Archive for the ‘nanny’ Category

Nanny Interview: Packaging Yourself Professionally

April 22, 2015

Packaging Yourself ProfessionallyOriginally posted here, on the INA blog.

Nanny Interview and Job Search Tips

What people see and how we look gives others a first impression of us.  How can what we wear impact how others treat us?  Take a look at this Leave it to Beaver clip and the impression Dudley has on the Cleaver family.  Each person forms preconceived ideas of Dudley based on what he is wearing.

On a daily basis, nannies of young children must be able to get on the floor and be active with young children.  How we dress should not impede us from doing our duties with children.  Our dress and accessories should never create a safety hazard for ourselves or the children in our care.  Additionally, some practical sense should be observed when traveling with children, engaging in outdoor adventure activities and participating in messy play. As you work with children, your clothing should continue to cover body parts and absolutely limit overexposure.  Ladies should avoid low cut shirts and pants. Gentlemen should avoid low cut or sagging pants.  Jewelry that could be choking hazards should be left outside the child’s environment if possible.  Most of the time closed toe shoes or shoes with a back are safer when actively engaged in outdoor activities.

Employers may have specific dress codes or suggestions when attending specific events outside the home.  As with any profession, it is important to abide by the rules and policies set by employers and those in authority positions.

When going on a nanny interview with potential families or attending professional development trainings such as the INA Annual Conference, a professional business attire is typically the best course of action to demonstrate professionalism.  Grooming should also be more than a passing thought.  Be sure clothes are clean, free from stains, pressed and fit your body.  Avoid clothing that is too tight and too revealing.  Moderation is key.

Although no one wants to be judged on their appearances alone, what others see first does make an impression.  So in addition to your appearance, your actions speak volumes about your professionalism, ethics and values.  Parents want nannies to demonstrate high moral values and conduct themselves with dignity and integrity.  They want the best caring for their children.

Everyone knows that little eyes are always watching us too.  Young children pick up on what you say and do even when you might not think they are aware.  Modeling appropriate behaviors both inside the home or eye shot of young children is a given.  Did you know that even in your private life outside of work others are watching you?  Yes, others are always watching.  Like it or not nannies are held to a higher standard than many other professions.  Since you care for and teach children, society views your actions to be fair game for others to critique.  This may not seem fair that what you do in your off time is criticized. But, this is the reality.

Moving on from your appearance to your interactions with others, let’s examine some general tips on being a positive person and getting along with others:

  • Be more tolerant and less of a judge. Everyone has their quirky habits. What is “Normal” to you may not be “Normal” to me!
  • Respect differences! Sometimes it is best to stay quiet in situations and less is more.
  • It is best to model appropriate behaviors to children.  They are watching you and taking cues from how you react to situations, speak to others, tone of speech and body language.
  • Don’t offer up your life story to a stranger in the elevator or spill all of your disappointments, tragedies and negative attitudes to anyone who is around especially employers.
  • When someone asks in passing, “How are you today?” they usually do not really want to know your every ache and pain.
  • Those sayings that Grandma used way back when — still apply! “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
  • Try to listen to the other person’s perspective.
  • Write down compromises and post on refrigerator when trying to resolve conflicts.
  • If it is not yours, then don’t take it/use it/abuse it/ consume it/…

The main concern is how children interpret our actions and
how we model appropriate behaviors. 

You may not be Mary Poppins flying in for your interview but try to set yourself apart from other nannies interviewing for a family.  Focus on your positive attributes and sell yourself by providing examples of your work, an exit portfolio, written testimonials from past clients.

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What to Expect from a Vacation Nanny

April 1, 2015

Vacation-Nanny-250x250
Originally posted on the INA Blog.

When planning a vacation with children it is an option when traveling with children to have a vacation nanny.  There are several reasons why people opt to have help on their vacation or during a family or business travel trip.  The reasons range from needing an extra set of hands during the family vacation, to planning date nights, providing coverage when working or at a conference, and providing household assistance and or cleaning services.  Below are various ways that visitors use a vacation nanny when traveling.

