Nanny of the Month

Meet Puja, our November Nanny of the Month…… Compassionate, nurturing, and kind, Nanny Rose – or “Puja” as she is known by most of the families she’s worked with! She has been an Nannies on Call Nanny for over a year now and our families just love her! Many have shared that she is “amazing”. She started babysitting as a young teenager but didn’t realize that working in childcare was her true calling until working in a daycare some years later. Since then, she’s obtained her Early Childhood Education and has worked as a professional Nanny for many families with children both in New Brunswick and BC. In her own words “I love children and I see them as the sunshine in our lives”. She is super safety conscious and always likes to keep the kids in her care happy & having fun. She has a wonderfully bubbly and outgoing personality that kids are drawn to plus she has incredible energy – We don’t know how she does it. She is a lover of animals, music, and all things nature! Nanny Puja brings tonnes of creativity, joy and happiness to each little child she cares for, she is a big kid at heart. Nanny Puja is about to embark on her second placement with Nannies on Call and couldn’t be more excited. Don’t worry, she will still have some free time for her regulars on the on call side!

10 Ways to Teach Kids About Money Management

Kids are always learning about money whether you teach it to them or not, so let’s make sure that they learn the right things when it comes to money management shall we?

  1. Piggy banks are a great idea to teach children how to save money, but it’s not very visual for them, as children tend to learn better when they see what’s happening. Give them a clear jar as their piggy bank so they can see how the savings “grow” as they put money into it!
  2. Teach them to weigh spending decisions before buying things by showing them what opportunity cost is all about. For example, “If you buy this pair of shoes that you don’t really need right now, you won’t be able to buy those new books that you wanted!”
  3. Show them that things cost money by letting them pay for the things they buy from stores. Instead of saying “This toy costs $15”, let them take money out of their savings jar and hand it to the cashier so they understand that they need to be wise about spending money.
  4. Instead of merely giving them allowances, assign small tasks for them to do around the house that will earn them their “commission”. It could be simple tasks like taking the trash out, cleaning their room or putting the toys and books away.
  5. Teach kids the importance of giving by having them volunteer and give back to the less fortunate. Children should be taught that giving of their time is an important way to help others even if they don’t have a lot of money to donate.
  6. If your child is teenager, help them open up a “save for college fund” and encourage them to take on summer jobs or other part-time opportunities that will help them save for the future and avoid having to take on that hefty student loan!
  7. Avoid letting your child get into the habit of “impulse buying”. This is a trap that even adults fall into frequently, so the next time your kid comes to you and asks you to buy them that cute dress or those cool shoes, tell them to use their “commission” to buy so that they know not to indulge in impulse buys and learn the value of saved money.
  8. Contentment is a concept that we all struggle with on a daily basis. Teach your child that comparisons lead to discontent and what they have at the moment is perfectly amazing without having to break the bank in order for them to be like someone else.
  9. Talk to your teenager about the dangers of over spending or over using the credit card. Debt is a bad idea and the sooner they learn about this, the better.
  10. Last but not the least, lead by example. Children learn by seeing and when they see you taking wise decisions about your money management, they will follow your lead.

Written by: Arathi Aravind

How to Bully-Proof You Child

25% of public schools report that bullying among children happen on a weekly or daily basis. Yes. That is a fact.

Every day we see heart breaking stories about how bullying has affected children. Bullying is not just about physical violence anymore; there are numerous ways in which a child can feel like they are being bullied. It could start off as friends refusing to include them in activities and can even escalate to peers spreading vicious or untrue rumors about them being spread in the cyberspace, that makes them the subject of unwarranted gossip among fellow students.

