On a daily basis when we check the news or social media, we are bombarded with one devastating environmental disaster after another. It seems so consistent that it has us wondering what will happen next? When will “The Big One” strike? The single best thing we can do for our loved ones is to be educated and prepared for an emergency. Your list of loved ones does not just include yourself, your children and your immediate family; it also includes nannies and babysitters, extended family, friends and neighbors. Think about who to share your family plan with and your emergency contact.
Many people wonder what do we prepare for exactly? And how do we begin?
Know what to prepare for. Think about the most common emergencies and what might be unique to where you live. According to the Los Angeles Fire Department, there are 13 federally identified threats to Los Angeles that include earthquakes and fires.
Plan for evacuations and locate meeting places. Your family may need to evacuate your home for a number of reasons. Make sure every family member knows where to go. This includes extended family, nannies and babysitters, neighbors and friends that may need to help. Depending on the emergency, your family will need to have multiple meeting places.
Inside the home: During an earthquake, be sure everyone knows to stay away from windows and light fixtures, book cases and any other furniture that can fall over. For children, the best way to prepare for an earthquake is to locate the best place to take cover in each room in the house. What if an earthquake strikes while they are eating dinner? Sleeping in their bedroom? Practice your emergency drill in each room of your home.
If there is a fire in your home, what is the quickest escape route? Show children where to go once they do escape outside.
In your neighborhood: Choose a place in your neighborhood that is easy for family members to meet in case you do need to evacuate your home. It could be a neighbor’s house, a mall parking lot, or by the big tree on the corner of the street.
Outside your neighborhood: What happens if an emergency happens and meeting in your home or your neighborhood meeting spot is not an option? Family members could be spread out at work and school. Choose a place where everyone can meet. This could be a friend’s house, your church or a library. Again, make sure nannies, babysitters and any other caregivers know these plans and where they are. Feel free to include a map along with your emergency phone numbers.
Be sure to have a meeting place outside of your city. You never know when danger can strike and you are far away from home. Do you have relatives or friends that live outside of Los Angeles? If not, then find a few hotels that are easily accessible and have their phone numbers and addresses written down so you do not have to do an internet search in the middle of an evacuation. If you have pets this is especially important. Find pet friendly hotels ahead of time so you will feel confident your whole family, pets included, can evacuate if need be.
If you know ahead of time that you and your family may need to evacuate, don’t wait! Evacuate early to give your family the best chance at staying safe. This also helps to keep roads clear for firefighters or police to move quickly to the hazard so they can do their jobs. If you need to evacuate quickly or at night, don’t be stuck running around looking for shoes, medicine or a flashlight. Have all the important things ready in a bag that is easy to grab.
The Los Angeles Fire Department recommends having the six “P’s” ready.
- People and Pets: Have enough food and water for 3 days for all members of your family including your pets.
- Papers, phone numbers and important documents
- Prescriptions, vitamins and eyeglasses
- Pictures and irreplaceable memorabilia
- Personal computers and hard drives
- Plastic: Credit Cards and cash
Also have first aid kits on hand, and consider having emergency grab bags for your office and/or car as well. Make sure that your nanny’s vehicle is also equipped with necessary items!
The American Red Cross has a great website where you can learn how to better prepare yourself depending on what threat or emergency you and your family may be at risk for.
Also be sure to check out the link provided on our Facebook page from The Nanny Doctor about how to speak with children about gun violence. The tips she provides are not just helpful for speaking about gun violence, but all disasters and scary things that children may be exposed to.
If you have any emergency tips, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s time to celebrate your nanny! National Nanny Recognition Week is September 24-30. 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, Save a Little Life CPR Class, take a cooking class, or attend a RIE class.
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!
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.
Minimalism is all the rage- documentaries on Netflix, Tiny House plans, Facebook Groups and Meetups all dedicated to the practice of minimal living. BUT if you have children, this may seem like mission impossible.
Kids have an uncanny knack for picking up, receiving, holding onto, emotionally attaching to, being obsessed with THINGS. The amount of things my 3 year old encounters on a daily basis are mind boggling. I don’t even understand how 3 year olds didn’t die of boredom before toys. Just kidding. I know how they didn’t die- they developed attention span, relationships, and creativity to play with their environment not toys. It’s crazy though in this world to live like that, right?! I mean, we aren’t living in caves with only sticks and rocks. We want our kids to have the good stuff in life! We want them to enjoy life and not be disadvantaged compared to their peers. BUT do toys, clutter, and more STUFF accomplish those things?
