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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!

Categories
For Parents

Hiring for the Long-Haul

 

We often hear from parents that they want a Nanny who will stay with the family for several years, someone who will become a part of their family and care for the children through all their ages and stages. What many parents don’t realize is that it’s not only who they hire, but also how they communicate, compromise, and work together with the Nanny that determines their longevity.

So, what can parents do to make the Nanny want to stay with their family for years to come? We’ve gathered information from Nannies across the country, and put together a list of their suggestions below.

Respect
In any workplace, employees are more likely to report higher job satisfaction and want to stay in their position if they feel that they are respected and given recognition for their work. Being a Nanny is no different — Nannies want to be treated as valued and respected employees.

You can convey your respect for the Nanny by being mindful of their time, upholding their boundaries, speaking to them in a kind and respectful manner, and avoiding taking them for granted. If Nannies don’t feel like they’re getting the respect and recognition they deserve, they may look for work elsewhere!

Communication
Open, honest communication is essential to any relationship, and your relationship with the Nanny is no exception. Keep the lines of communication open with face-to-face conversations, texts, emails, and written notes.

We recommend keeping a communication book in the home for both the parents and the Nanny to write in. We also suggest having regular scheduled check-ins with the Nanny, so you can give and receive constructive feedback, talk about any changes or decisions that need to be made, and gain a better sense of how both parties are doing. In addition, if any issues arise, it is always best to address them in a timely manner, so you can work to resolve them together, rather than having frustration or resentment build over time.

Expectations
Be realistic in your expectations of your Nanny. Remember that there are only so many hours in the day and, aside from naps and school or scheduled activities, they are spending the majority of those hours looking after your children. Nannies are responsible for caring for the children’s basic needs, as well as keeping them entertained and engaged.

When you’re making a list of duties and responsibilities for your Nanny, ask yourself what’s more important: coming home to happy children who are well-cared for, or coming home to a spotless home and a clean pile of laundry? Nannies may be expert multi-taskers, but they’re also human. There are going to be days when they simply can’t do it all.

Flexibility
One of the complaints we hear most frequently from Nannies is that they don’t like to feel like they’re being micromanaged. Nannies are professional childcare providers — you’ve hired the Nanny to care for your children, so you need to trust that they know how to do so. This means letting go of some control and giving the Nanny the space and flexibility to do their job. As long as they have an understanding of your parenting philosophy, and your approach to things such as discipline and rewards, you have to have confidence that they will do what’s in your children’s best interests.

Boundaries
Having personal boundaries is an essential part of any working relationship. It is equally important to establish boundaries with the Nanny and to respect the Nanny’s own personal boundaries. Those boundaries are in place in order to ensure that the Nanny is able to maintain a work/life balance, and to avoid being in a position where they are being taken advantage of, or not having their time or privacy respected.

Upholding boundaries involves ongoing communication and clarification from both parties. It can be challenging to set and maintain boundaries at times, but as long as it is done in a respectful and gracious manner, boundaries can actually help to strengthen the relationship between the Nanny and your family.

Appreciation
A Nanny who feels valued and appreciated is more likely to stay with a family than one who does not. It is important to find ways to show your appreciation and express your gratitude for all the Nanny does for your family. This can be as simple as saying “thank you” to the Nanny, writing them a card, or giving them a bonus on their paycheque. For more ideas on how to show the Nanny your appreciation, see our previous blog post. A little recognition goes a long way!

The work environment
It seems like it should go without saying, but it’s worth mentioning anyway — respect your Nanny’s work environment. Yes, we are referring to your home. We understand that parents are busy, and there will be times when it’s impossible to stay on top of housekeeping, but would you like to consistently come into a cluttered office with dishes piled up in the sink and no clear surfaces? Probably not.

Even if light housekeeping is on the Nanny’s list of duties, it is important to be mindful that this is their work environment too. If you want the Nanny to stay with your family long-term, it helps to make it a comfortable and desirable place for them to work.

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For Parents Newborn Care Specialist

Establishing healthy sleep habits in newborns

 

Many new parents don’t realize that you can start implementing strategies that will help their newborn establish healthy sleep habits right from day one. We can’t guarantee they will get your little one sleeping through the night on day one (how incredible would that be?), but they will help them establish a routine and form better sleep habits in the future.

