavor will work. Mini muffin pans create bite size cupcakes for the family to enjoy after dinner. Decorate the cupcakes with creamy icing. White icing can be turned into pink with a bit of red food coloring. Allow the children to stir the white icing and food coloring so they can see the frosting change colors. Use candy sprinkles and cinnamon red hot candies to decorate the cupcakes.
Drinks:
For Valentine’s Day, serve the children red juice. You can find 100% fruit punch juice in any grocery store.

Children's Books for Valentine's Day:

You're Lovable to Me by Kat Yeh
With a rhythmic text and whimsical illustrations, You're Lovable to Me celebrates the love between parent and child that transcends behavior and time and enables a mother rabbit to tell each of her six bunnies that, no matter what, "You're lovable to me." Later, she hears the same words from her own father who stresses that even though she is an adult, "When a papa loves a bunny, that's the way it will always be." Kit Weh's gentle story and Sue Anderson's lively ink and colored pencil illustrations in soft and strong pastels reflect a "big day" and "hard night" in a houseful of love. You're Lovable to Me is recommended for ages two-years old to five-years-old.



Love, Splat by Rob Scotton
Splat, the lovable fluffy black cat with the skinny legs, is back. Splat was first introduced in Rob Scotten's picture book Love, Splat (Splat the Cat). In Love, Splat (Splat the Cat) Splat has a crush on a Kitten, a pretty fluffy white kitten who is in his class. He makes her a Valentine despite the fact that every time she saw him, Kitten "pulled his ears and poked his belly, tied his tail and called him smelly." Shyness, insecurity, and a rival confront Splat, but he conquers them all and finds out, to his delight, the real reason Kitten keeps bothering him. Throughout his adventures, Splat is accompanied by his mouse friend Seymour. This is a funny, yet sweet, Valentine's Day story, recommended for three- to eight-year-olds.



Nate the Great and the Mushy Valentine by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat
This children's Valentine's Day book is from the Nate the Great detective series for beginning readers by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat. Nate the Great starts out with one case, finding out who gave his dog a Valentine, and then, his friend Annie asks him to help her find a missing Valentine. This entertaining story, with lots of illustrations by Marc Simont, is both a good read-aloud for four- to eight-year-olds and a good book for beginning readers, in grades two and three.



Roses Are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink by Diane de Groat




Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli
The Valentine's Day picture book Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch (paperback), by Eileen Spinelli, wonderfully illustrates the power of love and would make an excellent Valentine's Day gift for a four- to eight-year old. Colorless Mr. Hatch -- who works in a shoelace factory and eats a cheese and mustard sandwich for lunch every day with, just occasionally, a prune -- receives a huge Valentine box of candy with a card that says only, "Somebody loves you.'' Amazed, he samples it, shares it at work and, buoyed by his friendly reception, sympathetically helps several people out on the way home (e.g., he watches the newspaper stall so that its proprietor can take his cold to the doctor). He's soon baking brownies, hosting a neighborhood picnic, and reading to the local kids. Then the postman arrives with the news that the candy was delivered to the wrong address, putting poor Mr. Hatch into a funk; but his devoted new friends rally round to bring him back into their cheerful society. It is a charming book with a powerful message. The importance of love and kindness comes through loud and clear. Even very young children will understand how good it is to feel loved and how important it is to help others feel loved.



References:
Elizabeth Kennedy
Kirkus Reviews
School Library Journal

Monday, February 13, 2012

Do Your Employers Keep Prescription Meds in the Medicine Cabinet Where Kids Can Easily Reach Them?

The Number One Cause of Drug Addiction is Medical Prescriptions Given Legally by Physicians

We do not know the cause of Whitney Houston's death this weekend. I can't make presumptions so in no way am I claiming to know how or why she died.
Although I am not reporting how she died, I will admit that this news does sound similar to the deaths of Michael Jackson, Anna Nicole Smith, and Heath Ledger. They were all celebreties, all died too young, and by an overdose of prescription drugs. Although the tragedy of Whitney Houston's death may not be caused by prescription medications, it does remind me of those former tragedies and remind me that medication can be lethal when misused and we must keep children protected from both over-the-counter and prescription drugs.

