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50 Tips for Starting Your Nanny Relationship off Right

Posted on by Erin

Finding just the right nanny to fit in with your family is no small task, which makes it even more important to start the relationship off on the right foot once you do secure her. The 50 tips compiled here will help ensure your relationship starts off right and stays on track, so you can rest assured your nanny is happy and your children are in good hands.

  • Have a written job description. Nanny Network outlines different things you might want to include when you write a job description for your nanny.
  • Outline your nanny role. The Nanny Doctor explains the importance of being clear about your expectations and how you want things done. Be sure to explain any pet peeves you may have, so your nanny is able to avoid them.
  • Screen your caregiver. According to Childcare About, you should ask a lot of questions when you screen potential nannies and check all of the references you’re given.
  • Hire the right person. Finding the perfect caregiver is tough; Huffington Post encourages employers to ask plenty of questions to make sure the nanny is right for both your child and for you.
  • Observe wage laws. The Law reviews all of the wage law details you will need to know when hiring a nanny.
  • Comply with tax laws. Parents explains how you can get in trouble by not paying taxes.
  • Have a work agreement in writing. You can find suggestions about what to include in a family/nanny work agreement on eNannysource.
  • Remember there is a honeymoon period. Keep in mind that your nanny will be trying to make a good impression in the beginning; if you find that you don’t like something she is
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    doing, I Saw Your Nanny suggests discussing it with her openly.

  • Encourage communication. Make time to talk to your nanny and ask how things are going, says Kate Spenser.
  • Have your nanny keep a journal. A daily journal allows you to stay up to date on what your kids are doing and gives your nanny a place to write down any questions or concerns she has, explains Optimom.
  • Hold weekly touch base meetings. Nanny Insider points out that including weekly or monthly meetings in your work contract helps everyone stay on the same page.
  • Show gratitude. Parents Nanny Voice suggests telling your nanny when she is doing a good job to build a strong relationship with her.
  • Address any issues as they come up. The New York Times reports that strong women have trouble communicating with their nanny. It’s important that you tell your nanny if there is a problem.
  • Come home on time. Respect your nanny’s time and call ahead of time if you are going to be late. Park Slope Parents also suggests keeping timesheets so that everyone knows the hours worked.
  • Avoid job creep. Nanny Biz explains job creep, which is when an employer asks for a favor and then the task becomes an expected part of the job. If you need your nanny’s job responsibilities to change, discuss updating your work agreement with her.
  • Tell your nanny thank you. The Parent Guru warns that nannies who don’t feel appreciated may start looking for another job. Showing gratitude and saying thank you can be very different, and both are appreciated.
  • Encourage the nanny/child relationship. Forbes explains that it’s better for the child if both the mother and nanny can encourage a trusting relationship between the nanny and child.
  • Deal with jealously on your own time. Global Post points out that nannies and their chargers have to bond to have trust; don’t take it personally.
  • Have boundaries. Whether you have a live-in or live-out nanny, boundaries are important; Cambridge Nanny Group recommends discussing both your boundaries and hers.
  • Be professional. As a boss, you need to speak to your nanny in a pleasant manner and treat her as a professional, says Babble. It’s easy for relationship lines to blur when the caregiver is living in the home.
  • Be respectful of your nanny’s time off. Part-time Nanny points out that your nanny needs down time too; she is more likely to do her job well when she is well rested.
  • Don’t add extra duties without discussing extra pay. Always be up front about any added duties so your nanny doesn’t feel like you are taking advantage of her, recommends Aunt Emma.
  • Avoid changing your nanny’s schedule without asking. Parent Talk urges parents to talk to their nanny as soon as they know a schedule change will be happening to show you respect her personal time.
  • Don’t raise your voice to your nanny. Baby Zone points out that respecting your nanny is your number one tool for creating a good relationship, so treat your nanny as you would want to be treated at work.
  • Pay your nanny on time and a fair wage. Yahoo Shine explains that you typically get what you pay for, so if you want someone with a degree you had better be prepared to pay better than minimum wage.
  • Round up on your nanny’s paycheck. If your nanny works over by half an hour, you may want to consider rounding up to an hour, suggests The Nanny Web. Little things that you do will come back to you in a happier nanny.
  • Give your nanny an annual review. Go Nannies recommends giving your nanny an annual review to discuss what she’s doing well and where she can improve.
  • Talk to your nanny about changing rules. It’s important to change the contract that you have with your nanny if you will be changing her job responsibilities or the house rules, according to Black, White and Grey.
  • Back up your nanny’s discipline. You need to back up your nanny’s disciplinary actions to help reinforce her role in the household, says Discipline.
  • Provide paid sick time and holidays. Offering paid time off for illness and holidays is a smart way to create a positive relationship with your nanny, according to Club Mom.
  • Reward her at the end of the year with a bonus. While you are not required to give your nanny a bonus, it is one way to strengthen the relationship, advises Homework Solutions.
  • Trust that your nanny knows her job. Nannies typically come to the job with a lot of experience and training; Cambridge Nanny Group explains that you can trust your nanny’s skills.
  • Recognize the nanny’s big events. Nanny recognition week is in September, according to Regarding Nannies; it would be a nice gesture to do something sweet for your nanny during this week or for other big events she celebrates.
  • Remember the nanny’s birthday. Reason for God points out that you should give your nanny gifts every so often, such as on her birthday.
  • Make sure the rules are clearly explained. Setting ground rules with your nanny can ensure that everyone is on the same page, explains Self Growth.
  • Offer medical insurance as a job perk. If you want to keep your nanny, Mommy Bites says to consider offering health insurance.
  • Give your nanny guaranteed hours. Nanny Biz explains how guaranteed hours work and why it’s so important that you pay your nanny for them, whether you need her or not.
  • Provide professional development classes. If your nanny is willing to take classes to improve in her job, like those offered by Project Bond, it would be a nice gesture to pay for them.
  • Help your nanny stay organized. If you have several people that need to be aware of upcoming events, use a digital or physical calendar to keep everyone in the loop, says The Charlotte Observer.
  • Listen to your nanny’s ideas. Nannies are often well-educated about children, and you will make her day by asking for her advice or using her ideas, say My Majors.
  • Don’t drag your nanny into your personal issues. Putting the nanny in the middle of marital issues can make everyone uncomfortable, warns The Guardian. Keep your private life private and expect your nanny to do the same.
  • Try not to take advantage of your nanny. Ganz World urges parents to avoid asking for a bunch of favors without adequate compensation. Your nanny wants to please you and will pitch in where she can, but don’t make a habit of it.
  • Maintain a pleasant relationship, but avoid being too personal. Wall Street Journal points out that you are the employer, not your nanny’s mom or best friend, and it’s important to maintain those boundaries no matter how much you like her.
  • Don’t use a nanny cam. Using a hidden camera to spy on your nanny could damage your nanny relationship beyond repair, explains Top Ten Reviews.
  • Be consistent with dietary rules. If the rule is no sugar, then neither the parents nor the nanny should give the child sugar, says She Knows.
  • Have realistic expectations. Buckingham Nannies and Domestics explains the importance of ensuring your nanny isn’t overwhelmed. Try not to stretch her too thin.
  • Help your nanny adjust to the job. Superpages reminds parents to give a new nanny time to adjust to her new role.
  • Get to know your nanny. Taking time to get to know your nanny is especially important if she is from a different country, advises Super Nannies. How she reacts or communicates may differ from how you do.
  • Do not reprimand the nanny or question her in front of the kids. Nanny Robina suggests keeping your tone neutral if an incident occurs and you need to ask her questions about it. Get all of the facts before you correct something the nanny has done.
  • Don’t micromanage your nanny. Your nanny knows her business – otherwise you wouldn’t have hired her. Unnecessary Wisdom says to let her do her job.

The key to a strong relationship with your nanny is to respect her, be professional and keep an open line of communication. By doing these things you can start your relationship off on the right foot and overcome any hurdles you encounter along the way.christian louboutin online,ralph lauren polo shirts,louis vuitton uk,michael kors outlet uk,wedding dresses online shop

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100 TV Free Activities

Posted on by Erin

Kids’ watching too much TV has become a hot topic in recent years, especially with the added weight gain that seems to come hand in hand with this sedentary activity. There’s even been some talk about a potential connection between television and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). According to Psych Central, researchers in New Zealand have found that if a child watches more than two hours of television per day between the ages of 5 to 11, the chances of developing symptoms of ADHD are higher than for those kids who didn’t. To keep your child busy and away from the television, try out these 100 TV free activities. Cooking with Kids Michelle Roberts from CBSin Boston writes that kids who get involved in cooking are more likely to eat healthy foods. And who doesn’t want their kids to eat a healthier diet? These 10 sites explain how to involve your kids in cooking and detail how to make each recipe. Remember that the kids will need adult supervision for any recipes that require the stove or sharp knives.

