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

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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.

 

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!

Routines

When a nanny comes into a family, there are usually already routines set in place that the children are used to. These are SO IMPORTANT to keep in place during the transition into the family. I was recently talking to the mother I work for and she was commenting about how well the kids are doing now that the whole family and I are on the same routine. Since I will be moving in two months, the mother has asked me to help train my replacement. When I do so, ROUTINES will be at the top of my list.

It’s funny how, once acclimated to the family, you learn their quarks. Jay prefers to stay in bed for “5 more minutes” as often as he can, so I wake him up 5 minutes before his sister. Jo Jo takes showers in the morning so I get her in and out of the shower while Jay eats breakfast. Jay likes helping with lunches so he does that while Jo Jo finishes her breakfast. Jay will go up and get ready while Jo Jo puts on sunscreen and brushes her hair (in that order). Somehow we always find 20 minutes to sit down and read before leaving for school. It has been the same every day since I started working with them seven months ago.

I have learned that children behave and perform better when they know the routine. Jay wasn’t doing well at the beginning of the semester, after a three week winter break. His mom was puzzled by the sudden turn around. As soon as we got back on the routine, his grades and confidence perked up.

The dad took a trip in March and was gone for two weeks. It was also the same week the mom had several late nights at work. The kids adjusted to just me being there and did fine but when dad came back the readjustment-out of routine-crazyness started up again. It has been about a month now and we are finally back to a normal routine.

Routines can help
1) bad behavior
2) lack of sleep
3) overeating/oversnacking
4) grades
5) efficiency
6) not forgetting simple tasks or chores
7) discipline

there are lots of reasons for getting children on schedules. Share your stories and words of wisdom 🙂

A Month til Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is SUNDAY MAY 12 this year. That means there is only one month left to shop for gifts, make crafts, ask the dad you work for if he needs help with anything….lots to do! Now, I don’t normally put this much emphasis on every holiday, but Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are extremely important to me. Parent’s put life onto this Earth, the feed, clothe and nurture these little blessings and they spend countless sleepless nights rocking children back to sleep. I want children to acknowledge their parents’ selflessness from an early age so they respect them more as they grow up. When I was in Elementary school, the PTA would have a plant sale the week before Mother’s Day so kids could pick out a little flower for their mother. But the teacher’s didn’t make pretty pots to put them in! So this year I asked one of the PTA mom’s at the kids’ school if they would be doing something similar. She said yes. I emailed the teacher asking if she had any plans for Mother’s day crafts and she said no, the budget wouldn’t allow for it. Thus, idea #1.

Painted Pots

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Supplies:

Small clay flower pots (check Dollar stores or home improvement stores for the most inexpensive)

Lots of paint (I used acrylic because the colors are brighter)

Paint brushes (although fingers work well too)

Newspaper and paper towels

Directions:

This can get messy so put old newspaper under the pots. Let the kids paint! Make sure to clean up really good after so mom doesn’t know! Tell kids its a secret! If their school is having a plant sale, let each child have $1 to buy a flower.

Alternative Flower Idea

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One of my families have severe allergies, so real flowers probably aren’t a great idea. Instead, I took the kids to Michael’s craft shop and let them pick out a pretty fake flower. We made a little arrangement and put it in a taller vase that the kids got to paint on.

Don’t want to spend money on fake flowers? Check my upcoming blog on Homemade Flowers for a how-to guide on all the cutest flowers!

Come back next week for more crafts for Mother’s day!

Don’t Walk, RUN to Michaels!

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Michaels Craft store is having their “Biggest Sale” of the year. Pretty much everything is 50% off or more! I went and bought canvases and paint for each of my kids to make a mothers day present and only spent $15 (will post specific craft soon)! They have foam crafts less than $2, Crayola products 50% off, stamps, scrapbook paper, frames and more, ALL at RIDICULOUSLY LOW prices! Go to Michaels.com and print a 50% coupon. Check out their weekly ad to see some of their 60% off deals too!

From nanny to nanny, you can’t miss this deal!