Friday, August 31, 2012

What Nannies Can Do During the Baby's Naptime

How to Keep Motivated During Down Time

When the third grader is at school full-time and the toddler is napping it can be hard to be motivated to do another load of laundry when your favorite soap opera is on the flat screen and some leftover birthday cake is waiting to be tasted in the fridge.

Most nannies and au pairs have some down time to take a break each day. It is completely acceptable for caregivers to take a much needed rest while the baby is resting too. Caregivers ought to sit down and have a healthy lunch when kids are napping or at school. 

Even if the tasks below are not included as a job responsibility in the nanny's work agreement, random acts of kindness are well noticed and appreciated. To keep motivated, we suggest in-home caregivers try some of the projects listed below while kids are in school, at activities, or napping.

Have a Healthy Snack:
Nannies spend most of their time preparing healthy snacks and meals for the children but forget to take care of themselves. Some lean protein, fresh fruit and vegetables, and a tall glass of cold water can make the hardest working nanny or au pair feel better.

Gratitude Journal:
Write down the funny things the children did that day. Even on the most stressful days children are funny. Not only does finding the humor in the children's actions and words help you keep a positive attitude for your job, you can create a book of funny moments later to give as a homemade gift for the parents at holiday time.

Read a Childcare Book:
Although parents would love you to iron clothes or mop the kitchen floor while the baby naps, sometimes just allowing yourself to read for 15- to 30-minutes can be refreshing. Pick out books at the library or bookstore that discuss a topic you are dealing with at work. For example, The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp is a quick and easy read, plus a very useful guide, for those caring for newborns. There are great resources for every stage of development. So, if you are dealing with discipline problems, finicky eaters, or potty training there are plenty of resources to motivate you.

Organize a Bookshelf:
Some chores are more noticeable than others. Some tasks can be done while listening to your favorite television courtroom drama too. Nothing looks better than a tidy bookshelf and it can be organized while listening to the television or radio. First, pull out books the children no longer read and put them in a pile for the parents to determine if they can be tossed or donated. Alphabetize extensive collections and sort by genre. Wipe off dust with a slightly damp rag. Reserve the most easily reached shelves for books, movies, and music the children enjoy frequently.

Cook a New Recipe:
Boys might love a recipe from the Star Wars Cookbook, girls might love the Strawberry Shortcake Cookbook, and parents will love if you try a recipe from Rachael Ray's Top 30 30-Minute Meals for Kids. Better yet, make a turtle-shaped bread for the children's snack later in the day. Take photos of your creations to add to a scrapbook.

Discard Expired Medications:
Most medicine cabinets are filled with outdated medications. First, ask the parents if you can throw out expired medications. Then, make a list of what items you will need to purchase to refill the supply. Finally, wipe down the cabinet and reorganize the remedies neatly. Nannies and au pairs should feel free to discard of the children's medicines but should ask the parents before discarding their adult medications.

Tackle a Closet:
Parents love it when caregivers take the extra time to reorganize a closet. Never enter a parent's private closet without permission, but feel free to organize the children's bedroom closets, playroom closets, coat closets, and cubbies. Clothes the children rarely wear or toys that are broken should be the first things to go. Clothing that is too small should be donated. Damaged toys that are broken or no longer used should be discarded. Group "likes" together such as all long pants hang together and all long-sleeve shirts together. Then, arrange by color. Some caregivers prefer matching outfits be folded or hung together so that children can choose their own clothing to wear, but they are already paired in matching outfits. The items used most often by the children should be easy for them to access, so hang or store them no higher than eye level for the child.

Wash Stuffed Animals:
Not many caregivers think to wash toys or launder the children's stuffed animals (while daycare centers are required to sanitize toys). But, is anything dirtier than the stuffed animals that sleep alongside the children? Most stuffed animals are chewed on, sneezed on, and full of germs. As long as there are no electronics inside the toys they can be washed in the washing machine, then dried lightly on a low setting in the dryer.

Clean Out a Junk Drawer: 
Every household has at least one junk drawer. Ironically, professional organizer, Lea Schneider calls junk drawers "Necessary Drawers" because they tend to hold everything but junk. Dump out the contents of the drawer. Every junk drawer has some trash to throw out. Sort out the items that have "homes" somewhere else in the house and put them away (for example, a compact disc should be in the compact disc drawer next to the compact disc player). But the necessary items that you need often and quickly should remain in the junk drawer such as: a glue stick, scissors, a pencil, an ink pen, quarters, a Phillips head screwdriver, and so on. Cleaning out the junk drawer doesn't take long and you can still listen to your favorite soap opera or listen to music while completing the task.

Clean Out the Fridge:
Expired food is unhealthy, stinky, and gross. Throw out gross or expired foods. Then, remove all the food from the fridge and wipe down the shelves with a solution of two tablespoons of baking soda to one quart warm water or a solution of one cup of vinegar and one gallon warm water to wash the inside of the refrigerator. Dump crumbs out of drawers, then rinse in sink or wipe down with solution listed above. Placing a box of baking soda placed in the refrigerator will also cut down on odors. The task shouldn't take half an hour but will be appreciated. No one needs permission to dump moldy left-overs -- just get rid of them!

What do you during the baby's nap time? What unexpected tasks do you do around the house that the parents appreciate?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

9 Ways to Lose Your Nanny By Rosalind Prather

Rosalind Prather of Trusting Connections contacted us and personally asked us to discuss her article found in an article by she wrote for the Tuscon Citizen. The nanny agency owner lists nine ways for parents to lose their nanny. To see the entire article please click here.

1. Tardiness

2. Unorganized Chaos

3. Unclear Expectations

4. Unrealistic Expectations.

5. Unfair or Untimely Pay

6. Hovering

7. Inconsistent Parenting

8. Pets, Grandma and Dust Bunnies

9. Poor Communication 

We were given permission by Rosalind Prather to discuss her article. Rosalind Prather a local “momtrepreneur,” is a former professional nanny and currently co-owns Trusting Connections, Tucson’s premier nanny agency. For more information visit

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Casting Call Makes Nanny a Reality TV Star

Get to Know Amanda Averill of Beverly Hills Nannies
By Whitney Ziebarth

Today we start our new column Wednesdays With Whitney. Here is part of Whitney's interview with nanny and reality television star Amanda Averil of Beverly Hills Nannies. To see Part 1 of the interview visit Whitney's blog The Naptime Nook.

How did you get involved with the television show? Did that drive your decision to move to Los Angeles?

Well this was a long journey in itself. After I finished my BFA program for Musical Theater at the University of Miami in Florida, I moved to New York City for two-years to pursue my own "Broadway Dream." While I was working in New York City I was offered a job in San Francisco, California so I moved there for a year. While I was living in San Francisco, a casting director I knew from New York city forwarded me a job opportunity for a new show about nannies in Beverly Hills. She knew I was a nanny and also a working actor and singer. The rest was history! I moved to Los Angeles two months later and began filming.

