Parenting – Tough Decisions Change Lives

It was a bright and sunny day but all I saw was dark clouds as I sat inside the school psychologist’s office looking with my son’s test results. “Your son’s behavioral problems can cause him to get in serious trouble later in life if they are not dealt with now. There are jails full of people without impulse control”, she said. Imagine finding out one day that your child has serious emotional problems and delays, after balancing a high pressure career and motherhood for so many years.

That day, I was devastated to find out the news. My bright and energetic son could read sentences and count to 30, but couldn’t control himself enough to be in the same room with other children. He couldn’t handle daycare, or a regular preschool classroom. Simple questions were tough for him to answer. I felt like a failure, like giving up, like the hours I spent as a mom teaching and nurturing him had done nothing for him.

Even if you quit your job and work with him all day long he’ll still be the same. It’s his personality. It doesn’t matter,” family told me over and over. “We’d hate to see you quit. You have so much potential. We don’t want your talents to go to waste,” my boss at work told me. I was making more money than ever before in my career, but it no longer felt right.

That afternoon I looked in my handsome son’s bright blue eyes and saw my reflection. If I didn’t try to help him, who would? He’d had different daycare teachers over the years, even a relative who had cared for him during the day. After a time I came to recognize the tight lipped smile they had as he arrive each morning, the way he was left sitting alone when I dropped by to check on him. You couldn’t pay someone else enough to care.  Not with the heart of a mother.

I gave my boss my resignation over the phone that afternoon. It was the toughest decision I had ever made. I didn’t know how I would make enough to pay my share of the bills I was responsible for, or how I was going to help this little boy I loved. It is nearly a year later, and we have been working hard together, my little boy and I. He is able to sit in class during circle time and makes friends on the playground. He is learning to speak articulately and express himself. We have spent hours learning, interacting, talking, playing, making mistakes and starting over, both of us. I have learned much myself. I learned to run my own business from home, but more importantly, to be this little boy’s confidante, his teacher, his safe refuge. Because of my sacrifice, there is hope where there once was despair for this boy.

Parenting is full of tough decisions, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. There are times when we have to decide what is most important in life. Regardless of the reason, nothing in the world can replace raising your own children and spending those precious years with them.

I was fortunate enough to stay home until my younger son was in school full time and then had a job that put me at home the same time my children arrived home from school. Sure, there were things we gave up. But, was it worth it?

My younger son was killed by a drunk driver at 23 years old. I will not be able to share the rest of my life with him – but I shared 23 years with him as closely as he could tolerate and still become a man. No regrets.

Source: Anonymous

What are your thoughts?

Much love, Diana-

Returning an Adopted Child: Acceptable or Unthinkable?

Last week I came accross this article by Kathy McManus and thought it was worth sharing:

************************

Return unused portion for refund. It’s the traditional safety net when a product fails to please or perform.

But should returns be allowed for adopted children?

The Tulsa World reports that parents Melissa and Tony Wescott want to return their 11 year-old adopted son to state custody because they say he had severe behavioral problems not disclosed prior to his 2007 adoption, including reactive detachment disorder, disruptive behavior disorder, major depressive disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, and fetal alcohol syndrome.

The Wescotts say that soon after the adoption, the boy attacked a neighbor child with a board, killed and injured animals, began regularly running away, and hid butcher knives and lighters in his room. “He tried to burn our home down,” said Melissa Wescott. “The note read: ‘I’m sorry you had to die.’”

State documents described the child as “polite and well mannered.”

Because the Wescotts can’t afford the lengthy legal process of having the adoption “dissolved,” they are asking the state to enact a law allowing adoptive parents to return children under certain circumstances.

“If a family can show they have exhausted every resource…to save their families and this is what they’re left with, then I think they should have this as an option,” said one supporter of the proposed legal change. “No one should be held hostage in their own homes.”

“A parent is a parent,” countered a state adoption official. “It doesn’t matter where the child came from.”

The boy has been confined to a psychiatric hospital for almost a year, and is now scheduled for release, but the Wescotts say they’re afraid to let him back in their house. Without the new law they’re seeking, they could face felony abandonment charges by turning him away.

