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How to Fire Your Long-Term Nanny

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Terminating someone is never easy, but if your nanny has only been with you a short while, there’s usually some comfort to be found in the fact that you’ve had a relatively brief working relationship. However, letting go of a long-term nanny can be a much tougher situation. You’ve both got more invested in the position, and even though she is an employee, you inevitably will form a personal connection to someone who is working in your home every day and caring for your children. Chances are, you didn’t come to this decision lightly. However, there are some things you can do to make the process a little easier.

Be Clear About Your Reasons

The best way to guide yourself through the firing process is to lay out your reasons for the termination and make your case clearly and calmly. Talk with your nanny about what she has done to violate your rules, cite instances in which you’ve admonished her, and point out the way that she has failed to show improvement. If you’ve got a nanny contract — and you really should set one up upon hiring your nanny — you can use it to highlight what she has done and talk about how her actions no longer meet your expectations. For instance, if she is expected to regularly pick up the kids from school but has been late to the pickup multiple times, discuss it.

This is also when you should look to your contract to let you know what’s expected of you in terms of notice and fairness. If you’re firing your nanny in somewhat calmer circumstances, attempt to give her the same amount of notice you’d require from her if she were to resign. If this is a termination brought on by more troubling signs of negligence, act swiftly and be sure to pay your nanny up through her termination date.

Show Compassion

When terminating your long-term nanny, remember that this is someone who’s become an extension of your family’s daily life, and that she deserves to be treated with compassion in what’s going to be a tough time for all involved. If she has done something to break your rules, the firing will still come as a setback, but if you’re letting her go for any other reason, it’s definitely going to knock the wind out of her sails. For this reason, it’s wise to stick to the facts when discussing her termination and be considerate of the fact that she is going to feel (and act) pretty upset when she gets the news. Even if you don’t feel like it, show a little compassion. It will help.

Consider a Transition Period

Your child is probably pretty attached to your nanny if she has been with you for a while, so firing her is going to cause some confusion as your child adjusts to a new caregiving routine. If possible, try to arrange a transition period where your child can get to know a new nanny while still having some contact with the old one. This will act as a kind of bridge to the new chapter and allow for a smoother changing of the guard.

Get the Paperwork in Order

If you’re letting go of someone who’s been working for you for a while, it can be easy to approach the situation almost entirely as an emotional one. However, there are plenty of logistical things to consider. For instance, depending on the nature of your contract and whether you had one in place to begin with, your former nanny might be eligible to collect unemployment. That means that you need to have your employment tax paperwork in order, and if you’re terminating a nanny for poor performance, you should also have documented instances of her violations that you can use as evidence to protest any claim of unemployment payments if you want to pursue that route.

Additionally, you should make a list of every piece of your personal property that your nanny might have so that you can collect them upon termination. This could include house keys, car keys, pagers, cell phones, electronics, etc. You may also want to consider changing your locks and resetting your security system’s alarm code (if applicable). Even if the termination was a mostly amicable one, you still have your own security and peace of mind to consider. This person will no longer be your employee, and it could behoove you to make sure she no longer has any way to access your home.

Prepare a Recommendation

Maybe you’re firing a long-term nanny not for anything she has done but because your needs have changed or you are relocating. In this case, it’d be appropriate to consider penning a letter of recommendation that she can add to her nanny portfolio as she moves to new positions in the industry. If you don’t want to provide one in the moment, you can let her know you’d be willing to write one in the future.

Your ultimate goal here is to make the process as painless as possible, no matter why you’re firing your nanny. Don’t have the termination meeting in front of your children, or really anywhere near them if you can help it. The point of all this is to serve their well-being, and that’s best done when you and your nanny can talk like adults on your own terms.

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Common Allergy Triggers in Children for Nannies to Be Aware Of

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While a sniffle here or there may indicate a common cold or a seasonal allergy, many children experience much more severe symptoms that can indicate chronic allergies. As a nanny, you observe the habits and behaviors of the children in your care on a daily basis, but you may not be aware of the common allergy triggers that can cause both mild and severe allergic reactions.

