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Holiday Gift Ideas For Your Nanny

Holiday Gift Ideas For Your Nanny

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Hanukkah and the Christmas holiday season is quickly approaching, and many parents are still searching for that perfect holiday gift for their nanny, housekeeper, teachers, and tutors. Educated Nannies has some great holiday gift ideas for 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. 

Gift Cards:  Is there a special restaurant, retail or online store your nanny likes to shop at?  Would she enjoy an afternoon at the spa or getting a mani or pedi, but would never splurge on herself?  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?  Does she/he workout, enjoy cooking, or taking photographs?   Gym memberships, enrichment classes or lessons are another way of treating your nanny.

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 kids, or a Shutterfly photo book filled with memories shared with your family.

Fun Holiday Options: If your budget permits, fun holiday options include: frequent flier miles so she/he can go home for the holidays, a weeks’ vacation at your time-share, a gas card or helping to buy a 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 she/he 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 (cash or gift), are taxable income to the employee and must be reported on all employment tax documents.

If you have any questions regarding holiday, 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!

 

 

 

Teaching Children About Gratitude

Teaching Children About Gratitude

As the season of gratitude and giving is upon us, this is a wonderful opportunity to remember to take the time to teach our children the importance for being grateful.  The concept of thankfulness can be difficult for a child to embrace, and especially put into practice.  How can we, as parents and caregivers, help our children learn to be grateful? Here are a few tips about teaching children about gratitude.

While we might believe that we all have a natural inclination toward thankfulness, for most of us, gratitude is learned.  By teaching our children to be grateful, they learn to become more sensitive to the feelings of others, more empathic, and have increased self-esteem.  Furthermore, they are happier, more social, and have deeper friendships.

So how do we instill gratitude in our children?  It’s certainly not a lesson that can be taught in a single example or learned overnight.  It’s not a “do as I say, not as I do” attitude.   We can teach our children in the ways we role model gratitude in our day-to-day interactions with our family, friends, and the community.  Remembering to say “please” and “thank you” to our children, the cashier at Trader Joe’s, or the stranger that held the door open for us is a small, yet powerful gesture for children to learn by example.

In addition, especially around the holidays, when the focus is on receiving, we can incorporate family traditions of volunteerism and the joy of giving.  Being of service can be part of a child’s life from a very young age. You and your family can volunteer at a local charity, adopt a family for the holidays, or collect toys and clothing for a local shelter.

We can also remove the emphasis on presents and focus more on celebrating; visiting with family, baking cookies, decorating the tree, lighting the menorah, or attending services.

Families can continue service oriented projects throughout the year by getting our children involved in writing thank you notes, baking cookies for a local fire department, or donating our belongings to a woman and children’s shelter.

Our client Rebecca, shared with Educated Nannies a family tradition she started when her daughter, Ava was two and half years old.   “Each night, before bed, we reflected on the day and shared a highlight.  Sometimes it was a simple as having ice cream after dinner.  As Ava grew older, her highlights were centered more around what she did for someone, rather than what she received.”   Another client, Adam and his family share their daily gratitudes during dinner time.  “Our family begins with a prayer, followed by what each of us is thankful for before we begin eating.”  “This helps our boys to focus on the little things.” he continued.

What are some of your traditions or ways by which you teach your children to be thankful?  Educated Nannies wants to hear from you.

Wishing each and every one of you a THANKful Thanksgiving!

The Impact of Technology on Our Children

The Impact of Technology on Our Children

One might find it hard to believe that Steve Jobs, who once ran Apple, had limits when it came to his own children using technology. In fact, you might expect his house to look more like The Jetsons in the 21st century; touch screens used to turn the lights on and off, unlock doors, and prepare dinner. But the truth is, Steve Jobs is not alone. Many technology CEO’s and executives strictly limit their children’s screen time, often banning them on school nights. We ask ourselves, what is the impact of technology on our children?