Whelp let me tell you what has happened in our household… Like so many other new parents, we didn’t know what to buy, what we would need, how we would raise our first little girl. So we took the advice of others, received countless hand me downs, and filled up our house with toys and kids books and DVDs and parenting books and all the other things that young families NEED…or do they? I am so grateful for all the gifts lavished upon us when we were building our family. HOWEVER, I wish I had embraced a minimalistic and clutter free way of life before bringing kids into this world – kids who observe my every move. LITERALLY every move. When we moved (5 times in 4 years), I was stuck packing box after box after box of STUFF that I didn’t need, use, or even necessarily want. I remember parking my 18 month old baby girl in front of PBS kids so she wouldn’t need me to hold her every second so I could pack boxes. She wasn’t interested in TV at that point but she gained an interest because mommy was busy with stuff. She realized TV could entertain her and “hold her hand” when she was bored/lonely/etc. Now I’m all for teaching your kids to help, but at 18 months the desire to UNpack is greater than the desire to pack…
I wish I would have created a play space outside of the bedroom that my girls shared when we moved into our first house. Instead all the toys were kept in their room but when the littlest was sleeping, the oldest would watch TV because she didn’t have her own space to play. I wish I would have “thinned the herd” of toys BEFORE we moved. I wish I would have made donating toys a regular weekly/monthly habit, not a traumatic, once-in-a-great-while thing. I wish I would have had my girls practice making gifts/cards instead of buying our friends and family more toys/things.
So needless to say, I am on this journey with you. Starting is the hardest part. Here is what I have learned on the first part of my mission to live Minimalist with Kids.
Communicate Your Why
Children have an incredible capacity for memory. If you repeat your reasons, your positives, your mantras, kids will learn them. They are subconscious little sponges that soak up and apply everything they hear. As they are watching TV, attending school, and live in our consumer-obsessed culture, they are absorbing and implementing that culture in their own life. How much MORE do we need to refocus them on our new family practice of minimalism. Write notes on the mirror saying “people not stuff” or post in the kitchen “joy not clutter” or in the car say “contentment not consumerism”.
Remind them of the joy of giving and donating. Travel and show them the poverty that surrounds them so they can be grateful with what they have. Watch documentaries or listen to podcasts about intentional living and minimalism. Make up songs, repeat catchy sayings, and fill your home with posts reminding your family of the WHY.
Teach By Example
Kids are pretty smart- when it comes to implementation, they can catch a hypocrite red-handed. Part of the reason to Communicate Your Why is to have them keep you accountable. Show them how you ENJOY purging, selectively buying, choosing your obligations, putting away your few possessions, decluttering, stressing less, and embracing minimalism in your own life. If you don’t ENJOY it, how can you expect them to want to do it too? When you purge the house of your own useless belongings, kids will notice a difference. Start with your own adult possessions, move onto office/kitchen/living rooms and let kids see how it affects your life and demeanor.
Also, decide how minimal you want yourself and family to be. Are you going to only have one chair in your living room and 3 t-shirts to wear? Are you going to have a limit on how much you store in the garage/basement/attic? Are you going to focus on the purging or the selective buying? One size does NOT fit all when it comes to Minimalism. Each family is different so you have to choose what works for you.
Make it FUN not a chore
“Fill this box with toys to get rid of” and “clean up these toys or I’m throwing them away!” and “I’m giving this away because you don’t like it” are all phrases that have come out of my mouth in the frustration of decluttering. Does that seem like a conscious choice for my kids or a dictator deciding for them? Would you want to declutter if your mom is a stressed out crazy person wielding the power of throwing away toys willie nillie??? As the previous steps explain, they need to understand the WHY and they need to see your EXAMPLE.
Try giving them a purpose for decluttering. We had a friend with a new baby that we were going to give some toys to. I showed my girls a picture of the little newborn baby and told them to fill up a small box of things that this new baby could use or like. It was amazing how fast they filled up the box. I’ve also asked for toys to be donated to school/church so that they can play with those toys when they go there. Much easier to get rid of a toy in their room if they can see it when they get to school/church.