Know the Facts About Allergies

Common allergies, often referred to as hay fever or allergic rhinitis, affect millions of people in the United States annually. In 2010, 10% of U.S. children under the age of 17 suffered from allergic rhinitis in the previous year, according to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology. Allergic rhinitis can cause children to have watery eyes, nasal congestion, sneezing, sinus pressure and a runny nose, even during seasons when the common cold is not all that common.

Many children also have allergies to various foods, such as milk products, eggs, peanuts, soy, nuts, wheat and shellfish. According to the Food Allergy Research and Education, more than 15 million Americans have food allergies, affecting 1 in every 13 children under the age of 18 in the United States.

According to Dr. Serena Anderson, family physician at Integris Family Care Memorial West in Oklahoma City, the severity of allergies varies from person to person. “The child can have blood tests performed to check for food and environmental triggers or you can have traditional allergy testing done by an allergy specialist,” she says.

Triggers to Know

Allergens are lurking everywhere. In fact, according to Anderson, the most common allergens that can cause hay fever symptoms include microscopic dust mites that live in furniture and fabrics and dander for household pets. Pests and insects, pollen, mold and fungi and foods can also host allergens that may cause a child to have a reaction.

A clean environment that is free from dust, mold and exposure to pollen can help a child cope better with the symptoms of allergic rhinitis. Washing bed sheets in hot water regularly, providing the child with a hypo-allergenic pillow and putting dust mite covers over mattresses also helps rid the home of these harmful triggers. Even though the fresh air may feel cool during spring and fall, open windows can trigger environmental allergies and hay fever in children. Close the windows and keep the humidity in the house below 45 degrees so the allergic child is more comfortable.

If coughing, watery eyes and sneezing continues, hay fever can also be treated with medications, such as Benadryl, suggests Anderson, but it is best to discuss treatment with the child’s parents and health care provider.

The best way to treat food allergies and identify triggers is to observe the child’s reactions to milk products, eggs, peanuts, wheat and shellfish. If the child has a known food allergy or a reaction, avoid these foods all together, says Anderson.

“Often, people don’t always realize the seriousness of food allergic reactions in children,” says Vandana Sheth, California-based registered dietitian. “Just trace amounts of a food allergen can cause a life-threatening reaction.”

Although it can be stressful for both the child and the childcare provider when daily meals seem to revolve around a food allergy, it’s important for families to put things in perspective, says Sheth. “It certainly can take the joy out of celebrations when the focus is candy and allergen-filled sweets,” she says. “However, with education and awareness, a registered dietitian or pediatric allergist, the child can thrive and enjoy life.”

Be Aware of Reactions

The most severe type of allergic reaction is called anaphylaxis. According to Anderson, the mouth and airway swell when a child is having an allergic reaction, compromising the child’s ability to breathe normally. In addition, she may break out in hives or a rash and her blood pressure may drop. “If your child has a known trigger for anaphylaxis, she should have a prescription for an EpiPen and should carry it at all times,” says Anderson. “Epinephrine is injected through an auto-injector pen directly into the thigh muscle.”

In the case of a reaction, it’s crucial for nannies and caretakers to call 911 immediately with concerns of anaphylaxis. Following up with a pediatrician and allergist will help nannies stay on top of the child’s needs as well. A log of reactions and symptoms may help physicians pinpoint the child’s specific allergies and help better prepare you to provide the best care for sniffling and sneezing little ones.

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Why You Are Really Your Child’s Secret Role Model

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Even though you may not think your child idolizes you, the reality is that she is watching your every move and mimicking your actions. From toddlers to teens, children look to their parents for guidance, as examples and more importantly, as role models.

“Children learn by observing and one of the things they spend observing the most is their parents,” says Christina Steinorth, California-based psychotherapist and author of Cue Cards for Life: Thoughtful Tips for Better Relationships. “With this in mind, it’s very clear why children look up to their parents as role models.”