  • Let the kids whip up the Chocolate Marshmallow Puffs found on Children’s Recipes for a tasty dessert or snack.
  • Vegetable Tamales with Red Chile Sauce is a simple recipe the kids can make for lunch or dinner, says Cooking with Kids.
  • Get the kids cooking with this pepperoni pizza pocket. It’s a step up from making a normal pizza, but still simple enough for the kids to make; recipe found on Food Network.
  • Each recipe that you make with your child works on different skills that he can learn in the kitchen. To work on measuring, try these yogurt biscuits from Disney Family.
  • Break out of your normal pizza rut and get in the kitchen with the kids when you make this BLT pizza from Spoonful.
  • You’ll open up a whole new world of flavors for the kids with this Pineapple-Mango Salmon recipe from Parenting.
  • Simplify your meal by using a canned spaghetti product in this Pepperoni Spaghetti Bake from Chef Boyardee.
  • Ready for some comfort food? Get the kids to make up a batch of Chicken Corn Chowder on a cold day and hear everyone rave. Find the directions on Spatulatta.
  • Combine a couple of dishes that kids usually like by making the Chili Mac from TLC.
  • Having people over to watch the big game? Get the kids involved by making BBQ Yogurt Dip from Cabot.

Pretend Play According to Psychology Today, pretend play is important for cognitive development in children. Pretending allows children to become someone else and helps them work on their social skills. Learning the difference between what’s real and what’s pretend is also important for cognitive development and requires a lot of imagination, both of which are beneficial for children. Take a look at these 10 sites that explain further how you can encourage pretend play with your kids.

  • According to Scholastic, pretend play helps develop social and emotional skills. To enhance these skills, have a tea party with dolls and stuffed animals.
  • Bring out the dolls and play house. Children Need to Play explains that pretend play builds problem solving, abstract thought and language skills.
  • Play dress up with the kids. When kids ‘try on’ different personalities it helps them build both vocabulary and their confidence, according to Preschoolers.
  • Break out the play tools and ask your child to fix the leaky faucet in their play kitchen. The Stay at Home Educator calls this ‘dramatic play’ that helps kids develop intellectual, social, emotional and physical skills.
  • Drag out the blocks and encourage your child to build a city. It may not seem like kids learn a lot by playing with blocks, but they are. According to Parents, kids are learning the weight of the blocks, the size and which methods of stacking work and which don’t.
  • Take some cues from the
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    kitchen and make pretend cupcakes with your child. Mix up some play dough, grab some cupcake wrappers and get busy. No Time for Flash Cards says this activity incorporates shape and color learning.

  • Plant a fake garden and take care of it. By using artificial flowers, Styrofoam and a watering can your child can plant, weed and water a garden. Learning 4 Kids explains that pretend play encourages imagination and allows kids to start to learn real life roles.
  • Have your child pretend that he is running a pet store. Give him some simple props, like brown paper sacks for food bags and some crayons to decorate them. Bring out the stuffed animals and let the play begin. Simple Kids encourages pretend play that mimics real life experiences to work on social skills.
  • Play doctor. Since kids will have to go to the real doctor from time to time it may help to play doctor with them so that they know what to expect. This idea comes from Kids Activities Blog.
  • Create different play centers for your kids or prompt different real life scenarios like the ones shown on Dramatic Play. One day your kids can run a pretend bakery and another day they can be a knight in a castle. This allows kids to work on their personalities.

Craft ProjectsEncourage the kids to get creative and use their imaginations by doing some craft projects. If it seems like a project is going to be messy, save yourself some cleanup time later by putting down a vinyl tablecloth before you get started. These 10 craft projects are inexpensive, and many use items that you probably have at home right now. Creative projects will help grow your child’s imagination.

  • Challenge your child to build a rocket using recycled items from around the house. Recycling is not only beneficial for both the environment and your wallet, it also forces your child to use his imagination. Get rocket ideas from Martha Stewart.
  • Paint a sunburst using water colors, a ruler and other tools you have around the house. According to Small for Big, this art project allows the child to use both his right and left brain skills.
  • Grab some pipe cleaners, an egg carton, some markers and googly eyes and let your child create as many animals as he can. Some animal ideas can be found on Enchanted Learning to get him started.
  • Make tissue paper flower corsages with your child. Watch the video on PBS to learn how.
  • Take some paper and a pencil and trace your child’s feet and then your own. Let your child color the feet and cut them out says Family Education. These foot prints can be turned into animals or other things that allow your child to exercise his creativity.
  • Make up a batch of scented play dough for your child to get creative with and he will stay busy for hours. Find the recipe and directions on Lil Sugar.
  • Create some melted plastic suncatchers using inexpensive pony beads you may already have at home. The Artful Parent explains how your child can put the beads into a muffin tin or cake pan, heat them in the oven and then let them cool for a beautiful suncatcher.
  • Get the kids busy by letting them create a mosaic out of things that you may have lying around the house, says Let the Children Play.
  • Grab some contact paper and your recycling bin and let the kids create their own sculpture made out of recycled items. The Imagination Tree suggests adding buttons to the mix of items you give the kids as long as they won’t try to swallow them.
  • Use up some of that tissue paper you’ve kept from all of those gift bags and let your child make this Tissue Paper by Number project from Craft Project Ideas.

Home Science ExperimentsScience experiments can be a lot of fun for kids. Depending on how old your child is you can let him be more hands on or you can do most of the experiment. You may want to read the experiment in full before you do it so that you can explain to your child what is happening. There’s no reason the kids can’t learn some science while they do these 10 activities.

  • Make some Lava in a Cup for a homemade lava lamp. The directions and some scientific questions can be found on Science Bob.
  • Combine science and imaginative play by writing invisible messages using lemon juice and pretending you are a spy. Learn how to read the invisible ink on Kidzworld.
  • Get ready for a mess when you and your child make ‘Elephant Toothpaste’ at home. This amazing experiment is explained on Preschool Powol Packets.
  • You may have seen colored carnations and roses before, but have you seen blue or orange stalks of celery? Try this fascinating experiment at home by following the directions found on Teaching Tiny Tots.
  • Get raisins to dance by trying this interesting experiment! Directions on SciFun.
  • Have you heard how different Ivory soap is from other soaps? If you haven’t, you might try this experiment where you put a bar into the microwave. According to Bebe a la Mode Designs, it can get pretty messy, but it’s awesome to watch.
  • Make a tornado in a bottle and let your kids spin them over and over again. You probably have all of the ingredients on hand, according to the list on Science Kids.
  • This stuff made from corn starch and water has many names, but Exploratorium calls it Outrageous Ooze.
  • You will want to do this experiment outside because it’s going to get messy. Get a tube of Mentos candy and a 2 liter of Diet Coke to create your own geyser, says Steve Spangler Science.
  • If your kids like bouncy balls, they will love making their own by following the directions on Come Together Kids.

Outdoor ActivitiesIf the weather is suitable, try to get the kids outside. Not only will the fresh air do them good, but it will give you a bit of a break. Mix up a batch of liquid chalk and let the kids get artistic. Have an impromptu treasure/scavenger hunt by putting out all the letters in the alphabet and asking the kids to find something for each letter from inside or outside the house. Another fun activity would be to create a bike and scooter obstacle course. For more fun ideas, check out these 10 sites.

  • Make your own liquid chalk and then send the kids get outside to paint some pictures. When they are done they can wash them away with the hose, says Domestic Charm.
  • Have an alphabet treasure hunt like the one shown on Boys Germs, where letters are put out and the kids have to find one item per letter before they finish the hunt.
  • Take an old pool noodle and cut it in half lengthwise, then let the kids take it outside and use it to have races. You can use marbles, golf balls or matchbox cars. This idea is explained further on Passionate Penny Pincher.
  • Is plain old tic-tac-toe getting boring for the kids? How about a larger version played outside with Frisbees instead? Find all the details on A Turtle’s Life for Me.
  • Get the kids to work on spelling without even knowing it by playing Scrabble in the yard. Just follow the directions on Constantly Lovestruck.
  • Grab some paper and crayons and do some rubbings. Kids who have never done this before will be amazed at how cool this is. A deeper explanation can be found on The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.
  • Gather up two jump ropes and get the kids to play Double Dutch. Rules on how to play can be found on Skipping Australia.
  • If the weather is nice, send the kids outside at night to look at the stars. Learn more about stargazing at Kids Astronomy.
  • If your kids are old enough to ride a bike or have scooters, create an obstacle course in your drive-way using chalk and cones. See more ideas on how to do this on Home Grown Families.
  • Let the kids camp in the backyard. Whether they just play in the tent during the day or you let them sleep out there at night is up to you. How Stuff Works has more ideas on camping in the backyard.

Nature Activities Take a walk around the neighborhood or at a local park to check out nature. Whether you are bird watching or collecting leaves you can learn something about the world around you. Grab a sheet of paper and a pencil and have the kids draw a leaf or a bird that they see. If you want to get more involved in a long term project, help the kids plant a garden. These 10 sites are full of more ideas for having fun in nature.

