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Nanny No-No’s and How to Spot Them

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Interviewing potential nannies can be a stressful experience. You have a wish list longer than the kids in Mary Poppins and know you’ll have to compromise in some areas, but everyone has their deal breakers. Or perhaps you’ve already found your dream caretaker, but something feels off. You don’t want a revolving door of people entering your children’s lives, but you need to make sure your values and your children’s safety is not compromised.

Here are a few nanny “no-no’s” and how you can spot them before any damage is done.

The Textaholic

When there are infants or toddlers involved who don’t exactly have a big vocabulary to share their observations while you’re away, a lot can be swept under the rug. While many of us have become addicted to our tech devices, distracted texting and caring for very young children do not mix. Pay attention before and during the interview.

Are all of your communications done only via text (this is not necessarily a red flag, but something to be aware of in case there are other signs you are picking up on)? Is she walking up to the meeting staring down at her phone, texting as she strolls (could the same happen while your toddler is in the stroller)? Does the nanny place her phone on the table, or is it stashed away in her bag during the interview? If it is placed out in view, is she getting frequent chimes and glancing down at it, or even going so far as to check it as you chat? If it is a distraction during an obviously important meeting, the odds are she will be similarly distracted while with your child, if not more so. If you excuse yourself to use the bathroom or refill a drink, does her hand immediately reach for it – and does she stay engrossed until seeing you return?

Again, she could legitimately need to check in on something important, but it’s worth bringing up in conversation and making your position clear on tech use while watching the kids (such as not while using the stove or when they are eating, never ever during bathtime, not while out in public at the playground, not when driving or in any other situations which could quickly go bad).

Driving Safely Home

You hired a nanny, not a chauffeur, but if some of her duties include transporting the kids from activities or school, you are well within your rights to check her driving history. If there are reckless driving tickets, DWIs or other egregious demonstrations of a lack of judgment, these will be easy to pinpoint as a reason to avoid contracting her services. Other things to keep an eye out for may be more subtle, but are still very telling. When she pulls up to your house, is she wearing a seatbelt? To not do so is not only against the law in most states, but if it is a habit and she never wears one, she is adding risk to your children in the event of an accident by compromising her ability to retain control of the car when she is not strapped in.

Regardless of laws, it sets a bad example for the children in the car and suggests a lack of appreciation for the gravity of vehicle safety – and might make you wonder how diligent she is in remembering or following safety regulations for your children. You also might note whether your nanny answers your phone calls in the car while driving. An offhand query to the kids of whether nanny talks while driving might be warranted as well. This is the time to make clear your expectations of her not talking on her cell phone or texting while behind the wheel.

Inappropriate Media Use

While you can’t shield your kids from every inappropriate situation or off color experience in the world, they shouldn’t be exposed to these things from their nanny. If you find your television tuned to less than child-friendly programming, stations that play songs with explicit lyrics or your computer history shows YouTube clips or other sites being accessed at a time when she should have been directly supervising and caring for your kids, it’s probably time for a(nother) discussion outlining what is okay and not okay in your household.

If there are particular elements you are uncomfortable with, perhaps in your house some swearing is not unheard of but sexual references are a huge no-no, or violence of any sort provokes bad dreams in your sensitive child – detail what is to be avoided and (assuming you are okay with media use at all) suggest a site like CommonSenseMedia.org which explains specifically what to expect to gauge potential pitfalls in advance of viewing.

Loose Lips Sink Relationships

While the prior categories deal more directly with your children’s safety, your own sense of wellbeing and serenity is also important. One of the biggest elements of the nanny-parent relationship is trust. The nanny will have access to the inner workings of your home, which is where they should be left. Barring any concern for the safety of your children, there is no excuse for your nanny to be sharing details of your private life or about your home to others.

One red flag would be if she chooses to be chummy with you over a coffee or a chat by telling stories about her previous employer. Although rumors or something overheard by a friend might have been the only way you were made aware that your nanny was inappropriately sharing in the past, today’s dependence on social media means a simple Google or Facebook search could reveal  a lot more than her latest LOL Cat fave.

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50 of the Best Places to Get Information about Being a Nanny

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Do you love kids? Are you considering becoming a nanny? While there’s no special training or education required to work as a nanny, there is a lot that goes into really shining in this career. To find a great position, make sure that your resume is up to date and clearly shows that you’re a knowledgeable and experienced childcare provider. Parents are interested in hiring more than just a warm body to watch over their children; they want someone who blends seamlessly into their family and who they can trust to provide attentive care to their children. This is best shown through excellent references, a clean criminal background check, a good driving record and more. These 50 posts will guide you through what it takes to become a nanny and help you determine if it’s the right career choice for you.

