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Have you ever found yourself interested in information about the Montessori method of teaching? Or maybe it’s something you are familiar with and follow closely in your children’s day to day activities? Montessori is a scientifically based education approach that emphasizes on independence, hands on learning and collaborative play. We are excited to share a few ideas on how to incorporate Montessori based learning into your home each day!
Child Sized Furniture
There are a variety of children’s furniture items that promote Montessori based learning. A table and chair set where your child’s feet sit flat on the ground will provide appropriate comfort for them as they gain mobility and independence. You child can use this “weaning” table to enjoy a healthy snack or do a creative activity!
Set Up Independence
Prepare your home environment to enable your child to be able to do things for themselves. Montessori is always child centered and promotes freedom for children to explore materials of their choice. A few ways to encourage these tasks are to arrange coat hooks lower for them to hang their jacket up or have an accessible drawer in the kitchen for them to choose their plate and cup for dinner.
Create a “Yes” Space
Offering children, a designated area to learn and play can encourage a sense of self and offers ownership. This is often called a “YES” space according to Janet Lansbury and can inspire play, learning and creativity for both the child and parent. It is a room or area made specifically for the child to feel safe and assured. Create a clean space with no hazardous items, a soft and comfortable rug, a toy shelf where items are clutter free and a climber where children can explore and get their wiggles out!
Basket of Books
Reading is always a wonderful activity to incorporate into a child’s day. Keep a basket of Montessori inspired children’s books anywhere your child spends time such as in the corner of your living room, the car (which can also be used when in the waiting room at appointments, long car rides or their sibling’s baseball game!) and wherever your child spends a lot of their time.
Simple and Natural Décor
Have you ever walked into a serene space such as a spa and instantly felt calmer? That might have a something to do with the usual neutral aesthetic that most day spas have. You can achieve the same environment for your children’s spaces by painting the walls a neutral color, featuring wood, glass, or natural fibers over plastic materials. Also, try including framed art to hang in their space to replace bright and cartoon like art.
Our community of nannies loves learning about new ways to incorporate different childcare philosophies into their work each day. We hope you found some of these tips helpful if you practice Montessori learning!
Are you considering hiring a nanny to support your family’s needs? If so, we have some tips for you. It’s a very competitive market right now for childcare and we want to set you up for success! Educated Nannies is happy to provide information and support on how to find the most qualified and experienced nanny for your family. Nannies are a household employee once hired and many employers will offer their nanny some options for a compensation package. Offering a wide range of benefits can help you attract exceptional candidates for your part-time or full-time needs!
Many nannies will use their personal vehicle to assist with school pick up/drop off, activities and errands. If they are using their own vehicle, they should be getting reimbursed for the expenses that occur. The IRS sets the legal rate for non-taxable mileage reimbursement each year.
Employers can offer their nanny health insurance with a few different options to consider. They have the option to contribute directly to their nanny’s health insurance premiums and treat it as non-taxable compensation meaning the amount the employer pays will not be subject to taxes for both the employer and nanny. Another option is to offer a QSERHA (Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangements). This caters to small businesses or household employers of less than 50 that are not offering a group health insurance and can reimburse up to $5,050 for a single health plan or $10,250 for a family health plan. The employee must provide proof of their healthcare costs so the employer can offer a monthly allowance to cover the costs. This information will then be reported on the nanny’s W-2 tax form.
Many nannies working with children will want to continue learning and growing their childcare knowledge though a variety educational classes. An employer can help with expenses such as books, supplies, tuition, and fees as these will be considered nontaxable expenses up to $5,250. Employers also have the chance to use the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) which can help pay for an employee’s student loans on a pretax basis. The CARES act will be available until January 1, 2026.
Paid Time Off
Everyone enjoys a day off here and there or may find themselves ill and need some time off work unexpectedly. Employers in Los Angeles are required to provide at least 48 hours or six paid sick days per year. Many employers will often provide a minimum of two weeks paid time off for their full-time nanny. One important thing to note is that paid time off does not always include holidays. The employer can decide if they would like to pay the nanny for federal holidays, however most families offer 6-8 paid holidays.