Understand Yourself

Serving as the role model, secretly or openly, is a huge responsibility. What your kids see, hear and experience from you, they will likely mimic, says Dr. Fran Walfish, California-based psychotherapist and author of The Self-Aware Parent: Resolving Conflict and Building a Better Bond With Your Child.

“Self-awareness is the key to becoming a better role model,” says Walfish. “Understanding yourself gives you choices and when you choose to respond in a specific way, rather than respond automatically, situations more often than not resolve themselves favorably.”

In fact, according to Walfish, research supports the fact that a child who was parented negatively has a high likelihood of parenting her own child in the same manner. Role models can be either positive or negative.

In order to know yourself as a parent and serve as a positive role model, Walfish recommends the following:

  • Understand how and in what ways you are similar to your parents
  • Examine yourself so as not to automatically repeat mistakes your parents made
  • Be aware of your feelings, moment to moment
  • Slow down your reactions: Reflect before speaking or taking action
  • Speed up your internal thinking process: First think “How do I feel?” and then think “How is my child feeling?”
  • Self-evaluate so that you can make good, educated choices about how to raise happy, emotionally thriving children with good self-esteem

As you learn your own parenting style and how your children observe and interpret your behavior and actions, Walfish suggests that self-awareness will bring comfort and lead to calm parenting.

Teach by Example

As your child is observing your every move, take this opportunity to model the behavior you want to see develop.

Even as young as the toddler age, parents can use their position as a role model to their advantage. “This is the best age to start teaching frustration tolerance,” says Steinorth. “If your toddler has a temper tantrum, role model patience in your response to the temper tantrum.”

For example, Steinorth suggests using calm words to express how you relate to what the toddler is feeling. Show the connection between the two of you. “If you need to run errands with your toddler and your toddler starts having a tantrum because he or she would like to go to play at the park instead, rather than showing anger and frustration over the tantrum, in a calm voice role model patience by saying something like ‘I’d like to go play, too, but I need to do some work first. Once my work is done, then we can go play,’” says Steinorth. “A phrase like this also starts the very basic teaching of work comes before play.”

As your child ages and develops maturity, your job as a role model is even more important. This is an opportunity to teach your child about sincerity, generosity, values and morals, says Steinorth.

“If you would like your children to learn about giving back, role model the behavior by volunteering with them,” she says. Bake cookies together and spend an afternoon taking them to a nursing home to share the goodies with patients. Pick a holiday and help out at a homeless shelter preparing and serving meals.

“Volunteering helps children think outside of themselves, which helps teach them empathy,” says Steinorth. “When they see that you enjoy giving to others, they will follow in your footsteps.”

Unveiling the Secret

Even though your presence heavily influences your child, she may not always be willing to admit this fact. Don’t take it personally, says Walfish. This is just a sign that your child is establishing independence from you, even though she is always observing you.

The psychological goal of toddlerhood is for the young child to claim himself as a separate being from mommy and daddy, she says, whereas the psychological goal of adolescence is to resolve the separation established in toddlerhood.

“Most pre-teens and teens are less likely to admit that mom or dad is a role model because they are wrestling and grappling with separation and independence,” says Walfish. “Many kids think this includes rejecting their parents and their parents’ ideas.”

Even though your job as a role model may be kept a secret throughout your child’s toddler to teen years, the good news is that eventually, your child will realize the impact you have had on his life. “Most people realize their mom or dad had an impact on their lives by early adulthood,” says Walfish.

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Anxious Kids: Anxious Parents by Reid Wilson and Lynn Lyons

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Childhood can be a frightening and uncertain time for kids, and some mild anxiety is part and parcel with growing up in a fast-paced world. What many parents don’t realize, though, is just how many children are affected by clinically recognized anxiety disorders, and that their own anxiety can be a contributing factor to their children’s struggles. Anxious Kids, Anxious Parents by Reid Wilson PhD and Lynn Lyons LICSW tackles this complicated issue head on, with a fresh and somewhat unconventional approach to helping both kids and parents who are suffering from the effects of an anxiety disorder or anxious disposition.