Nanny Websites

For tips and tricks about becoming a nanny, check out these 10 nanny websites. They’ll take you through how to fill out an application, what parents are looking for in a nanny, qualities a good nanny should possess and much more.

  • www.enannysource.com Learn how to fill out an application that will set you apart from other nanny candidates.
  • www.nannypro.com  Find out what expectations families have for their nannies, as well as what you should expect from a position.
  • www.gonannies.com Read about the typical responsibilities a nanny has and various things that can come up when interviewing with different families.
  • Babycenter.com Check out the signs of a good nanny and try to adopt the traits discussed in this post.
  • Yahoo.com This post explains the different steps you should take to become a nanny.
  • Whattoexpect.com While this article is written for parents interested in hiring a nanny, it helps nannies understand what parents are looking for so nannies can shine during an interview.
  • Tinies.com These interview tips will prepare you well for your interview and may help you land your dream nanny job.
  • Education Portal Read through these tips and skills that a nanny should possess and things you can do to make yourself more marketable.
  • Jobsite You’ll find the types of education you can pursue to help you become a great nanny, as well as how to get started in the industry.
  • Wisegeek Tips for becoming a nanny can be found in this post, as well as information regarding the differences between using an agency and finding a job on your own.

International Jobs

If you enjoy traveling and want to see the world, being a nanny abroad may be the perfect fit for you. Nannies who work abroad can make a good living while experiencing a new culture. Since most of your expenses will be covered by the employer you will be able to travel and save money. Before pursuing a career nannying abroad, you’ll need to carefully consider the qualifications necessary to be a legal employee in the country you’re interested in working in. These 10 posts explain various things you might want to consider about being a nanny in another country and different countries you might be able to find a nanny job.

  • National Career Service Find out how you can work as a nanny in the UK with little or no nanny experience.
  • www.workingabroadmagazine.com Learn how to get a nanny job overseas and find out how nanny jobs differ across the pond.
  • National Nannies Read through this article to find out how to get registered as a nanny in the UK.
  • Royal Nannies Find out what it takes to become a royal nanny in the UK and read through the guidelines that are given for the tasks that will most likely be expected from a nanny.
  • JCR Au Pairs and Nannies Learn the differences between an au pair, nanny and mother’s helper to determine which position you are qualified for.
  • Peekaboo Child Care Check out this site to find out what is required to become a nanny overseas.
  • Smart Gap Year If you are interested in taking a year off between high school and college you may want to travel overseas as a nanny.
  • Travels.com Follow the steps outlined on this post to prepare to be a nanny abroad.
  • Kensington Nannies This company has an established track record of placing nannies.
  • Careersnz If you’ve ever wanted to live and explore New Zealand, you may want to consider nannying there.

General Information

People often have the misconception that nannies are nothing more than glorified babysitters; however, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Every working arrangement is different and your responsibilities will differ based on your employer. While a babysitter is only in the home for a short period of time, nannies are responsible for creating a stimulating environment and ensuring that the children’s social, educational, emotional and physical needs are met on an ongoing basis. These 10 posts explain what it’s like to be a nanny and give you a deeper look at this position.

  • For Dummies Learn what being a nanny is all about and what qualities you need to have to become a nanny.
  • jobacle.com To decide if you can take on the role of as a nanny, read about obstacles you may encounter on the job.
  • Nanny:Career Information Find out how many nannies are currently employed and the qualifications you need to be one of them.
  • Nannypalooza.com This event is put on each year to support nannies and let them know that someone cares about them.
  • Nanny.org Check out the recommended practices for nannies, as well as some basic information for new nannies and those considering a new career.
  • Becoming a Nanny Read all about what being a nanny entails and what you can do to prepare for an interview.
  • Job Shadow Determine whether being a nanny is truly right for you by shadowing a nanny in her day-to-day activities.
  • BC Babble This site has basic interview questions that you may encounter, as well as other helpful information.
  • StateUniversity.com Take a look at the information on this site to learn about your potential living and working conditions and what to expect on the job.
  • Myjobsearch.com Read through this extensive list of qualifications, skills and certifications that can bolster up your resume.

Benefits to Being a Nanny

If you love kids then one huge benefit to pursuing a career as a nanny is getting to work with kids on a daily basis. After all, not many people get to do what they love for a living. You also are able to form an emotional connection with both the children under your care and the parents that employ you, even becoming an extension of the family in some positions. These emotional benefits lay the foundation for job satisfaction. Read through these 10 posts to learn about the various benefits that could be offered to you as a nanny.    