How can you tell if your child being bullied at school? If there is physical violence, there will be tell-take signs of clothes that are torn or bruises that are obvious or even missing personal belongings. More often than not, bullying is difficult to spot, but there are some signs that you can watch out for though:

  • Refusing to go to school or being afraid to ride the school bus
  • Frequent head aches, stomach aches or other physical complaints
  • Moodiness and distress
  • Change in sleep patterns like having constant nightmares or trouble falling asleep
  • Bedwetting
  • Appearing sad, lonely or anxious with no known cause
  • A dip in self-worth and constantly avoiding peer interactions after school or on weekends
  • Talk of how “no one would care if wasn’t alive anymore”
  • Sudden dip in academic performance

Most kids don’t immediately open up and talk about it if they are being bullied, for fear of being judged or blamed as they have been led to believe by the bullies. So how can you bully-proof your child?

  1. Listen & Avoid Assumptions
    The most important thing you can do when you suspect that your child is being bullied at school would be to listen to them without forming any assumptions or judgments of your own. The best thing you can do for them would be to avoid asking questions like, “Did you do something to upset these kids?” as that would make them clam up even more and make the situation worse. Your child is already blaming himself/herself enough so you can make things easier by listening to what they have to say with an open mind and reassure your child that you are there for them no matter what.
  1. Problem Solve as Partners
    Brainstorm solutions with your child and make them feel empowered to take control of the situation instead of feeling like a victim. Some kids are great with having a funny comeback when someone tries to put them down verbally, others may need to walk away or use the “buddy” system where they don’t face their bullies alone. Teach them that they are stronger and braver than they think they are and that every situation has a solution.
  1. Ask the Teacher/School for Help
    A lot of the bullying usually happens away from the teacher’s eyes so there are chances that the school or the teacher unaware of what is happening to your child. Teachers want their students to feel safe and happy at school so never worry that you might be “bothering” them if you speak up about how your child is being bullied at school. Ask for help as soon as you notice or suspect that there is a problem. More importantly remember to make an appointment rather than accusing them, because usually with bullying teachers might be the last to find out about it. It’s usually, “friends first, then parents, lastly schools!”
  1. Escalate If You Don’t Receive Help
    Start writing down each instance of bullying with the date, who did it, who saw it and the effect that it had on your child. Take it up with the school again and if you feel that you are not satisfied with the school’s response, don’t give up. There are several help lines and websites that offer step-by-step guidance on how to deal with the school or how to contact the Education Welfare Officer/social worker and ask them to intervene with the school.

More importantly, don’t let the bullies or the bullying take control of your lives. Bullies are cowards by nature and they hide behind crowds and computer screens in order to feel powerful by taking control of someone else’s life, even for a short while. Let your child know that help is always at hand should they need it and that they are in a safe space where they will be heard.

Written By: Arathi Aravind

Your Child & Body Image Positivity – Promoting Body Positivity to Children

It’s like everywhere you look, there’s a magazine or a TV show telling you how you should look and how you can only be happy if you look a certain way or dress a certain way or even eat certain things that will “make you thinner”! We are all guilty of looking at ourselves in the mirror and criticizing the imperfections that we perceive in our bodies.

Children especially, can begin to have body image concerns as early as pre-school! So how can we, as parents help them maintain a positive attitude about their bodies and not get sucked into negative body talk or feel anxious and self-conscious about their body image?

Model a Healthy Self Image
How parents feel about their own image has a strong influence on children as well. Sometimes we don’t even realize that children are listening when we talk about how fat we are or when we diet unnecessarily in order to get that “perfect figure”. This influences the way they start to perceive their own bodies and measure their own insecurities. So the next time you feel the urge to complain about eating that extra slice of chocolate cake, turn it into a more positive message like “I ate chocolate cake this afternoon which was really yummy! So, I’m going to make sure that I eat more protein and veggies tonight”.

Make Health the Focal Point, Not Weight!
“I am so fat!”, is a word that we often hear people use and we ourselves use it at times. Cut it out! Shift your focus from weight to health and you’ll see how it vastly improves your physical and mental health. Kids don’t need to “work-out”, they need to play with their friends and family and enjoy regular meals and learn how to make smart and tasty snack choices. Whatever our age or size maybe, teach kids to be active and take care of their bodies instead of watching out for weight gain. Embrace diversity in body shapes and sizes and teach your children that what they show on TV and in the media is not how people look in the real world!