Vacation Nanny:

Many families when traveling simply want the luxury of having an extra set of hands while on their trip.  They may have someone who works full days traveling around the city with them or spends the days at the beach or the pool acting as a nanny/entertainer for young children.  They may utilize the nanny not only during the day but as night as well, providing nanny services while the adults have dinner out/do a date night.  A vacation nanny should be expected not only to provide safe and reliable child care, but assist the family in covering nap times, planning fun activities for the kids, and educating the family about activities appropriate for the kids in the local area.  They can provide light housekeeping services as well to make things run smoother so the family is better able to fully enjoy their trip.

Hotel Nanny:

From time to time families will request a nanny for a single night out or a few nights out during a trip.  Many of the times these a date night vacation nanny will arrive with some games, activities, and the ability to be nurturing and put the kids to bed while the parent’s go out on the town.  They are used to working in a hotel environment with different kids who need “warming up” and the nanny should have a strong capability to be energetic and easily adaptable.  Vacation nannies are used to coming in to a situation where they do not know the kids and quickly building a relationship where the kids are able to have a great time and feel comfortable.

Conference/Work Trip Nanny:

There are a lot of families who come to town and need a nanny to cover time when they will be working or attending an event. A nanny that comes to a hotel to cover work time usually plans an outing or activities for the kids/babies.  They follow the regular or requested schedule of the family and are used to working in hotel rooms.  They are able to provide a fun, safe, environment while Mom or Dad is busy working for the day and adapt quickly and easily to the needs of the family.

Housekeeper Nanny:

From time to time when families are traveling they rent vacation homes and like to have daily assistance in the home cooking and cleaning.  This is considered a Housekeeper Nanny and can be very helpful in creating a great environment in a vacation rental.  This nanny can also provide childcare services within reason of being able to maintain the housekeeping tasks and cover things like parent’s night.

Hiring a vacation nanny can meet many different types of needs and requests.  If you are interested in learning more about the different types of coverage that can be provided when traveling and considering a vacation nanny consult with an INA member nanny agency for options and availability in your destination.

10 Things You Should Never Say to Your Kids

March 20, 2015

l_101765248Originally posted here.

You probably wouldn’t use old-school phrases like “Wait until your father gets home” or “I wish you were more like your sister” with your kids. But there are lots of less obvious ones that you should avoid, for their sake and yours.

1. “Great Job.”

Research has shown that tossing out a generic phrase like “Good girl” or “Way to go” every time your child masters a skill makes her dependent on your affirmation rather than her own motivation, says Parents advisor Jenn Berman, Psy.D., author of The A to Z Guide to Raising Happy, Confident Kids. Save the kudos for when they’re truly warranted, and be as specific as you can. Instead of “Super game,” say, “That was a nice assist. I like how you looked for your teammate.”

2. “Practice makes perfect.”

It’s true that the more time your child devotes, the sharper his skills will become. However, this adage can ramp up the pressure he feels to win or excel. “It sends the message that if you make mistakes, you didn’t train hard enough,” says Joel Fish, Ph.D., author of 101 Ways to Be a Terrific Sports Parent. “I’ve seen kids beat themselves up, wondering, ‘What’s wrong with me? I practice, practice, practice, and I’m still not the best.'” Instead, encourage your child to work hard because he’ll improve and feel proud of his progress.

3. “You’re okay.”

When your child scrapes his knee and bursts into tears, your instinct may be to reassure him that he’s not badly hurt. But telling him he’s fine may only make him feel worse. “Your kid is crying because he’s not okay,” says Dr. Berman. Your job is to help him understand and deal with his emotions, not discount them. Try giving him a hug and acknowledging what he’s feeling by saying something like, “That was a scary fall.” Then ask whether he’d like a bandage or a kiss (or both).

4. “Hurry up!”

Your child dawdles over her breakfast, insists on tying her own sneakers (even though she hasn’t quite mastered the technique yet), and is on pace to be late for school — again. But pushing her to get a move on creates additional stress, says Linda Acredolo, Ph.D., coauthor of Baby Minds. Soften your tone slightly by saying, “Let’s hurry,” which sends the message that the two of you are on the same team. You can also turn the act of getting ready into a game: “Why don’t we race to see who can get her pants on first?”

5. “I’m on a diet.”

