Keeping your New Year’s resolutions!

Keeping your New Year’s resolutions!

Hello January! It’s the month of goal setting. Are you keeping your New Year’s Resolutions? Have you and your family found yourself slipping back to old habits already and not following through? Don’t feel bad, you are not alone! 80% of adults fail at their New Year’s resolutions by February. Changing habits is hard to do! If you feel yourself falling off the band wagon, here are some helpful tips to get you and your family back into the swing of things. Making goals to create a positive change in your family or community is such an important lesson for children. It is worth the extra effort to reevaluate and figure out how you can keep being persistent and show them that good things are worth working hard for, and can even be fun!

Did your family resolve to be less rushed and spend more quality time together?

Do you feel this goal slipping as kids are back in school from the winter break and life is getting busy with extra curricular activities? This is a wonderful resolution for families to have, and even more important to show children that spending time with them is worth it! Perhaps a family calendar would do the trick. Schedule in your family game night, or weekend hike just like you do their soccer games. Put the calendar where everyone can see it. This will also hold each family member accountable to keep that time open and available.

Make it a habit to spend a moment on each hello and goodbye. Even if you are rushed (let’s be realistic, you WILL have these days) instead of yelling over your shoulder “Bye!” take a moment to give a hug and say, “Have a wonderful day, I love you.” Even on those rushed mornings, you can still show your children that nothing is more important than taking a moment to tell them how important they are to you.

Did you or your family resolve to be healthier this new year?

Whether your goal is to lose a few pounds, cook at home more, or exercise, this is fantastic and popular resolution. This resolution is easier to keep when you can measure your progress, Keep it realistic and specific. Use this resolution to spend more quality time with your family. Create a family cooking night where you get your kids involved with grocery shopping and helping in the kitchen. Go for a weekly bike ride with the whole family. Think about how you can combine resolutions. Shoot for 3-5 days of exercise,and put it in the calendar. If one or two of those exercise days can also mark off your families quality time for the week, then think about how much easier it will be to really keep your resolutions!

For all resolutions remember to be realistic and plan ahead. Make a public declaration, let your family help you by keeping you accountable. If at first you don’t succeed, try try again! This is an important one. Even those who do keep their resolutions for the year, they too make mistakes in the first month (and throughout the year). Success is due to persistence. If your kids see you make a mistake, that’s ok! Don’t let them see you give up. Try again, and use this to teach that important life lesson.

Now for the fun part… Reward yourself! Did you make your goal to cook healthy more often? Get that fancy kitchen gadget you have been eyeing, or take a fun cooking class. Did your family make the goal of spending more time together? Start planning a fun family weekend getaway! This can be an amazing incentive.

Plan to do a monthly check in with your family to repeat and remember what goals have been made. Remember to talk about why they chose the resolutions they did. Congratulate any positive changes towards that goal, no matter how small.  Talk about any mistakes and road blocks that have presented themselves. Plan for future mistakes so everyone is prepared to deal with them when they are sure to arise.

This is a chance to make positive changes for yourself and for your family. New Year’s Resolutions are not about the destination; they are about the journey. Spend time uplifting each other, learning from mistakes and working hard. Have fun and keep your eye on the prize… a happier you!

Family Hike-Photo Credit:

Let’s Raise Children to be Problem Solvers

Let’s Raise Children to be Problem Solvers

Let’s raise children to be problem solvers! There will be times as a nanny and parent that we will watch the children we care for experience disappointment and failure. The goal is not to shield children from disappointment and failure, but rather provide them with the tools to help manage their emotions.  As a result, we will raise strong/resilient children who have healthy coping skills and eventually become problem solvers.

Praise Effort

When your child is facing a challenge, or getting frustrated by failure encourage effort and provide specific praise about what he or she did well.  Encourage children to overcome challenges and setbacks, and teach them how to have internal positive self-talk in the face of adversity.  When a child fails at a task, encourage persistence and movement forward.  If he is building a structure with blocks and it topples over, resist the urge to rebuild it for him.  Studies show that encouraging effort rather than praising or lauding intelligence, for example, leads to greater success.  This is because “making an effort is something kids can control, and so it instills in them the power to work harder and deal with failure,” says Madeline Levine, Ph.D., author of The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids.

