Los Angeles Nannies

Kids health & safety

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 in LA

Top Tips for New Nannies in LA

Nannies in LA
Los Angeles is a hub for many things, including childcare. With new opportunities for great positions opening daily, nannies flock to Hollywood for their next big nannying gig. Los Angeles Nannies are known for having big work perks like traveling with families, health benefits, and even the occasional appearance in a reality show. However, it is important for nannies to remember their priorities for being in the industry: nurturing the development and safety of the child. Here are our top tips for nannies new to LA looking to make their mark in the childcare industry.
Find an Agency
Many nannies coming to Los Angeles end up searching job boards wondering “where are all of the A-List jobs?” Nannies can always find perfectly stable jobs online, but the higher paying jobs with benefits and healthcare are almost always offered through the security and verifiable agency. Besides having higher paying jobs, agencies are beneficial for nannies new to an area for a number of reasons. Agencies have all of the connections to jobs already, so you don’t need to hit the ground networking for your perfect family. Agencies will also negotiate and advocate on a nanny’s behalf, even long after a nanny has been hired. In an area where nannies may not know anyone, agencies will always be there to lend an ear, give legal or pay advice, and stand up for a nanny in conflict with a family. Agencies help guarantee hours, create schedules, and mediate work agreements ensuring that each party starts off on the right foot. Agencies never take money from nannies (and if they say they do, run in the other direction)!
Take Your NDA’s Seriously
We’ve all seen the headlines in People magazine, “nanny of x celebrity tells all.” Do not be that nanny. Nondisclosure agreements exist for a reason, and that is to protect the family and mainly the children. Tabloids can pay a pretty penny for a good story, but selling out your nanny kid is low and will guarantee you will never work in childcare in Hollywood or any other city again. Remember that when you are a nanny for a high profile family, you represent the parent’s brand. It’s important to always behave professionally in the real world and on social media. Never post anything you would be uncomfortable with if your nanny child saw it.
Sign a Work Agreement
Before starting with your nanny family, make sure you have a work agreement in place with clear outlines of your duties, hours, schedule, benefits, and overtime compensation. In Los Angeles, many entry level jobs like Production Assistants, Interns and Personal Assistants end up doing many menial tasks outside of their job description. Remember that you are not on a set, you are a childcare professional with extensive experience in your field, and running errands is not your first priority. If you accept errands to be a part of your position, that’s more than fine, but if it’s not agreed upon in your work agreement prior to your start date, any additional tasks should be discussed with the possibility for a raise. There are many wonderful, caring families in Los Angeles, but like in any town, there will be parents who seek to take advantage. If you are ever asked to do something you are uncomfortable with, do not be afraid to say no. This is why it’s also beneficial to have an agency on your side. Agencies can intervene on a nanny’s behalf and have the tough discussions for you.
Remind yourself of your priorities
It is completely normal and manageable for nannies to have other career aspirations outside of nannying. But while on the job, the children are your first and only priority. If you find yourself looking at nanny jobs for connections or networking outside of childcare, you should not be a nanny. If you think you can do both, be warned that children pick up on everything and will sense that you have ulterior motives. This kind of behavior from their caregivers can be detrimental to a child’s development, so think twice before you use your nannying skills as leverage to further your career outside of childcare.
Practice Self Care
Self care is a millennial buzzword floating around hashtags, but despite it’s trendiness the sentiment is important. Taking care of your emotional and physical wellbeing is paramount to your success as a nanny. Parents in Los Angeles are busy to say the least, and you never know when a last minute meeting may pop up or a parent gets stuck in traffic, extending your day or calling you in when you were expecting a day off. Because life comes quickly for all, it’s important that you take care of yourself. If you live-in or the parents work from home and your days are long with the children, schedule a daily activity with the kids that centers you. Be it going for a walk or engaging in an art project, make sure that you fully embrace a self-care mantra so that you can come back energized and ready or anything. 
Find Support
Coming to any new city can be an isolating experience, and finding your tribe can be the key to ensuring your happiness as well as your success in your nanny career. Connect with other nannies you meet at the park or story time or the pick-up line. Talk about your experiences (within your NDA’s) and share advice, activity ideas, and even network to help each other find new jobs. Having friends who are nannies can be a great way to feel supported and seen. There are also a number of nannying groups on social media that you can join for advice and tips. 
If you ever find yourself approaching that nanny burnout, make a list of all of the things you love about being a nanny. Remind yourself why you chose this unique, rewarding, playful career in the first place. Make a list of all the things you love about LA. If you are new to Los Angeles or thinking about moving here, reach out to us! We can help you make an action plan to making your time here as successful as possible.