Watching your weight? Keep it to yourself. If your child sees you stepping on the scale every day and hears you talk about being “fat,” she may develop an unhealthy body image, says Marc S. Jacobson, M.D., professor of pediatrics and epidemiology at Nassau University Medical Center, in East Meadow, New York. It’s better to say, “I’m eating healthy because I like the way it makes me feel.” Take the same tack with working out. “I need to exercise” can sound like a complaint, but “It’s beautiful outside — I’m going to take a walk” may inspire her to join you.

6. “We can’t afford that.”

It’s easy to use this default response when your child begs you for the latest toy. But doing so sends the message that you’re not in control of your finances, which can be scary for kids, says Jayne Pearl, the author of Kids and Money. Grade-schoolers may also call you on this claim if you turn around and make an expensive household purchase. Choose an alternative way to convey the same idea, such as, “We’re not going to buy that because we’re saving our money for more important things.” If she insists on discussing it further, you have a perfect window to start a conversation about how to budget and manage money.

7. “Don’t talk to strangers.”

This is a tough concept for a young child to grasp. Even if a person is unfamiliar, she may not think of him as a stranger if he’s nice to her. Plus, kids may take this rule the wrong way and resist the help of police officers or firefighters whom they don’t know, says Nancy McBride, executive director for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, Florida Regional Office, in Lake Park. Instead of warning her about strangers, bring up scenarios (“What would you do if a man you don’t know offers you candy and a ride home?”), have her explain what she’d do, then guide her to the proper course of action. Since the vast majority of child-abduction cases involve someone a kid already knows, you might also adopt McBride’s favorite safety mantra: “If anyone makes you feel sad, scared, or confused, you need to tell me right away.”

8. “Be careful.”

Saying this while your child is balancing on the monkey bars at the playground actually makes it more likely that he’ll fall. “Your words distract him from what he’s doing, so he loses focus,” says Deborah Carlisle Solomon, author of Baby Knows Best. If you’re feeling anxious, move close to spot him in case he takes a tumble, being as still and quiet as you can.

9. “No dessert unless you finish your dinner.”

Using this expression increases a child’s perceived value of the treat and diminishes his enjoyment of the meal itself — the opposite of what you want to accomplish, says Parents advisor David Ludwig, M.D., Ph.D., director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital and author of Ending the Food Fight. Tweak your message along these lines: “First we eat our meal and then we have dessert.” The wording change, though subtle, has a far more positive impact on your child.

10. “Let me help.”

When your child is struggling to build a block tower or finish a puzzle, it’s natural to want to give him a hand. Don’t. “If you jump in too soon, that can undermine your child’s independence because he’ll always be looking to others for answers,” says Myrna Shure, Ph.D., professor emeritus of psychology at Drexel University in Philadelphia and author of Raising a Thinking Child. Instead, ask guiding questions to help him solve the problem: “Do you think the big piece or the little one should go at the bottom? Why do you think that? Let’s give it a try.”

10 Things Every Parent Should Know About Play

March 4, 2015

2girlsOriginally posted here.

1.  Children learn through their play.
Don’t underestimate the value of play. Children learn and develop:

cognitive skills – like math and problem solving in a pretend grocery store

physical abilities – like balancing blocks and running on the playground

new vocabulary – like the words they need to play with toy dinosaurs

social skills – like playing together in a pretend car wash

literacy skills – like creating a menu for a pretend restaurant

2. Play is healthy.
Play helps children grow strong and healthy. It also counteracts obesity issues facing many children today.3. Play reduces stress.
Play helps your children grow emotionally. It is joyful and provides an outlet for anxiety and stress.
4. Play is more than meets the eye.
Play is simple and complex.  There are many types of play: symbolic, sociodramatic, functional, and games with rules-–to name just a few. Researchers study play’s many aspects:  how children learn through play, how outdoor play impacts children’s health, the effects of screen time on play, to the need for recess in the school day.5. Make time for play.
As parents, you are the biggest supporters of your children’s learning. You can make sure they have as much time to play as possible during the day to promote cognitive, language, physical, social, and emotional development.6. Play and learning go hand-in-hand.
They are not separate  activities. They are intertwined. Think about them as a science lecture with a lab. Play is the child’s lab.

