The iPad has become the new babysitter
. As of now, 52% of kids between ages five and eight, 39% between two and four, and 10% of infants have figured out how to swipe and pinch their way through a variety of touch screen activities.
Obviously, parents and experts are starting to worry.
A recent article
in the Wall Street Journal
points out that, while a certain amount of research has been done on the effects of television on children, the impact of devices like the iPad are still unclear. One reason for this may be that children have a much easier time engaging with tablets than TV screens. Touch screen devices have been shown to help young children learn. For example, one study showed significant improvements on vocabulary tests by children as young as three who used an educational iPod Touch app.
Experts agree that many adults and children overuse technology, even if they aren't addicted to it. There is no question that TVs out of children's bedrooms help prevent kids under three from watching any TV. Other children can have rationed "screen time." Now the latest is that a growing number of restaurants are using or testing small interactive computer screens at the table. Diners can see glossy pictures of food, order menu items and pay the check without a waiter. Some of these devices also offer video games. For
families who would attempt to have conversation at the table (which can be next to impossible while trying to keep children from disturbing the dining experience for themselves and others) now they may have other things to distract children and keep everyone from talking.The real question is how much time should children and all of us be engaging with computers and other screens?http://www.MartaPerrone.com
Eva Longoria actually tried to defend a series she had agreed to co-produce about Latinas cast as housekeepers. But, in the process, the Mexican-American television star came across as, well, desperate.
The program -- "Devious Maids, which was set to debut this fall on ABC -- was, if you'll excuse the expression, the brainchild of Marc Cherry. One would expect more from the creator of the hit show "Desperate Housewives," which starred Longoria and recently wrapped up its final season.
Casting Latinas as maids isn't much of a stretch creatively. In fact, Lupe Ontiveros, a Mexican-American actress from an earlier generation, estimates that she has played a maid on screen as many as 300 times.
Fortunately, in a burst of good taste and common sense, ABC decided not to pick up the series.
Based on the popular Mexican telenovela "The Disorderly Maids of the Neighborhood," it would have revolved around four women who worked as maids in Beverly Hills. The maids were to have been played by actresses Judy Reyes, Ana Ortiz, Dania Ramirez and Roselyn Sanchez. Susan Lucci of "All My Children" was slated to play one of the rich employers.
When critics sounded off, Longoria got defensive.
"They are the leads of the show, and they are playing maids, which is a realistic reflection of our society today in America," she told the Huffington Post. "When we get any sort of backlash for -- 'Oh, they're playing the stereotypical maids' -- my immediate response is, 'So you're telling me those stories aren't worth telling, that those people are lesser than, that their stories aren't worth exploring, that they have no complexity in their life because they're a maid?"'
A realistic reflection? Seriously?
Longoria needs a new mirror. I don't know what society she lives in. But in the one I'm familiar with, Latinas are reflected in the medical and legal professions, run major corporations and huge nonprofit organizations, and excel in a variety of fields ranging from education
to academia to media to law enforcement.
This gives me an idea. Listen up, ABC. You want to feature Latinas in lead roles? Glad to hear it. I'd like to propose a new television series about the adventures of four Latinas. One is a Supreme Court justice (Sonia Sotomayor). One is the CEO
of Girl Scouts of the USA (Anna Maria Chavez). One is the governor of New Mexico (Susana Martinez). And one is the co-owner of the Colorado Rockies, a major league baseball team (Linda Alvarado).
As for Longoria's burning desire to tell the stories of housekeepers (not to mention, make a fortune, if the show were successful), "Devious Maids" wasn't exactly a documentary. This was going to be a weekly television show played for laughs with sexy Latinas who would probably spend much of their time trying to avoid the advances of their male bosses. This sort of mind candy might keep viewers amused and entertained. But how does it help explore the "complexity" of being a maid? It doesn't.
