Archive for the ‘Nanny Activity Ideas’ Category
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
The holidays are a great time to have extra time for bonding with the children you care for. However, keeping them occupied can be quite stressful, too! Here are GreatAuPair’s ideas on how to keep kids busy, entertained, while maintaining a stress-free attitude this holiday season. Enjoy!
- Make a Wish-List: This is one way to have the kids come up with ideas for you! Make a wish-list together of things you’d like to do together over the holiday break. Be careful that the wishes don’t get too wild—a wish for an “all-day shopping spree” might not come true, so be sure to remind the children to keep their wishes realistic.
- Encourage Reading: Even though school’s out, the learning doesn’t have to stop! Take regular trips to the library, make reading seem fun under a homemade fort in the living room, and perhaps even offer a reward for a certain number of books read over the break. Librarians are also quite happy to help children find books they’d like, so use this resource to your advantage! If the children are too young to read, help them find fun books they’d like you to read aloud to them.
- Go Outside: Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy the outdoors. Depending on where you live, there might be cold-weather activities such a skiing or snowman-making to keep the kids occupied. If you’re in a more temperate climate, you may want to check out nearby hiking for older children. If you live in the United States, state parks often have children’s educational programs during the winter—some of these are even held indoors!
- Rock Climb: Rock climbing is a great skill to teach kids because it offers them a chance to problem solve, be active, and boost their self-confidence. There is nothing like getting to the top of a wall, looking down, and seeing what you’ve accomplished. If you’re not an experienced rock climber, check out nearby gyms that offer lessons, kids days/groups, etc.
- Arrange Play-dates: Coordinating play-dates with other neighborhood children can be an inexpensive and easy form of entertainment. It’s a good idea to have some games and snacks on-hand just in case.
- Get Crafty: Visit your local craft shop for ideas on fun projects. Or visit websites such as hwww.enchantedlearning.com/crafts and www.busybeekidscrafts.com/ to get ideas of crafts to make with everyday household items. Ask the kids for their ideas, too. They may have always wanted to try papier-mâché, making a hat, or even something as simple as a paper airplane.
Monday, April 25, 2011
Along with many other nannies and au pairs out there, I spend an extremely significant amount of time with my current charge. To be more specific, Maya, the sweetest and most adorable nine-month-old you will ever meet, is in my care Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., which is a total of 50 hours per week. We spend our days together filled with adventures at the zoo, fun-filled days at the children’s museum, and trips to various neighborhood coffee shops for music time. As if that weren’t enough to keep us busy, we also take a swim class twice a week and a baby sign language class once a week at the local community center. All of this time and interaction with one another has definitely formed a pretty amazing bond between the two of us. Nothing is better than walking into work every morning and being greeted by her crawling over to me, with her tiny arms raised into the air, almost begging to be picked up. What’s even better is that I am lucky enough to have the most wonderful mom boss who helps to foster the nanny-child connection and also believes that the bond her daughter and I have will have a tremendous impact on the other relationships she will form later on in life.
Throughout my years as a nanny, it is an honor to have been chosen by the families I have worked for to have such a great impact on the lives of their children. Next to their parents, it is my job and responsibility to provide these children with a sense of both emotional and physical security on a daily basis. I feel that because of this, it is my obligation to explain to parents during my interviews how important it is, for their children’s sake, to hire someone who will be in it for the long haul. What some nannies and even some parents don’t understand is that a sudden loss or change in caregivers can be a significant stressor for a child. When the child realizes that the attachment figure who was there to care for him when his parents were not able to can simply disappear, he may be more cautious in developing future relationships. My suggestion to both parents and nannies to prevent this from happening is to agree to work together for at least a year, if not more. This way it gives both the child and the nanny or au pair enough time to form a substantial bond, as well as the opportunity for them to create lasting memories together that the child will be able to draw upon once the caregiver is not an active part of his daily life.
Although I have addressed how difficult it can be for the children when a nanny has to leave her position with their family, it is also critical to note that this can be a very hard time for the adults involved as well. While I have been fortunate that all of my nanny positions have been for at least two years or more, I still see this career as being somewhat of a catch-22. Much like the children, I have become attached to and very fond of each and every child I have had the pleasure of caring for throughout the past nine years. It has been of the utmost importance for me to build both a nurturing and trusting relationship with them while also being mindful that all of these positions will eventually have an expiration date connected to them. When the time does come for this healthy codependent relationship to end, know that there are many fun and creative things you can do to help both the children and parents (and yourself) move forward once your position with them ends. Below are a few of my suggestions.
Create a photo album. Gather a few pictures that you have of the children and yourself together (take some if you don’t have any), and put them in a photo album for the children to always remember you by.
