Los Angeles Nannies

Child care

What is a Nanny?

When we ask nannies what they look for in a family, we get one of two answers: to feel like part of the family, and to be treated with respect. Hearing stories about nannies who have been treated like subhumans in the household inspired us to create the Honest House Promise, our commitment to promoting and encouraging healthy work environments for nannies. When we hear these stories, the main reason we believe that parents treat nannies in this way is not out of malice or even on purpose. It is often because busy parents forget that the main responsibility of a nanny is to assist in the raising of their children. We think that taking a look at your household through the eyes of your caregiver can be a wonderful first step into forging a long lasting positive and healthy relationship.

The actions of adults are reflected in the actions of a child.

Children learn by example and if parents treat their nannies and employees with respect, children will do the same. Nannies are role models for children, leading by example and raising them to grow up to be wonderful, caring, compassionate and hardworking adults. If nannies feel uncomfortable or unsafe in a household, this affects their ability to do their job and take care of the children. Children are incredibly sensitive and can pick up on the emotional energies of adults. If they sense tension between their caregivers, they too will feel tense. And if a child sees their nanny being disrespected by their own parents, what does that teach a child about relating to others?

Remembering what a nanny is there for.

A nanny is not only hired to watch after the safety of a child. Their job description contains many roles; teacher, role model, and figure of comfort and compassion. ( link to what you can ask a nanny to do blog) Nannies are hired to step into the role of caregiver while parents are working. Their primary task is childcare. A nanny can do housekeeping but is not a housekeeper. A nanny can cook but a nanny is not a chef. Any additional household tasks take away from the ability of a nanny to provide the care needed for a child to thrive in the long term. A nanny is a nanny because they love children and in almost all cases, are very good at taking care of all of their needs, not just physical safety but emotional safety. Children require attention, love and care, not just a babysitter to ensure that they’re not eating glue or sticking their fingers in sockets. If a nanny is overworked in areas not pertaining to childcare, they have less availability to provide emotional support to a child who needs it most. If a parent is absent enough for the need of a full time nanny, that means most of the emotional bonding must come from a nanny. Studies show that rocking, cuddling, and smiling to a child greatly strengthen their neural pathways for learning through the stimulation of joy and being mirrored in an adult. Inversely, children who do not have these same interactions show smaller brains and a more difficult time learning, not to mention the effects on their self esteem. Nannies who are overworked cannot give the same kind of care to a child, therefore stunting their emotional and intellectual growth. 

As a professional in the childcare industry you may wonder why it would be important to create a cover letter. A cover letter in the nanny industry is just as important as in any other enterprise. A properly tailored cover letter shows a family that you are passionate, interested and assists you in standing out amongst an ocean of resumes. 

A nanny is also a teacher.

Early childhood is filled with so many important milestones. Walking, talking, potty training, making friends, colors, the alphabet, shapes, feeding independently, there is so much that a child learns before they get to school. And so much they must learn in order to be prepared for it. These important building blocks for academic learning are taught by those closest to a child in their earliest stages of life. For working parents, a nanny will most likely be the one present for those most teachable moments in a child’s early development. Children who are actively and consistently spoken to will begin to speak earlier. Children who are read to will recognize shapes and letters earlier. An investment in a happy nanny is an investment in your child’s life and future.

Nannying is hard work.

All parents know that raising a child is not always intuitive, nor easy. It takes patience, compassion, experience and the ability to nurture that is not naturally present in all people. Just like doctors and lawyers are experts in their field and expect to be respected and financially compensated for their expertise, nannies deserve to be regarded with the appreciation, consideration and dignity that they deserve. They deserve to ask for a raise when their job descriptions change, such as in the addition of a second child. They deserve to speak up and be heard when they are uncomfortable in a situation, just like in any other position. Just because they come to work in a home instead of an office does not disqualify them from the same human compassion dolled out around a water cooler.

Stay at home parents will tell you that caring for a child all day long is the most difficult job they have ever had. Shouldn’t the person you hire to take care of your child, engaging them, caring for them, teaching them the building blocks of life, be respected, appreciated and feel safe in your house? Take a moment to think about what life is like through the eyes of your nanny, who very likely is one of the only other people who can love your child as much as you do. Is your nanny respected? Taken care of? Do they have all that they need in order to give all that they have to the emotional, physical and intellectual development of your child? If the answer is no to any of these questions, reach out to us and we can solidify a plan to turn your situation into the best it can be. The reward is in your child’s future.

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Nanny Reference Checking 101

Picture yourself: a first-time mother or father, looking for that special someone to welcome into their family and trust with her child. Or maybe you’re a more experienced parent but have had some bad luck with nannies or babysitters in the past. Whatever a situation may be, we can all agree that a child is one’s most prized possession. No wonder why people want to trust someone fully before giving him or her the sacred responsibility of helping to raise their child. If you can’t trust someone, then how could you go about your workday without worrying yourself into a frenzy?