Model Coping Skills   

When you make a mistake or fail at something you were hoping to succeed at, model how to cope with it in a healthy way.  Show children that an external failure is an opportunity to evaluate a problem and try again.  You can model how to see new possibilities and try again with a new approach.  Redefine success as efforts made, lessons learned, and coping skills instilled, and then try again.  Show your children that even as an adult you don’t know what will happen, but you are willing to try and be open to possibilities.

Know Your Child’s Limits

Failure may not always be the best teacher.  If your child is being humiliated and bullied, it’s time for you to intervene on his/her behalf and communicate. Know when to intervene on behalf of your child rather than using the situation to teach a lesson. Always intervene if your child’s safety is in danger. The goal is to create problem solvers, and not contribute to the problem.

Photo credit:  Amazon

Explore Circumference With Your Bicycle Wheel!

Explore Circumference With Your Bicycle Wheel!


By late elementary school, students have already learned about the basic properties of geometric shapes, but they are still exploring the many ways that geometry translates to real-world situations. Sure, finding the distance around, or the “perimeter”, of a polygon like a square or triangle is pretty easy. But how about finding the distance around a circle, the “circumference”? Let’s explore Circumference With Your Bicycle Wheel!

This hands-on-activity gives your child practice in finding the circumference of an object, while teaching her to use a step-by-step approach to gain the information necessary to solve a mathematical problem. Plus, it’s a great way to get outside and have some family fun in the sun!

What You Need:

  • bicycle
  • a sidewalk, or some other place to ride
  • a length of string
  • yardstick
  • paper
  • pencil
  • chalk (optional)

What You Do:

  1. Have your child ride her bicycle down the sidewalk a short, specific distance. Draw a chalk line, or use a marker such as a tree or a sign to show her where to stop. Ask her to estimate how many times her bicycle wheel went around.
  2. Use the string to help your child find the circumference of her bicycle wheel. Ask your child to lay her bicycle down. Hold the end of the string tightly on the tire and have your child to take the other end of the string and place it around the tire until it meets the end you are holding. Cut the string so that is reflects the measurement of the circumference of the tire. Help your child measure the string to the nearest inch. Next, have her measure the distance her bicycle wheel traveled to the nearest inch.
  3. Now that you have the measurement of the tire’s circumference and the measurement of the distance traveled, it’s time to find the number of times your child’s bicycle wheel went around. Ask her how she would set up the problem. Working together, divide the distance traveled by the circumference of the tire to find the answer!

By Jennifer Chalupnik, from

Photo Credit:  Huffy Bikes

Looking Beyond The Supermarket Aisle

Looking Beyond The Supermarket Aisle

By Talia Moore, Creator of Tummy Thyme, LLC

Next time you walk around your favorite supermarket, take a moment to study the food on the shelves. For the most part, it will reflect the tastes and preferences of the people who buy there.

Dominating will be the most popular brands and the most popular types of food, the best sellers for that particular chain and that particular location.

But if you shift your gaze to the people walking the aisles, you will notice a much broader demographic; people from many countries and cultures, all with their own food traditions. Few, if any, supermarkets have the shelf space to meet all of their expectations, but if you were able to look through their kitchen windows, the extent of the differences would become apparent.

At home, many of us eat a wide variety of foods from a wide variety of countries and cultures beyond the scope of those grocery-store shelves.

This should be just as true for the first foods we feed our babies.

In the U.S., some of the most popular first foods are instant baby rice cereal and pre-packaged, shelf-stable jars and pouches of puree. If we are honest, we are all so busy we generally go for the most convenient option. Supermarkets pander to that, and food standards are high enough in this country that parents have confidence these foods won’t harm our babies.

But this quick fix isn’t ideal. Shelf-stable products often take two years from production to the time they reach the supermarket shelf, so they have to contain additives or use high heat in the production phase so they don’t spoil. Also, the first foods our babies eat can inform their food choices as they mature. If we want them to prefer the healthiest options later, we should try and avoid starting their lives on a diet based solely on pre-prepared foods.

Finally, many supermarket-available foods are culturally bland. What a shame not to introduce the wealth of culturally rich foods we enjoy in Southern California at the earliest possible time in your baby’s life.

You can easily experiment with foods from a variety of cultures when choosing your baby’s first foods. Here are easy, low-cost options from six different countries – some of which are suggested by Australian nutrition scientist and dietician Joanna McMillan.

