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COVID For Parents

The Rising Demand for Nannies During the Pandemic

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020, parents had to scramble to find childcare as daycares, preschools, and elementary schools closed their doors. As a result, the demand for Nannies increased drastically. At the same time, families with existing Nannies extended their contracts in order to secure long term childcare, which in turn, slowed down the usual Nanny turnover rate, making available Nannies even more scarce. These factors are how the Nanny labour shortage began, so what’s been keeping it going over a year and a half later? Where are all the Nannies and what does the labour shortage mean for your family?

There are a number of reasons why families are still struggling to find a Nanny to care for their little ones. A few that we’ve encountered here at The Nanny Solution are: 

  • Many families acted quickly and either hired a Nanny at the onset of the pandemic or retained their existing Nanny. This took many professional childcare providers off the market early on.
  • Some former Nannies have made the decision to transition out of working in childcare during the pandemic, out of concern for both their own health and safety and their loved ones’. 
  • There are currently fewer Nannies available to work, as many of the Nannies in Canada are/were only here on two-year work visas. 
  • The majority of families only want to hire a Nanny that has been fully vaccinated, and unfortunately, not all Nannies are vaccinated. 

The demand for qualified, professional, fully-vaccinated Nannies is exceptionally high, while the supply is lower than ever. So, what does that mean for your Nanny search?

  • Expect to pay a higher wage. Nanny wages have soared as a result of the pandemic labour shortage, and we are seeing rates of $25 to $40 per hour across Canada.
  • Nannies may require medical benefits and/or additional paid sick days in their contracts. You can also expect to see a COVID-19 clause in the contract.
  • Nannies’ roles have changed over the past couple of years, as parents have transitioned to working from home and many children are attending school from home as well. These changes require increased communication, flexibility, and boundaries, as well as appropriate compensation. 

All that being said, if you’re just beginning your Nanny search, or if you’re coming to the end of your contract and trying to decide whether to hire a new Nanny or not, don’t get discouraged! There are still wonderful Nannies out there who are looking for work. It may take a little extra patience to find the right one for your family, but the peace of mind that comes with having safe, reliable, professional childcare is well worth it! 

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For Nannies For Parents

Establishing Healthy Boundaries

We believe that nurturing the nanny-family relationship is key in creating a harmonious environment for nannies, parents, and kids, and helps nannies want to stay with their work families for the long haul.

Here are 3 actionable steps to set up healthy boundaries in the nanny-family relationship.⁠

Know Your Responsibilities

Nannies: as an employee, parents are counting on you to be punctual and to perform your nanny duties diligently with care and enthusiasm.

Parents: As employers, nannies are counting on you to respect and honour their work hours, timely payment of their salary, and duration of the work contract.

When both parties respect and honour their obligations, they both have peace of mind and trust.

Prioritize Communication

Nannies: Speak with your employers about any work-related questions or concerns you may have sooner rather than later. Be assertive and proactive.

Parents: Nannies are amazing, but they are not mind readers. If you like things done a certain way then you have to show your nanny, train them, and give them regular feedback and praise.

Remember: Lack of communication is the #1 cause of relationship breakdowns!

Be Realistic

Nannies: Be proactive in completing your work tasks and offer flexibility (additional time or tasks) to your employers when you can. But remember that your free time outside of work is valuable, necessary, and important too.

Parents: Give your nanny a reasonable list of daily tasks; be respectful and realistic when asking for additional responsibilities or additional work hours. Remember that your nanny has a life outside of work and needs downtime too.

In establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries, both nanny and family feel appreciated and respected.

To learn more about how we can help you find a wonderful nanny that is a perfect match for your family, start here.

To join our pool of extraordinary, professional nannies, see our requirements.

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For Nannies For Parents Newborn Care Specialist

Nursery Must-Haves

Creating an environment that is calm, comfortable, and conducive to sleep is essential when you’re setting up your baby’s nursery. We’ve put together a list of nursery must-haves — according to the baby experts, Newborn Care Specialists — to help you create the optimal sleep environment for your little one!

