Education

Why RIE?

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

Before I had ever heard of Magda Gerber or Janet Lansbury, my son demanded to be a RIE baby.

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 RIEwhat 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.

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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!

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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
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Educated Nannies Newborn Care Specialists

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We are thrilled to announce the launch of a new special service offered by our company. Please welcome Educated Nannies Newborn Care Specialists! We understand that preparing for the arrival of a new baby and adjusting once your little miracle arrives can be overwhelming for both new and veteran parents. Our hope is to help make this transitional period as smooth as possible by offering you access to well-trained educated caregivers who are dedicated to providing quality care for your newborn and making your life a lot less stressful! We have put together a list of questions and answers to help explain exactly what a Newborn Care Specialist does and the ways she (or he) can help make your life easier.

What is the difference between a Doula, Baby Nurse, Night Nanny, and Newborn Care Specialist?

We hear the terms Doula, Baby Nurse, Night Nanny, and Newborn Care Specialist often used interchangeably, but the truth is they are four different types of caregivers with different responsibilities. Let’s take a closer look at the job duties of each of these professional caregivers.

Doula: Birth doulas and postpartum doulas must be certified through DONA or CAPPA. A birth doula educates and supports a pregnant mother before and during labor. A postpartum doula provides support to the postpartum family in the first few weeks following birth, through education, basic baby care, mother care and household assistance. Her focus is on the entire family versus primarily the newborn. She may assist with laundry, meal preparation, and other needs of the family, but care of the newborn and sleep training are not her primary concern.

Baby Nurse: For years, caregivers who provided any type of care for newborns were referred to as Baby Nurses. This term was misleading because many who used this title had not actually been to nursing school. Families would hire Baby Nurses thinking the caregiver had extensive medical training and that wasn’t necessarily the case. Due to this misconception, recent legislature in California (and many other states) has made it illegal for an individual to call themselves a nurse, unless they carry a valid nursing license.

“A Baby Nurse by today’s standards is a Registered Nurse (RN) or Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). Individuals with this type of background are available to work with families who have babies dealing with medical challenges including prematurity, genetic disorders or other medical conditions that present life-threatening risks to the infant. Many of these newborns require close monitoring and care by a knowledgeable, trained and experienced Baby Nurse when discharged home from the hospital.” *

Night Nanny: A night nanny is hired to work overnight shifts under the direction and supervision of the parents. A night nanny performs duties such as comforting the baby, feeding the baby and keeping a detailed log. A typical shift may be between the hours of 7 pm until 7 am; However, she may not have extensive knowledge about sleep training or other issues related to the care of a newborn. This caregiver does not need any training or certifications, but may have years of experience as a nanny.

Newborn Care Specialist: **According to the NCSA: A Newborn Care Specialist is an individual trained and skilled in newborn care. She provides unique expertise in all aspects of newborn care, parental education and support. Her job is to help nurture and care for newborns while providing guidance and education for the parents. Newborn Care Specialists are generally not responsible for household duties unrelated to the new baby or for the care of other children in the household.

You can expect Newborn Care Specialists to help in the following ways:

• Educate and support parents.
• Create a smooth transition for family during the newborn stage.
• Troubleshoot potential issues of concern with the newborn and offer professional options to resolve them.
• Maintain a thorough log of infant feeding and sleep patterns.
• Assist mother with any feeding issues she may have, including the facilitation of breastfeeding and be knowledgeable in answering breastfeeding related questions.
• Soothes babies using skilled and proven techniques that help calm newborns.
• To provide care for the newborn and perform some or all of the following tasks: Diapering, changing, bathing, circumcision care, bottle preparation (breastmilk & formula), bottle cleaning, organization and maintenance of nursery, create a regular feeding schedule, assist in establishing healthy sleep habits, maintain a thorough log of eating, sleeping and behavioral patterns, take over complete care of newborn at night to provide parents time to sleep.

Why hire an Educated Nannies Newborn Care Specialist?

