What Makes A Great Nanny

What makes a great nanny?
When hiring a nanny many parents can feel that interviews are not an effective way of being able to discern whether the people they are meeting with are really trustworthy. But there are a few key ways to tell if a nanny is the right fit for your family.

A great nanny is someone who has decided to make full time care of children a professional career because she genuinely loves children. As Denise says, after having worked as a nanny for twenty years, “Knowing that I have contributed to a whole family’s life by being a major resource to parents who are entrusting their babies and children to me is very personally fulfilling.”
A great nanny wants to know all the details of how the parents like things to be done and will also provide plenty of details on what she does with the children when the parents are out. Emily is mother to two girls Grace and Ashlyn says of her three best nannies, “Our communication was unreal – we would each provide stories about what the girls got into to, sharing the laughs as well as the challenges.” Other nannies may be asked to provide a formal record such as Carrie who keeps a daily diary for the parents of the children she looks after. “Each day I write sleep times, what they ate, what we did and if anything in particular happened such as if any new words are spoken.”
A great nanny always lets the parents know where the children are and can be contacted at all times. Sheila the mother to four year old Carrington was upset when her nanny took her daughter out for the day and didn’t get home until after 7pm but did not call to say she was running late.
A great nanny will tidy up after the children she looks after throughout the day and won’t need to be asked to do so, although any other chores and household tasks may need to be requested to be done by the parents. Emily says “I was very clear when hiring my nannies that the girls washing and cooking was integral to their care and that I expected them to do this whilst the girls were sleeping. I also stressed the importance of initiative and seeing what else might need doing.”
A great nanny will have a plan to act in an emergency and will ideally be trained in CPR or be willing to learn. Sarah, a first time mother says, “My nanny and I were both much more comfortable knowing she had CPR certification, me because I was a nervous new mom and her because she wanted to ensure I felt safe leaving my son in her care so trust could develop.”
A great nanny has a basic understanding of the different stages of child development, is able to care for babies, toddlers or older children and knows how to integrate play, learning and fun. Emily says “The three best nannies I’ve had made every day activities educational – like sorting the washing into colors, measuring ingredients for cooking, counting the steps on the way to walking to the park.”
A great nanny is respectful of her family’s privacy and is sensitive to any personal issues that may arise. Brandy, a mom to three year old Mason and two year old Jasmine says, “I was suffering from severe post-natal depression and it became evident I needed help. I sought my nanny’s advice often as she had been a nanny for over ten years and she assisted with weaning from breast to bottle, potty training and dealing with nightmares.”
A great nanny is very rarely late and offers as much notice as possible on sick days. “Our last au pair did a ‘runner’ one Thursday night and we had to find emergency childcare. Since then we have not had another,” says Sheila.
A great nanny has plenty of energy and can keep up with the children she looks after. Emily says “I once had a fill in nanny who was a little bit lazy and happy to just watch TV – she wasn’t very outdoorsy. It helps to set clear ground rules from the start.”
A great nanny understands the importance of nutrition for children and can prepare simple meals. Sheila found she had to verbalize this to make herself clear. “I started asking our nannies not to take Carrington to McDonalds after our second au pair took her all the time.”
A great nanny knows when to speak up about anything that may affect the wellbeing of the children she looks after but always remembers the parents have the final say. Emily says, “The nannies and I always agreed that whoever was in the room with the children was the boss. But I would set the routines and standards and what types of behaviors were okay and the nanny would reinforce these.”
A great nanny has excellent references and will seek to maintain lifelong relationships with the families she works for. Denise says, “When you start looking after a child from when they are a newborn to the time they go off to school you have been through every transition, every milestone and every experience with them. Some of the parents and children I have worked for have stayed in contact years after caring for their children and we still catch up.”

Teaching Your Little One to Share


A toddler who won’t share? How…absolutely normal! All toddlers have a tough time with this concept, quite simply because they haven’t yet achieved the developmental ability to share. Toddlers consider pretty much everything to be theirs (and “mine” is indeed their favorite word!). It’s not ingrained selfishness that’s behind it; your tot has to learn possessiveness to understand the idea of ownership, which will eventually lead to an understanding of sharing. The key word, of course, is “eventually.” For now, expect some battles over lending a favorite toy (in other words: any toy) or giving back the things that he’s borrowed.

The good news is that there are lots of ways for you to help the process along:

Boost his self-esteem. Because toddlers are likely to hoard their possessions to build up their sense of self-worth, you can help your child learn to share (and help him in countless other ways too) by boosting his self-esteem. Heap on the love and attention, validate your child’s feelings, let him make decisions on his own, and keep your expectations in check. Also, be careful to watch your critical words (criticize your child’s behavior, not your child, and only use criticism constructively), and praise him when he does well (that goes especially for any effort at sharing, no matter how small).

Don’t force it. Acknowledge to your toddler that you know it’s difficult to share and don’t make him do it against his will. If you do, or if you share for him without his permission, it will only make him feel uncertain of his importance and uncomfortable about the security of his possessions. He needs to know that some things do indeed belong to him (although you can try to gently let him know that he might be making his playmates feel bad by not sharing them). If you’re in a situation where he has to share at least some of his things — during a playdate at your house, for example — have him choose which special toys he’s absolutely unwilling to let others play with, and set them aside.