Have a Plan
As with any new habit or lifestyle, you have to have a plan. It is fine to declutter at Spring Cleaning, but if you want to LIVE a LIFE of Minimalism, you need to have a plan on how to implement it on a daily basis. Cleaning up toys before dinner, weekly house decluttering, monthly donations, volunteering with the poor, traveling to see other standards of living, cultivating your lifestyle with like minded people. Figure out what you want to do when the kids receive gifts, gather nature items, get hand me downs, take home artwork, get party favors. Write a new list of gift ideas for birthdays and holidays that include more experiences, memberships, savings plans, clothes, and toys that will grow with them. Teach them how to save and buy something they really want- the patience and sacrifice required will teach him about the value of money and bring them more joy when obtained.
Embrace and enjoy a life of minimalism. Lead your kids with your own lifestyle and show them your own enjoyment and contentment. Minimalism with kids is a MISSION POSSIBLE but it will look different for every child/person/family.
Ring, Ring! We are official Back to School! To set our families up for success, we’ve compiled some nanny tips and tricks for back to school. Nannies play an important role in transitioning from summer vacation to the school year. Summer vacation is highly anticipated, but the start of the school year might be partnered with some initial excitement and also some fears.
Drop-Offs and Pick-Ups: There is a YouTube video of a teacher from North Carolina, Mr. White, who greets his students with a unique handshake at the beginning of each day. The video shows him bringing joy to each student as he does individualized handshakes with each student. How fun would it be to create a handshake when you drop-off and/or pick-up the children in your care at school? Like Mr. White, you will connect with the child’s heart, bring a smile to their face, joy to their day, and memories to last a lifetime.
Lunch: To express your care throughout the day write a joke, riddle, or encouragement on a piece of paper and include it in their lunchbox. Does the child your caring for like puzzles or games? Put a puzzle piece in the child’s lunchbox each day and he will look forward to watching the picture come together as the days unfold.
Engaging After School. When you pick kids up from school you want to know about their day, but instead of asking a generic question like “How was school today?” which often elicits a one word response, try asking specific questions like, “Tell me about the student that sits next to you in school,” “Who is the funniest person in your class?” or “What was your favorite part of lunch?” Make a game and by writing questions down on paper, put them in a jar, and have the children pick a question out and answer it. This would also be a great time to follow up with the joke, riddle, or puzzle piece you put in their lunch as well.
After School Plans: The first couple of weeks of school are very exhausting, and children are buzzing from the new experiences, challenges, and routines. Plan the week so kids know what to expect but leave room to be spontaneous. Make sure to gauge their need for stimulation versus time to rest.
Do you have your own tips and tricks? We invite you to post on Instagram and tag Educated Nannies. We want to hear from you!
It’s no secret that physical activity can improve your health and is important at every age. If you’ve always exercised before you were pregnant, but now worry about how much to too much while your pregnant, 360 Fit Haus offers some terrific tips.
Did you know that Pilates is one of the best and safest forms of exercise both during pregnancy and afterwards? We have seen an increased number of pregnant women turning to Pilates to stay fit and healthy both during and after their pregnancies.
In pre-natal Pilates, we focus on building up deep abdominal strength to support the weight of the baby; strengthening the lower back and pelvic floor muscles that are used during labor and delivery; creating postural support as the weight of the growing baby continues to pull the spine out of alignment; and doing targeted stretches for the hips, buttocks, lower back, and any other areas of the body that experience pregnancy-related aches and pains. Because Pilates can be modified for anyone’s ability, it’s safe to undertake if you haven’t been extremely active leading up to your pregnancy; or, we can continue with more athletic workouts as appropriate for your current fitness level. Additionally, pre-natal Pilates helps you calm your mind and improve your mind-body connection, learn how to breathe deeply, and increase circulation to the fetus. These are skills that will be helpful during and after labor and delivery. If you have never done Pilates before, it will be important for you to find a pre-natal Pilates class or an instructor who can give you a lot of one on one attention. It is not recommended that you begin doing Pilates on your own if you haven’t already worked with the fundamentals. Most Pilates exercises can be modified as your body and abilities change, so be sure to communicate with your instructor if you feel tired, out of breath, dizzy, or otherwise unwell.
