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5 Ways to Build a Great Relationship with Your Nanny

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Many moms who employ a nanny jokingly share that they have two spouses. Their husband, and their nanny. For those moms who have never employed a nanny, the joke may seem quite crude. But for those who share the joys and struggles of parenting with their nanny, they know too well that within every joke, hides a touch of truth.

The nanny and employer relationship is an intimate one. Nannies work in their employers private homes and care for their most prized possessions. For the children to receive optimal care, the nanny and parents must work together as a parenting team.

Nanny employers depend on their nannies to keep their lives running smoothly. If the children are well cared for, mom and dad can continue their lives as usual. So nannies, by default, do more than care for the kids. They contribute to the health of the family and play in integral role in the daily family operations.

Nannies in turn, often depend on their employers to be their sole source of financial support. While most seasoned nannies will tell you that they still can’t believe they get paid to do what they love, their paycheck is needed for them to survive.

So as with a husband and wife, there’s a seemingly constant tension that exists between a nanny and her employer. Like in a marriage, each party depends on the other to meet their critical needs and for the relationship to be successful, everyone’s needs must be constantly considered.

As you build your relationship with your nanny, keep these five tips in mind to build a great one:

1. Set clear expectations. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment. Your nanny can only live up to your expectations if she knows what they are. A written work agreement, daily journal and regular meetings can provide opportunities to articulate, clarify and reaffirm the expectations you have for your nanny.

2. Show your nanny your support. Praise in public and criticize in private. If your nanny says “no” to your child, back her up in front of the kids. If you question her actions, talk to her about it when the children aren’t an earshot away.  If you agree to start potty training, be sure you keep your commitment and follow the plan when your nanny isn’t there.

3. Invest in your nanny. Go above and beyond when it comes to treating your nanny right. Contribute towards her professional development and invest in her health and wellness. If you are impressed with her work, reward her for it. A gift card to Starbucks or a gift certificate for a pedicure to show your appreciation goes a long way. In addition to making your nanny feel valued, you’ll build feelings of loyalty.

4. Pay your nanny legally. Your nanny has earned a proper paycheck, so give it to her. When nannies are paid legally, they feel like their work is respected and valued.  It formalizes the employer and nanny relationship and sends the message that you are a family who values doing things right. If a nanny sees you doing things right, she’ll follow your lead.

5. Keep the lines of communication open. For any relationship to succeed, good communication is essential. Encourage open communication with your nanny. Accept her calls when she phones you at work, when possible, and make it a policy to have a “check-in moment” via phone, email or text message each day. Allow a few minutes at the start and end of each day to brief and debrief your nanny. If you want your nanny to feel comfortable communicating with you, provide opportunities for regular communication.

Cultivating a great relationship with your nanny takes focused time and energy but it is time and energy well spent. Commit the time and energy to building a solid relationship. You’ll be glad you did.

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6 Excuses Families Give For Paying Their Nanny Illegally

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by Michelle Larowe

It happens far too often. A nanny interviews for a position and both the nanny and the family think it’s a great match. Then comes the discussion of the nanny’s pay and things go downhill fast.

When it comes to paying a nanny legally, it’s no secret that a majority of nanny employers do not pay their nannies on the books. Although paying a nanny legally isn’t optional, some nanny employers are willing to pay off the books and risk getting caught.

While there are many excuses nanny employers use for paying their nannies illegally, here are six of the most common ones:

1. “I didn’t know I had to pay taxes.” Some employers simply aren’t aware that when you hire a nanny, there are formal steps that you need to take to become a legal employer. These include securing state and federal identification numbers, verifying the nanny can legally accept work in the United States, reporting a new hire, setting up a payroll system that includes paying according to state and federal labor laws and withholding the proper taxes, and filing the appropriate yearend tax forms.  While many nanny employers believe that their nanny is an independent contractor, this is a myth. Nannies are employed by the families for whom they work.

