Archive for the ‘Resources’ 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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Is My Child Ready for Preschool?

March 16, 2015

Getting-ready-for-preschool-1500x1000Originally posted on webmd.com.

Experts agree that preschool helps kids socialize, begin to share, and interact with other children and adults.

Your three-year-old is out of diapers and seems to enjoy playing with peers. But is he or she ready to start preschool? Are you ready? And just what are the benefits of preschool? For most kids, it’s an experience that should not be missed, experts say.

“I believe that all three- or four-year-olds should have the opportunity and advantages of attending preschool,” says Anna Jane Hays, a child development expert in Santa Fe and author of several books, including Ready, Set, Preschool!and Kindergarten Countdown. “It’s just too valuable of a beginning, now that we know children are capable of learning at such an early age. The consensus is ‘the sooner, the better’ in regard to a structured opportunity for learning.”

Getting Prepped for Preschool

When you think it’s time for your child to try preschool, experts recommend doing plenty of research to find the best atmosphere to provide the benefits. “Talk to the director and the teachers, and see what the preschool’s goals are for children that age,” says Hays. “Look at the classroom and facilities, and briefly observe how comfortable the children seem to be.”

Get your child ready for preschool by building anticipation instead of anxiety, Hays says. “Introduce them to the idea of preschool because when kids know what to expect, they feel more secure,” she says.

Specifically, in the year leading up to preschool, visit the classroom. “It’s best if the child can see the classroom, meet the teacher — and if you can, seek out children who will be in the classroom,” she says.

“I advise parents to talk to their kids about what will happen in preschool, what they will do, how much fun it will be, and how many friends they will make,” she says. “It’s about getting your child to have a positive attitude about preschool.”

Another tip: “Don’t just get everything ready yourself,” Hays says. “Let your child pick and pack their backpack and choose a special snack. Invite the child to help because this helps build positive anticipation and makes preschool more of an adventure and something to look forward to.”

You can help them get ready to learn too. “Point out letters and numbers on streets and buildings, and shapes and colors in architecture. The more you talk to your child and the more you read to your child, the more vocabulary they are building,” says Hays.

Helping your child become self-sufficient is another important step. “Encourage this by allowing your child to brush their hair, put on their own pants, button some buttons and zip some zippers,” Hays suggests. “It’s good for a child to have that sense of accomplishment, and this will translate into other areas, including using the potty. Self-confidence is the most important thing a kid can go to preschool with. And when they know how to do things by themselves, they will feel accomplished and capable and comfortable going into this big new world.”

Saltz agrees. “It is beneficial if can they can manage themselves in terms of eating, toileting, and activities of daily living,” she says. “Some parents, in a totally well-meaning way, may keep doing everything for the child. Then they send them to school where it’s embarrassing because every other kid is zipping, buttoning, and snapping — while your kid is just waiting for the teacher.”

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.

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.

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.

Nurturing a Love of Literacy

December 7, 2014

literacyOriginally posted here.

How can you encourage your child to love reading, writing, and language so much that he begs for a bedtime story or a trip to the library? In any home, there are countless ways to encourage a child’s love of reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Here are eight simple ideas for including literacy in your everyday routine.

Talk and listen.

Hold meaningful, thought-provoking conversations with your child. Talk about things that he did or things she finds interesting. While you listen and respond to what your child says,

  • introduce new words, like colander or automobile.
  • expand on what she says, offering more description and using more mature language (Your child: “It runned out.” You: “Your marker ran out of ink!”).
  • challenge him to imagine, remember, and think about things he sees and hears around him.
  • ask him to tell you about the best thing that happened that day.

Read aloud together.

Research has found that one of the most important things parents can do to help their child build reading and writing skills is to read aloud.  To make the most of this time together,

  • read aloud at least once every day
  • read favorites again and again
  • talk about the story before, during, and after reading
  • ask her teacher what kinds of books and authors she likes best at school
  • ask a librarian to suggest some diverse and age-appropriate children’s books, poetry collections, and songs
  • share a variety of literature (stories, poems, and informational books) over time
  • suggest activities that go with the books you read (“In this book, Yoko brought sushi to school for lunch. What special food would you like to make for lunch?”)

