A guest post by Betsy Smith
Betsy blogs about respectful parenting and homeschooling her two children (ages 2.5 and 4) at www.bugandbabygirl.com and chronicles some of their many adventures on Instagram at @bug.and.babygirl
No one told me to expect a baby who was so decidedly his own person. But, from the day he was born, it was undeniable that my son had his own ideas and preferences, his own likes and dislikes… which, as a scared and exhausted first time mom, seemed to boil down to disliking everything and liking to cry any time he was awake! But the more I paid attention, the more I noticed he was consistently calmed by being laid down on his back to wiggle and look around, by being spoken to conversationally about what we were doing, and simply by being outside. He didn’t want to sit in a swing. He didn’t want gadgets, gizmos, and entertainment; he wanted connection, respect, and freedom.
He wanted this crazy, new world to slow down long enough for him to take it all in. He wanted me to stop worrying about what I was supposed to do with a baby all day and just put him on a blanket beneath a tree so he could gnaw on his hands and watch the light peeking through the leaves.
It went against everything I had been taught about parenting, but I started to listen. I started to do less and trust more. I started to follow rather than blindly lead.
When I discovered RIE, shortly before my son’s first birthday, I wanted to exclaim, “This is it!! This is what you’ve been trying to tell me!” It was so affirming to find an entire philosophy that supported the choices that he had pointed me toward. And the discovery couldn’t have come at a better time: right at the onset of the toddler stage, when the RIE emphasis on consistent, respectful limit setting has transformed a notoriously “terrible” phase of development into one that I absolutely delight in, and in advance of the arrival of my second, allowing me to implement the fundamentals of RIE from birth with her.
There are plenty of sources for a more informed and articulate overview of the principles of RIE than I could provide, so rather than fumble through an amateur answer to the question, “What is RIE?,” I would rather tell you why RIE; what about this style resonated with me as a first — and then a second — time mom and why it has worked so well for our family.
1. The notion that babies are whole people
I once had a woman, toting an infant carseat, chase me down in the parking lot of Target and say, “I just wanted to tell you that I love how you talk to your kids like people.” I wish I could say this was an isolated incident, but the frequency with which strangers feel compelled to comment on how I speak to my children “like people” makes me want to ask, “How else I would talk to them?!”
It has made me realize how countercultural this perspective I’ve come to take for granted – that babies are people – truly is. In the mainstream parenting world, we refer to our babies as “blobs.” We give them kisses that they pull away from. We swoop in and pick them up when they are intently focused on something, without a word and without the slightest reservation about what we might be interrupting. We talk about them (and even about older children) in front of them as if they aren’t there. We dismiss their feelings and their ideas. In those, and countless other ways, we treat babies like we would never treat other people. Certainly not people we respect or care for.
2. The belief that children – even babies – deserve respect
At my baby shower, I was given a pacifier that said NO WHINING. The uproar of laughter it elicited from the group made me uncomfortable in a way that I wasn’t yet able to put my finger on.
That feeling was my gateway to RIE; that nagging sense that this baby deserved more respect than our culture had tried to make me believe.
I do my damnedest to treat everyone I encounter with respect. Why wouldn’t I treat my own child that way?
It isn’t as if it’s terribly radical. It simply means that I speak to and with my children rather than at and about them. I acknowledge their feelings and preferences (even when I can’t or won’t accommodate them). I do my best leave them undisturbed when they are focused on an activity. I say “please” and “thank you.” I give them the benefit of the doubt. And, in general, I treat them how I would like to be treated.
3. The reminder to trust
This is a scary one… or at least it can be for me! Parenting has become as competitive as anything else in our culture and it is hard to ignore the “earlier is better” messages that we are bombarded with at every turn, to let go of the temptation to compare our babies to others, and, instead, just trust. Trust that they are capable; that they know themselves; and that they will walk, talk, and learn their ABCs when they are ready.
We have convinced ourselves that our babies can learn only what we teach, ignoring completely the curiosity, ability, and drive to make sense of the world that they all come to us with. Trust asks us to give that back to them, to let go of the race to be first, to take a backseat and wait for them to show us what they are working on and what, if any, support they need.
4. The view of children as capable
At our old house, we had a steep driveway that my son would run up and down nearly as soon as he could walk. Neighbors used to marvel at his balance and coordination, asking how I taught him to navigate the incline.