2. “I want to pay my nanny legally, but I am not sure how.” Some nanny employers do want to pay their nanny legally, however they aren’t sure where to start to make that happen. Fortunately there is help available for families who want to do things right. From consulting with a nanny placement agency, to reading reliable articles on the Internet, to hiring a household payroll service provider to process payroll, there are resources available and people who are willing to walk nanny employers through the process of paying their nanny legally.

3. “We love the nanny and she wants to be paid off the books.”Sometimes a nanny doesn’t see the benefit of being paid legally, so she asks the potential employer to pay her in cash or to pay at least some of her salary off of the books. If the nanny seems like a good match, sometimes the employers will agree. It’s only until a nanny loses her job by no fault of her own or goes to purchase a car (or other big ticket item on credit) and has no proof of income, does she realize that it’s well worth it to be paid legally.

4. “I don’t need to pay taxes on an undocumented worker.” Some nanny employers, whether knowingly or not, opt to hire a nanny that isn’t legally able to accept work in the United States. Of those who do, many fail to recognize that whether a nanny is documented or not, employment taxes must be paid. While employing an undocumented nanny is a violation of immigration law, failure to pay employment taxes for any nanny, whether documented or not, is considered felony tax evasion.

4. “I can’t afford the added cost.” While it’s true that paying a nanny legally can add about 10% of cost onto the nanny’s salary, there are tax advantages that can offset the added expense when a nanny is paid on the books. Using a Dependent Care Account (also called a Flexible Spending Account) or taking advantage of the IRS Child Care Tax Credit can offset the nanny employer tax costs.

5. “I just don’t want to.” Although some nanny employers may be well aware that paying their nanny off the books is illegal, they simply don’t care and can’t be bothered to do things right. If caught paying a nanny illegally, nanny employers may have to pay back taxes and interest, as well as penalties for fraud and tax evasion.

Doing things right does take a little added effort, but when compared to the time, energy, and resources employers who get caught paying illegally must invest, the upfront added effort is well worth it.

Michelle LaRowe is the 2004 International Nanny Association Nanny of the Year and author of Nanny to the Rescue!, Working Mom’s 411 and A Mom’s Ultimate Book of Lists.

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10 Things Moms Love to Hear on Mother’s Day

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It is no secret that being a Mom is one of the hardest jobs there are. One day each year, we celebrate the special women in our lives with gifts and cards. However, the most precious gifts can be the words that we say. Here are ten of the things that all moms love to hear from their loved ones on Mother’s Day.

  1. That We Love Them – At the top of any mom’s list of favorite phrases is simply, “I love you.” These three words encapsulate all of the other things that they want and need to hear from the members of a family she works so hard to maintain.
  2. An Acknowledgment of Their Sacrifices – Every mother has a dream that got postponed or discarded altogether when she started her family; however, there are dozens of smaller sacrifices that must be made each day in order to keep things running smoothly. Letting her know that it is noticed when she puts the needs of everyone else above her own is sure to mean the world to her on her special day.
  3. That We Appreciate All They Do – Moms juggle so many different tasks throughout the day that the job seems almost impossible from the outside looking in. From making sure that everyone is fed and has clean clothes to getting everyone to their separate extracurricular activities on time, a mom’s job is never-ending.
  4. That They Are Doing a Great Job – Even the most confident moms need to hear that they’re doing a good job. Doubts can creep in, and there always seems to be an unflappable mom in playgroups that never appears to be ruffled or worried. Letting her know that she is doing a great job can be just the thing she needs to hear.
  5. “I’ll Handle the Housework Today” – The non-mom members of a household very rarely volunteer for chores or household tasks, so “let me do that” might be the best gift she gets all year. Whether it is preparing a meal or doing the dishes afterward, taking a bit off of Mom’s plate on Mother’s Day is a great way to show appreciation.
  6. That the Little Things Haven’t Gone Unnoticed – The thousands of little tasks, like remembering who doesn’t like broccoli and who needs a special night-light to sleep, make up the bulk of a mother’s work. On Mother’s Day, letting her know that those little things are noticed is another way of telling her that she’s loved and appreciated.
  7. “I Remember…” – Hearing that the members of her family, especially the smaller ones, have precious memories of moments spent together lets Mom know that she’s an important and loved part of everyone’s lives. Selecting a special moment and reliving it with her, especially one that she wouldn’t expect to be remembered, will melt her heart.
  8. The Ways They’re Making a Difference – Instead of issuing a blanket statement saying that she’s made a difference in the lives of those around her, try to find specific ways that they’re leaving a lasting impression on her children and spouse.
  9. That We Are Proud of Them – As kids get older, it’s natural for them to be embarrassed by their parents. Knowing that it’s a natural part of growing up, however, doesn’t ease the pain that comes with this development. Remember the time when Mom was your hero? Try to recapture that feeling on Mother’s Day and let her know that you’re proud of her and her accomplishments.
  10. That They Are Still “Cool” – In a sea of dirty laundry and over-scheduled kids, moms can begin to feel that they’re losing their own identity. Let her know that she’s still herself, and still just as “cool” as she was before she became Mom.