We saw a few weeks ago that you finally broke into the Beverly Hills nanny business. Do you have any advice for nannies who are looking to break into the business themselves?

[Get] lots of experience! As a nanny it’s best to be a "Jack or Jill of all trades." Being able to do light housework, cooking for the kids, laundry, doggy care, bath time, sports, dancing, singing, etc. The more things you can fill a day with the more attractive you are as a nanny to the parent. However, get involved in your own neighborhood. Nannying is a word-of-mouth business. Help out during the summer with your local parks and kids’ centers. The more you are around children and their parents the greater chance you have of becoming a sought after nanny. Most importantly, be yourself, be lovable, and keep it professional.

How do you think the camera changes the interplay between you and the children? Do you the children act differently when the cameras are off? Do you ever feel pressured to do anything knowing that America is watching you?

For me, the cameras did not feel that strange. I have been acting in film for some time so I understood it was part of the job. Baby Xander however was such a little stud in front of the camera. It was hysterical, he loved the cameras. He couldn’t stop staring into them. As soon as the camera person would put it on the floor to change tapes, Xander would crawl as fast as he could to get to it. He wanted to eat it! There also was no pressure to do anything I didn’t want to on camera. I just wanted to be myself!

Click here to see Whitney's entire interview on her blog The Naptime Nook.

Curious as to what Amanda misses most about Wisconsin? Want to know what job Amanda thinks would’ve prepared her the best for a career in nannying? Check back next Monday for Part 2 of this interview with one of Beverly Hill’s finest. And don’t forget to watch Amanda on Beverly Hills Nannies Tuesdays at 9/8 central on ABC Family.

The author of Wednesdays With Whitney is Whitney Ziebarth graduated from Loyola University of Chicago with a degree in English. Before discovering her love of the literary arts, she was in their Premed program. Today, Whitney combines her analytical and creative side to develop engaging and educational activities to share with the toddler she works with. As the author of The Naptime Nook, Whitney also shares these activities with readers daily and is looking forward to exercising her creative muscles in the Be the Best Nanny Newsletter blog.

Wednesdays with Whitney: Colored Rice

Rainy Day Sensory Play

The wind is growling, the rain is cascading, the children are whining. What is a nanny to do after puddle jumping, spontaneous dancing, and storytelling have all been exhausted? Brighten up your stormy afternoon by making colored rice. It’s fun to make and will give grubby little fingers something to plunge into that’s not the cookie jar!
1 Gallon Plastic Ziploc Bag
2 Cups of Uncooked Rice
2 Tablespoons of Rubbing Alcohol
Food Coloring (15-20 drops)


1. Start by letting the little ones pour in the rubbing alcohol and the food coloring into the plastic bag. Make sure they pick use their favorite color!

2. Next, let them dump in the rice. Then zip the bag closed, double checking to make sure it’s fully closed.

Add rice to coloring and alcohol
3. Here comes the fun part: crank up your favorite dancing music and let your little ones shake the bag as they dance! You can let the dancing go on for as long as the little feet want to groove.

4. Now empty out your well mixed rice onto some wax paper and let it dry (this shouldn’t take very long).
5. Once it is dry, you can make a rice bin for the youngest children, placing textured toys in it. You can also pour blue rice into a bowl to create a swimming pool for Barbies and plastic animals. Get creative – with children’s minds at play, anything is possible!

Today we start a new column on the Be the Best Nanny Newsletter blog called Wednesdays With Whitney. The author of Wednesdays With Whitney is Whitney Ziebarth graduated from Loyola University of Chicago with a degree in English. Before discovering her love of the literary arts, she was in their Premed program. Today, Whitney combines her analytical and creative side to develop engaging and educational activities to share with the toddler she works with. As the author of The Naptime Nook, Whitney also shares these activities with readers daily and is looking forward to exercising her creative muscles in the Be the Best Nanny Newsletter blog.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What Are Your Favorite Fingerplays?

Fingerplays to Use With Preschoolers

A fingerplay is a rhyme to sing using our fingers or hands with the words of the song. Preschool songs and rhymes offer many life-long benefits to children. Fingerplays develop fine-motor co-ordination, sequential memory, and body awareness.  Be sure to teach the young children you care for preschool fingerplays, action rhymes, counting rhymes, and games with rhythm.

Here are some popular finger plays:

Twinke, Twikle, Little Star
Twinkle, twinkle, little star, (wiggle fingers like they are shining like a star)
How I wonder what you are.
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky. (make a diamond with fingers above head)
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are.

I'm a Little Teapot
I'm a little teapot, short and stout
Here is my handle (one hand on hip),
here is my spout (other arm out straight)
When I get all steamed up, hear me shout
Just tip me over and pour me out!
(As song ends, lean over and tip arm out like a spout)

Eensy Weensy Spider
Eensy weensy spider
Went up the water spout (Have fingers climb up)
Down came the rain (Wiggle fingers down from head to waist)
And washed the spider out (Throw arms to sides)
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain (Raise hands above head, make circle for sun)
Then the eensy weensy spider
Went up the spout again. (Climb fingers up the spout again)

Bunny Puppet
Here is a bunny, with ears so funny. (Raise two fingers)
And here is a hole in the ground. (Make hole with fingers of the other hand)
At the first sound she hears, she pricks up her ears. (Straighten “ear” fingers)
And pops right into the ground. (Put fingers in hole)

Where Is Thumbkin?
Where is Thumbkin? Where is Thumbkin? (Start with hands behind back)
Here I am. (Bring right hand to front, with thumb up)
Here I am. (Bring left hand to front, with thumb up)
How are you this morning?
Very well, I thank you. (Wiggle thumbs as if they are ‘talking’ to each other)
Run away, run away. (Have each hand go back behind your back one at a time)

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Pros and Cons of Nanny Trial Periods

Have You Ever Worked a Trial Period?

I have often heard that nannies and families should have a trial period before signing a work agreement. I actually never had a trial period at any of my nanny jobs. Here are some possible pros and cons of the arrangement.

Many agencies encourage trial periods because within a few days the parents and nanny may be able to determine if the arrangement is the right fit or not without either party being penalized. The parents won't have to pay the agency a placement fee until after the trial period which helps reassure the parents that the nanny is a good match for their family. The parents also won't be required to provide severance pay if they decide to hire another nanny and the caregiver can also choose not to accept the job gracefully without having to give the parents a lengthy termination notice. The nanny will be paid for the days worked during the trial period, but both the parents and nanny can save the time and energy of filling the work agreement, (and perhaps W-2 forms), until after the brief trial period.

However, Breedlove and Associates explains, "...please know that the law does not absolve families of their tax and legal responsibilities during the trial period. Families are legally considered to be employers the first day the employee shows up for work – whether it has been labeled a “trial period” or not. Therefore, in order to prevent potentially-expensive tax and legal mistakes, it is important to understand the law and the compliance process from the outset of the employment relationship."