I didn’t teach him, I told them. I just let him do it.
We do our children a disservice when we default to assuming they can’t do things, or that they can only do them with our help. Children are capable of so much when they’re given opportunities to try…and opportunities to try again when they don’t get it “right” the first time!
My children are confident that they have the ability to master new skills because their experience and my attitude have affirmed that. They are also extraordinary helpers because I’ve never questioned whether they are capable of putting their own clothes in the hamper, cleaning up toys, carrying in groceries, or wiping up spills!
5. The role of limit setting
There is a common misconception that respectful parenting is permissive. It isn’t. I would go as far as to argue that permissive parenting is disrespectful because it ignores a child’s desire (or, frankly, his need) to make sense of the world around him, something that becomes nearly impossible without predictability and limits.
The way this looks different in RIE than it does in mainstream parenting is that I don’t just set limits and expect my children to follow them. I set limits and I take on the responsibility of enforcing them. This allows me to hold limits from a place or guidance rather than one of judgment, frustration, or anger. This also means that, when a limit isn’t followed, I don’t heap blame on my child; I examine what I could be doing differently to better support and set him up for success.
It means, instead of saying, “Don’t you dare throw that ball in the house,” and then doling out a punishment when my toddler can’t stop himself, saying, “I can’t let you throw the ball inside,” then actually not letting him by calmly taking the ball and, whenever possible, honoring the impulse with, “Let’s go play ball in the yard.”
6. The value placed on observation
There seems to be this expectation that mothers will instantly “know” our children when they are born; who they are, what they need, and how best to love them. That is a charming idea, I suppose, except that I don’t think I truly know anything that I haven’t taken the time to study. When I care about something, I want to learn everything I can. And that doesn’t happen by magic; it happens by asking questions, listening, and observing.
Sure, there are plenty of resources out there that tell us what most babies are like. But I’m not the mother of most babies. I am the mother of two. And the only way to learn who these two people are is to go to the source.
7. The space for natural gross motor development
Demanding ownership of his gross motor development by refusing to be propped, sat, and walked is probably the way that my son most clearly pointed me to RIE.
Even at five and six months, when so many babies love being propped up to sit, he would immediately throw himself back down and get up on his hands and knees. He had been “ahead” on every other milestone and (what felt like) the whole world seemed worried that he wasn’t sitting. Our pediatrician was adamant that I “teach” him but, even before discovering RIE, I didn’t feel right putting him in a position he so forcefully rejected, so I shrugged my shoulders and told her he seemed more interested in figuring out how to crawl.
And, sure enough, he sat up completely on his own within days of crawling…just like his baby sister did a year and a half later.
Once he could stand and cruise, well-meaning family and friends tried to take him by the hands and walk him but, every time, my RIE-hearted baby withdrew his hands. When they persisted, he sat, insisting in the only way he knew how that he would do it himself when he was ready…which, of course, he did.
After having that experience with my son and after trusting my second, from birth, to own her gross motor development, nothing seems more natural. Why on earth wouldn’t we trust our babies to know what their bodies are ready to do? Why wouldn’t we give them the confidence that comes from discovering, not only that they can sit, crawl, stand, and walk, but that they can do it on their own?
8. The importance of independent play
This can be a particularly difficult idea for parents to wrap their heads around. We are told that we have to entertain our babies, that we have to stimulate their brains at all times, that boredom is a danger and stillness is the enemy of development. The notion that you would just lay a baby down on a blanket with one or two simple toys and say, “I’ll be right in the kitchen if you need me,” feels tantamount to saying, “I don’t care about my child’s development.”
But it simply isn’t the case!
I have been amazed at how they will entertain themselves, and would even as babies. Allowing them to play independently isn’t just not neglecting them; it’s actually serving them in so many ways. It communicates that their ideas and their pursuits are important and worthy if time. It allows them to focus on a task without distractions. It affirms that I see them as capable individuals.
9. The ability to be an ally
This is not strictly one of the tenets of RIE, but has been a byproduct of the philosophy for our family. Instead of feeling like I am at odds with my children, with our desires or agendas in opposition, the foundation of trust and respect that our relationship is built upon allows me to be on their team even when we disagree. It allows me to discipline from a place of compassion and connection. I take seriously my responsibility to guide and teach my children, and RIE has made it possible for me to do those things as their ally rather than their adversary.