While these sentiments are great additions to any Mother’s Day gift, it’s important to remember that being a mom is a year-round job and deserves acknowledgment every day. Don’t save up all of your “thank you’s” and “I love you’s” for a single day of the year; let her know on not-so-special days, too!

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10 Ways for a New Nanny to Hit the Ground Running

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Starting any new career can be daunting, but there’s something especially intimidating about a nanny’s first post. In addition to the pressure of keeping your charges safe and happy, you may also feel some anxiety regarding your employers’ evaluation of your abilities. For brand new nannies ready to embark upon a rewarding and exciting career, here are ten tips to make sure that you get a strong start.

  1. Work Out Your Nanny Agreement – Before you report to your first day of work, you should sit down with your employers to draft and sign a written nanny agreement that outlines the expectations and responsibilities of both parties. Knowing exactly what’s expected of you and what you can expect of your new employers will make it easier for you to tackle your first day with confidence, rather than confusion.
  2. Do Your Research – Learn everything you can about your charges. Allergies, habits and eating habits are a great start; it’s also a good idea to ask about naptime routines and favorite comfort objects. Knowing that a screaming toddler will calm down when she’s presented with a  favorite blanket or stuffed animal can help you stay calm.
  3. Pack Your Own First Aid Kit – Live-in and live-out nannies alike might find it useful to pack a small first aid kit to have on hand in the event of a bump, bruise or scrape. The last thing you’ll want is to rummage through your employers’ cabinets and closets looking for bandages if one of your charges has a boo-boo.
  4. Establish Boundaries – Live-in nannies need to establish boundaries for their charges, their employers and themselves. Without them, children will wander freely through your quarters after hours and on your off days. The boundaries you set for yourself should help you to understand that, regardless of how emotionally attached you may become to your charges, they are not your children. In the end, your employers will expect you to instill the same values in their children that they do, even if you don’t share them.
  5. Hold Off on Outings – Trips to the zoo or the park can be just as much fun for Nanny as they are for the children, but it’s probably best to wait until you’ve all gotten to know one another better before packing everyone up and heading out. Even kids that you know well are sure to be unpredictable; taking new charges on outings in the first few weeks is just asking for trouble.
  6. Check Your Personal Baggage – Because being a good nanny requires every ounce of your attention, it’s great for helping you keep your mind off of your troubles. However, dwelling on those struggles can leave you distracted and on edge, which will invariably affect both your performance and your employers’ initial impression of you.
  7. Dress For Success – While dressing for success in the business world might mean a skirt and heels, that’s definitely not the case for nannies. Unless your employer specifies a uniform, choose comfortable, well-fitting clothes that you don’t mind getting a bit of dirt on.
  8. Be Prepared For Disagreements – Though it can be difficult to fathom during the first blush of a new post, there will be times when you disagree wholeheartedly with your employers. Even the best working relationships have the potential to hit a snag if these disagreements aren’t handled carefully; in the case of disputes arising from parenting techniques, it’s best to bite your tongue. Unless you feel that your charges are being abused, it’s important to remember that your employers make the rules regarding the parenting of their children.
  9. Create a Support System – Joining an online forum or a local group dedicated to nannies is a great idea; you’ll eventually need someone to vent to or bounce ideas of of, and the other members of the nannying community are a priceless resource in that regard.
  10. Have Fun – Being allowed to spend your days on fingerpainting, sing-a-longs and silly games is one of the biggest perks of working as a nanny. Don’t be afraid to let your hair down and have fun with your charges; everyone will benefit.