“It hurts us to see him like this, but he doesn’t want to be with us,” said Melissa Wescott. “It’s not like we are trying to return an itchy sweater.”

***********************

In my opinion, the same way you wouldn’t return a biological child, you shouldn’t even think about returning an adopted child. Yes, it’s true that those conditions (if known) should’ve been disclosed, but what if other conditions arised that nobody knew before? should we also return those children? If when they get into teenage gears they show an addictive personality, growth hormone restrictions… you name it!… Should we return them? I don’t believe we should!

Tell us what you think: Who is responsible for the boy—the Wescotts, or the state? Should parents ever be allowed to return adopted children?

Much love, Diana-

What are we feeding our children?

When I watched the “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution”, I was outraged. Our children are getting pizza for breakfast, chicken nuggets for lunch, flavored milk as a snack… in their schools! This show is a must-see for all parents. If you haven’t watch it, I invite you to do so; and take action afterwards. Make sure you know what your little kids are putting in their bodies.

Jamie Oliver, a well-known chef from Britain, is taking his war against unhealthy eating habits to American shores. The U.S. is suffering from an obesity epidemic (specially among children) and he aims to stop it.

The scene of kids eating pizza for breakfast and thinking a tomato is a potato; children up to 10 years old not knowing how to use an knife and a fork; school bureaucrats calling french fries a vegetable; and school cooks not having a problem with serving all-processed meals to children day in and day out, is really rivetingly sad. This is just a sample of what he fins in our school:

Here’s the video of his speech at TED, as well as the trailer for “Food Revolution”:

You can also watch the show online here.

Please, watch it and take action!!! Don’t let your children suffer from obesity, diabetes and many other complications that they shouldn’t have to deal with.

Reading to your Kids

I found what this father (and his daughter) did was fantastic! They read and read together, every day, for the past 8+ years! Inspiring story!

Dad Reads to Daughter 3,218 Nights in a Row

When his daughter was in the fourth grade, Jim Brozina offered her a challenge: He wanted to see if the two of them could read together every night for 100 nights in a row. She accepted. When they reached their goal, she said to him quietly, “I think we should try for 1,000 nights.” And that’s how The Streak was born. According to the New York Times, the Brozinas read a total of 3,218 nights in a row, right up until Kristen’s first day of college.

It’s an amazing feat, especially considering that they both had busy social lives, but the Brozinas say it was more than a personal challenge: It was part of the glue that held them together. The Brozinas had been through a difficult year that included losing both grandparents, sending Kristen’s sister off to college and Kristen’s mother leaving her father.

“It was just the two of us,” Kristen told the New York Times. “The Streak was stability when everything else was unstable. It was something I knew would always be there.”

Reading a book together requires coziness and intimacy — and it’s the perfect way to unplug from your busy life and take some time to bond with your child. Here are some tips for getting the most out of reading with your child:

• Find a comfortable spot in the house and make it your own. When one of my kids asks me to read, she heads right for the softest couch in the house, ready to cuddle in. But don’t be afraid to read on the go. We keep books in the car for long waits, and I’ve even been known to share a book over breakfast.

• Make reading together part of your daily routine. Even when kids are old enough to read on their own, parents can read books that are above a child’s reading level to broaden their vocabulary and imagination. I often read chapter books at bedtime, just for this purpose.

• Choose books that are interesting. Those early-reader books are great for reading practice, but it’s the story books that really grab kids’ attention. The more engaged children are at reading time, the more they’ll look forward to it every day.

• Read books that you once loved. My kids are finally ready to hear books like “Beezus and Ramona,” and I couldn’t be more excited. There’s just nothing like passing on a great story to the next generation. On the flip side, be sure to let your kids choose, too. The books that they feel connected to might surprise you.

• Have fun with it. Make up funny voices, be dramatic, add your commentary and, whenever possible, end the session on a cliffhanger.

Much love, Diana-

 

Source: http://www.momlogic.com/2010/03/dad_reads_to_his_daughter_3218_nights_in_a_row_the_streak.php#ixzz0j43tkphU

The Importance of Sleep

This weekend I came across this great article, explaining the importance of ‘sleep’ for children; and I thought I should share it.