7. Play outside.
Remember your own outdoor experiences of building forts, playing on the beach, sledding in the winter, or playing with other children in the neighborhood. Make sure your children create outdoor memories too.
8. There’s a lot to learn about play.
There’s a lot written on children and play. Here are some NAEYC articles and books about play. David Elkind’s The Power of Play (Da Capo, 2007 reprint) is also a great resource.9. Trust your own playful instincts.
Remember as a child how play just came naturally? Give your children time for play and see all that they are capable of when given the opportunity.
10. Play is a child’s context for learning.
Children practice and reinforce their learning in multiple areas during play. It gives them a place and a time for learning that cannot be achieved through completing a worksheet. For example, in playing restaurant, children write and draw menus, set prices, take orders, and  make out checks.  Play provides rich learning opportunities and leads to children’s success and self-esteem.

Top 4 Reasons Professional Nannies Work with a Local Nanny Agency

February 25, 2015

Local Nanny AgencyOriginally posted here.

As a career nanny, you have a number of avenues for finding a job, but finding just the right family can be a tricky task. You want to be respected for your experience and knowledge, compensated fairly, and treated as a professional. Using a local nanny agency can meet your needs and offers you peace of mind:

  1. Personal Attention & Support: When working with a local nanny agency, you will have all the personal attention you deserve throughout your job hunt. Look for an agency with a caring, professional staff to guide you through your job search. A veteran agency with a tenured staff will also have a great deal of knowledge and expertise in the industry. They will match your unique skillset and personality with the right families, and offer you jobs that meet your needs.
  2. Industry Knowledge & Professionalism: When you decided to work with a local nanny agency, you can expect to be treated as a professional. Seek out an agency who is involved with the nanny industry at large, and who knows what is standard for compensation, benefit and vacation packages. A local nanny agency has first hand knowledge of local wage and benefit packages. Families who work with nanny agencies are well educated, and treat their employees with the respect they deserve.
  3. Long-term Success: Families who work with a referral agency have realistic expectations about hiring a nanny. Look for an agency that provides families with an employment contract that outlines the job description, duties, compensation, paid time off, etc. You will also want agencies who educate their families on recommended intervals and processes for reviews to keep open communication between nannies and families.
  4. On-going Support: Local agencies offer ongoing support even after you have been placed with a family. Professional agencies will host events for nannies to network with fellow nannies, as well as ongoing training opportunities for development. They will seek to expand your skills as a nanny professional. Your agency should also offer unbiased counseling and/or mediation should you have any issues with your placement.

2014 Family Helper of the Year – Dorrett (Dee) Henry

February 18, 2015

Helper of the Year 2014 IMG_0425

Dee came to the U.S. in 2002, from Jamaica, where she was born and raised. She started working as a nanny in 2003. Dee finds working as a career nanny very fulfilling and rewarding. I feel appreciated and very fortunate that my current employers are involved in their children’s lives, and that they appreciate my dedication to their family.

IMG_0419 (1)Dee’s current employers describe her as loving, nurturing, consistent and gracious.

“Dee celebrates the children’s smallest milestones with the greatest amount of enthusiasm. Her calmness adds a lovely sense of stability.”

“Her instinct and judgment are spot-on. Her sunny presence touches all those around her. She’s always willing to go out of her way to help our whole family.”

IMG_0418 (1)

“Her job is very demanding and consists of long days with a 1 yr. old and 2 yr. old.  She packs their days with activities, lessons, stories, nutritious meals, adventures, etc.”

“She is the helper of the year not because of a single situation, but rather the star power that she brings everyday!”

Love Language: The 5 Love Languages of Children

February 12, 2015

imagesOriginally posted here.

Storybooks and television tell our children that love is a mushy, wonderful thing that’s all butterflies and romance and rainbows. But as adults, we know that loving others—whether a spouse, a family member, a friend or simply your neighbor—is more often an exercise in self-sacrifice and putting others first. Butterflies are optional.

Dr. Gary Chapman says knowing your child’s love language can make all of the difference in your relationship.  Here, he shares descriptions of the five love languages. Look over the 5 Steps for Discovering Your Child’s Love Language.

1. Physical Touch. Hugs and kisses are the most common way of speaking this love language, but there are other ways, too. A dad tosses his year-old son in the air. He spins his seven-year-old daughter round and round, and she laughs wildly. A mom reads a story with her three-year-old on her lap.

