Posts Tagged ‘family’
Monday, November 28, 2011
GreatAuPair has always made it a priority to protect the safety of au pairs and their host families through our advanced security measures and Parent Editorial Team™ that carefully screens all profiles. The GreatAuPair.com web site provides the tools and support to allow families and au pairs to carefully screen each other as well as educational and security measures.
Now we would like to introduce a new organization created by au pair industry experts to promote global wareness through education and outreach. In response to the growing frequency of emotional and sexual abuse of au pairs, Talya Shoup Burnett, author of the popular au pair blog, Best Au Pair Guide, has partnered with Edina Stone, Founder and CEO of AuPairClearingHouse.com, a national U.S.-based consumer website, to create Prevent Exploitation of Au Pairs (P.E.A.P.). This new organization’s purpose is to raise awareness of the exploitation of au pairs, which is a growing problem worldwide.
Au pairs are a highly affordable means of childcare and are becoming increasingly popular for busy, professional families around the world. While most au pairs work in safe homes with good host families, many of them are at considerable risk for exploitation and human trafficking due to their youth and inexperience. Au pairs are frequently overworked and underpaid, and at times they are even emotionally and sexually abused.
P.E.A.P. was created to raise awareness of these issues and to prevent exploitation worldwide through education and outreach. By mobilizing au pair agencies, organizations, and families to join in the awareness campaign, the organization is hoping that au pairs can be made aware of how to react when something happens to them – what specific actions to take, who to call first, etc.
You can find more information about the mission and guiding principles of P.E.A.P. as well as contact information at the Au Pair ClearingHouse web site. Please help spread the word about this organization and visit P.E.A.P. on Facebook to lend your support and to share this page with the au pairs, host families, and agencies that you know.
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Last week I started a list of the many ways parents can show their nanny how much they value all of her dedication and hard work and why it is extremely important to do so. Below, please find the remainder of my list that will hopefully get you on your way to creating a great relationship with your child care provider. Please feel free to leave comments or any other suggestions you have, I would love to hear from you!
Try not to add duties. This is often referred to as the “job creep,” where families add on duties that were not agreed upon in the beginning. Some examples of these extra duties may include housekeeping, family errands, cooking, taking care of family pets, family laundry, etc. Keep in mind that while it is okay to ask your nanny or au pair if she would mind taking on an extra duty, she should also have the right to say no if she feels it will be too much. However, if she does agree to your request, this added workload should be matched with an appropriate amount of extra compensation.
Avoid a growing schedule. It is important to remember that your nanny or au pair most likely has a life outside of caring for your family and children. This is one of the reasons why it is best to avoid tacking on hours to the schedule you originally agreed upon. Your au pair or live-in nanny’s free time while she is not scheduled to be working should be just that, her time. We all need time to recharge, and it is extremely important to respect this, especially if your caregiver lives with you in your home. If you happen to have a child care provider who is okay with additional hours, be aware that you will have to compensate her fairly. Constantly coming home from work late could also be an issue that may eventually cost you the loss of your nanny or au pair. If you are going to be even 10 or 15 minutes late, a phone call or quick text message is always appreciated. You should also expect this kind of consideration from your nanny if she is ever late for any reason.
Don’t leave a messy house. It has always been my philosophy and my goal to leave my employer’s house cleaner and more organized when I leave for the day than it was when I came to work in the morning. I do this because I know firsthand, as a working mother myself, how difficult it can be to keep up your home when all you want to do is spend time with your children when you are not working. With this in mind, I also know how frustrating it can be as a nanny to walk into work one day and see that the house is a complete disaster. It is even more upsetting when I made an honest effort the previous day to leave it clean and tidy. My solution to this problem is to put aside 15 to 30 minutes on Sunday evenings to pick up the house while encouraging your children to help you if they are of the appropriate age. Children as young as two years old can begin to help with this task. Your nanny or aupair will more than appreciate your efforts to help her keep the house in order and will most likely be more inclined to do more to help in the future.