  • Empowernetwork.com Find out why many college graduates are deciding to become a nanny after graduation.
  • FullTimeNanny.com This article is full of information regarding the benefits of being a full-time nanny.
  • Nanny.org Check out the annual International Nanny Association Salary and Benefits survey to see what benefits are typically offered.
  • Center for Entreprenomics Read about the benefits of being a nanny abroad and learn how the experience can help you in the future.
  • College Nannies and Tutors You can work part-time as a nanny while you are going to college to gain experience and earn some money.
  • Super Nanny Canada Check out how the benefits of being a nanny in Canada differ than if you were a nanny in the U.S.
  • The Nanny Diary Learn how it’s possible to be a nanny and go to college, and how it can be less stressful than many other jobs.
  • Nanny Magazine Find out five reasons you should be proud to be a nanny and learn about Nanny Recognition Week.
  • Payscale.com Discover what kind of wages a nanny earns and what additional benefits you may be able to negotiate into the deal.
  • I Saw Your Nanny Read what other nannies have said they get in the way of benefits so that you are aware of different benefits can be offered in a position.

Tips You Should Know as a Nanny

Before you become a nanny it’s important to arm yourself with as much knowledge as you can. Taking a class in first aid and CPR can not only help you save a life, it can also make you more attractive to a prospective employer. Working with children of all ages, whether it’s through volunteering or working in a daycare, can help you gain valuable experience to put on your resume. You’ll find many tips from experienced nannies in these 10 articles that will help you land your first nanny job.

  • Sprichie.com Learn six discipline tricks that all nannies should know before they start their nanny career.
  • Morningsidenannies.com Check out this blog post to find out how you can gain experience with children that will help you in your nanny job search.
  • The Nanny Support Group Read questions and answers from seasoned nannies to learn tips you can use in your nanny job.
  • 4Nannies.com Joining a support group can give you the resources that you need to learn tips and tricks from experienced nannies.
  • Caregivingcafe.com Take a look at these tips for starting a nanny support group in your area.
  • Dailymail.co.uk According to this article, knowing self-defense and other safety techniques might help you land a better nanny job.
  • American Nanny and Parenting Institute Find out what you can learn at this nanny school and how education can lead to higher wages.
  • Forbes.com Take a look at the tips from the nanny of the year in this article.
  • Everyday Family Read this post to learn five things an employer might want you to know when you are caring for her child.
  • The Nanny Doctor Find a list of 10 safety tips all nannies should be aware of when caring for children.
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20 Blogs with Tips for Interpreting Your Dreams

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Just as no two people are alike, no two dreams are alike either. However, there are common dream elements that many people share that are open for interpretation. For instance, what does it mean when you have recurring dreams, or dreams about running late, flying, falling or losing your teeth? These are common dream elements that people frequently incur, and with a little digging and research you can interpret what each one means and how it pertains to your life. Is there a hidden message in your dreams? Or is your brain simply stringing together random thoughts and events from your day? These 20 bloggers believe that there is a deeper meaning in some dreams, and have provided you with some insight to what some of the more common dream themes mean.

Recurring Dreams

At some point in your life, you will probably realize that you’ve had a recurring dream. Perhaps you constantly find yourself walking down a hallway with a bunch of closed doors, and you’re wondering which one you should open. This dream could signify a decision you have to make, and it’s possible that you’ll keep having the dream until you do. To learn more about recurring dreams, take look at these four blogs.

Being Late in a Dream

If you’ve ever had a dream where you are running late, you know exactly how stressful these dreams can be. These types of dreams can have several different hidden meanings, and you can learn some of the interpretations by reading these four blogs.

Losing Teeth Dreams

Losing teeth in a dream does not mean you are going to lose your teeth in your real life. After all, dreams are rarely that straight forward. You’ll first need to figure out what teeth represent for you. For instance, are you proud of your smile? If so, having a dream where you are losing your teeth could indicate stress about your appearance. For other interpretations, check out these four blog posts.

Flying Dreams

If you are flying in your dream and you are having a great time, then your dream is a reflection of something that you feel good about in your life. Maybe you just quit a bad job and now you feel a sense of freedom. These four blogs elaborate more on what flying dreams can mean.

Falling Dreams

While sometimes falling dreams can coincide with flying dreams, they are typically about a feeling of losing control over something in your life.  For more insights, take a look at these four blogs.

