Establishing Deep Connections With Children

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 info@educatednannies.com and we will share them in a future blog post!

(photo credit :  bossip)

Read More

Employing a Nanny Legally

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:

  • Nannies should be paid at least 1.5 times their regular hourly rate (time-and-a-half) for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek.
  • California daily overtime law requires nannies to be paid overtime for all hours worked over 9 in a day.
  • If the nanny is a live-in employee, overtime is required if they work more than 9 hours in a day and/or 45 hours in a 7-day workweek.

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

How Kids Benefit From Making Resolutions!

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

Holiday Gift Ideas For Your Nanny

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 info@educatednannies.com. We are always happy to help and be of service!

 

 

 

Read More

Teaching Children About Gratitude

As the season of gratitude and giving is upon us, this is a wonderful opportunity to remember to take the time to teach our children the importance for being grateful.  The concept of thankfulness can be difficult for a child to embrace, and especially put into practice.  How can we, as parents and caregivers, help our children learn to be grateful? Here are a few tips about teaching children about gratitude.

While we might believe that we all have a natural inclination toward thankfulness, for most of us, gratitude is learned.  By teaching our children to be grateful, they learn to become more sensitive to the feelings of others, more empathic, and have increased self-esteem.  Furthermore, they are happier, more social, and have deeper friendships.

So how do we instill gratitude in our children?  It’s certainly not a lesson that can be taught in a single example or learned overnight.  It’s not a “do as I say, not as I do” attitude.   We can teach our children in the ways we role model gratitude in our day-to-day interactions with our family, friends, and the community.  Remembering to say “please” and “thank you” to our children, the cashier at Trader Joe’s, or the stranger that held the door open for us is a small, yet powerful gesture for children to learn by example.

In addition, especially around the holidays, when the focus is on receiving, we can incorporate family traditions of volunteerism and the joy of giving.  Being of service can be part of a child’s life from a very young age. You and your family can volunteer at a local charity, adopt a family for the holidays, or collect toys and clothing for a local shelter.

We can also remove the emphasis on presents and focus more on celebrating; visiting with family, baking cookies, decorating the tree, lighting the menorah, or attending services.

Families can continue service oriented projects throughout the year by getting our children involved in writing thank you notes, baking cookies for a local fire department, or donating our belongings to a woman and children’s shelter.

Our client Rebecca, shared with Educated Nannies a family tradition she started when her daughter, Ava was two and half years old.   “Each night, before bed, we reflected on the day and shared a highlight.  Sometimes it was a simple as having ice cream after dinner.  As Ava grew older, her highlights were centered more around what she did for someone, rather than what she received.”   Another client, Adam and his family share their daily gratitudes during dinner time.  “Our family begins with a prayer, followed by what each of us is thankful for before we begin eating.”  “This helps our boys to focus on the little things.” he continued.

What are some of your traditions or ways by which you teach your children to be thankful?  Educated Nannies wants to hear from you.

Wishing each and every one of you a THANKful Thanksgiving!

Read More

The Impact of Technology on Our Children

One might find it hard to believe that Steve Jobs, who once ran Apple, had limits when it came to his own children using technology. In fact, you might expect his house to look more like The Jetsons in the 21st century; touch screens used to turn the lights on and off, unlock doors, and prepare dinner. But the truth is, Steve Jobs is not alone. Many technology CEO’s and executives strictly limit their children’s screen time, often banning them on school nights. We ask ourselves, what is the impact of technology on our children?

Today, children as young as two years old, spend more than two and a half hours a day watching television, and using smartphones, computers, and other electronic devices. But, at what cost? How will all of this screen time effect their health, ability to focus for long periods of time, and socialize and talk to their peers?

What are appropriate boundaries? How much is too much, and when are too many limits going to have adverse effects on our children?   We wish someone would give us the answer.

While there is no clear cut solution, there are plenty of studies that have shown that excessive media can lead to attention problems, difficulties in school, sleep concerns, and obesity. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that screen time should be avoided entirely for infants and children under age 2.

