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Ensuring Children’s Mental Health During A Pandemic

Ensuring Children’s Mental Health During A Pandemic

Last year, COVID-19 brought an abundance of uncertainty which has continued into 2021.  There has been a complex array of factors such as social isolation, changes in routine, and having to wear masks in public areas.  Children (and even us adults!) may have many worries that are related to the consequences of COVID-19, such as, will they be able to see their relatives and friends, go back to school, or get sick.  Beyond getting sick, many young people’s social, emotional, and physical well-being has been impacted by the pandemic.  We have put together some tips and different ways to help support your children through this difficult time together.

Communicate

It is important to be available to communicate with your children and be prepared if they come to you with any questions.  Being calm and setting the right tone will go a long way in creating a supportive and comforting environment.  According to Kids Health, this may mean acknowledging that things are different or providing factual information to your child.  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has the information you will need and some great tips on how to talk with children during a pandemic.  Be honest with your children about information and answering their questions to the best of your ability to ensure them that there are measures in place to protect us all.

Establish A Routine

COVID 19 has thrown all of our routines for a big loop this year leaving us scrambling to establish some kind of normalcy!  Young children thrive in a daily routine also, as a way to gain an understanding of everyday events and procedures to learn what is expected of them. The Department of U.S. Health and Human Services sites that routines make a child’s environment more predictable, boost self-confidence and develop all relationships. With many school-aged children engaged in virtual learning these days, there may be a routine in place in which you can build on.  A great way to help build on their routine is with an interactive calendar, where the child can add all of their day-to-day activities themselves! These calendars have Velcro tasks that are vibrant, customizable, and fun for your child to use as a reminder or as an exciting way to look forward to the days ahead. Etsy has a wide variety of interactive boards where children have the option to add simple actions such as brushing their teeth or making their bed.

Stay Connected

Social distancing has made staying connected in person with friends and family much harder.   UC Health acknowledges the importance of social interaction with their study which states that interpersonal connection increases immunity, life span, and motivation. Apps like Zoom and FaceTime have risen in popularity over the last year as a way to interact virtually with loved ones.  Netflix has a new feature called Netflix Party where you can watch movies and TV shows with friends that synchronizes video playback which is great for any necessary popcorn breaks!  Communities worldwide have started internet scavenger hunts as a way to meet your neighbors, feel support, and explore neighborhoods. The Rainbow Quarantine Collection has a nationwide map of homes participating in putting rainbows in their windows.  Drawing colorful pictures and writing sweet messages and putting them in your window is a reminder that we are united in seeking a positive outcome in our world. Seeking out the rainbows in your neighborhood can be a fun game of “I Spy!”

We hope that all of our clients and nannies are staying safe and healthy during this time.  With communication, a great routine, and staying connected with our loved ones, we can all get through this together.

Celebrating Black History Month

Celebrating Black History Month

February is Black History Month which is dedicated to highlighting and celebrating the important achievements and contributions of African Americans. It is also a great time for families to explore and converse about those experiences together. Celebrating Black History Month is a great opportunity to expand your child’s awareness of racial differences while encouraging them to be open and respectful to anyone they may encounter.  We are so excited to share with you some of the amazing ways you can celebrate and learn about Black History Month with your family this year!

Why is Black History Month in February?

Black History Month, once known as “Negro History Week,” was founded by historian Carter G. Woodson.  For many years, the second week in February was set aside for this celebration to correspond with the birthdays of abolitionist/editor Fredrick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln who fought for the 13th amendment to the U.S. Constitution which abolished slavery.  As part of the nation’s bicentennial week in 1976 this was expanded to a month-long celebration.  Every year since, each U.S. president has proclaimed February as National Black History Month.

Activities for Children

A great way to involve your children in celebrating Black History Month is with arts and crafts.  Pinterest offers some great ideas such as making their own bulletin board where they can showcase some of the most influential African American inventors such as Garrett Morgan (inventor of the stoplight) and Alfred Cralle (inventor of the ice cream scooper).  They can simply draw a picture of each inventor or use supplies such as cardboard paper cutouts, string, googly eyes and so much more!  The next time you are at a traffic light or scoop some ice cream your children will know that these things now exist thanks to African American inventors!

Support Local

Supporting local Black-owned businesses is a fantastic way to celebrate Black History Month with the whole family.  The LA Times has rounded up almost 200 local restaurants to enjoy.  Donating to a Black organization such S.H.E. LA, which focuses on empowering, supporting, and healing Los Angeles women and girls is a beautiful way to support Black females. Purchasing a book that is written by a Black author is another way to show your support and share this with your children. A book we enjoy is Hair Love by Matthew Cherry.  Its sweet message teaches us to love ourselves just the way we are regardless of race or background!