Everyone likes to be recognized for their work at monthly and yearly reviews in the workplace and nannies are no different! Consider offering your nanny a raise at an annual review or a gift of appreciation. Some great gift ideas are gift cards to their favorite store or restaurant. Another option is a subscription to a streaming service they are interested in or meal service plan!
Guaranteed Hours and Pay
When it comes to a nanny’s schedule, guaranteed hours and pay are a great benefit to offer. For example, if the employer goes on vacation and does not bring the nanny along, they should continue to pay at the nanny’s regular wage. You may also find that some days there is a shift in schedule and the nanny may not be needed for the entire scheduled shift. In this case, the nanny should still be paid out for the day or guaranteed number of hours agreed on.
Whether you are searching for a nanny, personal assistant, or household manager these are some great benefits to offer your household employee. Educated Nannies is always available to offer any kind support you may have when finding the perfect employee for your home!
Let’s talk about nanny benefits! When setting up payroll for your household employee, it’s worth your time to consider adding one, or several benefits, as part of their total pay. Specifically, the IRS has a set of what they call “fringe benefits” that are considered non-taxable forms of compensation. This means the value of those benefits when added to your nanny’s payroll is not subject to taxes for you or them. Wahoo!
2022 IRS-approved non-taxable compensation benefits for household employers:
- Health Insurance premiums from a state-licensed insurance provider.
Note: If you have multiple employees, you must set up an Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangement (ICHRA), Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangement (QSEHRA) or purchase a policy through SHOP (Small Business Health Options Program) to gain this benefit.
- Up to $280 per month toward public transportation to and from the worksite. Note: Families in Massachusetts are capped at $150 per month for this benefit.
- Up to $280 per month toward parking at the jobsite and/or at the public transportation facility. Note: Families in Massachusetts can contribute up to $285 per month for this benefit.
- Cell phone service reimbursement provided that using the phone is a necessary requirement of the job.
- Up to $5,250 per year towards tuition & books for an accredited college or university.
“Using any number of non-taxable benefits means your caregiver’s gross wages are lowered by the value of the benefits you provide,” says Tom Breedlove, Sr. Director of HomePay. “So, when you’re calculating how much in taxes you have to withhold from your caregiver and pay on your own, you use this lower value, which ultimately saves you and you caregiver money.”
A payroll example using non-taxable benefits:
Say you’re paying your caregiver $600 per week with no additional benefits added and they fill out their Form W-4 as Single with no dependents. Each pay period, this is what your care budget and their net pay will be approximately:
|Your Caregiver:||Your Care Budget:|
|Gross wages – $600||Gross wages – $600|
|Taxes withheld – $95.71||Employer taxes – $53.49|
|Take-home pay = $504.26||Total weekly cost = $653.49|
Now, take the same caregiver, but you’ve decided to include $25 per week in health insurance and $50 per week for public transportation as part of their payroll. So even though you’re paying them $600 per week, you’re now excluding $75 of that from taxes. Let’s look at how weekly payroll looks now:
|Your Caregiver:||Your Care Budget:|
|Gross wages – $525||Gross wages – $525|
|Taxes withheld – $80.97||Employer taxes – $46.90|
|Non-taxable benefits – $75||Non-taxable benefits – $75|
|Take-home pay = $519.03||Total weekly cost = $646.90|
As you can see, in this scenario, the caregiver is actually saving $15 per week with these benefits added to their payroll. It may seem like a small amount, but over the course of the year, it’s a nearly $800 difference (these amounts may increase savings with higher benefits and or higher rates).
For your household employment taxes, you’re saving $6.59 per week – or $342.68 for the year. Every little bit helps if you’re on a tight budget, so the work in setting up payroll this way from the beginning is probably worth it. The experts at HomePay are happy to help you budget for your caregiver’s payroll by including any of these forms of non-taxable compensation.