We spoke with our client Sarah who stated it wasn’t until her son started school, that she noticed the overwhelming exposure other children had to electronics.  Suddenly, children were coming over for playdates asking to play on the iPad rather than building forts, playing sports, or being outside. Conversations were no longer about Legos and Matchbox cars, rather about Minecraft and Xbox games.

Sarah admits that at some point she convinced herself that allowing her son to play “educational games” was appropriate. iPads were being introduced in the classroom and he was expected to login and practice math and computer skills at home.  Schools and administrators were convincing parents and students that they needed to get children to use iPads and computers at an earlier age to keep up with their peers.   That somehow, parents who limited electronics were putting their children at a disadvantage.

“I can’t speak for all parents, but intuitively I know that I want to limit my son’s exposure to electronics and video games.   It’s not a black and white decision, but in our house, there is a time and a place for it. For example; we never choose electronics over reading, hanging out with friends, or being active.   No electronics at dinner time, during playdates, or before bed.   Electronics are not used outside of the home, to keep him quiet, or to fight boredom. Electronics are reserved for the weekends, with the exception of school work. Our weekdays are filled with homework, martial arts, piano lessons, playdates, reading, and having face to face conversations about our daily activities,” she said.   Sarah continued, “I notice that when I get lazy, or make exceptions to our limited technology rule, my son’s behavior changes.   He becomes more defiant, demonstrates meltdowns and temper tantrums, and ultimately craves more screen time. Therefore, it’s really important for me to be aware of how much screen time Braden is getting in any given week. I have to remember to be present and consciously aware, and make sure that I provide him with real experiences, as well as be a role model of what healthy use of technology looks like.   What this means is that each day I take the time to unplug and just be a mom.   And guess what? The world still goes on without me.”

Educated Nannies wants to know how often your children spend on technology each week? Do you restrict electronics on school nights? How much is too much or does it matter to you? What do you think is the impact of technology on our children?

 

  • photo credit : Family Matters blog
Read More

National Nanny Recognition Week

It’s time to celebrate your nanny! National Nanny Recognition Week is September 18-24. This is a special week set aside every year to honor your nanny and show her how much you appreciate everything she does for your family. It’s a time for your children to show gratitude to their nanny for being such a positive role model. Remembering to say “Thank you” to your nanny throughout the year is so important, and here are some ways to make her feel extra fabulous this week!

1. CREATIVE APPRECIATION

If your children are musical, have them sing a song (or write a poem) to thank your nanny. It will make her smile and it’s super creative for the kids to write their own lyrics.

2. DRAW A THANK YOU CARD

Are your children great artists? Have them create a special thank you card for your nanny.

3. PAMPER YOUR NANNY

Is your nanny working 10 hour days? Gift your nanny a relaxing day at the spa or treat her to a massage.

4. GIFT OF EDUCATION

Has your nanny always wanted to take a special class to add to her list of skills or learn another language? Sponsor her to attend the International Nanny Association conference, take a cooking class, or purchase Rosetta Stone in her language of choice.

5. BONUS

Tell your nanny how much you appreciate her, and then gift her a bonus or a health insurance stipend to contribute to her well-being.

6. WORDS OF KINDNESS

Simply say thank you and tell your nanny how wonderful she is. It feels good to be loved and hear positive things!

7. PAID DAY OFF

Treat your nanny to a paid day off. Many nannies work long hours, so they will really appreciate finding the time to visit the dentist, get a haircut, or treat them to a mani/pedi. Feeling polished is a win/win for everyone :)

8. THROW A NANNY PARTY

Decorate the house, make some cupcakes, put on your nannie’s favorite music, and celebrate her awesomeness!

9. DINNER AT A FAVORITE RESTAURANT

Many times nannies spend hours preparing meal plans for the week, grocery shopping, and cooking delicious meals. Treat your nanny to a night off from cooking and send her out to her favorite restaurant.

