Join Brooklyn BabyFEST for a FREE webinar with Holly Flanders of Choice Parenting. Holly is a childcare consultant that teaches parents best practices to find, hire, and maintain a quality daycare, nanny, or nanny-share. Her professional experience as a nanny, director of children’s programming, a parent coach, nanny trainer, and as a director and head teacher at an early childhood learning center helps parents navigate childcare and gain the support and information needed to confidently find the best suited caregiver for their unique family.
The webinar is 45 minutes long and includes plenty of time for Q&A.
Date: Wednesday, February 11th
To register click here: http://www.anymeeting.com/PIID=EB54DD87814839
Your best friend may swear by nannies, while your sister believes that daycare is preparing her children for the Ivy League, but how do you choose which type of care is best for your family? Because your family is like no other, you need to make your choice based on your unique family's needs, wants, budget, personality, lifestyle, and parenting philosophies. So what should you be considering?
Group care and “schooling” at a young age can be an incredible and valuable experience for many children and families. Daycares are often more affordable and boast quality care with structured classroom learning. They also provide the opportunity for socialization and experiences that are hard to recreate in a home environment with only one child. On the other hand, daycare can be a struggle for parents who are passionate about their child’s care being handled with a specific childrearing approach and on a schedule of their choosing. Also, some children may struggle with minimal one-on-one attention, over-stimulation, and health concerns in a daycare.
One of the main advantages of a nanny is that she is able to focus her attention and affection solely on your child’s needs, while complying with your instructions and beliefs for education. A nanny can work on a schedule that best fits your life, and may assist in keeping your home environment in order, allowing you to spend your time on the things that matter most. But keep in mind that this situation is only as good as the nanny herself! Parents need to consider that it can be more expensive and complicated to have an in-home employee. Time and effort needs to be invested into the hiring and training process ensuring that you find the best fit caregiver and work is required throughout the period of employment for maintaining healthy communication.
So, is daycare or a nanny better for your family?
Here are three tips to deciding which type of care is right for you:
Assess your family
Because there is no right or wrong answer to the nanny vs. daycare debate, you need to consider the lifestyle and culture of your unique family. This will help you think through the type of care your family will need as well as what types of caregivers will best blend with your family dynamics. Go beyond the basics of your schedule, needs, and budget to ask questions such as:
Do your research
After you have carefully assessed your family's needs, research the childcare market in your area and interview both daycare and nannies. Talk to seasoned parents to understand the benefits, challenges, and feasibility of the different options and how they may or may not apply to your family. Find out the standard industry rates for nannies in your area, your legal obligations, best practices for interviewing and hiring, and the benefits that many quality nannies expect to determine what will fit your family’s budget.
Go with your gut
The bottom line is you may never truly "know" and even once you have a plan in place you may find yourself revisiting the decision. So after assessing your family and researching you options, follow your "mommy (or daddy) intuition", knowing that there is no right or wrong but rather a choice to be made!
Do you need more assistance or have questions? Let Choice Parenting guide you through your search for quality childcare! We offer one-on-one coaching session or group classes in your home, office or phone to help you navigate childcare. www.choice-parenting.com
As someone who has worked with daycares, teachers, and nannies for over a decade, I understand the weight of making sure that the person you hire to care for your children is safe, loving, and honest. But even after spending much time researching background checks for nannies, I still had many questions about how a parent can ensure that the caregiver they hire can be trusted with their children and their home.
So I sought out, Lenny Golino, president of Gold Shield Elite Investigations and retired NYPD detective, for an interview to better understand the significance of nanny background checks and what parents can do to protect their families.
Please tell us Lenny, why is a nanny background check so important?
Parents need to know whom they are putting into their home, for their child or children’s safety. In addition to their safety, another area of concern is protecting against identity theft. Many victims of identity theft are victims from within.
What is the difference between the background check services that you provide as a licensed private investigation company and the background checks that parents can do online?