Above all, the most valuable advice a new nanny can receive is to expect the unexpected. There’s no predicting what your charges and their parents will come up with, and the days that follow your intended schedule will be rare. Being able to roll with the punches is one of the best skills a nanny can have to ensure her success.

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10 Signs of Heat Stroke in Children

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As summer time and warmer weather approaches it’s time to get educated on all things related to kids and heat. In proportion to adults, kids have more body fluids and they also can dehydrate faster than adult. This means that you need to be aware of the signs indicating that there is a problem. Keeping your kids hydrated is essential but you might not always be present to make sure they have proper fluid intake. Knowing what to look for in the event that your child suffers heat stroke is crucial. Some signs of heat stroke are listed below.

  1. Red flushed skin – If your child has been out in the heat for a while and has red, flushed skin, take notice because this could be a symptom of heat stroke. This is especially a concern if your child is not sweating and the skin is cold and clammy to the touch.
  2. High levels of anxiety – A classic symptom of heat stroke in children is an elevated level of anxiety. If your child is exhibiting this behavior, along with other symptoms, there is a problem. If your infant seems distressed and is crying constantly with no tears this could also be an indication of heat stroke.
  3. Nausea – If your child complains of a tummy ache be aware that many children experience nausea when heat stroke sets in. Infants will spit up frequently or vomit right after feeding if they are affected.
  4. Rise in body temperature – Along with the other symptoms your child will have a rapid rise in body temperature. One of the hallmarks of heat stroke in kids is a temperature of 103 or higher. Sometimes the temperature will go as high as 106.
  5. Disorientation – Heat stroke may cause the child to experience hallucinations. They believe that they are actually seeing the things that are appearing to them and they react. This is a common symptom of heat stroke. Infants may prove unresponsive or sluggish.
  6. Difficulty in breathing – Breathing may become difficult for a child who is in the throes of a heat stroke. Not to be confused with an asthma attack, but if this symptom occurs along with other symptoms you must act quickly.
  7. Rapid pulse – Another sign that your child is experiencing heat stroke and is in serious trouble is a rapid pulse.
  8. Severe headache – A severe headache could also indicate a problem with heat stroke. Sometimes headaches caused by heat stroke will be severe enough to cause the child to become unconscious.
  9. Loss of appetite – In addition to the other symptoms, children who are experiencing heat stroke have no appetite. Look for this combined with other symptoms such as the headache and nausea.
  10. Seizures – Without immediate medical help, the child could go into seizures. These could lead to coma and/or brain death, which demonstrate just how serious suffering from a case of heat stroke can be.

Heat strokes are a serious condition that can cause permanent damage or death. Should your child experience heat stroke, you can stabilize them by getting them to a cool area, giving them cold water and cooling them down with wet towels or spraying them with cool water. Even though the child may become stable for a short time, you still need to seek medical attention immediately so that proper treatment can be administered.


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10 Signs Your Child is About to Throw Up

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I’m pretty sure we all know the look of a child that’s getting ready to throw up, but what we may not know are some reasons that are the cause of the actual ‘event’.  Be warned: if your child suffers from any of the things listed below then you might be cleaning up vomit in the near future.  Check out 10 signs your child is about to throw up.