Educated Nannies has partnered with well-known industry veteran and respected NCS, Tonya Sakowicz of Newborn Care Solutions to provide thorough training on all things related to the care of newborns. We are confident that our Educated Nannies who have completed this training will stay on top of industry news and provide the best level of care for your newborn. Another bonus of having an Educated Nannies Newborn Care Specialist is that she will be part of a larger network of other skilled NCS’s who will support and share their knowledge with her as well.

If I would like to hire an Educated Nannies Newborn Care Specialist or take the NCS course, what is the next step? 

Contact Educated Nannies at (310) 857-4985 or info@educatednannies.com and let us know your specific needs. We are happy to answer any questions or offer guidance to families and nannies. Our goal is to set you up for success during this exciting and overwhelming time period.

*Newborn Care Specialists Association (ncsainfo.com)

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Educated Nannies Award

Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Educated Nannies Receives 2015 Los Angeles Award

Los Angeles Award Program Honors the Achievement

LOS ANGELES November 18, 2015 — Educated Nannies has been selected for the 2015 Los Angeles Award in the Child Care Agency category by the Los Angeles Award Program.

Each year, the Los Angeles Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Los Angeles area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2015 Los Angeles Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Los Angeles Award Program and data provided by third parties.

The Los Angeles Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Los Angeles area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Los Angeles Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.

SOURCE: Los Angeles Award Program

 

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Educated Nannies Award

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6 Earth Day Activities For Kids

Earth Day is just around the corner! This is a great time to teach kids about conserving our planet’s resources and caring for the world around us. Not sure what type of activities to try this year? Check out our top Earth Day activities for all!

1. A Beach clean up day: Here in Los Angeles, we are beyond lucky to have beautiful beaches in our very own back yard. Help keep our coastline and sea dwelling friends happy and healthy by planning a beach clean up day! You can plan to take part as a small group, or volunteer for an organization such as Heal The Bay or Surfrider.

2. A carefree car-free day: As Angelenos, we rely heavily on our vehicles to get around. This April, we invite you to take part in a car-free day. Use your legs and feet! Walk or bike to the store, a park and to activities!

3. Garden and grow together: Gardening is a great way to teach kids about different plants and their growth cycles. Plant some easy edible vegetables with the kids and monitor their growth throughout the year. Short on space? Plant a small herb garden and incorporate your homegrown herbs into meals!

4. Build a beautiful birdhouse: Build a birdhouse with the kids! This is a fun craft for any age. Short on time? Head to your local craft store and pick up a kit. Let the kids personalize their creation by painting the finished product!

5. Create a recycled mix media masterpiece: Pull out all the art supplies and create a mixed media masterpiece! Incorporate old newspapers, magazines, popsicle sticks, bottle caps and any other recyclable materials you can find. Let the kids’ imaginations run wild as their creations take shape. Remember, there is no right or wrong when it comes to art!

6. Take a trip to your local farmer’s market and make a meal together: Bring the kids along during the farmer’s market run. Let them taste test the different seasonal fruits and veggies and help choose items to purchase. Once you arrive home, plan an easy meal or snack that includes their chosen ingredients and enjoy!

Although these activities are inspired by Earth Day, you can certainly apply these ideas year round. What do you have planned for Earth Day with the kids? Post your activities and crafts to Instagram and tag us (@educatednannies) in your photos. We love learning about new ideas. Have a happy Earth Day!

*Photo credit: Huffington Post

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Educated Care

Questions for an Educated Nanny:

What are your thoughts on discipline? What is your preferred parenting style?

“These are hard questions to answer. I’ve been working with children of all ages for 36 years and “one style” of parenting does not “fit all” children. I have seen many different styles of parenting used to raise children during this time.

Discipline does not necessarily mean punishment. The challenges and pressures of our children today are very different from past generations. Rules regarding discipline may change more frequently and should be situation and age appropriate. A young baby learns very quickly when they do something to upset us. It’s how we respond that matters.

I was raised by two parents in a very happy home. Yes, we had all the normal problems of a family and the teenage years were a little tough on my parents, but generally I realize now that I was very, very lucky. We did things as a family at the weekend, and had great vacations in the summer together. I feel my parents prepared us to embrace our freedom and responsibilities at the appropriate ages. The reason I’ve mentioned this is because as a nanny I’ve always tried to use my own up-bringing to help me raise other people’s children.