In the United States, it is estimated that about 2,500 teens daily abuse prescription "legal" drugs for the first time. Most of them get those drugs from the family medicine cabinet.

According to the 2008 Monitoring the Future survey, 15.4% of high school seniors have used prescriptions and over the counter medications found in their homes for non-medical purposes in the past month.

According to The Partnership for a Drug-Free America one in five teens has abused a prescription pain medication. One in five teens report they have abused prescription stimulants and tranquilizers. One in ten teens has abused cough medicine.

Deepak Chopra, a new age guru who is a trained cardiologist explains, "The number-one cause of drug addiction in the world, and particularly in the United States, is not street drugs but medical prescriptions given legally by physicians."

After surgery or dental work many patients are prescribed narcotic pain killers. In fact, thousands of Americans in chronic pain safely take prescribed narcotic pain killers daily. The prescribing of narcotics is common and useful when used properly by the patient.

But, if after a surgery or dental work a patient is prescribed narcotics and only take a few pills, they ought to discard the rest. No point in keeping dangerous narcotics in a home with children. Before discarding the narcotics remove the labels on the prescription to discourage teens finding the drugs in the garbage and to protect the patient from identity theft. Those addicted to drugs may search trash cans to find names of others to fill narcotic prescriptions.

If someone in the household is taking pain killers, tranquilizers, stimulants, or cough medicine adults must secure medications. The bathroom medicine cabinet is the first place kids will look for drugs. Teens wanting to get "high" will visit the homes of friends, ask to use the bathroom, and go straight for the medicine cabinet. Remove prescription medications from the family medicine cabinet and hide or secure them in a safe place. Even some over-the-counter medications, such as cough syrup containing dextromethorphan, should also be secured in a safe location.

The Monitoring the Future survey found that most teens do not consider prescription or over-the-counter drugs as dangerous as illicit drugs, because they are legal and are prescribed by a doctor. Therefore, the best way to prevent teen abuse of drugs is to sit down and talk with them.

According to The Partnership for a Drug-Free America parents must explain to their children that pharmaceuticals taken without a prescription or a doctor's supervision can be just as dangerous as taking illicit drugs or alcohol. Children are known take medication to get "high" at as young as 12-years-old. So, the discussion about the dangers of prescription medications should start when children are young.

Click here to see how to properly administer medicines to children.  To review au pair and nanny proper medical practices click here. Visit the AntiDrug web site for more tips to prevent prescription drug abuse.

References:
1.
www.TheAntiDrug.com
2.
http://www.timetotalk.org/
3. The Monitoring the Future Survey included 46,348 students from 386 public and private schools in the 8th, 10th and 12th grades. The survey is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. For additional information regarding the Monitoring the Future study, please e-mail
MTFinfo@isr.umich.edu.
Does the family you work for keep medications in the medicine cabinet? Would you feel comfortable asking them to move medications after reading this article?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Products Nannies Love: PJs That Help Eczema

HALO ComfortLuxe™ is a revolutionary new line of sleepwear that can help children with sensitive skin. If you care for a child with eczema this sleepwear can actually improve their skin condition.

This innovative fabric outperforms cotton by wicking away moisture and regulating your little one’s temperature. It’s breathable. It dries twice as fast as cotton. And most of all, it's comfortable.

ComfortLuxe has unique properties to release moisture from a child's skin in exchange for fresh air to help maintain a stable body temperature which in turn helps prevent the onset of triggers (usually heat and perspiration) which cause the itch/scratch cycle to begin among many children who suffer from atopic dermatitis, a common form of eczema.