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  • Create this simple memory game with leaves from Teaching Mama. You will need to gather two leaves from four types of trees to get started.
  • There are shapes all around us, and kids can work on recognizing these shapes in nature by trying the nature activity on American Forest Foundation.
  • Plant a garden with the kids. It doesn’t have to be a huge garden and can even be a container garden if you live in an apartment. Read Earth Easy for more details on how to get started with your kids.
  • Encourage your child to start bird watching. Check out Bird Source to learn about the great Bird Count that takes place in February.
  • Make a nature sensory bin for your toddlers to enjoy. Go for a walk in nature and bring back various things with different textures that would be fun for a child to touch. More ideas and an example can be found on Growing a Jeweled Rose.
  • Help your child start a rock collection. The tips on In Lieu of Preschool can get you started.
  • Older children can create an instrument using items found in nature and a few things found around the house. The directions to make a Sistrum can be found on Daria Music.
  • Collect items on a nature walk and create woodland people or nature fairies, as shown on Red Ted Art.
  • Plant a sunflower play house for the kids by following the directions on Lasso the Moon.
  • Go on a treasure hunt known as geocaching. You can download the GPS coordinates and then start your hunt. More details can be found on Messy Kids.

SongsAccording to Matthew Freeman, development manager for “Sing Up”, music and singing are not only fun for kids, but they also help them developmentally. “Sing Up” is a program that pairs music with education to help improve learning in children. Kids will retain more information if it is set to music than if they learn the information alone, says Freeman. These songs are not only a way to keep the kids away from the TV, but also a way to teach them something valuable. Check out the songs on these 10 sites and see how many you know.

  • Find a bunch of nursery rhyme songs on Kids Songs, like Hey Diddle Diddle and Hickory Dickory Dock.
  • You can download midi files for each of the songs found on National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences for Kids.
  • Songs like Wheels on the Bus and Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes can be listened to on Learning Games for Kids.
  • If your child is learning the alphabet, the songs about letters found on Between the Lions might make learning them more fun.
  • If you’re looking for clean, fun songs for your tween to listen to in lieu of the racier songs on the radio, check out the ones found on She Knows.
  • Play action songs for your little ones to get them moving and singing. Find nine such songs on Learn English Kids.
  • You can find the lyrics to many of the kid songs you grew up listening to on Kid Songs, including action songs, cowboy songs and animals songs.
  • School House Rock songs, which cover everything from numbers to shapes to conjunctions, can be found on All Music.
  • Teach your kids traditional campfire songs, like Kumbaya, If You’re Happy and You Know It and many others, on Song Drops.
  • Give your child a head start by teaching him songs from summer camp like Bingo and Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean, found on Ultimate Camp Resource.

Reading TitlesReading to your child will not only help him improve his literacy, it will also help him learn how to listen, how to use his imagination and different vocabulary words. As kids get older and start to follow along in the book, they begin to understand that books are read left to right and top to bottom. These 10 sites contain short stories and book suggestions.

  • Find hundreds of bedtime stories to share with your child on Bedtime.
  • On East of the Web you can search for stories that you may have heard when you were young, like The Boy Who Cried Wolf and The Frog Prince.
  • Classic short stories can be found on Kids Gen, like The Snow Queen or The Miser.
  • The Telegraph shows a list of the top 25 best children’s books, and has titles such as The Tale of Peter Rabbit and The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
  • You can find stories like Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella and The Three Little Pigs on American Literature.
  • On Short Story you can find many of the Mother Goose stories, including Billy Goats Gruff and Little Miss Muffet, and you can read them or have your child listen to the audio file.
  • Seussville is a site that features games, activities and books from Dr. Seuss. You can play the games for free and find descriptions of the different books so that you can download them or get the book for a fee. These books can also be checked out at the library at no cost.
  • Check out the Berenstain Bears books, which cover just about every milestone in a young cub’s life, like the first trip to the dentist and going away to camp.
  • Read reviews of popular children’s books and series on Best Children’s Books.
  • The American Library Association has put together a list of the best books from 2013, so if you are looking for newer books you may want to check out the list.

GamesTeach your kids a new game and encourage them to get some exercise. Games like tag get kids off the couch and active. Maybe you remember some games from your childhood that you can share with your kids. If it’s raining or cold out, break out the board games. To get some game ideas, read through these 10 descriptions.

Online Educational GamesSome people would say that screen time on a computer is the same as watching TV, but if you monitor how much time your child spends on the computer he can still benefit from playing educational games online. Many of these games work on hand/eye coordination, keyboarding skills, mouse skills and math and English. So when you are trying to get your child to watch less TV, don’t forget that playing games on the computer can be a beneficial way to spend some time as long as it’s not excessive. Check out these 10 educational gaming sites for yourself and see what you think.

  • Your preschooler can get online and play games like Pups Save the Day and Dora’s Adventures on Nick Jr.
  • Let your kids play online and learn about animals on Sheppard Software. These games cover different animals and habitats.
  • Get the kids to play Marble Math or one of the other learning games on ABCya! and they won’t even realize they are learning.
  • Fun Brain has tons of fun, educational games like Math Baseball that your child can play.
  • Learning Games for Kids has a variety of games for kids, from color mixing to making music.
  • Primary Games has games for different subjects, such as spelling, math and physics, so no matter what your child is working on you can find a game for him.
  • If your child is just starting to learn to read, the site Starfall is the perfect place to learn letters, sounds and simple words.
  • Knowledge Adventure has games for many different subjects and you can choose the game by your child’s age or grade.
  • Fisher Price is a trusted name in children’s toys, and now they have an online site where your child can play games about numbers, shapes and colors.
  • Let your kids practice site words by playing on Spelling City. There are games for vocabulary words and more.

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100 of the Best Websites for Kids’ Activities

Posted on by Erin

Computers have gotten a bad reputation as of late, especially when it comes to the amount of time kids are spending in front of them playing games and wasting time. However, not all screen time is bad, and the time your kids spend on the computer can be both educational and beneficial in many different ways. You can find computer-based educational games, projects, activities, books and much more for kids of all ages, making any time they spend in front of the computer screen time that’s well spent. These 100 sites will provide an extensive list of sites that you and your kids can investigate and try out at your leisure.     

Preschool Games and Activities Online

Young children have a knack for picking up on technology quickly, and can become very adept at using the computer in a relatively short amount of time. Playing online gives your child a stimulating way to learn his numbers, letters, sounds and much more simply by listening and interacting with the games. The colorful, animated qualities of these online games make them entertaining for young users, and learning to use a computer early on will prepare your child for the real world ahead of him. For plenty of preschool games, check out these 20 posts.christian louboutin sale,ralph lauren sale,louis vuitton bags outlet,cheap michael kors handbags sale,cheap wedding dresses online

  • Nick Jr. This well-rounded site has educational games, animated stories and much more to entertain your non-reader.
  • Disney Jr. There are tons of games available on this site, along with puzzles and online coloring pages that your child can color – no crayons necessary.
  • Learning Games for Kids. On this site your child can learn and sing songs, check out constellations, put together virtual puzzles and more, all without ever leaving the computer.
  • Sesame Street. Kids can discover new things with the many different games that are available on this site.
  • Jumpstart. Encourage your child to get creative and play in the Art Studio or School of Dragons.
  • Sheppard Software Preschool. Kids can find animals on a farm, in a forest, in the jungle, or under the sea on this site – just to name a few of the creative activities offered here.
  • Sprout. Let your kids play games featuring their favorite Sprout characters, like The Wiggles, Bob the Builder, Barney, Angelina and many more.
  • Fisher Price. Your preschooler can play a virtual piano and create his own songs or hunt for healthy food in a ‘seek and find’ style game.
  • Fun 4 The Brain. Matching and counting games are available on this site and can help your child learn beginning math skills while having fun.
  • Knowledge Adventure. Kids can play tic-tac-toe with the computer, an animated version of Go Fish and even Chinese Checkers, just to name a few of the games offered here.
  • Cool Math Games. Memory games, logic games, balloon pop and many more are available for preschool through high school students.
  • Turtle Diaries. From shape matching to coloring by letter, the games on this site can provide hours of fun for your preschooler.
  • Duplo Lego. If your kids like playing with Duplo blocks and Legos, they will probably enjoy playing on this website.
  • Boowa & Kwala. Kids can play guessing games and musical games, listen to stories and do much more when they explore what this site has to offer.
  • Thup. Go to school with monkey and learn to saw and hammer things, count, have word adventures and more.
  • Cookie. Let your child work on rhyming with Rhyme Time or catch some fish playing Hook the Fish on this entertaining website.
  • PBS. Based on programming found on PBS, these games will help your child improve developmentally.
  • Fungooms. Your child can create his own characters and dress them up as he wishes playing just one of the games found on this unique website.
  • File Folder Fun. This website provides educational opportunities for your child to complete worksheets online instead of having to print them out. Each activity is colorful and may entice your child to explore and learn.
  • Baby First. The developers on this site have made it very simple for young children to explore and play by using only two keys on the keyboard.