Trust

So where does one find this trust? Of-course it doesn’t come easily. Especially if it has been broken in the past and, unfortunately, there are people in this world that shouldn’t be trusted to care for children. This, my friends, is why childcare has (or should have) one of the most in-depth and extensive screening processes. Personally, I know people that have a great education and intelligence, but I wouldn’t necessarily trust them with my child. Someone can look great on paper but it takes some very specific qualities to be a competent and trustworthy caregiver.

One of the most critical steps in the screening process for nannies/mannies is reliable professional references. More specifically, professional childcare references. The fact that you may have been employed at the local department store does nothing for a concerned parent looking for qualified care. People need to hear from other people, first handedly, about the quality of care that you have provided to that person. Consider this, wouldn’t you rather trust a personal recommendation from someone rather than an advertisement? It’s a second opinion, a testimonial, a personal recommendation. Whatever you want to call it; it makes all the difference when making an investment in a child’s future.

Don’t forget to look at the screening process as a very important step in trust and communication; view it from a parent’s perspective and be on top of your reference game!

Why Wont They Pick Up The Phone?

This leads me to the main theme of this blog; the importance of having reachable references. After all, what is the point of having all of this great experience under your belt if your potential employer can’t even get ahold of your references? In the past, I have been in charge of Childcare reference checking myself and sometimes it can just be unbelievably hard to get ahold of these people. It is not always their fault, however. Communication is key. Communication between candidates and their previous employers as well as communication between candidates and their prospective employers. Meaning, you need to ensure that you tell your previous employers what time to expect a call. Equally important, don’t forget to tell a potential employer which time they need to make that call. The rest is up to those in charge of checking references!

In Conclusion

Yes, being a nanny is undoubtedly a demanding, entertaining and rewarding profession that allows for great fun and creativity. Don’t forget to look at the screening process as a very important step in trust and communication; view it from a parent’s perspective and be on top of your reference game!

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How To Keep Privileged Kids Grounded

By Franziska Garner

Sarah, three years old, walked up to the driver who was cleaning out the car and demanded pizza. The driver immediately stopped what he was doing and got into the car.

Samuel, five years, broke another boy’s car in the park. Without a word he ran over to his nanny and demanded that she gave him some money to reimburse the boy.

These are just two examples of children growing up in a privileged environment. Their behavior is not necessarily rude and inappropriate. Sometimes, they really just don’t know better. It’s good to learn how to keep privileged kids grounded so caregivers like nannies, mannies and teachers help such children to see beyond their diamond-covered little boxes?

Team Up With The Parents

Always (and especially in a high net worth / high profile setting) make very sure to communicate as much as possible with the parents, or other legal guardian. Some questions I like to clarify include:

  • How are staff addressed? First name, last name, Miss, Mister?
  • Do the children have chores?
  • How much influence do the children have on outings, food, screen time, etc?
  • Are the children’s needs always first?
  • Are they allowed to meet children outside their social circle?

These questions aim as much on finding out the status quo when entering a new position as finding out what the parents expect from their children. Make sure you know how the parents want their children treated and how they want their children to treat others. If possible, make such conversations a recurring event to take the children’s development into account.

Using manners demonstrates respect for the other person. It is crucial to teach the child as early as possible that manners are not a matter of status but rather a social norm that applies equally to everyone

Have a Conversation with the Other Staff

After you talked to the parents, have a conversation with all staff that are contact with the children. That can include housekeepers, drivers, bodyguards, tutors, cooks, etc. By now you know what is expected of the children so you can speak with authority. Explain what kind of behavior is accepted and what is not.

Manners are a Social Norm

Using manners demonstrates respect for the other person. It is crucial to teach the child as early as possible that manners are not a matter of status but rather a social norm that applies equally to everyone. When someone is higher in status (or in the world of a child, stronger, taller, richer, older, etc), this doesn’t mean that they don’t have to use the same manners as someone who is of a lower status (weaker, smaller, less privileged, younger etc). In a staffed house it is crucial to involve the employees in the teaching of manners by asking them to expect the same politeness and courtesy from their employer’s children as they do from their own.

"Fancy" Outings vs. "Normal" Outings

Hands down, it is great fun to rent an entire movie theater for a birthday party. But even if outings like this are considered normal and nothing special, it can help tremendously to purposefully take the children on low budget outings. Some good examples are the park, a library, a public swimming pool, the zoo, the museum, etc.

Why are such “normal” outings helpful? Low budget outings are exactly that. Low budget. Children learn that it is possible to have a great and fun day without spending a ton of money. It will also give the children an opportunity to be around other young ones who are not in the same social group. If the parents are okay with it, I would always recommend to make sure that the children have friends who live less privileged lives. Meeting and playing with such children can help your charges tremendously when it comes to figuring out their own place in the world.