RIE has been a gift to our family in so many way, but this one is, perhaps, the greatest.Read More
With Father’s Day around the corner we asked one of our dad friends to share what Father’s Day means to him. Our guest, Cole Johnson is a father of seven sweet children and husband to his high school sweetheart, Daisha, whom he has been married to for 15 years. Cole loves playing ukulele with his eldest daughter, coaching his son’s football team and taking his youngest on walks to find bugs. Here are his thoughts on the meaning of Father’s Day!
Father’s Day was never a big deal to me and I never really appreciated it until one stressful weekend when I was traveling and couldn’t be with my family. My wife and kids had never done much for me on Father’s Day – a finger-painting of me, a cheap tie, maybe some pancakes and a card – so I didn’t think I would miss it much. But when the day came and went without any new socks, a homemade oven mitt, or even a quick and sticky hug from one of my littles… I about died from loneliness.
As I sat lumped upon the hotel bed watching an infomercial and thinking about my wife and kids a profound gloominess began to overtake me. At that point I recognized Father’s Day for what it was. A day I was thanked, a day to be seen, a day to be filled up. As a self-proclaimed emotionally unflappable man I recognized that I wasn’t immune to the severe need to be loved and appreciated or to have a special day set apart just for me. Like my wife and children I wanted – nay, REQUIRED – an occasional reminder that I’m missed, respected, and even adored. The love I’d felt on previous Father’s Days was the oil that kept my Dad-mobile running smoothly. A vehicle that requires very little maintenance and runs on just a few drops of gratitude and affection.
For dads, the little things ARE the big things. There may not be any ‘big things’ for fathers; kids can’t further their dad’s career, make the car payment, or even fix the dishwasher. But, on Father’s Day, our children have the perfect opportunity to thank us for what we do and love us for how we do them. Those homemade clay mugs and handprint collages may be the only tokens of the ‘what’, the ‘how’, and the ‘why’ we work so hard in our career, make the car payment, and fiddle with the appliances.
For Father’s Day this year I couldn’t be more excited to eat an over-cooked omelet, or try to decipher a messy crayon drawing, and maybe get a some snuggles from a quiver of stinky kids. Not because those things are a big deal but because these tiny acts are the ONLY deal. Father’s Day is my kids’ day once a year to thank me, fill my tank, and keep me going for 364 more. I learned my lesson and will never be away from my family again on Father’s Day weekend!
Happy Father’s Day to all of the very special dads who make life a little sweeter.Read More
Summer is coming up fast which mean families will be traveling with their nanny on vacation. Confusion may arise on how to properly pay the nanny for her time and accommodations. Here are 5 tips for paying a nanny when she travels with a family.
Talk about expectations before the trip. The nanny is going with the family for a reason – to watch their kids. A vacation probably throws her normal schedule off quite a bit. It’s important that both parties go over the itinerary of the trip in advance. She needs to know what times of the day she’ll likely work, any activities that are planned for the kids, and when she can expect to have free time of her own.
Airfare, meals and hotel are paid by the family. A nanny is a household employee. If she’s required to travel with the family, they must pay for her airfare, food and hotel accommodations. It’s essentially the same thing as a business trip.
Know when she’s on and off the clock. This can be confusing for some families because the worksite isn’t their home. The nanny is on the clock for the time she is traveling and any other time she is not able to come and go as she pleases. This even includes time spent sitting on a lounge chair by the pool watching the kids with a lemonade in her hand.
Don’t forget about overtime. While the family is on vacation, it’s important to keep track of the nanny’s hours in case overtime needs to be accounted for. Nannies are paid overtime for all hours worked over 9 in a day and/or 40 in a week. Also, a nanny’s hours can’t roll over to the next week to avoid overtime. That’s a violation of federal labor law and can get the family in trouble.
Make sure the nanny has some time off. This is vacation for the family, but it isn’t for the nanny. She’s still working and needs a break every now and then. Families should plan to let their nanny be on her own for a few hours and take their kids on several family-only activities. This will this give the nanny some time to recharge her batteries and do something that interests her.