After the trial period the parents and nanny will need to sign a work agreement with the details of the job, benefits, and submit the required tax paperwork.

As a nanny looking for a job my concern would be if I had a choice between more than one job I might want to accept the job position that was a "sure thing" in which the parents were willing to have me start immediately.

Lora Brawley of says another problem with trail periods is when parents or caregivers misuse them as a temporary fix. She explains, "Some parents and nannies use trial periods as a ruse to fill an immediate need with no intention of committing to a long-term employment relationship. In these cases, a parent needs childcare while she searches for the right nanny or a nanny needs a regular paycheck while she searches for the right job. Instead of being honest about the temporary nature of the working relationship, these parents and caregivers find a quick match and operate under the guise of a trial period while they continue their search. This deceitful maneuver is devastating to the unsuspecting party who’s left with nothing when the parent or nanny moves on."

So, have you ever had a trial period?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

10 Diaper Bag Essentials for Nannies and Au Pairs

What You Should Carry in Your Diaper Bag

1. Diapers, Pull-Ups, or Extra Pair of Underwear
My nanny friends recommend having at least one diaper for every hour you will be out of the house. But, I have found that just keeping at least three diapers in the diaper bag at every outing with a baby is usually sufficient.

2. Wet Wipes
Wet wipes aren't only needed for changing diapers. Wet wipes are essential for a child of any age. Use them to wipe drool, spit-up, wipe a runny nose, clean up spills off of clothing, clean of dirty toys that fall on the ground, and obviously for cleaning hands when no sinks are around. My favorite wet wipes are made for sensitive skin and no fragrance such as Seventh Generation Baby Wipes. To carry wet wipes I love the Skip Hop Swipe Baby Wipes Case.

3. Changing Pad
If you are in a situation where you need to change the baby in the car, a public restroom, or a house that doesn't have a changing station use the pad to keep the baby off of the potentially unclean surface and to protect car seats and furniture from the baby's dirty bottom.

4. Plastic Bags to Store Dirty Diapers
You can purchase disposable diaper sacks such as Sassy Baby Disposable Diaper Sacksbut a plastic bag from the grocery store or a gallon sized Ziploc bag works just as well to secure stinky, dirty diapers until you have a spot to throw the dirty diaper away.

5. Extra Change of Clothes
It is always a good idea to carry extra clothes in case of spills, spit-up, or leaky diapers. If it's winter you may need to carry an extra hat or gloves and in the summer you may want to carry a sun hat or sunglasses.

6. Milk Bottles and Feeding Equipment
Nothing is worse than being out of the house unprepared to feed hungry babies or toddlers. Bottle fed babies will need a couple of bottles of pure water and at least one serving of formula for ever hour you anticipate being out. For babies who are already eating, you might being a bottle or two of baby food, a couple of spoons, and a bib, plus a zipper sandwich bag of finger foods such as cereal or teething biscuits.

7. Hand Sanitizer
Germs are everywhere. Before and after feeding kids, after a class at the YMCA, and after changing diapers I strongly recommend using hand sanitizer on the kids' hands and your own.

8. An Extra Blanket
Never hurts to have an extra blanket in case a building is air conditioned, it's cold outside, it starts to rain, or you can shield the baby from the sun. Blankets are great for breast feeding mom's out in public. It can also serve as a burp cloth.

9. Small First Aid Kit
Depending on the age of the child I like to carry at least a few band aids, alcohol wipes, and Neosporin or antibiotic cream in the diaper bag. Be sure to bring any medications the child is taking with you when you are away from the house. In the summer you may need some extra sunscreen, and if the baby has diaper rash be sure to bring diaper rash cream.

10. Toys
Even if the child cannot hold on to his own toys yet, you will be able to occupy the baby with bright rattles or musical toys, or keep his attention focused on one if he starts getting fussy in public. It's good idea to bring at least two toys for every child. Depending upon the specific baby's needs, don't forget to bring pacifiers or teethers to keep them calm during outings.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Using Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes to Help Teach Children to Write Their Name

 My Name Is Special

I love doing activities that relate to a children's book after sharing a book with a child. It's great fun using children's book to inspire learning in children. One of the most important lessons nannies can help children learn is to write their name. Today we recommend reading Chrysanthemumby Kevin Henkes to the child in your care and then do activities at home to encourage them to practice writing their name or compliment the book.

Chrysanthemumby Kevin Henkes is a great book to prepare four- to eight-year-old children for their first day of school and to learn to write their name.
Chrysanthemum is a cute mouse with a very beautiful name. Chrysanthemum is the name of a flower. She is happy to go to Kindergarten. Her name has 13 letters! But one of her classmates makes fun of her when she points out her name is so long that it is half of the letters in the alphabet. That is just one of the many jokes that hurts her feelings on her first days at school. Her loving parents reassure her again and again that her name is beautiful. The unforgettable music teacher's wise, cheery, and soothing remarks to the classroom makes a world of difference to Chrysanthemum. In the book the mice children learn a valuable lesson and Chrysanthemum's confidence is restored.

After reading Chrysanthemumby Kevin Henkes try these activities to help children to recognize and trace their first name. This is a very important first step for children. It is an opportunity for children to know that their name is special, it promotes self-esteem, and independence.

1. The meaning of a name:
Children like to know the meaning of their names, or why they were given that name. If you know or can obtain information about the meaning of the child's name, that is an interesting way to start them to want to write their name. Click here to find out meanings and history of a name.

2. Important figures that share your name:
Find historical figures that share the same first name that you feel would be a good role model. For example if the child is named Thomas teach him about Thomas Edison. If the girl you care is named Amelia find books to borrow from the library about Ameila Earhart. It will give them a boost of confidence and make them feel good they share the same name as someone else who is or was very special.

3. Create a name tracer page:
Print put lined writing paper available for preschool with wide spacing and or for elementary students by clicking here. It may be even easier to generate a customized tracer from Kidzone Tracers.

Have the child practice their first name only. Print the name for child in the first row. Make a slow demonstration for each letter. Have them trace over your printed example.
Encourage children to practice in the rows below.
To use the tracer page many times simply insert on a transparent page protector or laminate. Make sure to close with some tape to avoid danger of suffocation. Use dry-erase markers, these really motivate the child because they can quickly make corrections.

If you insert the page in a page protector or laminate, keep it accessible (in the kitchen) and while the child is waiting for a snack or meal he or she can practice at the table on a regular basis.


Friday, August 24, 2012

National Peach Day

What Are Your Charges' Favorite Fruits? 

Peaches are one of my charges' favorite foods. When enjoyed at the peak of ripeness, they have a sweet, juicy flesh that cannot be matched by any other fruit. Peaches are in season for a limited time in the heat of summer, with typically months ranging from late June to late August. It's worth holding out for fresh peaches, for when they are in season, they have the boldest color, flavor, and texture. Enjoy these recipes with fresh peaches when available. Frozen peaches may be substituted as needed, but thaw before using the recipes, unless noted otherwise.