10. MAKE A DONATION

Do you already spoil your nanny and treat her like part of the family? Maybe there is a cause that is near and dear to your nanny’s heart? You and the kids could donate your time or make a kind donation? Get creative and think outside of the box!

HAVE A FABULOUS WEEK CELEBRATING YOUR EDUCATED NANNIES!

Read More

Spring Cleaning for Back to School

For many parents spring cleaning doesn’t just happen in Spring, it hits during the month of August just before the start of the new school year. The lazy days of summer all of a sudden turn into panic as the upcoming school year looms around the corner. In an attempt to calm oneself and get organized, you can make lists of the ‘to do’s’, ‘to buy’ and the ‘to go through’. These lists may work or have quite the opposite effect and merely served as reminder that you are anything, but calm and organized. What’s needed is a step back and a look at the big picture. Back to school can be a fresh start and you want to start it with your best foot forward. In order to do this turn those lists into three concepts. Discard, organize and mindfully purchase.

Discard: This is a great time to organize closets, dressers, toys, old school work and art! Go through all your child’s clothes and shoes and throw out any that they have worn out. Did your kids outgrow any clothes or shoes before they were worn out? If they are only gently used, don’t forget to donate! This is a great time to go through toys as well. Kids get busy when school starts with homework and after school activities. They will naturally have less time to play with all their toys so donate any toys they are no longer interested in. They probably won’t even notice!

Many parents keep everything their child brings home from school. It just seems to precious to immediately toss in the recycling! But after a year of gathering and watching your child’s school work grow into a mini volcano; it’s time to sit down and figure out what is their best and toss the rest.

Organize: Make way for any new school clothes. Create space for all the goodies your child brings home from school. Create a space for important school documents that need parents attention and response. Have a designated spot for your child to keep their homework, close to pencils and supplies needed to complete it. And last but not least, a spot to put all of the school work and fun art they bring home. Having a place for all of these important school items not only keeps your house clutter free, it helps prevent lost work and helps show your child just how important school is.

Archive and store your child’s best work, art and accomplishments. You can keep it simple with a 3 ring binder. It’s easy to pull off the shelf and not only you will enjoy looking through it but your child will as well.

Organize your child’s clothing. Make it easy for them on busy school mornings to find exactly what they are looking for. Separate t-shirts, tank tops and long sleeves. Have them help you so they remember where everything is.

Will your child have any after school sports or extracurricular activities? If so, figure out before they start where their equipment will be placed before they get into a habit of throwing it on the couch when they walk in the house.

Mindfully purchase: One way to create less clutter and less items to throw out is to be thoughtful about what you buy in the first place.

After discarding and organizing your child’s clothing it is easy to take a glance and figure out what they really need for back to school. They might not need everything.

Think about buying items that will last longer than just one school year, even if that means they are a bit more expensive. Replace plastic disposable baggies with reusable items such as stainless steel or durable plastic. This won’t just save you money, but will be a good lesson for your child about helping the environment. Perhaps your child, like many, would love to get a backpack featuring their favorite character. Often those backpacks last only one year, if that. Compromise with a character lunch box or binder. Your child will be happy and may not complain when you urge them to get a better quality backpack in a favorite color that will last a couple of years.

Remember to think of back to school as a fresh start for you and your child. After discarding and organizing it should be easier to see exactly what you need and more importantly, what isn’t needed. So take a breath of fresh air, discard, organize and mindfully purchase.

*Photo credit: Polkadotchair.com

Read More

Teaching Children about Diversity

In light of the recent violence that has occurred both nationally and internationally, we feel it is necessary to start teaching children about diversity at an early age. Racism and discrimination are very real parts of our society. Their effects, like a malignant tumor, can spread and ruin a body that was created to function harmoniously with itself. Just like a doctor would remove a malignant tumor, we have to make a conscious effort to remove the cancer of racism and discrimination that has plagued our world. The removal process begins in our homes. As parents we have the power to shape the minds of our children. In a world that is steadily becoming a more global society, it is our great responsibility to instill in them ideals about love and inclusion.

