Posts belonging to Category children

Ways to Encourage a Service Attitude in Children

The following post is courtesy of Nancy Parker who blogs at

kidsandcharityWe all hope our children will grow up to be the kind of adults that reach out a helping hand to those less fortunate. However, a service attitude doesn’t just happen; it has to be given ample chances to take root and grow strong.

Parents can have a profound impact on nurturing that attitude in their children. Here are a few ways you can help your child develop a service attitude that will stay with them throughout their lifetime.

Model a giving heart. Children learn best by watching those they love and respect. If you want your child to truly value helping others, show him that’s it’s important to you through your own words and actions. Find a cause that you’re passionate about and get involved in whatever way you can. It doesn’t always have to be a hands-on project; there are many support jobs that make the direct work possible. Maybe your cause is best served by working on the fundraising committee, or folding and mailing out newsletters, or managing the volunteers. Whatever you do, talk about it with your child and involve him whenever possible. Let him know how your actions help others and share the benefits you get by being part of the project.

Promote the idea that one person can make a difference. Many people today are pessimistic about the impact that one person can have. But the belief that one person who gives from the heart can make a real difference in the world is at the heart of the service attitude. Instill and nurture the belief that your child can make the world a better place. Seek out news stories that spotlight people, especially children, who have taken positive actions around an idea they believe in. Read books where the hero is kind and loving towards others. Celebrate small victories and acknowledge that every big victory started with one step. Focus on what you can accomplish rather than what you can’t. Starting a compost project in your neighborhood won’t stop global warming, but it will contribute to a sustainable community. Working a shift at a homeless shelter won’t end homelessness, but it will help local people get a night’s sleep away from the cold and rain. Empower your child to see and embrace the possibilities.

Give your child the opportunity to get involved in a real way. We often don’t let young children participate in volunteer projects because we want to protect them from the harsh realities of the world. However, most children are able to handle much more than we think they can. Children are able to see past the problems and connect with the people affected. There are many volunteer opportunities that welcome children and help parents explain the issue in age appropriate ways. You and your child can volunteer to serve meals at a homeless shelter, visit isolated seniors in a nursing home, collect winter coats for foster children, or work a shift at a pet adoption day. What you do isn’t important. Taking the time to volunteer on a regular basis is what counts.

Encourage giving with everyday actions. While volunteer projects are a great way to introduce your child to helping others, a true service attitude is something that’s present every day. Get in the habit of joining with your child to think of ways you can help others in your everyday world. Carry a supply of water bottles and granola bars in your car and hand them out to the homeless people standing on street corners. Purge the play room and closets on a regular basis and donate the toys and clothes that aren’t being used. Pick up trash off the sidewalk and put it in the street side trash can. Give up your seat on the train to an elderly person. Return a shopping cart to the store front for a mom with young kids. Ask a child who’s sitting on the sidelines if he’d like to join in the game. There are endless opportunities throughout the day for both you and your child to help others.

Start a gratitude habit. Studies show that people who are grateful for what they have, whatever that may be, are more likely to be happy in their lives. Being grateful also helps you feel good about what you have when others around you have less, so you should consider starting a gratitude habit with your child. Talk at breakfast about what you’re looking forward to, share at dinner what things happened during the day you’re grateful for, or end the night with saying thank you.

No matter how young your child is, take the time to nurture his service attitude. It’s a passion that will stay with him for a lifetime.



Tips from Those in the Know

USDAThe United States Department of Agriculture,USDA has an extensive site for parents of preschool and elementary school age children featuring comprehensive nutrition plans, daily meal and snack plans for parents to reference and games that children can play that stress good eating habits. Go to:


Got a picky eater? The USDA has extensive information that can help parents get the picky eater to eat food necessary for good nutrition at

Another great USDA site to visit for a personalized nutrition and physical activity plan, the  ability to track your foods and physical activities to see how they stack up and to get tips and support to help you make healthier choices and plan ahead is:



How Parents can Help the Nanny

Jack Meyer contributed the following guest post. While his post focuses on a nanny as a caregiver, much of what he says rings true for any child care provider that comes into your home to care for your child or children, be it a day worker or live-in nanny.