Changing table or changing pad
Whether you have a dedicated changing table or you set up a changing pad on top of a dresser, we definitely recommend using one with a cover. A cover makes cleaning up after any particularly messy diaper changes easy — just pull it off and throw it in the washing machine.

Diapers, wipes, cream, and disposal system
Keep these items close by the changing station for easy access. You may want to invest in a diaper genie for disposing diapers in, or simply use a lined garbage bin with a lid.

Crib (or bassinet, followed by crib)
You can decide to have your newborn sleep in a crib right away, or you can start with a bassinet and then transition them to a crib as they grow.

Firm mattress with waterproof mattress pad and tight-fitting sheets
Whether you’re using a bassinet or a crib, we recommend using a firm mattress and tight-fitting sheets, in order to reduce the risk of the sheets coming off and entangling or suffocating your infant. We also highly recommend putting a waterproof mattress pad underneath the sheets for easy clean-up following accidents.

Swaddle or sleep sack
Rather than using a blanket for warmth, newborns and infants should be placed in a swaddle or sleep sack at bedtime. Loose items, like blankets, increase the risk of entrapment or suffocation and should not be used in the bassinet or crib.

Pacifiers
Babies have a natural need to suck using a pacifier helps meet that need, while also soothing them. In addition, the use of pacifiers is recommended, as they help reduce the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).

Blackout curtains
Blackout or room darkening curtains aren’t essential, but they do minimize the amount of natural light in the room, which may help your baby sleep a little bit longer.

Sound machine
Sound machines help muffle outside noises, soothe the baby, help them complete sleep cycles, and can create a calm, peaceful sleep environment. They’re not essential, but they are highly recommended.

Soft night light
Having a soft night light in the nursery is more for the parents’ and/or the Newborn Care Specialist’s benefit. It can help you move around and navigate the room while the baby is sleeping, without disturbing their sleep cycle by turning on a bright light.

Baby monitor
These days, there are more options out there than the walkie-talkie style sound monitors we grew up with. You can now purchase movement monitors, some of which you can even connect with your phone, which alert you when your baby does not move/breathe for a period of time. Video monitors are also available, so you can check on your baby without entering the nursery and disturbing their sleep.

Comfortable chair or glider
You are going to spend a lot of time feeding your baby and rocking them to sleep, so you want to make sure you have a comfortable place to sit while you do so. A good, comfortable chair or glider is a worthwhile investment, in our opinion.

Nursing pillow
Nursing pillows help prop the baby up during bottle feeds and/or while you are breastfeeding/chestfeeding them. These pillows can save your arms from getting tired and give you more mobility.

Side table
We recommend putting a small side table or nightstand next to the nursing station. This is where you can keep small items, such as water and snack for yourself, your phone, and, of course, burping cloths for easy access.

Burping cloths
You’ll always want to have plenty of burping cloths on hand for after feeding. Spit happens!

Small clock and baby tracker
Having a clock nearby — either a digital clock with a dim light or a quiet manual clock — can help you keep track of the baby’s feeding and sleeping schedule and patterns. A baby tracker is a useful place to record these patterns, and to ensure your baby is getting adequate sleep and feeding regularly.

Laundry hamper
Finally, we recommend having a laundry hamper in the nursery. It’s easier to just toss any soiled sheets, clothes, cloth diapers, burping cloths, etc. in a hamper, rather than having to carry them out to another room.

Categories
For Parents

3 Things You Need Before Hiring a Nanny

 

Choosing to hire a nanny is one of the most important decisions families make.⁠ 

Whether you choose to do your own nanny search or work with a nanny agency, there are 3 things you must do and know before you start this process.⁠

In our experience, ignoring these 3 things typically results in a lot of wasted time and frustration for both parents and nanny candidates.⁠

  • Know Exactly What You Need

Hiring a nanny means hiring someone who has a specific set of skills and experience.

As a parent, you need to be clear on which skills & experience you need your potential nanny to have, focusing and prioritizing your “must-haves” over your “nice-to-haves”, before you begin your nanny search.

When you know exactly what you want it will be easier to identify which nanny candidates are potential good matches and which ones aren’t.

If you’re working with an agency, it will be a lot easier for them to find ideal matches for you, or to let you know if what you’re looking for in a nanny is unrealistic so that you don’t waste your time.