How to Find Your Nanny

There are three main, tried and true ways to find a nanny. What works for your friends or neighbors may not work for you. Every family has different needs, and the way you search for your nanny will reflect that. 

1. Referral:

Many families find their nannies through word of mouth. Maybe your neighbors children are starting school and their nanny’s services are no longer needed. It’s important to note that even if a nanny comes recommended to you, you should still go through a hiring process. An interview, trial and checking of references is imperative, as what worked great for your acquaintance may not work for you and you don’t want to be blindsided on the very first day. 

“Nannying is a profession like any other, and they deserve scheduled performance reviews to go over any changes in their performance or duties. Performance reviews are a time where raises are expected to be discussed.”

2. Online Search:

There are numerous great resources for parents to find nannies online. Nannies can upload resumes, work history, certifications and previous letters of recommendations to online profiles for parents to peruse. It is worth noting, however, that anyone can sign up for a profile, the websites themselves do not always verify or do background checks without parent request, so it’s important to make sure you do your own background check, call references, and extensively hire candidates.

3. Agency:

It may seem like a red flag to search for a nanny online, and going through the interview hiring process may be too much work for some families to take on, which is where an agency comes in. All agencies in California are required to screen candidates through TrustLine, California’s premier background check that examines candidates on multiple different areas that most people do not have access to. Agencies do all of the legwork for families to ensure that each nanny is verified, professional and compatible for your family.

Knowing Your Nanny is the Right Fit

Now that you’ve undergone the search method that works for you and you have a solid pile of candidates to choose from, how do you know which one is the right one for your family? At Los Angeles Nannies, we like to believe that finding your nanny is a lot like dating. Take your time, review your options, discuss your priorities and expectations, and act fast when you find The One. As in dating, you want to make sure that your priorities and expectations align to ensure a happy relationship. Find out what your priorities are as a family and in the interview, ask leading questions about the candidate’s personality, morals and ethics are. Reach out to us for our comprehensive list of nanny screening questions. 

Keeping your Nanny

Now that you’ve found The One, how do you make sure they don’t become The One That Got Away?

Craft and sign a work agreement. 

Prior to your nanny’s start date, draft up a work agreement explicitly outlining your expectations, your nanny’s job duties, terms, and benefits. Include the start date, the weekly schedule, salary offered with overtime, a confidentiality agreement, and a return of property if the nanny will have use of the family car. For live-in nannies, create clear outlines of living expectations like household rules, accommodations offered, and anything else relevant for living with your family. Having a clear understanding of what is and isn’t acceptable can greatly help you both down the line should any issues emerge. No idea where to start? We have a comprehensive work agreement that can be tailored to your needs. Reach out to us for more information.

Provide benefits. 

Your nanny is an investment in your child’s wellbeing and future. Having a longterm nanny is beneficial for your child’s emotional and social development, which are the foundations of their academic success. Providing health insurance and paid sick leave and vacation time is a great way to show your nanny that they are valued and appreciated, which in turn will greatly benefit your family. A nanny who is provided for financially will work harder and longer than ones who are not taken care of. Nannies who are not financially fulfilled will burn out quicker and may seek benefits elsewhere when they become available. 

Pay over time. 

Nannies are miracle workers, but they don’t expect to do it for free. They have their own personal lives and their time should be valued and respected. If your nanny is expected to work over 40 hours in a week, by California law they are entitled to 1.5x their hourly rate.

Pay your nanny on the books. 

While it may seem like a great idea to pay your nanny under the table, it is actually in both your and your nanny’s best interest to provide legal pay. Your nanny has access to unemployment benefits and social security, and you are protected against audit should there be any need for worker’s comp or discrepancies. Paying your nanny legally communicates to them that you see them as a professional.

Performance reviews. 