Lori Wade from Newborn Care Solutions has shared her 5 tips for helping your newborn establish healthy sleep habits with us.

Black-out curtains
Black-out curtains, not room-darkening curtains, ensure that there is no natural light entering the room while the baby is sleeping, allowing your baby to sleep for longer periods of time.

Red lights
Using red light bulbs in your baby’s room can be beneficial, as do not act as a stimulant the same way blue, white, or other light hues do. Red light also does not block melatonin production, so it can help your newborn transition into a more restful sleep. It is also recommended to turn off all electronics (phones, tablets, computers, televisions, etc.) before bed, as these devices delay the body’s circadian rhythm (internal clock), suppress the release of melatonin, and make it more difficult to fall asleep.

Sound machines
It is important to avoid overstimulation, especially at bedtime, and using a sound machine that emits white noise can be very helpful. White noise contains different frequencies that mask or block out other sounds. Unlike other “soothing sounds”, white noise frequencies are equal in intensity and provide an even sound that does not disrupt sleep. You can turn on the white noise machine 15-20 minutes before starting the bedtime or nap routine and leave it on, or you can leave it on continuously throughout the day and night. This way, every time you go into the baby’s room, they will already be conditioned to start the wind down process.

Swaddling
Swaddled babies tend to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer than unswaddled babies. This is because swaddling mimics the environment that babies were used to in the womb, and it keeps the Moro (startling) reflex from waking or startling a sleeping baby. It is also recommended as a safe sleep practice that may reduce the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).

Laying them down early
It is recommended to lay your baby down when they are drowsy, but not fully asleep. Once they have been fed, burped, changed into a clean diaper, and showing signs of sleepiness, it is a good time to put them down in their crib or bassinet. That way, your baby will start to know what to do, and by around 12-16 weeks of age, many babies can easily fall asleep on their own, as well as fall back to sleep when they wake up.

We hope that you find these 5 tips helpful for establishing healthy sleep habits in your little one. Having a baby that sleeps through the night benefits not only the infant, but the whole family!

Categories
For Parents

Why a Teacher Can Make a Great Nanny Too

 

We often hear from parents they’re not sure about whether to consider an educator for a Nanny position or not. Many are concerned that a Teacher may not want to stay with a family long-term, or that they haven’t had enough experience dealing with the day-to-day routine of working in a close-knit home environment. The Nanny Solution advises families not to discount Teachers from their list of candidates. We believe that many Teachers would make exceptional Nannies, if provided with the opportunity. Here’s why…

Education matters
Since March 2020, parents have had to make countless difficult decisions regarding their children’s education. Some parents have decided to home-school their children, others have hired in-home educators, some have reluctantly sent their children back to school either full- or part-time, and more children than ever are having to attend school virtually. Having a Teacher as a Nanny is one way to ensure that your children are still getting the educational support and guidance they need, no matter where their schooling is taking place. Having a Nanny that can help with homework and tutoring takes some of that pressure off of the parents!

Large classroom vs. Family unit
The fact that many Teachers decide to continue working with children and commit to one individual family, rather than changing career fields altogether, is telling in itself. In some cases, Teachers wish to leave the large classroom environment and enter into an arrangement with one family, so they can work consistently with the same children as they grow and develop. While many teachers enjoy the classroom setting and working with larger groups of children, others would like to be part of a smaller, family-like environment, as they appreciate the bonding opportunities that being a Nanny can offer.

Structure
If you’re a parent looking for someone to bring more structure into your home, a Teacher could be a terrific addition to your family! They’ve already worked with multiple children in an environment where they were the only adult keeping everything under control, so creating a daily and weekly schedule for your kids should be no problem. Elementary-level Teachers most likely know plenty of arts and crafts, games, and physical activities to keep the children busy. Homework help shouldn’t be an issue either, when you have a Teacher as your Nanny.

One-on-one time
The home situation allows for more one-on-one time for the Teacher to help your children learn, as they will be caring for them on a daily basis, as opposed to helping multiple children in a busy classroom setting. They can spend more time helping kids learn how to tie their shoes, recite the alphabet, or solve math problems. They’re also able to give the children more one-on-one attention during outdoor playtime than they would be able to at a school.

