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.

7 Tips to Help Nannies De-Stress

Let’s face it…caring for children is a wonderful occupation, but it can be daunting at times. Between toddler tantrums, financial worries and communicating about difficult situations with your employer, it’s no wonder that many Nannies feel overwhelmed and burned out—especially around the holidays.

This Thanksgiving, focus on what you love about your job and what aspects of it make you grateful. And if you still feel stressed, consider these seven tips to help you lower stress levels and feel happier on the job.

  1. Take care of yourself. Nannies are constantly thinking of other people, and making sure their needs are being met. But what about your needs? Eating healthy, getting plenty of exercise, sleep and water is important to ensure you have the energy for your job, but it’s also vital to ensure you remain healthy both physically and emotionally.
  1. Focus on one task at a time. When people multitask, it may appear that they’re getting many things done at once, but in reality, those things may not be getting done well or completely. By focusing solely on one task at a time, you’ll feel more present, less scattered, and you’ll get a sense of accomplishment that you’ve done your best. This may not always be possible when you’re with two kids who need different things at the same time, but it’s a good goal to strive for.
  1. Connect with other Nannies. Talking with people who are going through the same situations that you are can be incredibly cathartic. 
  1. Leave work at work. Many people are guilty of taking work home with them, even Nannies. You may not actually take the kids home with you, but stressing about things that happened at work during your off hours can make it feel like you’re working 24 hours a day. When you step out of your employer’s door, take a deep breath, and resolve not to think about work until you step back through the door again tomorrow.
  1. Communicate with your employer. Keeping one’s feelings bottled up can be detrimental in many relationships, and the Nanny/Parent relationship is no exception. If you feel like you’re working too many hours because the parents constantly get home late, are worried to ask for a day off, or are stressed about any aspect of your job that could potentially be resolved through a conversation, make it a point to get that conversation started as soon as possible.
  1. Have a financial cushion. Many Nannies feel stressed about their finances because they are living paycheck to paycheck. By taking the time to create a budget, live within your means and begin saving for a rainy day and retirement, you’ll fee more in control of your life and better able to handle stressful situations as they arise. Watch this space for more information about Financial Planning for Nannies workshops coming next year.
  1. Focus on the things you love about your job. When everything seems to be going wrong at once, it’s easy to focus only on the negative. But it’s during times like those that it’s important to focus on the things you love about your job and the reasons why you became a Nanny in the first place. By remembering the positive, it becomes much easier to remember that the negative is only temporary.

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

Photo credit: Travis Swan/flickr

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:  https://www.naturalresources-sf.com

 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.

Sunscreen vs. UV Protective Clothing: Which is Best for Your Family?

Is sunscreen or UV protective clothing more effective to protect your children from the sun's rays? Chirp investigates.

A Question of Values: When Nannies and Parents Differ

Gone are the Mad Men days where a mother’s life revolved around childcare and the home. In today’s society, 67% of children under the age of five are in the care of someone other than their mother for large amounts of their waking hours. This fact of modern life presents new challenges in the arena of instilling values such as independence, kindness and self-control in young children. Now more than ever before, someone other than the child’s parents is given responsibility for imparting personal and cultural values, and this shift could pose challenges when the caregiver’s values differ from those of the parents.

The question of values and who is responsible for teaching them is a vast one, but it’s an issue necessary for nannies and families to visit often. Chirp’s founder Alyce Desrosiers recently addressed this important issue at this year’s International Nanny Association conference in Cancún, Mexico, and shares a summary of her presentation below.

Nannies walk a fine line when teaching values to the children in their care. While some values are universally accepted (i.e. kindness), others can prove to be more conflicting (i.e. independence vs. interdependence). While it’s important for parents and nannies to maintain personal integrity and stay true to personal values, if those values are at odds, there’s a good chance a disagreement between nanny and parents will soon develop. How can nannies and parents retain their personal integrity while imparting the values most important to them?

Good nannies want to care for their ‘charges’ according to the parent’s values. That is why it’s important nannies keep an open dialogue with the parents and discuss the following points.

  • Make sure you clearly understand your own personal values and recognize the ways in which you teach those to young children.
  • Have a conversation with the parents. It’s important to know what values are the most important to them as you work to help raise their child according to those principles.
  • Identify similarities and differences in values and how they are taught during the everyday routines of caring for the children.

Working through differences and coming to a compromise that both nannies and parents can feel good about is vital. After all, what good is it to teach children about what is important in the world if you don’t lead by example?


Photo Credit: Travis Swan/Flickr

Safe and Sound: Important Authorization Forms Every Family Needs to Use

When you leave your child in the care of a nanny, there are some important forms to fill out in order to ensure that your nanny has the ability to carry out her job properly and legally. The Authorization to Treat a Minor authorizes a physician to treat your child during a medical emergency, and the Driver Authorization form allows your nanny to legally drive your children to school and other activities during your absence.

Five Keys to Staying Cool When Disaster Strikes

Whether it’s the next “big one,” a flood or other type of natural disaster, the more prepared you are, the better the chance that you and your family will emerge from the disaster unscathed. Here are Chirp’s top five tips for being prepared in the face of a natural disaster

Nanny Knowledge: Medical Emergencies on the Job

Chirp has identified three levels of medical emergencies that can occur with children and provides an overview of how to handle each level.

How to Find the Perfect Pediatrician: An Interview with Diana Montgomery, MD

Choosing a pediatrician to entrust with your child’s health can be a daunting experience. Chirp has interviewed San Francisco pediatrician Diana Montgomery, MD to help you make the process of choosing a pediatrician for your child as painless as possible.