And speaking of time…

  • Invest Time In Your Nanny Search

Hiring a nanny, or any employee for that matter, is a process that takes time.

Make sure that you actually have the time and make the time to invest in your nanny search, whether you’re doing it on your own or working with a nanny agency.

With an agency, you will need time to fill out a family questionnaire where you’ll share information about your family and your specific needs. You’ll need to speak with the agency directly to learn about the hiring process, including your responsibilities as an employer.

You’ll need to make time to go over nanny resumes, to interview potential candidates, and to give the agency feedback after each interview.

You may need to make time to have trial workdates with potential nannies and give feedback about your experience with each.

You may need to make time to re-evaluate your needs and start the process again.

Sometimes you get lucky and find your perfect nanny match quickly. Other times it takes a bit longer.

  • Prioritize Communication

⁠If you’re hiring a nanny on your own, be clear on your needs and expectations with potential nanny candidates.

If you’re working with a nanny agency, be honest about your family’s needs and expectations. Is your child anxious, or a picky eater? Do they have any special needs or require any type of special support? 

Remember: Nanny agencies work hard to make the best nanny-family matches based on the information they receive from both families and nannies. Share any questions or concerns you may have in a timely manner and trust the advice you receive from them. They absolutely want you to succeed in your search.

As an agency, our goal is to help you make the right childcare decisions for your family and if you choose to work with us to help you find your ideal nanny, we want the experience to be positive and successful.

To learn more about how we can help you in your nanny search, start here.

Categories
For Nannies

Overnight Childcare

Your nanny family has asked if you would be willing to stay overnight while they go away for a couple of days. You think about it and realize it is a great way to make some extra money quickly. But the family has a different idea about what they want to pay you. They don’t want to pay you when the kids are asleep. So what’s a fair rate for overnight childcare? I have a few options for you to choose from.

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For Nannies Newborn Care Specialist

When to Say “no” to a Parent’s Request

 

As a Newborn Care Specialist, you are hired to ensure the care and well-being of the newborn infant, and to make new parents’ transition into parenthood as easy as possible. In this role, you always want to respect the parents’ decisions regarding how they want to care for and raise their child, and to support their values, even if they differ from your own. With this in mind, NCS may feel like they have to say “yes” to every request that the parents make, however, that’s not the case. There are certain situations when it is appropriate, even essential, to say “no” to a parent’s request. We’ve listed some of these instances below. 

If a parent is asking for medical advice
You have been hired as a specialist and, as such, parents expect you to know everything there is to know about caring for a newborn. Parents will often ask NCS for their advice regarding medical procedures, including making decisions around infant vaccinations. You may have a wealth of knowledge and experience, but you are not a medical professional, so you must avoid giving parents medical advice, otherwise you are putting yourself at a liability risk. If a parent tries to engage you in such a conversation, it is perfectly okay to say “I am not a medical professional, so I can’t advise you one way or the other” and leave it at that.

If a parent is asking you to make a diagnosis
Once again, you are not a medical professional, so you aren’t able to diagnose conditions. Even if you’ve seen something similar before, and you’re 99% sure that’s what the infant is experiencing in this case, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and advise the parent to speak to a doctor, rather than making a diagnosis yourself. For instance, what looks like a common rash in one infant could actually be an indication of a serious allergic reaction in another. You may say something along the lines of “I’ve seen something like this before and it turned out to be __________, but you should speak to a doctor to be on the safe side”.

If you have been asked to prepare alternative/non-traditional formula for the infant
For infants that are bottle-fed, there are alternative/non-traditional formulas out there that may provide the infant with adequate nutrition. However, as the NCS, you should not be the one preparing those formulas for the infant. Factory-made formulas contain specific nutrients and have explicit instructions for how to properly prepare them, so it is okay for you to do the preparation in this case. Alternative/non-traditional formulas, on the other hand, do not come with the same nutritional information and instructions, and there is a risk that they will not be prepared properly and/or will not contain adequate nutrition for the growing infant. If parents choose to feed their infant alternative/non-traditional formulas, that is their decision and you must respect that decision, but you should not be the one preparing the formula, as it also puts you at a liability risk.