Don’t ditch pre-packaged foods completely. But if you vary your baby’s diet, they can learn a love of travel – at least in a food sense – right from the beginning.

Japan: A favorite among the Japanese is a dish called okayu. This is rice porridge infused with dried fish and vegetables or mashed pumpkin. Fish is rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids that babies need, and vegetables and pumpkin add lots of nutrients as well. Limit the amount of salt you add during cooking, because dried fish could be preserved using salt.

Kenya: A common first food is ngwaci (sweet potato). Kenyan children are prone to vitamin A deficiency, and this is a very good solution. Sweet potato is rich in carotenoids including beta-carotene, which can be converted into Vitamin A in the body. Sweet potato can be cooked to different consistencies, from purees to lumpier mash and even chips, which are a great finger food.

Dominican Republic: Babies in the Dominican Republic eat crema de habichuelas, a puree of black beans and kidney beans. Beans are a good source of plant protein because of the amino acids. They are also very low GI, so they release slow, steady amounts of carbohydrates into the body. Beans also have prebiotics, a type of fiber that feeds the good bacteria in the bowel. Babies who have good levels of these bacteria have a lower incidence of gut infections and upper-respiratory infections.

France: Many French pediatricians suggest feeding, babies as young as 5 months bouillon, or a thin vegetable soup, in a bottle mixed with milk. In order to develop their palates as they grow, young babies in France are also exposed to vegetables with many tastes and textures, including leeks, spinach and baby endive. French children have among the lowest incidence of childhood obesity in the world.

India: Babies in India regularly eat khichdi, a dish of rice, lentils and fragrant Indian spices, from about 6 months of age. This really knocks the idea of bland being best for babies on its head. Indian mothers eat hot curries and spices throughout their pregnancies, so babies are used to these tastes from the womb. There are many benefits of having spices in a baby’s diet. They are rich in antioxidants and plant-based phytochemicals. This is important for families that are vegetarian, as is much of Indian society. Mixing rice and lentils adds amino acids so babies get protein, which is so necessary in their diet.

Jamaica: Mashed tropical fruit is a staple for Jamaican babies from as young as 4 months. Fruits such as mango, papaya, custard apple, sapodilla and banana are wonderful because they have a lot of naturally present carbohydrates, vitamin C and fiber.

We have a world of food possibility at our doorstep, and the opportunity to share that world with our babies is well within our grasp. The take-home message is to venture out, beginning with your local supermarket, where most if not all of these products are available.

Don’t be disheartened if your baby doesn’t immediately take to any one or combination of food.  Pediatricians and dietitians tell us that it can take a baby 10 or more times of trying a food before they accept or reject it.

What You Need to Know About Health Insurance for Nannies

What You Need to Know About Health Insurance for Nannies

By Tom Breedlove, Director of HomePay

The Affordable Care Act has fundamentally changed the way most Americans obtain and pay for health insurance – and that is especially true for nannies and other household employees. Since there is an individual mandate for all citizens to have health insurance (or pay a hefty fine), Open Enrollment is now a big deal every year.

From November 1st through December 15th, nannies can purchase a health insurance policy on the California marketplace to ensure they’re covered beginning January 1, 2018. Nannies that earn less than $48,000 per year can potentially qualify for federal subsidies to lower the cost of their premiums – assuming of course their families are paying them legally.

The other way a nanny can have her health insurance costs lowered is for the family to chip in. Although they are not required to by law, contributing to a nanny’s health insurance premiums benefits both parties because any money paid by the family is considered non-taxable compensation. This means neither the nanny nor the family will have federal or state taxes associated with that portion of the nanny’s pay.

Note: Families that have 2 or more household employees must purchase a group policy through SHOP (at if they want their contributions to be non-taxable.

At HomePay, we’re set up to handle health insurance contributions as part of a nanny’s payroll. If you have questions about how this works, or anything else related to payroll or taxes, just reach out to us at (888) 273-3356. We’re happy to help!


Welcome To The Blog!

As one of the premier nanny referral agencies in greater Los Angeles and as parents ourselves, the safety and happiness of children is always our priority. On this blog, we further our commitment to strengthening families by sharing resources and articles we hope you’ll find helpful. We will also let you know when we’re having upcoming events, because we’d love to see you! Thanks for reading!