Any online service that a consumer can access is NOT a real background search. Fees vary and you are not getting anything more than public records. The difference when obtaining a background search from a private investigator is that we are licensed by the Department of State granting access to databases that the online services cannot provide.
What type of searches and checks does Gold Shield provide?
Our comprehensive search can provide a full gauge of a particular person’s lifestyle, by providing:o
Beyond a professional background check, what else can families do to protect their children and their home?
Nanny cams are very effective. You get the ability to monitor, in real time, the interactions that the nanny has with the child as well as any visitors that might be coming into the home without your knowledge.
Additionally, your personal documents such as banking, junk mail, credit card statements and offers etc, should not be left out in plain view.
Moreover, once a nanny has been hired, always be alert to any behavioral changes in the nanny as there might be circumstances in their life now, that weren’t present at the time the original search was conducted. This can potentially change the care being provided to the child.
What is the most common concern or offense that you see pop up in nanny background searches?
Typically we find inconsistencies in information provided, which are usually found in address summary reviews, derogatory driving history and reference names provided to client can sometimes not be true employers but rather friends and/or relatives.
What type of information or permissions do you need from a nanny applicant to perform a background check?
We need their name, date of birth and current address. By law you are not required to disclose that a background search is being conducted. It is solely up to your discretion.
What does it cost for your service and how long is the turn around?
The cost is $225.00 complete. If received before 1:00pm the results are returned same day. We first call you with our findings and then mail you a detailed report along with the computer-generated printouts of our findings.
Not only did I learn a lot of valuable information from my interview with Leonard Golino but I thoroughly enjoy getting to know both him and his business partner Rich DeMaio. I want to thank these two gentlemen for speaking with Choice Parenting and for their passion for educating parents on how to best safeguard their families. Contact them today for a free consultation or to enlist their services!
Gold Shield Elite Investigations
1-888-213-8881 or 845-561-GSEI (4734)
It is sad to say but the world we live can be a scary place. Far too often we hear unsettling news stories of nannies or babysitters caught on a spy cam abusing a child. While these stories are upsetting, they are especially disturbing for a new parent who is making the transition back to work, leaving their most precious child in the care of a “stranger”.
The truth is that most nannies have pursued their childcare careers based on a genuine love of children yet there are still some who are not well intentioned or mentally fit for the role. Because of this, parents should ensure that the person watching their child has undergone a thorough background check and that there is a predetermined plan for quality control checkups.
One way to keep an eye on your child, and the things happening in your home, is to install a nanny camera.
What are the benefits of having nanny camera?
The biggest benefit of having a nanny camera is the assurance and peace of mind that your child is safe and being well cared for.
A camera allows you to observe the interactions between your child and nanny. This tool may not prevent instances of abuse or neglect from happening but it will give you the ability to see or sense if something is not right, and make changes accordingly. While watching your child smile, laugh, and snuggle with your nanny can stir up many emotions, knowing that your child is nurtured can help you fend off any “working mom guilt” and focus on the tasks at hand. On the flip side, if you do not see a loving bond between your child and nanny, or your nanny does not appear to be tending to the emotional needs of your child you will have the knowledge to take appropriate action.
A nanny cam also gives you the ability to see how your nanny and child go about the day and spot any areas that may need to be discussed. Perhaps you would like your nanny to take your child outside to play more often, read books before naptime, or create art and other sensory opportunities. Maybe you are noticing that your nanny spends too much time on her phone, seems bored, or is not engaging your child in play. All of these observations can be addressed by having video access while you are away.
What nanny camera laws should I be aware of?
It is legal to have video surveillance of your nanny in your home- with or without her permission- in all 50 states. However, bear in mind that you may not tape in the bathroom or a live in nanny’s private quarters.
Several states have laws that protect against audio recording without a nanny’s signed written agreement. Be sure to check your state’s guidelines as you can be prosecuted and any abuse or neglect found can be immiscible in the court of law.
Should I tell my nanny about the camera?
The most important aspects of any relationship are: trust and healthy communication.