For children who understand this love language, physical touch will communicate love more deeply than will the words, “I love you,” or giving a present, fixing a bicycle, or spending time with them. Of course, they receive love in all the languages, but for them the one with the clearest and loudest voice is physical touch. Without hugs, kisses, pats on the back, and other physical expressions of love, their love tanks will remain less than full.

2. Words of Affirmation. In communicating love, words are powerful. Words of affection and endearment, words of praise and encouragement, words that give positive guidance all say, “I care about you.” Such words are like a gentle, warm rain falling on the soul; they nurture the child’s inner sense of worth and security. Even though such words are quickly said, they are not soon forgotten. A child reaps the benefits of affirming words for a lifetime.

3. Quality Time. Quality time is focused attention. It means giving a child your undivided attention. Quality time is a parent’s gift presence to a child. It conveys this message: “You are important. I like being with you.” It makes the child feel that he is the most important person in the world to the parent. He feels truly loved because he has his parent all to himself. When you spend quality time with children, you need to go to their physical/emotional level of development. The most important factor in quality time is not the event itself but that you are doing something together, being together.

If quality time is your child’s primary love language, you can be sure of this: Without a sufficient supply of quality time and focused attention, your child will experience a gnawing uneasiness that his parents do not really love him.

4. Gifts. The giving and receiving of gifts can be a powerful expression of love, at the time they are given and often extending into later years. The most meaningful gifts become symbols of love, and those that truly convey love are part of a love language.

Most children respond positively to gifts, but for some, receiving gifts is their primary love language. You might be inclined to think that this is so for all children, judging from the way they beg for things. It is true that all children—and adults—want to have more and more. But those whose language of love is receiving gifts will respond differently when they get their gift. Remember, for them this is love’s loudest voice. They see the gift as an extension of you and your love.

5. Acts of Service. Some people speak acts of service as their primary love language. If service is your child’s primary love language, your acts of service will communicate most deeply that you love Johnny or Julie. When that child asks you to fix a bicycle or mend a doll’s dress, he or she does not merely want to get a task done; your child is crying for emotional love.

If your child’s primary love language is acts of service, this does not mean that you must jump at every request. It does mean that you should be extremely sensitive to those requests and recognize that your response will either help fill the child’s love tank or else puncture the tank. Each request calls for a thoughtful, loving response.

Taken with permission from The Five Love Languages of Children by Dr. Gary Chapman.

3 Areas For Nannies to Make a Big Impact

January 29, 2015

nanny impact

Originally posted here.

There’s a certain balancing act we nannies must manage in the course of doing our jobs. We want to help mold and shape our young charges, but then at the same time, we know we should leave the big character development stuff to their parents and stick to the basics. Where’s a loving, caring nanny to draw the line? We can’t fully answer this question for you—you and your family will have to hammer out the fine details of that one yourselves—but there are a few “safe” areas in the middle where everyone can meet and agree. Let’s take a look:

Cooking

Preparing meals and snacks for our kids is a big part of our job, and an important one, too. Childhood obesity has more than doubled over the past 30 years, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association, and more than one-third of American children are currently overweight or obese. It’s vital we teach and model healthy eating habits to the kids we take care of. To do that:

  • Take them grocery shopping with you. Talk about the benefits of low-fat or nonfat dairy products, lean meats, whole grains, fruit and veggies. Download the OurGroceries app to your smartphone for some high-tech shopping help.
  • Have them help in the kitchen. Helping to prepare their own food will give them a sense of accomplishment, and they may be more apt to try something new if they had a hand in making it. Food Networkfeatures numerous recipes kids can help make.
  • Show them that healthy eating can be fun and yummy. Let them dip their veggies in low-fat ranch, hummus, salsa or yogurt-based dressing; whirl up a delicious fruit smoothie in a juicer or blender. The NutriBullet system comes with a variety of nutritional recipes and is easy to clean, too.