Teach him about ownership. Explain to your toddler that only some things belong to him and other things belong to others (his brother’s toys are his own, and your purse belongs to you) — and still other things belong to a group of people or to no one at all (the toys at day care, or the slide at the park). Then explain that with the things that belong to a group, he must take turns.

Show him how it’s done. To help him learn what sharing means, play a sharing game. Ask him if you can hold his toy truck for a few minutes while offering him something of yours to play with (like your keys, wristwatch, or anything else that interests him). Then hand his toy back with a genuine “thank you.” He’s likely to be more willing to hand his toy over to you — whom he trusts — than to a playmate, and in doing so he’ll come to see that the things he gives up are always returned.

Give it time. Most importantly, be patient. It will take your toddler time to understand and accept the nuances of sharing. But with your gentle prodding, plus lots of practice and experience, he’ll soon realize that sharing only makes playtime more fun.

Common Signs Your Little One is Teething

When your baby’s first tooth shows up, you might be taken by surprise (“Ow! 😳Was that just a bite?”), or you might just finally understand what all those teething signs — drooling, night waking, crabbiness — were about. Every baby experiences teething differently: Some have virtually no symptoms😁, while others experience teething pain for months😣. Fortunately, there are some signs to watch for as this developmental milestone approaches that can help make teething easier for your baby — and for you.

Teething symptoms can precede the actual appearance of a tooth by as much as two or three months. Most babies get their first tooth around 6 months old, though there’s a wide range in when those first tiny pearly whites make their appearance. Some infants’ first teeth erupt as early as three months old, while others don’t get theirs until after the first birthday.

The most common first teeth are the two in the bottom center of the mouth, followed by the two in the top center. Then the pattern typically goes outward with the lateral incisors, which are in the next spot over, followed by the first molars, or the molars closest to the opening of baby’s mouth. After that come the canines on either side of the lateral incisors and last are the second molars in the very back.

How do you know if your baby is teething? What symptoms should you look out for? Your little one is not likely to understand why he feels so achy, wakes up with soreness in his mouth or is bothered by an itchy chin. Here are the top teething symptoms to keep an eye out for:

1. Drooling. It’s hard to believe so much fluid can come from the mouths of tiny babes, but teething stimulates drooling, and the waterworks are on for many babies starting from about 10 weeks to three or four months of age or older. If you find that your baby’s shirts are constantly soggy, fasten on a bib to keep her more comfortable (and cleaner), and gently wipe her chin throughout the day to stave off chapping.
2. Teething rash. If your teething baby is drooling, the constant drip may cause chafing, chapping, redness and rashes around her mouth and chin (and even on her neck). Patting it away will help prevent her skin from taking a hit. You can also create a moisture barrier with Vaseline or Aquaphor, and moisturize with a gentle, unscented skin cream as needed. Have some nursing cream (like Lansinoh) on hand? It’s great for protecting tender baby skin, too.
3. Coughing and/or gag reflex. All that drool can make babies gag and cough (you’d choke too with a mouthful of spit). But it’s not cause for concern if your baby has no other signs of cold, flu or allergies.
4. Biting. Pressure from teeth poking through under the gums causes baby a lot of discomfort — which can be relieved by counterpressure (aka chewing and biting). Teething babies will gum whatever they can find, from teething rings and rattles to your soon-to-be sore nipples (if you’re breastfeeding) and fingers.
5. Crying. Some babies breeze through teething with nary a whimper, while others suffer from a good deal of pain due to the inflammation of tender gum tissue — which they feel compelled to share with you in the form of whining or crying. First teeth usually hurt the most (as do the molars, because they’re bigger), although most babies eventually get used to what teething feels like and aren’t quite so bothered later on. Talk to your doctor about when to offer pain relievers like infant acetaminophen.
6. Irritability. Your baby’s mouth will ache as that little tooth presses on the gums and pokes up to the surface, and, not surprisingly, it’ll probably make her feel out of sorts. Some babies may be irritable for just a few hours, but others can stay fussy for days or even weeks.
7.  Refusal to feed. Uncomfortable, cranky babies yearn to be soothed by something in their mouths — whether a bottle or the breast. But the suction of nursing may make a teething infant’s sore gums feel worse. For that reason, teething babies can be fussy about feedings (and get more frustrated as neither their discomfort nor their hungry tummies find relief). Those eating solid foods may also refuse to eat while they’re teething. Keep at it, and call your pediatrician if the strike lasts more than a few days.
8.  Night waking. The teething fairy doesn’t only work days. As your baby’s little chompers begin to emerge, her discomfort may disrupt her nighttime slumber (even if she previously slept through the night). Before offering comfort, see if she can settle herself back to sleep; if she’s still restless, soothe her with patting or lullabies but avoid a return to overnight feedings (which will come back to haunt you when this phase has passed).
9. Ear pulling and cheek rubbing. Babies whose teeth are coming in may tug furiously at their ear or rub their cheek or chin. The reason? Gums, ears and cheeks share nerve pathways, and so an ache in the gums (especially from erupting molars) can travel elsewhere. (Babies with ear infections will also yank on their ears, so check with your pediatrician if you suspect your little one may be bothered by more than just teething.)
The type and severity of these symptoms vary widely from baby to baby — for one, teething means lots of pain and big-time tears, while another might breeze right through to a mouth full of teeth without a complaint. But you can probably expect to see at least some, and maybe many, of these symptoms. Hang in there, Mom!

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