  • Recurring Dreams and Their Meanings This blogger believes that falling in a dream could be moving from one phase of sleep to another.
  • “I’m Falling” Falling in a dream may represent a feeling of being out of control while you’re awake.
  • Falling Dream Interpretation If you are falling in your dream, it could indicate that you are having trouble at work and don’t feel like you are taking control of the situation.
  • Dream Meanings—Analysis of Falling Dreams The details in a dream can help you determine what area of your life you may need to address. If you are falling, you may need to be more grounded in your waking life.
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How to Handle a Toddler Who Wakes Up in the Middle of the Night

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Being awakened in the middle of the night by a toddler is something every parent faces sooner or later. When a child is sick or tormented by a nightmare, it’s normal for her to seek out the safety and security of her parents. However, if your child is making it a habit of waking up every night, you need to take action – unless you are okay with never getting a full night’s sleep.

Understanding Kids’ Motivation

You won’t be able to stop the mid-night wakings if you are unaware of what is causing them. Therefore, the first thing you ought to do is figure out what’s bothering your toddler and interfering with her ability to sleep soundly.

It may be that nothing is wrong and it has simply become a habit to wake at a certain time each night in order to seek you out. On the other hand, you may be dealing with fears or medical conditions. So right off the bat, start observing your child’s sleeping habits and asking her what’s wrong and what she needs when she wakes at night.

Breaking the Habit

If your child has just gotten used to waking up and climbing into your bed at night, this is a fairly easy fix. When you put your child to bed, let her know that you want her to try to stay in her bed tonight and that she will earn a sticker if she can do it. Create a plan with your child based around what she should do if she wakes up at night. Perhaps she can snuggle with her favorite stuffed animal or turn on a musical toy and try to fall back to sleep in her own bed instead of coming to yours. If she succeeds in this, make sure you make a big deal out of it the next morning and tell her how big and brave she is.

Addressing Fears

If your child gets up at night and is afraid, you’ll have more work cut out for you. Try to discover what exactly your child is afraid of so that you can address these things with her. Let her know that you’re absolutely sure there are no monsters in her closet, but that you will check her room for her at night if she needs you to anyway. Sometimes, allowing the child to have a flashlight on her nightstand helps so that she can use it if she wakes up afraid in the middle of the night. You can even just try to change the routine around a bit by coming to your child’s room instead of letting her come to yours, or by letting her call you on a walkie-talkie so that she still stays in bed. Taking baby steps to get your child to brave the whole night alone is what the end goal is, even if you have to take your time to reach it.

Look for the Obvious

Sometimes, the reasons toddlers wake up in the night make perfect sense. Perhaps a train goes by each night at two in the morning, or the neighbor’s dog starts barking every night at eleven. You may be used to these sounds and not notice them, but your child may be more sensitive. If something like this is the culprit, consider a white noise maker to drown out the sounds.

Consider Medical Issues

A lot of kids, particularly boys, wake in the middle of the night with terrible leg pain colloquially known as growing pains. There’s little you can do to avoid this one, other than to have some children’s pain reliever on hand and an ice pack ready. As your child gets older, you may be able to teach him to handle this on his own, but toddlers usually want Mom or Dad when pain hits.

Your toddler may also have an overactive bladder. If he is wetting the bed or needing to take trips to the bathroom every few hours throughout the night, you might want to bring this up to your pediatrician and see if anything can be done for him,

A more serious issue that seems to be fairly common in kids is sleep apnea. If your child snores and wakes frequently at night, you may want to have a sleep study performed in order to rule out this particular culprit.

Encourage Self-Soothing

If you put your child to sleep each night by staying with her, singing to her or rubbing her back until she is fully asleep, then when she cycles through sleep she won’t be able to fall back into a deep slumber without you when you are not there to provide this same service. For this reason, you should make sure you put your child to bed and allow her to fall asleep on her own. This way, she will learn how to fall asleep without any help and not need to come looking for you throughout the night.

Is it Okay Sometimes?

If you don’t mind having sleepovers with your toddler occasionally, you can let her know that if she stays in bed, for example, Monday through Friday, she can earn a sleepover in your room on the weekend. This can provide the comfort and security your child is looking for, but in a more reasonable manner. Of course, only do this if you’re actually on board with the plan and don’t mind the occasional little visitor. It’s perfectly okay to want your bed to yourself. You can always just watch a movie together or read a story in your bed on the weekend, and then have your child sleep in her room.

When it comes down to it, it’s important for everyone to get a full night’s sleep. After all, there can be no real family fun if everyone is tired and cranky.

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What Discipline Strategy is Right for You?