Tailor the Physical Activities
Children and adults alike need regular physical activities that we can enjoy doing. There is no point in forcing a child to do an activity that makes them miserable. While some children find playing football or regular sports enjoyable, others might find their niche in dancing, or martial arts or yoga! It doesn’t matter what they do for physical fitness, what matters is that they do an activity that they enjoy doing.

Call Out the Bullies
Even as adults we might face bullies who might talk down to us or make us feel bad about ourselves. Weight-related teasing is a major cause of bullying among children, so, encourage your child’s school to address the issue and promote a more healthy attitude towards embracing and including various body shapes and sizes. Also, ask your child to speak up and seek help if they ever feel that they are being ridiculed or bullied for their body shape or size.

Bust the Myth!
There is no airbrushing in real life so help your child see through the “perfect” images that the media shows them on TV or on social media platforms. Explain that most of these images are retouched or changes so that the bodies appear “perfect”. Open a free flowing dialogue about healthy body imagery and encourage a healthy and positive conversation where your child can voice his/her opinions.

We can blame the fashion magazines and society to a certain extent, but ultimately, it all begins and ends in your mind. What you give power to will have power over you, so stay healthy and stay happy!

Written by: Arathi Aravind

Nanny of the Month

We are thrilled to honour Nanny Marcella as our Nanny of this Month for August 2018. Before working with Nannies On Call, she worked as a child development supervisor for 13 years. Her immense love and passion for children are evidenced in the glowing feedback that she receives from the families that she’s worked with. She is a pro at making children feel safe and comfortable. Parents rave about her ability to quickly engage with the children in her care and to be responsive to the specific needs of families.
Here’s what some of Marcella’s past clients have shared about her:
“I got home from work and Marcella was having dinner with my 2 1/2 yr old twin boys. They were sitting at the kitchen table both boys smiling. Marcella had then outside for a good portion of the day. She brought activities for them. Just an amazing woman. I wanted to tip she refused. I want her back again! They even hugged her and said bye bye. She acted like their Grandma. I felt the love off her to the kids. Extremely genuine. Thank you for letting us meet her. My wife was impressed when she left for work in the am when letting her in the house and I was more impressed saying goodbye. I give her a 100 out of 10!!!”
 
“We are extremely happy with Marcella! Both our kids hugged her when she left and my son said she was “so much fun “ and “the best nanny ever”. The kids were happily playing with her when my husband got home (I was still at work). They were clean and well kept, bathed and fed! She even left me a note of the things they had done that day!”
 
“Can you kindly thank Marcella for going over and above the call of duty. Doing amazing crafts, with HER stuff that she bought and cleaning my kitchen, taking them outside to play and getting them ready for swimming !! All in a very short amount of time. She is a real gem, my boys love her. Please say thank you to her for me.”
Congratulations, Marcella!

Social Media and Kids: Sharing vs. Over-Sharing

Growing up in the 90’s had its perks. The world was just being introduced to the concept of carrying around bulky mobile phones and email was barely in existence. The virtual world was still something that was yet to take centre-stage in our lives and people could eat their lunches without “instgramming” it.

Fast forward to the present world and we see children being born into a virtual world; a world that shares their every move on a social media platform and sometimes, its downright scary. The concept of privacy is foreign to a vast majority of people and sharing and swapping stories on Facebook or Snapchat have become second nature to some. Providing internet safety to their children has become a daunting prospect for parents in the current age of over sharing on public platforms. So how do we keep our children safe when it comes to sharing/over sharing on social media?

We can break it down into four simple steps:

1. Keep the children’s computers in the family room where you can monitor what they see and who they talk to online.

2. Install filtering software on computers and mobile phones so that children can still use the internet but know their boundaries at the same time.

3. Talk to them about using common sense while on the internet. Being open and having an honest conversation about sharing too much with the strangers online can go along way in ensuring that your child understands that not everything is, as it seems on the internet.