Mr. Meyer is a regular contributor to As a detective, he wants to share information about what can happen when people don’t fully verify the credentials of a caregiver or any employee. He also writes for various law enforcement blogs and sites.

nannyOften parents get so focused on how the nanny is going to help them out with the kids that they forget that when a new nanny is hired, she needs help adjusting too.

It takes time for everyone acclimate to a new situation, especially when you’re bringing someone new into your home and expecting them to watch, get along with, and sometimes even teach your children. There are a few ways you can help your new nanny ease into her position:

1.      Set down your rules

This sounds like an obvious one, but a lot of times parents don’t think of this until they find themselves getting frustrated with their nanny for doing something wrong or differently than they would do it themselves. If there are certain rules that your family adheres to then it would be helpful for you to clearly lay those out for your new nanny so that she doesn’t inadvertently step on any toes. It’s harder to change habits after getting accustomed to them being a certain way than it is for your nanny to start nannying the way you want her too from the get-go.

2.      Regularly schedule reviews and meetings

It’s a good idea to check in with your nanny frequently to make sure that everything is going well and to make sure that everyone is happy with the situation as is, that way adjustments can be made if necessary. It’s good to step back and openly communicate about what’s working and what isn’t, so try having a review every couple months to assess how things are going and take time to talk to one another at the end of each day to address any problems your child may be having or progress he may have made.

3.      Give credit where credit is due

Sometimes you don’t know a good thing until it’s gone – try to acknowledge and compliment your nanny when it’s deserved. Everyone needs to hear “job well done” on occasion; it helps to foster a good work environment.

4.      Include the nanny in family events

From time to time it’s a good idea to include your nanny in picnics at the park or trips to the beach. You’re bringing someone into your home and having her care for some of the most important people in your life – your children. The more included they feel, the more comfortable they’ll become. Having a good, open relationship with your nanny is crucial to the success of the hire.

Hiring a nanny can be a wonderful and rewarding experience for you, your children and the nanny. It truly is a job that requires a great deal of passion towards the profession and it’s not an easy profession to undertake.

When the family is as committed to making the nanny comfortable as the nanny is to caring for the children it fosters a dynamic and successful relationship.


Misconceptions about Paying a Babysitter

The following guest post is from Paul Taylor.

babysitterAfter struggling to find a qualified babysitter for his young child so that he and his wife could attend a social event, it came to Paul that this process needed to to be easier.  He began searching for resources online to help parents and really didn’t find any great options so decided to create isn’t a job site per se but more of a resource to help parents and even babysitters to get information and to tap into all of the existing online babysitting sites like,, and several others offers an aggregated look at those sites to help families find sitters and to help sitters find families easier than ever.

10 Misconceptions About Paying Your Babysitter

Many parents, especially those that only hire a babysitter on an occasional basis, have an incorrect idea or two about the proper etiquette and guidelines surrounding how she should be paid.

In the interest of keeping both parties satisfied, here are ten of the most common myths surrounding babysitter wages.