Elementary Games

When children start school they will begin rapidly learning new skills. Computer websites created just for young children provide a way for these primary students to practice what they are learning in school. Kids learn in different ways, so if your child doesn’t learn well from a book or by rote memorization, then playing math and spelling games online might be just the thing to make a concept click. These 20 sites will provide entertaining ways for your primary student to learn and play online.

  • Primary Games. Kids can try cooking games, action games, dress up games, educational games and more on this website.
  • Primary Games Arena. Try Grilled Cheese Please on this site, where the characters ate so much of one kind of food that they turned into that food.
  • Cyber Kidz Games. Art and music games are available on this site, as well as games that cover a variety of other subjects.
  • Brain Pop Junior. Kids learn by playing shark games, tree frog games and a game called Simple Machines.
  • Free Rice. By playing on this site kids can improve their language skills and have rice donated to the hungry.
  • Hooda Math. From pizza games to soccer games, there’s something to interest everyone when it comes to these math games.
  • Math Playground. Try to solve the tricky word problems or logic puzzles on this website and you can learn while having fun.
  • Kids Planet. Play an animal version of Concentration on this site or unscramble the puzzle pieces to figure out what the picture is.
  • Kids Astronomy. The games on this site are all about the galaxy, making them perfect for kids who love space travel.
  • Earth Rangers. There are 25 online games that kids can play on this site that will educate them about saving the environment.
  • National Geographic. Build your own virtual mobile and make it balance and move once you build it.
  • Star Fall. Kids can play games that will teach them how to tell time, learn the seasons, celebrate Earth Day and much more.
  • Apples 4 the Teacher. Your child can play a dozen different educational Dr. Seuss inspired games here.
  • Vocabulary Can Be Fun. Practice typing, spelling and vocabulary words when playing games on this site.
  • Webkinz. This online world is filled with many different games to play, jobs to do and pets to care for.
  • Club Penguin. Join this virtual world as a penguin avatar that allows you to play games and explore the various areas in the club safely.
  • Kids Spell. Kids can play spelling or word games on this site.
  • Spelling City. Use your kids’ actual spelling list to play games like Hang Man and word scramble to learn their spelling list for school.
  • ABC Ya. Let the kids enjoy seasonal games like word searches or strategy games.
  • Oswego. Math games like Ghost Blasters allow you to hunt ghosts while working on multiples of a particular number.       

Elementary Story Sites

Kids learn to read more quickly when they hear the written word read to them aloud frequently. For families with two working parents, however, it’s often difficult to find the time to do this. That’s where some of these sites come in handy, since they provide audio files where the story is read aloud. Some sites even highlight the words while they are being read so that your child can follow along. Stories can also help to build your child’s imagination and retention of what is being read, and some offer questions to check understanding. Look through these 20 sites to see if you can find some stories to read with your child.


  • Magic Keys. You’ll find audio books that can be read to children as well as stories they can read here.
  • Silly Books. Kids can listen and watch an animated story and follow along with the words of the book.
  • Story Nory. There are hundreds of stories to choose from on this site, with new ones added each week, and the stories are read to kids by professional actors.
  • Story Time for Me. These books are like moving stories, and kids can follow the words while the pictures adjust with the storyline.
  • Story Place. This site has stories, activities that go along with the stories and additional reading list suggestions.
  • Between the Lions. Kids can listen to fables and folk tales on this site. Words are highlighted as they are read and the pictures change as the story does.
  • Goodnight Stories. Your child can decide whether he’d like to read a story, hear a story, see a story or finish a story online.
  • Aesop Fables. Kids will learn valuable lessons while listening to these stories. This site does not feature the actual words of the story for the child to follow.
  • Scholastic. Click on each line of the story and select the direction that the story will turn on each page.
  • Roy the Zebra. Read about Roy and then play interactive games about the story. When playing games, work on reading and comprehension.
  • Reading is Fundamental. Kids can read along with many classic stories as well as listen to songs and play games.
  • Reading Key. These stories are created using words at various reading levels so that as children can read books using words they have mastered.
  • Story Bee. Many stories are available for children to listen to online, whether the story is read or sung. No words to follow on this site.
  • Tumblebooks. This collection of children’s books is available through this library site, but you have to register before you can use it.
  • Lit 2 Go. Tons of classic books can be found on this website, like Moby Dick and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and each book is broken into chapters to listen to.
  • Children’s Books Online. Many classic stories can be found on this site that kids can read for themselves.
  • Read Me a Story Ink. You can find interesting stories by reading the summaries that are given and choose different reading levels to cater to your child’s needs.
  • Book Hive. Stories are told by a well-respected story teller and other stories are available to read online.
  • Read to Me. Entertaining children’s stories read by a famous ventriloquist, an actor or storytellers using magical voices and a fun attitude are found on this site.
  • Mighty Book. This is an animated site with background music and words that kids can follow as the storyteller reads them.

Middle School Games

Older children are more computer savvy than ever these days, and there are a wealth of useful games to help them learn keyboarding skills, language skills, math skills and more. As kids enter middle school they are looking for more sophisticated games online, like Minecraft that can include Skyping with players from around the world as they play the game. Skills like leading a team and setting priorities are learned in this game. Some sites provide a new and different way to appreciate artwork, historical events and space travel. Kids won’t even realize they’re learning while playing these games!

  • Wacky Web Tales. Practice parts of speech while creating funny stories on this website by filling in the blanks and then reading the story.
  • Physics Games. Try one of the many games available on this site that will sharpen your physics knowledge while you play.
  • Minecraft. This game allows the player to build cities and battle monsters. Players can team up and work together to succeed.
  • Be a Martian. NASA has put together this online site where you can play games as well as watch real tests being conducted for a Mars trip.
  • Jefferson Laboratory. Play Scientific Hangman to practice and learn vocabulary words used in science.
  • National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. This site contains jokes, puzzles, riddles, songs and illusions that your child can explore and learn from.
  • Professor Garfield. Use your wits to figure out the order in which to put comic strip panels and then answer questions about the final comic strip. If you like comics, this might be the game for you.
  • Fun Brain. Try your hand at a game called Plural Girls where you have to determine the plural of a given word. You can make the game harder or simpler by choosing your method of answering.
  • Web Adventures. If you think you might like to be a forensic scientist like the ones on CSI, you will enjoy playing CSI: The Experience.
  • Nobel Prize. Play Pavlov’s Dog and figure out how to make the dog drool on command.
  • Prongo. Work on your memory by playing the Matching Game or play the Mad Math game to sharpen your math skills.
  • Childtopia. Learn to draw, be a detective and play several other games and activities on this interesting site.
  • Scholastic. Complete puzzles, play arcade games or take polls on this entertaining site based on books.
  • XP Math. Games on this site vary by skill level, so no matter where your kids are with their math skills there’s a game to play.
  • Arcademic Skill Builders. Tons of games are available here, from Math to Language Arts to Typing.
  • The Kidz Page. Play games like Pirate Battleship to work on strategy, word games to work on vocabulary and many other games just for fun.
  • K Warp. Play Grammar Ninja to work on parts of speech while still having fun with the ninja story.
  • Kinetic City. On this site the player is given different missions and he has to answer questions correctly in order to complete his mission. Some missions are based on anatomy and other scientific topics.
  • Playing History. Do your kids think history is dull? Have them try these games and history will take on a whole new light when they have to create arguments and support them to win the game in Argument Wars.
  • Brain Bashers. Try these Sudoku puzzles, Code Words or Popopop for some fun ways to use your brain. 

Middle School Projects and Activities

There are many things your middle schoolers can do online that don’t involve playing games. These 20 sites will provide instruction on different craft projects, science experiments, sewing lessons and more. Kids can use computers as a tool to learn a new skill, then work offline. Some skills can even lead to a new hobby, like blogging or writing. Find sites in this list that will explain how to get started in these hobbies. Encourage your middle schooler to check out these sites the next time he is bored and in need of something to do.