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When you first bring a new baby home from the hospital, discipline is probably the farthest thing from your mind. As he gets older and begins to assert himself more, however, it becomes apparent that a strong, effective disciplinary strategy is imperative. Figuring out the sort of discipline that’s likely to be most effective for your household can seem like a staggering feat, especially when you consider the sheer number of books written on the subject, all with vastly differing views. These tips can help you navigate the world of parenting styles and disciplinary philosophies until you find the one that obtains the best results from your brood.

Understand the Four Primary Styles of Parenting

There are more parenting books and websites dedicated to the world of discipline and parenting styles than you can shake a stick at, but you shouldn’t let the abundance of information overwhelm you. What those books and websites may not tell you is that there are only four primary parenting styles, as espoused by developmental psychologists. Every parenting style and disciplinary strategy is, in some way or another, a simple reiteration of these four styles.

  • Permissive – Permissive parents are more likely to portray themselves as friends than authority figures. The disciplinary style of permissive parents tends to be very lax or almost non-existent, as kids of permissive parents are largely allowed to make their own choices.
  • Authoritative – A system of rewards for good behavior, consequences for bad behavior and attentive, engaged parenting makes up the authoritative parenting camp. These parents tend to be forgiving, but will enforce stated consequences of bad behavior or unwise choices. Boundaries set by authoritative parents are clear and consistent, and dialogue with kids is favored over parental lecturing and monologues.
  • Uninvolved – Uninvolved parents ascribe to a philosophy that’s just as aloof and lax as it sounds. The needs of an uninvolved parent take precedence over those of the child. Little to no interest is shown in children of uninvolved parents, who are often indifferent and detached from teaching situations.
  • Authoritarian – Rigid, controlling parents who demand complete obedience and who make no effort to explain rules, only to enforce them at all costs, are known as authoritarian parents. A 2010 study showed a slight correlation between authoritarian parenting styles and the presence of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in their adult children.

Get to Know Yourself

In order to know what sort of disciplinary strategy is most likely to be effective, you’ll need to first objectively examine your own personality. Laid back, relaxed parents probably just won’t have much luck ascribing to harsh, authoritarian disciplinary styles. Take the time to get to know yourself, determine what you can effectively handle as a parent, and choose the method of discipline accordingly.

Realize That it’s Okay to Pick and Choose

Many parents who are avid readers of parenting self-help books fall into the trap of believing that they must choose one disciplinary philosophy and stick to it rigidly. Actually, it’s usually more effective to choose elements of any style that will apply to your child’s personality and your own. Mixing and matching disciplinary styles isn’t problematic unless you’re inconsistent or abusive.

Know That Some Tactics Are Never the Right Choice

No matter how angry you are and how badly your child has misbehaved, it’s important to know which disciplinary tactics are off limits at all costs. Causing your child physical harm, along with emotional abuse and cruelty, are never the answer.

Be Consistent

The key to almost any disciplinary strategy is to be consistent. Once you’ve determined what works for you and your family, you must make a very real effort to maintain consistency. Spotty or inconsistent discipline sends confusing, mixed messages to kids who aren’t quite sure what’s expected of them or the consequences of failing to behave properly. Stick to your guns, even when it would be easier and less stressful to just give in on occasion. Your kids need clearly stated and consistent boundaries, not “sometimes” rules and consequences.

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30 Blogs with the Best Tips on Helping Siblings to Get Along

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Sibling rivalry is an age old problem for parents. The constant fights and petty squabbling can be enough to drive you insane but, short of divorcing your battling kids, you’re stuck with them. If only you could help them see the error of their ways and get along, life would become so much more peaceful for everyone. So why not take the bulls by the horns, so to speak? These 30 blogs are full of great tips to help resolve your sibling rivalry dilemma.

From the Cradle

If you still have the chance, it’s always better to teach them young. Sibling rivalry is often traced back to the introduction of a new person into a child’s life. The proverbial green-eyed monster comes to visit and, if you don’t nip it in the bud, becomes a permanent house guest. To get ahead of the game, pay a visit to these five blogs on introducing a new baby to his brother and sisters.

Establishing Rules

By this stage, it is a given that you missed out on the opportunity to establish sibling kinship from the get go. Not to worry, you are still in charge and can change the course of your warring siblings’ joint futures. It is time to establish some rules that, if enforced with military precision, will bring your little nightmares to heel in no time. There are some great tips for establishing rules in these five blogs, too.

Nurturing Positive Behaviors

Once you have established a temporary truce, it’s time to start working on the core issues. Your sibling children are reacting negatively to conflicts with each other, which is preventing them from resolving any of their issues. This will continue until they learn to effectively communicate, without someone ending up with broken bones. Take your first steps on the path to a peace treaty with tips from these five blogs on positive sibling communication.