Below are a few ways we can encourage children to understand, appreciate, and embrace diversity:

Be an example of love and acceptance for children. Each day we have opportunities to illustrate what it looks like to be kind to others. Start off simple by holding the door for someone, complimenting another person, or helping someone in need. We have opportunities to show our children what real friendship looks like by making friends with people who are different than we are. Modeling loving and inclusive behaviors for our children is key to breaking down the walls that separate us.

Refuse to be a part of the problem. Perpetuating stereotypes, telling hurtful jokes about others, and saying unkind things about people who are different than we are is unacceptable. Again, our children are listening to what we say and watching what we do. Under no circumstance should they hear us make discriminatory comments or see us behave in a way that excludes others who are different.

Encourage open-ended conversations. Don’t discourage children from talking about differences. Use the discussions as opportunities “to talk about diversity and model attitudes of openness and inclusiveness.”** For example, if your child stares at a person and points out a physical deformity he or she has, sit down with your child and acknowledge the difference.  Teach your child that differences are what make us unique and beautiful. Remind your child that it is unkind to stare, point, and say potentially hurtful things about others. We should love all people, even if they are different than we are. Love doesn’t want to hurt someone else or make them feel bad about who they are. Love is kindness.

Step outside of your comfort zone. Exposure is paramount. Attend cultural events in your community. Talk positively with your children about the foods, customs, religions, and music of different cultures. Discuss current events in the media to explain how societies break down when people exclude or mistreat others because of ethnic, gender, and religious differences. Encourage your child to make friends with people of different backgrounds—and not just the type of friends they only play with on the playground at school, but the type they actually spend time with and invite to be a part of your lives.

Speak up. If you hear someone say unkind things about or mistreat people of different backgrounds, don’t be silent. Your silence speaks volumes and your children are watching. Don’t be afraid to denounce injustice. Address discrimination even if it means stirring things up in your own circle of friends.

Now, more than ever before, we have a responsibility to teach our children the importance of respecting people of different ethnic, social, religious, and economic backgrounds. In our global society, there is no place for racism or discrimination, but there is always room for love and inclusion.

 

**Bright Horizons – Teaching Preschoolers to Live in a Diverse World

Photo Credit: theriskyshift.com

Read More

Father’s Day Gifts

Father’s Day is right around the corner! This year we have a few activities, craft ideas, and Father’s Day gifts to share with your kids that are sure to make dad feel “like a million bucks” on his special day.

Write a poem for dad expressing exactly why you love and appreciate him. Be creative. It can rhyme, but it doesn’t have to. You can even use the letters of his name to start off each line.

Make a handmade card for dad. We found this beauty on http://fathersday-2015.com/fathers-day-crafts-for-preschool-babies-2-year-olds/

Father’s-Day-Crafts-for-Babies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Go for a walk (or hike) with dad. While you’re spending quality time together, ask him questions about his childhood. Or better yet, make it a game—50 Silly Questions and Answers in 50 minutes. Take turns asking each other silly questions and see who can come up with the silliest answers.

Tell dad he’s the best but be sure to frame it so he feels special every day. We think this idea from http://paintedconfetti.com/13-easy-fathers-day-gift-ideas/ is super cute.

Fathers-day-3-4-1024x831

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arrange a special “date” for you and dad. Today it’s all about him (but of course you get to have fun too). Make dad breakfast, take him to see a movie, or have a special dance party where he is the guest of honor.

Create your own do-it-yourself board book. This is  great way to express to dad all the reasons why you love him. Using your favorite pictures of the two of you spending time together will really make dad’s day. Check out http://heartofdeborah.com/diy-fathers-day-kids-book.html for details about how to put it all together.

Personalized-Board-Book-for-Kids

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No matter what you choose to do for or with your dad on Father’s Day, remember that he’s just as happy to be your dad as you are to be his child.  Give him lots of hugs and don’t hold back on the compliments.

 

Featured Image courtesy of coronadotimes.com

Read More