If you have been asked to dispense medication without the advice of a physician and a signed liability release form
Any medications you give to an infant must be prescribed by a physician, following the exact dosage and means of administration prescribed, and only after you and the parents have signed a liability release form. Unless these conditions are in place, you should never give an infant medication, as it may put the infant at a physical risk and you at a risk of liability.

If you are asked to check the infant’s temperature rectally without the parent’s supervision
It is a known fact that the most accurate way to read an infant’s temperature is with a rectal thermometer. However, you should never take the infant’s temperature this way unless you are being supervised by the parent, as it involves inserting something into the infant’s body, which can pose multiple risks. If the parent is not available to supervise, it is best to check the infant’s temperature by other means, such as by using a temporal artery thermometer on the forehead, or by placing the thermometer in the infant’s armpit to get a reading. In the case that the parent is present, it is reasonable to ask them to check the infant’s temperature rectally themselves.

If you are asked to trim the infant’s nails
It may seem less obvious than the other examples, but it is important to decline when a parent asks you to trim their infant’s fingernails or toenails. Trimming nails involves using a sharp object (nail clippers) near very soft, fragile skin and can accidentally result in cuts and/or infections. It is best to avoid any risk of liability in this case and let the parent trim the infant’s nails themself.

If you are asked to install a carseat
Unless you are a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST), you should not be the one installing the car seat in the parent’s vehicle or your own vehicle. Car seats must be installed in a very specific way in order to ensure that they are safe for the infant to ride in. If you are not trained in proper car seat installation, or being supervised by a CPST while doing so, you should never install a car seat on your own. Once again, it becomes a liability risk if anything were to happen to the infant while riding in an incorrectly installed car seat.

Categories
For Nannies For Parents Newborn Care Specialist

Newborn Care Around the World – India

 

With the exciting announcement of the Newborn Care Specialist services we are now offering, The Nanny Solution team has baby fever! We sat down with Rupanshi, our Nanny Liaison, and the newest mother on our team (she gave birth to her sweet boy, Aayansh, in early 2020) to ask her about birth practices and newborn care in her home country of India. You can read our interview with Rupanshi below. 

Rupanshi: Before I begin, I just want to say that India, like Canada, is multicultural and each region has its own set of customs and traditions. I am from the capital region, and have a bit of knowledge of the traditions that we follow in the north.

What are some unique birth traditions in India?
R: There are quite a few. For one, we do not reveal our pregnancy until the 1st trimester is over, in order to avoid evil (I know). And during pregnancy, moms are not supposed to eat papaya, lift heavy objects, or even exercise. Then, after a baby is born, mom and baby are generally made to wear black anklets and beads, and we apply a black mark behind the ear or on the forehead to ward off evil (I still do it with Aayansh). We also have a holy prayer on the 6th day of the baby’s birth for his/her future, and a havan (fire ritual) after the baby is 40 days to announce the arrival. 40 days is the incubation period wherein we are allowed to only go to the doctor’s clinic. At home, new moms are supposed to remain covered, with oil on our head and covered with a cap or scarf. This is due to the fact that the woman’s body is still recovering, and 40 days ensures complete recovery. Also, before honey was considered unsafe for babies, it was tradition to give honey to babies, even before mother’s milk. 

Where and how do most births take place?
R: Hospitals are usually considered the safest option, at least in metropolitan cities. I have seen some home births, but only for lower income groups. They usually try for a government hospital too.

Is there the equivalent of a baby shower in India?
R: Yes, it is called a “god bharai”. It is a beautiful tradition wherein married women whisper something nice for the baby in mom-to-be’s ears and give a gift in her lap, called “god” in Hindi. There is music, a little bit of dancing, and lots of food (we are big on food). We also have baby showers, just like in the western culture, but we do not have baby registries in India. My sister had a baby shower, and mine was planned, but unfortunately had to be cancelled due to COVID. 