Celebrate at Home

This year may be different in the ways we honor Black History Month due to Covid-19 but there are virtual events offered this year to enjoy such as virtual museums and celebrating through song.  This year the Chicago Children’s Choir will host its annual Black History Month Concert virtually where you can enjoy genres such as gospel and jazz.  You can live stream this event for free on their Facebook page and YouTube channel.  The National Museum of African American History and Culture is holding virtual exhibitions, online collections, and digital resources for us to enjoy and view from the comfort and safety of our homes this year.

We look forward to celebrating the achievements of African Americans with you!

Family Intentions for the New Year

Family Intentions for the New Year

Happy 2021 to our wonderful clients and nannies!  Even though the holidays may have been different in 2020 than in years past, the hustle and bustle may have been the same. The new year means slowing down and resetting. It also means new resolutions. For many it can mean more exercise, eating clean, or trying to kick other bad habits. I’m looking at you, daily Amazon delivery.  But rather than a resolution to the year, consider a new intention.  Resolutions can sometimes feel stiff and overwhelming while intentions are flexible and meaningful.  Formulating new intentions is a great way to improve your bond as a family and teach children valuable lessons.  Here are some ideas to help you and your family start the year off right together with positivity, forgiveness, and intention.

Be Positive

The difficult events of 2020 left positivity in short supply. Reflecting on the year meant trying to create new energy for the family with positive intentions. The best way to promote that energy is to share those intentions and have them heard and acknowledged by each member. Accepting everyone’s idea is a must so that everyone can have a fresh start.  Using expressions such as “I hope to…”, I’d like to…” and “I will…” are all positive phrases to start the season off right.  You can help guide your child to come up with positive affirmations that are short, positive, and present tense such as, “I am strong,” “I am smart,” and “I am fun.”  Sharing your own positivity with your child is the most influential way to help them model the same behavior.  Support and motivate each family member throughout the year with their intentions.

Be Present

In today’s world, it is easy to get caught up in our daily routines and forget about some of the things that matter the most to us.  Try putting all phones and tablets away during dinner time and talk about each family member’s day.  Plan some alternative activities while electronics are put away such as board games, taking a family walk, or have a nature scavenger hunt outside!   Meditation and yoga apps are also a great way to feel present.  Having children participate in meditation and yoga sessions can help them learn how to sit in the present without any outside interruptions.   Set aside 10 minutes a day to quietly reflect and set the tone for your day or night.  Awake and Mindful shares five free yoga videos for you and your children to try and enjoy!

Be Inspired

Being together as a family and having an open mind to new activities can inspire all members. One way to feel inspired is by trying a new activity together such as taking a cooking class.  You can learn new skills in the kitchen and try new cuisines while spending quality time with each other.  There are so many options for family and Covid-19 friendly cooking classes you can take online like these at Kids Cooking Green!   Another idea is to create a vision board.  Talk about the family goals you want to achieve; places you want to travel to or activities you’d like to do together.  You can do this by collecting pictures, artifacts, and words that depict your intentions.  This is a great activity especially for younger children as they can help cut, glue, and pick out items to add to the board.  Pinterest also shares goal setting printable worksheets for your children to write out their thoughts and goals!

Even though 2021 will share some of the same trials we experienced in 2020, we can use these intentions to guide us through the new year.  Wishing you all the positivity and prosperity that the new year brings you and your families!

It’s the Holiday Season! What shall I gift my nanny?

It’s the Holiday Season! What shall I gift my nanny?

The holiday season is here! While many families and nannies are typically traveling right now, we know that many of you will be spending your holidays at home. Perhaps maybe even alone. With 2020 being a year of so many unknowns, one thing we know for certain is that nannies have brought the magic into your homes! Whether it was teaching your child something new, helping with virtual homework, making your home look spotless, or spreading joy, they showed up ready to help. They showed up masked. They showed up with love in their hearts even though fear may have been within their bodies. Here are some ways to thank your nanny this holiday season! 

Year-End Bonus (most popular): A bonus for a nanny is an extra special “Thank you!” for dedicating time all year long to your most precious littles. A typical bonus is either one or two weeks’ pay depending on how long the nanny has been working with your family. If you aren’t able to afford the same bonus as you gave last year, have an open conversation with your nanny. This year has been financially difficult for many and any monetary gift is much appreciated. 