We know that keeping track of hours and remembering some of these labor laws may be difficult while trying to focus on having fun on vacation. If you need a timesheet, help with determining on-the-clock versus off-the-clock hours, or getting an idea of what your nanny’s pay may be during an upcoming vacation, HomePay is here to help! Just reach out to us at (888) 273-3356 or visit us online at www.myhomepay.com.Read More
Hello May! Mother’s Day is coming up soon. Are you ready? We all want to show the special moms in our lives how much we love and appreciate them. Flowers and a night off from cooking or the usual routine for mom is always appreciated, but how about thinking outside of the box to show your appreciation for her. Here are some unique Mother’s Day Gift Ideas!
Support mothers around the world: One thing that no one tells you about being a mom is that the worries of world weigh heavy in her heart. She will see her children in children around the world. With the advent of 24-hour news, the world’s suffering is broadcast each and every day. There is always a longing to help. There are countless organizations that do amazing work. Lending money in micro loans to help women support their families. A monthly donation to sponsor a women and writing letters of support. Is she especially concerned about the refugee crisis happening? Or does her heart lie more local? Either way, if her child is older, sit down with them and have them help pick a charity to give a donation in her name. This is a meaningful way to show your love and it will also touch her heart to know her child is learning such an important lesson.
The gift of time alone: Does she need time off? A ‘break’ from being a mother may be just what the doctor ordered this Mother’s Day! A few guilt-free hours alone in the afternoon can be absolute bliss! Is it hard for her to get away from the kids for a bit on a regular basis? Think about using our babysitting service, so mom can have some weekly time to read a book, get a mani/pedi or a massage. Or perhaps what mom needs is more quality time! Enroll in a class just for mom and child. Yoga, art, swimming or a mommy and me would be a wonderful gift to help mom spend more one on one time with a child.
Help check off mom’s to-do list: Spring is the time of year when moms are compiling lists of things that need to be done! Spring cleaning can be a big task, but think about how you can make it a bit easier for mom. Have the children help clear out the toy room and donate everything they don’t play with anymore. Does the garage have a collection of old bikes, sports equipment and other odds and ends that no one has touched in years? Get rid of it for her! Donate, throw out and recycle all those items that are no longer in use. Perhaps there is a list of things that need to be fixed around that house. If you can’t do that yourself, surprise her by hiring a handyman for a few hours to take care of that leaky faucet and broken lock. And of course, every mother would love a clean house. Arrange for a professional deep cleaning! When a home is clean, mom can certainly relax easier!
Whether mom needs a break, more quality time, help with the house or a way for her to show her concern and love for others, there are many options out there! The most important thing you can do is tell her you love her, you appreciate her and thank her for all the hard work she does.
Educated Nannies wishes you and your loved ones a very Happy Mother’s Day!
Natalie Oman, LA based mom of two daughters and a yorkie, encourages moms to take 5 minutes (or less) to improve their lives at her Instagram @5minMommy. Below are some tips to help you organize your playroom.
Can’t live with them, can’t live without them. Where do they come from? How many do you actually have? Why do they seem to multiply at night?
As moms, nothing can be more frustrating than wrangling toys. At least for me anyway…
Do you struggle with the toy-multitude like I do? I have been searching “toy storage,” “toy organization,” “playroom hacks,” and “purging toys” since the day my first kid was able to hold a toy.
So what do we do? All of us exasperated moms that clean up the puzzles only to turn around and discover a mess of toy cars, so we clean up the cars only to turn around and discover a mess of crayons and coloring books…. and so it goes. on and on.
Well, it has taken a lot of trial and error, but I have come up with some ideas for you on how to minimize the clutter and maximize the play. Free printable checklist below.
Designate a Play Space and take stock of how much space you have. The space can be in their bedroom, in a playroom, or in part of another room (like the living room). Make sure this space can only be used for playing and it is a “yes” zone for the kids- free from breakables, adult decor, etc. If you are designating a spot in their bedroom, make sure there is still ample space for bed and sleep- putting toys too close to the bed can cause some little troublemakers to stay up and play all night instead of going to bed… not that my kids would do such a thing *ahem* Figure out how much storage you have- 6 bins? 2 book shelves? one wall of cubbies? It is important to take stock of the space you have instead of falling into the “I bet it could fit here” syndrome of packing things in. That’s not what this is about. This is about streamlining and organizing to maximize FUN and PLAY and LIFE- don’t you want that for your kids and yourself?!