I believe in love, guidance, fairness, a flexible schedule and boundaries that help children develop a feeling of security and self-reliance. Becoming self-reliant helps them to make good choices when given the opportunity. They need to learn right from wrong from an early age, have respect for themselves and others, and have empathy for their fellow peers. We need to communicate with babies from birth for them to understand the world around them and introduce them to new things before they really need to master them. We do this by understanding their needs before they do and reading their actions and behavior. Children should be allowed to make their own decisions for certain things. By doing this they have a feeling of pride and this builds good self-esteem.

Having a positive attitude towards your child’s behavior is half the battle! Let them know what’s expected of them in different situations-when to be quiet, when to be loud and run free, how to behave at the grocery store or the mall. If they know the rules, it’s easier to re-enforce them when needed.

I do need to add that most of these methods seem to fly out the window during the teenage years (Think back to when you were a teenager) Teenagers just can’t help the way they behave most of the time. We just need to be there for them, even if the communication styles change. Texting your teenager is so much easier, and you may actually get a response!

You realize when they go to college they really did listen to what you said during all those years while they were growing up. They just don’t want to admit it quite yet-that comes later as they mature.

I hope this gives you an idea of how I have worked with children during my career as a nanny. I love being with children of all ages. They are the next generation and we need to prepare them the best we can for the future.”

-Catherine Glover, Professional Career Nanny

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Celebrate Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! This is a great opportunity to show all those in your life just how much you care for them and appreciate all that they do. Check out our simple yet creative tips for spreading love this Valentine’s Day!

Leave notes: This week, leave simple notes in unexpected places for those in your life. Add a special message of “I am so proud of you” in the kids’ lunch boxes. Leave a post it message on the mirror for your partner, thanking them for all their hard work. A little love and appreciation goes a long way!

Practice consideration: Be mindful of your actions to all those whom you encounter this week. Practice showing consideration, not only to those who you have close relationships with, but also the other mom at the grocery store, or the other nanny at the playground. Remember, children mimic our actions, words and tone. Let’s give them a loving and considerate example to follow!

 Card creation station: Lay out all of the kids’ favorite arts and craft supplies and have a card creating session with the entire family. Have each individual present their cards at the end of the session and explain what is significant about each card.

 Heartfelt treats: See how many heart shaped treats you can come up with this week. Make pancakes in the shape of a heart and add heart shaped strawberries to go on top! Cut the kids’ sandwiches in the shape of a heart and surprise them at lunchtime. Let the creativity flow and let the kids chime in with ideas to surprise one another!

Last but not least, surround yourself with love: Spend some quality time with those you love this Valentine’s Day. Have family far away? Set up a Skype date, so the entire family can feel close to one another!

What are some of your favorite Valentine’s Day activities? We would love to hear! Upload photos of your fun activities to Instagram and tag @educatednannies in your photos. Let’s all spread the love this Valentine’s Day!

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Teaching Children Compassion, Caring and Gratitude

As adults, we teach children in all aspects of life. We guide them in their first steps and words; later, we help instill healthy habits such as brushing teeth and eating a well balanced diet. This holiday season, we invite you to help guide the children in another aspect of life by teaching compassion, caring and gratitude.

Be present and honor commitments – With the passing of each year, life finds a way to move even faster than years prior! Calendars are jam packed with commitments and technology seems to have a partial hold of our attention at all times. Use this time of year to reprioritize the calendar. Schedule things that really matter first, such a family meals, activities and events. Make these commitments non-negotiable for all. Turn off the technology and honor those close to you by giving them your undivided attention during these special times.

Model the gratitude attitude – Children observe our every action and interaction. For this reason, it is important to model the gratitude attitude with others, even when the busyness of the holiday season is in full swing. Treat the children in your life the way you would like them to treat you. Use “please” and “thank you” not only with your children, but also with others around you. Acknowledge the children when they pitch in or help out. Teach the children how to write “thank you” cards at a young age. If they are too young to actually write a special note, have them draw a creative picture for those who have done something nice or caring for them.