Explore the sounds of language.

Children love to play with sounds and words. Invite your child to have fun with sounds and words. Make up games. Using stories, poems, and songs, or your own imagination, play with the following:

  • rhymes—What words end with the same sound? “See you later, alligator.” “Hey, what other words sound like splat?” [mat, flat, cat]
  • alliteration—What words begin with the same sound?  “The red car raced to the restaurant.”
  • matching specific sounds—What words begin or end with the same sound? “Listen to the word duck. Duck starts with the /d/ sound. What other words start with the same sound as duck?”
  • sound/letter connections―What else begins or ends with the same letter? “Look, Jennifer and Jamal’s names both start with J.

Offer alphabet activities.

Over time, playing with items like the following can help your child recognize the letters of the alphabet:

  • ABC books
  • magnetic letters
  • alphabet blocks and puzzles
  • alphabet charts
  • ABC stamps

Support budding readers and writers as they test their new skills.

Your child needs time and space to explore books and print on his own or with friends. You can

  • create a cozy book nook in your home where you keep lots of good books
  • reread favorite books, especially ones that invite your child to chime in (predictable books)
  • create a space where you and your child can leave notes for each other—an erasable white board, for example
  • make reading and writing part of play—for example, provide materials for making menus for a pretend restaurant or suggest reading aloud to stuffed animals and dolls
  • staple sheets of paper together so your child can, with your help, write and illustrate a story

Offer books throughout your home and even outdoors.

Be sure to provide a wide variety of styles and topics

  • information books, such as Byron Barton’s Airport
  • books, songs, and poems with strong rhymes, such as Raffi’s Down by the Bay
  • stories with detailed plots, such as Mercer Mayer’s There’s an Alligator under My Bed
  • books in your home language and in English
  • books that reflect your culture and family
  • classic books and new books
  • books with beautiful, inspiring illustrations

Support early writing with lots of materials.

Children need easy access to materials so they can build their early writing skills through scribble writing, groupings of random letters, and their own unique spelling of words. Offer your child:

  • a basket stocked with pens, pencils, markers, paper, envelopes, and book-making materials
  • writing materials to use in play (for example,  pencils and notepads to write prescriptions, take orders, or make grocery lists)

Explain how books and print work.

While introducing and reading books, magazines, or other written items, help your child learn how print works.

  • Point to words as you read them.
  • Note the differences between pictures and print.
  • Show how books in English are read from left to right, top to bottom.
  • Talk about the different parts of books, like the cover and the title page.
  • Encourage your child to join in with repeated lines when reading favorite stories.

– See more at: http://families.naeyc.org/article/importance-teaching-handwriting#sthash.FvcrtsFS.Vn2z8qqB.dpuf

What to Bring up at your Yearly Nanny Review

November 5, 2014

SarahElaineMilkintas-WhatToBringUpAtYourYearlyNannyReview-20141010110327-300x225Originally posted here.

It’s been a year of laughing fits, time-out tears, scraped knees, finger painting, swim lessons, dance classes, snack times, play dates, and too many adventures to count with your charge.  But suddenly it is time for your review, a time to talk about your performance and the parent’s expectations of you; a dreaded time for some.  Reviews do not have to be terrifying. To the contrary, reviews can be an excellent time for you to further your nannying career.

Review time is a great time to sit down and speak in a non-confrontational way about your performance and the future role you will play in the family.  However, during your talk about your performance, pressing concerns, and stories about the children, there are some other topics you need to make a point to discuss in order to assure yourself a successful work environment.

1. Contract Renewal and Revision

The first point of discussion should be the renewal of your contract. Once established that both sides want to renew the contract, it is time to consider the length of the contract period. The best case scenario is that you and the family have a similar expectation regarding time frame, however a disagreement on need of service can lead to more complex discussions.  It’s important to meet the needs of the family without hindering your own long-term goals.  If you are a current student, a common example of this involves the differences in school years for college versus K-12.  A family may want your contract to extend into September while your own career development begins in late August.  Finding a balance that suits both parties is essential to a good working relationship.