Finally, The Nanny Solution believes that Teachers make great Nannies, and many Nannies would make great Teachers, because it really comes down to one thing: they have a passion for working with children! Contact us if you would like more information about hiring a Teacher. 

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For Parents

What is a Night Nanny? And why do you need one?

 

Caring for a newborn, establishing sleep schedules, and navigating the many challenges of being a new parent is no easy task, especially when you’re sleep-deprived! It’s no secret that having a newborn interferes with the number of hours of sleep you get each night and the quality of that sleep. In fact, if you ask a new parent how they’re feeling, 9 times out of 10, their answer will be “tired”. Fortunately, there’s a solution for that — hire a Night Nanny!

So, what is a Night Nanny?

You are likely familiar with a traditional Nanny, someone who is hired to care for children throughout the day while the parents are at work or otherwise occupied. A Night Nanny, on the other hand, is hired to care for newborns and infants throughout the night, allowing new parents to get some much needed rest, so that they are better able to function and care for their little one throughout the day.

Night Nannies typically work with a family starting from the day their newborn arrives and/or is brought home from the hospital, and stays for the first 8 to 12 weeks. They often arrive at the family’s home in the evening, provide child care throughout the night, and then leave the following morning. Night Nannies provide all aspects of infant care during the night, including bottle-feeding and nursing help, burping, changing diapers and bathing, and any other infant care-related duties, as needed. They also help to establish good feeding and sleeping habits in infants, and can help implement a regular sleep schedule.

Why do I need one?

Many new parents report not being able to sleep through the night, not just because their infant isn’t sleeping soundly, but also because they are concerned about their infant stopping breathing in the middle of the night or suffering from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). With a Night Nanny, you have the peace of mind of knowing that your little one is safe and being cared for by someone who is trustworthy and qualified, allowing you to get a few hours of restful sleep. In addition, Night Nannies have a wealth of knowledge and experience, and can help support and educate new parents as they navigate the challenges of parenthood. Finally, they can help infants establish habits that will help make the parents’ lives easier in the long term.

What’s the difference between a Night Nanny and a Newborn Care Specialist?

Newborn Care Specialists are highly specialized and trained child care professionals who focus on the care and well being of newborn infants. They are trained and certified to care for newborns, and often work independently with minimal guidance from parents, either during overnight shifts or around the clock care (usually a 20-hour shift). They may also have experience working with preemies and multiples, which many Night Nannies do not. In addition to the child care services that a Night Nanny provides, Newborn Care Specialists are familiar with behaviours, appearance, and general care of newborns, and are able to understand and recognize signs of possible food allergies, intolerances, and reflux in newborns, and know ways to help. They also have an understanding of Postpartum Mood Disorders, can recognize them, and confidently address them as they arise.

A Newborn Care Specialist can help new parents by providing support with sleeping, feeding, and infant development during the first few months. They can also set up and execute a successful plan for getting your newborn to sleep through the night and nap well. Newborn Care Specialists also understand the value of, and can support, a breastfeeding or chestfeeding parent. Most importantly, Newborn Care Specialists can help educate and build up parents’ confidence in carrying out their newborn, while also supporting their values.

If you’re interested in hiring a Night Nanny or Newborn Care Specialist to help care for your little one, Click here.

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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

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For Parents

Different Types of Professional Caregivers

There’s more than just one type of Nanny out there! There are a number of different types of professional caregivers, each with their own title and unique set of skills and areas of expertise. When you’re looking to hire a Nanny, it’s important to know the difference between the different types of caregivers, so that you can tell the agency exactly what you’re looking for. Below, we’ve provided a list of some of the different types of professional caregivers, along with a brief description of what each position entails.

Traditional Nanny

  • The main childcare provider in the home.
  • In charge of the children’s overall health and well-being.
  • Responsible for preparing children’s meals, tidying up their bedrooms, etc.
  • Actively engages the children daily in both indoor and outdoor play.
  • May drive children to/from school and activities, as required.

Nanny/House Manager

  • Performs the same duties as a traditional Nanny, plus:
  • Administrative duties, such as paying household bills.
  • Supervising other household staff, if applicable.
  • Running errands.
  • Grocery shopping.
  • Doing laundry.