Good, Sound Sleep for Your Child

Making sure your child gets good, sound sleep ensures he or she will have a sound foundation for proper mind and body development.

Sleep on These

Following are some observations from various studies illustrating some of the difficulties faced and the behavioral changes in children with sleep problems (from Wiessbluth’s Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child and On Becoming Baby Wise, by Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam, MD):

  • Children do not “outgrow” sleep problems; problems must be solved.
  • Children who sleep longer during the day have longer attention spans.
  • Babies who sleep less in the daytime appear more fitful and socially demanding, and they are less able to entertain or amuse themselves.
  • Toddlers who sleep more are more fun to be around, more sociable, and less demanding. Children who sleep less can behave somewhat like hyperactive children.
  • Small but constant deficits in sleep over time tend to have escalating and perhaps long-term effects on brain function.
  • Children with higher IQs — in every age group studied — slept longer.
  • For ADHD children, improvements in sleep dramatically improved peer relations and classroom performance.
  • Healthy sleep positively affects neurologic development and appears to be the right medicine for the prevention of many learning and behavioral problems.

What Parents Can Do

As parents, it is our responsibility to be sensitive to and protect our children’s sleep, just as we do their safety, just as we ensure that they regularly get breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We are primarily responsible for their sleep habits so it is important to start healthy ones early; it is much easier to instill good habits than correct bad ones.

Infuse the importance of sleep with daily attention to it and you will likely have a happier, self-assured, less demanding, and more sociable child. And you just might get some more sleep yourself.

Much love, Diana-

Sandra Bullock honoring Moms

The moment Sandra Bullock stepped on the stage to receive her Oscar was amazing. Honoring mothers:

“Not enough time, so I would like to thank what this film is about for me which are the moms that take care of the babies and the children no matter where they come from. Those moms and parents never get thanked. I, in particular, failed to thank one. So… if I can take this moment to thank Helga B. for not letting me ride in cars with boys until I was 18 because she was right. I would’ve done what she said I was gonna do. For making me practice every day when I got home. Piano, ballet, whatever it is I wanted to be. She said to be an artist, you had to practice every day, and for reminding her daughters that there’s no race, no religion, no class system, no color, nothing, no sexual orientation that makes us better than anyone else. We are all deserving of love. So, to that trailblazer, who allowed me to have that.”

Much love, Diana-

Baby Lola, 3 Weeks Old

Lola was born in October 2009, healthy, full term baby, after only 5 hours of labor to first time parents Alice and George. George had been wanting to have  a baby for years, but Alice was not so sure about it. In fact, she was the first one to be surprised when she got pregnant at their first try.

From the moment she was born, Lola was described by her mother as a very difficult baby. Alice pointed these as the main problems of her daugher:

  • She had trouble latching on and wouldn’t want to breastfeed
  • She wouldn’t like to stay on her crib by herself
  • She fussed a lot, and she cried for hours on end
  • She didn’t sleep more than 30 minutes straight
  • She was impossible to read

Alice was a little desperate and didn’t know what to do with Lola. However, every time I would meet them, go visit them or babysit for them, I didn’t see many of the issues she complained about. Many times Alice would tell me how they have implemented this and that methodology, routine… to solve Lola’s issues, but the situation wouldn’t improve. I was so surprised to hear that, so I offered to analyze their case and give them my suggestions. They accepted!

I sat down with them, trying to understand what a normal day looked like for Lola. Lola was 3 weeks old at that time.

  • Lola woke up, crying, at a different time every day
  • Alice tried to breastfeed her. If it didn’t work, she would hand her over to her mom (Alice’s mom, Lola’s grandma, who was staying with them) for her to bottle feed her.
  • Alice would let her mom take care of Lola, or would strap her on  carrier/sling and take her around. Store, park, grocery, meeting friends….
  • Lola mostly slept in the sling for long periods of time
  • Lola woke up either super hungry or just uncomfortable and cry loudly and unconsolably
  • Alice fed her (bottle or breast) if possible, if not she would wait until she got home (30 to 90 minutes later)
  • Alice put her in the sling again and went on with her daily life
  • The same crying episode ocurred several times a day, and Alice would do the same.
  • Once they got home, Alice would try to put her down (swing, cot, crib…), but Lola wouldn’t take it. She just wanted to be held.
  • Lola spent all night walking up every 1-2 hours.
  • They would feed her by breast and bottle depending on their situation.
  • They would try to put her to sleep when she looked tired.
  • They went on with their life as was, going out, having people over…

My first impressions were:

  • Lola was getting too used to the sling
  • Lola would sleep when she didn’t need to (most of the day), not burn any energy, and would stay up throughout the night
  • Lola needed some structure and certain routine
  • Lola was overtired once she was put down for naps or night
  • Lola didn’t know what to expect throughout the day
  • Lola was getting unconsistent messages (different responses to the same situations)

So, I suggested them the following:

  • Schedule: define a schedule that worked for them and Lola, and stick to it! No wiggle room! Adjust their life to Lola a little bit.
  • Routine: define bedtime and nap time routines, play times…
  • Sleep & Awake times differentition: make sure that Lola knows what night is, when she has to sleep during the day. Make sure the sleep arrangements are the most appropriate to help Lola sleep (dark room, quiet, no distractions…). Put her down before she gets overtired.
  • Tracking: I shared with them the daily tracking that I designed when my daughters were born. The purpose of tracking is trifold: (1) Understand your baby, clues, behaviors…; (2) Keep track of important details about your baby; and (3) Work towards a schedule that works for both your baby and the rest of the family.
  • Basic Needs: Make sure Lola was getting the right amount of sleep and food.
  • Consistency: decide how they were going to react to certain situations, how to treat Lola, and stick it. Every time the situation arises, the response is the same.

I stayed with them for the first two days, starting on a Saturday morning. The first night, Lola slept 4.5 hours straight for the first time. She was calmer throughout the day, she didn’t cry as much when out of the sling, and she breastfed better. The second day, she did even better, she fell back to sleep for her day naps without fussing, and she slept another 4.5 hours at night.

Things were running smoothly, and I felt they really had it under control. Both Alice and George were starting to enjoy parenthood, and loving spending time with her daughter; and what’s more important, Lola was calmer, better rested and fed, and happier overall.

Much love, Diana-

Disclaimer: Names have been changed to preserve my clients and friends’ privacy.

Kids on a leash?

I have always disliked the idea of having kids on a leash. In fact, I remember having this conversation with my husband before our twins were born, and he was very much in favor of leashes and I thought there was no way I would put my babies on a leash. Well… since my babies are on the run, I’ve kind of changed my mind!

My girls are 14 months old now and are running, climbing, exploring… and I can’t bring myself to think about taking them to the street without a stroller and without any kind of restrain. What if they decide to run in different directions? What if we get into a crowded area and I loose sight of them? I think leashes are a fantastic idea!

I can imagine that airports, amusement parks, malls, stores are much easier and safer to navigate with your children on a leash. As other mom pointed out in a moms group I’m part of, it’s really not much different than strapping them into a stroller, high chair, car seat etc. It’s all designed for their safety not to harm the children or degrade them.

Some people believe that children feel that they have no control, and that it is better to have them walk holding the stroller or your hand, and once they let go, you restrain them again in the stroller. This way, they know they have some control over what happens to them. In fact, there’s a very popular and highly acclaimed philosophy of child rearing, Montessori, that opposes child-restraiment.

I’m no expert on Montessori philosophy, but I would see a leash to be more Montessori than the alternative. I am assuming than a parent would not just let his/her child run wild in dangerous and crowded situations. In this case, I see the leash as a better alternative to forcing the child to walk right next to you, forcing them to hold your hand, forcing them to sit on the stroller, all of which my children often do not want to do, especially when they know how to walk. The leash allows them freedom of movement while allowing you to keep them safe.

I will never use the leash to control the child’s movement; I will not yank on it, or restrain them with it. I will use it as a safety net if the child ran into a truly dangerous situation unexpectedly. I see a child leash as just a way to tether child and parent together to avoid separation, not to control the child’s movements. Ideally the child would be unaware the leash had a restraining effect.