Defenders of the proposed series were quick to compare it to the acclaimed film
"The Help," which told the compelling stories of African-American women working as maids in Mississippi at the start of the civil rights movement.
There is a big difference between the two projects. By the time that audiences were exposed to "The Help," they had already seen, over the years, African-Americans on screen cast in roles ranging from police detectives to university professors to federal judges. So viewers knew that being a housekeeper wasn't the extent of the experience of African-American women.
Unfortunately, you can't say that about Latinas at this point. Longoria said it herself. In her view, anyone who casts Latinas as maids is just being "realistic."
We can do better. Latinos represent 16 percent of the U.S. population, on their way to an estimated 25 percent by 2040. Yet, according to data
obtained by the Screen Actors Guild, Latinos only get about 4 percent of television roles. And this includes guest appearances where a character has only one line. It's pathetic. But then, you'll have to excuse the television studios. They're hampered by geography. They're based in Los Angeles, and where would you find Latinos there? Oh yeah. At half the population of the city, just about all over town.Source: Ruben Navarrette speaks out about Eva Longoria's
"Devious Maids"My thoughts are that there is a place for these stories whether with humor or in a documentary. Certainly, there many Latinas who have achieved further education and work in other professions
; however, working as a professional housekeeper is not just a job. It can pay between $20-25 per hour and requires a tremendous amount of responsibility. The unfortunate aspect to working as "maid" is people's perception of the role, whether it is a Latina or an Afro-American doing the job.http://www.MartaPerrone.com
Everyone is struck by someone who has suffered the dreadful disease named "cancer". In the last 3 months, well known friends have lost their lives much too soon, and another is soon to go. There are many thoughts that run through your mind when you lose a close friend. Primarily, you revert to thoughts such as, what if it happened to me. We all have our time clock, and perhaps it can be comforting for those of us who are fatalists to believe our death is written in our destiny the day we are born.
The poet Stanley Plumly gave readers "Posthumous Keats" an award-winning prose meditation on the great English Romantic poet's life and death. "Orphan Hours" sheds light on the topic of mortality addressing the disease from a cosmic perspective.
"Mine, I know started at a distance
five hundred and twenty light-years away
and fell as stardust into my sleeping mouth,
yesterday, at birth, or that time when I was ten
lying on my back looking up at the cluster
called the Beehive or by its other name
in the constellation Cancer,
the crab, able to move its nebulae projections
backward and forward, side to side,
in the tumor Hippocrates describes as carcinoma,
from karkinos, the analogue, in order to show what being cancer looks like.
Star, therefore, to start, like waking on the best day of your life
to feel this living and immortal think inside you.
You were in love, your were a saint,
you were going to walk the sunlight blessing water,
you were almost word for word forever.
The crown, the thrown, the thorn
now to see the smoke shining in the mirror,
the long half dark of dark down the hallway inside it.
Now to see what wasn't seen before:
the old loved landscape fading from the window,
the druid soul within the dyying tree,
the depth of blue coloring the cornflower,
the birthday-ribbon river of a road,
and the young man who resembles you
opening a door in the half-built house
you helped your father build,
saying, in your voice, come forth.
In memory of Jean Eiseman, Noela Dantes, Paulette Tashneck
While having a written work agreement may seem like a simple formality between a nanny and employer, the reality is a written work agreement is essential for a successful employment arrangement. In fact, in some jurisdictions, a written work agreement may actually be required. There are many reasons why a written nanny/employer work agreement is essential.
These include: Reason 1.
A written work agreement establishes a professional relationship between the nanny and the employer from the start of the relationship. When a written work agreement is executed, the employer, employee relationship is formally created. Reason 2.
A written work agreement spells out the logistics of employment. From the nanny’s role and responsibilities, to who is responsible for withholding payroll taxes, to the nanny’s salary and benefits package, a work agreement outlines each of the parties’ duties, responsibilities and expectations. Reason 3.