  1. Carsick: Not all children get carsick, but unfortunately some do.  The good thing is that some kids will eventually grow out of getting carsick…  I, however, wasn’t that lucky, but some people are.  If your child is moaning about an upset stomach while you are in the car this might be an indication of carsickness.  And while carsickness does not always lead to vomiting, it often does.  You can help your child by opening a window, telling them to look out the front windshield and not the side windows, and putting something cool on their forehead if you have anything with you.  Otherwise you might want to pull the car over.
  2. Indigestion: Sometimes vomiting can be caused by food not agreeing with you.  With kids it often happens when they try a new food or spicy food that they aren’t used to.  Giving them 7Up and some crackers may help them and these things can often be found right at the restaurant.  Otherwise you might need an extra doggie bag for the car ride home.
  3. Over eating: Many times kids will eat too much cake and candy at a birthday party and when that’s combined with all of the games and running around that they do you have a recipe for disaster.  Keeping an eye on what your child is eating at a party isn’t always easy, especially if you aren’t there.  Just let your child know when you drop them off to not eat too much junk food because it may make them sick.
  4. Amusement park ride: These are the worst.  Kids eat junk food at the amusement park and then go on these crazy rides that shake them all up and then they wonder why they got sick all over the people in front of them.  Not a nice picture I know, but let your kids know that they need to wait at least 30 minutes after eating before riding any crazy rides.
  5. Crying: I’m not talking about just any crying here, this is the crying where there is wailing involved.  The kind where your child is so upset that they are sobbing and gasping for air.  They get themselves all worked up and sometimes this will cause them to throw up.  Unfortunately there’s not really any way to avoid this because it’s not something you can plan ahead for.
  6. Coughing: This is probably the most common reason for a child to throw up besides the flu.  There’s something about kids when they cough where they can’t control their coughing.  The coughing gets worse and worse and it will often cause them to throw up.  Helping your child stop coughing before it gets to that point is the only preventative measure.  Try to get them to drink some water or pound them on the back.
  7. Illness: Everyone knows that kids throw up sometimes when they are sick.  It’s not all that much of a surprise, but to keep a child from throwing up again it’s a good idea to feed them only small amounts of food after the first time they throw up.  The best things to feed them are bananas, rice, applesauce, and dry toast.  If they keep a little food down for a while then give them a little more until you can be sure that they are going to keep it down.  Keep them on the BRAT diet for a day or two after the initial vomiting to avoid a setback.
  8. Ear infection: Sometimes ear infections can cause a child to throw up.  They lose their balance and get really dizzy with an ear infection and sometimes that dizzy feeling will cause them to vomit.  Just keep this in mind and have a bucket handy.
  9. Brushing teeth: When children are new to brushing their teeth or when they start brushing their tongue, they can inadvertently trigger their gag reflex and cause themselves to throw up.  Hopefully they are standing there right in front of the sink and they won’t make too big of a mess.  Just help them to realize that they can’t brush that far back.
  10. Nerves: If your child is performing in front of an audience for the first time they may have butterflies in their stomach and end up throwing up.  This can also happen before a big game in sports as well.  Keep an eye on your child and help them take some deep breaths to calm themselves.


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10 Ways to Tell Your Child is a Poor Loser

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Part of growing up is learning how to deal with adversity. It happens and, like it or not, we can’t always give out trophies to each of life’s participants. How a child handles losing is related to how they view competition, themselves and their peers. When too much emphasis is placed on winning, and self-esteem is too closely linked to whether they win or lose, a child can have difficulty accepting defeat.