Once you know that both parties want to continue the relationship, you can commence talking about many other topics that will influence the final draft of the contract. Make sure to have a pen and paper in hand to take note. Alternatively, you might want to print out a sample contract.

2. Changes in the Family

Ask the parents about any major changes they foresee happening in the near future. Major changes could include a child going to school, a new baby, a move, or maybe a parent working from home. Of course, some changes are not foreseeable so far in advance, but if the parents do have an idea this would be the time to speak about them.

Also, be sure to discuss little changes that might occur. Sometimes, it is the smaller changes that affect you and the children’s daily schedule the most. Changes like an after school activity, a new naptime, or a later bedtime are items you need to know.

3. Changes for you Role and Responsibility

After speaking with the parents about changes that could happen, it is time to ask about what may change in your role and responsibility in the household.

“I wish I had asked if the youngest child starting preschool would mean I was still needed in all mornings. I ended up having my hours cut to two mornings a week.” Kylie J., Nanny.

It is important to speak about your responsibilities regarding childcare, and other tasks. Discuss what will be required of you, because the needs of a family are constantly changing. Talking about your part and expectations with the family, whether new or continuing, keeps everyone on the same page and the expectations of your role clear.

4. Do Differently

“One thing I would have loved to have my nanny to ask me is if there was anything she could do differently. It’s not that she was doing anything wrong, there was just a few things I would have liked done in a different way and I always had a hard time bringing them up without feeling I was being confrontational” – Leah B., Mother of Two.

Just because you have been doing something the exact same way since you started with the family does not mean the parents are in 100% agreement. As mentioned above, it might not be that you are doing something wrong; the parents just have a preferred way. You are now opening the lines to allow the parents to let you know the little tips they forgot to mention months ago.  Additionally, family dynamics may have changed and what has been the pattern may not be appropriate going forward.  For example, the parent may want to change naptime schedules to fit their new schedule.  Whatever the reason, do not take these discussions personally.  Simply accept it and make a note to make the adjustment.

5. Developmental Concerns

The kids are older and at different stages from where they were just a year ago. Remembering every child reaches milestones at their own pace, this is the time to bring up what you think the children excel in or where improvements may need to occur. Given your proximity and exposure to your charges, you may notice small things parents do not.

This would also be the time to bring up any major concerns you or the parents see with the children. Working as a team, discuss any glaring concerns such as a learning disabilities or a behavioral roadblocks. Remember to focus on not only the message but the presentation as well.  No parent wants to feel out of tune with his or her children but it is important to communicate with the parents.

6. Salary Raise

Lastly is the question that is usually in the back of every nanny’s mind: “Will I get a raise?”

After talking about all of the above, and keeping in mind the revisions to your contract, it is time to speak about changes in compensation. It can be unnerving for nannies to ask, but if you had a good review and if your responsibilities are increasing, it is time to speak calmly about an increase in pay. Your employers and you may have different ideas of how much the raise will be, so have a number in mind but be ready to compromise. Before you have these negotiations you should do your research to ensure that your reservation price and target price are in line with experience and responsibilities.  Know your statistics so that during this discussion you can point to them and demonstrate what fair pay may mean for your experience and responsibility level.  You may want to start the discussion by letting them know your targeting wage, which will have an anchoring effect.  During your negotiation you should also know your walkaway price. If the parents are not amenable to a wage increase, or cannot afford to pay you more on a weekly basis, consider other methods to effectively increase your per hour wage.  You can ask for more time off, vacation days, or sick days.  Dollar pay is just one way to measure compensation.

At the end of your review, draw up a new contract with your employers that includes all the discussed changes. Now you can begin another great year with your Nanny Family knowing that both of your needs are met, allowing you to chase after yet another adventure with your charge care-free!

Cyberbullying: A Nanny’s Guide

October 23, 2014

A Nanny's Guide to CyberbullyingOriginally posted here.