Random Acts of Kindness

Every child needs to learn that sharing is something positive and beneficial for both sides. Especially children who never lack anything and immediately have every need fulfilled, tend to be seen as self-centered and egoistical. That is however not the child’s fault. They can only learn what is taught.

In my experience, random acts of kindness help children to expand and deepen their contact with the world. They can also support your charge in discovering themselves as a contributing member of society. I do however always recommend, that the child either gives something up that is theirs (toys, clothes, even time), or money they have made themselves.

Let me give you two examples:

1. Why not go through the children’s toys, collect what they don’t want anymore and give them to children’s homes, churches, food banks, etc? Depending on the age and the maturity of the children, they can accompany you there so they see that their toys are really needed elsewhere.

2. Children can do lemonade (cookie,…)  stands. They need to go shopping, prepare the lemonade and actually sell it. The money they make can then go to someone who needs it, like charities, animal shelters, school drives etc. This can be beneficial in two ways: 1. The child works for his/her money and learns to give it up to do something good. 2. The child learns that making money can be hard work.

Whatever you do to teach your privileged children kindness and manners, always make sure that at the end of the day they are allowed to be what they really are: Children who need to be loved no matter how much money their parents make.

About the author:

Franziska Garner was born in Germany and has been living in the USA since 2015. She holds a Masters in Education and is a certified teacher. Franziska has long term experience as a nanny and governess for high profile and high net worth families and as public school teacher. Her professional website can be found here. Franziska currently she lives in Lubbock, Texas.

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Nannies planning activities

50 things to do when sheltering in place

Nannies planning activities

Right now, we may be feeling anything but normal as we shelter in place to keep ourselves, loved ones and strangers safe during the COVID-19 outbreak. To help cope with the stress of the unknown and fill all of the newfound hours of free time with things other than anxiety, we’ve compiled a list of things to do while quarantined. It’s important to note that this time of extreme global uncertainty doesn’t have to yield any fruits other than maintaining your mental health, but should you find yourself itching for something to do, take a look at this list:newfound hours of free time with things other than anxiety, we’ve compiled a list of things to do while quarantined.

Let's get started?

“A pandemic doesn’t need to be a transformative time where you suddenly check everything off of your bucket list. Do what feels right for you, sleeping can be equally as productive as organizing your spice rack. Some days will be better than others”

Shall we continue?

  • Plant seeds or garden
  • If you don’t have access, plan a garden
  • Learn a foreign language
  • Make a list of recipes and try a new one every night
  • Complete your 2020 census form
  • Donate new and unused face masks if you have them
  • Support local, small businesses by purchasing gift cards or ordering merchandise online
  • Learn how you can help. Research food banks, hospitals, schools, and organizations who are accepting donations and assistance
  • Write a poem
  • Complete or make your own puzzle
  • Start a journal or blog
  • Organize your tupperware
  • Bake
  • Watch all of the movies that won Best Picture at the Oscars
  • Make a self portrait
  • Dye your hair a new color- no one will see it so experiment!
  • Manage your finances
  • Organize the spice rack
  • Memorize the periodic table – you never know!
  • Learn to write with your non-dominant hand
  • Have a board game olympics
  • Write a short story or novel
  • Write a play and cast your family
  • Become an online zoom babysitter and supervise kids remotely.
  • Write open letters to a senior center asking for a pen pal
  • Sleep!

A pandemic doesn’t need to be a transformative time where you suddenly check everything off of your bucket list. Do what feels right for you, sleeping can be equally as productive as organizing your spice rack. Some days will be better than others, and if you need a distraction, tackle this list of 50 things to do while quarantined. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and need someone to talk to, or interested in becoming a nanny reach out to us!

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Full Time Live-Out Nanny 1 infant

Full Time Live-Out Nanny 1 infant

Location: Beverly Hills, CA, 90210Schedule: Monday-Friday 9am-5pmChildren: 1 child aged 3 months oldCompensation: $27-$30 ***ALLERGY WARNING – THEY HAVE A CAT!*** A wonderful 1st time

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Family Assistant in 90210

Family Assistant in 90210

Location: 90210Schedule: Mon-Fri and some weekends if desired, hours roughly 12pm-6pm, with flexibility where required.Children: 2 boys, aged 9 and 12.Compensation: $25-30/h We are helping

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Childcare Philosophies

When looking for a nanny for your child you may find yourself more concerned with scheduling and transportation than with child rearing philosophies. However, understanding the philosophy that would best work for your family can greatly assist in finding the right nanny, and for ensuring that your child has consistent care. Once you understand which philosophy works best for your family, you can skew your nanny search based on this philosophy, creating consistent and optimized care for your child. Below are the top early developmental child care philosophies.

Montessori

Montessori is one of the most popular childcare systems. Founded in 1907 by Maria Montessori, the idea is that children are in control of their own education, with teachers acting as aids or guides. On a daily basis, children participate in hands-on activities in which toys are tools designed for specific purposes to guide their learning about a specific subject. Montessori also encourages children to take personal responsibility for their wellbeing, fostering independence by making their own snacks, taking care of their own belongings and cleaning up after themselves. Children learn at their own pace, focusing on individual learning and creating a healthy atmosphere.

