When your need for a babysitter is too sporadic to justify hiring a full-time nanny, it’s not always easy to achieve consistency among your childcare providers. In neighborhoods with a low concentration of sitters and fierce competition among parents to secure the services of a few great babysitters each weekend, you may find that you’re trying out new sitters more often than you’re scheduling sessions with tried-and-true favorites. With each new sitter, you’re forced to establish an entirely new groundwork of rules and guidelines, too. These are ten that you should be sure to discuss in depth before you leave your kids under the care of a new sitter for the first time.
Hiring a summer nanny can be a great childcare option for parents with school aged children. There are lots of things that go into making a successful employment relationship including having a comprehensive contract. So what should be included in a summer nanny contract? Here’s a rundown of things you want to make sure are in yours.
Start and end date. It’s important that you know you have coverage during the whole summer. If your nanny is starting a week or two late because of a vacation or if she has to go back to college before your kids start school, knowing that when she’s hired will give you plenty of time to find back up care.
Daily schedule and time off. Include your nanny’s daily schedule and any planned changes to that schedule. If your child is going to spend two weeks in camp, your nanny may start late during that time. Or if your family’s going on vacation, she may get that time off. Outlining the schedule in advance lets your nanny know exactly when she’ll be working and when she’ll have free time. That helps her plan out her summer trips and activities without interfering with work hours.
Pay and any benefits offered. Outline the regular and overtime hourly rate that your nanny will earn. Also include the details of any benefits you’re offering like paid time off or a pool membership the nanny can use during her off time. If your nanny is a live-in, also include a short description of the nanny’s living quarters and the food benefit offered.
Car use. There’s a good bet that your nanny will need to drive your children during the summer months. She may need to drop them off or pick them up from camp or simply go to the pool for the afternoon. Before she starts, make sure you clarify which car the nanny will be using. If she’s using her own car, detail how mileage will be handled. Also make sure that your nanny is carrying adequate car insurance for using her car for work purposes. If your children are still in car or booster seats, outline who will provide those and add a reminder that the nanny should use them each and every time.
Responsibilities and tasks. Your summer nanny isn’t there to just provide child care. She can also help out with laundry, cooking, child related light housekeeping, errands and other things you might need. It’s essential that you clearly outline your nanny’s responsibilities in your nanny contract. Make sure that you detail what she’s responsible for and any deadlines for getting things done. Remember she doesn’t know how you like things so if you have any preferences, make sure to let her know what they are.
Household rules. It’s important that your nanny knows what the kids are and aren’t allowed to do. This is especially true with older kids who have more independence and choices about their day. Can your child play in the backyard by himself? Is he allowed to have friends over? Is he allowed to go visit friends by himself? Is there a limit on screen time? Your summer nanny wants to follow your household rules but is only able to do that when she has clear direction from you. This also avoids the “Mom lets me do it!” excuses that kids often throw out.
Safety issues. There are lots of safety hazards during summer time. It’s always a good idea to review your expectations around these issues in your nanny contract. If you have a pool, include limitations around when it can be unlocked and clear instructions that your nanny is to never leave your child unattended. Don’t forget to outline your rules for helmets when using bikes, skate boards, roller blades or scooters. Add any other issues that’s you’re particularly concerned about. These reminders can help keep your child safe and happy all summer long.
Household account. During the summer time, your nanny and kids may head out on field trips to the zoo, the water park or the science museum. Decide beforehand how you will handle these expenses with your nanny. Will you leave cash for her to use? Will you give her a credit card? Make sure you include any spending limits you have. It’s also a good idea to ask your nanny to save the receipts from all expenses just to make sure the amount and reason for the expense is clear.
Your summer nanny contract is an important ingredient in having a successful relationship with your nanny. It doesn’t take long to craft and makes a big difference.Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
No matter how long you’ve been in a relationship with someone, it’s important to continue to spend quality time together and to go out on dates together from time to time. While dinner and a movie is a date night staple, it doesn’t allow much time for talking with one another and reconnecting. Instead, opt for date nights that allow you time to talk and laugh together. Plan dates that are worth getting excited about. For tons of ideas for inexpensive date night ideas, check out these 25 blog articles.
Check the local newspaper to see what kinds of events are going on around town. During the summer there may be free concerts in the park or inexpensive Shakespeare in the round performances. Or take a walk around the city to look at sculptures and different architectural styles. Take a painting or pottery class. These five blog posts will help get the ball rolling for planning a cultural date night.