Controlling Playtime Feuding

Playtime is a rather misleading title, given that it is serious business for kids. It is possible that each of your children will have their own playing style. This is not necessarily a bad thing, until the styles of play conflict. It is important, in such cases, to help them find a happy medium. Once they understand each other better, cooperation will soon follow. For a more in-depth look into the intricate world of child’s play, read through these five blogs.

The Teenage Years

When the dreaded teenage years come around, even siblings who were once inseparable can become enemies. You may vaguely remember those confusing years yourself, so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. However, as you will find out, being the parent in the scenario is a whole new deal. When your teen siblings are telling you that they hate each other, as well as everyone else, it’s time to retire to a quiet place and consult these five blogs.

Feuding Adult Siblings

When siblings carry their wars into adult life, the situation can become extremely difficult for the entire family. It is no joke when adult siblings start a food fight during Thanksgiving dinner that isn’t born out of good-natured fun. Find their inner children and put them in timeout with these five blogs.

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5 Tips for Nannies Hosting Their First Playdate

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Hosting a playdate may be your own idea or that of your employers, but either way it’s a fun and exciting way to help kids socialize and provide a break from your daily routine. Just as with any other new experience, however, there are a few rules that you’ll want to keep in mind. Approaching the playdate from a nanny’s perspective is a bit different than it is for parents, which is why it pays to make sure that you’re covering all of your proverbial bases.

  • Get Other Nannies and Parents Involved – There are a few reasons why you’ll want to get the other adults involved when you host your first playdate, not least of which is preventing the likelihood of someone taking advantage of the situation. Some parents and other nannies may see this as an opportunity to drop the kids off for a playdate while they take advantage of what they see as free childcare. Make sure that you let parents and caregivers know that you’re looking forward to their involvement so they won’t be tempted to unload the youngsters before leaving.
  • Plan Activities Ahead of Time – It’s important to have at least a loose plan in place regarding activities and games before your charges’ playmates arrive, especially if the kids aren’t familiar with one another. Sending the kids to a bedroom or common area to play while the parents have coffee may work out when everyone knows one another and has a track history of getting along, but throwing strange kids together and hoping for the best is sure to be awkward for everyone involved.
  • Learn About Food Allergies and Dietary Restrictions – Unless each child will be bringing their own snacks to the playdate party, it’s imperative that you find out about any dietary restrictions or food allergies in advance. To be on the safe side, you should make a habit of keeping peanuts out of the equation altogether, as even contact or inhalation of peanuts can be lethal for an allergic child.
  • Keep Your Complaints and Observations to Yourself – Your first playdate is more than an opportunity to help your charges get to know new people and play with their peers. It’s also a chance for you to enjoy a bit of adult interaction, but it’s important not to get carried away. Not only are your criticisms and complaints about your employers or work environment likely to make their way back to them through the gossip grapevine, but you’ll also be painting an intensely unprofessional picture of yourself to the new people in your circle. Playdates can be very valuable networking opportunities, but only if you don’t make yourself look petty and unprofessional by gossiping about your employers.
  • Make Your Charges Your First Priority – While you’re certainly allowed to interact with the other adults at your playdate, it’s important that you keep your priorities in line. You shouldn’t neglect your charges or assume that the other caregivers or parents will pick up any slack. Your primary role is still that of a childcare provider to your charges, and acting as a hostess comes second.

In addition to these tips, it’s also wise to keep in mind that some parents are a bit more standoffish with nannies than they would be with other parents. While it’s rude and unpleasant, it’s also common enough that you’ll want to prepare yourself for this in advance. Hopefully you’ll encounter only welcoming and friendly parents, but you should realize before the big day that you could be stuck with an unresponsive stay-at-home parent.

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7 Parenting Solutions for Boys With Bad Tempers