Education Support Nanny

  • Has a teaching or education background.
  • Performs the same duties as a traditional Nanny, plus:
  • Assists with homework and project completion in physical and/or online form.
  • In charge of managing the technology for children’s online learning (e.g., websites, passwords, schedules, deadlines, etc.), if applicable.
  • Liaises with the children’s teachers regarding homework assignments, projects, tests, etc.

Nanny Educator/Tutor

  • Has specific teaching credentials (B. Ed or M. Ed.) and classroom teaching experience.
  • Hired for the specific purpose of teaching the family’s children in the home.
  • Develops the curriculum and teaching plans for the school year in accordance with local education standards.
  • Purchases all required support materials to support teaching and children’s learning.
  • Responsible for all teaching, evaluating, and progress reporting.
  • Assists with homework and project completion in physical and/or online form.
  • In charge of managing the technology for children’s online learning (e.g., websites, passwords, schedules, deadlines, etc.), if applicable.

Travelling Nanny

  • Hired on a short-term basis, specifically to travel or go on vacation with a family, or
  • Hired as a traditional Nanny for a family who travels regularly.
  • Engages with and cares for the children from morning to evening.
  • Organizes personalized activities for the children, depending on the location and according to the parents’ requirements.
  • Needs to be an experienced traveller, so as to anticipate the children’s needs and plan accordingly in advance.

Newborn Care Specialist

  • Highly specialized and trained to focus on the care and well-being of newborn infants.
  • Generally works independently with minimal guidance from parents.
  • Helps establish good feeding and sleeping habits in newborns.
  • Familiar with behaviours, appearance, and general care of newborns.
  • Understand and recognize signs of possible food allergies, intolerances, and reflux in newborns, and know ways to help.
  • Understand the value of and can support a breastfeeding parent.
  • Have an understanding of Postpartum Mood Disorders, can recognize them, and confidently address them as they arise.

Night Nanny

  • Provides all aspects of infant care during the night.
  • Bottle-feeding and nursing help, as well as burping.
  • Helps with bathing the infant and changing diapers.
  • Helps establish good feeding and sleeping habits in infants.
  • Any other infant care-related duties, as needed.

Labour Doula

  • Has specific training and certification in supporting the parents through the labour and delivery process.
  • Doulas give parents support, but do not provide medical care or deliver the baby.
  • Focus is on the family, not necessarily the newborn.

Postpartum Doula

  • Helps provide support to the family in the first few weeks following the birth.
  • Provides education, baby care, birth parent care, and household assistance.
  • Focus is on supporting the family, not necessarily the newborn.
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For Parents

The Cost of Hiring a Nanny

We have been swamped with families calling to try to figure out their childcare/educational options for the summer. In an effort to help families define exactly what they need we have created a breakdown of the different types of childcare and education along with their costs.

Traditional Nanny – Cost: Depending on the city, between $20-$30hr gross
Best for families with children who are too young for school or need additional care outside of school hours.

  • Main childcare provider in the home
  • In charge of the children’s health and well-being
  • Responsible for preparing children meals, tidying up after the children.
  • Actively engages the children daily in both indoor and outdoor play
  • May occasionally help out with homework
  • May help with additional household duties such as meal preparation, errands or laundry.

Education Minded/High End Nanny – Cost: $25-$35/hr (depending on location)

  • Main childcare provider in the home
  • In charge of the children’s health and well-being
  • Responsible for preparing children meals, tidying up after the children.
  • May have an ECE, Bachelor of Education or Masters of Education
  • Is passionate about education and learning
  • Actively creates a learning environment to positively influence the children’s minds
  • Incorporates learning into the children’s everyday activities.

Education Support Childcare – Costs: $25-35/hr (depending on location)

  • Best for families who are sending their children to school in person or online.
  • In addition to all the other traditional nanny duties:
  • Has an education background (assistant, aid, tutor or practicum experience)
  • Assists with homework and project completion for children in physical and/or online school settings.
  • In charge of managing the technology for the children’s online learning (websites, passwords, schedules, deadlines) if applicable.
  • Liaises with the children’s teachers regarding homework assignments, projects, tests, etc.