Who is responsible for caring for the newborn during the first weeks?
R: A lot of people have hired help, if they can afford it, but generally it’s the grandmothers who help around the house. India still has the concept of a joint family, wherein we live with our parents and sometimes aunts, uncles, and cousins too, so it is not very uncommon to have the grandmother already living in the home. In urban cities, most people get help from Nannies or Newborn Care Specialists. Jappas, as they are called, come from Kolkata (a city in the Eastern part of the country) and specialize in newborn and new mom care. They are booked beforehand and called on when the mom is in the hospital for delivery. By the time mom delivers the baby and returns home, Jappas are there to take over. They do everything — from cleaning, feeding, changing, burping, swaddling etc. to making healthy and nutritious food for mom to promote milk production. They are what we call “baby experts”.

What does that care entail?
R: They provide massages for both mom and baby, and help out with feeding, burping, changing, swaddling, — anything and everything the baby needs. They sleep in the same room as the mom, and they are there for the first 40 days of the baby’s life. In our culture, we can only leave the house after 40 days (outside of doctor’s visits), as mom is still recovering and the baby hardly has any immunity. 

Do these practices differ depending on socioeconomic status or class?
R: Absolutely! Nannies and maids are not cheap, but even a middle class person can often afford them. Jappas can be expensive, but they are a lifesaver for many families. In fact, one of my cousins had her first baby and did not hire a Jappa. However, she saw the difference in the care between her firstborn and others’ children, and she was impressed. She is currently pregnant again and has already booked one for once the baby is born. If a family can afford to hire a Jappa, they often do — it’s an investment in their child and their family’s future. 

Thank you for sharing your culture with us, Rupanshi! It’s fascinating to hear about birth practices and newborn care in other parts of the world. We could definitely get on board with those massages for mom too!

If yo are looking for a Newborn Care Specialist, Contact Us to find out how we can help you.

Categories
For Parents

Nanny Appreciation

 

In our previous post, It’s Time to Check In with the Nanny , we encouraged families to check in with Nannies and show their appreciation for their hard work and ongoing support throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. With this in mind, we have put together some suggestions for how to show the Nanny that you appreciate them. When it comes to expressing gratitude, remember that a caregiver who feels valued and appreciated is more likely to stay with a family than one who does not.

Say “thank you”
How do you let the Nanny know that you appreciate them without spending a dime? Tell them! It’s always nice to get verbal recognition for the work that you’re doing. Encourage your children and other family members to do the same too.

Cards
Giving the Nanny a thank you card is another easy way to express your gratitude and acknowledge their hard work. A homemade card, one signed by the whole family and/or decorated by the kids, is especially thoughtful.

Evaluate the Nanny’s benefits
Does the Nanny receive guaranteed pay and overtime? Are they entitled to paid sick days, time off, and/or holidays? What about health benefits? Are they reimbursed for work-related costs, such as cell phone use, car mileage, gas, etc.? Do you provide annual bonuses? These are some benefits to consider offering the Nanny if you don’t already have them in place.

Paid day off
Giving the Nanny an additional paid day off (separate from their usual paid vacation time) is another great way to show your appreciation. Bonus: you’ve already budgeted to pay for childcare that day, so it doesn’t really cost you extra.

Bonus pay
If you can afford to pay the Nanny a bonus, do it! Now more than ever, many Nannies are struggling to make ends meet financially (especially those who are only working part-time or have been laid off from their other jobs due to the pandemic), and any form of bonus pay is guaranteed to be appreciated.

Treat them to a day at the spa
Self-care is essential, but caregivers often have a hard time making their own self-care a priority. Treating the Nanny to a day at the spa is one way to say “thank you” while also promoting them to have some much needed rest and relaxation.

Gift cards
You can get the Nanny a gift card to one of their favourite stores, a local restaurant, or even to the spa. Gift cards are a great alternative to cash bonuses, as they encourage the Nanny to treat themselves to something they really want, but may not ever buy for themselves.

A special meal
Many restaurants are not offering dine-in service due to the pandemic, but you can still treat the Nanny to a special takeout meal of their choice. Many restaurants and food delivery services (such as UberEats, DoorDash, etc.) offer gift cards, so the Nanny can enjoy a delicious restaurant meal from the comfort of their own home.

Homemade gifts
Getting the children to make thank you gifts is another sweet, thoughtful way to show the Nanny how much your family appreciates them. Pinterest is a great place to find simple homemade gift and arts and crafts ideas.