Anxiety Management and Prevention

Lynn Lyons, the co-author of Anxious Kids, Anxious Parents, is a licensed clinical social worker. She also maintains a private psychotherapists’ practice specializing in treatment for adults and children suffering from anxiety disorders and phobias. Ms. Lyons champions an early approach to anxiety management. “The average parents should start teaching what I would call ‘anxiety prevention skills’ by the age of four,” she says, “but it’s never too late to start.” While Anxious Kids, Anxious Parents is directed largely at families who are already struggling with anxiety problems or avoidant behavior, she stresses that healthy stress management skills should be a priority for all parents. Even if your child isn’t exhibiting signs of avoidance, phobias or clinical anxiety disorders, it’s still smart to work with your youngster in order to help him learn healthy ways to manage everyday stress and anxiety triggers.

Recognizing the Signs of Anxiety in Kids

There are so many things that can cause kids to become frightened or to worry when they’re small that it’s not always easy to know where normal stressors stop and problematic disorders begin. However, there are certain signs and symptoms that you should be on the lookout for if you suspect that your child’s anxiety indicates something deeper and more serious than normal, everyday worry.

First and foremost, it’s important to examine your own history and take honest stock of your emotional health. “If you have an anxious, depressed or stressed-out parent, you are six to seven times more likely to be a stressed-out child,” the author shares. That means that if you are struggling with what you suspect may be an anxiety disorder or have been diagnosed with one, your children are, statistically speaking, more likely to suffer from the same problems. Parents with established or suspected anxiety disorders should make a priority of instilling healthy stress management mechanisms in their children from an early age, before anxiety disorder symptoms present themselves. Learning how to help your kids manage stress and how to avoid modeling anxious behavior is important for these parents, especially if their anxiety has previously gone untreated.

Parents who aren’t struggling from anxiety-related disorders may not be as well-versed in or capable of spotting the early signs. Anxiety disorders can co-occur with other emotional disorders like ADHD, eating disorders and depression, so it’s wise to keep an eye out for symptoms of anxiety in kids who have established difficulties in these areas. Lynn Miller, an Associate Professor of Education at University of British Columbia, advises parents to ask themselves whether their child is more anxious or shy than other children his age, and whether or not he worries more than other kids in his peer group. If the answer to either of those questions is “yes,” then it’s especially important to look for ways of helping your child learn healthy anxiety management techniques. If your child is unwilling to attend school, actively avoids events or outings and is extremely reluctant to separate from a parent or trusted adult caregiver, he is exhibiting some signs of an anxiety disorder. The tips and advice in Anxious Kids, Anxious Parents can help you to not only manage those situations in a way that benefits your child, but also in ways that preserve your own emotional well-being.

Treatment and Mitigation of Anxiety Disorder Symptoms and Risk

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America’s research shows that an estimated one in eight children in the United States suffer from some form of an anxiety disorder. The effects of anxiety disorders can have far-reaching implications throughout those kids’ lives. Children suffering from childhood anxiety disorders are at a higher risk for experimentation and abuse of controlled substances, tend to perform poorly in school and miss out altogether on essential social experiences throughout their lives.

One of the key concepts in Anxious Kids, Anxious Parents is learning to recognize patterns and situations that enhance kids’ anxiety and how to foster positive change along the way. “I hope that parents understand that anxiety is both preventable and treatable,” Ms. Lyons says. “That it’s not that complicated, once you know how it works. Parents really do make a difference.” The goal of this book is to help parents do just that, make a difference in both their own lives and that of their anxious children, by providing parents with the tools they need to manage stressful situations. Written with Reid Wilson, PhD, who is the director of the Anxiety Disorders Treatment Center and the Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Anxious Kids, Anxious Parents is full of unconventional wisdom and proven techniques for helping kids beat their fears in order to live productive, successful lives.