Engaging Transverse Abdominal Muscles & Pelvic Floor
The transverse abdominal muscles are the deepest layer of the abs, and are felt to be working at the belly button and below. These lower abdominal muscles are the ones you feel when you cough. It is very important for pre-natal moms to work on their TA muscles, especially if there is a risk of diastasis recti (separation of the abdominal wall). We like to use a ball between the inner thighs for these exercises to help engage the abdominal muscles along with the inner thighs and pelvic floor.
1. Using Breath to Activate Lower Abdominals
You should feel like your stomach muscles are pulling into the body, not pushing outward. Squeeze the ball so you can feel some inner thigh resistance, and take a long inhale through your nose for 5 counts. Exhale 5 short exhales strongly through your mouth. Aim for 5-10 sets of this breath work.
2. Finding and Strengthening The Pelvic Floor
The pelvic floor muscles are the foundation for the core of the body. They both help stabilize the pelvis and support the organs of the lower abdominal cavity. This supportive hammock of muscles, tendons, and ligaments are at the base of the pelvic bowl. Despite being so important, the pelvic floor muscles can be hard to feel! While seated, think of pulling the two bones in the bottom of your bottom together and up, like you are drawing the energy from your inner thighs up through the center of your pelvis to your belly, and then out through the crown of the head. The muscles strengthen gradually, so try to contract 15-20 reps, 3-4 times each day.
3. Mini Roll-Back/Roll-Back with Twist
Squeeze the ball and press your feet firmly against the mat as you start to round out your lower back and curl back towards the mat on an exhale. Go back until you feel the abdominal muscles, inhale as you pause in that position, then exhale as you return to the upright seated position. 8-10 reps.
Add in a rotation to challenge the obliques, or the muscles you feel in the sides of the waistline. Rotate towards one side, then curl back towards the mat on an exhale. Pause in that position as you inhale, then exhale to sit back up. Alternate sides, 8-10 reps each side.
4. Side Lying Hip Work
Lie on your side with your head on your arm for support. Use a small rolled up towel or pillow under your head if you need better support for your neck. Bend the underneath leg for stability and place your hand on the ball in front of you to keep some challenge in the abdominals. Make sure your hips are facing the same direction, as the top hip in particular loves to roll back in this position! Lift your top leg until you feel the glute and inner thigh muscles working on an exhale, then hover it over the mat when you come back down on the inhale. 10-15 reps on each side.
Pilates is beneficial post-partum in terms of helping you recover from the physical and emotional demands of childbirth. Due to Pilates’ focus on pelvic stability and correct abdominal engagement, we can gently strengthen the pelvic floor and abdominal wall muscles that got stretched out during pregnancy. We can also work on re-engaging the deep abdominal muscles if you delivered by C-section. This focus on correct abdominal engagement and pelvic floor recruitment will contribute to a flatter stomach, a trimmer silhouette, and bladder control. We also work to quickly build up arm and upper back strength for bending, lifting, and carrying your baby. Post-natal Pilates will increase your athletic endurance, help you release stress and sleep better, and improve your overall emotional and mental state.
Start off on all fours. Line up the shoulders over the hands, and the hips over the knees. On an exhale, round the spine up towards the ceiling without moving the shoulders or hips. On an inhale, stretch the spine as if the chest is pulling towards the fingertips and the tailbone is reaching towards the ceiling. Repeat 5-6 times.
Start off on all fours. Line up the shoulders over the hands, and the hips over the knees. The spine and pelvis are in a neutral position, so the ribs and belly are lifting away from the floor, while the shoulders are pressing apart to engage the lat muscles under the armpits. Without moving the hips, ribs, or supporting thigh bone, slowly extend one leg out behind you on the exhale, letting the toes stay on the mat. Inhale to return to your starting position. Alternate 8-10 reps. This is a great exercise for learning how to stabilize the new shape of your hips, as well as strengthening the upper body to carry the baby. Modification: If your wrists are uncomfortable with the arms straight, drop down to your forearms.
A qualified Pilates instructor (look for someone with a Pilates Method Alliance-approved comprehensive teaching credential) can help you prepare your body for the changes it undergoes during the prenatal period, the rigors of childbirth, and the needed rehabilitation after your baby is here! Experience a fit and healthy pregnancy and beyond with Pilates for Moms at 360 Fit Haus. 1400 Colorado Blvd. Suite C Los Angeles, CA 90041. email@example.com / 323.474.6315
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER!