Posts belonging to Category kids

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.


Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, HHS, wants all Americans to know about programs and resources to help children and parents curb obesity  including the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institutes of Health’s We Can!! (Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity & Nutrition)® program.

Through public-private partnerships, safe places to play and nutritious food options are being made available in neighborhoods and schools across America. Exciting new programs include the Partnership for a Healthier America and Olympic Team USA’s commitment to provide 1.7 million kids the opportunity to participate in free and low cost physical activity programs offered by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), USOC National Governing Bodies for sport, and others over the next year.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently released a new farm to school grant program designed to educate children about food sources, and increase the availability of locally sourced foods in schools.

obesityOver the past 30 years, the childhood obesity rate in America has almost tripled. According to the Centers for Disease Control,CDC, in 2010, approximately 17 percent of children and adolescents aged 2-19 years were already obese. Children and teenagers who are obese are more likely to become obese adults. Overweight and obese youth are at greater risk of developing serious adult health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, certain types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.

That is why HHS, with the President’s Council, supports First Lady Michelle Obama’s goal to end childhood obesity within a generation through her Let’s Move! program. Everyone has a role to play – parents and caregivers, school teachers and administrators, community leaders, local elected officials, after school programmers, and health care providers.

According to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, children and adolescents aged 6–17 years should spend 60 minutes or more being physical active each day.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010, released by HHS and USDA, provide nutritional guidance for Americans to promote good health, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity. The guidelines recommend balancing calories with physical activity, and encourage Americans to consume more healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, and seafood, and to consume less sodium, saturated and trans fats, added sugars, and refined grains.

To learn more about National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month or for tips on how to help your kids lead healthy lifestyle visit



30 Blogs for Preschool Activity Ideas

Paul Taylor, provider of the following guest post, is an ex-nanny. Passionate about thought leadership and writing, Paul regularly contributes to various career, social media, public relations, branding, and parenting blogs/websites. She also provides value to nanny service by giving advice on site design as well as the features and functionality to provide more and more value to nannies and families across the U.S. and Canada. She can be available at

preschoolEager to learn and filled with curiosity, preschool children can present quite a challenge when it comes to keeping them entertained and out of trouble.

During this stage of their life, children are still learning about the world around them through play and structured activities, and having a variety of activities to keep them engaged and entertained is a must; through the virtual village that is the blogosphere, parents and childcare providers have access to a wealth of educational and entertaining activity ideas. The following 30 blogs prominently feature entries covering such subjects, making them a valuable resource for the adults charged with caring for preschoolers.

Indoor Play

Inclement weather and lack of access to safe and open outdoor play space can leave parents and caregivers scrambling for ways to keep housebound kids from going stir crazy. These activities are all structured around the idea of keeping kids engaged indoors, for times when outdoor play simply isn’t feasible.

Outdoor Play

Research conducted by the Seattle Children’s Research Institute and the University of Washington indicates that many preschool children have few opportunities to engage in supervised outdoor play, which can support creativity, prevent obesity by discouraging sedentary habits, and strengthen developing motor skills. The benefits of getting young children off the couch and into the great outdoors are numerous; here are five blogs with ideas for active and stimulating outdoor play.

Educational Play

Almost any play that a preschooler engages in provides them with hands-on, real-life learning experiences; however, there are some activities that help kids learn important concepts. Bloggers share their ideas for educational activities in the following five links.

Group Play

While keeping a group of preschoolers entertained and getting along can be a struggle, side-by-side and group play are essential for helping kids learn the socializing skills that they’ll carry with them as they get older. Parents and caregivers can keep tantrums and feuds to a minimum by encouraging structured activity during play dates, making the information included in the following five blog entries quite valuable.

Safe Play

During the preschool years, kids are learning safety skills on a large scale, like fire or water safety, and also the basics of safe play in general. Helping pint-sized daredevils learn to play it safe and passing along the basic rules of safety in general can be done through active play, as detailed in these five posts.

Preschool Prep

If your little one is on the verge of beginning a structured preschool program, it’s likely that quite a bit of your energy is dedicated to helping him prepare for this major milestone. From knowing what to expect to perfecting potty training, these five blog entries can help parents and caregivers get a child on the right track and ready for school.

There are a staggering number of blogs on the Internet with a focus on preschool activities and other relevant topics, so don’t stop here! Check the links section in a favorite blog’s sidebar for others that may be similar.


Helping Your Child Accept a New Baby in the Family

The following guest post is written by Nancy Parker, a former professional nanny. Nancy loves to write about wide range of subjects such as health, parenting, child care, and babysitting, full time nanny tips etc. You can reach her at nancy.parker015 @

babyExpanding your family from one child to two is an exciting time, but also one that requires a delicate approach when telling your oldest child.