Create lasting memories. I have always made it a point to plan some sort of fun outing to do with the children I have cared for on my last day with the family. (Be sure to clear this with both mom and dad bosses.) This can be as simple as taking the children out to get ice cream or as elaborate as taking them to a local theme park for a day filled with fun food and rides.
Set up a future visit. If you live nearby, ask the parents if they wouldn’t mind setting up a time in the near future for you to come by and visit with the children. Not only will this help to alleviate the children’s temporary heartbreak of losing you as their nanny, but it will also give them something to look forward to. I have had the opportunity to go back and visit all of my previous charges and their parents and have also been lucky enough to babysit for each and every one of them on occasion!
In closing, I hope that I have given you a bit of insight about how important your role as a nanny or au pair is in the lives of the children you care for everyday, and how you can help to ease the transition when it is time for you to say your goodbyes. Always remember that your job is one of the most influential ones out there, and to take pride in the impact you are having on today’s future generation!
“A nanny shapes our children, in ways we will never know…they challenge and inspire them and prepare them as they grow.” –Anonymous
Thursday, December 30, 2010
So, it’s the week after the biggest holiday of the year, and I find myself letting out a sigh of relief yet feeling a little sad at the same time. We spend months preparing for this day—finding the perfect gifts, wrapping them with the prettiest bows, and cooking like crazy! It is a joyous feeling being able to see the reactions on my kids’ faces when they open those presents they wrote Santa for, but it is all too quickly reversed when, several days later, I hear the infamous words that I dread so much: “Mom, I’m bored; there is nothing to do!”
In most parts of the world, children are off from school until after the New Year, and if they are anything like mine, they are always looking for something to do. So, while I should be mad that my kids have pushed aside the toys I had to fight for (literally), I remind myself that there will be a time when I wish my children would come to me and ask me to play with them. I know that all too quickly, they will be teenagers and rather hang out with their friends. With that thought in mind, I play whatever it is that they want to play, be it building with blocks, imagining that I am the evil queen who has them locked in a tower surrounded by hungry alligators, or building a spaceship out of a leftover television box (you know that one, the one that the man of the house insists he needs even though there are three other functioning televisions throughout the house).
When I run out of ideas, one of my favorite places to find new creative activities for the kids is Funology.com. This Web site is full of boredom busters, creative recipes, magic tricks, and weird science projects, along with many other types of activities for almost every age group and is appropriate for boys and girls. Here are a few ideas I’m going to try out:
- Make Your Own Battery. How handy and fun this could turn out to be, as we always seem to need batteries in my home but can never seem to find them. This project will be perfect for my older son, who is eight and loves anything that has to do with science. All you need to complete this project is five dimes or nickels, five pennies, paper towels, lemon juice, and a glass plate.
- Purse-onalized Bag. My daughter is always rummaging through my closet looking for purses, makeup, and jewelry. So, maybe if we create one of her very own purses out of one of my old ones, I can lure her from going through my stuff…for a little while, anyway. For this project you will need an old plain bag or purse, beads, glue gun, jewels, puffy paint, and scissors.
Another option is to check with your local community center, as they may have activities to to keep your kids entertained for a few hours. If you are in one of those areas with lots of snow this week, head on out for some sledding or ice skating.
Whatever you decide to do with your children, make it fun and memorable!
The GreatAupair Family
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Snow day themes seem to be common place in January, and for those great au pairs and nannies looking for some inside day craft ideas our friends at Activity Village have a delightful one. Their Lolly Stick Snowmen are simple to create and make great gift tags, bookmarks, and even stick puppets.
You will need:
- A wide popsicle (lolly stick)
- White paint
- Black pen
- Scraps of black and orange card
- Piece of thin ribbon.
Paint the stick white and put aside to dry. With the black pen draw on some dots for eyes, a mouth and buttons. Cut out a hat from the black card and a carrot nose from the orange card and glue on. Finally, tie a piece of ribbon around the stick as a scarf and stick it in place with a spot of glue.
This past weekend my children and I created an entire snow stick family. Nannies, if you create this craft please send us a photo and we may post it here !
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Every child sighs in awe the first time they witness the unfolding of a paper chain. It’s ‘paper magic’. This variation of a classic activity is sure to make you adored as the best nanny ever.
You will need:
Large sheet of brown paper (if you can’t get brown paper, do as we did and paint some white paper brown)
Fold the paper concertina style. Draw a man shape side by side three times on the front of the paper, making sure the hands touch the folded edges. Cut out the man shapes.
Decorate the gingerbread men with the glitter glue and black pen.
Special thanks to the Activity Village for sharing another wonderful project and being a great resource for nannies and aupairs.