Tuesday Tips with Jare Bear and I-yo

Thank you for all the questions and participating in Jare Bear and I-yo’s last post as my charges! Here are their responses:

Jare Bear:

What do you recommend nanny’s make for lunch?

I recommend doritos, yogurt, goober sandwich, soft cookies, carrots and broccoli and green apples!

What is your best tip for dealing with temper tantrums? What should we do if you have one?

Try changing the subject or just leave me alone!

What is your favorite subject in school?

Science and math.

Who is your best friend and why?

Seth, Thomas, Andy and Jayden. Seth is my best friend because we randomly started hanging out and had a lot in common. Thomas is my best friend because I was lonely and he asked me to be his friend. Andy is my best friend from second and third grade because again we just started hanging out and became friends. Last but not least, Jayden became one of my best friends because he and I played the same game at recess.

Do you like having a sibling?

I wish my younger sibling was a lot younger. We are close in age so we don’t always get along or hang out. She is into ponies and drawing. I like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and foreign money!

What is your pet peeve?

I hate it when my sister purposely annoys me. Or when she makes noises while I am doing homework.

Do you like having a nanny?

Ya! They are fun because they play games, they are always there for you, they try to fix bad days and reward good days with stuff like going to the park or having Pinkberry.

What is your favorite thing to do with your nanny?

I like going to the local mall and hanging out by the lake. We chase birds and make up plays in the outdoor stage.

If you could go anywhere in the world where would it be?

New Zealand because their money is awesome!

What is your favorite color?

Pink

Do you do chores at home? Which ones?

Yes, I clean my bathroom, dust my room, feed my fish (I have lots of fish), and filling up water bottles.

What is your favorite tv show?

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and How is Money Made.

Do you have a special talent?

I can jump on a pogo stick more than 500 jumps! I can do awesome tricks in the pool.

What would you suggest nannies do to be more fun?

Just be who you are because you are already fun! 🙂

I-yo:

What do you recommend nanny’s make for lunch?

No peanut butter because some people are allergic to it. I like pizza Lunchables, Chewy bars, Capri Sun Super V, and last but not least a surprise treat like candy or popcorn!

What is your best tip for dealing with temper tantrums? What should we do if you have one?

Put me in the calm down corner so I can relax.

Who is your best friend and why?

Alexis, because she always helps me with my problems.

Do you like having a sibling?

No, I would like a sister though

What is your pet peeve?

When my brother goes in my room

Do you like having a nanny?

Sometimes, because I like when she takes us to the park or out for a treat, but I don’t see my parent’s that much.

What is your favorite thing to do with your nanny?

Going to Pinkberry or the lake!

If you could go anywhere in the world where would it be?

Hollywood and Paris because Hollywood is where acting camps are and Paris because it is so beautiful there and the Effel Tower lights up at night!

What is your favorite color?

Magenta and purple and pink!

Do you do chores at home? Which ones?

Yes, my favorite one is cleaning my mom’s makeup brushes.

What is your favorite tv show/movie?

Harry Potter and Judy Moody

Do you have a special talent?

YES! but its a secret!

What would you suggest nannies do to be more fun?

Take us to a carnival!

 

Well there you have it, Jare Bear and I-yo’s final interview! Have a Terrific Tuesday 🙂

~Jare Bear and I-yo and Miss Kelsey

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DO NOT ENTER: the realm of privacy

It is funny how inspiration hits sometimes. I had a situation yesterday at work where one child was running around in their underwear and the other was locked in his room and I couldn’t get in. Then, the wonderful carliedash from Superhero of Imperfection left me this note:

 I have been thinking a lot lately about a topic I am interested in hearing your opinion on- Privacy. As a babysitter/nanny it is our job to keep children safe. But sometimes, older kids want (or should we say need) privacy. What do you do when what you think is right conflicts with the child. A four year old wants to bathe alone? A three year old refuses help wiping? Or what about the other way around? Have you ever been in a situation with an older child where you thought they needed privacy but they asked for your presence? I realize I am being vague, but I am mostly talking about bathtime, potty time, and dressing. It’s a gray area because we need to keep children safe, but we also need to show them that we respect them! What are your thoughts?

Let me start off by saying there is a difference between privacy, independence and rights. Your parent’s stopped watching you go to the bathroom probably by the time you were four or five years old right? One, they knew you were independent enough to do your business, wipe and flush. Second, around the age of four is when children start wanting to be left alone. Children want to test the boundaries of what they can and can’t do by themselves, it is a natural process of learning. Fast forward to when you are say..13. Now you are independent and have earned privacy but you have an attitude. Did your parent’s ever take the door to your room off because you slammed it one too many times? You lost  your right to have a door as a consequence of your actions. Ok so now that we have that situated, what is the line between safety and privacy.