Be prepared. Nothing is more frustrating than walking into work and realizing that you are missing the essentials to get through your day. Some examples of this can be as small as not having enough baby formula for the day, not having enough diapers and wipes, or not having enough food in the fridge to feed the children. The very last thing your child care provider wants to have to do is load up all the children in the car and drag them to the local supermarket to get these things. You may ask her to keep a list of the things you are running out of, but in most circumstances it is your responsibility to make sure that they are purchased and in the home when she comes to work in the morning. It is also helpful to make sure they have other things, like a good stroller, diaper bag, bus fare, and sandbox toys available, to aid in caring for your children to the best of her ability. If you do not have the time to go out and purchase these items, sit down with your caregiver and ask her if she would mind going out and purchasing them for your family. If she agrees, be sure to research how much money she will need ahead of time, and provide a list for her to take with her to the store so nothing is forgotten.
A healthy nanny is a happy nanny. It is essential for your caregiver to be healthy in order for her to be able to perform the job she has been hired to do. Your part in helping with this should be to provide an agreed-upon number of paid sick days per year, which will enable her to be able to stay home and get well should an illness or injury arise. I have seen many different proposals for sick days in my career, and what it really boils down to is not only what is fair, but also what you are comfortable with. Just as important as providing these paid sick days is allowing your nanny or au pair to take them when needed without making her feel guilty for doing so. I can’t tell you how awful it is to wake up the morning before work with a stomach bug and have to call into work when I know my boss is going to be upset with me because I have inconvenienced them. You have to think of it from this prospective: If the caregiver comes into work when they are ill, not only will they not be able to care for your children the same way they would if they were well, but you run the risk of everyone in your household catching the bug as well. Make it clear to your nanny or au pair in the beginning of her employment with your family that you understand people get sick from time to time and that you will line up backup child care should she ever need to take a sick day or two.
It is my sincere hope that this blog will help you to create a wonderful working relationship with your caregiver and that it will become a tool you can look to should a problem ever arise. My advice is to make sure that you create a nanny/family agreement to ensure that all of these bases are covered. This will prevent most of these issues from ever happening and will help to establish both boundaries and your expectations up front. It might also be helpful to your family to have either a monthly or bimonthly review, where you evaluate your nanny’s or au pair’s job performance and she does a self-evaluation as well. Not only will this help to alleviate any issues that are arising, but it will also help to foster one of the single most important aspects of the nanny/family relationship: Communication.
Monday, March 14, 2011
The past nine years as a professional nanny have introduced me to some of the best baby and toddler products on the market. Today I’d like to share two products that not only have I had hands-on experience with, but I would say they are priceless lifesavers. I believe them to be some of the most innovative and helpful possessions you will ever own while raising your little ones. These products will help get your baby sleeping through the night as early as 12 weeks old and show you the best way to safely and effectively swaddle your baby to soothe fussiness.
The Woombie. Many years into my nanny career (while working for Nadya Suleman), I discovered this ingenious invention designed to swaddle a baby in a safer and more secure way, prohibiting him from getting any material close to his nose or mouth and, therefore, preventing accidental suffocation. When Nadya’s babies first came home from the hospital, they were so tiny that swaddling them in receiving blankets became a serious safety risk. After many weeks of not swaddling them at all and many nights of their startle reflexes waking them up, I decided to conduct research for a solution that would allow them to sleep more peacefully. After coming across the Web site and getting in contact with the developer and CEO of the company and explaining the situation to her, she was eager to help and immediately shipped out eight preemie-size Woombies. Within hours of putting them on, all eight of the babies were sleeping soundly in their cribs for up to five hours at a time!
Although not the most important aspect of the Woombie, they come in many different styles, colors, and different types of material. There is one made out of a lighter material for the summer months, one made out of heavier material for the winter months, and even one made out of all organic fibers. The Web site offers many other wonderful products to parents of newborns, such as the sleep donut (designed to provide a safe, clean, and comfortable place to lay your baby when you’re on the go). The Mo’Mo blankie is designed to be a pacifier holder and comfort blanket in one. I highly recommend you visit this wonderful Web site and, if nothing else, that you purchase the Woombie for your little one(s)! www.thewoombie.com
The Baby Sleep Solution. Are you a new mother or father of a newborn, wondering when you will ever be able to get a full night’s worth of uninterrupted sleep once again? Do you have an older child who suddenly isn’t sleeping completely through the night anymore? Not to worry! I promise you that this seemingly unattainable goal is much closer than you may think.