A written work agreement gives you something to refer back to when questions arise. How many times has a nanny gone home on a Friday night thinking she has the Monday holiday off, only to get a phone call Monday morning from her employer asking where she is? A written work agreement allows you to say “Let’s look at what we agreed to” when questions about holidays, paid time off, or other topics arise. Reason 4.
A written work agreement foresees possible situations and outlines how they will be handled. What happens if the family decides to move across the country a few months after they have hired their nanny? Who pays the insurance deductible if the nanny is in a car accident while on duty? A written work agreement addresses how things like early termination, insurance coverage and deductibles and relocation will he handled. Reason 5.
A written work agreement may remove you from at-will status. In at-will states, workers can be fired for any reason at anytime, provided the reason is not illegal. A written work agreement that includes a specific start and end date may override a nanny’s at-will status. However, if the written work agreement cites that a nanny may be fired for cause, no cause or for specific reasons, she can still be fired according to the terms in her agreement. Reason 6.
A written work agreement offers proof of employment terms. Perhaps a nanny is forced to quit her job because her employer changed her role or responsibilities drastically. Or maybe the nanny’s employer didn’t pay her portion of state payroll taxes, although the employer agreed to. What if a nanny claims her employer was supposed to be withholding her portion of state payroll taxes, but her employer never agreed to do so? Having written documentation of the employment terms can protect both the nanny and employer when sticky situations arise. Reason 7.
A written work agreement provides clarity to both the employer and employee on crucial issues. Unlike with a verbal agreement that may be subject to the memory of each party, with a written agreement, there is no question as to what both parties agreed to. A written work agreement should spell out things like house rules, daily responsibilities and duties, pay periods, tax responsibilities, pay and benefits packages, sick days, personal days, holidays off, the nanny’s start date, end date, weekly schedule and more. Reason 8.
A written work agreement is legally binding. A written work agreement, or contract, is enforceable in court. So if an employer doesn’t allow her nanny to take the agreed upon vacation time or if the nanny quits without giving the two weeks’ notice that was agreed upon, legal action can be taken. Reason 9.
A written work agreement serves as a starting point for negotiating. Each year, both the nanny and employer should review the written work agreement and evaluate if it needs to be changed or altered. Even if no changes are needed, a new written work agreement should be executed. Reason 10.
A written work agreement articulates household and employment policies. If a nanny wakes up with a stomach bug and can’t get into work, knowing how and when to notify her employer can help ease anxiety for the nanny and allow enough time for the employer to secure back-up care, should it be needed.
While there are many reasons to have a written nanny/employer agreement, there is really no good reason not to. Take the time to do things right and lay everything out on the table. That way there are no surprises and everyone knows what to expect. A healthy working relationship is vital.SOURCE: ENANNYSOURCE.COM
When we arrive on Memorial Day holiday we know one thing....this year is going by very fast because we are practically six months in. Holidays are wonderful in that we all look forward to them because they mean one thing....time off from work, at least for the majority of people. This one in particular seems to be most significant especially in the face of our troops who have fought a long hard war in Iraq and continue to fight for our freedom across the world. May we never forget what it means to be an American.
Once we pay our respects in thought and prayer, the next thought for may revert to holiday pay. This is certainly not a question for those working in a postal, bank or corporate setting, but for private service industry employees, clearly there are doubts. As it stands, in spite of the fact that domestic agencies make it a point to instruct their clients that providing a minimum of 6 paid major holidays is standard for our industry, the truth is that employees cannot be guaranteed of this unless they have it in a work agreement. When an agency is not involved, it will be up to the employee to ensure that he/she gets a benefit package that meets their approval. Otherwise, the likelihood is that when the holiday arrives, the employee will be there waiting and hoping or simply expecting. This can definitely be a source of contention between employers and employees if these points are not discussed and settled prior to beginning employment.
Happy Memorial Day!