RIE

Resources for Infant Educarers or RIE is the philosophy that the most important education in a child’s early life is the care and connection that they feel with their caregivers. The idea is that the foundation of a child’s learning is based off of how safe and respected they feel. Educating a child through caring allows them to learn about themselves, to feel seen and understood, and feel like they matter in the world. RIE is not only designed to educate children but parents and caregivers as well. Through caring for the child, parents learn to trust themselves and their child, creating a strong bond between the two.

“Are your kids high energy? Does the candidate mention they love to work out, swim or go on hikes in their free time? These are hints that you could be a great fit for each other. We have a long list of extra questions available in our on-boarding packet for new families, just ask to see more!”

Waldorf

The Waldorf method focuses on dependable routine. Teachers are often with the same group of children for up to eight years, creating and nurturing trusting and secure relationships. Through comfortable furnishings and play areas, the Waldorf atmosphere is intended to feel like home. There is also a heavy emphasis on creative learning, such as arts, crafts, music, theater and cooking. The idea is that children thrive in comfort, and the Waldorf method uses the home-like atmosphere and dependable routine to allow children to thrive.

Reggio Emilia

Similar to Montessori, children are their own agents in learning with Reggio Emilia. Children are encouraged to explore their interests while teachers guide them to create projects based on their enthusiasms. The focus is also on creativity and the arts, with projects and daily play documented so that parents and caregivers can remain on the same page and monitor their child’s development.

High/Scope

High/Scope is the inverse of Waldorf where the emphasis is placed not on social or emotional development but academic success. Instead of creative pursuits, children are directed more towards mathematics and linguistics. Children learn collaboratively with teachers and it is an excellent route for children who work best one on one and for children with special needs.

Bank Street

Bank Street was founded in 1916 based off of the philosophies of Lucy Sprague Mitchell and is great for children who learn best in an environment lacking structure. In Bank Street teaching, the classroom is the world around us and is considered to be the biggest tool in a child’s learning. Children are regarded as active learners as lessons are focused on the social sciences; history, geography and anthropology. Artistic and scientific lessons are taught within the context of cultural applications, creating an integrated curriculum. Children are encouraged to exercise their imaginations, and have the opportunity to choose to work alone or in groups, with teachers acting as guides rather than leaders. 

Religious

If faith-based learning is right for your family, many churches and religious schools offer preschool programs. The philosophy followed in any given religious school may differ, and the religious content taught may vary. Be sure to speak to the school about the program offered, as well as details on their curriculum and philosophy.

At Los Angeles Nannies we source and vet a wide range of nannies with differing backgrounds who have extensive experience in early childhood education. Let us know which childcare philosophy works best for you and we can find a nanny who is an expert and a perfect match for your family.

Nanny Asking for a raise

NANNIES - HOW TO ASK FOR A RAISE

Nanny Asking for a raise

Being a nanny is a job, and depending on your commitment to the craft, it’s a profession.  It’s a demanding, exhausting, mentally and physically taxing job with an immense moral reward – shouldn’t the financial reward match the effort? Most businesses have in place quarterly and / or annual reviews with the opportunity to discuss a raise, your nanny position should be no different. If you have been with a family over a year, you deserve a review and very possibly a raise. Below are some important points to consider when asking for a raise.

Nobody will hand you a raise out of the blue.

Asking for a raise is tricky business in any career path, and can be especially difficult to do as a nanny. You work and sometimes live in their home, you’re part of the family! It can feel awkward asking for more. A great place to start is by making a mental decision that you WILL ask for a sit down with the parent/s to discuss the possibility of a raise. Tell a few people close to you that can hold you accountable to it.

Be prepared and have supporting documents.

Next is to start preparing. Once you begin to write a list of all of the things you’ve done with the family, the more motivated you will be to ask and the more confident you will feel. Write down all of your new job tasks, how you’ve taken classes and bettered your skill-set, how you started to drive more, how you now cook for the family, how you’ve helped with the new baby, any additional duties that has been added since you began working should be used as a justification for a wage increase. Have these handy when you ask for your raise, it will be apparent that you are deserving!

Do your research.

Consider the natural rate of inflation in your economy. Gas prices increase and suddenly your pickups and drop offs are beginning to cost you more. Rent rises and your hourly rate isn’t going as far as it used to. These are important factors to take into account when bringing up your raise with your employer.

“It also helps to plant the seed and give them some time to think about your request before catching them off guard. Depending on your relationship with the parents, you might say something like: “Would you happen to have some time this week to sit down together to discuss how things have gone this past year with my position, and the prospect of a raise in my pay?””

Timing is everything!