Compile and group ALL the toys into categories and decide what to keep and what to give away/throw away. Taking stock of all that you have can be really helpful when you are deciding what to keep and what to toss/donate. So get them ALL out. Every last one. This process is gonna take some time so give yourself time to do it- don’t try to do this with only 15min of spare time and a whiny toddler following you around…unless that’s all the time you have in which case it’s better to start asap. Categorize toys into groups- building (blocks, legos), Figurines (dolls, action figures, plastic animals), Puzzles, Stuffed Animals, Dress Up Clothes, Home (play food, play plates/cups, play cleaning supplies), Arts/Crafts, etc. Immediately purge the broken toys. Next purge all the toys with missing pieces. Next purge all the toys that you dislike (I cannot stand certain toys that my kids play with so now I just toss them and save myself the aggravation. Somehow I think my kids like having a mom that doesn’t say, “Mommy doesn’t like that toy, can you play with something else?” cause what’s the point of having said toy if you can’t play with it…) Next purge all the toys your kids don’t play with- this can be hard for us adults. I’ve asked my 3 year old a few times to fill a box with toys to donate and every time she will toss something in that makes me cringe. I keep thinking, “Well, what if your Grandma comes to see us and asks about that toy?” or “but that toy probably cost your Aunt $100…” Stay strong, mama. If it is truly something you cannot part with because of family obligations or whatnot, set it aside for a toy rotation bin for the future. If they get something for Christmas that they aren’t into, save it for July and see if they like it then. Take a look at what you have left and continue to purge until you are comfortable with the amount of stuff taking up space in your life/house.
Find a spot for each category of toy and label it. Try to think in terms of ease of use, frequency, ease of cleanup, etc. It might make sense to keep puzzles higher up so they are out of reach of smaller children and put stuffed animals in bins on the floor. Then LABEL each area (with pictures or words depending on kids age). You can search Pinterest for free toy labels with words and pictures. You really want to make sure you label in a way that your kids understand- my 3 year old can put her own toys away as long as there is a picture on each bin! If the spot gets full before you put all the toys of that category away, do some more purging. Seriously, if all the stuffed animals don’t fit into the bin unless you sit on the lid while trying to close it, can you realistically expect your kids to do the same when they clean up the room? No? Well those 3 extra stuffed animals strewn about the floor does not a clean room make. In our house we have a chest of dress up clothes, two small plastic bins for stuffed animals, one bin for legos and building toys, one bin for small hard toys (birthday party favors, animal figurines, hard plastic alphabet letters), one bin for dolls and accessories, one bin for books, one drawer for puzzles and there are a couple free standing toys in our empty cubbies. Everything has a place.
Toy Bin Rotation (optional). Some moms find it easier to put a few of each category of toy into different bins- one for each day/week/month. So a bin for December might have a few building blocks, Holiday books/toys, a puzzle, and one musical instrument whereas a bin for July might have bubbles, swim toys, summer-time books/games/etc. (unless you live in the southern hemisphere). If you do a daily/weekly/monthly toy rotation, label bins with number in rotation or a month and decide that when one goes in, others go out. This works especially well for seasonal books/toys- ie. Christmas books go in December bin, Pumpkin books go in October, etc. It also works really well if you have incredibly limited play space, short toy attention spans, or you have too many toys to keep out all at once. I confess that the first time I tried monthly toy bins was just after a move to a new house. I had already purged the heck out of most of our belongings. When I started putting toys/books into the bins, I had enough toys to stock their room with the basics (legos, dress up clothes, etc) PLUS a monthly bin of seasonal toys for 8 months!!! Can you believe it?! We live in 1200 square feet and the girls play space is in their bedroom… What?! They were only 3 years and 6months old at the time. How do such tiny humans acquire so much stuff?! I clearly had more purging to do, LOL. ea
Teach your kids what goes where. This is one of the most important steps. Don’t expect their little brains to understand your organizational scheme without walking them through each bin/shelf. Show them the labels- if your child can’t read, make sure there are pictures. Open each bin so they can see exactly what toys are in there. If the label shows legos but you also want them to put in the building blocks in there too, open the bin and tell them both should live there. Show them what a clean playroom looks like and tell them that at cleanup time, this is what it needs to look like. Help them at clean up time the first few times as they learn how/where to put things away.