Nanny vouchers
Another creative way to show your appreciation is by putting together a book of vouchers for the Nanny. Vouchers can include “Good for one paid day off”, “Leave one hour early”, “Takeout dinner of your choice”, and many others.

Gift baskets
Gift baskets are a classic way of saying “thank you”. Many places sell beautiful gift baskets with curated locally made products, gourmet foods, or a variety of other themed items. Choose something special that reflects the Nanny’s personal taste and/or specific interests.

Fresh flowers
Having fresh flowers delivered to your Nanny’s home is another thoughtful and unexpected way to show your appreciation. Most cities have floral delivery services, but leaving a bouquet of flowers out in your home with a card addressed to the Nanny is also a nice gesture.

Film a family “thank you” video
Filming a “thank you” video takes a little bit more effort and coordination, but it is an incredibly thoughtful way of letting the Nanny know just how much they mean to the entire family. It can make for a fun project for the family as well!

Categories
For Parents Newborn Care Specialist

The Newborn Care Solution

The Nanny Solution is delighted to announce that we are now offering the professional services of Newborn Care Specialists! 

A Newborn Care Specialist is a highly specialized and trained child care professional who focuses on the care and well being of newborn infants.

How is a Newborn Care Specialist different from a regular Nanny?

  • As a newborn care professional, a specialist generally works independently with minimal guidance from parents.
  • They are well versed in helping establish good feeding and sleeping habits in newborns.
  • They are familiar with behaviours, appearance, and general care of newborns.
  • They may also have experience caring for preemies and multiples.
  • They understand and recognize signs of possible food allergies, intolerances, and reflux in newborns, and know ways to help.
  • They have an understanding of Postpartum Mood Disorders, can recognize them, and confidently address them as they arise.

How can a Newborn Care Specialist help you and your family?

  • They can provide support with sleeping, feeding, and development of newborns during their first 3 to 6 months.
  • They can set up and execute a successful plan for getting your newborn to sleep through the night and nap well.
  • They can be hired to care for your newborn for overnight shifts or around the clock the care (usually a 20-hr shift).
  • They understand the value of, and can support, a breastfeeding or chestfeeding parent.
  • They can educate and build up parents in caring for their newborn while supporting their values.

If you’re interested in hiring a Newborn Care Specialist to help care for your little one, Contact Us.

Categories
For Nannies For Parents

Happy Pride Month

 

“Happy Pride” from the The Nanny Solution team! It’s Pride month and we want to celebrate all of our wonderful LGBTQ families, nannies, and staff. We are in awe of all that you have stood up for and achieved over the years, and we are here to offer our support as the fight for equality continues. Every day, you remind us that love and acceptance is what truly makes a family! 

This week, we’ve put together a list of children’s books for parents and nannies to share with little ones to help teach them about the history of Pride and to celebrate all genders and sexual orientations.

Books about Pride (Click on the image for more details)

 

“Stonewall: A Building, an Uprising, a Revolution” by Rob Sanders

“Rainbow: A First Book of Pride” by Michael Genhart

“This Day in June” by Gayle E. Pitman”

“Love is Love” by by Michael Genhart

Books about same-sex parents / families

 

“And Tango Makes Three” by Justin Richardson & Peter Parnell

“Mommy, Mama, and Me” & “Daddy, Papa, and Me” by Leslea Newman

“Love Makes a Family” by Sophie Beer

“Stella Brings the Family” by Miriam B. Schiffer

“A Family is a Family is a Family” by Sara O’Leary

Books about LGBTQ children

 

“Phoenix Goes to School” by Michelle & Phoenix Finch

“Sparkle Boy” by Leslea Newman

“Jack (Not Jackie)” by Erica Silverman

“Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress” by Christine Baldacchino

Books about LGBTQ characters

 

“Red: A Crayon’s Story” by Michael Hall

“King & King” by Linda de Haan

“Princess Princess Ever After” by Katie O’Neill

“Jerome By Heart” by Thomas Scotto

If you have any other LGBTQ children’s book recommendations, we’d love to add them to our own lists. Feel free to email us at info@thenannysolution.ca Happy Pride!