When I teach we often discuss the issue of "crossing boundaries" anywhere from on the interview all the way up to being on the job and getting a wee bit too comfortable. In an employee/employer situation there are many ways to cross that line regrettably wishing to reverse the action or crawl in a hole somewhere.
What prompted me to bring this out again is how a prospective candidate greeted me when I first saw her walk into my office. Here is how the discussion went:
"Hi, my name is >>>>>>. Wow you look really good for your age. Did you have any plastic surgery?"
Surely, I was feeling somewhat good by the fact she thought I looked good "for my age" but what did that mean? How did she find out my age, and why was she so inquisitive? Then to suggest surgery...... Furthermore, she didn't leave it at that comment. Since I did not respond and simply smiled, she proceeded to bring it up again later in my interview. All right, now this is ridiculous. I immediately thought to myself, this is one bold woman who would most likely not work out well in a household environment where privacy issues and crossing boundaries are potential grounds for being fired.
So here is the list, as promised:
Don't ask personal questions of the person who is conducting the interview.
Don't divulge personal information that is not relevant to your getting hired.
Don't borrow money or ask for a cash advance from your employer, especially during the first week of employment.
Don't borrow personal items, even if just for one day.
Don't assume that you can take the children anywhere without asking the parents' permission.
Don't assume that you know how to care for something in the home unless you really know what you are doing.
Don't get involved in a quarrel that doesn't involve you.
Don't form strong opinions and insist that you are right unless your opinion is requested.
Don't become so close to the children causing you to announce "they are like my own"
Don't undermine the decisions mad by the parents
Don't proselytize - keep your religious views private
Don't discuss politics
Don't become best friends with your employers
Bottom line - keep your relationship PROFESSIONAL AT ALL TIMES.
No, I did not have the facelift she suggested, but I am thinking about it.
When I was a child, we had toys but certainly not the quantity that most children receive today. Our parents also forced us to play outside (so as not to dirty the house). Being a girl, I took my dolls and created scenarios with them which transcended to writing plays and eventually putting puppet shows on for the neighborhood. My brother was much more involved with army games as I dodged his pretend gunfire. There are so many video and computer games to distract and entertain children for hours upon hours. In spite of helping them with their motor skills, this isn't really forcing children to be creative and imaginative.
Tinkering, however does help children think about ways to create new objects. If you provide children (age appropriate) with these tools, left alone (while staying vigilant), you will open up their minds and enable creativity and imagination.Here are some things that can go in the "invention box":
- Duct tape
- PVC pipe
- Bubble Wrap
- Old Electronics
- Hot Glue
- Old Toy Parts
- Old Stuffed Animals
- Old Game Pieces
- Rope, String, Twine
- Rubber Bands
- Old Flashlights
- Cardboard Boxes
- Recyclables - jars, lids and bottles
Pulling children away from the computer and those video games so that they can exercise other parts of their brains will also help them gain confidence about their abilities to invent something unique, useful and creative.http://www.Martaperrone.com
Age discrimination is particularly a sensitive issue, especially now that I have reached the over 55 point in my life. Being in the recruitment business since late 80’s, the question of age is often brought up by clients seeking household help. It should only be a question of experience, a legitimate concern when your responsibilities include caring for children and maintaining valuable homes. Yet, it isn’t only about one’s skills and talents that are being discussed. There is no doubt that an older individual even highly educated and experienced, will not be considered for most positions.
What is completely wrong about this notion is that the seasoned veterans are usually the most qualified. One of these professionals recently interviewed with a client and shared her experience as follows:
“I understood perfectly when you mentioned at this job there was a toddler and a newborn baby forthcoming, and that this would be a full charge position. I know this means besides working as a nanny, it would include housekeeping, cooking, doing errands, etc. As you know, I am more than capable of doing all of this. However, the lady was very rude! I gave her my resume, references, diplomas, etc. especially the ones from UCLA regarding my Early Childhood transcripts. She did not look at any of this; she barely read my resume.