  • Surf Net Kids. Play games or learn how to fold the best paper airplane by reading about the design that set the world record. 
  • Wonder How To. You can create an animated flip book and discover how it relates to stop motion animation with the help of this site.
  • Man Made. Learn how to create a pattern online so that you can make a Typographic string art project.
  • Digu. Using just the pictures as a guide try to reproduce the snowflake that is shown online.
  • Ruffled Blog. Take a look at the directions on this site to make geometric favor boxes for your friends or next party.
  • Jerry’s Artarama. Watch videos to take art lessons from an expert. Learn to draw your own comic strip, then learn about perspective, water resists and more.
  • Science Kids. Look through the various experiments online and learn how to perform the experiments at home.
  • Crazy Little Projects. Learn to sew by watching these online tutorials that allow you to make simple projects while you learn each skill.
  • Eduweb. Play art detective and compare various artworks to determine who painted a certain picture in the mystery that is told.
  • Art Games. Learn how to mix colors, dissect a painting and answer questions about art.
  • Star Wars. If you are a fan of the Star Wars movies you might find these craft projects an entertaining way to spend a few hours.
  • Funology. From games to simple science experiments to magic tricks you can find it all on this site.
  • DLTK Poems. Read poems about subjects that interest you on this website, and when you’re done try your hand at some of the online jigsaw puzzles.
  • Honestly. Learn how to make a friendship bracelet with embroidery floss in a heart pattern that is perfect to give on Valentine’s Day.
  • Makezine. This unique site provides instructions for projects and higher level experiments that middle schoolers might be interested in.
  • Start Blogging Online. Learn how to start your own blog by reading this tutorial and then start blogging on a free site right away.
  • Ditto Blog. Write a song for someone you love or just for fun by reading this article on how to write a song.
  • Writer’s Digest. Get creative and write a short story and publish it online. Read how to get started on this post.
  • Origami-Instructions. Try origami by looking at the pictures and online instructions on this site.
  • Challenge You. Create your own mazes and video games here by using the site’s tips and suggestions.
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100 Tips for Building Good Relationships

Posted on by Erin

While it’s impossible to avoid all conflict, most people would agree that maintaining good relationships with the people in their lives is essential. To help improve your day-to-day interactions with people, we’ve compiled a list of 100 tips that are focused on building good, solid relationships.

At Work

Improving your relationships with your employer and coworkers can help increase job satisfaction. Take a look at these 20 sites to learn tips for establishing positive relationships with the people you interact with at work.

  • When your opinion differs from that of your boss, discuss your perspective. Money US News recommends explaining what information you are basing your opinion on when you don’t agree with your boss.
  • Schedule a regular time to meet with your boss. Make time to talk to your boss about both your successes and challenges on the job to build a stronger relationship, advises Portal Lifeworks.
  • Learn how your boss likes to communicate. Figure out if your boss is a micromanager or is more hands off, suggests Jobs, and adapt your communication approach accordingly.
  • Do your job well. You can build a relationship with your boss by doing your job well, says Career Advice.
  • Show initiative and don’t wait to be told what to do. America’s Job Exchange suggests taking the initiative to show you are a team player.
  • Make your boss’ priorities and yours match. According to Forbes, it’s important to know what your boss is focusing on so you can make sure to make that your priority too.
  • Control your temper. Make sure that you don’t yell at your boss or throw any kind of tantrum. This behavior reflects poorly on you and your boss, comments Discover Winning Ways.
  • Be trustworthy and meet your deadlines. Times Jobs explains the importance of showing your boss he can count on you to deliver on projects and exceed expectations.
  • Do not speak ill of your boss. Human Resources says to avoid speaking poorly about your boss to develop a good relationship with him.
  • Never take credit for someone else’s work. According to Book Boon, taking undue credit will come back to bite you by bringing down team morale and giving you a reputation for being dishonest and untrustworthy.
  • Put extra time in. You may have heard it before, but it bears repeating: Be the first to arrive and the last to leave, encourages Medical Writing Coach.
  • Don’t make excuses. According to Work Happy Now, your boss doesn’t have time to listen to excuses as to why you didn’t get a project done.
  • Know your boss’ goals. If you can help your boss achieve his goals, he is more likely to help your career, explains Career Bliss.
  • Be mindful of other people’s time. When trying to build relationships with co-workers, it’s important that you don’t monopolize their time with questions, says Tech Republic.
  • Keep your eyes and ears open. Try to learn about your co-workers and find something that you have in common with them, suggests Careerealism.
  • Perfect the art of listening. Helping Guide says that people want to feel like they are being heard. You can develop strong relationships with your co-workers by listening to them.
  • Try to be the kind of person you would like to hang out with. The Daily Muse explains that often your attitude will change for the better if you think about the kind of person you want to be friends with.
  • Don’t gossip about co-workers. According to Ragan, people may enjoy hearing gossip, but they typically don’t like or respect the people who spread gossip.
  • Get out of the office and mingle with your coworkers. Ryan Stephens Marketing explains that getting to know your team outside of the office will help you develop a stronger relationship inside the office.
  • Make connections with your coworkers. Try to figure out how best to relate to each person that you are trying to connect with and learn about their communication style, recommends Amanet.

With Your Spouse

While the initial thrill and excitement of your marriage may have decreased after a few years together, that doesn’t make it any less important to work on having a good relationship with your spouse. Check out these 20 marriage tips to help improve your marriage.

  • Try to take the emotion out of the conversation. Psych Central explains that you are better able to understand your spouse when you can look at the facts of a situation without letting your feelings cloud your judgment.
  • Be honest with each other. According to Third Age, being completely honest with your spouse is one of the most important qualities of a good relationship.
  • Make your spouse and your relationship a priority. Readers Digest points out that your spouse needs to know that he comes first in your life.
  • Be a team. Psychology Today urges couples to realize that they each bring different strengths and weaknesses to the marriage, and that’s what makes the team stronger.
  • Learn from each other. Be open to learning what you can from one another in order to become a complete person, suggests Tiny Buddha.
  • Give your spouse your full attention. Health recommends focusing on your spouse when you have a conversation so that you don’t miss any non-verbal clues.
  • Make a list. Chalene Johnson suggests making a list of your spouse’s best qualities and letting him know that you think he’s amazing.
  • Don’t share private information with others. Catherine Morris urges spouses to keep their partner’s confidences to maintain trust in the relationship.
  • Talk to each other. Quick and Dirty Tips suggests making time to talk to each other about your hopes and dreams instead of just the kids and chores.
  • Pick your battle. Two of Us explains that engaging in several small, insignificant fights can do as much damage as one big one.
  • Relationships are fun. Chatelaine says that too many couples believe the notion that relationships are hard and struggle to make their relationship work because of it.
  • Plug into each other instead of your electronics. Men’s Health believes that spending too much time looking at your cell phone instead of your wife causes relationship problems.
  • Be generous with your compliments. The Confident Mom points out that complimenting your spouse can go a long way to strengthening your relationship.
  • Cherish the differences between the two of you. Opposites attract, so you need to recognize and love the things that make you different, says Wishing Well Counseling.
  • Stop Nagging. According to Voices, you need to remember that you married an adult and that you should discuss things that you need from him instead of nagging him about them.
  • Make time to be together. Titobay recommends making time for date nights and to hang out with each other to reconnect.
  • Take time for yourself. Life Gaiam explains the importance of making time for both your relationship and yourself.
  • Forgive and forget. Marc and Angel advises forgiving freely.
  • Be friends with each other. Dr. Phil recommends being a friend to your spouse.
  • Don’t let hurt feelings fester. Metro Parents says that it’s important to let go of bad feelings and talk things through.

With Your Kids

Never underestimate the importance of spending quality time with your children. These 20 blogs are full of ways you can foster a strong relationship with your kids.

  • Get down on the floor. Focus on the Family suggests getting down on your child’s level when they are young to strengthen your relationship.
  • Create traditions. You can create fond memories with your kids by establishing traditions, says Reasonably Speaking.
  • Do things together with your children. Find a hobby or sport that you and your child can do together and use this as a way to spend time with each other, suggests Ron Edmonson.
  • Use a nickname. Come up with a special name that makes your child feel treasured, advises Simple Marriage.
  • Honestly connect with your child. Living Joyfully recommends helping your child freely and when he asks to show you are there for him.
  • Put the time into being with your child. PBS explains that kids need both quality and quantity time with their parents for a strong relationship.
  • Be respectful of adult children. If you are trying to strengthen a bond with an adult child, make sure that you aren’t still acting like you are in charge, suggests Everyday Life.
  • Show empathy to your child when he is upset. Your child may act out when he’s physically or emotionally upset; when this happens try to respond with empathy instead of anger, says Dr. Ben Kim.
  • Don’t lecture your child, listen to him instead. Kids may tune out if you start lecturing, so Life Family Education advises listening to him instead.
  • Say I love you daily. Childcare encourages you to tell your kids that you love them every day.
  • Take an interest in your child. Learn what your child is into, be it hobbies, music, sports or friends, recommends Stork Net.
  • Let your child know that you respect him. Empowering Parents explains that kids need to know that you are proud of them.
  • Keep your sense of humor with your teen. One Place suggests that you laugh more and judge less when it comes to your teenager.
  • Comment on the efforts during play instead of results. Apa Center recommends praising your child’s efforts instead of focusing solely on the outcome.
  • Don’t be afraid to apologize if you have made a mistake. American Profile reminds parents that kids learn by the example you set.
  • Be a parent to your teens and not a buddy. Heartlight Ministries explains that your teen needs for you to be a parent to him, not a friend.
  • Really pay attention to what your child says. This Busy Life encourages you to restate what your child has said to clarify that you heard him and avoid any misunderstandings.
  • Start a family game night. Having a consistent family activity night that the kids can count on will bring the entire family closer and strengthen relationships, says WAHM.
  • Trust your kids. Mom it Forward suggests giving your child age appropriate privileges to let him know you trust him to make the right decisions.
  • Focus on the positive. Knowledge Ex points out that it’s just as important to discuss the positive things your child does as it is the negative.