I love adding peaches to low-fat plain yogurt. But I recommend the following recipes with the kids. I'm sure they will enjoy them.

For Breakfast:

Peach French Toast
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 ripe yellow peaches, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons plus 3/4 cup heavy cream
8 slices white or sourdough bread or brioche
3 large eggs
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Confectioners' sugar

In a large skillet, over medium-low heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter until it foams. Add the brown sugar and stir for 30 seconds. Add the peaches, raise heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the cream and simmer for 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

Heat oven to 200° F. Place 4 slices of the bread on a cutting board. Divide the peach mixture evenly among the slices, leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides. Top with another slice of bread and press gently. In a shallow bowl, beat the eggs and cinnamon. Working in batches, soak the sandwiches in the egg mixture for 2 minutes per side. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry 2 sandwiches until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a baking sheet and place in oven to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining butter and sandwiches. Beat the remaining cream until soft peaks form. Halve each sandwich on the diagonal, sprinkle with the confectioners' sugar, and serve with the whipped cream.

Tip: If you're using day-old bread to make the French toast, trim the crusts, which may have become tough.

For Snack:
Peach Salsa 

Serve this salsa alongside tortillas.
3 peaches, peeled, pitted, and chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1 fresh hot chili pepper, seeded and minced
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Chill at least 2 hours before serving.
For Lunch or Dinner:

Peachy Chicken

Chicken and peaches come together in a French-meets-Chinese fusion dish.
3 pounds assorted chicken pieces
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white wine
½ cup unsalted butter
½ cup chicken broth
8 cups sliced peaches
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place flour in a large bowl. Add chicken and toss to coat pieces, shaking off excess. Place chicken in large baking dish.

In a medium skillet, combine wine, butter, and broth over medium-high heat. Cook until melted, stirring. Add peaches and walnuts, stirring to combine. Pour over chicken evenly.

Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes, until chicken is done and sauce is thickened.

For Dessert:

Peach Cobbler

1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
½ cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 large can sliced peaches, with juice
Preheat oven to 400°F.

Whisk together flour, sugar, milk, and vanilla in a large bowl; add butter and mix until smooth.

Place peaches in a lightly greased 9-inch square baking dish; pour flour mixture over.

Bake until golden brown and bubbly, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove and cool slightly before serving.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

10 Things for Nannies to Include in a Pet-Sitting Work Agreement

Pet-Sitting Can Be a Pet-Peeve

Pet-sitting can be a pet-peeve (pun intended) for some nannies and au pairs. So, using a simple pet-sitting work agreement can be helpful when parents ask nannies or au pairs to pet-sit.

For example, if the family will be traveling on vacation the nanny or au pair should create a separate pet-sitting work agreement that includes essential responsibilities for the job. If the au pair or nanny cannot perform the pet-sitting duties the parents can then use the work agreement when they hire another pet-sitter as well.

Information to Include in a Pet-Sitting Contract:

  1. Emergency phone number where the family can be reached in case of emergency.
  2. Veterinarian phone number.
  3. Pet-sitter back up person in case of emergency.
  4. List of family, friends, or neighbors that have a key to the house.
  5. Detailed history of each pet.
  6. Where family buys pet food and supplies.
  7. What food to serve each pet, at what time, and the amount of food.
  8. Detailed list of any medications required. When, how much, and what type of medicine should be given to each pet.
  9. Which treats the pets are allowed to have and at what times.
  10. Fees per walk and length of each walk (for example half hour walk).

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Meet Shayla Quinn of "Beverly Hills Nannies"

Discover What Makes You Unique. What Can You Offer to a Family That Someone Else Couldn't?

How did you become a nanny?

I grew up in Orange County and would babysit there when I was younger, but when I moved to Los Angeles to pursue my acting and music career I didn't know any families so I started to work as a receptionist at a hair salon in Beverly Hills during the day and I would wait tables in Hollywood at night. I wasn't making enough money and I was working 14-hour days! I soon realized I was only working to barely make ends meet and that left very little time to work on my career, which is why I moved up to Los Angeles in the first place! One of my fellow receptionists at the hair salon was a Los Angeles native and a part-time nanny for a few families. One day she asked me if I was available to cover one of her nights with a family she worked for and I did. I began working with that family regularly and through word-of-mouth I created a business for myself, as a nanny! Before I knew it I had left both day jobs, I was making great money, had 6+ families I was working for regularly. I had time to work on my career and I was having fun at my job!

Are you a career nanny or are you hoping that working as a nanny is a stepping stone to other career opportunities?

For now I am working as a nanny to support myself so I can move forward with my music and acting career. I love it, but I don't see myself doing it forever.

You work in an elite neighborhood. Do you ever find your charges, the parents, or even the nannies sometimes feel entitled?

Absolutely. A lot of families that come from money see their having money as power thus giving them entitlement, which in a way it does give them some power, but in my opinion everyone should be treated with equal respect, regardless of your personal possessions or financial status. I am extremely particular about which families I choose to work with, so I tend to steer clear of the bougie ones!

Marika asked Justin, her nanny, to rub her feet. What's the craziest thing a parent has asked you to do?

The craziest thing I have ever been asked to do was accompany a woman's dogs on a flight to Utah. The kids were away at camp, and they were planning to go out to their home in Utah and wanted to send the dogs out on a flight and they wanted me to be their "flight buddy."  It was hilarious and bizarre, but totally worth it as they compensated me quite well and the dogs were adorable.

What's the biggest challenge you have encountered being a nanny?

This job is a great one, but there are many challenges. You are not handling paper work and crunching numbers at a desk, you are dealing with children -- other people's children, and they often require guidance and discipline and that's a hard one because you don't want to over step your boundaries with them. But, at the same time you need to find where you fit in because essentially we are filling in the gaps while the parents are not there, we are helping to raise their kids. It requires a lot of judgment calls and you rely a lot on instinct.

What do you love most about being a nanny?

The greatest part about being a nanny is watching the kids grow and learn and connecting with them. I am constantly reminded by them to stay in the moment and I try to apply that to my own life. Kids are so focused on the present, the right now -- not tomorrow, or yesterday, or next year. That's such a gift. We often lose that perspective as we age, but being around children all the time helps reinstate that.

Has being on the reality show Beverly Hills Nannies helped your nanny career or hurt it?

To be honest, I am still discovering the ways it will help me. With that being said, I have met a lot of great nannies and families through the show and I believe with time, more opportunities will arise from this experience.

What’s your best advice for others wanting to work as a nanny in general or specifically in Beverly Hills?

As with anything in life, have confidence! Be prepared, do your research, and find what makes you unique. What can you offer to a family that someone else couldn't? Swim lessons? Music lessons? Do you cook? Tutor? Every family is looking for something specific, and it does you no good to accept a job with a family that isn't a good fit. Just like in dating, you have to find that chemistry and it's important to click with whomever you decide to go with. Everything may be good on paper: the right hours, the right pay etc. but if there is not connection and you're not on the same page with the family it will be difficult to make it work.