Different age groups have different levels of privacy, independence and rights. Toddlers for example are still heavily reliant on parents to complete daily tasks. As a babysitter/nanny, you are taking the place of the parent and thus have the same responsibilities. Carliedash asked at what age is it appropriate for children to shower alone/without supervision. I don’t think there is a defined age but this is what I do. I watch a three and five year old on Thursday nights. One of my duties is to make sure they are showered and put in bed. We created a called scuba time. The kids (little boy and girl) wear their swim suit in the bath. (this solves the awkward nakedness and keeps bathtime fun).  Since they want their ‘independence’ I put the curtain up (which is pretty shear so I can see their outlines) so they can splash about and have fun with a sense of privacy. I sit next to the tub and listen to what they are doing. I never leave them alone. It is pretty apparent if they are doing something they shouldn’t like jumping or fighting. At that point I can easily intervene. This was our compromise. Now I also have charges that are eight and ten years old. They can shower by themselves with the door closed as long as it remains unlocked. Unlocked you ask? My worst fear would be that they slip and fall in the shower and get knocked unconscious. If that ever happened, it would be vital that you be able to get into the bathroom to help them. At that point, nakedness, self-esteem issues, etc are thrown out the window. They will understand. Again this was the compromise between privacy and safety. They know I won’t enter if the door is closed and I know that I can still do my job, should an emergency occur.

As a nanny, your bathroom duties don’t end there. (no pun intended). When it comes to potty training, toddlers will insist they can “do it”. However, we all know sometimes they can’t reach or get it all. Most parents will tell you it is all part of the learning process and I agree. One of the little boys I watch wouldn’t even let his mom help him wipe (let alone me) but he learned quickly that he needed help when he started getting sore back there. If your little munchkin is refusing help, reiterate that if they miss any, they will have a sore bum and that’s no fun! Always be positive when dealing with a new potty trainer. “Good job buddy, you went potty like a big boy. Don’t forget to wipe like one” Then follow-up with “can you show me what a big boy( or girl) you are?” You don’t have to watch like a hawk, just stand by the door and listen to what is happening. If you hear the toilet paper roll spinning, that is a good sign.

I think there is a misconception that babysitters/nannies shouldn’t see their charges naked out of fear. This is a sticky area all around. Parent’s may feel uncomfortable with the vulnerability of their children naked (let’s face it, even babysitters can be perverts unfortunately). Nannies feel uncomfortable with the possibility of being accused of molestation/inappropriate behavior. And kids just feel embarrassed with strangers looking at their body, especially if you grew up like I did where my mom reinforced “only mommy, daddy and the doctor should see your body..”. So with all this walking on eggshells, it is reasonable to understand why nannies do not want to see their charges naked. STOP! the parent’s are intrusting you with their most precious possessions. You are the parent in their absence. SO!! be sensitive to the child’s privacy but don’t fear accusations. There are cases where you gotta do what you gotta do. Let me repeat: Please don’t let a fear impair your job or the safety of the children you watch. Perfect example. I had a friend who was watching a toddler for the first time. She had to get him dressed for a playdate at the park. However, neither the child or the babysitter felt comfortable with her clothing the child. So she let him close his door, pick out clothes and change by himself while she went through the house to clean up. What toddler do you know that can do ALL of that?? I don’t know any who can pick out their own outfit! As he went to pull out a tall drawer to get pants out of the dresser, it fell out and on top of him. The babysitter walked in on a pinned down, hysterical, NAKED, two year old. My point with this is, sometimes, out of the safety of the child, you need to stay in the room and assist. So that was obviously the wrong way to handle the situation.. This is what I do. I pick out three outfits, underwear and all and sit it on the bed (or floor). Then I tell the child they can pick one of those outfits. I tell them I will stand right outside in case they need help but they can be a big boy (or girl) and get dressed. Now, pants might not get zipped, buttons may be misaligned, they may have their shoes on the wrong feet, BUT they were safely independent and have a sense of self accomplishment. Bonus! you didn’t have to be in the room when they were naked.

I started my nanny job with the 8 and 10 year old about 10 months ago. It was my responsibility to make sure the kids looked appropriate for school. When I started, the kids were very adamant about me not seeing them naked or in their underwear, so I would wake them up and wait downstairs for the morning fashion show. They would come down in the outfit they chose and show me for approval. If it didn’t work, they would go change. Now, since we have been together for so long, sometimes they will walk around in their underwear or ask me to help pick out their clothes for the day. One time Jo Jo was in the shower and forgot a towel so she asked me to give her one, since I am a girl with girl parts like her and it was less awkward than having her brother do it. Out of respect I didn’t look at her as I handed her the towel.

