Bust Those Winter Blues
February 18, 2016
When it’s freezing outside or the snow has turned to ice, most of us are asking ourselves the same question, “What are we going to do today?”. Entertaining kids all day can be a little more challenging when you don’t have the outdoors to turn to. So again we ask, “What are we going to do today?”. Here are some great ideas that you can make as time consuming as you wish!
Throw Your Child’s Favorite Lovie a Birthday Party
If you have ever thrown a birthday party you know how involving all of the preparations can be. But what kid doesn’t LOVE to sing happy birthday and blow out the candles on the cake? Watch your little one’s eyes light up when you tell them you need to work together to throw a birthday party for their favorite doll, action figure, or plush animal.
Start by gathering your decorations while your little one works with their lovie on their birthday wish list (using items from around your home). Then, work on making invites for the guest of honor’s fellow action figures and friends. Finally, come up with a plan; ask the child:
What toys do we wrap for your friend? Should we make him a cake? Which rooms of the house should we decorate?
Now get to work! This could take all day if you want, or maybe even two! So be as extensive as you wish with this project.
Make Some Puppets and Put on a Show!
Gather some unwanted socks and rummage through your craft supplies. Googly eyes are always nice and easy, but you can also make your own too cutting ovals out of white paper, felt, or an old t-shirt. Then add a black circle in the middle using similar materials or something more creative like a button, and viola! A third of the face is done. Buttons also work for a nose. Add ears in a similar fashion, and maybe even extend this project to a sewing lesson for the bigger kids. Strands of yarn work great for hair or fur. You may want to even make clothes and add accessories to your puppet. Get as creative as you wish!
Now it’s time to put on a show. If you don’t have a puppet theatre you can cover a table with a tablecloth or blanket and have the guests sit on the other side so they can’t see what the producers are doing behind the scenes. A table offers a nice platform for the puppets to stand and for any props to sit. If you have the time, make tickets for the show and sell them to your toy soldiers, siblings, and superheros upon entry. Princesses always appreciate a good drama too ;)
Make Some Custom Art For Your Home
Start with any paper you wish (larger sheets with prints are available at paper specialty stores and certain craft supply stores like Hobby Lobby) and an artist board, OR a canvas. If you choose a white canvas, you should choose a color to paint a solid base coat on your canvas. You could also use a blending technique and add it a second color if you wish. If you choose paper, make sure it is big enough to cover your artist board.
Dilute your paint with water until it is the consistency of heavy cream. Have your child spoon out paint and and gently dump it onto your paper or canvas. Then, give them a straw to hold and have them blow on the paint, using the straw. They can blow on the same blob multiple times until they have achieved the monster body they were hoping for. Then, add eyes (googly or paint) and arms & legs (paint or cut out limbs with paper and glue them on.
Once everything has dried, you are done if using canvas, but if you chose an artist board there is one more step. Use a self leveling clear gel to adhere the paper to your board, being careful to center your paper. Spread it thin with a paintbrush. You’ll have to fold the corners (in a way that is similar to wrapping a gift with a 90 degree angle) and wrap the paper around the edges of the board to give it a finished look, so make sure you use the gel on the sides too. Finally, spread another thin coat of the self leveling clear gel over the final product to make it look professional.
The Ins & Outs of Overnight Nannies
January 27, 2016
Sometimes work, anniversaries and far away friends call us to travel sans kids and leave the question “Who will stay with my children?”
Cue your nanny to the rescue.
Often, I get asked “Do people really do that?” referring to nannies who don’t mind spending a few nights in someone else’s house to care for their children. Any nanny who feels connected to the family she works for, usually doesn’t mind working overtime in order for the parents to have some time to themselves or travel for work. Parents return refreshed and happier, kids have a fun stay-cation and the nanny gets extra income plus a fun experience with the kids. Everyone wins.
How do I pay for overnights?
There are a lot of answers out there for this but I find that the easiest way to approach overnight needs is to pay a flat fee for the time period the kids will be (or should be) asleep. This rate is dependent upon the age of children and bedtimes. If you have busy toddlers who will keep the nanny working past 9pm and potentially up throughout the night, factor that in and pay on the higher side. If your kids are older and more self sufficient at bedtime and you’re paying her to make sure they don’t burn the house down, the flat rate can be lower. Remember that your nanny will still be working after your children are in bed: cleaning up the house, doing laundry or other tasks that need to be done, and preparing for the next day. The average rate is $75-$150 for the overnight period (typically 9pm-7am).
Maybe you’re invited to a can’t miss wedding out of state and need the nanny Friday-Sunday, you should take into consideration if this will make for one really long week for the nanny. If she worked 40+ hours Monday through Friday and you plan to be gone the entire weekend, factor that into her rate. If your kids have a vibrant social calendar, make sure to leave behind everything needed for the birthday parties, play dates and sporting events. It doesn’t hurt to have the fridge stocked as well.
Sometimes getaways aren’t planned by you but by your employer and it happens to be at the same time your spouse is visiting their parents, so you’ll need someone to get the kids to and from school. If your nanny currently only works as an after school nanny, you may need to consider having her “on call” while you are away in order to have her available the entire day. Some families will pay the nanny her normal hourly rate while the kids are at school to ensure she is available for any reason. The nanny can run errands for you during this time and act as a household manager.
What if I don’t have a nanny?
Maybe your children attend after school programs and you do not have regular childcare in the home but find yourself needing overnight care, use an overnight nanny. I strongly recommend hiring this individual first as a permanent sitter. who you will regularly use for date nights and also someone who is responsible, experienced and available for overnight care. Olive.You.Nanny is happy to help you find the perfect person to meet your overnight childcare needs!
Keys to a Successful Nanny/Stay at Home Parent Relationship
January 15, 2016
It is becoming more common to work from home these days. This can be an awkward and difficult situation for parents and nannies. For the parents, they may be unsure about when they need to step back and let the nanny handle the situation and vice versa for the nanny. It can also be difficult for the children to understand. Do they listen to mom or dad? Or do they listen to the nanny? What if the parents and nanny are saying different things? The lines can get blurred and it’s best to set up rules and boundaries before the nanny starts.
Parents should create a private workspace.
If the parents are working on their laptop in the middle of the kitchen where the children and nanny are playing, the children will be less likely to take direction from the nanny. It’s much easier for the child to go ask mom or dad for help if they’re near by. Not only is this distracting to the parent who is working, but it’s awkward for the nanny to know when they should and should not step in.
Create a “Do Not Disturb” rule.
Parents should set aside some hours where they are able to work in a separate room and will not be disturbed by the nanny and children—unless of course there is an emergency. Treat this undisturbed time as if the parent was actually out of the home and away at work. Out of sight, out of mind! This will help the children learn to respect the nanny as an authoritative figure and not just someone who came over to play while mom or dad is home.
Respect the child’s schedule.
-If the child’s naptime is at 11:00am and the parent knows how difficult naptime can be, it would be best to stay out of sight while the nanny puts the child to sleep. Again, out of sight, out of mind! If mom or dad is near by during this time, the children will be less inclined to follow the nannies instructions.
Get the children out of the house.
Getting the children out of the house will not only greatly improve the parent’s work schedule but also the nannies. Now that there is only one authoritative figure in charge, the children know whom they’re supposed to listen to. Alone time will also help the children and nanny create a special bond.
Communication is key.
Setting up these boundaries before the nanny starts working is a great way to clear the blurred lines. And it is never too late to set up some new rules! Both ends will appreciate some clarity for this sometimes-awkward situation.