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Top 10 Reasons Nannies Stay with a Family Long-Term

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It’s natural for both nannies and parents to want to enter into an employment relationship that will last for years to come. This situation is best for the caregiver, the parents and the kids. But how can you make that happen? Here’s a list of the top ten reasons nannies stay with a family long-term.

  • The family is appreciative of the nanny’s work. One of the best ways a family can get their nanny to stay with them long-term is to be truly thankful for the work she does. Saying thank you for taking great care of the kids goes a long way in creating a successful nanny/parent relationship.
  • The family pays a competitive wage. Money isn’t the most important thing in a nanny job, but it does matter. Every nanny wants to be paid a wage that allows her to meet her financial obligations and goals. When a family pays a competitive wage and offers regular raises, their nanny is much more likely to stay long-term.
  • The family offers a good benefit package. Although it’s not legally required, it’s standard for a family to offer two weeks of paid vacation to their nanny each year. Many families offer additional benefits as well, such as paid sick, professional or continuing education days. Some even offer paid health insurance or a car benefit. A generous benefits package is a great incentive for a nanny to stay in a job.
  • There’s a give and take attitude between the nanny and parents. Flexibility is key in a successful nanny/parent relationship. When both sides are willing to help the other side out as needed, it creates a close bond between them. It also makes any issues that come up much easier to work through.
  • The nanny enjoys her day to day work. When a caregiver is working 10 to 12 hours a day, it’s important that she really enjoys her days. After all, she needs to be happy and satisfied to provide great care. Different things are important to each nanny. Some need to be able to get out and about often. Others need to be able to set their own schedules and plan their own activities. When a nanny gets what she feels is important from her job, it entices her to stay with that family.
  • The family respects the nanny’s time. Most nannies generally work longer than average work weeks. So when a family is respectful of their nanny’s time off the clock, it means a lot. Making sure a nanny gets plenty of downtime to rest and relax is an investment that pays off for both the caregiver and the family.
  • The family respects the job description. Every nanny job description is different. The one thing that’s the same is that it’s easy for the description to slowly expand over time without the parents even noticing. When a family is careful to stick to what was originally agreed to, the nanny doesn’t have to deal with job creep and doesn’t feel overworked or underappreciated. Of course, the family’s childcare needs will change over time and the job description will change too. Talking about these changes openly and making sure the nanny is on board is the best way to keep the relationship on the right track.
  • The nanny is comfortable in the family’s home. For a nanny to be happy over the long haul, her personal style has to mesh with the parents’ style. If she thrives on a neat and organized environment, she won’t be happy in a home that’s messy and chaotic. If she’s relaxed and laidback, she won’t be happy in a formal household. But when the nanny’s and parents’ style align, it makes for a happy nanny.
  • The family backs up the nanny’s discipline decisions. Every day, the nanny has to make decisions about how to handle the kids’ challenging behaviors. When the parents support her choices and back her up with the kids, it gives her the confidence to do what she feels is best. It also helps the child when all the adults are on the same page regarding these decisions.
  • The nanny loves the kids! Of course, this is a huge factor in any nanny job. The relationship she has with the kids is the biggest incentive a nanny has to stay with a family. The love she has for the kids is her motivation to work things out when things get tough, and it encourages her to make it work year after year.
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10 Reasons to Consider Shopping the Consignment Shops

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Whether you’re looking for a few new pieces or an entirely new wardrobe, clothing that looks great and fits beautifully is rarely cheap. Still, there is a source of gently-used clothing that you may not have previously considered, and that’s the local consignment shop. There are also several reasons why shopping at a consignment store might make more sense than you originally thought. Here are ten of the best reasons to stop into your local consignment shop before you head to a major department store.