In addition to preparing your points, choosing the right time to bring it up to them is crucial. Most parents are excessively busy, hence the need for a nanny! It’s imperative that you find a slice of downtime to approach them face to face. Around the year mark is a great opportunity to ‘raise’ the topic, as it’s a common practice in most industries to negotiate compensation after one year. Additionally, asking for a raise after you’ve completed a major accomplishment is also a good time to present your expectations.

Bite the bullet - ask!

It also helps to plant the seed and give them some time to think about your request before catching them off guard. Depending on your relationship with the parents, you might say something like: “Would you happen to have some time this week to sit down together to discuss how things have gone this past year with my position, and the prospect of a raise in my pay?”

Be confident!

Know your worth, know that you give your all and you work hard for this family. Know that if you have been with them a year, you are continually doing the right thing day in day out and they want to keep you around. You have formed a strong bond with their children. You are irreplaceable – there is no other you! They respect your hard work and know that a raise is more than deserved. Chances are your employers are no strangers to a corporate or business structure – they know you deserve a raise and it’s expected of you to ask! If you think you may have difficulties articulating your needs and would feel more comfortable reaching out via email, that’s okay too. Have a close friend or family member write the first draft of the email for you, it removes any anxiety, provides a great starting point, and your friend has far less hesitation about describing your value than you do. Los Angeles Nannies has composed many ‘Raise Request’ emails and we would be happy to do the same for you. Drop us an email with a few details on your situation and we’ll reply with something you can forward directly to your nanny family!

Make your intentions clear.

Know exactly how much you’re asking for, but also be realistic. Don’t set your hopes too high and don’t ask for $0.25 per hour raise. We’ve seen increases range from 5-40% after the 1st year, so decide where you would like to be on that scale. If you currently earn $15 per hour and want to make $18, that’s a 20% wage increase ($3); $16.50 is 10% wage increase. Ask other nannies in your area to get a feel for what they make, and check if your experience and responsibilities line up with theirs; Los Angeles Nannies can also help with this.

I asked, they said no… now what?

Even if you got your courage up and did all the work and they said no, ask why. Without letting emotions get the best of you, listen to their reasons; ask them if it would be possible to set up another review in a couple of months to approach the topic again after you make adjustments per their feedback (within reason of course). Check if there are other responsibilities to take on that could see your hourly wage increase accordingly. Remember that there are many reasons why a family won’t or can’t offer a raise, and it’s important to understand what they want moving forward. Perhaps providing an increase is not within their financial capability, which means you may want to reconsider working with this family for the long term. For parents that possibly cannot afford a raise, an alternative could be to ask if they would consider paying for courses specific to your job or sending you off to a nanny conference (INA) and assisting with hotels and airfare. There are many alternatives to a financial raise to consider that can help save you money and demonstrate to the family your dedication to your job.

If you have prepared your reasoning well, presented yourself professionally and with confidence, there is no reason why you won’t be treated as a professional and receive the raise you ask for. We’re here to help so drop us a line!

Nanny applying for jobs

Standing Out in the New, Competitive Nanny Job Market

Nanny applying for jobs

There is not one among us who has not been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and caregivers have been hit especially hard. With so many nannies working under the table facing furlough and therefore without ability to apply for unemployment, we are seeing many nannies itching, even desperate, to get back into the workforce as soon as possible. At Los Angeles Nannies we are still interviewing and vetting candidates for the eventuality that jobs start flooding in once more. The market post coronavirus will be extremely competitive, so how can nannies stay at the top of the applicant pool and beat out the tough competition?

Work with, not against, the agency.

With many internet resources for nannies to self submit to childcare jobs, one may wonder what need there is for an agency. While an extra step for nannies, agencies can be a massive benefit to a nanny’s career. For starters, agencies advocate for a nanny’s rights and assist in negotiating. There aren’t many mentors available in the nanny industry, but an agency can be there every step of the way for advice and suggestion on how to get you hired. Agencies want you to get a job, they don’t make money unless you do. If you choose to go the agency route, make sure you stay active and responsive, procrastinating on responding to that email from an agency can be the difference between getting a job and staying unemployed. Stay communicative with your agency, reach out about opportunities you’re interested in and make sure all of the necessary documents are on file so that when new jobs arise, they can send you out as soon as possible. The market will be extremely competitive and there will be many nannies who have CPR and credentials on file already, so make sure you are not missing out on an opportunity with your dream family simply because you waited to send an email.

Gather your References

Reference checking is always the most tedious and time consuming part of the application process, and an unresponsive reference can be the deciding factor between which two candidates are hired. Reach out to your references in advance and let them know that people will be calling. Encourage your references to schedule a time to chat. Don’t worry about inconveniencing them, you worked hard for every family and you deserve to have your references completed. 

Bolster your resume by getting specific in your job descriptions. Did you “cook” for the Smith family or did you “create nutritious meals for family of four each night to promote a healthy diet”?  Did you “go to the park” with the kids or did you “plan fun excursions to enhance physical abilities and expose children to stimulating, educational activities”?