When I first discovered The Baby Sleep Solution by Suzy Giordano (also known as the Baby Coach), I was working as a live-out night nanny for newborn triplets. I was struggling to get them to sleep for more than one-hour stretches while working on getting them accustomed to sleeping together in the same room without waking each other up with every little cry or sudden movement. After many long and exhausting nights of walking up and down the hallways with three overtired and fussy babies in my arms, I decided to research online to find a solution that would allow both them and their parents to have peace and quiet in their home once again. That’s when I found Giordano’s eye-opening sleep-training book, read it in less than two hours, and started to implement it with the triplets. To make a long story short, all three of them were sleeping through the night for 12-hour stretches, as well as taking two one-and-a-half-hour naps during the day by 14 weeks old!
All of this was accomplished without using the crying-out method but, instead, by establishing a nightly bedtime routine and teaching the babies how to self-soothe without having to be picked up or fed. I highly recommend that if you don’t already have this book, go out and get your hands on it immediately! You can find it at your local bookstore or on Giordano’s Web site: http://www.babycoach.net/.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
The year was 1957; the program on television was Leave it to Beaver. This was the show that every woman was to watch, take notes, and then follow in June Cleaver’s lead. June was dedicated to her husband and family; her hobbies included needlepoint, cake decorating, and arranging tea roses. Her kitchen was immaculate even though it seemed like she was always cooking in it. June was always ladylike, wore the perfect amount of makeup to remain tasteful, and cleaned house in a party dress and pearls.
The year is now 2011; if you have a favorite show, it is recorded on the DVR and can be viewed when you have the “time” to watch it…wink-wink. If June Cleaverlike women still exist, I desperately want to meet them, but odds are not good in that favor. According to the US Department of Labor, women comprise 46.8 percent of the total U.S. labor force and are projected to account for 46.9 percent of the labor force in 2018.
Even though decades have passed since the Cleavers ruled our television screens, some working moms still have to deal with inappropriate comments directed toward them. The next time you’re talking to a working mom, remember that she is doing what is best for herself and her family, so think before you speak. Below are the top four things to never say to a working mom.
How can you trust someone else to watch your child?
This question is almost always followed with a news headline such as, “Nanny Kidnaps the Baby She Was Caring For.” So, if the mom wasn’t paranoid before, she sure is now. Realistically, you can’t protect your child 24 hours a day; soon enough they will be going to school, then to the mall with their friends, and, before you know it, they will be going out on their first date. As parents, we make the best decisions that we can, and in this century there are resources, such as criminal background and reference checking, that help assure parents that the person in charge of their child is trustworthy.
I would never let someone else raise my children!
Saying this to a woman will most definitely bring out the mama bear in her. Just because a mother is working to help support her family does not mean that she isn’t raising her children. A mother’s job isn’t necessarily to sit with her children 24 hours a day; it is to comfort them when they feel scared, encourage them when their confidence is low, tickle them when they need a giggle, and give them a high five when they score their first run in baseball.
Why did you choose to work when you have children at home?
First off, I don’t think anyone, moms or dads, would “choose” to work if they had the option. Being responsible is part of a parent’s job, and part of being responsible is bringing in enough money to have a roof over your head, pay the bills, and put food on the table for your family. I give major kudos to working moms who are out there every day earning money so they can provide their child with everything he or she needs.
When do you have time to spend with your children?
As a working mother of three, I make the time to spend with my children. Just because a woman is not with her children 24 hours a day does not mean that a working mother loves her children any less than a stay-at-home mom. I’m not knocking stay-at-home moms, because I have much respect for them as well, but we all make choices, sacrifices, and decisions based upon what we know to be best for our family.
So, the next time you encounter a working mother, give her a nice compliment on what a fine mother she is. This is the best way to ensure that your favorite working mother will have a great day!
For all of our hardworking moms and dads out there, rest assured that when you sign up for a GreatAuPair account, we make it safe to connect online through advanced security measures and a Parent Editorial Team™ that carefully screen all profiles. GreatAuPair’s proprietary 30-point anti-fraud system indentifies potentially abusive or fraudulent activity and eliminates it immediately. All U.S. based candidates receive a free background check, and you also have the option to run a criminal background check on any candidate that you are interested in, as well as contact their past references. The GreatAuPair Family always has and always will put your needs and safety first, no matter what.