Posts Tagged ‘nanny’

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.

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.

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.

Nanny Interview and Job Search Tips

November 12, 2014

Packaging Yourself ProfessionallyOriginally posted here.

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.

– See more at: http://nanny.org/nanny-interview-packaging-professionally/?code=204&message=User+not+logged+in.#sthash.vD6gyYAK.dpuf

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!

10 Tips For Easing Separation Anxiety

August 28, 2014

anxiety

Originally posted here.

There comes a point in every child’s life when she’s forced to face the world without the parents she depends upon so fiercely. While painful for everyone involved, this rite of passage is an essential one along the road to a healthy, independent adulthood. In the meantime, however, managing the worst aspects of separation anxiety can be a trial for kids, parents and childcare providers alike. Whether you’re a parent forced to leave your hysterical child behind for the day or a childcare provider looking for ways to ease the worst of a child’s pain, these tips can help make managing separation anxiety easier and more effective.

  • Practice Separation – If a parent is returning to work after a long absence, introducing their child to a preschool environment or getting ready for the first day of kindergarten, it’s wise to start practicing separation on a small scale well in advance of the big change. In the weeks or even months leading up to a shift in routine, start talking to your child about what she can expect and practicing small separations. Leaving her in the care of a grandparent while you go to the grocery store or running errands while she’s home with a trusted adult are small ways you can help prepare her.
  • Create a Goodbye Ritual – Establishing a goodbye ritual and a complimenting reunion ritual helps your child to not only prepare for an imminent separation, but also to realize that there are two sides to the situation. If you’re performing the goodbye aspect, she knows the reunion is coming. As a result, she may feel more confident that you will be back for her.
  • Discourage Lingering – Childcare providers and educators helping kids to overcome separation anxiety and parents preparing to leave their little ones alone with a new childcare provider should discourage lingering or bargaining. Your child needs to learn that you’ll be back for him, which is often the root of his fears. In order to do that, he needs to know the boundaries. Stalling and lingering only lengthens the anxiety he feels over an impending departure, and teaches him that there is leeway in the routine.
  • Stay Upbeat and Confident – When a parent is tearful or anxious, they telegraph those feelings to a child, who can easily pick up on them. If you’re scared, your child knows that she should feel afraid, too. Even if you’re miserable, keep a smile on your face and stay cheerful when you say your goodbyes.
  • Use Comfort Items – Some kids are better able to soothe themselves when they have a beloved plush toy or a favorite blanket. Whatever your child’s comfort item is, be sure that he has access to it when he’s upset and anxious.
  • Be Honest With Kids – Telling a child that you’ll “be right back” when you’re heading off for a full day of work leads your child to believe that you should be back any moment for her, and that you’re late or have forgotten her. Be honest with your child, telling her that she can expect you to return at a certain time and that you’ll be back for her at the end of the day.
  • Build a Reliable Routine – Part of separating without pain or overwhelming anxiety is the knowledge that you’ll be back, just like always. In order to help your child process that, make sure that there’s a reliable routine in place. The more your child knows what to expect and can depend upon each day to resemble the next, the less likely he is to panic.
  • Don’t Get Bogged Down by Guilt – Leaving a howling child in the arms of a relative stranger is never a good feeling, but it’s important to understand that you’re not harming or neglecting your child by leaving her at school or with a caregiver. Guilt will only make you feel worse, which will in turn exacerbate the anxiety for your child.
  • Be Prepared for Setbacks – Just when it seems like your child is adjusting to her new routine, she has a new setback and you’re forced to start the process all over again. Be prepared for a few hiccups along the way, and understand that these situations are normal.
  • Know the Signs of Severe Anxiety – There’s separation anxiety, which is a normal part of your child’s development, and then there’s the more serious side of that developmental coin, separation anxiety disorder. Separation anxiety disorder strikes approximately 4% of kids, usually between the ages of seven and nine, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Excessive anxiety, extreme homesickness and refusal to separate from a loved one calmly are all symptoms of this medical condition, and are signs that you should consult with his pediatrician or family doctor.

4 Self-defeating Things Nannies Do

August 20, 2014


page17-upset-woman-3-3-2Written by Sue Downey and originally posted here on the Nannypalooza blog.

I was thinking about all the ways we do not work in our own best interests.

  1. Nannies take jobs that pay under the table. Don’t shake your head- statistics say that more nannies than not at some point have taken a job off the books. We do it for a variety of reasons- we can’t find another job, we need the money to make ends meet, there are lots of excuses both good and bad. The reality of the situation is that we owe it to ourselves and to our fellow nannies to not take a job where we are not compensated legally. Not only does it hurt you- (no worker’s comp, social security etc…) it also teaches employers that it is possible to hire a good nanny and not pay taxes. The only way to force parents to pay is when they can’t find any nannies who will work without being paid legally.
  2. Nannies can be overly critical of parents and other nannies. Okay, we all do it. We know we are right so we judge the parents or other nannies who sleep train, potty train or discipline the “wrong” way. We think that nanny is not “professional” or these moms never want to spend any time with their own kids. It’s normal to judge others. It happens all the time. But the sooner we can walk away from those thoughts and find an accepting way of dealing with those who think or act differently than us, the sooner we can truly build a community that will get things done.
  3. Nannies forget that this is a job. The nature of our profession means we form intimate bonds, not only with the kids but with the parents too! It is easy to get lost and feel like family. BUT at the end of the day, this is a job. Yes the bonds we make may last forever and we may become family. However, in the day to day there are going to be days where we are going to be treated as an employee. It may not feel good, but it is the truth. We have to approach our nannying like it is a job too which means keeping our skills sharp, keeping accurate records and approaching our days with intention and best practices.
  4. Nannies forget to take care of themselves. To be a good nanny, you must at heart be a caretaker. This means taking care of yourself too! This doesn’t mean just eating well and exercising. It means saying no and not feeling guilty. It means finding a way to nourish your soul and replenish your spirit. It means saving for your retirement and being prepared for an emergency. 

Are there any others things you have seen that nannies do to sabotage themselves??


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