Market Yourself

Now is not the time to be humble! Sell yourself! Create or update your nanny website so families can explore all of your credentials in one place. A website also shows that you are serious about your career and not just in it for the paycheck. Gather and organize all of your relevant documentation in one place. Create a folder for your CPR / First Aid Certificates or online classes. Ask for and file letters of recommendation. Seeing all of your qualifications and additions to your expertise in one area is a great way to add to your confidence and remind yourself that you are worthy of any job you apply for. Go through all of your social media accounts and make sure that you are representing yourself in a professional manner. View your profiles like a parent would. When reaching out to families or agencies, make sure you detail every bit of relevant information that would make you be the perfect candidate for any family.

Join a Networking Group

Like in all professions, who you know can go a lot farther than what you know. Joining nannying or childcare groups on social media, signing up for newsletters, or getting involved with organizations like the International Nanny Association can be a great way to stay connected and updated in the childcare community. You never know what job opportunities may arise simply from knowing and connecting with other nannies in your area, as many families would rather interview a referral than a stranger. Joining a nannying networking group is a great way to stay in the know about jobs, opportunities, continuing education classes and much more.

Solidify your Resume

Bolster your resume by getting specific in your job descriptions. Did you “cook” for the Smith family or did you “create nutritious meals for family of four each night to promote a healthy diet”?  Did you “go to the park” with the kids or did you “plan fun excursions to enhance physical abilities and expose children to stimulating, educational activities”? Changing your language can help you stand out and above the rest of the candidates. Treating your childcare resume like the professional tool that it is, can help you show families that you are the ideal candidate. Resume still not looking so hot? Take an online class in childcare or volunteer locally. Our resume template is a great place to start.

Get specific in your Cover Letter

Reading the job description and adding in phrases or information from the post into your cover letter helps you stand out to families. Not only does it show that you’ve taken the time to read the post, it also affords you an opportunity to explain why you are a great fit for the job. If the job mentions that the child loves soccer, mention your coaching experience. If the child needs transportation to practice for the school play, flash your BA in Theater Studies. Families ultimately want to see who will be taking care of their child’s safety but also their emotional, social and intellectual growth and if you have things in common already, that’s a huge first step.

After you’ve found your dream job, get proactive against unforeseen circumstances.

You may think that being a nanny inherently lacks job security, but that is not the case. Make sure you’re never put into this position again by advocating for yourself with the same confidence you did in the interview. Ensure that you are paid legally on the books so that you can apply for unemployment benefits should you be laid off. Get and sign a contract. Agencies are great resources for legally binding employment contracts that can make a huge difference in your job security even outside of times of uncertainty.  You should also start saving for the future – our blog on saving for the future is a great place to start.

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Nanny dos and donts

Nanny Trial Do's and Don'ts

Nanny dos and donts

A trial run with a potential nanny is crucial for both nannies and families to ensure that personalities, belief systems and methods of discipline all match up or compliment each other in a positive way. A nanny can say they are loving and caring in the interview, but what are they really like when your child is actually crying in front of them? A family probably won’t bring their children into the interview process, but a trial run is a great way to see how the nanny blends into the home and interacts with the children. We can’t tell you how many nannies have done great in the interview but didn’t meet the family’s needs in the trial, or how many nannies were shy in the interview but absolutely flourished in the trial. The idea of a trial can feel overwhelming, but we’ve broken it down into easy steps to assist you in making sure your trial is productive and beneficial to finding your family’s next nanny. If you have additional questions or need help with any of these steps, reach out to us!

Agree on Expectations

Communication is the foundation of every relationship. Discuss expectations with your prospective nanny and have them written down and displayed in a space where they can see. Before the trial begins, go through each task or desire point by point to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Not everyone can get it right the first time, but if the nanny isn’t following instructions or taking direction well during the trial, that’s a very telling sign. But if they go above and beyond what was discussed, asking questions and taking direction well, that’s a great candidate. We have an agreement forms and checklists on our resources page to assist families in brainstorming what you may want or need from a nanny, and how to articulate those needs to maximize the relationship. Let us know if you have any questions or need help forming and articulating your expectations for your nanny’s trial.

Trials are Paid

Even if you decide not to hire a nanny, a trial is still a day spent working and they deserve to be paid for the hours given. A trial period is typically paid in the same hourly amount you are offering for the job.

communication is key! It’s imperative that both you and your nanny are open with each other about expectations

Set Yourself up for Success

Every household is different, and every nanny comes in with a different background of experiences. It’s important to communicate your expectations and have your trial period reflect what a day would be like for the nanny and your children. If your nanny is thriving, so are your children. Help your nanny help you by giving them clear instructions and information they need such as allergies, restrictions like limited screen time or snack time, information on the best ways to put them down for a nap, etc. Don’t leave your nanny to guess what you need, you want to see how they follow directions. If you are unsure what a day for your nanny would look like, reach out to us and we can help you create a schedule for both your trial and your nanny’s day-to-day life.