Choice Parenting recommends discussing nanny cameras during the interview process to explain your reasons for doing so and address any concerns that the applicant may have. Most honest nannies with nothing to hide will respect and understand a parent’s concern, as she has not yet had the opportunity to prove herself a trusted part of the team. However, if down the line a nanny finds a hidden camera has been recording her without her knowledge, she may feel hurt, not trusted, and the relationship may be damaged. Parents should also be careful to not use the nanny camera for micromanaging. This too can drive a great nanny away! Rather, keep a note of any non-urgent requests or concerns you see to address at a once a week catch up.
Telling your nanny about the camera allows you the opportunity to discuss anything that you see -not just the negatives. Be sure that you take note of positive actions and behaviors as well! Thank your nanny for being so loving with your crying infant, for her patience helping your toddler potty-train, or for emptying the dishwasher when it is was not part of her duty. Positive reinforcement is your most powerful tool for changing behavior and shaping a lasting relationship.
What nanny cam questions do you have?
Are you pregnant or know someone who is? Choice Parenting invites you to this fun and informational alternative health event with The Pregnant New Yorker on the UES. Plus there will be lots of great prizes!!! Register at: www.thepregnantnewyorker.com
The ‘Happy Holiday’ Season is here! While the gift-giving season can be festively fun it can also be full of expense, unspoken expectations and pressure.
When it comes to the people caring for your children, you want to be sure to send the message that you respect and appreciate the job that they do, but you also want to achieve this with minimal stress on your behalf. With that in mind, here are a few recommendations and tips for giving this season!
What is the holiday gifting etiquette for your nanny?
In our modern world “cash is “king”, and holiday gifts are no exception. In the nanny world, a year-end bonus is considered by many to be a customary and traditional expectation, in return for the services provided and a job well done.
What is the typical dollar amount of a year-end bonus?
The standard amount that most nannies receive for their bonus is the equivalent to 1-2 weeks of their normal pay rate. However, this amount may vary according to factors such as: how many years your nanny has been with your family, how pleased you are with her services, and where in the country you live, so be sure to ask around to find out what range of bonus is typical in your neighborhood.
Does the bonus have to be received during the holidays?
Some families choose to give a bonus at the time of their nanny’s annual review or they may separate the amount into quarterly review bonuses instead of giving a lump sum. While this is completely acceptable, and there may be advantages to doing so, it would be advisable to let your nanny know in advance (preferably at time of hire) to manage expectations and avoid hurt feelings.
What if my nanny just started with us? Am I still expected to give the standard bonus?
Some families chose to give a full bonus as a sign of ‘good faith’ and to show their nanny they are happy with where the employment relationship is heading. Other families choose to give their nanny a thoughtful gift, extended paid time off for the holiday or a pro-rated bonus.
Do I have to pay taxes on a bonus?
Legally, any and all monetary exchanges between you and your employee are considered to be income that you both need to pay taxes on, even if you consider it a “gift” for the holiday season or a thank you at time of review. If you plan to claim the bonus on your taxes, be sure that your nanny is made aware so that she can factor it into her tax responsibilities as well.
Can I give a gift instead of a monetary bonus?
At the end of the day, a gift is just that… a gift! While a year-end bonus is traditional for a professional employment relationship there is a very personal element that goes into the nanny relationship. Maybe you would love to buy your nanny a pair of warm UGGs for winter walks, a plane ticket to visit her family during the holidays, or even a Caribbean cruise. While it is completely up to you, just be sure it is something that your nanny would actually need or want.
The most important aspect of your nanny’s holiday gift is to let her know how much you care and value all that she does for your family. A personal note or a thoughtful gift from your children goes a long way towards making your nanny feel fulfilled and appreciated in her job. So regardless of what you decide is appropriate or feasible for your family, be sure to say “ Thank you!”.
During college, I was a live-in nanny for a family with two beautiful little girls that I loved dearly. We all knew that my career path and passion was not to be a professional caregiver but it was still a heartbreak for all of us when it was time to part ways.