Watch Beverly Hills Nannies Tuesdays on ABC Family

5 Ways to Help Kids Have Fun Doing Chores

Do the Kids in Your Care Have Chores?
By Sarah Aguirre

Children make all kinds of excuses to get out of doing chores and cleaning-up. Here are some fun ways to help children have fun doing chores and help clean-up.

 1. Turn on the music. Listen to their favorite music and watch how time flies while you work and sing along.

2. Clean together. Working together can be a lot more motivating for some people. It helps us keep going to complete a task when we see others working too.

3. Make it a game. Or turn it into a competition. Who can find the most red toys? Try having the kids shoot dirty laundry into the hampers as if they were shooting baskets in basketball.

4. Set a timer. Trying to beat the clock can create a lot of energy. Set the timer for a certain amount of time and race to beat the buzzer.

5. Take a break. Don't get too burned out on working. Break up your chores and reward the kids throughout the process. Taking a few moments to let the kids catch their breath to gear up for the next job.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Top 10 Organizing Tips for Nannies

Organizing the home for your charges
By Lorie Marrero, Creator of the The Clutter Diet

Organizing is part of every nanny’s job. To organize the home successfully always keep the family you work for, and the children you care for, in mind.

1. Communicate first about organizing anything for your employer.
Some people are very particular about how they want things done, and even if you think an area is messy, they may know exactly where things are and like it that way. After you’ve discussed this issue and understood how they like things, you can feel free to pursue these kinds of projects independently.

2. If your role gets you involved in organizing any paperwork for the family, be very careful about throwing anything away.
There can be legal and financial reasons to keep certain papers, even if they are very old or don’t look important. If you are not sure, create a box or pile of “probable trash” to have them review it before throwing it out. You also need to shred anything you are throwing away that could be damaging to your employer’s identity, finances, or reputation.

3. Organize from a “kids’ eye view.”
What are their favorite toys? You want to put those at a level that is easy for them to reach so they won’t have to climb for them or get frustrated.

4. Consider safety always, especially if you have multiple charges of varying ages.
You will want to organize spaces considering the choking and poison hazards of the younger children, yet make it easy for older children to reach things they need as well.

5. If you help the family with their laundry, ask your employer if you can use the “dot system” to help you identify clothing.
It’s often difficult to sort and put away laundry for siblings of the same gender. Use a permanent laundry marker to make a single dot on the tags of the oldest child’s clothing, then the next oldest child gets two dots on their tags. The younger child from there gets three dots, and so on. When clothes get handed down, you just add another dot to know which clothes belong to whom.

6. Discuss with your employer a system of managing hand-me-downs and out-of-season clothing.
Kids grow fast, and you need to know where to put the clothes that are outgrown or out of season when you identify them. Does your employer want to save them for other children? Give them away for donation? Or possibly give them to a friend? We recommend storing hand-me-downs in clear containers by gender and a range of sizes (like 0-6 months, or sizes 4-6).

7. Consider clear containers versus baskets or opaque containers.
Sometimes storing things inside clear containers is perfect so you can see items inside the boxes before opening them. Other times, it’s advantageous to hide the items you are storing. If you’re not sure, ask your employer his or her opinion, since some people like everything to match and to camouflage their storage. Other people are “out of sight, out of mind!”

8. Use a label maker to establish homes for items you have organized.
Particularly when many people are sharing a space, this makes the organizing work official and keeps the space organized longer.

9. Label with pictures and words together to help with reading skills.
You can label toys containers with both a picture of the toy and a written label, so this associates the words with the toys and helps with learning to read. If your employer’s household is bilingual or just trying to learn another language, you can also label items in both languages to help everyone learn more.

10. Many children are overwhelmed by too many choices.
More messes get made because kids dump out everything to find what they want. Many of your charges may be blessed with an abundance of toys and belongings, but this blessing may actually be a curse and may cause confusion. Ask your employer if it’s okay to start rotating some toys in and out on a regular basis and store ½ to 2/3 of them away to simplify choices and cleanup.

EXTRA BONUS TIP: Ask your employer to buy you an annual subscription to the Clutter Diet® so you can help manage the household with easy weekly project plans. The organizing plans are designed to cover the entire home over time and keep you current on what you should focus on seasonally for holidays, schools, and vacations. This is one more thing you can do to make their lives easier, and it gives you and the family access to a team of Professional Organizers to directly answer your questions that may arise.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Pacifier That Closes When Dropped

Keep-it-Kleen Pacifier By Raz Baby

Don't you hate it when the baby's pacifier drops on the floor and dog hair gets on it and you have to rush to the sink to wash it off? Well, no more running to wash off the pacifier every time it slips out of the baby's mouth.

There is a pacifier that closes when drops. Covering the nipple of the Keep-it-Kleen pacifier is a translucent plastic shield. The shield stays open during use, but if the pacifier falls the shield snap shut before hitting the floor, forming a protective barrier around the nipple. The shield has a small round vent as well, to allow for drainage of moisture from the nipple if necessary.

The shield does not hurt the baby since it lies flush to baby's cheeks while the pacifier is in her mouth, closing gently as the pacifier is withdrawn. All Keep-it-Kleen pacifiers made since 2009 are BPA free.

The Keep-it-Kleen pacifier is available in sizes 0-6 months with a vented orthodontic silicone nipple. It adapts perfectly and easily to baby's natural sucking action and won't damage baby's developing mouth. Plus, they come in adorable animal characters.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Book Review By Kids, For Kids

Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary
Review by Olivia, 9-Years-Old

This book is so good I would give it four thumbs up! The story is about two sisters fighting all the time. Little Ramona has a habit of doing the most annoying things, which makes her older sister Beezus furious.

Ramona is always getting on Beezus's nerves. When Ramona doesn't get her way she throws a tantrum. When Beezus and her friend Harry are playing checkers, Ramona rides her tricycle as fast as she can through their game. Ramona invites all her little playmates to a party at her house, without her mom's permission. When I was reading the part about Ramona dragging a string behind her, pretending that there was a lizard named Ralph, it really made me giggle. My favorite part of the book is when Ramona ruins two of her sister's birthday cake and her grandmother has to get another one.

When I read this book I began to wonder if Beezus and Ramona would ever quit fighting. Ramona reminds me of my cousin, Jillian who is three and Beezus reminds me of myself because I am always yelling at my cousin. Once a book got ripped and Jillian said I had done it. This was like when Ramona scribbled her name in a library book and she said Beezus was the meanest sister.

I would recommend this book for third graders and up to sixth grade for those who enjoy funny books. The author makes you want to discover what will happen between Beezus and Ramona. So why don't you check out the book?