ComfortLuxe fabric helps to manage this trigger, control discomfort and minimize eczema flares to protect a child's delicate skin. This smart fabric also won't absorb lotions or topical creams on the surface of the skin to help maximize their benefits and promote the healing of skin irritations. ComfortLuxe outperforms cotton, the current standard for children's sleepwear by releasing moisture to dry twice as fast as cotton.

Awarded the Seal of Acceptance by the National Eczema Association.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-Ins

Children's Books for Black History Month
Review by Elizabeth Kennedy, About.com Guide

Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-Ins is the historic story of the Greensboro, North Carolina, sit-ins is told, in picture book format, from the perspective of a young African American girl. The story and the dramatic illustrations provide a realistic glimpse of the past. The reader learns what life was like for African Americans in 1960 in Greensboro, from just prior to the sit-ins at the Woolworth's lunch counter to its ultimate integration. A detailed Author's Note provides background information. Attention to historical accuracy and a story that engages the reader's interest make Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-Insa good book for ages seven-12.

Many of the heroes and heroines of the Civil Rights Movement were ordinary people who chose to take a stand against injustice. Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-Insby Carole Boston Weatherford, tells the story of the historic sit-ins in Greensboro, North Carolina, from the perspective of a young African American girl named Connie.

At the beginning of 1960 in Greensboro, North Carolina, as in other parts of the country, there are still many places that serve "whites" only. For example, when Connie and her mother go downtown to shop at Woolworth's, they are not allowed to sit at the lunch counter. Everywhere downtown there are signs and if a sign says, "white," Connie knows not to go there, but if it says, "colored," it's okay. In fact, Connie reports, there are signs on "water fountains swimming pools, movie theaters, even bathrooms." The only person Connie knows who has ever disobeyed the signs is her great aunt from New York, who says, "I'm too old for silly rules."

Connie and her family go to hear Dr. Martin Luther King Jr when he comes to speak in Greensboro. Then, her brother and sister join the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. When they go door-to-door to get people to sign up to vote, Connie goes with them.

On February 1, 1960, when Connie and her mother go downtown to Woolworth's, they are shocked to see four of Connie's brother's college friends sitting at the Woolworth's counter seeking to be served like other customers, despite the fact that they are African American. They are staging a sit-in in protest of Woolworth's policy. Others join the protest, including Connie's older brother and sister and Connie helps make posters for the protesters. After months of protests, the Woolworth's counter is integrated and Connie and her brother and sister are able to enjoy lunch together at the Woolworth's counter.

In an Author's note, Weatherford goes into detail about the four college students who became known as the "Greenboro Four," the successful integration of the Woolworth's counter, the spread of sit-ins in the South and subsequent challenges to segregation in public places. A photograph of several of the students is included.

Because the book deals with a child's feelings about what's happening, it makes the story of the Greensboro sit-ins more meaningful for young readers. In addition, the story itself is told with attention to historical accuracy and the author's note provides even more historical background.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Nannies, Are the Children You Care for Spoiled?

Is My Kid Entitled? How to Tell

In this article found on MSN web site by Martha Brockenbrough we learn that children today often have a sense of entitlement and how to change, what entitlement looks like, and how to shift our priorities. Below is just a portion of the article. Please click here to see the entire article.

Though there are always exceptions, many [people born between 1980 and 2000] struggle at work because their expectations are so out of line with reality. As the subhead to a 2007 Boston Globe story put it, "The crop of talented recent graduates coming into today's workforce is widely seen as narcissistic and entitled. And those are their best qualities."

Ouch.

Will our kids fare any better? When you look at the material expectations some have for cell phones, gadgets and fancy clothes, there's reason to worry.

We want our kids to have everything, of course. But we don't want them to be spoiled. It's a delicate balance to strike. So how can you tell when things are out of whack for your family?