As parents we do our best each day to teach our growing children everything we can. One of the most important and essential things we can help teach them is responsibility. Responsibility can be implemented as early as preschool and will help them shape into responsible teens and adults who can do things on their own as they age. It can also instill a sense of independence and belonging to a combined effort. Have you ever wondered how you can teach your child to be more responsible? We have put together several ways you can support your children in day-to-day responsibilities in and around the home.
Tasks At Home
Assigning tasks at home is a great start at teaching your children responsibilities. Children can help with tasks such as setting the dinner table, folding laundry, taking out the garbage and keeping their own rooms tidy. Make sure to let them know that these actions are a great contribution to the household. An interactive chart that you hang somewhere in the home is a wonderful way to let children know what is expected of them. Try including them on creating their chart to talk about which tasks they are responsible for and why.
Tend a Garden
Gardening offers many mood boosting benefits for people of all ages, so why not include our children in the fun? Children can help dig up dirt, plant seeds, and pick the labors of their work once the garden starts growing. Feel free to purchase your children their own gardening hand tools to support their responsibilities while gardening.
Caring For Pets
Pets are a wonderful way to let your children have something to love, play with and better yet help care for! Showing children how to care for your beloved pets at home is a great way to teach them how to care for other living beings other than themselves. Whether it is sprinkling fish food in the tank every morning before school or feeding their dog breakfast, caring for pets is a responsibility parents can assign to show trust.
Helping with Younger Siblings
Wondering how your older child can help and feel even more connected with their younger sibling? There are many things your child can do to help such as helping with feedings, grabbing a burp cloth, wiping up a mess or pushing the stroller on a walk. Children will often be more interested in doing certain tasks especially if their younger sibling cannot do them yet. It will become a special responsibility that only “they” get to do. You can reward them with a thoughtful personalized book about being an incredible older sibling.
Children’s responsibilities can be helpful no matter how big or small. Whether they simply threw their wrapper in the trash or helped set the entire dinner table it is a great way to instill confidence and practice gratitude with one another.
Our team at Educated Nannies is looking forward to welcoming a new month with many opportunities to celebrate. February is Black History Month! It is a wonderful chance to commemorate the history of African American people and pay tribute to all the inspiring Black men and women we know and love today. In our blog we will be sharing a few ways to teach, honor and recognize Black creators with your family.
Visit A Local Museum
A great way to educate yourself and your littles on the great achievements and history of African Americans is to spend the day at your local museum. Here in Los Angeles, we have so much at our fingertips including California African American Museum. CAAM is a beautiful place filled with a collection of over 5,000 objects dating way back to the 1800’s all the way to today! They even offer a Prosperity Market for children and teens where they can enjoy fresh produce, listen to music, watch cooking demonstrations and so much more all while recognizing Black farmers, chefs and entrepreneurs!
Enjoy A Delicious Meal
What better way to support your local Black owned businesses is better than enjoying a wonderful meal? In our opinion it’s one of the best! There is an abundance of restaurants with a wide variety of flavor offerings right here in Los Angeles. From fine dining, Caribbean flavor, Vegan options and green juices we can enjoy and support these amazing establishments while supporting our Black community. Black Book LA has an incredible list of Black owned eateries for you to check out with your family. And for anyone who has a sweet tooth be sure to check out Southern Girl Desserts to fix that craving!
Donating is a wonderful way to give back to your community and support the people all around you. We have so many different choices when it comes to donating to a program in need these days! California Black Women’s Health Project is an organization that is committed to focusing on the health of Black women and girls while empowering Black women to take responsibility and advocate for their own health.
Read A Book
Are you always looking for great books to add to your children’s bookshelf rotation? Well, we have got you covered! Malik Books has rounded up some amazing children’s books about Black leaders, inventors and creators. Some of our favorite books on this list are Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History, We’re Different, We’re The Same and I Am Enough. Happy reading!
We hope you and your family enjoy celebrating the incredible accomplishments of African Americans. Please share all the fun activities you are doing with us at Educated Nannies!
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