With Your In-Laws

You don’t just gain a partner through marriage; you gain an entire extended family. It’s not always easy to become part of a second family, but with these 20 tips you can strengthen those familial bonds.

  • Be Yourself. Don’t try to be someone you are not, says Happy Wives Club, because it will eventually cause problems.
  • Send thank you cards. Fatherhood points out the importance of saying “thank you”.
  • Graciously handle unsolicited advice. In-laws can often offer unsolicited advice on how you are raising your kids or doing something else. While it’s up to you if you want to actually follow that advice or not, Canadian Living advises smiling and accepting what they have to say.
  • Set boundaries. All Women Talk suggests calmly expressing any topics that make you uncomfortable and explaining that you would like to avoid these discussions.
  • Do activities with your in-laws. Extension PSU says to find fun activities you can do together that everyone will enjoy.
  • Try walking a mile in their shoes. Sapna Magazine says to try to see your in-laws side of things.
  • Focus on the good. Everyone struggles from time to time, so focus on the nice things that your in-laws do and try to understand the other stuff, says Body and Soul.
  • Speak kindly about your spouse in front of his parents. No matter what is happening in your marriage, never discuss negative things with his folks, suggests eHow.
  • Don’t rush things and take time to get to know each other. Crosswalk suggests that you exercise patience with your in-laws.
  • Check in every now and then. South Asian In-laws recommends sending your in-laws a text every now and then just to say hello and see how things are going.
  • Invite your in-laws over just to relax. Focus on the Family Canada says you should try to make your in-laws feel wanted to strengthen the relationship.
  • Use your manners. Even if you don’t say please and thank you around your own house, make sure that you are polite when you are with your in-laws to show them respect, advises Kiss Me Goodnight.
  • Work with the relationship as it is. Maria Shriver explains that you should accept the relationship with your in-laws as it is instead of how you hoped it would be.
  • Ask for opinions. Life 123 suggests asking your sister-in-law for her opinions on various things so that you can treat her as her own person instead of an extension of the family.
  • Speak to your in-laws directly. Avoid going through your spouse for every communication with your in-laws. You can build a stronger relationship by opening the door to communication, suggests Basking Ridge.
  • Make light of jabs. Your mother-in-law may make it a point to highlight your shortcomings, but it’s better to make a joke of it instead of taking offense, says Daily Mail.
  • Incorporate some of your in-laws’ traditions. Try to respect your in-law’s traditions and do some of them with them, urges Amerikanki.
  • Encourage your kids to love their grandparents. One way of creating a good relationship with your in-laws is through your kids, says Star Media.
  • Understand the cultural differences. Intent Blog explains that sometimes you need to act differently in situations involving your in-laws to fit in and strengthen the relationship.
  • Make friendly overtures. Suite 101 suggests inviting your mother-in-law to dinner so the two of you can get to know each other better.

With Your Nanny

Establishing a solid relationship with your nanny is integral to a successful childcare situation. The tips found on these 20 sites can help you get on the right track from the beginning.

  • Remember her birthday. According to Babble, it’s important to remember and acknowledge your nanny’s birthday.
  • Be grateful for the things your nanny does. Parents Nanny Voice says that you when recognize the things that your nanny does during the day it will help strengthen your relationship.
  • Encourage an open line of communication. Baby Center explains that you should be able to discuss your concerns with your nanny and vice versa to avoid misunderstandings.
  • Be clear about your expectations. Establishing clear expectations will help foster a good relationship, says Go Nannies.
  • Schedule a time to catch up. Busy schedules may be the norm, but it’s important to have time to talk to your nanny about what’s happening at home, urges What to Expect.
  • Write it down. It’s essential to have a contract with your nanny that clearly outlines your expectations so she knows what her responsibilities will be, recommends Park Slope Parents.
  • Make sure your nanny feels valued. Family Matters explains that your nanny sees you at your best and your worst, and you need to make sure that she feels like you respect and value her contribution to the family.
  • Don’t expect your nanny to be the housekeeper. Lifestyle advises against piling unnecessary responsibilities on your nanny if you want her focus to be on the kids.
  • Let the nanny know how she’s doing. It’s important to give your nanny feedback, says Kate Spenser.
  • Be confident that you chose the right nanny. You go to a lot of trouble screening and hiring the perfect nanny, so trust your instincts because second guessing them can weaken your relationship with her, warns Motherpedia.
  • Discuss issues with your nanny and ask her opinion. Nannies will often have a different take on a situation, and by asking her opinion you can let her know you respect her knowledge, explains My Little Mr.
  • Don’t cross boundaries. While the relationship between nannies and families is closer than other types of jobs, Nanny Pro stresses that it’s still important to avoid asking inappropriate questions.
  • Be honest with your nanny. Blogging about your nanny and sharing your concerns about things that go on may end up undermining your relationship if she finds out, so it’s best to be up front with her to keep the relationship a strong one, says Mom Me.
  • Don’t make assumptions. Making assumptions on either side can damage the employer/nanny relationship, so be up front with any concerns or questions you have, urges Lora Brawley.
  • Manage problems professionally. During your meetings it’s important that you praise your nanny as well as bring up any issues to be discussed, explains Ezine Articles.
  • Try to work
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    out any problems. Switching nannies is stressful on the kids and the family as a whole, so if there are problems that you can work out to make everyone happy then it’s worth the effort, says Opti Mum.

  • Make sure the kids know that the nanny is in charge when the parents are gone. According to the Parent Guru, nannies get frustrated when a parent comes home and overrules a punishment they have set out.
  • Share a list of house rules with the nanny. Give your nanny guidelines she can follow as well as rules for the kids, suggests She Knows.
  • Use a pleasant tone when speaking with the nanny. Life Family Education asserts the importance of remaining professional with your nanny so she feels safe discussing problems with you.
  • Make sure that your live-in nanny has her own privacy and free time. Just because the nanny lives with you doesn’t mean she’s on call 24/7, says Summer Nanny, and you shouldn’t take advantage of her proximity.
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Using a Nanny Job to Launch Another Career

Posted on by Erin

Working as a nanny can be a fulfilling career, and many caregivers work as nannies until they retire. Others only stay in the field for a few years and use that experience to launch themselves into a new career. Being a nanny can offer you lots of advantages and opportunities that you wouldn’t get in other jobs. Here are few that can be helpful if you’re moving in a new career direction.

You’ll gain valuable, hands-on childcare experience. The most obvious benefit of working as a nanny is the experience you gain as a hands-on childcare provider. This professional experience can help you move into any other childcare related field, such as working in a daycare, becoming a preschool teacher or starting your own family care center. Because nannies are in full charge of the children they care for, you’ll gain experience doing things you wouldn’t do in other settings. This expanded experience can be helpful when you transition into another type of position.

You’ll learn many skills that transfer to other household positions. Being a nanny isn’t just about caring for kids. If you work for a family that doesn’t have a full staff, you often take on some of the tasks usually done by a housekeeper, household manager, personal assistant or personal chef. You might vacuum at the end of each day, do weekly grocery shopping, cook family meals or oversee a small household repair project. This expanded role gives you a way to expand and hone your skill set and provides the hands-on experience you need to move into another household position. It also gives you a taste of the different career opportunities available in household staffing, so you can decide firsthand if one of them is a good match for you.

You could make important connections through your employers. Many nanny employers are influential people in their line of work. Their connections can be a powerful tool to launch you into your next career. If you have a burning desire to break into a field but have no idea how, working for someone in that field can be your golden pass. Because these people are generally at the top of their industries, you can often by-pass many of the dead end efforts normally associated with working your way up the ladder. If you’re working on the next great American novel, landing a nanny job with a well-known publisher could be your big break. If you dream of designing clothes, caring for the kids of a hot designer can get your foot in the door. Of course, you still have to be a quality caregiver while you’re in that role and you never want to take advantage of your employer in any way. However, after establishing a good working relationship with your nanny boss, it’s very possible that he will do whatever he can to make your post nanny career dreams come true.

You could get an idea for your own company. Many nannies leave their nanny career to open their own small business. It’s not unusual to see a need for a service while on the job that sparks the entrepreneurial bug. You may decide to open your own nanny placement agency, family concierge agency or Newborn Care Specialist agency. Or you may discover a talent that will take you in a direction completely unrelated to household staffing. You may want to start a bakery, an organizing service or a training service. Even after you decide to become a small business owner, working as a nanny is a great pre-launch position. You can use your time to save the startup funds, get the necessary training or do a lot of the foot work needed to get off the ground. This ensures that when you do leave, you have all the pieces in place for success.

You could finish the education you need to make the transition. If your next career requires an advanced degree but you still need to work full-time while you’re in school, staying in a nanny position is a smart move. Many nanny jobs have a lot of downtime during the day where you can finish up homework or study. Infants and toddlers nap one or two times a day, preschoolers are in school two or three mornings or afternoons a week and school-aged kids are out of the house for most of the day. Your job may require you to do some tasks during these child-free times, but you will still have plenty of free time for school work. This downtime can be the difference between success and failure.