Private Educator – Costs: $35hr+ gross

  • Best for families who are choosing to pull their children from the traditional school and homeschool full time.
  • Hired for the specific purpose of teaching the family’s children in the home on a full-time basis:
  • Has specific teaching credentials (ECE, Bachelor of Education or Masters of Education)
  • Develops the grade curriculum and teaching plans for the school year in accordance to provincial education standards
  • Adapts lessons to your child’s needs
  • Responsible for purchasing all required support materials to support teaching and children learning (within a budget set by the family)
  • Responsible for all teaching, evaluating and progress reporting.
Categories
For Parents

Onboarding a New Nanny

 

Hiring a Nanny and getting them acquainted and comfortable with your family and home no small task! Each family does things a little differently, and no matter how many years of experience the Nanny has, it will take them some time to get familiar with a new family. Fortunately, there are some simple ways you can help make the on-boarding process as easy and effective as possible.

Family Manual
A family manual is a binder or e-document with everything the Nanny needs to know about working with your family. It includes important information such as emergency contacts, medical needs and allergies, dietary information, house rules, the family’s schedule, parenting approaches, and so on. Not only is a family manual helpful when the Nanny is first starting out, it is something they can refer back to at any time.

Written notes and lists
Nannies may choose to carry a notebook around with them to record important information shared with them during their first few shifts. They may also continue to use one to write down to-do lists, grocery lists, and other noteworthy items from the day. We strongly recommend that families do the same.

Schedule
Similarly, it is helpful to have a daily and/or weekly schedule for the Nanny to follow as well. The schedule should outline the Nanny’s tasks and responsibilities, as well as scheduled nap times, activities, appointments, etc.

Shared calendar
Having a shared calendar is also a useful tool, as it allows busy families to keep track of activities and appointments, vacations, and the Nanny’s work schedule. You may choose to have a wall calendar visible somewhere in the house or to share an online calendar, such as Google Calendar or iCalendar.

Communication book
We always recommend that families use a book or diary (one day per page style) to communicate with the Nanny. A communication book is where everyone can record and relay day-to-day information, such as how the child napped, diaper changes, upcoming appointments for the children, parents, and Nanny (e.g., “I have a concert on Wednesday evening, so I must leave no later than 6 PM”, “Spirit Day at school”, “I have an early meeting on Tuesday, so you will have to arrive at 8 AM”).

Shadowing
It can be very useful to have a “shadow day” with a new Nanny, where they spend a day with one of the parents or another caregiver (such as a relief Nanny or a previous Nanny whose contract is ending). This gives the Nanny an opportunity to get acquainted with the home, experience a typical day with the children, and learn about details that may otherwise be overlooked.

Trial shifts
We also highly recommend having the Nanny do a trial shift with your family to ensure that it is a good fit. This is especially important if the initial interview took place virtually and you haven’t had a chance to meet the Nanny in person yet. It’s hard to get a true sense of someone you’ve only ever met through a computer screen. A trial shift gives both your family and the Nanny the opportunity to assess whether the relationship will work or not before making a commitment.

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COVID For Parents

It’s Time to Check In with the Nanny

 

It’s not an easy time to be a Nanny! The ongoing global pandemic is creating unique challenges for professional childcare providers, which is leading to high rates of burnout and mental health struggles among those in the field. Nannies’ roles have changed drastically in order to abide by social distancing measures. They are now expected to be teachers helping children learn in their virtual classrooms; quiet coworkers and behavior management experts for parents who are working from home; and endlessly creative in coming up with new activities and projects to do with children while libraries and playgroups are closed. While they are dealing with the stress and uncertainty of the pandemic themselves, they are also the ones helping children cope with the confusion and feelings of loss associated with the “new normal”. Nannies are doing all of this — and more — without the usual support of their other Nanny friends and, often, without any additional praise or financial compensation from their employers. It’s no wonder they are feeling overwhelmed, under-appreciated, and undervalued! 

Families, it’s time to check in with the Nanny! Make a genuine effort to find out how they’re doing — how they’re really doing. Discuss ways to better support them. Show that you appreciate them, in any way you can. Keep communicating and checking in on a regular basis. Let them know they can be open with you and ask for additional support. They’ve been there for you and your children throughout the pandemic — show them that you’re there for them too. After all, we’re all in this together! 

* Thank you to Nanny Care Hub (Nanny Care Hub website, Facebook) for reminding all of us here at The Nanny Solution and Nannies on Call just how important it is to show the Nannies that we care! You have inspired us to write this post and to check in with the wonderful Nannies in our lives.