What entitlement looks like

An entitled child feels he or she should receive without giving or working, says Edie Raether, a behavioral psychologist and family therapist. Other common signs of entitlement in children include:

- not taking turns
- impatience
- a tendency to put themselves first
- insensitivity to or a lack of compassion toward others
- temper tantrums when they don't get what they want
- not saying "please" or "thank you"

While it's not uncommon for kids to view themselves as the axis of the universe, it's a parent's job to help kids see beyond themselves, and some of us aren't doing it very well.

Am I giving my child too much?

It's not always easy to tell if you've overindulged your child. The line keeps moving. When we were growing up, for example, computers were a luxury.

Today, though, "Computer access is almost a necessity, especially at the high school level, for research and written assignments," says Jennifer Little, Ph.D., who runs the website Parents Teach Kids.

So what are other necessities? The basics of clothing, food and a bed are a given, she says. Kids also need social outlets. Sports are good ones because they let kids be both physically active and social.

Beyond that — designer clothes, gourmet meals out, piles of toys, concert tickets, expensive vacations, huge bedrooms — these things are all frills.

Our kids especially need us to set limits on how much time they spend with their friends and how much money is spent on clothing and gifts at holidays and on birthdays, Little says. And instead of us providing them with material things, they need us to find ways for them to earn their own money and opportunities. As teens, for example, they should help pay for their own cars, insurance and college tuition.

It's a matter of shifting our priorities

The good news is, "This is an entirely solvable problem," Gilboa says.

It's not about saying no to everything. Rather, it's a matter of understanding what we need to be focusing on. Our kids' happiness isn't it, Gilboa says. Rather, it's their resilience — their ability to cope with stress and adversity.

"As we think of each request with the goal of building resilience, it becomes much clearer how we can say no with love and confidence," Gilboa says. "Clear, repeated explanations to our disbelieving children can bolster our will and spirit to give our children less things than they want, and more of the initiative to get those things themselves."

Please click here to see  the entire article.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

What Politicians Could Learn from Nannies

Civics and the Nanny

On Monday we discussed how nannies can teach their charges kid-friendly lessons about the government and politics. And over the weekend we asked if nannies should talk to their charges about their political beliefs.

Today, we discuss how the lessons we teach the children in our care might be appropriate for politicians of all persuasions to learn.

By nature, kids are self-centered and demanding. As the child matures, the nanny (and the parents) introduce the expectation of individual responsibility and a strong work ethic to the child.

At the same time, the best nanny instills the child with a willingness to work individually or collectively for the common good, combined with group loyalty, empathy, a strong respect for authority, and a willingness to question injustice.

The best nanny instructs the child that the right and privilege of free speech must be partnered with respect, self-restraint, and self-censorship.

These traits, appear to be "either/or" characteristics for segments of the American political parties. In many ways, the simple but profound lessons a nanny teaches and models to her charges seem to be beyond the the comprehension and political ends of some elected officials.

Many politicians and political campaign ads display attitudes that are exactly opposite to the teachings from nannies to the children in their care. Our representatives would better serve the nation if they behaved according to the lessons the best nannies teach their charges.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Do You Think Parents Should Be Allowed to Spank Their Own Kids?

Yesterday, on our Facebook page, we all agreed that nannies should never hit or spank the kids in their care. But, do you think parents should be allowed to spank their own children?

The article we linked to yesterday shows a link between children being spanked and being more aggressive.

Below are Dr. Sears ten reasons not to spank a child. Please click here to see the entire article.

1. Hitting Models Hitting
2. Hitting Devalues the Child
3. Hitting Devalues the Parent
4. Hitting May Lead to Abuse
5. Hitting Does Not Improve Behavior
6. Hitting is Actually Not Biblical
7. Hitting Promotes Anger
8. Hitting Brings Back Bad Memories
9. Abusive Hitting Has Bad Long-Term Effects
10. Spanking Doesn't Work

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Should Nannies Be Allowed to Spank?