The following are ten ways to tell if your child is a poor loser:

  1. Sulking: She will sulk or storm off if things don’t go her way. Losing is not something that she handles in stride. She may stay upset or sulky the rest of the day, or even longer. Giving into this behavior is the first step to a spoiled child.
  2. No winners: As a form of the old taking-my-marbles-and going-home pattern, he will leave when losing, taking the ball (or other key game object) with him. The message here is “If I can’t win, then no one else can either”.
  3. Fits: Your child cries or throws tantrums when faced with losing. Up to a certain age, it’s understandable for a toddler to express disappointment in such ways; but if it goes on too long, Houston, we’ve got a problem.
  4. Avoid: The child has a general tendency to avoid admitting mistakes. It may be that she’s gotten the message that being wrong, or failing, means being a failure. It is important for children to learn how to learn from their mistakes, not deny that they make any.
  5. Cheat: A child for whom losing is not a viable option may be willing to cheat in order to avoid it. Going out of turn, changing the rules mid-game, etc. If the child continues to play unfairly, they will soon be playing alone.
  6. Excuses: Excuse making is another trait common among children who can’t accept failure. Claims of unfairness or favoritism are often part of the mix. Children should be taught not to blame others for failure.
  7. Gloating: Gloating or ridiculing others when she wins is often the flip side of poor losing skills. Winning with aplomb is as important as losing gracefully. Remind the child to treat others as they would want to be treated.
  8. Shame: Another manifestation of poor losing is shame. When a child believes that their worth as a person is determined by whether they win or lose, then losing means having less worth. Assure your children that losing doesn’t change how you, or others, feel about them.
  9. Anger: Aggressive behavior, even outright violence, is exhibited by children who can’t deal with losing. A win-at-all-costs mentality drives the child to extreme behavior. Make sure the child knows that this is unacceptable and teach them more constructive ways of dealing with failure.
  10. Change: A child might repetitively switch activities, ostensibly in search of some recreational pursuit in which they can claim victory every time; or conversely, they may shy from all competitive pursuits, to avoid the trauma of losing altogether.

No matter what tactic the child chooses, they need to be taught how to deal with failure just as much as they are taught how to deal with success. No one is perfect, and we all fail at times. Learning from your mistakes is one of the cornerstones of maturity. Help children realize that failure is just another learning experience.

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10 Ways to Stand Up to Sad Puppy Dog Eyes

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“He has you wrapped around his little finger!” That was the comment so often made to the parent or adult who just couldn’t resist the big sad look of the child who knew how to melt the heart and cause a reversal of any decision deemed not to his liking. Fathers, mothers, grandpas and grandmas, (especially grandpas and grandmas) fall victim to the big pleading eyes of girls and boys of all ages all the time. Here are ten ways you can protect yourself from succumbing to sad puppy dog eyes.

  1. Don’t look – Avoid eye contact with the child. Say what you need to say and be firm. If you must look at your child then look sideways and not at those big beautiful, pleading eyes. Or…
  2. Make firm, direct eye contact – This takes resolve. Say what you need to say looking directly into the eyes of the child, then purse your lips, raise one eyebrow and resist all attempts your child makes to have you change your mind.
  3. Just say no – Or yes, or whatever it is you need to say and walk away. Should your child follow you just say, “That’s it. End of discussion” and don’t stop walking.
  4. Let them choose – Maybe your child just wants a choice if you are telling them to do something and they’re pleading with you to do something else. Give them a choice. They can either do what you are asking them to do or they can do some unpleasant task that needs to be done. Most times kids will choose the original request.
  5. Act dumb – Your child came to you with a request and your reply was not the desired answer. Puppy dog eyes begin pleading with you, but you look like you don’t understand what’s happening; you’re standing there with a quizzical look on your face, head cocked to one side then the other. It doesn’t take him long to figure out that you are not going to change your mind.
  6. Bargain – But this isn’t just any bargain. When your older child comes at you with the puppy dog eyes ready to spin you around that little finger, think of some job you really want done around the house. Give in, but only in exchange for something you want, like a clean garage or the windows washed. And if they don’t like the deal, give them the puppy dog eyes.
  7. Reflect the image – Go get a mirror and hold it up to the child’s face. If nothing else, it redirects their thought pattern!
  8. Sympathize – “Aw sweetie, Mommy would really like to let you go to the park, but….no means no. Sorry. Maybe we can go tomorrow.” Let your child know that what they want to do just isn’t going to work in the present moment, but later on is a possibility. No doesn’t necessarily mean never.
  9. Ignore the child – Sometimes if you ignore them they will go away. Sometimes. Just make sure they don’t go too far away and get into trouble!
  10. Give in – Face it, sometimes that look is so precious and the request so minor that you just have to give in. It won’t be the end of the world. But if you do cave, let your little one know that this is an exception and not the rule. And next time choose one of the above responses and stand firm!