Grabbing a Bite
Save money by having a picnic on the beach and walking along the water. No beach nearby? Choose an open field for the picnic instead. Grab some cheese and a loaf of bread for a European style picnic. The options are endless! Check out these five blog entries for more ideas.
Date Night at Home
Plan a night at home where conversation and cuddling are the main focus of the evening. Leisurely cook something new together. Just relax and enjoy each other. For these and other tantalizing ideas, take a look at these five blog entries.
There are many ways you can have an active date. Take a walk around a local pond or go on a hike for date night. Learn a new skill, like kayaking or archery while out on a date together. Go biking around town or check out a new bike trail. For these and other active date tips, take a look at the next five blog postings.
No Food Involved
There’s no rule that says that a night out has to include food, and meals are often the most expensive part of a date. Agree to eat before the date and then choose fun things that aren’t related to eating. Get together with friends and play charades, or window shop in a nearby town. Go “old school” and fly a kite or go roller skating. These dates are perfect events to promote laughter and make some memories. The most important thing is being together.
We all recognize the importance of conserving energy, recycling and taking good care of the planet we share. Some things are easy to do, while others are more challenging and impact the way we go through our day. One of the easiest and most fun things we can do is get kids involved in our efforts to care for our earth.
Model good behavior. Like everything else, modeling the behavior you want to see in your kids is the best way to get them on board. To do so, talk with your child about what you’re doing to help the environment and why as you go through your day. When you drop empty cans into the recycling bin, let him know that they’ll be used to make new products. When you turn off the water when brushing your teeth, remind him that clean water is a limited resource and it’s the responsibility of each person to conserve it whenever possible. You might be surprised at the many environmentally friendly things you do throughout your day that you don’t even realize you’re doing.
Grow your own garden. The best way to help your child understand the connection between the earth and food is to focus on garden to table meals. Involve your child in researching what will grow best in your climate, in deciding what fruits and vegetables your family would enjoy, and of course planting and caring for the garden. The process of preparing the ground, planting the seeds, watering the plants and watching everything grow is so exciting to kids. They’ll love the progression, and they’ll especially love eating the end product. The lessons you teach kids about sustainability will stay with them for a lifetime. Plus, research shows that when kids are involved in growing the food they eat, they make healthier food choices.
Volunteer for earth projects. Enjoying a community project with your child is a great way to teach environmental lessons and show the importance of giving back at the same time. Many communities sponsor annual clean up days encouraging residents to join together to clean up local parks, roadways and other shared spaces. Kids enjoy helping out adults and seeing the real difference they’re making. These clean up days also encourage kids to be aware of litter, so don’t be surprised if your child is on litter patrol all the time after volunteering. Clean up days aren’t the only opportunities to get involved. Your community may sponsor recycling programs, have ‘plant a tree’ days and come up with other ways that people in your community can come together and help the earth. Find something that both you and your child will enjoy doing and you’ll create a great memory, and you may even start a new tradition.
Walk, bike or take the bus. Your kids are probably used to driving wherever they go. It’s a habit for most of us to jump in the car whenever we need to get from point A to point B. However, carbon emissions are one of the leading causes of global warming, and small changes in our habits can result in big differences. Talk to your child about your family’s carbon footprint and how important it is to reduce it whenever you can. Walk to the local park rather than drive to one 10 miles away. Ride your bike to baseball practice rather than pack up the car. Take the bus into the city to enjoy a day at the zoo rather than fight traffic and pay for parking. These steps can have a big impact on the environment and on your child’s overall health and wellbeing. When it becomes a habit to use foot power to get to places whenever possible, your child will reap the benefits that come with regular exercise. These childhood habits are the ones most likely to stay with people as they grow into adulthood.
Go green with household products. With so many choices out there today, it’s easier than ever to choose natural products over those filled with added chemicals. Teach your child how to make smart choices when it comes to everything from laundry soap to toothpaste. Let him know why it’s important. Again, this has the added benefit of being good for your child on a very personal level. If your child suffers from asthma, environmental sensitivities or allergies, making these changes can have a big impact in how he feels day to day.
Read books about the issues that are important to you. Kids learn so much by reading together with you. Choose some stories that incorporate the environmental lessons that are especially important and share them with your child.
Teaching your child to be a good steward of the earth can be both fun and easy. Plus, it will help him develop healthy habits that can last a lifetime.Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
As a nanny, you probably spend the majority of your day surrounded by children. Unlike your counterparts in other industries, you won’t spend time hovering around a water cooler or in board meetings. That doesn’t mean, however, that networking is any less important to your professional development than it is to that of a busy executive. Networking with other nannies, both on a local level and internationally through the global village of the Internet, can be an incredibly informative exercise. These 10 lessons are just a few of the things you’ll learn when you get out and talk to others within your industry.