Cleaning

Everyone in the house can agree that kids should help with the household chores—well, except the kids, of course. But there’s good reason to require chores from the kids you watch: According to a Wellesley College study entitled “Children’s Autonomy and Responsibility: An Analysis of Child-Rearing Advice,” chores help them develop into caring, grounded young adults, and a lack of household chores makes them less responsible in other areas of their lives. To get them involved:

  • Make a chore chart. Pinterest has a great page on this topic, with a variety of printable chore charts, lists of age-appropriate chores and tips for making chores fun.
  • Don’t insist on perfection, and don’t be shy with praise. You don’t want to make the whole affair into an anxiety-ridden struggle. Of course they have to do their best, but also remember that no one’s perfect.
  • Be consistent. We know that sometimes it’s simply easier to do it yourself, but if they aren’t expected to follow through, they won’t.

Reading

Ready for some shocking facts about kids and literacy?

  • Two-thirds of students who can’t read proficiently by the end of fourth grade will end up in jail or on welfare, and more than 70 percent of U.S. inmates can’t read above a fourth-grade level (One World Literacy Foundation).
  • Kids who don’t read proficiently by fourth grade are four times more likely to drop out of school (American Association of School Librarians).
  • Fourth graders who have 25 or more books at home do better on reading tests than children who don’t have that many (National Center for Education Statistics).

Don’t wait to start reading to the children in your care. No matter what age they are, set aside time each day for reading, whether together or solo.Scholastic.com features six great reading apps for kids—give those a try.

Nanny Background Screening is more than a Nanny Background Check

January 1, 2015

Originally posted here, by the International Nanny Association.

Nanny Background ScreeningThe nanny industry – nannies, nanny referral professionals, nanny background screeners and educators – share an overwhelming concern for the wellbeing of the children being cared for by a nanny in their home. We are all child care professionals. Sadly, there is yet another story making the news rounds about a nanny hired from an online venue mistreating the children in her care. The nanny was ‘caught’ on a nanny cam.

The International Nanny Association (INA) and the Alliance of Premier Nanny Agencies (APNA) want to inform parents that a computerized background check is quite simply insufficient ‘screening’ to evaluate a nanny applicant. The digital, criminal “background check” creates a false sense of security for families.

True nanny background screening also must include careful, probing interviews, and thorough reference checks. INA  and APNA agency members are experts at nanny screening.

So what do families need to do to carefully screen a nanny applicant?

Verify Applicant Identity: It is only logical to first confirm that the individual applicant is who she says she is. Government issued photo identification should be reviewed at the beginning of any nanny interview. This can be a drivers’ license, passport, or a state-issued identification card.

Gather a Comprehensive Work History: INA member Daryl Camarillo, Stanford Park Nannies, recommends that families “Verify and interview all previous employers (even non-childcare related) and do a thorough accounting for all gaps in work history.”

Interview Carefully: A common mistake families make is using the interview to determine if the nanny is agreeable to hours, pay and scope of duties. This is totally insufficient to find out if this candidate will be a quality nanny. A good rule of thumb is if the interviewer is talking more than the person being interviewed, you are not asking the right questions. Behavioral interviewing is the gold standard.

INA member Marc Lenes, Wee Care Nanny Agency, states that “It is imperative to meet and get to know the potential nanny in person. Together you should go over a comprehensive employment application and zero in on gaps in work history, discuss previous jobs in detail and gauge responses to gently probing questions that will help with the vetting process.”

Australia’s Placement Solutions’ Louise Dunham shares “Three techniques we use are 1) listen carefully for the pregnant pauses when questioning a referee ..the nervous schooled referees sometimes confess here; 2) asking an open ended question such as “Describe  to me your typical day looking after a baby and a toddler” will soon show you whether they have actually spent a day doing that and whether they are proactive carers and 3) lastly a trick question ” under what circumstances would you smack a child?” The ONLY answer we want is ‘Never ‘.”

Sandra Costantino, Neighborhood Nannies, has more than 30 years experience matching nannies and families. She reports “So often we are told by our families about “gut reaction.”  There is absolutely no substitute for that than in meeting a potential candidate in person and looking into their eyes and understanding their body language and their answer to questions asked and their comments in general.  A wealth of knowledge is transferred without even knowing it. You cannot get that ‘online‘.”

Verify References: HomeWork Solutions’ Kathleen Webb advises families to “Personally speak to all references. Verify how they know the applicant. Ask questions and wait for answers. Avoid giving verbal clues of agreement or disagreement.”

