Tips for Parents

What Should Our Nanny Do While We’re On Vacation?

Many parents are unsure of how to handle the Nanny situation while the family goes on summer vacation. Here are a few thoughts from Chirp.

The Importance of Daily Quiet Time

Chirp Connecting Families and Nannies The month of December can be a whirlwind. Between school events and holiday parties, families visiting and shopping for gifts, it’s no wonder everyone’s a bit worn out come January.

You may not be able to completely quell the holiday fuss, but a good way to help kids remain calm through it all is to build in a little quiet time each day. Not only does daily quiet time give parents and Nannies a much-needed breather, but it gives kids time to be self sufficient, and to develop their own skills and thoughts without worrying what anyone else is thinking.

So how does one go about incorporating this quiet time?

Naturally, if you begin a daily quiet time when kids are very young, it will become an expected part of their daily life.

For small children who are still napping, a good way to begin is to let them take a stuffed animal or board book to bed with them. If they don’t fall asleep, they may play with their toys in lieu of napping. When they wake up, they’ll get used to playing independently for a few minutes before calling out for attention.

For older children, let them know that you’re going to start incorporating a quiet time into each day to help everyone in the family relax. Begin with 15-30 minutes, and work your way up to an hour or more over time. Before quiet time, help your child select a few toys or books they would like to play with, and then set a timer so they know when quiet time will be over.

Three tips for a successful quiet time:

  1. Be consistent. If quiet time becomes a routine, there will be no question asked when the daily time comes. To make sure it sticks, try to have quiet time at the same time each day on every day that you’re home.
  2. Rotate activities. Help children choose what toys and books they want to play with during quiet time, and if siblings want to play with the same toys, make sure they rotate each day. Older children will know they are responsible for choosing something to entertain themselves, and there will be no excuses if they become bored.
  3. Be patient. Kids may take some time getting used to having a daily quiet time, and may come out of their room multiple times at first. Take the time to patiently walk them back to their room each time, and remind them that they need to stay there for the rest of quiet time. Eventually, they’ll realize that this is a daily activity that’s here to stay.

How do you incorporate daily quiet time in your household? Please share with us in the comments.

Photo Credit: Jessica Lucia/flickr

Happy Holidays from all of us at Chirp: Connecting Families and Nannies!

4 of our Favorite Peaceful Places in San Francisco

Don't let holiday stress wear you down, we’ve put together a list of our favorite peaceful places in the city to help you feel like you've gotten a little R&R—without leaving the 415 area code.

Mindfulness for Kids

Not only will being mindful of the present moment help kids relax, but mindfulness exercises help to develop concentration, self awareness and emotional regulation. Try these mindfulness exercises with your child today.

4 Financial Reasons to Consider Share Care

If you haven't yet heard of Share Care, you're missing out on a popular trend. Share Care is when two families share the cost of a single Nanny. This Nanny cares for the children in one or both of the family’s homes, and the families then split the cost of the Nanny’s salary. Sound good? It is. Not only is share care a great way for children to interact with each other and learn how to get along from a young age, it's a financially viable option for many families who may be unable to afford a private Nanny for their kids.

Read on to discover 4 financial benefits of Share Care. 

  1. Salary: With hourly rates for Nannies easily topping $23-25, some families may be unable to pay $900 - $1,000+ per week for 40 hours of childcare, but could probably afford half the Share Care rate of $30-40/hour if they shared a Nanny with another family.
  2. Benefits: Most families would love to give their beloved Nanny the benefits she deserves, such as medical and dental insurance, and even make contributions to the Nanny's retirement account. But even if families have the best intentions, other financial obligations can get in the way of Nanny benefits. With Share Care, families can split the cost of these benefits for the Nanny, ensuring that she's well taken care of, yet without a significant burden on either family's bank account.
  3. Nanny car: Sometimes parents provide a car for the Nanny to use while taking care of the kids. If you share a Nanny with another family, it could be convenient and cost effective if one of the two families has a Nanny car available. This way, one family would reimburse the other family for half the cost of  gas/wear/tear on the use of their Nanny car at the current government rates. If neither family has a Nanny car, you could split the cost of reimbursing the Nanny for costs incurred on her own vehicle if she uses it during her work hours.
  4. Telephone: Another expense parents sometimes forget is a Nanny phone. Whether you provide a cell phone to be used during work hours, or you reimburse your Nanny for calls and texts made on behalf of your family, splitting the cost of a phone bill with another family is just another great reason why you should consider Share Care.

Want to learn more about Share Care?  Attend one of Chirp's workshops at Natural Resources, 1367 Valencia St., San Francisco.  Information and scheduling:

 Photo credit: Travis Swan/flickr

10 Fun Ways to Get Kids Outside This Summer

It's scientifically proven that playing outside has many health benefits for children. Here are Chirp's top 10 tips for getting your kids to play outside this summer.