Cyberbullying is the intentional and repetitive mistreatment of others perpetrated through the use of technology.

Cyberbullying can cause tremendous emotional stress because it can be ubiquitous, far-reaching and is often committed anonymously. In a 2013 survey of 12-18 year olds, 24% of youth reported being cyberbullied in their lifetime[1], and 88% percent reported seeing someone else be mean or cruel on social media[2].

A nanny and other adult caregivers have a responsibility to support not only targets of cyberbullying but to help foster a sense of cyber-civility and kindness online. An important start is to have conversations with youth about the topic, which can be difficult because the majority of youth report that they don’t tell adults in their life about their experiences with cyberbullying[3].

Many youth believe there will be negative repercussions if they tell an adult about what is happening to them, especially if that adult holds power in their life. Among the range of negative repercussions youth fear are ineffective adult intervention as well as limiting or taking away their technology, which for many youth means taking away their social life.

Tapping into one’s own experiences with bullying can be useful in showing empathy and starting a conversation about addressing hurtful behavior.   From there, here are some suggestions about what adults can do to intervene effectively and positively in incidents of cyberbullying— and some things not to do.

  • Don’t tell the child to ignore the bullying. Cyberbullying can happen at any time of day with or without the actual presence of the target. Ignoring it does not stop aggressors from posting or sending mean or bias related comments. They shouldn’t reply to the messages, but rather work with them to strategize ways to address the situation.
  • Resist trying to provide a rationale for why it is happening by oversimplifying the issue or rely on false information or myths. For example, one myth is that all aggressors in bullying suffer from low self-esteem. In reality, there is data to support that people who bully actually have high opinions of themselves.
  • Provide support and encouragement, rather than blaming or shaming a young person.  Often targets are blamed for the bullying because they act in ways that are perceived as “different” or because they are unabashed about their identity.  Bullying based on differences is the result of the aggressor’s bias against that kind of difference, not because the target provoked it.
  • Don’t agree to untenable solutions.  Often youth will beg adults not to report the situation or do anything at all.  Listen to their needs and include their opinions in your process, but do not agree to solutions which do not work towards resolving this situation and ending the bullying. Threats and any exchange of nude photographs require contacting the proper authorities.
  • Be familiar with the variety of strategies available to address cyberbullying.  Confronting the aggressors is only one of the many possible solutions for addressing online cruelty. There are many ways to report and address cyberbullying, often anonymously.
  • Encourage the target to develop coping skills, but do not encourage them to retaliate physically or online. Most schools have policies that punish everyone involved in violence and retaliation usually only results in escalation.
  • Read these Internet Guidelines for more technical assistance on how to keep youth in your care safe online.

For more tips on how to prevent or intervene in incidents of bullying and to download some strategies for youth, please visit our bullying and cyberbullying resource page.

Working with a Parent with Special Needs

September 10, 2014

Many, many professional nannies work for families whose children have special needs. But what about the situation when the Mom or Dad is actually the family member with a special need? Author and blogger Elizabeth Christy shares tips for nannies on caring for the family as a whole when a parent has chronic pain or illness.

Why Does Mommy Hurt?Originally posted here, by Elizabeth M. Christy

I am a 32 year old mother living with severe chronic pain stemming from autoimmune disease. I am unable to clean my house, care for my garden, and I also need a lot of helping caring for my 3 year old son, Jimmy (pictured with me). As a mom, I want to give him the world- take him to interesting places, go on hikes, pick him up and squeeze him.. but unfortunately, I am routinely unable to do many of even the most basic tasks of parenting. If you work for a family like mine, there are many simple things that you can do to help them; and earn their deepest gratitude and trust in the process.

Take the children on outings.

Children learn by exploring their environment. When a parent you work for has chronic pain or illness, they are likely unable to regularly do “special” activities with their child, or even basics, like simply walking their child to the playground, or pushing them on the swing.  Make outings and “special” trips – family friendly farms, museums, markets, fairs, nature walks.. anything that gets the child out of the house and doing something active!  Take pictures on your phone of the child during the outings.  When you’re done; write a short note about the joyful time the kids had, and share photos.  Hearing about their children’s experiences; even if they were notable to share them, is something that will be treasured and remembered; for years to come.