Create a plan for new toys. Giving gifts is a joy- especially giving toys to children. So it goes without saying that there will be more toys coming. Make a plan for how your family responds. Maybe you do “one toy in, one toy out” rule. Maybe you make a habit of “Holiday season donations” and mark the purge/donating on your calendar. Maybe you decide that at holidays and birthdays you need to ask for experiences, memberships, playdates, or cash for savings rather than toy presents. Whatever you decide, make sure the entire family knows the rule and is on board with the implementation.
What are your tips for the playroom/space? Comment with your tips and tricks.
Kerstin Kuhn is a food writer, mom and founder of Little Foodie Club, the Los Angeles baby food delivery company that is transforming the way babies eat and learn about food.
Has anyone ever told you that “food before one is just for fun?” It’s one of those catch phrases new parents will hear a lot but just like so many common myths out there (like going outside during an eclipse when pregnant will give your baby a cleft palate), it’s exactly that: a myth.
Food before one is so much more than just for fun. In fact, it is more important than at any other stage of a child’s development. Not only do babies from six months on need adequate amounts of iron to develop healthily – a nutrient that breast milk or formula alone cannot sufficiently provide – it is also in these very early stages of experiencing flavor that babies’ palates and food preferences are shaped for life.
First Tastes and Memories
The more variety of fresh ingredients and different tastes babies are exposed to right from the beginning, the more likely they are to grow up to become healthy and happy eaters. And this already starts before they’ve even had their very first mouthful of solids.
Scientists have discovered that not only are the flavors of foods mothers eat passed on to babies through amniotic fluid and breast milk but babies begin to form memories of these flavors even before they are born. One study, for instance, found that babies, whose mothers often drank carrot juice during pregnancy and nursing, happily ate twice as much carrot-flavored cereal compared with babies whose mothers avoided carrot juice. On the flipside, babies, whose mothers consume a lot of junk food, will be much more likely to be drawn to unhealthy and processed foods. What this means is that the foods a mother eats while expectant or breastfeeding can result in her child’s preferences for these foods for a lifetime to come.
Vegetable and Variety
Once babies start to eat solids, variety is what’s most important. “Children are very receptive to new tastes [during weaning] and we want to take advantage of that opportunity by introducing a great variety of vegetables during that time,” says Dr Alison Fildes, a research psychologist at University College London, whose study found that starting babies on a variety of simple vegetables during the first 15 days of introducing solids makes them significantly more willing to try, accept and like new vegetables later on.
So the conclusion is simple: Give your baby lots of healthy foods from the start and you’ll have a healthy and adventurous eater. Feed them a repetitive diet of bland tastes and you’ll end up with a fussy one.
Easy As Pie – Or Not?
All this makes a lot of sense and seems pretty straightforward, right? But the reality is that starting solids can be extremely daunting for new parents. When do you start? How do you start? Which are good first foods and which aren’t? How often do you safely introduce new ingredients? And what if your baby chokes or has an allergic reaction?
These are just some of the questions parents might be asking themselves and with the internet being a jungle of conflicting information, it’s no surprise that often it’s anxiety rather than happiness that rules mealtime.
21 Days To Solids
At Little Foodie Club, we understand that starting solids can be daunting. That’s why we have designed the Little Foodie Club 21 Days To Solids Plan: to help, support and enable parents to introduce their baby to solid foods with confidence and ease.
Developed in conjunction with a leading pediatrician, the plan helps you to introduce a new ingredient from our carefully selected range of organic vegetables and fruits each day for 21 days, paving the way for a lifetime of healthy eating. Our plan comes with a handbook to guide parents through the process and beginnings of introducing solid foods, from when a baby is ready to start, to what you’ll need to get started, how and when to feed your baby, and troubleshooting tips; plus a fun meal planner for each day of the process.
So if you want to give your baby the best start to a lifetime of healthy eating and also make food before one fun but need a little help in getting started, Little Foodie Club is here to support you all the way.
Order your Little Foodie Club 21 Days To Solids Plan now and get $10 off using promo code EDUCATEDBABIES17 at check out.