I also believe that in certain circumstances they are particularly useful and lifesaving. For those of us with twins, or higher degree multiples; or for those with children very close in age; for those with kids with special needs who are not always aware of the dangers around them… I think the leashes are fantastic tool to help us keep our kids safe. So, I am definitely getting them for the spring!

Parenting Styles

Developmental psychologists have long been interested in how parents impact child development. However, finding actual cause-and-effect links between specific actions of parents and later behavior of children is very difficult. Some children raised in dramatically different environments can later grow up to have remarkably similar personalities. Conversely, children who share a home and are raised in the same environment can grow up to have astonishingly different personalities than one another.

Despite these challenges, researchers have uncovered convincing links between parenting styles and the effects these styles have on children. During the early 1960s, psychologist Diana Baumrind conducted a study on more than 100 preschool-age children (Baumrind, 1967). Using naturalistic observation, parental interviews and other research methods, she identified four important dimensions of parenting:

  • Disciplinary strategies
  • Warmth and nurturance
  • Communication styles
  • Expectations of maturity and control

Based on these dimensions, Baumrind suggested that the majority of parents display one of three different parenting styles. Further research by also suggested the addition of a fourth parenting style (Maccoby & Martin, 1983).

The Four Parenting Styles

Authoritarian Parenting

In this style of parenting, children are expected to follow the strict rules established by the parents. Failure to follow such rules usually results in punishment. Authoritarian parents fail to explain the reasoning behind these rules. If asked to explain, the parent might simply reply, “Because I said so.” These parents have high demands, but are not responsive to their children. According to Baumrind, these parents “are obedience- and status-oriented, and expect their orders to be obeyed without explanation” (1991).

Authoritative Parenting

Like authoritarian parents, those with an authoritative parenting style establish rules and guidelines that their children are expected to follow. However, this parenting style is much more democratic. Authoritative parents are responsive to their children and willing to listen to questions. When children fail to meet the expectations, these parents are more nurturing and forgiving rather than punishing. Baumrind suggests that these parents “monitor and impart clear standards for their children’s conduct. They are assertive, but not intrusive and restrictive. Their disciplinary methods are supportive, rather than punitive. They want their children to be assertive as well as socially responsible, and self-regulated as well as cooperative” (1991).

Permissive Parenting

Permissive parents, sometimes referred to as indulgent parents, have very few demands to make of their children. These parents rarely discipline their children because they have relatively low expectations of maturity and self-control. According to Baumrind, permissive parents “are more responsive than they are demanding. They are nontraditional and lenient, do not require mature behavior, allow considerable self-regulation, and avoid confrontation” (1991). Permissive parents are generally nurturing and communicative with their children, often taking on the status of a friend more than that of a parent.

Uninvolved Parenting

An uninvolved parenting style is characterized by few demands, low responsiveness and little communication. While these parents fulfill the child’s basic needs, they are generally detached from their child’s life. In extreme cases, these parents may even reject or neglect the needs of their children.

The Impact of Parenting Styles

What effect do these parenting styles have on child development outcomes? In addition to Baumrind’s initial study of 100 preschool children, researchers have conducted numerous other studies than have led to a number of conclusions about the impact of parenting styles on children.

  • Authoritarian parenting styles generally lead to children who are obedient and proficient, but they rank lower in happiness, social competence and self-esteem.
  • Authoritive parenting styles tend to result in children who are happy, capable and successful (Maccoby, 1992).
  • Permissive parenting often results in children who rank low in happiness and self-regulation. These children are more likely to experience problems with authority and tend to perform poorly in school.
  • Uninvolved parenting styles rank lowest across all life domains. These children tend to lack self-control, have low self-esteem and are less competent than their peers.

Why Do Parenting Styles Differ?

After learning about the impact of parenting styles on child development, you may wonder why all parents simply don’t utilize an authoritative parenting style. After all, this parenting style is the most likely to produce happy, confident and capable children. What are some reasons why parenting styles might vary? Some potential causes of these differences include culture, personality, family size, parental background, socioeconomic status, educational level and religion.

