When to Call the Parents

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I have been babysitting and nannying for a little over seven years. I have never had to call the parent’s to come home early. I guess I thought that I could handle any situation and I didn’t want to ruin a date night or worry a parent. But last night changed that. I watch Oliver, 3, and his sister Natalie, 5, every Thursday night. They are the best behaved kids I have ever watched. But recently, Natalie has entered the bossy stage and Oliver has entered the “I want it now/my way or the highway” stage..which combined is not good.

I arrived after dinner when the kids were beginning to settle down from a long day. We played Doctor, Jump rope, hula hoop and with blocks. We watched their favorite bedtime show, then it was off to the bath tub for “scuba time”. The kids didn’t have their listening ears on and began jumping and splashing around more than what was safe. After three warnings, they had to get out. Natalie went to her room to get her pajamas on but Oliver continued being disobedient. He sprawled out on the floor naked in protest about going to get his pajamas on and going to bed. I picked him up and escorted him to his room where he stood crying. He slammed the door in my face, refusing to get his pajamas on. I left him there to calm down while I helped Natalie get ready for bed. When I went back to his room, he ran for his closet and barricaded himself inside..still screaming bloody murder, saying I was the “baddest babysitter ever” and that I was “a mean liar for making him go to his room” . He didn’t want to listen or follow my rules so his mother was called in. She had warned me that he had been moody, but I had never seen him like this.

When his mother arrived, she had difficulty calming him down. He was mad that 1)scuba time was cut short, 2)that I asked him to put his p.j’s on and 3) that he had to do something he didn’t want! The mom finally got him to bed after they talked about following the rules and doing things that grown ups ask even if you don’t want too.

Later that night, the mom told me that he was not grasping the idea of patience and obedience very well. Combined with his bible study lesson on lying..he was one confused little boy.

I am happy to say, Oliver and I are back on good terms and he hasn’t been a problem since.

Where am I going with this??

Sometimes it is ok to call parents. Small children can get very worked up with a change in routine or change in parenting style. In this case, there is nothing you can do.

TOP 5 TIMES TO ASK PARENTS TO COME HOME:

1) EMERGENCY-fire, injury, break in etc

2) ILLNESS- if a child gets sick on your watch, call parents to let them know. They may want to come home to administer medicine

3) MELTDOWNS: kids will cry but if they cannot calm down, parent’s need to be called

4) UNCOMFORTABLE SITUATIONS: If the child threatens you or themselves, or if you feel uneasy at any time

5) EXCESSIVE/UNCONTROLLABLE BAD BEHAVIOR

10 Rainy Day Activities for Kids

It doesn’t rain often enough where I live, but if it did…I would do these with the kids I nanny for!

Happy Medium Homeschooling

Cute child catching raindrops under umbrellaThat Will Get Them Away from the Video Games!

Finally – warmer weather is brining rain showers. Here in the Midwest I think the last of the snow piles are creeping away like a guest who has finally realized she stayed too long. Spring has sprung and that means the inevitable rainy days where the kids might be moping around and yawning I’m bored. Cure that boredom, without resorting to letting them sit and play video games all day, with these 10 rainy day activities that will get their brains working and their creativity hopping.

1. Comics

Our boys have recently joined at comic creation class, learning about graphic novels, classic comics, and how to create their own. Check out some classics from the library like Garfield, and share in a few laughs. Then encourage your children to write their own comic strip. Our library has great books to help…

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The Winning Lunch Combination

Lunch is such an important part of a child’s day. After a long morning of classes and playing, their body needs re-energizing. Like many of you, I pack lunches for kids on a daily basis. Sometimes, options are limited and lunches get boring. But I always stick to this rule of thumb when making a lunch:

Include:

1 Fruit

1 Veggie

1 whole grain item (this can be the bread on a sandwich or granola bar)

lean meat or protein

1 healthy snack

1 small treat

Let’s start with the fruit. It is such an important part of a child’s diet because of the natural energy that is inside. Fruit is sweet which can be a healthy alternative to cookies and candy when kids have a sweet tooth.

Fruit choices:

apples, bananas, grapes, watermelon, berries, oranges, kiwi’s, mango

Dried fruit is a healthy switch from greasy potato chips.

Many fruits can be accompanied with dips like peanut butter, cream cheese dip, and others to make them more delicious.