Transitioning from one career to another is never an easy task. However, working as a nanny can be a great role to jumpstart this transition.

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How Nannies Can Raise Responsible Children

Posted on by Erin

As a nanny, you are one of the most important primary role models for the children in your care. You want to see them grow and develop into responsible adults, and with some positive modeling and guidance through essential life lessons, you can foster a sense of responsibility within all the children you come in contact with.

  • Model Behavior: Every day the children in your care look to you as an example on how to act, communicate and treat others. One of the most important ways you can teach responsibility is to be a responsible adult in their presence. Regardless of age, children are aware of your actions and see you communicate with others constantly. Keeping true to your responsibilities will teach them how to be responsible themselves. For example, if you keep your room tidy, the children may follow suit. If you show them how you responsibly follow through with your commitments, they will see first-hand how to be responsible.
  • Develop Work Ethic: Your job as the nanny is one you likely cherish, yet you still understand that maintaining the position requires displaying ethics and working hard to fulfill your duties. When children see your work ethic firsthand it provides an example of how to be responsible. Prompt discussions of how work ethics can translate into their activities, suggests Jennifer Little, 40-year educator and educational psychologist in Milwaukie, Ore. “This develops through children taking ownership of their school work, grades, attitudes toward work and school and household chores,” she says. Teach the children that these tasks constitute a job, just as your job as a nanny requires time, effort and diligence.
  • Teach Consequences: Behavior management is really nothing more than shaping behavior through logical consequences, says Little. There are several ways to target, reward and shape behavior so that the end result is a responsible child.  The idea of logical consequences can teach your child to be responsible. For example, when you work, you get paid. Show the child that if he or she does not complete chores, then privileges will be lost or allowance will be relinquished. “This builds the concept of logical consequences and places responsibility for consequences on the child,” says Little. “The adult is not telling the child what to do, and therefore, being responsible for whatever outcome happens, but instead, making the child responsible.”
  • Promote Decision Making: One of the key skills a child must develop is how to make responsible decisions. According to Little, children need choices to develop this skill. Allow the child to pick out clothes to wear, provide choices for food at meal times and ask for preferences when planning activities. When children have choices and options, it can help them develop problem-solving skills. “Problem solving is a complex, interdependent series of decisions, some of which are dependent and some are independent,” she says. “Daily living requires a lot of this, but the skills of choices and decision making are the foundation for problem solving.”
  • Provide Volunteer Opportunities: Beyond displaying charitable actions to serve as a positive role model, offering children the opportunity to volunteer right alongside you can provide a lesson in responsibility. Volunteer the entire family to help at a local food pantry, make meals for the homeless or build homes for Habitat for Humanity. Not only will the children see the effects of their efforts in the community, these experiences will also expose them to communication with others. “The best life options involve thinking about others and others’ points of view,” says Little. “Responsible children almost always consider others; irresponsible children rarely consider (or care) about others.”
  • Delegate Responsibilities: One major component of developing as a child and person in general is learning how to care for yourself. Build a sense of responsibility by delegating household chores to the children, suggests Tracy Repchuk, mother of three children and online marketing and social media strategist. “Laundry, dishes, vacuuming, caring for pets and tidying rooms – these are all part of the normal responsibility of being part of a family,” she says. “Adding things such as washing the car, making breakfast or doing a task not on the list of normal responsibilities could be rewarded with a reasonable exchange.”

According to Repchuk, teaching responsibility at a young age can better prepare children for adulthood. “Responsibility is the ability to control your sphere of influence and because parents and nannies often don’t let kids do this, without the ability to control, it gives them the ability to not take responsibility for actions,” she says. “If a child is blaming, that means they feel they had no choice, no power, and therefore, can’t take responsibility, because it was never up to them.”

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Take the Pain Out of Homework: Strategies to Engage Your Child

Posted on by Erin

Let’s face it: As a child and adolescent, you probably didn’t look forward to completing your homework. It was a chore and at times, a boring task that kept you from playing with your friends or watching television. It’s likely your child feels the same. In fact, many children view homework as a boring endeavor containing repetitive activities, rote memorization and a general lack of fun. It’s not always a social or exciting task, but it can be. As a parent or nanny, you can put the fun back into the daily homework routine with innovative strategies to engage your child. Why the Fuss? According to Dr. Elizabeth Garcia, chief academic strategist at Custom Fit, Inc., provider of academic counseling and tutoring in Fort Lee, N.J., a negative attitude about homework is common when children are involved in activities outside of school. “I think a lot of children view homework negatively because they feel over-programmed,” she says. “Between school and homework and extracurricular activities, they can feel like they have no time to unwind and do the things they want to do.” Since extracurricular activities are pretty fun, homework comes in for the bulk of the bad feelings, says Garcia. “Many students are burnt out in all areas,” she says. “And, they rush through assignments so as to complete each one on time instead of using them as ways to reinforce what they have learned.” Students view homework negatively because they cannot properly absorb what they learned due to time restraints, says Garcia. Tackling Time and Distractions Since time constraints tend to contribute to the “pain” of homework, it’s important to create a consistent schedule for work and play with your child. Just as you would compile a weekly meal calendar or a chore chart, construct an activity schedule for the family, slotting out time for soccer practices, basketball games and more importantly, homework. If your child is more focused right after school, reserve an hour for quiet homework sessions as soon as he or she returns home. Some children, though, may need a bit of a break from a day of school, so evening hours may work best. Even if you do not designate the same time each day, make sure homework is on the schedule to provide consistency and to establish expectations for your child. Eliminating distractions can also help make homework time more productive. Have your child designate a study space free of distractions in your home, suggests Ana Homayoun, author and founder of Green Ivy Educational Consulting in Los Altos, California. Turn off the television, remove all electronics and set up a desk with tools such as pens, pencils, paper, a calculator, scissors and rulers. This ensures there will be no need for your child to wander around to find what he needs to complete his homework. Sit down with your child for the first 10 minutes to help him or her organize the workload, too. “Sometimes, students don’t know how to get started and are overwhelmed by all the different things they need to do,” says Homayoun. “Sitting down with them and having them make a list and prioritize what they will do first, second and third can alleviate the stress.” The key is to have them collaborate and converse with the parent or nanny without the adult taking the lead. This will teach your child how to prioritize and take responsibility for his assigned tasks. Make Homework Fun In a child’s mind, the word “fun” is not often associated with homework. However, you can help make his required work a little more exciting with innovative activities and games. “It’s important to emphasize the interesting parts of homework,” says Garcia. “While writing a history paper on Louis XIV, for example, a student and I looked at his affairs as though it was an episode of a reality TV show. His life was every bit as dramatic as the Kardashians’ and that makes him someone they can relate to, not just a random name in a book.” Beyond making an assignment interesting, you can also add humor to the task. “Another student and I were working on a Spanish presentation and included a bunch of silly photos of him,” says Garcia. “Coming up with the funny scenarios helped ease the pain of coming up with descriptive Spanish sentences. The same sort of activity can work for English, science and even math.” Utilizing technology is also an innovative strategy to make homework more interesting

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for your child. “I feel students respond best when using a mixture of mixed mediums, from the internet to books to social media sites,” says Garcia. Homework assignments could revolve around using interactive computer software to learn languages, cell phone apps to research historical events, YouTube videos or Facebook pages to promote and learn about current events or even blogs to launch a campaign promoting an environmental concern. “We must update homework assignments in a way that utilizes the benefits of technological advancements,” says Garcia. As a result, the dread of completing daily homework assignments may disappear.