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10 Situations Where Adults Often Model Bad Behaviors to Kids

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As parents I know we like to think that we do no wrong, but have you ever thought about the fact that kids learn by example?  How many times a day would you say that you get after your kids about something?  Where are they learning those behaviors?  I know we’d like to think that they get it from their friends, but I think if you really thought about it that you might find that they are getting their bad examples from you.  Check out 10 situations where adults often model bad behaviors to kids.

  1. Texting while driving: I know I’m guilty of this.  I think that I only read a text while I’m driving, but I write back when I’m stopped at the stoplight.  Do you think the kids know the difference?  The slight nuance of only texting while you are stopped?  Or do they just see your cell phone in your hand?  If we want our kids to be safe when they become drivers we have to model responsible texting behaviors now.
  2. Road rage: Unfortunately I am very guilty of this one.  I’m always yelling at drivers when they do things that irritate me.  I try not to use profanity when the kids are in the car with me, but I know they are listening because I’ve heard my then six year old telling the driver of the car in front of me to get out of our way because we’re in a hurry.  At the time I think I told her that only the driver gets to do that.  But I was thinking that I was not setting a very good example for my kids.
  3. Playing a game: How many times have you gotten upset when you were playing a game as a family?  This can range from calling each other punk when they play the third draw card in a row while playing Uno to refusing to play the game anymore because you lost.  I’ve seen both of these and many more.  It’s important to remember that it’s just a game and it doesn’t really matter.  If your kids see you losing your cool over a simple card game then how can we get upset with them when they do the same thing at school or with their friends?
  4. Kids Sporting Event: Parents can get so riled up over a what they perceive to be a bad call at a soccer game, football game, insert sport here game that it’s unreal.  We were at a soccer tournament with my 10 year old son.  The parents of the other team got so upset at the officials that the off-duty police officers had to come and escort them to their next game.  They were yelling at our parents as well and it was all we could do to get all of our parents out of there before it came to blows.  The kids saw this happen and we wonder why you see poor sportsmanship on the field.
  5. Waiting in line: Some people are very time intolerant.  They would rather do almost anything other than stand in a long line.  It’s not my favorite way to spend my time either, but it doesn’t bother me.  What kind of behavior are you modeling for your kids when you keep complaining that the line is too long and this is all a big waste of time etc.?  You need to act like you would want them to act.
  6. Eating out: I think we’d all like to think we are raising kids who treat everyone fairly and courteously.  But what kind of example are you setting when you get upset with the waitress for messing up your order?  I’ve seen people get really angry with wait staff if their food is taking too long or if their order is wrong.  First of all, keep in mind that your children are watching you verbally abuse this stranger over food.  Secondly, keep in mind that that person that you are yelling at did not make the food.  They just brought it out to you.  And even if they put the order in wrong, I don’t think any of us can say that we’ve never made a mistake.
  7. Smoking: Every time an adult picks up a cigarette they are modeling bad behavior.  Cigarettes are poison and very unhealthy.  Again, kids learn by example so if you smoke what makes you think that they won’t start that bad habit too?
  8. Drinking excessively: Many times adults will over indulge at home or at a party.  Their kids see them acting in a weird way.  Kids have no idea why mommy or daddy is acting this way.  This can be very scary for kids and it doesn’t send a great message to the kids.  It gives them the idea that to have a good time you need to drink large amounts of alcohol.
  9. Yelling: We don’t want our children to yell at their teacher or us do we?  I’m pretty sure we don’t even want them to yell at each other.  When we yell at our children we are modeling bad behavior.  Again, kids learn by example.
  10. Hitting: It never ceases to amaze me that parents are surprised that their kids hit other kids at the park.  “I just don’t know why Johnny just hit your daughter?  He’s never been a hitter.”  No, but I’m sure that Johnny has been swatted a time a two since the first thing this mom did was smack him on the butt for hitting my child.  I wonder where he got the idea that hitting was the thing to do.