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Anger is a natural human emotion, and the issue of handling it is one that all children and their parents must face eventually. In their early teen years, boys may struggle with the hormonal changes that their bodies are undergoing. At this point in their lives, their hormones will have a profound effect on the part of the brain that governs emotions. Adolescence is often the point at which the problem of a bad temper emerges in boys. Parents should be prepared for this and be ready to deal with a male child’s outbursts and bad behavior. If you’ve got a boy dealing with a bad temper, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Take Him Out of the Situation
    If he’s angry with someone, separate him from that person. If he’s brawling with a sibling, send them to separate rooms. Immediate separation from the person or thing that has caused him to lose his temper can often be the fastest way to defuse a temper tantrum.
  • Avoid Becoming Angry Yourself
    This is not always easy, as in many cases anger is the first instinctive reaction a parent may have to something a son has said or done. However, remaining calm, even in the face of the boy’s anger, can often help them to calm down. On the other hand, yelling or other aggressive displays can escalate the situation. If you feel yourself getting angry, wait out your anger until the child calms down. Among other things, staying calm will help you be a good role model and can serve as an example for your son (or, for nannies, for the boy in your care) of how to handle emotions. Even though it may not feel like it, correctly handling a high-tension situation can help a boy manage his temper better in the future.
  • Use Humor to Defuse Anger
    Humor can sometimes be used to defuse an angry situation. You should be careful how you use it, though. Avoid making light of what has made your son angry or of the fact that he’s angry in the first place. Ridiculing him will just make the situation worse. The best way to use humor is help him see the situation in a new light and to make him laugh about it and gain some perspective. Doing this can help him save face and resolve the situation without any lingering resentment.
  • Establish and Enforce Structure
    It is important that a child knows who is in charge. By setting down firm rules, the parent makes the child aware that there are boundaries that he cannot cross, even when he’s angry. Be ready to follow up with the consequences should your son violate the rules; this will let him know you’re serious and can help him to make better decisions the next time he’s angry. The consequences of rule-breaking should be appropriate and — vitally — not be meted out in anger. And of course, a parent should always forgive a child and make sure he knows that his outburst will not be held against him.
  • Avoid the Temptation to Ignore Outbursts
    In many cases, a boy’s temper will simply get worse until the parent is forced to address it. By ignoring smaller outbursts, you’re unwittingly training your son to make bigger and bigger ones until he gets your attention, which is the reaction he’s after. Address all temper flare-ups as they happen.
  • Help Your Son Understand His Anger
    Different children will have different triggers for their anger. It’s important to help your child find those triggers so he can prevent or control future outbursts. For instance, help him reflect on previous instances where he’s lost his temper. Talk about what happened, what it meant and how it was resolved. By showing your son that he has a choice in how he reacts to situations, you can show him that he always has the opportunity to remain calm and not be controlled by his anger.
  • Help Him Find Outlets For His Anger
    Physical outlets, like playing sports or even just going for a walk, can often help to relieve anger in boys. In some cases, it may be helpful for him to put his feelings down on paper or find a creative activity to let him release frustration.

An understanding of the appropriate methods of handling anger is one of the most important lessons parents can provide to their boys. Success may take years of practice, but it will help them throughout their teens and on into their adult lives, and in their relationships with their own children.

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10 Things Nannies Should Never Wear to Work

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Working as a childcare provider is rewarding and exciting work, but it also comes with its share of challenges. One of them is figuring out how to dress appropriately, especially if you’re new to the career field. While some employers may have a set dress code in place, uniforms are relatively rare in the nanny industry, which means that you will be responsible for choosing appropriate clothing on your own. While you’re sorting through your wardrobe or shopping for work clothes, these are 10 of the things you should put on your “what not to wear” list.