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Financial Tips for Being Able to Retire as a Nanny

Posted on by Erin

Working as a nanny isn’t like working in a traditional job. Instead of working for a company, nannies work for an individual as a household employee. The nature of the industry means that nannies change jobs more frequently than those in other careers and, consequently, they don’t have the same company sponsored options when it comes to saving for retirement. If a caregiver wants to make nannying her career, it’s essential that she put a smart financial plan in place that will allow her to retire comfortably. Here are some ideas to help you create a workable plan. Only work for families that pay taxes on your wages. It’s estimated that 75% to 80% of nanny employers don’t pay taxes on their employees’ wages. If you work for one of those families, your Social Security retirement account isn’t being funded during your employment with them. Social Security is the most basic retirement plan available, and not taking advantage of it just doesn’t make any financial sense. Because of your employer’s matching contributions and interest, tax experts say you can receive up to 5 times as much in benefits as you contributed through your working years. By making the commitment to yourself that you will only accept positions where you’re paid legally, you’re taking a critical step in ensuring that you’ll have enough money to retire when the time comes. Create a financial cushion. Working as a nanny doesn’t provide a lot of job security. Even if you have a great relationship with your employers and they want to keep you for years, things happen. One of your employers may get laid off or decide to quit and stay home with the kids. They may move out of the area. Or they may just decide that their needs have changed and they don’t need you anymore. If you have an “in between jobs” savings

account, you’ll be able to pay your bills while you look for a new job even if you end up in an extended search. This means you won’t have to rely on credit cards or dip into your retirement savings just to meet your basic financial obligations. Make it a habit to save a little bit from each check. Even a small amount like $10 or $20 will add up over time. Open a retirement account early and make regular contributions. When you’re young, retirement seems like it’s eons away, and it feels like you’ll have plenty of time in the future to save. Unfortunately, time has a way of sneaking up on you. Many nannies who thought they had plenty of time to start saving are surprised to find themselves in their 40s and 50s without any retirement funds. Learn from their mistakes and open a retirement account as soon as you have a regular job. Even putting a small amount away each year will go a long way to helping you retire comfortably. Because household employers don’t get the same tax breaks that business employers get when it comes to contributing to their employee’s retirement account, very few employers offer retirement accounts as a benefit. However, most employers do give their nanny a bonus each year. By earmarking your yearly bonus as your yearly retirement contribution, you can make saving easy. Take advantage of non-taxable income. There are several benefits your employer can provide you that are considered non-taxable income, such as health insurance premiums, a monthly public transportation pass and tuition. This means that neither you nor your employers have to pay taxes on the cost of the benefit. Those savings can add up quickly. If you’re going to be paying those expenses anyway, why not restructure your wage and benefit package to take advantage of the tax breaks? Invest in your professional development. Like other fields, wages in nanny care are largely determined by the education, experience and skill set of the nanny. However, there isn’t an automatic career ladder for nannies like there is in other childcare fields. You won’t automatically make more money simply by staying in a job long term. It’s up to you to continually add to your resume to make sure you can continue to command a competitive wage and benefits package. Making a good wage ensures you’ll be able to meet your current financial responsibilities and save for the future. Nannies that live paycheck to paycheck never have a chance to save for a rainy day or retirement. By making smart choices along the way, nannies can enjoy a career caring for kids and retire comfortably when they’re ready to enter that stage of their life.

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How to Market Your Nanny Skills Effectively

Posted on by Erin

Now that you’ve gotten some experience taking care of children, taken some enrichment classes to help you best do your job and passed your first aid and CPR certifications, you’re ready to find the position of your dreams. But how do you share with the world of prospective parent employers just how perfect you’d be for their family? Use these tips to learn how to best market your nanny skills. Put Your Best Foot Forward (and not in your mouth) In our world today, most of us have a public persona, whether we think of it as such or not. Take a look at your social media accounts and any comments or reviews you’ve publicly posted with your name attached. Now view these from a prospective parent’s eyes and be honest about whether it really represents you at your best. You certainly have the right to do as you like and say what you feel, but in doing so you’re also making an impression that will be hard to undo – and when it’s a first impression, you might not get the opportunity to show the other sides of who you are. Even the best resume will be in the recycle bin before you know it if a quick Google search reveals a string of late night party girl shots, profanity, strongly worded political or religious statements or nasty Twitter feuds. Again, you absolutely have the right to act as you please – but parents looking for someone to guide and influence their children also have the right to nix anyone who suggests

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a lack of decorum or judgment. It should be obvious that your Facebook or Twitter accounts should not include negative comments about prior employers, parents or the children who were in your care. Joking statements such as “Gah! These kids are driving me to drink!” or “but why, but why, but why, why, why, why… this is my life, smh #nannying” may be entertaining to your followers, but they probably won’t be as amusing to any current or prospective employers. Delete these and consider how it might feel if someone was blasting exasperated, annoyed or negative

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things about you to the world (then multiply it by 50, since parents are generally pretty sensitive about their little ones). Show What You’ve Got You worked hard to build up your credentials. You put in the hours in the classroom, sweated through practical exams on handling emergency medical situations, spent years learning the ins and outs of handling sensitive little people and making them feel wonderful, safe and loved – now it’s time to showcase this so that prospective employers will see with a quick glance that their search for the perfect Poppins is over. When listing your educational achievements, a “Bachelor of Science from University of Illinois” is not going to sound as enticing or catch a parent’s eye as quickly as “BS in Human Development and Family Studies with a concentration in Child and Adolescent Development”. If you

have a degree, but it wasn’t necessarily in an Early Childhood or another kid-centered area, look through your list of classes and electives. A psychology degree might have included classes in “childhood socialization and development”. A liberal arts degree might have included a “children’s literature” or “creative dance for children” course. Listing your degree (or “Studied at ____ College/University” if you did not complete it or are in the process), with “additional electives in ____” demonstrates that you had a passion or special interest for the subject that might be shared with their children. Many parents hope their child will be exposed to or learn about subjects such as art, music, nature and world culture, so a nanny who showed a love for those things would be a plus. Connecting with a parent about a common interest (“Hey – I studied theatre, too!”) or sparking their imagination about what you can offer to their little ones will make you stand out from other candidates and possibly even earn a better salary. Resumes and ePortfolio A classic, well written resume is a necessary part of your job search. Be sure to include any emergency medical training you have and additional character references if your nanny background is not heavy to help give a sense of peace of mind. Choose your personal references not only for who will give glowing reports but also who is perceived as being honest, upstanding and in line with the job. Listing teachers, doctors, police officers, daycare operators, art or dance studio owners, etc. will leave an impression, even if they never bother to pick up the phone. Consider making yourself stand out by creating an ePortfolio. This will have the traditional resume as an opener or cover letter, but also lets you share more about yourself in a creative way(and shows that you’re tech savvy, which will impress some parents). Multimedia ePortfolios can include art projects you’ve done with former clients, things you can share from places you’ve traveled, a page of your favorite children’s book covers for parents to see at a glance and even some world music clips that are your favorites to dance to with preschoolers. (If you use clips or photos of kids, clearly mark “with permission by _____”.) Because it’s in e-form, it doesn’t feel overwhelming since they can click or skip, and the ability to forward it right over online gives a sense of a confident, proactive, take charge spirit.

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Should Nannies Drink With Their Bosses

Posted on by Erin

The relationship between a nanny and her employers is a very special one, but it can be a fairly complicated one as well. When you work long hours in the home of a family, caring for their children and sharing such personal experiences with them, it can be difficult to know where the boundaries lie. Whether it’s a shared glass of wine at the end of a long day or a bit of champagne to celebrate a major milestone, it’s not uncommon for employers to offer their nannies a drink or two along the way. The question is, as a nanny, is it appropriate for you to accept those libations?

Just Say No

While turning down an invitation to share a drink or two may seem rude at first blush, it’s almost always in a nanny’s best interests to decline. No matter how close you are to your employers, it’s rarely wise to imbibe while you’re spending time with them. Even off the clock, drinking with your employers has the potential to cause a host of problems in the long run. Before accepting that cocktail, it’s best to ask yourself whether or not that drink is worth your job. You may not find yourself in a position that ends your professional relationship, but it’s also not out of the question. Rather than run the risk of damaging your relationship with your employers or your level of job security, you may want to politely refuse an offered tipple.

Maintain Reasonable Boundaries

Working in someone’s home, caring for their children and witnessing some of their most vulnerable moments doesn’t make it easy to maintain the professional boundaries that are such an essential part of your relationship with your employers. Sharing a few drinks not only has the potential to introduce a passel of complications, but it can also directly affect your ability to maintain those boundaries. Regardless of how close you are to your employers, it’s imperative that you understand the difference between a strong working relationship and a friendship. When you start tossing drinks back with your boss, it’s not always easy to keep them at arm’s length later. Avoid blurring boundaries whenever you can, which means not settling in for an evening of social drinking after the kids are in bed.

Remember That Professionalism is a Nanny’s Best Friend

In order for your employers to maintain the level of trust that allows them to leave their children under your care in good faith, they have to know that above all else, you are a consummate professional. Few things scream “unprofessional” quite as loudly as a tipsy nanny, even when she’s not working. You simply can’t maintain the exterior of a professional, composed and collected nanny when your employers have heard you slur a bit after a big glass of wine, so it’s best to forgo the drinking altogether.

Minimize the Risk of Negative Repercussions

A drink has a way of turning into a couple of drinks, and few drinking stories have professional, calm and restrained endings. There are a million ways that having one sip too many can go terribly wrong, especially when you’re drinking with the person who signs your paycheck. You can get a bit too honest in your appraisal of their parenting style, find yourself in the awkward situation of managing alcohol-driven, emotional episodes or even make the mistake of going just a bit too far to be

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appropriate. People who have been drinking aren’t renowned for making the best judgment calls, and nannies are no exception. The same people who would not consider hiring you with a drunk driving arrest on your record are the ones who could have second thoughts about extending your contract after seeing you have a bit more than you can gracefully handle. While you may have a drink and a very uneventful evening, you also may not be so lucky. Rather than taking such a big gamble with your career and the stability of your job, it’s best to let this particular cup pass.

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