Then she looked at me and said, "How old are you?” I said, “59” Then she said, "Do you think you will be able to do this work? Do you think you will have enough energy?”
At this point her husband interrupted her; he noticed how badly she made me feel. It wasn't a pleasant meeting.
Don't worry, we have to deal with many personalities, it is what it is. Let's turn the page. I hope you will have a better interview for me in the future. Thank you.”
There are many unfortunate aspects to this message. First and foremost, my candidate, who is very experienced did not get hired and was also humiliated. To think that all these years of hard work building a career, only to be shot down in a matter of 5 minutes as though none of it mattered.
Surely we must all be aware of our appearance and efforts to look good and maintain our health. Sometimes it includes, losing a few pounds, cutting our hair and hiding some of the grey. We all know that our levels of energy change a bit after 50, so we must exercise more and take better care of ourselves. Ironically, this candidate did all that; she looks terrific and has unbelievable energy. As for the client, she passed up on a wonderful candidate and is very lucky that she isn’t being sued under current law in the United States for age discrimination.
There are many new mops in town, and everyone that mops is searching for that perfect one to do the job swiftly and efficiently. Lately, I became a proponent of BONA because I loved the microfiber re-useable pads and found the cleaning solution to work well. However, most recently, I have been better informed by several veteran housekeepers who do it the ole fashion way. So I tried it.
Here is what you need:
· Good cleaning solution
· Sponge mop that swivels
· Terry cloths the size of a hand towel
Here are the steps:
1. Sweep/vacuum area to pick up excess debris
2. Run very hot water into a clean bucket and put on those gloves to protect your hands and nails
3. Pour a good cleaning solution for the type of floor you are cleaning
4. Submerge a terry cloth in the bucket, wring tightly and then wrap it around the sponge mop
5. Scrub vigorously and then put cloth back into the bucket and wring it again
6. Do small sections at a time
7. Have several other terry cloths available so that you do not re-use a dirty one
8. With very dirty floors, you will need to change the water several times
9. Go over floor again if necessary
10. Finally dry the floor with a buff cloth.
Most nannies and their employers work and are paid on a set weekly schedule; however, from time to time the family will require additional hours from their nanny. Legally, nannies are entitled to additional compensation for additional hours worked, and live out nannies, at a minimum, are entitled to the overtime differential (1.5 times the hourly rate) for hours worked over 40 in a work week.
In New York, Domestic Workers United (an in-home caregivers advocacy group) recently established a help line for nannies
, housekeepers, and their employers to explain New York's labor laws surrounding overtime for household employees. In California, affiliated worker advocacy groups have been actively organizing and educating their constituencies about California labor laws for in-home caregivers. Many employers, accustomed to being exempt, salaried workers professionally, neglect to pay their nanny or housekeeper accrued overtime. This is a risky proposition for the family. The convergence of Federal and State wage and hour enforcement efforts (an Obama administration priority), and the well organized educational outreach efforts of DWU and it's affiliates, raise the risk to the household employer that a disgruntled employee will file a Wage and Hour grievance. The consequences include awards of back pay, penalties, interest and attorney's fees.
Families are advised to side step these risks and follow best practices that include:
- Have a written compensation agreement with their household employees that includes wages stated in hourly rate terms.
- Maintain accurate and contemporaneous time tracking records.
- Track and include overtime hours in the periodic payroll.
- Provide the employee with documentation of the periodic payroll calculation, including weekly hours worked, hours paid at the regular rate, hours paid at the overtime rate as well as applicable tax deductions. This is legally required in some circumstances! HWS clients who have any questions about their employee's payroll and time tracking are invited to call their representative to discuss their specific circumstances and best practices.
* Many states have customized overtime payment schemes - know your state's rules or call your HWS account representative to discuss your situation.Source: Kathy Webb www.4nannytaxes.comhttp://www.MartaPerrone.com