Of course, the parenting styles of individual parents also combine to create a unique blend in each and every family. For example, the mother may display an authoritative style while the father favors a more permissive approach. In order to create a cohesive approach to parenting, it is essential that parents learn to cooperate as they combine various elements of their unique parenting styles.

Much love, Diana

 

Source: http://psychology.about.com/od/developmentalpsychology/a/parenting-style.htm  Parenting Styles. The Four Styles of Parenting. By Kendra Cherry, About.com Guide

What makes a good nanny?

I’ve been struggling for months to find the right nanny for my twins. When they were newborn preemies, I needed someone with a certain set of characteristics that might not necessarily be the same I look for now that they’re 14 months olds. However, I believe that there are certain qualities that a good nanny must have, regardless of the number of children she will take care of, their ages, their background…

Absolute and unconditional love for children and her job

It might sound obvious, but in fact, it is not. A nanny must be someone who loves and enjoys the company of children, who is nurturing, loving, warm, compassionate, understanding, and who transmits the right vibe to children. When your babies, kids look forward to spending time with their nanny, they smile when they see her, they share their great experiences with her with everybody and they thrive under her care; you know she’s doing something right. You may find a caregiver who does everything well, but if she truly enjoys being in the company of children, they will feel it and love it. Her love will shine through every day she spends with them and they will be aware of it. A good nanny shows a genuine interest in your whole family.

A nanny should not take her job as a task to be performed; but she should enjoy being with kids and interacting with them warmly and affectionately. I don’t have anything against people taking nanny positions when they loose their jobs, or when they want to make extra money; as long as they do it as they’re supposed to, they are capable of doing it, and they put their mind and heart to it. However, my experience has told me not to hire a highly educated person who was laid off and couldn’t find a job in her field. Why? They feel underutilized, they don’t think they should be doing certain task (cleaning babies’ bathroom, doing the dishes…), they are in constant search for something else, they’re not focused on their job with the children, they have less patience… That’s just my experience, but I would certainly not hire an out-of-job PhD to care for my children.

A great nanny sees herself as a professional, takes pride on what she does, and that shows in her everyday disposition. A good nanny will become part of your family, so they need to be someone who ‘feels’ like someone you would want to be part of the family.

istock_000074873239_small.jpg

Reliable and punctual

This is a deal breaker in my opinion. Parents, regardless of their job situation (full time out of the home workers, part time workers, stay at home parents, work at home parents…), need to know that their nanny is going to be there when agreed, period. This is true for any job, so it’s true for this one too. A nanny should give the family she works for ample warning when she is going to be unable to care for the children; and always arrive at the agreed time.

Good listener, good at following through and detailed oriented

A good nanny will deal with the children in the way the parents see as the best, so she must be able to listen and follow directions. Whether it is the length of naps, the dietary requirements, the discipline approach or general child rearing, your nanny should be on your same page. She should agree with, or at least understand and respect your child-raising and parenting beliefs and values. Your kids are your kids, and you are the one who should decide how they are raised. That does not mean that you won’t ear any suggestions the nanny might have, but at the end of the day, you make the decisions, and she must be able to follow through.

Some parents are more anal than others, but for those of us, who wants things done a certain (specific) way, the nanny should be able to follow our instructions to the detail.

Respectful, well mannered, with good morals and values

Children learn by example and copy the behavior patterns of the adults around them. This applies to any type of behavior, good and bad. They look up to their parents, grandparents, teachers, and nannies. Setting a good example and being a role model are integral parts of every nanny job. Only a nanny with high morals and proper manners can help the children she cares for grow up with the same characteristics.

Patient

Every parent knows that taking care of children requires a lot of patience. A good nanny is the one who will not lose her temper when a baby cries for hours on end, who does not get mad when a toddler starts tasting boundaries, who can patiently answer endless questions from a preschooler, who can patiently handle a kid who throws a temper tantrum, etc.

