So you have just found yourself a nanny
maybe through an agency, on-line job listing service or a friend. Great news! It is such a relief to finally get the help you need in the home.
To ensure a home runs smoothly, there is a little more work to do! Every nanny, no matter how many years of experience - needs “training”. Here are some guidelines to help you:
1) Create an employment handbook agreement
between you and your nanny stipulating every detail of your job offer so that everyone is clear as it relates to: Job Description, Payment Terms, Payroll, Benefits, Schedules, Travel Requirements, Insurance, Notice, Termination, and Severance.
2) Create a list of duties
and important to you as it relates to the children using these categories: Nourishment, Play Dates, Outdoor Activities, Indoor Activities, Educational Activities, Sleep & Nap Time, Bathing, Discipline, Household Chores, Schedules, Driving, Home Safety, Child Safety, Dos & Don’ts, Communication Protocol, and Emergency Procedures.
3) Review this manual carefully with your nanny.
This may require several hours of your time, but it is well worth it.
4) Have a weekly review session
until your nanny is completely acclimated and you are comfortable that she knows exactly what to do and what is expected of her.
5) Update this manual monthly
as this is a “work in progress” and as issues come up, there will be adjustments.
6) Maintain a very close and open line of communication
with your nanny at all times as it relates to: your children, the home, issues that need to be addressed, changes to the manual and any other concerns that may come up.
There are no guarantees that you have selected the right nanny for the job, but surely proper training with implementation of a household manual to serve as a guide, there is a good chance that things will go well! Http://www.MartaPerrone.com
Although I do not indulge in sodas, when Mayor Bloomberg announced that New Yorkers will not be permitted to drink sugary soft drinks in servings larger than 16 ounces, I thought it was probably better for those who cannot control their intake of soda. Yet, telling restaurants what they can and cannot serve is not helping business.
Now Bloomberg is looking to control what new moms fed their newborns by encouraging city hospitals to limit access to baby formula. Granted, breastfeeding has tremendous benefits for mom and child. However, it can be difficult for those moms who struggle to latch on or who have physical problems of their own. Restricting access to formula sends a message that you must choose "one or the other" when in fact many mothers combine breast-feeding with formula.
Frankly I agree with Carrie Lukas who writes in the Wall Street Journal: "Micromanagement is not an appropriate use of government power, and it's an insult to a free people."
Leave parenting to parents!
- Play Hard, Play Safe! Exercising is a wonderful way for kids (and adults) to enhance their health and to improve their physical abilities. But exercise always comes with the risk of injury or harmful stress on the body. Here are a few tips to help a child exercise safely.
- Dress in the Proper Clothing If a child is participating in outdoor activities, he should dress for the temperature and humidity. In cold weather, dress your child in layers, so that as his body temperature rises, he can take off one layer at a time. In hot weather, he should wear thin, light-colored clothing. In all weather conditions, don't forget to apply sunscreen. Socks and shoes are important as well. Make sure that a child's shoes are appropriate for his activity, since different shoes serve different purposes. For example, a running shoe absorbs shock differently than a tennis shoe. The child's socks should be able to absorb moisture from his feet and provide good cushioning.
- Wear Protective Gear According to the National SAFE KIDS Campaign, more than 3 million children experience sports- and recreation-related injuries in the United States each year. Many of these injuries can be prevented with the use of proper equipment. Make sure that a child is wearing all the recommended forms of protective gear for her activity. This may include a helmet, goggles, shin guards, a chest protector, or knee and elbow pads. If you are unsure of what equipment is recommended, ask your pediatrician.
- Drink Fluids Children should drink a glass of water about 15 minutes before they start exercising. If they're exercising in a warm environment, they should drink a large, lukewarm glass of water every 20 minutes during the activity. Lack of water can cause dehydration. Possible signs of dehydration include nausea and lethargy. If you ignore these signs, the body may go into heat exhaustion or heatstroke.
- Warm Up Warming up prepares the muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, and the heart for the exercise that will follow. Children can generally warm up more quickly than adults, simply by running in place and breathing deeply for a few minutes. They should then slowly and gently rehearse the motions of the exercise for a few minutes, gradually building up speed, force, and intensity.
- Cool Down Cooling down properly is just as important as warming up. Give a child a few minutes to slow down her motions and lessen her intensity before stopping the exercise altogether. Wait until her skin is dry and cool to the touch before taking her into a cold, air-conditioned room, giving her ice-cold drinks, or getting her in the shower.