Establishing deep connections with children helps them feel safe, supported, and deeply invested in. By building quality connections with your child you demonstrate that you value your relationship and want to protect it at all costs. Another benefit of building strong connections with your child is that it will foster a cooperative attitude. The child will be more likely to cooperate because he/she values connection and doesn’t want to lose it.
The list below offers helpful tools to increase the connection you have with your child:
Ask open-ended questions. Open-ended questions foster connection with children because it encourages them to engage in conversation. Close-ended questions such as “How was your day?” are not specific and won’t get much more than a one word response. Instead, try asking questions like: “Who did you play with today?” or “What was something cool you learned about today.” As your child shares what’s important to him/her, you will feel more connected with one another.
If you do something wrong, apologize. We all make mistakes. When we do it causes a disconnect in the relationship with the one we hurt. When you fail, apologize to your child and ask for their forgiveness. Apologizing will help repair the relationship, build trust, win their heart, and restore your connection.
Create an environment of connection by seeking to understand and not react. It can be really difficult to respond with empathy when your natural response is to lecture your child when you disagree. If you can resist the urge and instead seek to understand your child’s point of view, you will strengthen your relationship. Your child will remember your desire to connect over winning an argument.
Identify how your child feels loved. Gary Chapman wrote a book called The 5 Love Languages and in the book he identifies 5 different ways people receive love which he calls love languages. By identifying your child’s love language and speaking it you will connect with her heart and strengthen your connection. To take the love language quiz click here.
Let your child know you’re on his/her side. In the classic book by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish titled, “How To Talk To So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk” the authors encourage parents to communicate you’re on your child’s side even when you set a limit. If your three year old is yelling for Cheerios but his older sibling just finished the last bite, let him know you would give him a bowl if you had more, but you ran out. Sometimes children, especially toddlers, simply need to know you’re on their side, connected to their desires, and you care about them. This stops many a tantrum!
If you have connection tips, please feel free to email us at email@example.com and we will share them in a future blog post!
(photo credit : bossip)Read More
Finding that perfect nanny for your child can be an overwhelming process in itself. Add in payroll, taxes and the idea of being a household employer for new parents and it gets to be daunting. Educated Nannies has teamed up with our experts at HomePay to make sure you have all the resources you need to hire a nanny, and take away some of that fear. Here are some great tips for employing a nanny legally!
Your Tax Responsibilities
As a household employer, you must withhold Social Security, Medicare and California state disability insurance taxes from your nanny’s paycheck each pay period if she earns $2,000 or more in a calendar year. Federal and state income taxes are optional to withhold, but we highly recommend it so your nanny doesn’t end up with a large tax burden or underpayment penalties at the end of the year.
Additionally, you’ll be required to pay the employer’s portion of Social Security and Medicare, as well as federal and California unemployment insurance taxes, and the California Employment Training Tax. The threshold for having to pay unemployment insurance taxes is $750 in a calendar quarter, so even if you hire a short-term nanny, you may be responsible for these taxes without having to pay Social Security or Medicare taxes.
The good news is, when you do all of this correctly, you’ll be eligible for tax breaks can offset a large portion of these taxes. Many families that use HomePay save more than $2,000 each year and we’re happy to help you do the same!
Hourly Pay & Overtime
According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), your nanny is classified as a non-exempt worker. This means she must be paid on an hourly basis and receives overtime. Combining federal and California state law is a little tricky with determining when overtime is required, so hopefully we can help explain it:
Note: There are additional overtime requirements for nannies that work 12 or more hours in a day or 6 or 7 consecutive days in a workweek. Please call HomePay at (888) 273-3356 for details if this employment situation arises for you.
Mandatory Paid Sick Time
Household employers in California are required to provide up to 3 days (24 hours) of paid sick time each year as long as their employee works at least 30 days. Sick time accrues at 1 hour for every 30 hours worked, but families can choose to offer the full amount upfront if they choose. Unused sick time can roll over to the next year, but families can cap their nanny’s total paid sick time to 48 hours. Families do not need to pay for unused sick time if the nanny is terminated and they can begin using their sick time 90 days after they begin working.
This all may seem like a lot of information to take in, but HomePay is here to help you make it easy to manage. We understand every family has different payroll, tax and HR needs and we’re happy to provide a personalized consultation so you feel comfortable paying your nanny on the books. Just give us a call at (888) 273-3356 or visit us online at www.myhomepay.com for answers to all your questions.