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10 Common Medications your Child Should Never Take

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Parents want to do everything they can to help their sick child feel better, but they need to be very careful about giving them medications. Many medicines are made for adults only and never should be given to a young child or baby. Even some medications specifically made for children can be dangerous if given improperly or in the wrong dosages. Before giving any medicine to your kids, please review these 10 common medications your child should never take.

  1. Aspirin – The number one medication to avoid using for kids is aspirin since it’s been linked to Reye’s syndrome. Although most parents know this, they may not be aware of all the products that contain aspirin. Check the ingredients of all medications before giving them to children to make sure they don’t contain aspirin.
  2. Vicks – A common home remedy to relieve congestion in infants was to put Vicks on the baby’s feet or chest. This is no longer recommended for kids under 2 since several children ended up in the hospital with respiratory problems. Never put Vicks around a child’s nose or let them swallow it because it can harm their eyes and is poisonous.
  3. Antihistamines – Many cold medicines contain antihistamines like diphenhydramine or loratidine that have been found to be ineffective for treating cold symptoms in children. Why give your kids something that could cause more harm than good? You should only give children antihistamines if they are prescribed by your pediatrician for allergies.
  4. Sudafed – This common decongestant has also been found to be ineffective for relieving cold symptoms in children. Since Sudafed has no proven benefit for common viral illnesses, it’s generally not worth the potential side effects of irritability, restlessness and nervousness.
  5. Cough medicines – Coughing is how a body clears out the lungs, so cough suppressants are never a good idea for children. You’re much better off treating the underlying cause of the coughing than trying to stop it. You should always check with a doctor before giving your child a cough medicine.
  6. Pepto-Bismol – This common remedy for stomach discomfort and diarrhea should never be given to young children since it contains aspirin. Using Pepto-Bismol to relieve vomiting or diarrhea can definitely do more harm than good.
  7. Alka-Seltzer – Another product that contains aspirin is Alka-Seltzer, so your child should never take this medication. The information on the box clearly indicates that it’s not recommended for children under the age of 12.
  8. Sleeping pills – Most sleeping pills and PM medications contain diphenhydramine which, as previously noted, is not recommended for children. Although this antihistamine is commonly used to cause drowsiness, in children it can have the opposite effect and cause them to become restless, irritable and have difficulty sleeping.
  9. Antibiotics – Although antibiotics have been routinely prescribed for viral infections, the risk can outweigh the benefits. They will not cure or shorten the duration of the illness and overexposure to antibiotics has lead to the development of drug-resistant bacteria.
  10. Pseudoephedrine – This nasal decongestant is a common ingredient in children’s cough and cold medications and is not recommended for children under the age of 2. Pseudoephedrine has never been shown to have any beneficial effect yet it can have significant harmful effects.

Parents should read labels of all OTC (over the counter) medications for the recommended children’s dosages. They will clearly state which drugs are intended for adults and not for children under the age of 12. Also check the ingredients listed to make sure they don’t contain aspirin or any of the other medications that can be dangerous to children. Kids will get sick, but it’s important to remember that common illnesses are only temporary. It’s much better to be safe than sorry and give your child something that will only make them feel worse.

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