  • You Want to Go Green – When you buy clothes from a consignment store, you’re snapping up great garments at competitive prices, but you’re also doing your part to help the environment. Rather than purchasing new items and relegating perfectly serviceable ones to a landfill, you’re recycling in a very immediate way.
  • The Budget is Limited – Because clothing at consignment stores tends to be priced far lower than it would be at a major department store or big box retailer, your money goes farther on every purchase. For the same amount of money you’d spend on a single designer outfit at a department store, you could walk out of a consignment store with an entirely new wardrobe.
  • You Want to Support Local Business – With few exceptions, the consignment store industry tends to be populated largely of small, independent businesses. When you’re spending money at a local store, you’re investing in your community and ensuring that small enterprise continues to grow in your area.
  • You Want to Support Other Families – Consignment shops are places where the average person can sell their gently used clothing, surrendering a percentage of their profits to the house in exchange for the provision of a venue and marketing services. Every garment that you buy from a consignment store puts money into the pocket of a local family, helping to support them while supporting local business.
  • To Express Your Unique Style – Some people’s style is embodied by the fashions on the racks of a department store, but those with a more eccentric or creative style are forced to accessorize with items they’ve found elsewhere. That’s where a consignment shop can make a real difference, because the items on the racks there will be far different from the cookie-cutter fare in a new clothing store.
  • Customer Service is Important to You – Because consignment stores tend to be local enterprises with limited staff, customer service is often more personable and dedicated. When every employee is personally invested in making the business a success, that dedication shows through great customer service and assistance when you’re in need.
  • Brand Name Items at No-Label Prices – Even if you are a designer maven, you’re still likely to score a few choice items at consignment stores. They may be gently used items from a season or two past, but they’ll still be in great shape and bring a designer flair to your wardrobe.
  • Frequent Stock Updates – Clothing comes in and out of consignment stores on a fairly regular basis, meaning the stock is constantly changing. Where you may find the same clothing on the racks at traditional stores for weeks on end, you can rest assured that there will be a regular influx of new items to a consignment store.
  • Convenience – When even the most pressing clothing needs don’t seem to warrant the headache and stress of a trip to a crowded shopping mall or a trek through a cavernous parking garage, a consignment store may be just what you’re looking for. Usually located in small shopping centers or even residential areas, these shops offer a level of convenience that a massive shopping mall simply can’t compete with.
  • You’re Fond of a Good Treasure Hunt – Searching for the perfect gem at the bottom of a bin or the back of a rack in a consignment store is more work than snagging one of several identical pieces from the rack at a traditional store, but it’s also way more fun. Finding that one needle in the proverbial haystack feels like a real accomplishment, lending a level of excitement to the experience that you may not be able to replicate at a department store.
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Ways to Say Thanks to Your Nanny Besides Giving Her a Raise

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If you’re lucky enough to have an amazing nanny, you likely want to do whatever you can to keep her happy in her job. The best way to do that is to show your genuine appreciation for all her hard work. Traditionally, giving a raise is the way employers says thank you to their caregiver, however, that isn’t always a realistic option in today’s economy. Here are some creative, inexpensive ways to say thanks and let your nanny know how much she means to your family.

Actually say “thank you.” Sometimes the simplest gesture can be the most powerful. Offering a heartfelt thank you to your nanny can make a big difference in your relationship. Often we think people know how we feel, but unfortunately, they don’t always just know. Sitting down with your nanny and thanking her for taking such great care of your children and supporting you can truly make your nanny’s day. Include specific examples of things she’s done that were especially important to your family. It will mean a lot to her that you noticed her efforts and more importantly, that you took the time to share how you feel towards her.

Give her extra paid time off. Time off, even a random afternoon in the middle of the week, is a special treat for nannies. Find time in your calendar to stay home with the kids or ask Grandma to come and visit for a day or two so your nanny can have some extra paid time off. Try and schedule the time so she can take a long weekend or do something fun like go to a local festival or to her child’s afternoon play. Another way to add to your nanny’s paid time off benefit is to give her additional vacation time when your family goes on vacation. Don’t require her to pet sit, house sit or catch up on household chores during this time. This extra vacation can make your job attractive year after year and is a wonderful way to say thanks for all her hard work.

Offer her your frequent flier miles. If you travel frequently for business, chances are you’re racking up valuable miles that can be used to say thanks to your nanny. For your nanny, the cost of flying home, to a professional development conference or to a fantasy vacation destination can be expensive – sometimes so expensive that the trip is out of reach. By transferring your miles to her, you’re giving her something really valuable that doesn’t actually cost you anything.