Speak Up

We can’t say it enough: communication is key! It’s imperative that both you and your nanny are open with each other about expectations. After the trial, ask them leading questions about what’s high on your priority list: were you comfortable driving to the park? how did you feel correcting our child’s behavior? was cooking meals too much? Inversely, be honest in answering your prospective nanny’s questions. Kindly offer suggestions on how they could do better next time, but give them the room to find their footing, it’s not easy entering someone else’s home! The communication during the trial period with your new nanny is your chance to set boundaries and groundwork for your future in working together, it’s much easier to correct behavior in the beginning and steer the course towards success than it is once you have all settled into a routine.

Make Yourself Available

Ideally, during the trail you would be able to walk your prospective nanny through the day, showing them what parks to go to, when to give snacks, where to find certain necessities, how to handle certain situations. Of course with busy schedules, it is not always possible, but you should set aside a little time to observe the nanny with your child, stepping in when needed and being there if the nanny has any questions. It is also valuable for your child to get one on one time with the nanny to give them room to see if they are a good fit for each other.

Be Honest

Even if the nanny has every qualification and seems to be everything you wanted on paper, but something in your gut says it isn’t working out – listen to it! This is what trials are all about. Maybe the right candidate doesn’t check all of your boxes in the interview, but during the trial they connect with your child like no one else has. Be honest with yourself and with your potential nanny and move forward if your gut believes it’s the right move, and let it go if it’s not.

Let us know how your nanny trials have gone! If you are interested in learning more about how to conduct a nanny trial, or are ready to begin your search for your perfect nanny, reach out to us. We are more than happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have, even if you are not registered with us. Let me know your trial top tips below!

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teaching children coding

How to Teach Young Kids Coding

teaching children coding

As the world moves more and more online, basic coding and technical skills are becoming increasingly valuable. From website optimization to data collecting, almost every company requires coding. If parents are looking for a fun, creative, challenging way for their kids to get a head start on getting ahead in the workplace, coding is an excellent life skill for kids to start honing. Not to mention, most coding classes can be completed online making it a great summer socially distanced activity to keep your kids engaged.

Free Coding Classes

Coding is a great skill for your kids to have on their resume, and many organizations offer scholarships for enthusiasm and skill in programming. Here are some free, accredited coding courses:

Code Monster

Code Monster is a great tool to help kids practice or learn coding by doing. Its game-like interface has two boxes, one featuring the code, the other demonstrating what that code does. Kids can edit and change the code while seeing exactly what their edits create.

code.org

code.org is a nonprofit dedicated to helping kids get started in programming. It flaunts apps, resources, and a database for local schools that teach coding. 

Scratch

This site easy to use site gets kids excited about coding. Created by MIT students, kids code by arranging Scratch blocks. Instead of maneuvering lengthy, hieroglyph code, kids can manipulate data as if they were virtual Tetris pieces, building anything they can think of. It also has an age-appropriate online forum for kids to chat about ideas.

Khan Academy

In addition to math instruction, Khan also has lessons on programming basics such as creating animations, interactive images, and graphics. They’ve recently partnered with Pixar, which inspires kids on how to use coding to become animators.

Swift Playgrounds

Helmed by Apple, this app helps kids learn coding by solving puzzles.

Low-Cost Coding

A solid understanding of even the basics of coding can turn out to be a life long investment in your child’s education and future. 

Codemoji

Starting at $7 a month, Codemoji is a super fun, user-friendly resource for kids to learn coding by using emojis to substitute for HTML or CSS codes. 

Lightbot

For only a one time charge of $2.99, Lightbot is a puzzle game designed to teach kids coding while they play.

Kodable

Kodable is one of the top coding resources used in schools. After a free trial, parents can pay $6.99/month or $59.88/year for a fleshed-out programming curriculum for kids.

While it may seem counterintuitive to encourage children to play and learn online, coding is an incredibly valuable skill for children to learn at a young age. Asides from being a great way for kids to express themselves creatively, have an opportunity to earn a scholarship, and form strong connections and friendships, it’s also a great start to a lucrative career. The average beginner programmer makes around $85k annually. If you are interested in learning more about how your child can learn to code, reach out to us!

Agree on Expectations

Communication is the foundation of every relationship. Discuss expectations with your prospective nanny and have them written down and displayed in a space where they can see. Before the trial begins, go through each task or desire point by point to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Not everyone can get it right the first time, but if the nanny isn’t following instructions or taking direction well during the trial, that’s a very telling sign. But if they go above and beyond what was discussed, asking questions and taking direction well, that’s a great candidate. We have an agreement forms and checklists on our resources page to assist families in brainstorming what you may want or need from a nanny, and how to articulate those needs to maximize the relationship. Let us know if you have any questions or need help forming and articulating your expectations for your nanny’s trial.