Today, children as young as two years old, spend more than two and a half hours a day watching television, and using smartphones, computers, and other electronic devices. But, at what cost? How will all of this screen time effect their health, ability to focus for long periods of time, and socialize and talk to their peers?

What are appropriate boundaries? How much is too much, and when are too many limits going to have adverse effects on our children?   We wish someone would give us the answer.

While there is no clear cut solution, there are plenty of studies that have shown that excessive media can lead to attention problems, difficulties in school, sleep concerns, and obesity. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that screen time should be avoided entirely for infants and children under age 2.

We spoke with our client Sarah who stated it wasn’t until her son started school, that she noticed the overwhelming exposure other children had to electronics.  Suddenly, children were coming over for playdates asking to play on the iPad rather than building forts, playing sports, or being outside. Conversations were no longer about Legos and Matchbox cars, rather about Minecraft and Xbox games.

Sarah admits that at some point she convinced herself that allowing her son to play “educational games” was appropriate. iPads were being introduced in the classroom and he was expected to login and practice math and computer skills at home.  Schools and administrators were convincing parents and students that they needed to get children to use iPads and computers at an earlier age to keep up with their peers.   That somehow, parents who limited electronics were putting their children at a disadvantage.

“I can’t speak for all parents, but intuitively I know that I want to limit my son’s exposure to electronics and video games.   It’s not a black and white decision, but in our house, there is a time and a place for it. For example; we never choose electronics over reading, hanging out with friends, or being active.   No electronics at dinner time, during playdates, or before bed.   Electronics are not used outside of the home, to keep him quiet, or to fight boredom. Electronics are reserved for the weekends, with the exception of school work. Our weekdays are filled with homework, martial arts, piano lessons, playdates, reading, and having face to face conversations about our daily activities,” she said.   Sarah continued, “I notice that when I get lazy, or make exceptions to our limited technology rule, my son’s behavior changes.   He becomes more defiant, demonstrates meltdowns and temper tantrums, and ultimately craves more screen time. Therefore, it’s really important for me to be aware of how much screen time Braden is getting in any given week. I have to remember to be present and consciously aware, and make sure that I provide him with real experiences, as well as be a role model of what healthy use of technology looks like.   What this means is that each day I take the time to unplug and just be a mom.   And guess what? The world still goes on without me.”

Educated Nannies wants to know how often your children spend on technology each week? Do you restrict electronics on school nights? How much is too much or does it matter to you? What do you think is the impact of technology on our children?

 

  • photo credit : Family Matters blog
National Nanny Recognition Week

National Nanny Recognition Week

It’s time to celebrate your nanny! National Nanny Recognition Week is September 18-24. This is a special week set aside every year to honor your nanny and show her how much you appreciate everything she does for your family. It’s a time for your children to show gratitude to their nanny for being such a positive role model. Remembering to say “Thank you” to your nanny throughout the year is so important, and here are some ways to make her feel extra fabulous this week!

1. CREATIVE APPRECIATION

If your children are musical, have them sing a song (or write a poem) to thank your nanny. It will make her smile and it’s super creative for the kids to write their own lyrics.

2. DRAW A THANK YOU CARD

Are your children great artists? Have them create a special thank you card for your nanny.

3. PAMPER YOUR NANNY

Is your nanny working 10 hour days? Gift your nanny a relaxing day at the spa or treat her to a massage.

4. GIFT OF EDUCATION

Has your nanny always wanted to take a special class to add to her list of skills or learn another language? Sponsor her to attend the International Nanny Association conference, take a cooking class, or purchase Rosetta Stone in her language of choice.

5. BONUS

Tell your nanny how much you appreciate her, and then gift her a bonus or a health insurance stipend to contribute to her well-being.

6. WORDS OF KINDNESS

Simply say thank you and tell your nanny how wonderful she is. It feels good to be loved and hear positive things!