Make a special gift for her with your child. Your nanny helps your child make birthday, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and holiday gifts for you. She knows that something handmade especially for Mom or Dad is a gift you’ll treasure year after year. Say thanks with a special gift just for her. It can be a fun Saturday afternoon project for you and your child. If you’re not crafty, you can visit a paint it yourself pottery store and let the staff help your child make something wonderful. Add a handwritten card and you’ll have a thank you gift your nanny will treasure.

Buy her a special gift. If your nanny is dying to attend a local concert, get her two tickets. If she’s been eyeing a new scrapbooking paper collection, pick it up for her at the local craft store. If she’s been extra stressed out lately, let her enjoy a massage on you. Buying your nanny a special gift not only says you appreciate her, it also says that you pay attention to what she likes and needs. That caring attention will mean as much to your nanny as the gift itself.

Let her use your luxury toys. Most nannies can’t afford the luxury items that your family may have. If you have a vacation home, a time share, great seats to the local baseball team, a subscription to the city’s symphony or other fun items, let your nanny enjoy them too. Often this doesn’t cost you anything because you can schedule your nanny’s use at a time when your family wouldn’t be taking advantage of the item anyway. This is a unique and fun way to say thanks to your nanny and allow her to enjoy experiences she normally wouldn’t get to.

Saying thank you to your nanny is one of the most important things you can do to keep her happy in your position. There are plenty of ways you can show your appreciation that won’t break the bank and will make a lasting and happy impression.

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18 Blogs with Strategies for Using Positive Reinforcements with Your Kids

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It’s not unusual for parents to resort to using negative consequences to curb bad behavior, however relying on these tactics will not produce the same results as if you were using positive reinforcements. Instead of merely scolding your child when he’s being bad, take the time to praise him when he’s being good. This will take work on your part, because you will need to train yourself to pay attention to the positive behavior instead of the negative.  These 18 blogs share ideas on how to use positive reinforcement with your kids.

Positive Reinforcement Techniques

Start out by becoming a student of your child.  Study him and see what things make him happy and what things upset him.  Make note of which of his behaviors you would like to change, such as hitting or screaming.  Praise him for his positive behavior, and ignore him when he is screaming (as long as he’s safe).  Children want your attention, and if the only way they can get it is by doing positive things, that is what they’ll resort to.  You can find out more about positive reinforcement techniques in these six blogs.

Reward Charts

Having a visual reminder for your child to look at can be helpful when trying to encourage good behavior.  By creating a chart you can list chores, behaviors or goals and reward the child with a sticker or ticket if the chart is completed.  You can find print-outs and suggestions on how to create your own chart in these six blog articles.

Special Needs

Your child wants to please you, whether he has special needs or not.  However, children who have trouble with sitting still and focusing due to ADHD, autism or another special need can benefit from the praise associated with positive reinforcement.  Read more about using positive reinforcement for children with special needs in these blogs.

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10 Ways Dads Can Build Their Daughter’s Self-Esteem

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While both parents are important to their children, fathers have a very real impact on not only the way their daughters view men as a whole, but also the way that they view the world. As a father, it’s important that you take an active role in your daughter’s life and provide her with the affection and affirmations she needs to grow into a confident, secure adult. These ten tips can help you build up your daughter’s self-esteem while strengthening your relationship as a whole.