Create a family Gratitude Tree – This is a fun activity that the entire family will love! All you need are small pebbles, a vase, a few small branches, colorful construction paper, string, markers, scissors and a hole puncher. Place the branches in the vase and fill the bottom of the vase with the pebbles so the branches stay in place. Cut out different shapes with construction paper; punch a hole through the top and loop string through the hole. Once you have created the tree and tags, have each member of the family write something they are thankful for on a tag and hang it from the tree. Add to the tree every day or week, depending of the size of the tree. Once the holiday season is over, pull the strings from the tags and fasten them together with a metal fastener to create a small “Gratitude Book” for the family to cherish for years to come!

Update or create a chore chart – Update or create a chore chart that includes tasks that properly represent or challenge all of the children. As children grow older, their ability to pitch in also develops. Have the little ones help out by setting the table and pitching in with clean up, ask the older ones to help with the meal by completing a supervised and fun food preparation task, such as helping with a dessert or salad. By contributing to the family and pitching in, starting at a young age, children will begin to understand effort, handwork and the importance of teamwork.

Play the “High, Low, High” game – When you sit down for a family meal, go around the table and play the “High, Low, High” game. Have each person start by saying one “high” for the day, something that they are happy about or grateful for. Next, have them say a “low” or something that was difficult or challenging for them during the day. Lastly, end with another “high.” This is a great way to get the family to share about their day together.

Give thanks by giving your time as a family – Choose a charity that the entire family can dedicate time to this holiday season. Help out at a soup kitchen or dedicate an afternoon to wrapping gifts for a toy drive. Giving to others, who may not have as much as they do, not only teaches children about the world around them, but also helps them feel grateful for the things that they do have in their lives.

We at Educated Nannies are so grateful for you. Wishing you and your loved ones a Happy Thanksgiving!

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Before You Begin Your Nanny Search

Searching for a nanny can sometimes feel like a daunting task, but we at Educated Nannies are here to help guide you through each step! Before you begin your nanny search, please consider each of these following factors:

1. State and Federal Laws: The first factor to consider before you begin your nanny search is the current federal and state laws. Please keep in mind that laws regarding household employers and employees can change each year. Once you hire a nanny, you are obligated to follow all laws that apply to a household employer. These include labor, wage and overtime laws, as well as reporting taxes properly. We recommend HomePay Provided by Breedlove as an excellent resource for understanding these laws and how they apply to your family and nanny.

2. Budget: Once you understand and take into account the current laws, you can create a budget. Nannies in Los Angeles are typically paid $18-30+ per hour depending on the qualifications of the nanny, the number of children that need their care, and the duties they are responsible for. Benefits are often times offered to the nanny which include: paid vacations, paid sick days, paid holidays, mileage and gas reimbursement and a health insurance stipend. Benefits are not mandatory, but they do make the job more appealing to a professional nanny. Be sure to leave funds for raises and bonuses down the road, so the nanny has room to grow with your family.

 3. Needs and Requirements: It is important to take an honest look at your family’s needs and requirements. Your ideal nanny’s strengths should match your family’s needs. For example, if education and homework help is important to your family, it would be best to find a candidate with a teaching background or strong past experience in this particular area. If your family leads an active lifestyle, you will want to consider energetic and health conscious candidates. Remember, your nanny is an extension of the family!

4. Family Identity: This criteria is similar to “needs and requirements” but, is much more specific to your particular family. For example, does your family celebrate certain holidays? Maybe you have strong views on childcare or parenting philosophies? Identify those unique characteristics about your family culture and discuss those topics with your agency, as this will help us find the best candidate for your family.

5. The Big Picture: Last but not least, it is important to consider the big picture. Are you looking for a nanny to be with your family for a long period of time? If so, you may want to consider candidates that have experience with a diverse age range of children. Perhaps traveling is not included in the job description now, but your family plans to travel once the children are a bit older. Do your best to look ahead. Is the nanny realistically able to accommodate your family’s needs now, and also in a year or two?

Once you have considered these 5 factors, you will be better equipped to begin your nanny search! As your agency, we are here to guide you through each step! Ready to begin the search for your Educated Nanny? Please email info@educatednannies.com to get started!

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