4. Children sometimes get drawn into peer drama that blows up the social media sphere with arguments and snarky commentary. One way to avoid this from happening is to teach kids to take a breath before posting things online. A simple technique would be to ask them to count to 10 before posting anything online and another would be to explain to you if that post would do more harm than good if it is posted online.

More importantly, let them follow your lead. When they see you being cautious about what you post online and how much you expose them to social media, they begin to follow your example. Ask them to talk to you about any bullying behavior that that may have encountered online and discourage the habit of “checking in” to places online. Parental control softwares are an excellent tool to also make sure that you only communicate with trusted friends and family.

Four Ways to Spot a Fake Reference

When hiring childcare staff, outstanding references are extremely vital to the process. We get thousands of applicants every day here at Nannies On Call and sometimes; we do get individuals who list friends or family as references. So how do we spot a fake reference? Here are four ways in which we can make sure we have nothing but real references here at Nannies On Call.

Sherlock Them!
Put on your Sherlock hat and baffle them with carefully selected questions. For example, if you feel that the reference is giving very vague and generic answers to your questions, you could probe further by bringing up specific situations like “How did you handle sick days? Or “Which payroll service did you use?” and so on. And believe me, if the reference is a fake they will not be able to answer these correctly or quickly!

Age Check
At the very beginning of the reference call, ask how old the person’s children were when the applicant started working with them and after your follow-up questions, ask again how old the children are now. A fake reference will be stumped, whereas a parent usually will not take too long to remember the ages of their children.

Turn to the Web
Everyone and anyone has a digital footprint these days and the references are no different. Look for them on social media or professional sites like LinkedIn and see if their information matches the information that the nanny has provided during the interview. This may sound like a lot of work, but we’d rather do the extra work than let a fake reference slip by us unnoticed.

Ask for multiple references
We always ask for a minimum of 2 childcare references here at Nannies On Call. We also make sure that we speak with all of the references provided by the nanny. We do this, in order to verify the information shared with us during the interview sessions and to gain a better understanding of the nanny’s work ethics.

We at Nannies On Call pride ourselves on finding the perfect nanny and matching them to the perfect family. People often ask us our secret to finding these extraordinary nannies, but the secret is that there is no secret! We believe in an extensive and rigorous screening and screening process and we don’t move forward with an application unless we are satisfied at every level of the organization that the nanny is extraordinary!

 

Getting through separation anxiety – Home Management Strategies

Being a parent is one of the greatest jobs in the world. But it can also be terribly overwhelming, especially if this is the first time that you’re spending time away from your little one. It can be hard for both you and your child to let go of each other and spend some time apart. But worry not, because your trusty Nannies on Call is here to give you some great tips on how to make the transition easier on you and your little one.

Practice Makes Perfect

Leave your child with a trusted caregiver or a babysitter for brief periods of time at first and then slowly increase the duration of time, until you both are comfortable enough in order to be able to leave for a longer period of time.

Create a signature goodbye ritual

Instead of making it a long and tearful goodbye, that will upset both you and your child, make goodbyes fun! It could be a simple phrase like “See ya later alligator!” to even a special handshake that you both can share. This will make the moment special and less anxiety ridden. 

Provide an ETA

Children don’t understand what- “I will see you 6 hours!”- mean. Explain the time in a manner that will make sense to your child like, “I will see you after play-time or snack time”. You could even have a countdown calendar until you see each other again, and it will be a fun way to note down the time passing by.

Leave without fanfare

Instead of having a long drawn out goodbye, keep it short and sweet. Give them a hug, take a deep breath and trust the caregiver to do the best for your child. Also, it will help your child if you manage to keep it together (stay strong mom!) when you walk away.

The most important thing is to make sure that your little one has a structure and routine. Give them loads of little extra hugs and kisses and by maintaining the same routine, you’re showing your child that everything is fine and that you will always come back to them even when you go away. We all cave in sometimes, so if you find yourself having drawn out goodbyes and breaking down while leaving your little one, cut yourselves some slack and simply try again the next time.