One of the most neglected pieces of the food pyramid is vegetables. Kids need them!!! Now it is probably best to keep the brussel sprouts at home but here are some fun ways to incorporate veggies into meals:

ants on a log: celery sticks topped with peanut butter and little raisin (or chocolate chip) ants

carrots and dip

hide veggies in their sandwiches

make a veggie pizza on whole grain english muffins

I grew up on Wonder White Bread and it was delicious…but not as wonderfully nutritious as I thought. White bread is just processed starch which 1) has no nutritional value 2) doesn’t keep you full and 3) doesn’t provide the energy needed when running around on the playground. I highly recommend switching as many carbs to whole grain as possible. Stores have whole grain bread, waffles, english muffins, bagels, pizza dough, and more..most are the same price as their processed counterparts.

A sandwich a day is boring! Mix it up by making a wrap with a tortilla, or serving english muffin pizzas. Kids will appreciate change!

If your child likes salads, give them a whole grain granola bar or oatmeal cookie to make sure they have healthy carbs.

Lean meats and protein! These are vital to keeping your little ones energized and focused.

I use left over chicken, ham and beef from dinners in lunches to minimize lunch meat usage. Lunch meat is high in salt and fat.

Hard boiled eggs, cheese, nut butters, yogurt, raw nuts and lean meats are all examples of protein packed foods.

Healthy snacks vary depending on what is already in the child’s lunch. Trail mix, granola bars, rice cakes, yogurt, pretzels and nuts are always on hand at our house. They are easy to eat on the go and have protein, carbs and energy. The snack rounds out the food pyramid. If I give the child a sandwich, I will try to stay away from more carbs and go for a dairy product or nut. If they have a lot of fruits and veggies that day, I will give them crackers or pretzels.

Some may disagree with me, but I think it is fine to give children a little treat a couple times a week. By little treat I mean fruit snacks, a cookie, 1 piece of candy etc. One family I work for only allows “junk food” on Fridays. Not only do the kids overdose on sweets on Friday, but they try EVERYTHING to get their hands on sweets during the week since their body craves it. Then they actually eat more sweets than originally intended. I am not personally a fan of this but it is the family rules, so what they say goes. Where a small treat goes awry is when meals are comprised of fats, sugars, empty carbs and topped off with a treat. In those cases, children lose all nutrition and start to crave junk.

As long as everything is consumed in moderation, children will grow up happy and healthy!

Only Oliver…

Let me start by saying, I love raspberries. They are rarely in season and super expensive so I don’t get them very often. When I do get them, I don’t share. EVER.

Well…that was until I met Oliver. He is the cutest 3 year old I have ever met or watched. After a fun day of playing, we ate pizza and settled in for a movie night. I was in the mood for yogurt and saw that there were fresh strawberries, blackberries, and yes RASPBERRIES, so I made a little bowl for myself since Oliver had already had some with dinner.

Oliver sat there, eye-ing my yogurt. Then, as if he was a professional thief, he snatched one of my raspberries! When I asked him why he did that, he looked up at me with his big brown eyes and said simply “I love raspberries”.

Still in shock, I said “Well, I love raspberries more.”

Oliver, still looking at me, gave me a big hug and said sorry AS HE GRABBED ANOTHER RASPBERRY!

It’s hard to be mad at a little kid who had been sick all week and was missing his parents. But how could he be eating all of my raspberries? It was like his cuteness cast a spell on me! I was powerless.

I quickly ate the rest of my yogurt and berries.

We finished our movie and he fell asleep in my arms…with red from the berry juice all over his mouth.

 

Spotlight on Toddlers: 50 Activities for Munchkins age 1-3

Toddlers may possibly be my favorite age group when it comes to babysitting. They are adventurous, full of energy, and have the cutest little attitudes…sometimes. But when it comes to activities, there are challenges when planning age appropriate activities for them. Limited language, their need for putting EVERYTHING in their mouths, and their short attention spans make planning crafts and games difficult. BUT! Jaime from Hands On as We Grow categorized 50 toddler activities based on sensory skills, arts and crafts, exploration and other fun activities. It has been a lifesaver for me, I hope it helps you!  Take a look and enjoy!

http://handsonaswegrow.com/50-toddler-activities/

Mother’s Day Mania Continues

I know it may seem a bit precocious to be thinking about Mother’s day this early but I want to make sure supplies can be bought and you see the kids before Mother’s Day (some of my kids I only see a couple times a month). Alrighty, my inspiration for this week was moms in the kitchen and, before someone comments about me making a sexist gesture, read my post.

For as long as I can remember, my mom has loved 1)homemade things from my sister and I, 2) roosters, and 3)making dinner. Ok maybe the third one is a little stretched and its just something she does…but shes a good cook and I have never gone hungry. Anyways, my sister’s class made these recipe holders one year as a Mother’s Day craft and I thought I would share. It is super easy to make! As an added bonus/gift from you..add some of your favorite recipes on 5×7 cards.