Your firstborn, especially when he or she is in the toddler years, is going to have a hard time adjusting, not only to not being the only child in the family, but also not being the baby anymore.

Before your second child makes his or her grand entrance you’re going to need to do some prep work with your oldest. You can help ease him or her into having a new brother or sister using the following tactics:

1.      Include your firstborn throughout the pregnancy Let your firstborn be actively engaged throughout your pregnancy. Helping to pick out a name for the new brother or sister, being given the opportunity to offer advice on different things, and feeling the baby kicking and moving all help to make to your firstborn fully aware that there is going to be a new baby in the house in the coming months.

 2.      Have your child practice with a doll – Buy a baby doll and let your firstborn practice holding the doll so that he or she knows the proper way to do so. Teaching everything that can and can’t be done with the baby ahead of time makes the transition from pretend baby to real one easier.

3.      Make special dates for one-on-one time – Your firstborn is not used to sharing you and your spouse and adding another person that demands your attention is going to be a difficult concept to grasp. Make special dates with just you or your spouse and your oldest child so that he or she still feels special and is reassured that spending alone time with you both is still possible.

4.      Don’t overdo the excitement factor – One mistake that a lot of parents make is over doing the excitement factor of having a new baby in the household. By doing this, your oldest child is going to be let down when he or she realizes that the new baby is only going to be able to sleep, eat, and cry most of the time and will not be a  new playmate right away. Instead be honest with your oldest  so that he or she knows what to realistically expect.

5.      Let your firstborn help you – As your own personal helper, your firstborn will still feel important. He or she can pick out what the baby is going to wear some days, help you bottle feed, grab burp rags, etc. for you.

The initial shock of having a new baby in the household is going to be a big hurdle for your oldest to overcome.

Expect feelings of resentment and jealousy and that your oldest may resort back to habits previously grown out of. These are all coping mechanisms, and soon enough they will pass. By being honest and taking time to make him or her feel important you can lessen the shock and help your oldest child transition to the role of big brother or sister.

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Watch Those Bottles, Pacifiers and Sippy Cups

sippy cupA recent national study of ER visits raises a red flag on the rates of cuts and bruises for infants and toddlers and what is causing them…pacifiers, bottles and sippy cups.

Previous research on injuries related to bottle, pacifier, and sippy cup use has largely focused on case reports of infant injuries or fatalities attributed to pacifiers or pacifier parts causing asphyxiation or to bottle warming causing burns.

This study, published online May 14 and appearing in the June issue of Pediatrics. is the first to use a nationally representative sample to investigate the range of injuries requiring emergency department visits associated with bottles, pacifiers, and sippy cups among children aged 0-3 years.

Using a nationwide survey, researchers estimated that more than 45,000 visits to the emergency room between 1991 and 2010 in children under 3 years old were because of injuries related to using bottles, pacifiers and sippy cups.

Most injuries involved children aged between 1 and 2 years who had a bottle and fell and cut their mouth.

“A lot of parents baby-proof their house but don’t ever think about the possibility of an injury related to these products,” said Sarah Keim, a researcher at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and lead author of the study.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents transition their children from a bottle to a cup between 12 and 15 months of age to avoid problems such as tooth decay. The AAP also recommends weaning babies off pacifiers between 6 and 12 months.

For the study, Keim and her colleagues collected data from the U.S. National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, a network of about 100 hospitals nationwide that record injuries in their emergency departments related to consumer products.

Two-thirds of the injuries were in children between 1 and 2 years. “This is right around the time that kids start to walk and run and aren’t very good at it yet,” Keim said.

About 66 percent of the injuries were related to a bottle, and 86 percent involved a fall.

It is not clear why more injuries were associated with bottles than the other products, Keim said. “There could be something about the products themselves that are potentially more dangerous or that children are using them more.”

Injuries related to pacifiers made up about 20 percent of cases. They occurred most often in children under 1 year old and led to bruising and dental damage. Sippy-cup injuries, which were most common in children older than 2 years, were more likely to affect the head, neck and face.

Keim said it was reassuring to see that choking injuries made up a small portion of overall injuries.

Having children stay seated while drinking may help protect them, the authors said.

To learn more about child product safety, visit Keeping Babies Safe.

(SOURCES: Sarah Keim, Ph.D., principal investigator, Center for Biobehavioral Health, Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio; Mark Zonfrillo, M.D., pediatric emergency medicine physician, injury epidemiologist, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Center for Injury Research and Prevention, and assistant professor, pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; May 14, 2012, Pediatrics


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