  • Throw Away Gender Stereotypes – Your daughter needs to know that she can be anything she wants to be, as long as she’s determined to succeed and makes an effort to do so. That means that she needs to know that she’s just as capable of being an astronaut as a wife and mother, and that she’s not hemmed in by her gender. Throw away societal gender roles and spend time playing catch or tinkering with cars, if that’s what she’s into. Don’t tell your daughter that a particular activity is “just for boys” and focus on encouraging her interests.
  • Show Respect for Women – More than respecting her, your daughter should be able to see you openly appreciating and respecting women as a whole. Refrain from making gender-based quips, even in jest. She’ll only learn that she’s part of a group that you think of as incapable or ineffectual, and somehow inherently inferior to her male peers.
  • Spend Quality Time Together – It’s important that you spend quality time with your daughter, doing something she likes to do, forging a bond and making memories of a functioning, close relationship. Sometimes all your daughter needs is your attention, so be sure that you’re not depriving her of that fulfillment.
  • Maintain an Open Line of Communication – It’s much easier to keep lines of communication open when your daughter is a child, as the experiences of growing up and becoming a teenage girl are something that even the most involved father has difficulty identifying with. Just be there for your daughter, listen to her when she speaks and make sure she knows that there’s nothing she can’t discuss with you.
  • Share Your Expertise – Teaching your daughter new skills not only gives her practical knowledge that will prove useful later in life, it also provides you with the chance to spend time together and gives her the sense of accomplishment that comes along with knowing that she’s mastered something new.
  • Praise Her Efforts and Accomplishments – Telling your daughter that she’s pretty lets her know that you value her looks, but it’s also important to make a point of praising her accomplishments and efforts. The lion’s share of her self-esteem should come from the confidence that she’s capable of taking effective action, not just looking pretty.
  • Pay Attention – Look at your daughter when you’re talking, set aside the smartphone and turn off the television. Let her know that you’re interested in what she has to say, and that she’s more important than the email you’re sending or the show you’re watching.
  • Love Her Unconditionally – Knowing that her father loves her unconditionally and that your love isn’t contingent upon meeting your approval gives your daughter the confidence and security of knowing that she has a strong support system, regardless of what happens.
  • Encourage Her to Make an Effort – Telling your daughter that you believe in her, that she should take a proactive role in her own life and that she needs to take reasonable risks in order to achieve her goals not only provides her with the encouragement she needs to step out on her own, but also lets her know that you have faith in her ability to succeed. Encourage your daughter to chase her dreams, work towards her goals and make an effort to accomplish the things that are important to her.
  • Model Good Self-Esteem – Fathers need to model strong self-esteem just as much as mothers do. Your children, regardless of gender, will take cues from the behavior they observe in you regarding how to react to certain situations, how to think and how to feel. Hearing you criticize yourself harshly will cause your daughter to look at herself in the same light, potentially damaging her self-esteem and skewing her perceptions of herself.
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Top 5 Apps Recommended for Nannies

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By Kellie Geres

As nannies, we are constantly on the go – we are going to the store, carpool, school, after-school events – the list is endless. These five apps, however, can help every busy nanny stay on top of her game! Note that all of these are free, though some do offer a paid version that offers additional features.

Key Ring

Tired of carrying around dozens of those little plastic store loyalty cards? Run into CVS, only to realize you forgot your card at home or forgot which number the card is associated with? Key Ring lets you scan all those loyalty cards into one easy app. It also allows you to sign up from the app to additional loyalty programs and sends coupons directly to your phone.

Red Laser  

If you’re thrifty and love to price shop, Red Laser is the app for you. The app allows you to scan bar codes while it finds the best prices, as well as where it’s located. Once located, you can decide if getting a cheaper price is worth the drive.


ColorNote is essentially like having post-it notes for your phone. You can make lists, jot down notes from a meeting or phone call and save it all to your phone. You can even color code for work, personal things, school and more.

Baby Connect

If you have infants or toddlers, Baby Connect is the one app you should have. You can share info with the parents by adding log feedings, naps, important notes and observations. All of this information is easily added  while baby is napping or you’re waiting in carpool for the older kids.


You arrive home with the kids and the light over the door has gone out. On top of that, you end up dropping your keys and you’re trying to juggle an infant and a toddler. Need a solution? Pull out your phone and turn on your flashlight.  The flashlight app is a great app for those quick needs and can be a lifesaver when the power is out or you find yourself in a dark place.

What app would you recommend to nannies as a must-have on the job?  

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