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Supplies

  1. white ceramic tile (this is a 5×5 tile)
  2. paint markers or puffy paint
  3. clothespin
  4. hot glue gun
  5. paper for “Recipe of Love”

Directions

  1. Have the children draw a picture for their mom on the tile using the paint markers. Let dry completely.
  2. Hot glue a clothespin to the tile. Make sure the widest end of the clothespin is right on the bottom edge of the tile. It is used to make the tile stand up.
  3. Make the “Recipe of Love” card. This can be handprinted if the child is old enough, or typed on a computer. It should say something like: 2 cups of hugs/ 1 cup of kisses/ Mix it all together for a Happy Mother’s Day!
  4. ** ask the child what his or her favorite recipe that their mom makes is. Find the recipe and turn it into a recipe card that fits in this holder. You can add some of your favorites too. Take it a step further (with the help of the dad) and buy her a recipe book.

Homemade Drink Coasters

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Supplies:

  1. thin cork sheet (at craft stores, usually pretty cheap) Make sure to get enough to make 6-9 coasters
  2. puffy paint

Directions

Cut the cork into 2-3 in circles. Have kids decorate. These coasters are perfect for small flower pots, vases, and drinks.

Kitchen Magnets

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When you were little did your mom have alphabet letters on the refrigerator? Mine did. But after we grew up and took the letters down, the fridge was empty.. Now we have these cute magnets and they are easy to make!

Supplies:

  1. Magnets (depending on the design you can get circle or rectangle pieces) 
  2. scrap fabric
  3. glue
  4. glitter/faux gems/etc

Directions

  1. Be creative, there is no template or perfect design. Flowers, butterflies, suns, and animals are common subjects.

Ok, one more!

Homemade sugar scrub!

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Pamper mom with this yummy smelling scrub. Kids love mixing the ingredients by hand and you have the ingredients in your house!

Supplies:

  1. 1 cup granulated sugar (have a little extra just in case it gets too oily)
  2. 1/3 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (coconut oil can be substituted)-some people think the smell is overbearing so coconut or almond is preferred. I haven’t had a problem with EVOO.
  3. 3-4 tablespoons of Lemon Juice/Lemon extract (if you are doing Vanilla flavor, add vanilla extract)
  4. Cute mason jar or any container with lid.

Directions:

In a large bowl, pour in sugar. Slowly add in oil while mixing with hands. The consistency should be smooth but not oily. If it does get oily, just add more sugar. Once the perfect consistency has been reached, add the flavor. Add as much as you want for the scent that works for you. For a soft lemony scent, 2-3 tablespoons is plenty. Put in container and add a cute label if desired. 🙂

Other flavor inspirations:

orange

lavender

peppermint

Lemon basil

brown sugar cinnamon

vanilla

honey citrus

strawberry

Hope you are having a relaxing Sunday!

The Television

The television is a gathering area for families, a kid magnet, a distraction from homework and a nanny’s easy way out of activities. We all know kids will sit in front of the tv for hours watching Spongebob and other equally mind numbing shows. But if it comes down to tv or a tantrum…most nannies give in to the tv. I am here to say STOP!!! There are a 100 other things to do besides sitting down and watching television! There are 3 reasons why I hate when kids watch tv excessively.

1) tv promotes bad behavior. Lets face it, watching good kids follow the rules would be boring..Hollywood knows that. Disney channel has kids sneaking out of their house at night, Nickelodeon has shows about pranks and being bossy. You make it harder on yourself if you let kids sit and absorb those behaviors. They are notorious for mimicking! The longer you let them watch, the more difficut it will be to break them of the habits. I know you aren’t the parent, so talk with the parent’s and come up with a tv plan.

2) Research shows that 2 or more hours watching the tv idly per day increases obesity chances. The time that kids spend on tv, videogames and other electronic devices cuts into the time they should spend outside and playing. Without that vital play time, kids become couch potatoes. The more lazy they get, the more difficult chores, tasks and willingness to play outside will become.

3)TV is a huge distraction! when the tv is on, the kids I nanny for completely zone me out. Simple tasks become huge chores because they don’t listen. Kids procrastinate homework, hanging out with friends and even eating for television!

Now I’m not saying you can’t do the occasional movie night and you need to cut off tv all together, BUT limit the kids’ tv time and monitor what they are watching. Talk to parents about what programs are appropriate for their kids.

Hope you all have a fabulous Friday!