MSNBC Article Explains Spanking Linked to More Aggression in Kids

I am just going to assume that no nanny or au pair that reads this blog would ever consider spanking a child left in their care. But, in informal conversations I have heard plenty of in-home child care providers admit they would consider spanking their own biological children. That's shocking to me since I have always been taught that you can't yell at a child to get them to be quiet and you can't spank a kid while telling them they shouldn't hit.

“When a child hits a child, we call it aggression.
When a child hits an adult, we call it hostility.
When an adult hits an adult, we call it assault.
When an adult hits a child, we call it discipline.”


 If you aren't yet convinced this MSNBC article explains that spanking is actually linked to more aggression in kids. Do your employers spank their kids?

By Linda Thrasybule
MyHealthNewsDaily

Spanking or slapping your child has long-term, harmful effects on their development, according to a new review of 20 years of research.

Over the past two decades, research has increasingly found links between such "everyday" types of physical punishment and higher levels of child aggression, according to the review. In fact, no studies have found this type of child discipline to predict a positive long-term effect.

"I think it's important for parents to understand that although physical punishment might get a child to do something in the immediate situation, there are many side effects that can develop over the long term," said co-author Joan Durrant, a child clinical psychologist at Family Social Sciences at the University of Manitoba in Canada.

"For example, the more often a child sees a parent respond to conflict or frustration with slapping or spanking, the more likely that child will do the same when confronting their own conflicts," Durrant said.

The review is published today (Feb. 6) in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Some parents still use spanking for disciplineOne recent poll found that 22 percent of parents reported being "very likely" to spank their children, but most said they disciplined their kids in other ways, by taking away privileges or putting them in "time out."

In one U.S. study, researchers looked at 2,400 mothers who spanked their 3-year-olds twice the previous month, and found that children had an increased risk for higher levels of aggression when they were 5 years old.

"In the U.S., physical punishment is such an entrenched part of the culture that virtually no one has experienced growing up without it," Durrant said. "This situation makes it difficult for parents to visualize raising a child without it."

Durrant also pointed out that a major factor could be that some parents have little knowledge or understanding of why children behave like they do.

"They are more likely to believe that their child is being defiant or intentionally bad, but in most cases, children are simply doing what is normal for their development," she said.

Start early with positive disciplineBased on years of research, however, more and more doctors are encouraging parents to discipline their children with positive, nonviolent approaches.

"Parents should start out really young — as early as 12 months old," said Kimberly Sirl, a clinical psychologist at St. Louis Children's Hospital, who was not involved with the research.

"Kids have to learn how to cope with frustration, how to share and how to be patient," Sirl said. "Parents teach them how to do that."

For example, Sirl said that toddlers say no to everything, so the best thing to do when they're acting out is either ignore them briefly (for roughly 10 seconds) or redirect their negative behavior.

"If you want to encourage good behavior, provide them with reward or praise," she said.

Instead of saying, "do this [be]cause I told you so," Sirl said, it's best to explain to kids why there are rules.

"We should let them know that grownups have to follow rules too," she said. "Essentially, time out for grownups is called jail."

Monday, February 6, 2012

Why We Must Teach Kids About Government

Do the Kids Know What a Democracy is?

On Saturday I asked nannies if we should share our own political beliefs with the children left in our care? I was expecting everyone to answer, "No," because we obviously want to shield kids from nasty campaign ads and mean-spirited comments from presidential candidates attacking one another.

But then, other nannies started chiming-in on the Be the Best Nanny Newsletter Facebook page and changed my opinion. For example, Kellye Couillard said, "Kids should care about politics, and as educators we should make learning about it fun. We read books, do activities, and talk about the different beliefs. I also stress to them it's important to respect every belief."

Thanks to Kellye, I had an, "Ah Ha" moment. It's true, in order to respect other religions and cultures we teach kids about the religions and cultures, not ignore them. Hate and anger have nothing to do with our explanation of politics or government to children.