Sources: National SAFE KIDS Campaign; American Medical Association
INA Urges Nannies, Parents, and Placement Agencies to Follow Water Safety Guidelines
Since the 2010 tragic drowning incident in Long Island, New York
, that involved a nanny and the toddler in her care, INA has committed to sending an annual reminder to nannies, parents and agencies that only child care providers who have the proper training should take children swimming or near large bodies of water like a pool, lake or ocean.
INA recommends that children are only to be taken swimming by a nanny if she is a lifeguard, if she has successfully completed a credible water safety and rescue course, or if there is a lifeguard present.
INA recommends that any child care provider who works in a home where there is a large body of water present be properly trained in water safety and rescue.
To find an American Red Cross Water Safety and Rescue course in your area, visit http://www.redcross.org
Kids love toys of every shape and size, there’s no doubt about it. But not all children are alike and not all kids like the same things. When buying a gift for any child, it’s important to consider if the child will enjoy the gift. The same holds true when buying a gift for a blind or visually impaired child. Fortunately, there is an amazing array of toys that have been specially designed or modified for sight challenged kids so that they are able to enjoy many of the same toys as those who were blessed with good vision. There are also many popular toys that both blind and sighted children enjoy. Check out these 10 great toys for sight challenged kids.
- Let’s Rock Elmo: Let’s Rock Elmo is an interactive toy that sings and plays music. The toy comes with various instruments that Elmo and the children can play together. Let’s Rock Elmo does not have to be purchased through a specialty store and can be purchased at most large retailers. Make sure to install the batteries before you give the toy to the child so that they can start playing with it immediately.
- Braille Learning Doll: The Braille Learning Doll is a specialty doll that is available through several different vendors, including Enable Mart. There are 6 buttons on the stomach of the doll which allows the child to make all braille letters. This is an educational gift that will help the child learn Braille.
- Board games: A company called Maxi Aids offers a large line of standard board games that have been modified to work for sight challenged kids. Some of the games include Checkers games that have high contrast color pieces, Scrabble games that have large print tiles and boards, and Monopoly that comes in a large print edition. Since both sight and blind people can play these games, it can help foster inclusion.
- Bop It/Bop It XT: Bop It is a fantastic game that a child can play alone or with friends. The Bop It gives verbal commands that tell you to bop it, twist it, pull it and shake it. Once the child knows where the different parts of the game are they should be able to play by listening to the verbal cues. There are many different games within the Bop It toy and there are different levels of play as well. This is a great game for the whole family.
- Dolls: If you buy a doll, make sure that it plays to more than one sense. There are dolls that talk and play music that a blind child may enjoy. Dolls with texture can be great for visually impaired children too. Look for clothes that have patches or embroidery on them so that the child can tell the difference between her dolls and doll accessories.
- Stuffed animals: Everyone loves a nice soft stuffed animal to hug, but to make this toy even better for a sight challenged child you may want it to engage more senses. Choosing different types of stuffed toys, like ones stuffed with beans, crinkly paper and batting can help engage additional senses. The texture of the animal is important too. Maybe it’s a lion and it has a long haired fuzzy mane, soft fur on the back, and a long tail. All of those things will make the toy more fun for a sight challenged child.
- Braille games: Maxi-Aids also makes card games like Uno, Phase 10 and Dominos that all come equipped with Braille cards. While the child can often feel how many dots are on a domino they can’t tell what color it is without some help from the Braille dots.
- Audio Dart Master: This dart game has a texturized board that the sight challenged person can feel prior to play. The rest of the game is played by audio commands. The board calls out the player’s name and score, and will even give off a signal to help a sight challenged player aim for the bulls-eye. It’s available at audiodartmaster.com.
- Wikkistix: This is a very useful gift because it’s a toy, a craft, and is useful for marking things for sight challenged kids. Wikkistix are sticky string-like sticks that come in various colors and can be bent and wound around anything. Kids can make creatures to play with or create greeting cards. The Wikkistix can even be used to teach shapes and to label things like a keyboard.
- Rib-it-Ball: Someone was really thinking when they created the Rib-it-Ball. The ball has sections of bright colors so it’s easier to see for sight challenged kids. The ribs stick out so that it’s easy to catch and the ribs crinkle like paper so it’s easy to hear when it’s being thrown to you. This ball will help with muscle control and hand/eye coordination.
One of the most important things you can do when picking a gift is to find out what the child enjoys. Keep these toys in mind the next time you are on the hunt for the best gift for a sight challenged child in your life.Source: http://www.nationalnannies.com
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
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.
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