Respect for children is so key to building a relationship with them. With that said, each child is different. Some are very independent, some are very clingy. Some don’t mind nakedness and others are very shy about their body privacy. Bottom line, you need to keep them safe. If you have to walk in on a shower or while they are using the bathroom, explain that it isn’t a breach of privacy, it is because it is your job. If you have a situation where the child is naked, don’t stare or make them feel uncomfortable. Never touch them inappropriately.

Have you ever been in a situation where privacy and safety conflict? Tell me about it!

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!

The Nanny Contract

Before you hire a nanny or take a job as a nanny, MAKE A CONTRACT! So many times I have seen nannies get into jobs without a contract and “stuff” goes wrong. Now, some families will have a lawyer binding contract, but I have never needed it. Both parties are under the agreement that they will honor the commitments seen in the contract and it has never been a problem for any of my families.

Contracts are important for the employer for many reasons. One, it explains what is specifically expected from the nanny. This includes certifications that must be met, car insurance policies, sick days, vacation days, overtime agreements. Two, it holds the nanny responsible for what she says she can do. Breech of contract gives the employer reason for firing.  Three, it gives the employer and nanny a chance to discuss everything prior to starting a job. The first time I didn’t make a contract, I got stuck doing laundry. I hate laundry..especially other people’s laundry. Had we sat down and discussed what the employer wanted, I would have suggested an alternative service to laundry. I was also with a family who didn’t pay overtime. I have racked up over 30 hours of overtime with no overtime pay. Unfortunately that was my fault, I didn’t bring it up or add it to the contract.

Nannies need contracts! I probably sound repetitive but contracts help the employer and employee settle on hours, payment, duties, number of kids, pay raises, gas allowance etc. Nannies driving kids need to add a clause about not being held liable for injury should their be a car accident. It is always my biggest fear that I will get in an accident while the kids are in the car, then get sued for it.  Nannies are responsible for the well being for their kids but should not be held liable for accidental broken arms.

So, what should be in this contract? The more detailed the better. Take a look at this sample nanny contract template:

Childcare Contract Sample Template

Contract Checklist:

  1. Commitment time ( are you needed for 6 months, 1 year?)
  2. Probation period optional (1 month to feel out if this job is doable for one year. If not, employer and employee can terminate contract without penalty)
  3. Hours and Dates (Approx hours + clause about overtime pay, must give 24 hours for extra time needed)
  4. Compensation (how often, weekly, monthly and yearly income. DONT forget about taxes, again I didn’t realize if you make money, Social Security and IRS come looking for you… Most families will pay 1/2 of Social Security and Medicare tax)
  5. Job Responsibilities (list EVERYTHING from watching the kids brush their teeth to meal preparation to running errands SEE TEMPLATE FOR MORE EXAMPLES)
  6. Vacation and Sick Days (Since I work for a teacher, I get Christmas and Spring Break + two weeks off in the summer..we didn’t need to add any more. I asked for 5 paid sick days as long as I gave 24 hours notice. I luckily haven’t used any in the last 7 months)
  7. Confidentiality (As a nanny, you will hear and see personal family information. It is VERY important to keep it confidential. I write about situations that I have been in with kids on this blog, but I always use alias’ and keep where I am vague.)
  8. Grounds for immediate termination (see list on the CONTRACT TEMPLATE)
  9. Grounds for immediate leaving on the nanny’s part ( I like to include this because it protects the nanny from being in an abusive or unsafe job. This list can include witnessing child abuse-you don’t want to get involved with that, it will mostlikely escalate– if a parent “comes on to you” romantically, if you are hit, cussed at or otherwise threatened by a parent, if the child does any of the above. 
  10. Signed and Dated

 

Nannies PLEASE protect yourself and your job by initiating a contract. Parents, you are the employer, every other job I have been at requires a contract, yours should be no different.

If you know of a contract horror story or think something is missing from my sample contract, feel free to comment. I love getting feedback on my blogs!

 

Nanny-sode #2: Acceptance not Ignorance reblog

For Nanny-sode #2: Disabilities I thought a life story would be appropriate. Children regardless of their disabilities are beautiful individuals. Sometimes it goes unnoticed. LCPIGOU has written a very thought provoking blog entry. Take a look. 🙂

The Nanny Diaries

Yesterday I met one of the most amazing little girls. I went for a job interview and she was born with a physical disability but that had no affect on who she is or her personality. She had a smile on her face, told me about her friends and the sports that she plays. She loves animals and has a little miniature schnauzer who was cute and so friendly!
It was such a pleasure to meet her and she really make me think about the things that I take for granted. She was an ordinary 8 year old girl who loves to do things that little girls do. After meeting her I just wished that other people could see what I saw. I know that as people we judge people based on their looks whether it be deformities, what people wear or how big/skinny someone is. It’s so wrong, we should be…

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