Teach and encourage organization and picking-up.

Picking up toys is probably the most difficult chore for a parent with chronic pain or illness.  Even if they have a house cleaning service, children, as you know, can tear a room apart in a matter of minutes!  Better yet, teach and encourage the children to pick up after themselves; even small toddlers are able to help clean up.  That way, you will give the parents a gift that will last! Click here for a guide on how toddlers can help out around the house. *Pulling up weeds may also make a parent weep tears of gratitude!

Educate yourself, listen and support.

Google the condition that the parent has, so you can better understand how to help them.  Demonstrate your support: People with chronic pain and illness often are afraid to be seen as “complainers,” or to be judged to be “a burden,” or “lazy.” Make it clear that you believe their pain is real (chronic pain is often invisible; the parent may look completely healthy). Ask them how they’re feeling that day, and if there’s anything special that you can do to help them. Even if they don’t specify anything, keep asking; once they gain your trust, they will be more likely to open up.  Having someone that truly listens is pure gold to someone with chronic pain or illness.  Support the children. Encourage them to talk about their parents illness; ask them how they feel, and validate them. The children may have feelings of sadness, or even anger.  Read them books like “Why Does Mommy Hurt? Helping Children Cope with the Challenges of having a Parent or Caregiver with Chronic Pain, Fibromyalgia, or Autoimmune Disease.” Opening up communication in the family about a parent’s condition is another gift that could last a lifetime!

6 Tricks to Get Your Kids Out the Door Faster

September 4, 2014

 

Originally posted here.

You never realize how jam-packed your morning can be until you have kids: Get out of bed. Get dressed. Comb hair. Make breakfast. Eat breakfast. Brush teeth. Find shoes. Pack backpacks. Agh! Each step is a pontential speed bump, poised to give your day a rough start. Want a smoother get-out-the-door routine? Try these parent-approved tricks.

1. Prep the night before.
This strategy helps many of the parents we polled. Some lay out clothes for the next morning (or even the next week), others set the table for breakfast after clearing off dinner, and many report the benefits of packing lunch in the evening.

When dad Chris Pegula, author of the book From Dude to Dad, noticed his friend’s kids packing their lunch at night, a light bulb went off. “I looked in amazement as they made their choices,” he said. “Within seconds they filled their lunch totes, and were onto the next task of getting ready for bed.”

2. Store gear in unusual places.
You may dream of shoes neatly placed in bedrooms, or coats always hidden behind closet doors, but for the sake of speed and ease, you might be better off storing them where they don’t “belong.”

One mom we polled always keeps socks and hair brushes in her car for getting ready on-the-go.

And professional organizer Janet Bernstein makes sure her kids’ phones charge on top of their backpacks each night, so they never forget them. “Implement this rule, and you’ve also solved the ‘no devices in the bedroom’ argument,” she says.

3. Set consequences and stick to them.
A few moms reported that the threat of extra chores or no TV time works well in keeping kids on task. Consider making your morning routine part of your kids’ allowance responsibilities: Each day you don’t leave on time, dock their weekly “pay.” 

4. Make it a race.
Something about calling it “a race” kicks kids to high gear — and out the door faster. Facebook fan Christina reported how her son took forever to get dressed until she challenged him to see if he could beat her at it.

5. Invest in timers, buzzers, and … doorbells?
Setting a timer to ring at appropriate intervals (“15 minutes ‘til the bus! 5 minutes! Time to go!”) is a popular morning strategy. And one of our Facebook fans, Cindala, took the buzzer idea to a new level:

“I bought a wireless doorbell from Walmart, and put the bell part in my kids’ room,” she says. “I set the sound to ‘gong’ and press it several times in the morning to wake them up.”

6. Admit when you’re the weakest link.
Designate a tray for keys and cell phones if you’re constantly misplacing them, invest in a programmable coffee maker, and make it a habit to fill your gas tank in the evenings to make for smoother start to the day.

 


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