Together, we started the search to find the "perfect" replacement by posting an ad with my cell phone number, a sweet message about this amazing family, and a short job description. My phone started ringing off the hook- all day and all night - with interested candidates. The whole process was overwhelming, time consuming and emotional as it was not just about any old "job". This was about caring and educating children we loved.
I have learned a lot since then.
One of the things I have learned is that this was not an isolated experience! So many new and veteran moms ask me how and where to find the perfect nanny, without having to weed through the millions of emails, resumes and messages. One mom recently told me that she received 85+ emails within two days in response to a nanny ad she placed on a small and local website. She felt so confused by the sheer volume of this response, and the lack of regulation in the market that she quit the search for a nanny and enrolled into a daycare!
So how do you start your search for great nanny? And how do maintain your sanity throughout the process?
Here are five tried and true ways to find great nanny candidates through a "Help Wanted" ad:
Look for "Mom" approved recommendations:
A personal recommendation from a trusted source speaks volumes. However, just because your friend's friend loved their nanny does not mean that she will be right for your family. Take all the appropriate precautions to interview, background check, screen and trial any nanny regardless of who approves of them. Equally important, the nanny relationship is emotional, personal and extremely important, as they will be spending time in the intimacy of your home and caring for your most precious people, so be sure to check that their professional actions will fall in line with your families needs and philosophies.
Create a detailed job explanation:
I am not talking about the standard “ I am looking for a loving, trustworthy and experienced nanny” …as this should really be a given! Instead give your ad some character by talking about your family’s personality and home culture. Be specific with your schedule and flexibly or lack thereof. Do you need housekeeping or someone to create a healthy meal for your children? Someone educated or just with years of experience? Do they need to love the great outdoors and your pup Fido? Are you a big communicator and need details, texts and pictures throughout the day? Be honest about the anticipated salary/hourly range for their take home wage, and when you need them to start.
Dedicate an email account:
You may receive a lot of responses so do yourself a favor and do not post your cell phone number, address or personal email account in the advertisement. Rather, create a separate email account that you can choose to attend to when you have the time and energy, and that you can deactivate once you found a great fit caregiver.
Ask for a picture:
Do you need a beauty queen? Probably not! But as they say "A picture is worth a thousand words." You are looking for a child-friendly, responsible person with some common sense to be around your kids. If you received a "duck-lipped selfie" and "fireball shots at the bar" photo... you probably know without an interview that she (or he) is not the "one".
Require an employment application:
Have the applicant complete a childcare application form with their basic contact information: availability, pay requirements, references, work experience and maybe even have them answer a childcare “situation question” or two. This will help give you the information you need to determine if these people are worth your time, in the form of an in person interview and will also cut down on the non-serious applicants as it requires more than just a cut and paste résumé.
Do you want more information about how to hire a nanny? Or are you in search of a nanny application template? Visit www.choice-parenting.com to learn more!
Brooklyn BabyFEST & Family Jam is the premier expectant and new parents’ experience. With informative workshops and demos, delicious goodies, and “mock-tail” tastings, this 1-day expo offers parents the opportunity to test out great baby gear, meet other parents, learn about amazing services and score amazing prizes!
Come join Choice Parenting!!! I would love to see you there!
Join Choice Parenting and many other local Hoboken businesses for a ton of free information, workshops, fun and a ton of prizes! Also I will be hosting the following workshop at each of the three sessions. You may even get to hear me read the " Three little Pigs" - trust me it has amazing parenting advice! ;)
Divide and Conquer: Make Routine Fun!
Has your everyday life become, well, routine? We have asked experts and seasoned parents to share their best life hacks for creating healthy habits, teamwork and memories in their families. Come join us as we share valuable tips and tricks for spicing up the daily grind and start making your routine fun!
Hi! I am Holly...
For over a decade, my career focus has been centered in and around NYC in the childcare, education, and family support industries.