If you care for a child that is old enough to write a book report be sure to let us know. We can post it on our blog on a Saturday! Email their book report to Stephanie @ bestnannynewsletter . com

Friday, August 17, 2012

Refund for Vitamins That Are Not As Healthy as Advertised

Do Your Charges Take Multivitamins?
By Todd Sperry, CNN

Read this CNN article by Todd Sperry that explains how to get a refund for vitamins sold at CVS Pharmacy, Wal-Mart, Target, Walgreens, Kroger, Kmart, Meijer and Rite Aid, as well as online. The boxes were priced at between $4 and $8 each.

Parents who believe they may have purchased the vitamins dating back to between May 1, 2008, and September 30, 2010, can file a claim through the FTC's website. The customers have until October 12 to file a claim.

Click here to see the entire CNN article.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

4 Tips for Making Play Time More Educational

Children Learn Through Play
By Lauren Bailey

Any good nanny knows the importance of a good education. Children with an education more readily know the difference between right and wrong. They are quick thinkers and adept at analyzing new information. A solid education is one of the most important parts of a healthy childhood. But, at the same time, a life with nothing but hitting the books is also unhealthy. That’s why it’s so important to help children understand that learning is not just about reading textbooks and doing math assignments. Learning is a part of everyday life. By integrating learning into your charge’s play time, you can help them learn by having fun.

Here are some great tips for making learning a bigger part of your day and play time.

1. Pay attention to the children’s interests.
When it’s time to play, the one thing any caretaker needs to do is actually allow the children to have fun. This means that play time does not center on what you want to do or what you think they want to do. Play time should focus on what the child gravitates toward and thinks is fun, otherwise, it isn’t much of a play time at all, right? The same can be said for attempting to incorporate learning into play time. It should feel seamless, not forced. The best thing to do is pay special attention to what each, individual, child loves. He or she will give you subtle clues. If their eyes light up or if you find that they want to do a certain activity over and over, they are getting some form of stimulation from it. Use your knowledge of their interests and passions so you can cultivate more activities that will be both educational and fun.

2. Ask questions.
One of the best ways to sprinkle in a little learning with your play time (or even in your everyday activities and chores) is by asking questions. Instead of telling children what to do and waiting as they silently complete a series of tasks, try asking them what needs to be done and why. There are plenty of ways you can incorporate questions into play time. If a child is playing house and setting up a tea party, you can ask simple things like, “What would happen if the tea cup dropped on the floor?” Asking simple questions is a great way to get a conversation started and get a child thinking and communicating about things in new ways.

3. Pose problems.
If you’re in the middle of play time, and everything is going swimmingly, then posing a problem can add a little bit of edge and intrigue to a game, while enhancing children’s problem-solving skills. If you’re playing pretend, simply add a hiccup in the plans. Maybe an essential toy goes missing, and you need to play detective to get it back. The clues can be some of the things he or she is working on in school, such as addition or subtraction.

4. Never make learning a chore.
The best way to always make sure that play time has some learning involved is to see that learning is never given a bad rap. Sure, there will be times when any child gets sick of school or tired of homework, but if learning is made to feel like a drag, so will playing in an educational way. Changing the script so learning is seen as discovery is a great way to get kids excited about learning at all times, not just when it amounts to a game. By upholding an optimistic and carefree attitude when it comes to learning new things, children will be less likely to associate all learning with the doldrums of going to school.

. Lauren welcomes comments and questions via email at blauren 99

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Nannies, Boyfriends and Girlfriends, and Maintaining Professional Boundaries

Is it Unprofessional to Discuss Your Dating Life With Your Boss?

When working as a live in nanny, the caregiver must respect house rules. Before accepting a job position the nanny and parents ought to discuss the rules of the home to determine if the job is a good fit. Some parents will enforce curfews on week nights, rules about guests, and even restrictions about visiting girlfriends and boyfriends.

Last night on Beverly Hills Nannies the episode was about love. The episode showed one nanny and her boyfriend going on a double date with her employers, another Mom Boss setting her nanny up on a blind date, and another nanny was encouraged to date a swim instructor by her boss.

Cindy Margolis invited a blind date over to her house for her nanny Kristin. Instead of caring for the kids, nanny Amber and Justin's swim instructor Marcus flirted. Amber's boss was caring for her infant while the nanny was in the pool flirting. Then, we see Lucy and her boyfriend Curtis invited out on a double date with Lucy's employers Tricia and Byron Fisher.

Seeing the nannies and their employers setting up blind dates and going on double dates felt so odd to me. Mixing dating and a nanny job just feels so unprofessional. Undoubtedly when working as a nanny we get to know the parents very well. Of course they will hear about our boyfriends and girlfriends. Obviously the parents may even meet the man or woman we are dating once or twice. But, having our boyfriends or girlfriends visit during work, or going out on double dates with our bosses, is something I've never seen or heard of in the nanny industry.

In fact, only once in my 19-years of working as a live-in or live-out nanny did I invite a boyfriend to meet my employers. When I worked as a live-in he visited briefly one work day. I asked permission to have him visit and it was announced when he would be spending part of one day of work with the children and I and eat a casual dinner with the family and I at my employer's kitchen table.

Although nannies and their employers build close relationships is it unprofessional to discuss or share our dating lives with our employers?

Has your employer ever set you up on a blind date? Have you ever double dated with your employers and your boyfriend or girlfriend? Do you think having your employer set you up on blind dates and double dating with your boss crosses professional boundaries?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Professional Nanny Respects Confidentiality

Have You Ever Been Caught Gossiping About Your Boss?

Professional household employees are rare these days. If you work as a nanny how often do you hear other nannies gossiping and complaining about their jobs at the playground? In contrast, true professionals don't speak badly about their employer’s publicly. While all workers in all professions are expected to vent to their spouse, partner, or a trusted friend, a professional employee knows the only way to resolve issues with their employer's is by communicating directly with them, not by gossiping about them to other people.

To secure your reputation as a professional nanny respect your employer's confidentiality. Don't look at private papers, bank statements, bills, or files even if they are left out in the open. Don't snoop through dresser drawers or closets of the parents. Don’t share any personal or confidential information about their families online or even on social networking sites without first getting specific permission from the parents.

Before gossiping publicly at the park, in an email, or on Facebook about your employer consider if you would be embarrassed if your boss overheard or read what you are saying. If you don't want them to hear or see it then, it's best kept private or just between you and one trusted confidant.

Do you know any nannies that have been caught gossipng about their boss?

Monday, August 13, 2012

How to Dress on a Nanny Interview

What Do You Wear on a Nanny Job Interview?

Most nannies and agency owners recommend that nanny candidates dress business casual for job interviews. Interviewees should choose clean, well-pressed clothes. In-home job candidates should avoid wearing large jewelry, heavy make-up, clothing that exposes tattoos, and tight or low-cut shirts. Prospective employees should not smell like cigarette smoke, coffee, or wear cologne or perfume.