Trials are Paid

Even if you decide not to hire a nanny, a trial is still a day spent working and they deserve to be paid for the hours given. A trial period is typically paid in the same hourly amount you are offering for the job.

communication is key! It’s imperative that both you and your nanny are open with each other about expectations

Set Yourself up for Success

Every household is different, and every nanny comes in with a different background of experiences. It’s important to communicate your expectations and have your trial period reflect what a day would be like for the nanny and your children. If your nanny is thriving, so are your children. Help your nanny help you by giving them clear instructions and information they need such as allergies, restrictions like limited screen time or snack time, information on the best ways to put them down for a nap, etc. Don’t leave your nanny to guess what you need, you want to see how they follow directions. If you are unsure what a day for your nanny would look like, reach out to us and we can help you create a schedule for both your trial and your nanny’s day-to-day life.

Speak Up

We can’t say it enough: communication is key! It’s imperative that both you and your nanny are open with each other about expectations. After the trial, ask them leading questions about what’s high on your priority list: were you comfortable driving to the park? how did you feel correcting our child’s behavior? was cooking meals too much? Inversely, be honest in answering your prospective nanny’s questions. Kindly offer suggestions on how they could do better next time, but give them the room to find their footing, it’s not easy entering someone else’s home! The communication during the trial period with your new nanny is your chance to set boundaries and groundwork for your future in working together, it’s much easier to correct behavior in the beginning and steer the course towards success than it is once you have all settled into a routine.

Make Yourself Available

Ideally, during the trail you would be able to walk your prospective nanny through the day, showing them what parks to go to, when to give snacks, where to find certain necessities, how to handle certain situations. Of course with busy schedules, it is not always possible, but you should set aside a little time to observe the nanny with your child, stepping in when needed and being there if the nanny has any questions. It is also valuable for your child to get one on one time with the nanny to give them room to see if they are a good fit for each other.

Be Honest

Even if the nanny has every qualification and seems to be everything you wanted on paper, but something in your gut says it isn’t working out – listen to it! This is what trials are all about. Maybe the right candidate doesn’t check all of your boxes in the interview, but during the trial they connect with your child like no one else has. Be honest with yourself and with your potential nanny and move forward if your gut believes it’s the right move, and let it go if it’s not.

Let us know how your nanny trials have gone! If you are interested in learning more about how to conduct a nanny trial, or are ready to begin your search for your perfect nanny, reach out to us. We are more than happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have, even if you are not registered with us. Let me know your trial top tips below!

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Cover letter and resume

How To Write a Nanny Cover Letter

Cover letter and resume

As a professional in the childcare industry you may wonder why it would be important to create a cover letter. A cover letter in the nanny industry is just as important as in any other enterprise. A properly tailored cover letter shows a family that you are passionate, interested and assists you in standing out amongst an ocean of resumes. Below we’ll show you how to write a nanny cover letter.

What to include

Cover letters are a great way to bring your resume to life for a family. Cover letters should be kept short and sweet. When writing your cover letter, it is helpful to break it down into three main groups: the name and nature of the position you are applying for, explain how the skills and jobs listed on your resume apply to the position, and finish with a call to action. In the end it should read something like this.

Get Specific

You must tailor your cover letter to each job you apply for. Emphasize specific experience from your resume that directly relates to the job description (link to resume blog). Not only does this help in filling in any gaps, but shows you took the time to read the description. The fact that you tailored your cover letter to the job specifically also shows your level of interest.

As a professional in the childcare industry you may wonder why it would be important to create a cover letter. A cover letter in the nanny industry is just as important as in any other enterprise. A properly tailored cover letter shows a family that you are passionate, interested and assists you in standing out amongst an ocean of resumes. 

Fill in the gaps

Think critically about the position and use past experience from your resume to explain how you could benefit the family in ways they never even dreamed of. If a job description for a family mentions that they have two children, describe the position you had previously where you were the lead teacher at a preschool, supervising a dozen toddlers at once, and how this experience has left you more than capable to handle two children. 

Be Professional

Proof read! Make sure there aren’t any typos or grammatical errors in your nanny cover letter. If you are unsure, have a friend or family member edit your work. Typos make one look careless, and if you are applying for a job where you will be assisting a child with their homework, parents want to make sure you won’t be as indifferent with their child.

Be Positive

When summarizing your experience, it is important to highlight the joys of each position held. If you come across as negative or entitled when discussing your work, it will repel families. Families want to know that you enjoy being a nanny and that you left your previous positions on excellent terms.

Call to action

When concluding your cover letter, be sure to include a call to action. Say something like, “if you would like to know more about my experience, I am available by phone Monday – Friday from 8am until 5pm.” Make sure that your contact information is present so they can reach out to you should they decide you are a great fit.

A properly formatted, beautifully written cover letter can be the difference between blending in and standing out in a large pool of applicants. If you have any questions or concerns about crafting your cover letter, reach out to us! 

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