Dependable, Resourceful, Proactive, Creative and Responsible

A good nanny will find creative solutions to daily problems and collaborate with you for insight on providing the best care for your child. A committed nanny is the one who creates activities to fill the day and takes the initiative to contribute to the children’s development. Most parents do not want to be bothered with telling their nanny what to do every minute of the day. Keeping the children occupied and entertained while getting the must-do things done in an organized manner is a trait a good nanny.  A great Nanny is resourceful, imaginative and creative. Children relish surprises, and a nanny, who shares that appreciation for discovery, whether it’s a treasure hunt or chalk art on the driveway, is sure to be loved.

A good nanny will take care of the children and everything related to them without having to be told to do every single thing. A good nanny will change the baby’s clothes if they’re wet, dirty, smelly and put them in the laundry bin, she will organize the children’s closets periodically so everything is properly folded and organized, etc.

906c582432c91b7091103e85555caf93.jpg

Careful, safe and hygienic

A great nanny displays good judgment and is always conscious of your child’s safety; therefore, accidents will be very rare. She will also be competent and self-assured in an emergency.

A good nanny will keep your kids always clean and groomed, their room clean and aired, clothes clean, folded and properly organized… without you having to tell her.

Able to multitask

Your nanny might have more then one child to care for and this means several things happening simultaneously. She might be able to cook dinner for the older kids while feeding the baby and helping out with homework problems. Even with only one child, she must be able to do several things at once, so the ability to handle multiple things happening at once is crucial.

Good communication skills and open to feedback

A nanny needs to offer clear direction to the children and relay complete details to the parents about their children. Being able to understand how people like to be communicated with is also something to keep in mind. Some parents may want a written note every day containing the day’s events while others may want to chat with you for a few minutes at the end of the day to go over key points. Open, direct and clear communication is the key to a successful nanny-parent team. Problems, small or big, arise even in the best of relations. The important thing is to communicate them in a professional manner and come together to a proper solution.

Parents want to know what their children have been up to, so the nanny should be able to share with us, all our child’s/children’s accomplishments, all the fun they had, and any rough spots. A great nanny will make an effort to stay connected with the parents and shows initiative in establishing appropriate paths of communication.

Good organizational skills

A nanny must be able to properly organize her time and make sure that all the tasks and activities for the day, take place. She will need to coordinate it all to make sure things run smoothly. Great organizational skills come in handy, especially when she cares for several children and when the children start having busier schedules. The organizational skills that a nanny applies toward planning each day insure that she is at least somewhat productive and that she accomplished what you asked her to.

Trustworthy

Parents would leave their children only with people they trust. One shouldn’t forget that children are their most important possession and the person who spends a lot of time with them must be trustworthy.

Appropriate Experience, Educated and Knowledgeable

A great nanny should understand children’s development stages. For instance when you have infants in the house, you want the nanny to be skilled at changing diapers, giving the baby a bath and preparing formula food for the baby. For toddlers, you need a nanny who can teach them some basic things like manners. And for the school goers you need someone who can even help them out with their homework and studies. Regardless how healthy or sick your children were born, I think it’s a must for a nanny that you are going to leave in custody of your child to have basic first aid training, and to be CPR certified. Finally, she should know how to prepare healthy food and be particular about hygiene.

Clean criminal record and background check!

This might sound obvious, but I can’t stress enough the importance of conducting a proper background check on anyone you are leaving at the care of your children. One of the main responsibilities of a parent is to keep their children safe and out of arms way. Before hiring a nanny you absolutely need to do the following background checks: national, state, regional and county criminal (professional court research), sexual offender (nationwide registries), bankruptcy, judgments, tax liens, litigations, alias and AKA names search (criminal records under assumed names), address trace, college education verification, and social security number verification. Check both Married and Maiden names. Full State DMV Driving report to search for reckless, unsafe or irresponsible behavior (this report is critical if the nanny is to be driving your children to and from school or sports activities). There are many private investigators and companies specialized in background checks that will prepare this reports for as low as $150. Believe, it’s worth every penny, for your peace of mind and your children’s safety.

73094-kid-loves-nanny.jpg

I think a good nanny should meet all and everyone of these characteristics. What’s your take on this? Did I miss anything?

Much love, Diana-