Networking is an essential aspect of a nanny’s professional development, but it’s important that you keep things on a professional level. Though your local network of local childcare providers can be a support system, you should never badmouth an employer to your fellow nannies or disclose personal information. Not only is this important from an ethical standpoint, it can also cause very real problems should word of your distaste get back to those employers.Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
If you’re lucky enough to have your mother live close to you, it may seem like the perfect solution to all your childcare problems. You know and love her, you don’t have to worry about your kids when they’re with her and no one is going to care for them better than Grandma. But you also know it’s a tricky situation and there’s the possibility that it could strain your personal relationship. So what’s the smart choice? Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you decide.
Do you feel comfortable talking with your mom openly and honestly about concerns? There are always issues that pop up in any relationship. When your parent is also your caregiver, there will be even more issues that need attention. Are you comfortable taking these up with your mother? Can you express your ideas and concerns without triggering old issues? Are you able to listen to her ideas with an open mind? Good communication is essential in any nanny/parent relationship. It doesn’t matter if the nanny is your mom or a stranger to your family.
Does your mother support your discipline method? The way parents handle discipline today is often very different than how parents handled it in the last generation. Do you and your mother share a discipline approach? If not, is she able to let go of her ideas and tactics and support yours? Remember, she isn’t in the “Grandma” role as the caregiver. Grandma’s job is to spoil your children. The caregiver’s role demands rules, limits and dealing effectively with misbehaviors. If your mom has an approach that’s vastly different than yours, it will come out as she deals with the normal discipline challenges that come with kids.
Is your mom physically able to care for your children? Let’s face it, age matters here. There are plenty of grandmas that can easily keep up with their active and energetic grandchildren. However, others struggle with health issues that make providing childcare on a regular schedule difficult. Before your mom takes on the job, make sure you have an honest conversation about what will be needed from her and if she’s physically able to tackle it. Remember, your mom may not feel she has any physical limitations, but it’s important that you feel confident about that too.
Does your mother honestly want the job of caregiver? It’s hard for moms to say no, even to grown children. Make sure that your mom truly wants to be the caregiver for your children and she doesn’t just feel obligated to help you out of a tight spot. Feeling like she has to do it rather than wanting to do it isn’t a good way to start out. Even if she’s retired and doesn’t have the obligation of a job, she may not want to commit to being your nanny. She may be enjoying her free time or may have other obligations like a volunteer position. Again, open communication is the key here. Present the idea as a real choice so she feels comfortable saying no. If she’s not interested in taking over the position, she may be interested in covering some of the hours or filling in until you find a nanny.
Will you pay her for providing childcare? Money can quickly complicate any relationship, but this is an important question you must answer before moving forward. Will your mom be paid for her time? If so, how much? If not, is she alright with that? Do you think she’ll be alright with it down the line? How does the money component change the dynamics of your personal relationship? Talk with your mom about how she feels about this tricky issue. Make sure you’re both on the same page around the wage issue before she starts.
Are you comfortable in the employer role? Even if you’re not paying your mom, you’ll still have to take on many of the roles of the employer. Are you comfortable giving your mom instructions? You’ll need to outline what you want your mother to do around the house, like laundry or getting dinner started. You’ll have to set expectations of how she’ll care for your child, down to the very least detail about the type of discipline and environment you want for your child. This can be a very uncomfortable position for many adult children to be in.
Hiring your mom as your nanny can be a great solution to your childcare needs, or it can be a disaster. Think about the pros and cons carefully before making a decision.Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Long gone are the days where family is the exclusive babysitting resource for young families. Today’s families live further apart and have their own obligations that prevent them from providing childcare to family members.
But just because family members aren’t available to provide that care doesn’t mean that moms no longer need it. Here are 10 reasons why many moms need to employ the services of a babysitter.
And while some high school students and neighborhood girls are still offering babysitting services, with school activities and homework, most parents are forced to contract for care with an older, qualified professional. These professional babysitters can be found by word-of-mouth, by using an online nanny and babysitting recruiting site or through a reputable local nanny placement agency.Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
It’s no secret that a healthy sense of self-esteem is an essential tool for navigating the adult world, but figuring out how to instill confidence in a child isn’t always easy. These ten secrets to building your child’s self-esteem are surprisingly simple, and can make a world of difference in the way she sees herself and handles everyday situations.