Gift Cards: Are there special retail or online stores that your nanny likes to shop at? Perhaps they have a favorite grocery store that they like to splurge at?  A favorite restaurant that delivers to their home or has a safe pick up option? Gift cards make the perfect gift for a nanny who is always putting the needs of others first!  

Lessons or Memberships: Does your nanny enjoy dancing, drawing, or learning a second language? Do they workout, enjoy cooking, or taking photographs?  Yoga studio class memberships, enrichment classes, or lessons are another way of treating your nanny. You may even want to gift your nanny a membership to the International Nanny Association!

Unique or Homemade Gifts:   Etsy offers a variety of unique gifts for everyone.  Perhaps a homemade scarf and matching hat?  Maybe a special pair of earrings or a necklace that will remind her of your family.  Framed photos of the children or a Shutterfly photo book filled with memories shared with your family.

Fun Holiday Options: If your budget permits, perhaps you can help your nanny buy a new phone or computer. If your budget is limited, consider a gift of time and pop home a few hours early to take over for your nanny so they can get a jump start to their weekend.

Last but not least, remember the taxes: While this can sometimes be overlooked, please keep in mind that all bonuses are taxable income to the employee and must be reported on all employment tax documents.

If you have any questions regarding holidays, year-end gifts, or bonuses for your nanny, please feel free to reach out to us at info@educatednannies.com. We are always happy to help and be of service!

Traveling during Covid-19: It’s best to stay home.

Traveling during Covid-19: It’s best to stay home.

2020. This has been a wild mask-wearing year like no other. Normally we are packing and getting ready to fly to see family for Thanksgiving and planning our ski trip to Utah for Christmas. We decided this year that we would drive to see family for Thanksgiving, and last week we canceled our trip due to Covid-19 spiking. This will be our first year not seeing Great GrandDad and our hearts are missing family. Missing friends. Missing celebration. We know you are missing many of your loved ones too. State officials are urging Californians not to travel outside of the state for the holidays and if you do, they recommend that you quarantine upon returning.

However, we understand that travel may be essential for some. What is essential travel? This is travel for “work and study, infrastructure support, economic services and supply chains, health, immediate medical care and safety, and security.” We also know that some people will inevitably be traveling during the holidays whether their travel is essential or not. Therefore, we have decided to compile a list of travel tips.

Here are our top safety tips if you plan to travel for the holidays by plane.

  1. Buy a face shield and wear a mask. All airlines will require a face cover to board, but we recommend also wearing a face shield. We found some great ones at WETShield that will work for the whole family. Please note children under the age of 2 years old should not wear a mask as it is not safe. Be sure to check your airline to see what the rules are when it comes to masks.
  2. Bring a comfortable pair of headphones from home. Pass on the airlines that are handing them out and travel with your own. This way you have control over who has touched them and you can feel safe about sharing them with your kids.
  3. Pack cleaning wipes and hand sanitizer. Toddlers love to touch EVERYTHING. Even lick things sometimes. Have a kind, but firm talk with your children about what the rules are when traveling so that they understand that touching things may result in them getting the virus or “yucky germy” as my kids refer to it. Wipe down the seat, seat belt, arms, and tray table.

Here are our top safety tips if you plan to travel for the holidays by car. We did a three-week road trip this summer and traveled through 12 states.  We thankfully managed to stay healthy while building incredible family memories and checking off a few beautiful landmarks from our celebration list.

  1. When you stop for gas, always wear gloves and a face mask. Try to pay by credit card so you don’t have to go inside and can socially distance.
  2. Bring toilet paper with you, as well as, a toddler potty. Believe it or not, there are plenty of empty side roads to pull off on while road-tripping and it is helpful in case there is not a restroom nearby.
  3. Buy snacks, food and drinks to fill your cooler on this trip. The less places you need to go indoors, the better.
  4. If you stay in a hotel, try to stop in cities with low Covid rates as well as stay at hotels that are at a low capacity. Call ahead to inquire about their cleaning and sanitation policies. Request a room that no one has occupied in the last 48 hours.
  5. Open your windows a few inches and let air flow through your car.

Whether you’re traveling by airplane or automobile, it is always wise to keep extra disposable gloves, face masks and a first-aid kit with you. Wash your hands, a lot. Clean off your cell phone. Change your clothes and shower right away when you reach your destination.

We wish you and your families a safe and happy holidays…. preferably in your own homes!

 

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 nanny blog, we further our commitment to strengthening families by sharing resources and nanny 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!

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