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

Sunday, August 12, 2012

3 Best Video Baby Monitors

Product Review Sunday

I have used many different baby monitors working as a full-time nanny and also as a babysitter on the weekends. I prefer using wireless video monitors, to just audio monitors. But, the biggest pet peeve I have with wireless baby monitors is interference from other wireless products cordless phones, game consoles, laptops, Bluetooth devices, other baby monitors, and even microwave ovens. There are steps to take to minimize interference. One is to look for a baby monitor that uses Digital Enhanced Cordless Technology, or DECT. Digital monitors are more private; unlike analog systems, their transmission is encoded so data can't be intercepted. Models that use wireless analog transmission don't provide privacy.

My favorite baby monitor, the Lorex Live Snap, can take snap shots and stream live through Skype to the parents' personal computer or iPad. Obviously, if the parents are using a video baby monitor to watch their kids, they are watching you too.

So, if you're like me and concerned about interference, simply buy a digital or DECT model that's not on the same frequency band as the other wireless products in the home.

Here are my three favorite video baby monitors:

1. Lorex LW2003 LIVE Snap Video Baby Monitor

What I like about this color monitor is you can use up to four additional cameras, so I can monitor not only the nursery, but the playroom, and even if the older siblings are playing video games or not. The monitor can be used like an intercom and I can tell kids playing in the third floor playroom to come down to dinner from the kitchen on the first floor. I absolutely love that I can choose to use the split screen monitor to see up to four rooms all at the same time. I can even snap digital photos so that I can capture those precious moments when not in the same room with the infant. Another cool feature is the muted audio feature where the monitor is silent only until the sound of the child is heard. Secured video feed, so no unwanted viewers can hack into the network. Other systems won't interfere with WiFi signals. It also has remote viewing via Skype™ compatible devices like a personal computer or iPad.

2. Summer Infant Baby Touch Digital Color Video Monitor

The innovation of the Summer Infant's Baby Touch Color Video Monitor is that the screen works like a smartphone. I like the simplicity of using my fingers to pan the room or zoom in and out. I like using the handheld monitor as an intercom. One of the best features of this monitor is that you can buy an additional camera that allows for second room and second child monitoring. The video can scan between the cameras and you can see and hear what is happening in both rooms.

3. Philips AVENT Digital Video Baby Monitor

This digital, color video monitor automatically searches for the most secure connection with the least interference. I like that I can be rest assured that this monitor's transmissions are 100% private and that I am the only one who can hear and see the baby. For those times when the baby is restless and agitated at bedtime, I can select one of three soothing lullabies that will invite sleep in no time. There is also a night light that can be activated from the baby unit. I like that I can also read the humidity and temperature in the nursery and talk to the baby through the intercom system.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Book Review by Kids, for Kids

A-Z Mysteries: The Invisible Island by Ron Roy
Review by Mary, 8-years-old

The Invisible Island is just one story in the exciting A to Z mystery series. There are 26 books in the series, one for each letter of the alphabet.

The main characters in the book are Josh, Dink, and Ruth Rose. They go to a picnic on Squaw Island. They find a hundred dollar bill in the sand. Josh wants to keep the money but Ruth Rose tells him that they should take the money to the police department. When they got there the officer told them if nobody came to claim that money in 30 days that money could be theirs. But, when the kids came back the next day the entire island has mysteriously disappeared and the bill was fake.

In the beginning of this book, they are on the lookout for the counterfeiters that put Happy Heart dog food on Squaw Island. Do you want to know what's really in the boxes? You'll have to read the book to find out who the counterfeiters are and what's in the Happy Heart dog food boxes. Can you help them solve the mystery?

I loved reading The Invisible Island because I wanted to know how all the clues would go together to explain the mysterious things happening on the island. I did not want to stop reading.

My favorite part of the book is when Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose find fake money on Squaw Island. This is my favorite part because it made me want to read more and find out who left the footprints and whose money it was.

I recommend this book to all kids from third to fifth grade. As I read this book I realized that I kept thinking the counterfeiter was one person. But by the end, I thought it was a different person. This ending is unexpected! So go read the book!

Friday, August 10, 2012

5 Ways Nannies Can Help Divorced Parents

Have You Ever Worked for Divorced Parents?

When children of divorced parents need full-time childcare, hiring a nanny can be a feasible childcare choice. In addition to providing personalized and customized childcare, nannies can help divorced parent’s co-parent successfully.

Here are 5 ways how:

1. Nannies can provide consistency of care.
Children whose parents share custody often live between houses, traveling from one parent’s home to the other quite often. In the midst of the transition and ongoing changes nannies can provide consistent care. Nannies can help ensure the children’s schedules and routines are followed in both homes and help parents avoid logistical nightmares of tag teaming drop-offs and pick-ups from daycare. Children feel safe and secure when there is routine and structure in their lives and a nanny can bring those feelings to light by providing consistent, high quality childcare.

2. Nannies can provide a sense of stability.
As everything around a child is changing, a nanny can be a source of stability in a child’s life. When parents are going through a divorce the bond a child has with her nanny may be the most stable and stress-free relationship she has. Nannies can help children cope with divorce by being a safe, secure, familiar, and constant force in their lives. Children thrive when they feel safe and secure.

3. Nannies can advocate for the children.
Nannies can help ensure that the child’s needs are being met first and foremost, regardless of which home she is at. Keeping both parents abreast of any changes in behavior, demeanor, or physical, social, intellectual, and emotional needs can ensure that the child’s needs are clearly articulated. Nannies can also alert the parents if the child seems stressed or displays signs that he is having difficulty coping with the divorce. When a child’s needs are met by both parents, it will reinforce that he is loved.

4. Nannies can reassure children that it’s not their fault.
During a divorce children may bear the unearned burden of responsibility for their parent’s breakup. Having a nanny to reinforce that the child is loved by both parents can help lift this unnecessary and painful emotional burden.

5. Nannies can facilitate communication.
During and after a divorce the emotions are often too raw for parents to have successful and meaningful communication. While a nanny shouldn’t be in the position of being the go between for non-child centered communication, having a nanny to help facilitate communication regarding the child can ensure a smooth transmission of information. Having a nanny who is able to communicate information about the children to both parents, to transport the children to and from each parent’s home, and to put the children’s schedule into a useable form for all parties to refer to can help ensure important messages are delivered timely and accurately.

Having a detailed work agreement and custody schedule that your nanny clearly understands is also vital to setting your nanny up for success. While turning to your nanny as a confidant can be tempting, resist the urge to blur professional lines. Treating your nanny as a valued professional rather than a friend will empower her to do her job well and to always put the child’s best interests first.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

5 Ways to De-Stress Your Current Job

How Do You Cope With Stress at Work?
Adapted from

Look at Your Own Attitudes: While it might seem like the job itself is the culprit, experts suggest changing your attitudes and the way you adapt -- or don't adapt -- to job stressors. If you're confident in yourself and positive about the world and open to new solutions, you'll find it easier to be resilient to stressful situations.

Gain Control: Psychologists agree that when people experience less stress, they have some degree of control over their environment. Even if it's something as simple as making a list of tasks, you'll not only clear up the mental clutter, but also gain a sense of mastery and control over your job.