Fake references are a real problem for families hiring a nanny. Experienced nanny agency staff are highly skilled at detecting references that are simply “off.” When checking a work reference, you may want to ask questions such as “When did she work for you?” or “Tell me about your children – how old were they?” You will be surprised how often the person coached to give the reference trips up on the fine details.

When talking to a nanny’s references, experienced reference checkers often try to obtain a third party or ‘wild card’ reference. This would be someone else known by both the reference and the candidate whom you may use as an additional reference. Third party references are invaluable, as they have most likely not been cherry-picked by the candidate and have not been briefed on the reference check ahead of time.

Schedule a Second, Working Interview: Bring the candidate back at a time when you and the children are both present. Allow the applicant to observe your typical family rhythms, patterns, and interactions. After some orientation, step back and allow some time for the applicant to interact with the children independently (you observe). Of course you will pay the applicant for her time.

The International Nanny Association (INA) is dedicated to helping families find quality in-home childcare. The APNA is a regulated membership organization that establishes standards in the nanny and household staffing industry. Both organizations recognize that families are increasingly turning to online nanny recruiting venues when hiring. The INA and APNA feel strongly that the information above can assist a family to better screen their nanny job applicants. We further recommend that families who are not confident in their interview and screening skills, or simply do not have the time or talent to perform this thorough vetting, strongly consider engaging the services of a professional nanny referral agency. “Liking a nanny isn’t enough, we’d would argue your children deserve more,” advises Jami Denis, ABC Nannies.” Hiring a professional nanny agency to walk you through the screening, interviewing, hiring and employment process allows parents peace of mind when they need it most.”  INA member agencies can be found in the online directory at Nanny.org.

What to Know About the Affordable Care Act Before Open Enrollment Begins

November 20, 2014

Originally posted by Breedlove & Associates here.

Lately we’ve been inundated with questions about health insurance – specifically relating to the Affordable Care Act because the 2015 open enrollment is coming up on November 15th. So to help clear up any confusion families may have, here is a simple Q&A that may help.

What is the Affordable Care Act?

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as the “Affordable Care Act” or “Obamacare,” is a federal law aimed at reducing the overall cost of health care and decreasing the number of uninsured individuals living in the United States.

Is my employee required to have health insurance?

Yes, your employee – like all Americans – is subject to penalties if she does not have health insurance coverage. However, you are not responsible for making sure your employee has health insurance.

Am I required to offer health insurance to my employee(s)?

No, employers are not required to offer health insurance if they employ fewer than 50 workers. However, you are required to provide your current employee and, at the time of hire, any future employee with a notice about the Health Insurance Marketplace.

What is the Health Insurance Marketplace?

The Health Insurance Marketplace is the government-run health insurance exchange – a “one-stop shop” where individuals can compare and purchase health insurance policies. Open enrollment for the Marketplace opens on November 15th for coverage beginning January 1, 2015. Your employee will be able to purchase health insurance through the Marketplace until open enrollment ends on February 15, 2015.

How much will health insurance cost?

The cost of health insurance will vary depending on the state and the options your employee chooses (deductible, co-pay, etc.). After completing an application, your employee will be able to compare prices and coverage options for different health insurance policies. Depending on her income and family size, she may be eligible for a subsidy if she purchases her insurance policy through the Marketplace. However, she must have documented wages in order to get a discounted policy – meaning she must be paid legally. The Kaiser Family Foundation has a helpful Subsidy Calculator to estimate how much she’ll save.

If I contribute to my employee’s health insurance policy, will I be eligible for any tax breaks?

If you contribute to your employee’s health insurance premium, the amount of your contribution is considered “non-taxable compensation” – so neither you nor your employee would have any taxes on that portion of the compensation. In addition to the non-taxable advantage, if you set up a health insurance policy for your employee through SHOP (Small Business Health Options Program) on the Marketplace and pay at least 50% of your employee’s premiums, you may be able to take advantage of the Credit for Small Employer Health Insurance. To take this credit, you’ll attach Form 8941 to your personal income tax return. The credit is up to 50% of the contribution you pay. For more information regarding the requirements for contributing to health insurance, please contact our office as SHOP is a relatively new program and the details may change.

We understand that many families are tackling this issue for the first time and may still have questions after reading this. Please don’t hesitate to send them our way. Our tax experts are happy to help Monday through Friday from 8am to 6pm CST.


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