Nannying is a profession like any other, and they deserve scheduled performance reviews to go over any changes in their performance or duties. Performance reviews are a time where raises are expected to be discussed. Has the nanny taken on more responsibilities that were not listed in your agreement originally? Have you had another child since they first started? These are things to be discussed in a performance review, and where having that initial work agreement comes in handy for both parties.

Acknowledge your nanny.

 In all positions, there is nothing worse than an employer who doesn’t notice your efforts. Take time to drop in and observe your nanny with your child. Compliment their approach and communicate how much you appreciate them. A happy nanny who feels respected and appreciated will want to stay with a family that values all of their hard work. If you are unsure how to broach the subject of proper nanny-employer etiquette, check out our Honest House Promise.

Communicate frequently. 

Have an issue? Talk about it! Want to make changes to your work agreement? Have a discussion! Going on vacation? Give advance notice! Need your nanny to stay late? Ask, don’t demand. Nannies are superhero childcare providers, and they’re also human beings with feelings and are capable of constructive criticism. If you disagree with something your nanny does, have an open, constructive conversation of how you’d like them to do things. Don’t avoid confrontation only to bottle up and resent your nanny.  If you don’t communicate your needs, your nanny will not know to expect to change their habits. Your nanny is not a mind reader and would love to know exactly how you’d like things done so they can do their job successfully. If you are expecting any major changes to their job duties, like having another child or changing their hours and schedule, make sure you speak to them with advance notice and ask them if that is something they are comfortable with. Changing the duties without consent while operating under a work agreement can cause trouble for you later, and your nanny will appreciate the respect you show them by communicating with them.

Finding a nanny is no easy feat, and keeping your perfect nanny is another matter. A commitment to being a respectful and ethical employer will assist you and your family greatly in keeping your super star family. If you have any questions or require assistance in any of the above steps, reach out to us.

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Nannies during COVID

COVID-19 and Children

Nannies during COVID

The spread of misinformation can be just as contagious and equally as toxic as any pandemic. When it comes to protecting our children, who can we trust and how can we take preventative measures? Referring to the Center for Disease Control, who’s only bias is keeping the population healthy, is usually our best bet. Here is what the CDC has to say about COVID-19 and our children:

Will my child get sick?

In most cases, children and the elderly are most affected by disease, due to their sensitive immune systems. However, the CDC says “based on available evidence, children do not appear to be at higher risk for COVID-19 than adults.” While some children have fallen ill, the vast majority of cases have been found in adults, seemingly going against the grain of the usual fear that children would fall into the category of high risk people.

How can I take actions to protect my child?

Protecting your child from COVID-19 is no different from teaching your child regulatory health precautions.

  • Have them frequently wash their hands with soap and warm water for at least 30 seconds and use hand sanitizer frequently. Encourage them to avoid touching their eyes, nose, mouth, ears and face with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid people who are sick, especially if they are coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect high traffic surfaces in your house such as doorknobs, tables, chairs, counters, handles, light switches, desks, toilets, and sinks. It would also behoove you to disinfect technology like phones, iPads and gaming systems.
  • Wash clothes and plush toys on the highest possible heat setting with the appropriate amount of detergent.

“”Reported symptoms in children include cold-like symptoms, such as fever, runny nose, and cough. Vomiting and diarrhea have also been reported. It’s not known yet whether some children may be at higher risk for severe illness, for example, children with underlying medical conditions and special healthcare needs.” says the CDC”

How will I know if my child is sick?

COVID-19 symptoms in children do not differ from adults, except in that they tend to be milder. “Reported symptoms in children include cold-like symptoms, such as fever, runny nose, and cough. Vomiting and diarrhea have also been reported. It’s not known yet whether some children may be at higher risk for severe illness, for example, children with underlying medical conditions and special healthcare needs.” says the CDC. As there have been few reported cases of the virus in children, it is difficult to say exactly how they will be affected, there is still much to be learned about the virus’s impact on children.

Should I have my child wear a face mask?

The CDC says no, only those who have the illness or symptoms of the illness should wear masks and it is not necessary for children to wear them preventatively.

Disease can be frightening, especially when there are so many more questions than there are answers. Remember that as long as you and your children are washing your hands and staying away from those that are ill, you are doing the best you can. We are not health care experts, but if you have any further questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to us.

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