Olive.You.Nanny Explores the City!

Being a large city, Chicago has a lot to offer families and young ones year round! We wanted to highlight some of our favorites during this season. Each neighborhood in the city has their own parks, but why not venture out to a new big park! Have you visited the Maggie Daley Park this year? If not, we encourage you to bring your little ones to check out the new park and recreation center while the weather is nice! With it’s underwater theme it offers multiple play spaces: The Sea (ages 5-12), The Watering Hole (ages 2-5), The Harbor (ages 2-5), Enchanted Forest (all ages), Wave Lawn (all ages), and Slide Crater (5-12 years old).  Maggie Daley Park is a great place to explore, meet new friends, and have space to run! It’s a fun way to spend your afternoon and admission is free! They are open daily from 6am-11pm.


Another spot that continues to be a great source of nature, exploration, and education is Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. This is a museum in Chicago that often gets overlooked by visitors, but we applaud them for their kid friendly atmosphere! Be sure to head over in the next couple weeks to check out their new and temporary exhibits: The Secrets of Bees & BUGS: Outside the Box! While visiting take a look at their Butterfly Haven, Hands-on Habitat, RiverWorks, Nature’s Lunchbox, & Micole Birdwalk exhibits. Along with their exhibits, they offer education and fun programs & classes for children and family during the week and weekends. After visiting the Nature Museum, take a walk to the neighboring Lincoln Park Zoo to explore more of nature’s beauty!



Why You Should Hire a Summer Nanny

With summer fast approaching, many families are weighing their childcare needs.  You may be asking yourself, do I send the kids to multiple camps to fill up their days?  Do I send them to a daycare where they’ll be surrounded with loads of other kids their age?   Or do I hire a nanny and provide my children with an amazing summer?  With a summer nanny, you’ll quickly become the envy of other parents in the neighborhood as they see the carefree summer your family is sure to have! 

Hiring a summer nanny has endless benefits for both the children and parents alike.  To begin, your morning routine will become stress free!  You can worry about getting yourself ready, and let the nanny take care of the rest!  You’ll be out the door and on your way to work with time to pick up a fancy iced coffee on the way!  And even better, when you come home at the end of the day, the house will be picked up and your kids will be happy!  All in all, this creates more quality time for you to spend with your kids on those beautiful summer nights!

With a summer nanny, your kids’ days will be filled with adventure.  Sure, camps can provide some pretty neat experiences; but what a nanny can provide goes beyond an expensive 4-day camp.  Summer nannies tend to be energetic college students or experienced teachers looking for a summer job with kids.  A summer nanny will allow your children the freedom to explore the following activities day in and day out…

  • Outdoor Play (cost=free!!)
    • Parks
    • Backyard
    • Bike trails
    • Hikes
    • Scavenger hunts
    • Backyard camping trips
    • Beach
    • Exploring the city
  • Crafts
  • Tutoring
  • Helping with household chores
  • Playdates
  • And remember, if you do find day camps that you want your children to attend in addition, the summer nanny can do the drop offs/pick ups!

So what are you waiting for?!  Begin the search for your amazing summer nanny today!

How to handle awkward nanny moments with houseguests

As a placement provider with Olive.You.Nanny, I am happy to help nannies and families when professional lines blur and awkward moments strike! Nannies often talk about the complexities involved with parents who work from home, but what about those houseguests who come in for a visit? Regardless of what awkward moment you have encountered, chances are they will happen, so it is best to know how to navigate them!

Visits from the grandparents can be a fun time and a refreshing break for the children, but the position can become challenging when the kids want to play with them and you become the unwanted playmate. What should you do when the grandparents are sitting in the same room reading the paper or surfing the web while you play with their grandchildren who clearly want their attention and not yours? As you try to engage the children, you feel the kids’ resentment and you know you are no longer welcome. They believe you are taking their undivided attention away from these highly regarded houseguests.

You know it is your job to keep the kids engaged, so you are conscious of working to distract the children when they try to monopolize their grandparent’s focus. You say things like, “Grandma is going to be working on something for a little bit, so we can play together now,” but this sentiment doesn’t work for older ones who reply, “No she isn’t, she is just playing on the computer.” That’s the moment your face reddens and it is safe to say everyone (except the kids!) feels a bit uncomfortable.

On the flip side, there are very involved grandparents who visit, and the lines become blurred. You start beginning to feel like a spectator as you watch the children play with them and question yourself as to whether you are still needed that day. Perhaps these are the grandparents who bring in the ant farm they have purchased for the kids and you are asked to help poke holes into the gelatin to start the ant tunnels. A word of advice on this one; ants are quick and they like to crawl out of the man made farms more than they like to burrow!

Most nannies will not confront ant farms, but will encounter some role shifting that requires flexibility. Fortunately, there are some coping strategies to make these situations run more smoothly! As always, communication is key. When you are starting a position, always ask your employers if they will have family in the area or friends who will be in for frequent visits. Discuss what your role will look like when they come to stay, so you know what will be expected of you. Ask questions such as, “Will we all be spending the day together, or will they want some alone time with the kids?”

When you are working with a family and you know the visitors will be coming into town, plan ahead! You may soon become second best, so you should have some new and exciting activities lined up to keep the kiddos engaged. That way, if the guests are busy and unable to play, the kids will still be excited to do something new with you. Plan something special! If you can, arrange fun outings or come up with some new art projects or science experiments the kids will love. Most importantly, go with the flow! Ask your employers if there is anything you can help with since there will be extra hands around. Then you will not have to be a spectator watching the children and grandparents play. You can let them know that you will be an earshot away when they need you, but that you are going to help the parents with a few things while they visit. This is a great opportunity to organize that art cart, go though old toys, or put books in order.

You may find that you greatly enjoy these guests when the initial tension fades and you know what is expected of you. Direct conversations with a positive attitude and willingness to help will eradicate the blurred lines so you can jump in and go with the flow. By knowing your shifted and short-term job description, you will know how to navigate the role with ease!