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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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For Nannies Newborn Care Specialist

How becoming a Newborn Care Specialist Can Help Your Career

 

The Nanny Solution is delighted to announce that we are now adding newborn care to the professional childcare services we offer! If you’re not already a trained and certified Newborn Care Specialist, but you love working with newborns and want to help support new parents, you can complete your training online through the Newborn Care Solutions Institute.

Why should I become a certified Newborn Care Specialist?

Newborn Care Specialists support parents by assisting with sleep, feeding schedules, and infant development during the first weeks of their newborn’s life. NCS have a lot of autonomy in their role, and often work independently with minimal guidance from the parents. They are hired as baby whisperers and parent lifesavers — and they are in high demand! If you already have a passion for working with newborns and infants, getting trained and certified as a Newborn Care Specialist can help you turn that passion into a professional career.

How will this help my professional childcare career?

As Newborn Care Specialists are hired to support families during the first 3 to 6 months of their newborn’s life, they are hired on short-term contracts and able to work up to 4 or 5 placements in a single year. The more placements you are hired for, the higher your earning potential. In addition, just like in any other field, completing more training and gaining experience puts you in a position to earn a higher rate of pay. As such, NCS typically earn a higher salary than a traditional Nanny — sometimes $3-$8 more per hour than the average Nanny rate.

How do I become a Newborn Care Specialist?

There are many several different training and certification programs available, some of which are online/virtual and some that are in-person. When you’re looking for a program to enrol in, look out for ones that 1) will specifically prepare you for NCS certification, 2) are accredited by an independent organization, 3) are taught by an instructor teaching evidence-based practices, 4) have positive reviews from past participants, and 5) provide you with the option of becoming a certified NCS, rather than simply offering a certification of participation. You may also want to consider getting additional specific childcare training in areas such as sleep conditioning, breastfeeding/chestfeeding, lactation training, and/or Postpartum Doula training, as this training will make you an even more qualified and desirable NCS candidate.

For more information about the newborn care services we will be offering or how to become a Newborn Care Specialist, feel free to email us at info@thenannysolution.ca or Contact Us for more details.

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For Nannies

The one thing that makes all the difference in an interview

 

Over the past 20+ years, our agency has noticed that there are some Nannies who get every single job they interview for. Are they the most qualified? Do they have the most experience? Is their resume overly impressive? Not always. So, what is it that sets these Nannies apart? Why do they always seem to get hired over the other qualified applicants? It comes down to one thing — emotional intelligence.

Okay, but what is emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence (EQ) refers to one’s ability to perceive, evaluate, and control emotions both in themselves and in others. EQ is often thought of in contrast with cognitive intelligence (IQ), and some experts even believe that it is more important than IQ in determining your overall success in life. 

It is thought that there are 5 key elements that make up emotional intelligence:

  1. Self-awareness
  2. Self-regulation
  3. Motivation
  4. Empathy
  5. Social skills

How can these 5 elements help in a job interview? 

Self-awareness
Self-awareness refers to your ability to recognize and understand your own emotions, and the effect that they have on others. This is a useful skill to have in a job interview, as it helps to know how you’re presenting yourself, and how you’re being perceived by those interviewing you. A Nanny who is self-aware, and knows how to control their emotions and respond appropriately, is going to make a better impression than one who doesn’t recognize their own emotions and how others are reacting to them.

Self-regulation
Self-regulation involves managing your emotions and knowing how to express them appropriately. Those who have strong self-regulation skills are able to be flexible and adaptable to change, remain calm in stressful situations, and express their emotions in a healthy manner when/where it is appropriate to do so. In a job interview, which may be considered a “high stress” situation, the ability to self-regulate and remain calm is essential for making a good first impression.

Motivation
Your motivations are what causes you to act. Extrinsic motivation is when we perform a behaviour or engage in something because we want to earn some sort of reward (e.g., praise, recognition, payment, etc.) or avoid negative consequences (e.g., disappointing others, losing our job, not being able to pay bills, etc.). Intrinsic motivation, on the other hand, is when you engage in a behaviour because you find it rewarding. In this way, the behaviour itself is the reward. Intrinsic motivation is another emotional intelligence skill. Those with high intrinsic motivation take initiative, are goal-oriented, and are always looking for ways to improve — qualities that every employer values!

Empathy
Empathy (not to be confused with sympathy) refers to your ability to put yourself in others’ shoes and understand how they’re feeling. It involves active listening, considering things from the other person’s perspective, and responding appropriately. Empathy is essential in all social relationships, and if you’re able to convey it during your job interview, your potential employers are going to notice! 

Social skills
Social skills refer to your ability to interact and communicate with others in an effective way. These skills include active listening, verbal and nonverbal communication, appropriate body language and eye contact, and showing an interest in others. It may seem like the most obvious element of EQ, but it is often the one that is lacking during a job interview. If you know that social skills are something that you sometimes have difficulty with, we recommend practicing for your interview by getting a friend or partner to run through questions and give you constructive feedback before the actual interview. 

You may have the most impressive resume in the pile and years of experience under your belt, but without emotional intelligence, that is only going to get you so far in an interview. So, before your next interview, check in with yourself and evaluate where you’re at with the 5 key elements, and how you could improve in those areas. Demonstrating your EQ is always an asset in interviews!

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For Nannies

Sick and Tired of the Monday Morning Mess? Nanny Tips

You leave work on Friday with the house clean. You have cleaned up the dishes from the kids lunches, tidied up the playroom and put away the crafts. Monday morning rolls around and you come into a house that looks like a bomb went off. How do you deal with it? Silent resentment? Complain to the parents again? Let’s go over some tips to help you keep your sanity.

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For Nannies For Parents

What’s wrong with “manny”?

Gender InGen

You may have heard the term “manny” used to refer to a male nanny. Sure, it’s kind of cute, it’s kind of clever, but it’s also being used to gender a role/title that really doesn’t need to be gendered. The term “manny” is the masculinized version of “nanny”, which implies that “nanny” is inherently feminine. Nanny, however, is actually a gender-neutral term.

People of ALL genders can be nannies — after all, gender doesn’t determine whether or not someone has what it takes to be a professional caregiver. Using “manny” to refer to male nannies and “nanny” to refer to female nannies creates an unnecessary binary that excludes caregivers who are non-binary, transgender, intersex, or any other marginalized gender.

If this is all sounding a bit too Gender Studies 101, think of it this way… Nurse is not a gendered title. People of all genders are referred to as nurses, provided they have the training and qualifications. The same goes for teachers, chefs, pilots, and so on.

So the next time you go to use the term “manny”, consider using language that is inclusive of all genders by simply referring to them as a “nanny”. It’s really that simple!

To read more about using gender-neutral terminology, take a look at the links below:
Gender-Neutral Pronouns 101
30 Everyday Gender-Neutral Terms to Use
Guidelines for gender-inclusive language in English
An Employer’s Guide to Using Gender-Inclusive Language in the Workplace