  1. You Aren’t Required to Withhold Taxes – Most parents are under the impression that they’re not required to pay employment taxes on an occasional babysitter. In fact, any household employee that receives more than $600 in wages during a calendar year creates the need for families to obtain an employer identification number and file W-2 forms in order to be complaint with Federal tax laws.
  2. You Shouldn’t Pay Overtime – Because most babysitters are hired for one or two shifts a week at the very most, many parents don’t feel as if they should pay overtime. However, if you return home significantly later than the quoted time, it’s best to increase the hourly rate for each hour past the time your sitter expected you home. This is especially important for teenage sitters that may have curfews or schoolwork to attend to.
  3. You Don’t Have to Pay if You Cancel – Canceling your appointment with a babysitter at the last minute doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pay, especially if she doesn’t find out until she arrives at your door. While it certainly isn’t expected that you pay her full rate for a canceled evening, etiquette dictates that she receive some compensation for her time and change of schedule.
  4. The “Going Rate” is All That Matters – Most parents ask around to determine the going rate for a babysitter in their area, and adhere to it religiously. There are, however, many factors that should influence the rate you pay a babysitter. These factors include but are not limited to: the ages and number of children, kids with special needs or behavioral problems and the sitter’s level of experience.
  5. It’s Not Okay to Dock Pay – Agreeing upon a flat rate for a shift doesn’t mean that parents can’t dock the pay of a babysitter that turns up late or doesn’t provide adequate service. While it’s a good idea to explain exactly why you’re reducing your sitter’s rate and only do so if the situation warrants it, you’re well within your rights under the appropriate circumstances.
  6. Rates Don’t Have to Be Competitive – Often, parents think that a teenage sitter should be grateful to get the opportunity to work. They don’t always realize how much competition there can be for the time of a truly exceptional sitter, and are often surprised to find that a favorite babysitter doesn’t accept invitations after a few shifts. Just like any other worker, babysitters will give priority to clients who pay well.
  7. Food Costs Should Be Deducted From Wages – Due to the likelihood of injury or accident when babysitters attempt to cook while keeping rambunctious kids in line, many parents opt to leave money for pizza or other delivery meals. It is not, however, good practice to deduct any food costs from her wages. Providing a meal and adequate compensation is part of the babysitting deal.
  8. Excellent Sitters and Lackluster Ones Command the Same Rate – As discussed above, great sitters are hard to come by and can command rates significantly higher than the area average. Similarly, less reliable and engaging sitters can usually be paid less, as they aren’t likely to be in very high demand. While it’s never a good idea to leave your children in the care of a babysitter who is dangerously negligent, one that’s simply more reserved might not be a neighborhood favorite and may accept a lower rate.
  9. Weekend and Weeknight Rates Are the Same – Be prepared to pay a higher rate on weekends than you would on weekdays, especially if you’re planning to stay out very late. Though almost all teenage sitters will have limitations on their weeknight availability, they’re not likely to expect quite as high a rate as they would for their valuable weekend time.
  10. Hourly is the Only Way to Pay – Paying sitters by the hour isn’t necessarily the only way to compensate them for their time, especially if you’re absolutely certain that you won’t be later than the quoted time and the sitter is amenable to a flat rate.

The best way to determine a fair but reasonable babysitter rate is to take the going rate in your area, the factors that make your family’s needs unique and the expected length of each shift into account. After determining what you feel is acceptable, have a conversation with your babysitter before you leave to be sure that you’re both in agreement.


A Nanny’s Perspective on Managing Preschooler Behavior

In the following post, Roxanne Porter, a freelancer and a regular contributor to shares her perspectives on managing preschooler behavior. Roxanne provides knowledge about nanny services and enjoys writing on nanny related articles.  You can be in touch with her at “”.

behaviorWorking with children for many years, puts a person in the unique position of having witnessed many different types of behavior. One of the most challenging periods in a child’s life for parents is the preschool years. Between the mixture of a desire for independence and the developing sense of self-knowledge, it can be hard for a child of this age to express themselves in an appropriate manner when they are experiencing a strong emotion. Additionally, many children between the ages of three and five years old reach a developmental stage in which they prefer to do things that may be beyond their capabilities.

The following suggestions about managing behavior are provided to help parents of preschoolers take advantage of the knowledge that nannies have gained from years of experience in working with children.

1. Set defined limits-Children of any age need to know what is expected on them. However, too many or overly complicated rules can be confusing. At the preschool level, it is best to stick to a rule for each year of a child’s age. A rule that they should help to clean up after playing is a good one to begin with at first.

2. Use frequent reminders-Young children are only beginning to learn to follow rules. Therefore, it is important for a parent to remember that they may need to hear the same rule over and over again until they learn.

3. Model good behavior-Children are always observing. In order to get a child to perform a desired behavior, such as sharing or cleaning up, a parent should first perform the act in front of the child. This will give them a visual understanding of what good behavior looks like. In many instances, a preschooler will immediately mimic this behavior.

4. Prevent tantrums-Public tantrums are one of the more challenging behaviors that a child can present. Many times, a tantrum occurs when a child becomes overly tired, hungry or bored. Before going out in public, a parent should always make sure that their child’s needs are met. This will help to prevent the frustration that often builds before a tantrum occurs out of a need for release.

5. Make it fun-Many positive behaviors can be taught by parents who use innovative and engaging games. For example, clean-up time can be made fun when a parent plays music or sets a timer. Additionally, a child is more likely to eat their food when they help to prepare parts of it themselves.

Preschool behavior may be uncharted territory for many parents who are surprised by their child’s sudden need for independence. However, by setting clear rules and helping their child to learn them by using fun and soothing techniques, a parent can easily help their child to learn to regulate their behavior so that they can enjoy their experiences together.





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