Remember that your child needs to feel the sting of failure from time to time, and will need to experience some conflict in order to gain the important coping and conflict resolution skills she’ll use as an adult. Though it’s tempting to swoop in to save the day every time your child faces some hardship, it’s far better to offer your support as she works out the best ways of navigating those situations on her own. When she realizes that she’s capable of managing her own problems, it will create a self-esteem boost far more powerful than any you can give her with affirmations and encouragement.Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Family vacations provide a much-needed change of scenery for parents and kids alike. The new surroundings stimulate the senses, and if you’re fortunate to choose the right spot, they can sooth the nerves as well. Even so, there will most likely be things that you would like to do without the kids tagging along. There may also be things that the kids would like to do but you would rather avoid at all costs. You can enjoy your time alone or with your spouse when you find a qualified babysitter while on vacation.
Don’t Miss the Forest for the Trees
If you have a nanny, consider offering extra pay for accompanying the family on vacation. In some instances this is part of the contract but in other situations, it may not apply. If vacations aren’t covered by your existing work agreement, ask if the nanny is willing to come with you to help with the kids. It’s entirely possible to miss the childcare forest for the trees as you search frantically for vacation childcare while your nanny’s right in front of you.
Network With Friends and Family
If your vacation spot is near friends or relatives, enlist their help in finding a high-quality local babysitter. You’ll still want to make sure that the sitter is qualified by checking references and inquiring about her CPR and first aid certification, though. Just because someone is recommended by people you know doesn’t mean that she’s been checked to your specifications, so make sure that you don’t neglect simple inquiries. Unless you personally know the babysitter, this is still a stranger to you and your children so you need to get and check references.
Ask Hotel Services and Your Concierge for a Recommendation
Due to liability issues, some resorts and hotels no longer offer childcare services. However, there are some that may offer them or your concierge might maintain a list for just such an occasion. It never hurts to ask. As with other childcare services, check references and reviews and scope out the environment before you leave your child there. Make sure it is a safe and welcoming place. Some places offer evening babysitting. Call ahead to ask questions, determine availability and ask to speak directly to a childcare worker to get a feel for what they have to offer. If your hotel does not offer any services on-site, they may still be able to help by providing you with a list of contacts that other parents have used in the past. Inquire as to whether the list contains highly reputable sitters or services, and if there are references available. There may be some recommendations that previous patrons have made concerning outstanding sitters.
Enlist the Help of a Nanny Agency
There are many nanny agencies that also provide qualified babysitters or temporary services to parents visiting their area of service. Contact agencies in your vacation area early, preferably before you actually leave for your trip, to make the necessary arrangements. Be sure to contact a reputable agency by looking for one that has professional affiliations such as International Nanny Association, or the Association of Premier Nanny Agencies. Check the Better Business Bureau to see if there are any complaints against the agency, and make sure the agency does extensive background checks on their referrals.
Once you have adequately screened the agency and are satisfied with the results, then you can start screening the babysitter referrals. Even though you’ll only be using their services on a temporary basis, you need to make sure that you and your children are comfortable with the person and that a level of trust is created right away. If there is any doubt in your mind whether the person is right for your kids, go on to the next candidate.
Contact the Local Girl Scout Chapters
Many Girl Scouts have gone through training to become qualified babysitters, including American Red Cross training as well as other workshops in childcare. Girl Scouts will come prepared with plenty of fun activities for the kids and local Girl Scouts will know something about the area and may be able to direct you to more kid friendly attractions. You will probably need to be responsible for transporting the girl to and from your destination, and you will want to meet her parents to give them any emergency information. Find out what the going rate for babysitting is in that area, and pay accordingly. Keep in mind that different places will vary on their rates and it’s always better to pay more than less. Always remember to check references. It also wouldn’t hurt for you to have some references of your own to show to parents just in case they ask.
Look for Drop-In Centers
Many vacation spots will have drop-in centers for you to use for temporary childcare services. Call ahead and find out all you can about the center. Check their website if they have one, and be sure to read any reviews available. If you are satisfied that a particular center can meet your needs, ask if you can register online or by fax so registration can be completed before your trip. Once you arrive at your vacation spot, as a precaution, stop by the care center unannounced to observe how things are handled on a day-to-day basis. Make sure that you are comfortable with the surroundings and that the staff is knowledgeable and friendly.
Finding childcare when you’re away from home doesn’t have to be a nightmare, especially if you tackle the situation before you trip is planned. With a bit of advance planning and foresight, your entire family can enjoy the vacation that’s so urgently needed.Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment Newer posts →