Knowledge of how to engage in public life is one of the most important rights and responsibilities American's have. Therefore we must teach kids to do the same.

Another reason to teach children a simple explanation of government is that the majority of Americans still don't vote! It is very important that we teach kids the importance of the democratic process, rather than participating in widespread apathy.

There is no room for discussing any hate or anger towards any political candidate or political party in our teaching their kids about government. Lucky for us there's plenty to teach kids about voting that doesn't include bashing political candidates or political parties. This is simply a child-proof lesson on government.

If you support a different Presidential candidate than your employer's it may be a blessing in disguise. You can show your charges the true nature of a Democracy. Respectfully disagreeing is not only allowed but celebrated in a Democracy.

What is Democracy?
First of all, America is a Democracy. Democracy means the rule of the people (in Greek). There is no king or tyrant in charge. In a Democracy each individual person has a vote about what to do. Whatever the most people vote for wins. Each vote counts equally. Anybody can propose a new law.

A common feature of Democracy is competitive elections. Competitive elections in a Democracy are important because they require freedom of speech and freedom of the press. You can’t guarantee a given election will go the way you like but at least you have the right to vote for whomever you wish. No one can force you to support any political persuasion. You cannot be forced to tell anyone who you will vote for and there is no threat of being punished or arrested for when voting in America.

In a Democracy citizens are also allowed the freedom of religion. In a Democracy we are assured good governance (focus on public interest and absence of corruption). There is also a separation of powers between the institutions of the state such as the government, parliament, and courts of law.

In America, we have a peaceful change of leaders. There is no need for the military to use force when new Mayors, Governors, Congressman, Senators, Presidents, or any public official switch hands. The formerly elected official may attend the inauguration of the newly elected official as a sign of a peaceful, Democratic election.

Most importantly, a Democracy isn’t something that happens to you, but because of you. Kids need to understand that it’s important to take part. Not voting and not thinking about politics is a choice not to value our freedoms and liberty in our Democracy.

Thanks Kellye for inspiring me to think about looking at discussing politics with children as an important lesson for all American citizens. Our discussions about politics should be enthusiastic, positive, and informative, not at all like  the campaign ads we are exposed to in the media.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

10 Super Bowl Ideas for Nannies and Kids

Are You Working for Super Bowl Sunday?

Today is the Super Bowl, America's most watched television event of the year. Alicia Donovan, a subscriber and nanny from Madison, Wisconsin asked Be the Best Nanny Newsletter what to do with the kids she is babysitting today.

Here are some links to some of our favorite recipes and web sites to have fun with kids this Super Bowl Sunday.

1. Have Everyone Wear Footbal Jerseys

2. Paint Faces

Offer to paint the kids' faces with clown makeup in team colors. This year the New England Patriots are playing the New York Giants. The "Pats" wear Nautical Blue, New Century Silver, Red, and White. The Giants, also nicknamed "Big Blue," wear Blue, Red, Whit,e and Grey.


3. Be Cheerleaders
Invite the kids to actually watch the game and provide them with pom poms (store bought or see how to make them below). Perhaps give them a few megaphones. Then let the kids make up cheerleading routines. You can even have a competition and make teams to see who comes up with the best cheerleading routine. Of course the parents can get in the fun too.
 

How to Make Pom Poms

Cut 12" strips of streamers or ribbons and staple them together at one end. Wrap the stapled end with duct or masking tape to protect little hands and create a handle. Leave as is, or attach to a paint stick (available free at the paint counter of any home improvement store.) Kids can mix and match colors and make a few extras for the adults. One note of caution -- the color in crepe paper streamers runs if it gets wet, use the metallic ones if you are worried about spills.

5. Play Football Outiside
Why not allow the kids to have their own mini Super Bowl and play football outside.

6. Commercial Bingo
Print out Commercial Bingo from dltk-kids.com. They have free customizable cards to download, but you can certainly make your own. Instead of numbers, use the perennial commercials — cars, soft drinks, pizza, and movie trailers. You can also play a football trivia game, using general questions about the sport, or get more specific to the day’s game. Keep the questions simple, things the kids can find out by watching, like "What color is the penalty flag?" or "Name the quarterbacks."