(photo credit : TWI Copy)Read More
Cheers to 2017! For many of us, the New Year means reflecting on the past year and making positive changes for the upcoming year. Children can also benefit from self-reflection and by setting goals for the future. Educated Nannies has some tips to share on how kids benefit from making resolutions!
Make it a Family Tradition: The best way to teach children the importance of New Year’s resolutions is by making it part of the family tradition. Educated Nannies encourages families to sit down with your children and reflect on the past year. Take the time to talk about your accomplishments and goals both as individuals and as a family. As part of your discussion, talk about ways you can make a difference within your family, school, or community.
For older children, encourage them to make a list of their own accomplishments and goals. For the littler ones, they can draw a picture, or you can jot down their ideas. Resolutions for the family might include unplugging from electronics during dinner and sharing daily highlights, being more physically active on the weekends, or committing to volunteer a few times a year. Your child’s resolution might include helping to clear the table, making sure to write thank you notes for gifts they receive, or helping a younger sibling with their homework.
Be a Role Model: It’s important for parents and nannies to be role models. If children see you picking up trash off the ground, donating to a cause, using kind words, and exercising, they are more likely to join in. If you lead by example, children will understand the value of setting and keeping goals. Celebrate the small victories in life! If your goal is to drink more water, cheer each other on. If your child’s goal is to improve upon his/her reading skills, make it a priority to have 20-30 minutes of reading time each night. Encouraging one another goes a long way!
Keep Things Positive: When making New Year’s resolutions with your children, it’s important to keep things positive. You don’t want to create a laundry list of things your children need to change or a list of items that are too hard to accomplish. Focus on the positive things they have accomplished last year and ask them, “What are some of the things you did that you are most proud about this year? Is there something you think you could do better? How can you make a difference not only in your life, but for your family and the community?”
Celebrate Accomplishments: We all know that feeling of meeting a goal. Your heart starts to beat faster. You feel this sense of pride. You may even experience perma-grin! Children also relish that thrill of accomplishment, especially when their parents are acknowledging it! It’s important to remember to praise your children for meeting their goals along the way. This will help them to stay focused, and continue to work on their resolutions throughout the year.
What are some of your New Year’s resolutions or traditions you share with your family? How do you make sure you stay on track throughout the year? What do you do to celebrate your accomplishments? Please comment below. Educated Nannies want to know!Read More
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Hanukkah and the Christmas holiday season is quickly approaching, and many parents are still searching for that perfect holiday gift for their nanny, housekeeper, teachers, and tutors. Educated Nannies has some great holiday gift ideas for your nanny this holiday season!
Year End Bonus (most popular): A bonus for a nanny is an extra special “Thank you!” for dedicating time all year long to your most precious littles. A typical bonus is either one or two weeks pay depending on how long the nanny has been working with your family.
Gift Cards: Is there a special restaurant, retail or online store your nanny likes to shop at? Would she enjoy an afternoon at the spa or getting a mani or pedi, but would never splurge on herself? Gift cards make the perfect gift for a nanny who is always putting the needs of others first!
Lessons or Memberships: Does your nanny enjoy dancing, drawing, or learning a second language? Does she/he workout, enjoy cooking, or taking photographs? Gym memberships, enrichment classes or lessons are another way of treating your nanny.
Unique or Homemade Gifts: Etsy offers a variety of unique gifts for everyone. Perhaps a homemade scarf and matching hat? Maybe a special pair of earrings or a necklace that will remind her of your family. Framed photos of the kids, or a Shutterfly photo book filled with memories shared with your family.
Fun Holiday Options: If your budget permits, fun holiday options include: frequent flier miles so she/he can go home for the holidays, a weeks’ vacation at your time-share, a gas card or helping to buy a computer. If your budget is limited, consider a gift of time and pop home a few hours early to take over for your nanny so she/he can get a jump start to their weekend.
Last but not least, remember the taxes: While this can sometimes be overlooked, please keep in mind that all bonuses (cash or gift), are taxable income to the employee and must be reported on all employment tax documents.
If you have any questions regarding holiday, year-end gifts or bonuses for your nanny, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always happy to help and be of service!