Written by: Arathi Aravind

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Healthy Vs. Yummy Food – How to find that perfect balance

Admit it, we’ve all gone through the eternal struggle of choosing either that green salad or the cheeseburger. And more often than not, the cheeseburger wins the battle!

When we as adults have such a hard time staying away from yummy but ultimately unhealthy food, can you really blame the little ones from wanting chips and chocolate instead of fruits and nuts? But what we can do is make healthy food yummy and fun for them instead of forcing them to eat that piece of broccoli!

Let’s take a look at how we can make healthy food go from ‘ho-hum’ to ‘va-vooom!” shall we?

  1. Get them involved
    Kids can be inspired to eat healthy when they are part of the planning process. Involve them when you go grocery shopping, and let them put things in the basket as per the grocery list. Take them out to that farmer’s market or let them accompany you when you’re planting something new in your vegetable garden at home. This will make them feel more responsible when and more connected when you cook that healthy snack for them. The more the involvement, the less you have to battle them into eating the meal!
  2. Choices, Choices!
    Kids love it when you give them the power to choose between things. Just make sure that you do it within reason and the foods that they have to choose from are actually healthy snacks and not things that are overladen with sugar! Give them more room to choose as they get older, and this way you will not get into a power struggle with your kids about healthy food or food in general.
  3. Food or art?
    Why not both? Get creative with food. You don’t have to be a top chef to turn something as simple as a whet pancake into a breakfast pop! If you have a dearth of ideas, there are plenty of creative ideas out there on the Internet than can turn your boring looking spinach wrap into an alligator! Give it a go and see how fast your little one gobbles it up.
  4. Hide and Sneak
    You can also sneak in healthy substitutes into your child’s meals. Replace bottled juice with homemade smoothies or juices, replace white sugar with brown sugar or suggest making pizza at home together rather than ordering in. Instead of regular potato chips, get baked tortilla chips and salsa. This will enable your child to have the things they like, but in a healthier setting.
  5. Grab and Go!
    Always keep healthy food at hand. Children usually eat what’s available, so keep fruit in a bowl on the counter and also eat healthy when you snack. The occasional chips or burger treat won’t feel as heavy when you know that the family has been eating healthy otherwise.
  6. No Labels Please!
    More importantly, don’t make them feel guilty about wanting the food that they like. Don’t label food as good or bad, but instead, tell them how certain foods would benefit them better by making them stronger at sports or helping them focus in class.

And remember that it’s okay to indulge once in a while. So pack that picnic basket, get out there in the sunshine and have a good time with your little ones!

Written by: Arathi Aravind

 

Nanny of the Month

Karen is our incredibly warm and friendly Nanny, whose passion lies with caring for children. She is an experienced ECE teacher, Postpartum Nurse, Summer Counsellor, Mother & Grandmother, so in theory she has done it all! She has tonnes of experience working with children of all ages however working with infants and newborns is her absolute favourite! She exudes a motherly energy and having cared for thousands of newborns, she is well versed in all things baby! Karen is super dedicated to empowering Mom’s & Dad’s, helping them, guiding them, educating them & of course making their little one’s life as happy & joyous as possible.

When it comes to the kids, Karen provides oodles of creative activities and an endless supply of board book, with her favourite being Goosie! Nanny Karen enjoys taking children out on walks, playing educational games, aiding in appropriate development whilst always ensuring a safety first approach. Self-confessed ‘Queen’ of cleaning, Karen is more than comfortable engaging in light housework, baking, cooking etc. She is also happy to care for your pets and bring them for walks with the children in her care. She drives and has a car.

Karen is returning to work after taking time to care for her own grandson and is hoping to find a loving family to work with. She lives by the motto ‘You never get a second chance to make a first impression’.

For those seeking another language, Karen speaks fluent Spanish in addition to her native tongue of English. – She is a superstar!