7. Arts and Crafts and Free Printables Table
Decorate everything with these free printables from living locuto.
Super Bowl Fun has free word searches, coloring page, guessing games, and more.

8. Pass the Super Bowl Football Game
To play this game, arrange teams of about eight to stand in a line, one behind the other (arranged boy, girl, boy, and so on). Give each team a miniature football which the first person should tuck under his chin. This mini football should be passed to the person behind. When the football gets to the last person, they come to the front of the line and start again. The winning team is the first one which gets their starting person to the front again. Super Bowl games, party supplies and party favors add to your party theme and make a successful party. You can give everyone on the winning team their very own Super Bowl mini football party favor.

9. Super Bowl Egg Game
First, color some hard boiled eggs your favorite teams colors, leaving one white. Using a black marker, draw the lines of the football. Next, place the white egg in the center of the room. Take turns to see who can roll their colored (football) egg closest to the white egg.

10. Super Bowl Trivia and Prizes
For prizes just visit your local party store. Mini footballs, crayons, mini coloring books make great prizes for Kid Super Bowl Trivia. For young children make the questions easy. For example, you can ask kids, "Where is this Super Bowl being played?" or "Is this stadium indoors or outdoors?" For older kids check out these harder Super Bowl Trivia questions.

Products Nannies Love

Photo from JJ Cole
Car Seat Covers to Keep Kids Warm in the Winter

 If you care for an infant your favorite winter gear will become an infant car seat cover. Infant car seat covers are one of the easiest ways to ensure that a baby stays warm in the winter. The shower-cap style infant car seat covers offer the best combination of convenience and warmth, plus they don't interfere with the harness system on the baby's car seat. You don't have to fuss with extra blankets or coats, and when you're inside, you can just unzip the top of the car seat cover, or pop it off entirely, to allow access to baby. These winter infant car seat covers are the shower-cap style, and come in a range of prices and styles to meet your needs.

1. Jolly Jumper Sneak-a-Peek Infant Carseat Cover Deluxe
What I like most about the Jolly Jumper Sneak a Peek Sneak-a-Peek Infant carseat cover is in the title of the product, you can block the wind from the infant's face, but does not cover it entirely so you can always sneak-a-peek of the baby's face. It is great because it doesn't interfere with the carseat harness, but still keeps the baby warm and dry. It is very easy to put on and take off. The zipper feature makes it convenient to remove my infant from his seat when the baby is asleep.




2. SootheTime Cruisetime Cruise Cover
The weather proof material of this product is what stands out with this product from other car seat covers. The material is almost a raincoat on the outside for rainy days, but super soft on the inside, which is great since most others are fleece. The top of the car seat easily closes with Velcro. It looks really easy to wipe clean.




3. JJ Cole Car Seat Canopy
This shower-cap style car seat cover is made of a lighter weight fabric than most, and creates a little tent of warmth for a baby. Since the fabric is breathable, you can use it in slightly warmer months to keep rain or sun off the baby, too. The top of the car seat cover loops around the handle of the infant car seat, and the whole front comes open when you want to take baby out. The bottom edges are elasticized, though, to keep the whole thing in place.

 

4. Cozy Infant Car Seat Cover
This inexpensive infant car seat cover comes in a basic fleece and microfiber version or you can go for the stylish nylon version for winter. Both options will keep baby plenty warm. This winter car seat cover has three zippered sections. Two are below baby's neck, on either side of the cover, and help you get the baby in and out of the car seat easily. The third section is at baby's face, and can be closed entirely if it's very cold, but can be secured open, too, so it won't blow closed over baby's face when you don't want it to.They also have a sun and bug cover for the summer.