  • Revealing Tops – Kids tend to tug on shirts for attention, and carrying a baby pulls low necklines down even lower. For the sake of both modesty and professionalism, it’s important to keep in mind that revealing shirts have no place in your work wardrobe. For a decent rule of thumb, put four fingers at the top of your clavicle. The neckline of your shirt shouldn’t be below your fingers. It’s also wise to bend over in front of a mirror to check for gaping necklines. You’ll be bending and moving a lot, and you don’t want your charges or your employers to see down your shirt.
  • High Hems – If your employers don’t mind you wearing shorts in the summer months, they should be modest and hit at least at mid-thigh. If you’re wearing a skirt for a special function, it should fall to the top of your knees.
  • Low-Slung Waistbands – Put on a pair of pants that you’d like to wear to work, then sit down in them. Crouch, bend and squat. If any of these actions cause the waistband of the pants to come down so that your undergarments are showing, they’re too low-slung for work.
  • Binding Garments – Some things you’ll want to chuck for the sake of modesty, while others are modest enough but not practical. You’ll need to be able to move quickly and easily to keep up with active, rambunctious kids. Binding, restrictive or uncomfortable clothing will inhibit your ability to move around, thus impeding your ability to keep up with the children you’re charged with caring for.
  • Spaghetti Straps – Sleeveless tops with spaghetti straps are fine for a night out on the town or an off-hours jaunt, but they’re not recommended for work attire. Thin straps can slide down your arms, pulling the neckline of your shirt along with them. Also, they tend to be a bit more casual than is appropriate for work.
  • Formal Dresses – Unless you’re attending a special function in a work capacity and will need to dress up a bit, skirts and dresses typically aren’t a good idea for nannies. You’ll need to be able to move freely without any worry of flashing your underwear, and a skirt or dress just leaves too many opportunities for an immodest show while you’re on the job.
  • Impractical Shoes – Nannies need to be able to run and move quickly, something that isn’t easy when you’re in heels or flimsy sandals. Solid, dependable and comfortable shoes are the way to go while you’re on the job, even if they’re not likely to land you on a high-fashion editorial spread.
  • Your Favorite Outfit – Kids spill things, tear things, become sick and have accidents, none of which tend to be particularly easy on your clothing. It’s just not wise to wear anything to work that you would be sad to retire after a stubborn stain or irreparable tear renders it unwearable.
  • Delicate or Dangling Jewelry – Earrings are a great way to express your personal style and lend a bit of flair to an ensemble, but they’re also attractive to small, grasping hands. Unless you want to have an earring pulled through your earlobe or a delicate necklace to be snapped in half, it’s best to save your jewelry for a non-work outing.
  • Casual Wear That’s Too Casual – Casual, comfortable and modest clothing are the name of the game for nannies, but it’s important to make sure that you’re not going too casual. Scrubs, sweats and pajamas might be comfortable and covering, but they’re also just not professional. Make sure that you don’t lean too far towards the “ultra-casual” end of the spectrum when you’re dressing for a day at work.
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How to Know if You Are a Cat or Dog Person

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In the world of animal lovers, there are usually two clear distinctions made: those who are “cat people,” and those who are “dog people.” Occasionally a person will claim an affinity for both, or be so adamantly opposed to living with an animal that they declare themselves apart from the argument altogether. For most people, though, there is a very clear line between being a dog person or a cat person. If you’re not quite sure which camp you fall into, however, there are a few clues that can help you decide with whom your alliance lies.

Examine Your Social Networking Presence

Are you an Android user who keeps contacts in your cell phone and a physical address book and do you frequent Twitter? You could be a cat person, according to a survey hosted and sponsored by Hunch. Dog people, on the other hand, are 23%  more likely to be iPhone users, 12% more likely to be early adopters of technology and 36% more likely to use a popular song as a cell phone ringtone than their cat-loving counterparts.

Consider Your Favorite Beatle?

You may not realize that your favorite Beatle says so much about you, but it may have a bearing on whether you’re running with the dogs or have an affinity for cats. Dog people are 18% more likely to name Paul McCartney when questioned about their favorite Beatle, while lovers of the Fab Four who hold a soft spot for George Harrison are 25% more likely to have a fondness for felines.

Think About Your Feelings on Parties

Ruminate on the last party you attended, and consider your thoughts on the subject. Did you have a great time mingling with the crowd? You may be a dog person. If you spent the evening glued to a friend and eschewed new acquaintances, you’re 14% more likely to be a lover of cats.

Examine Your Sense of Humor

Do you howl at a good impersonation and fall into a helpless puddle of giggles when you’re faced with a good bit of slapstick comedy? Hunch’s poll says that you’re 30% more likely to classify yourself as a dog person. If ironic humor, sarcasm and puns are more your style, there’s a 21% chance that you group yourself with the cat-people crowd.

Determine Your Responsibility Threshold

Preferences aside, if you’re trying to decide whether you’re more suited to life with a cat or a dog as part of the pet selection process, you should seriously take into account the level of responsibility that you’re comfortable with. Owning a cat means that you’ll need to feed and water your pet, clean his litter box and give him a rub or two as he passes over you imperiously to groom himself on the back of the couch. Taking a dog into the family means bringing in an animal that isn’t so low-maintenance, who will require not only feeding and watering, but also long walks to relieve himself and plenty of playtime, affection and one-on-one attention to thrive. If that sounds like just the ticket, you might be more comfortable with a dog. Too much work? Consider a cat instead.

Take Your Living Situation into Account

If you have a bit of room outside for a dog to run, a dog may be more well-suited to your household. A cat, however, won’t require much in the way of outside space because they don’t often deign to leave the comfort of the house. While it may not seem like it speaks much to your personal preferences, the status of your living situation will have a major bearing on how well-equipped you are to handle on pet or another.

In the end, you’re the only person who can truly decide if you’re a dog person or a cat person. Chances are, however, if you’re introspective enough to spend time reading about your preferences to carefully suss them out, you’re probably a card-carrying member of the cat-person’s club.

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