Get Physical: Physical occupations such as massage therapist are considered low stress largely because it's harder to build up stress-generated adrenalin when you're moving around.
Not only will you experience a decrease in stress-releasing chemicals like cortisol, but you may also get a fitness boost.

Track Your Accomplishments: A common denominator of many low-stress jobs is tangible results.

Join a Nanny Support Group: Getting together with other nannies and au pairs are a great way to find support and networking and mentoring help, as well as finding the tools to take some of the stress away on the job and off the job.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Is it Important for Nannies to Know How to Swim?

Have Parents Asked if You Can Swim in Nanny Job Interviews?

On Beverly Hills Nannies tonight we saw how important it was for Justin to learn how to swim to work as a nanny. He aptly explains that to keep his job he must be able to fit in with the family. If the kids swim, he needs to swim.

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

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

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

If you don't know how to swim, take swimming lessons. If you learn how to swim or take more lessons to become a stronger, more confident swimmer, you can even offer to help teach your charges to swim, which will be most impressive to potential employers.

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

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

Do you swim?

Taking the High Road When Leaving a Nanny Job

The Last Impression Made by Employees Becomes the Basis for References
By Sue Downey, Nanny

Whatever the reason for leaving, nannies should be thoughtful and considerate of the children and the parents when planning to leave a job. This may be difficult to accomplish. Caregivers have to be professional, even if they are angry and hurt. The last days are an opportunity for nannies to demonstrate to the parents that they are deserving of great recommendations. The employees last days and weeks will be the memories parents remember most when giving job references.

In-home child care providers should always have a work agreement that spells out the amount of notice for both parties and severance if they are let go. Employees should always follow their work agreement to the letter -- even if the parents do not. Nannies need references from families, but parents do not need references from nannies.

Once nannies have decided to resign they must carefully consider the time frame allowing parents adequate notice to find a replacement. There are many differing opinions about how much notice to give families. Each situation is different. Common practice is to give one month notice.

However, there are many variables to consider. What is the market like in the city? Is the job more challenging than some with more kids, longer hours, or a newborn baby? Will the family react badly to the nanny leaving? Will the nanny lose her job the moment she resigns?

Although nannies should be considerate of employers, they ultimately must take care of themselves first.

The last impression made by employees becomes the basis for references for years to come. Nannies that leave families in an unprofessional manner will not be able to depend on glowing recommendations.

Monday, August 6, 2012

What Are Standard Nanny Benefits?

What Benefits Do You Have?

Standard benefits to offer nannies include: paid vacation (two-weeks minimum); paid Federal holidays (at least six-days including New Years Day, Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas); paid sick and personal days; and mileage (which is required by law). Visit for the current mileage rate. Also, standard benefits include maternity leave, (offer three-months non-paid maternity leave) and health insurance benefits.

Other benefits to offer nannies include: a mobile phone and cellular phone usage; a vehicle to drive for personal use; and apartment rent. If the nanny does not use the vacation, sick, or personal days then the nanny may cash them out at the end of the year.

Paid Holidays
Americans expect at least six paid holidays off (New Years Day, Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas) or extra bonus pay for working on a holiday.

Paid Vacation Time
Most nannies in America expect two-weeks paid vacation time during the year. Sometimes the two-weeks can be negotiated after six-months to one-year of employment.

Paid Sick Time
A sick nanny may share her germs with the children. It's best to negotiate some paid sick time for childcare providers in the work agreement.

Paid Personal Days
Along with sick days if a nanny must miss work for a doctor appointment or a death of a friend or family member it's best not to penalize her for having to miss work a few days each year.

Health Insurance
Health insurance premiums are non-taxable income! That's right, if your employer pays your health insurance premiums the cost of the health insurance is not taxed. In a poll about benefits by Be the Best Nanny Newsletter, 72 percent of nannies prefer to have health insurance coverage over all other benefits.

Use of Vehicle
At a minimum, parents should provide the nanny use of their car for work purposes or reimburse the employee gas mileage when using the nanny's car for work. Visit for the current mileage rate. But, also helping pay for the nanny's car insurance and maintenance of the nanny's car is a great help for nannies using their own vehicle for work. Allowing the nanny personal use of the parent's car is also a great benefit to offer nannies (and that is expected for au pairs).

Maternity Leave
Great employees should have a job to come back to after a typical three-month maternity leave.

Overtime Pay
Overtime rate shouldn't even be considered a perk but expected. Overtime rate is one and a half times the nanny's typical hourly rate.

Cell Phone
Cell phones are a necessity. Prior to cell phones parents typically paid for another phone line for their live-in nannies. A cell phone for use that is included in the family’s cell plan for the nanny is a nice perk.

Educational Benefits
Offering to pay for child development classes or to attend professional conferences and workshops related to childcare is a smart investment.

Professional Membership
Paying the membership fee for professional organizations for nannies is another small perk that nannies appreciate from their employers.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Product Review Sunday: Baby Jogger City Select Stroller

What's Your Favorite Stroller?

I have worked as a nanny for 19-years and my favorite stroller I have used is the Baby Jogger City Select stroller. I love that the City Select offers the unique opportunity to customize thestroller into 16 different combinations.

I also love the accessories that can be purchased with the stroller, especially the Baby Jogger Car Seat Adaptor.When caring for an infant this is by far the easiet car seat I've used. The car seat clicks right into the stoller and can just as easily be put back into the car from the stroller.

I found the Baby Jogger City Select Child Tray useful for using on outings as the kids grow olders as well.

The City Select stroller is so easy to open and close. I can close the stroller with one hand. I have often carried the baby in my left arm and closed the stroller with my right hand and put it into the car trunk -- all while holding the baby!

The Baby Jogger Company is the original designer and manufacturer of high performance joggers and the all-terrain three-wheel stroller. Baby Jogger’s strollers have been the industry leader since 1984 and are world-renowned for their superior quality, innovative designs, agility, and simple functionality.

In the past four years Baby Jogger has won over 15 awards for product design, functionality and innovation. Our strollers have been applauded world-wide and the receipt of these awards encourages us to continue to create new, innovative and visually inspiring products for you and your family to enjoy.

Product Features Include:
  • Patented Quick-Fold Technology - allows you to fold your stroller in one simple step
  • Innovative multi-functional design allows you to select your seating arrangement up to 16 unique combinations
  • Hand operated parking brake 12" forever-air rear and 8" lightweight front wheels with front wheel suspension and sealed ball bearings
  • Swivel front wheels for quick and agile maneuverability can lock into place for long distance strolling Multi-position seat recline for passenger comfort
  • Multi-position sun canopy with peek-a-boo window and adjustable head height
  • Adjustable 5-point safety harness with shoulder pads and buckle cover
  • Multi-position foot well tilt adds leg support
  • Telescoping handlebar with wipe clean grip
  • Seat back storage compartment and large under seat basket
  • Secure fold latch for easy transportation or storage 45 lb. weight capacity on per seat