7. PAID DAY OFF

Treat your nanny to a paid day off. Many nannies work long hours, so they will really appreciate finding the time to visit the dentist, get a haircut, or treat them to a mani/pedi. Feeling polished is a win/win for everyone :)

8. THROW A NANNY PARTY

Decorate the house, make some cupcakes, put on your nannie’s favorite music, and celebrate her awesomeness!

9. DINNER AT A FAVORITE RESTAURANT

Many times nannies spend hours preparing meal plans for the week, grocery shopping, and cooking delicious meals. Treat your nanny to a night off from cooking and send her out to her favorite restaurant.

10. MAKE A DONATION

Do you already spoil your nanny and treat her like part of the family? Maybe there is a cause that is near and dear to your nanny’s heart? You and the kids could donate your time or make a kind donation? Get creative and think outside of the box!

HAVE A FABULOUS WEEK CELEBRATING YOUR EDUCATED NANNIES!

Spring Cleaning for Back to School

Spring Cleaning for Back to School

For many parents spring cleaning doesn’t just happen in Spring, it hits during the month of August just before the start of the new school year. The lazy days of summer all of a sudden turn into panic as the upcoming school year looms around the corner. In an attempt to calm oneself and get organized, you can make lists of the ‘to do’s’, ‘to buy’ and the ‘to go through’. These lists may work or have quite the opposite effect and merely served as reminder that you are anything, but calm and organized. What’s needed is a step back and a look at the big picture. Back to school can be a fresh start and you want to start it with your best foot forward. In order to do this turn those lists into three concepts. Discard, organize and mindfully purchase.

Discard: This is a great time to organize closets, dressers, toys, old school work and art! Go through all your child’s clothes and shoes and throw out any that they have worn out. Did your kids outgrow any clothes or shoes before they were worn out? If they are only gently used, don’t forget to donate! This is a great time to go through toys as well. Kids get busy when school starts with homework and after school activities. They will naturally have less time to play with all their toys so donate any toys they are no longer interested in. They probably won’t even notice!

Many parents keep everything their child brings home from school. It just seems to precious to immediately toss in the recycling! But after a year of gathering and watching your child’s school work grow into a mini volcano; it’s time to sit down and figure out what is their best and toss the rest.

Organize: Make way for any new school clothes. Create space for all the goodies your child brings home from school. Create a space for important school documents that need parents attention and response. Have a designated spot for your child to keep their homework, close to pencils and supplies needed to complete it. And last but not least, a spot to put all of the school work and fun art they bring home. Having a place for all of these important school items not only keeps your house clutter free, it helps prevent lost work and helps show your child just how important school is.

Archive and store your child’s best work, art and accomplishments. You can keep it simple with a 3 ring binder. It’s easy to pull off the shelf and not only you will enjoy looking through it but your child will as well.

Organize your child’s clothing. Make it easy for them on busy school mornings to find exactly what they are looking for. Separate t-shirts, tank tops and long sleeves. Have them help you so they remember where everything is.

Will your child have any after school sports or extracurricular activities? If so, figure out before they start where their equipment will be placed before they get into a habit of throwing it on the couch when they walk in the house.

Mindfully purchase: One way to create less clutter and less items to throw out is to be thoughtful about what you buy in the first place.

After discarding and organizing your child’s clothing it is easy to take a glance and figure out what they really need for back to school. They might not need everything.

Think about buying items that will last longer than just one school year, even if that means they are a bit more expensive. Replace plastic disposable baggies with reusable items such as stainless steel or durable plastic. This won’t just save you money, but will be a good lesson for your child about helping the environment. Perhaps your child, like many, would love to get a backpack featuring their favorite character. Often those backpacks last only one year, if that. Compromise with a character lunch box or binder. Your child will be happy and may not complain when you urge them to get a better quality backpack in a favorite color that will last a couple of years.

Remember to think of back to school as a fresh start for you and your child. After discarding and organizing it should be easier to see exactly what you need and more importantly, what isn’t needed. So take a breath of fresh air, discard, organize and mindfully purchase.

*Photo credit: Polkadotchair.com

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Welcome To The Blog!

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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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