Category Archives: Nanny

Celebrating Chinese New Year at Day Care!

Celebrating Chinese New Year at Day Care!

Chinese New Year begins on February 19, 2015. It’s one of the most important holidays in the Chinese calendar. It lasts for 15 days and is cause for much celebration, and a feeling of renewal.  Sharing the concept of Chinese New Year with day care children would open the door for some fun activities!

Many families will clean the house during the celebration, in order to sweep away bad fortune and welcome good luck into the home. Making cleaning a part of a celebration is a great way to get kids to help clean, and who wouldn’t want good luck?

Children might be fascinated by the story of the Nian, a mythical beast that would come to Chinese villages on or around Chinese New Year to attack people. In order to prevent the attack the next year, villagers learned to bang on drums and set off firecrackers, in order to frighten the Nian away with the loud noises. They also used the color red in lanterns, scrolls, and clothing. The story goes that a small child wore red and the Nian was frightened of the color, so it left the child alone. The Nian hasn’t attacked anyone since people learned these tricks, so they are now used at Chinese New Year celebrations. It would be fun for the kids to make some noise, and perhaps make some scrolls from red paper.

On Chinese New Year’s Eve, many Chinese families will eat a “reunion dinner”, usually having a chicken or pork dish. A fish dish is usually included, but it’s important that not all the fish is eaten. Some must be refrigerated overnight, from the previous year and into the new year, to ensure that each year has a surplus. People may give each other gifts of sweets, such as oranges, chocolates, or candies. These would be inexpensive and easily be prepared as a daycare activity for the kids.

You can find more fascinating information about Chinese New Year traditions on the internet. Learning about other cultures is so important for our children, and so much fun for them. This is a great learning opportunity!

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with Daycare

mlk-smileMartin Luther King Jr. Day is observed on the third Monday each January. King’s birthday is January 15, so the observance falls around the time of his birthday. Many schools observe this holiday and are closed for the day, but many workplaces are not, so there will be lots of kids in daycare that are normally in school. These school age kids will likely learn about Martin Luther King Jr. in school, and there may be some activities in daycare.

Martin Luther King Jr. is probably the most recognizable figure in the American Civil Rights movement. He brought attention to race issues in the 1960’s. He rallied citizens to end racial segregation by use of non-violent protest. He also worked to end poverty and bring about an end to the Vietnam War, before he was assassinated in 1968.

The Occupy Wall Street movement of 2011, protesting social and economic inequality, also used nonviolent protest, championed by Dr. King and Mahatma Gandhi. These methods have been successful in bringing attention to various causes. The First Amendment to the constitution protects the rights of Americans, including the right to freedom of speech and the freedom to peaceably assemble, meaning that by following a few simple rules, protesters are free to gather and speak their minds.

It’s important for kids to learn not only about history, but how what has happened in the past affects current events and their futures. Children born in the 1990’s and 2000’s  have never grown up with segregation and oftentimes, cannot fathom why anybody would treat somebody differently due to the color of their skin. This is Dr. King’s dream come true, and it was through the work of peaceful activists.

The children in daycare on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, learning about the man and his legacy, are also learning that ordinary people have the power to change the world for the good of all mankind. They have an opportunity to make their voices and ideas heard.

As parents, we have the opportunity to hear what our children have learned and discuss it with them. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is an excellent opportunity to discuss history and current events with our children. Dr. King is a wonderful example of how one person really can make a difference in the world.   What an encouraging message for all of us!

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

The Fallacy of Being a Tattletale

Boy Called a Tattletale at DaycareThere is something that has bugged me for some time as a parent: how to discipline a child for being a “tattletale”. It seemed kind of strange that a parent, teacher, or daycare provider would discipline the child that “tattled” to them regarding another child’s bad behavior instead of the child who is actually behaving badly. I dismissed this as “just what we do” for so long but that nagging feeling about this idea persists. As a parent, I have avoided it because it made me feel uncomfortable but I never realized why until now.

It’s Just Plain Laziness

First of all, children need to know what is right and wrong and it isn’t up to them to decide. Parents and daycare providers are supposed to do this. It is in fact one of the main jobs of being a parent or provider. Whether it is something huge like playing with matches or something small like not playing nice, it is the provider’s job to make the judgment, not the child’s. When the child who “tattled” is disciplined instead of the one actually being bad, it sends the message that we don’t care enough to step in and help when they can’t help themselves, or when they don’t quite know what to do.

Parents and Providers Need to Teach

We should not expect children to make decisions in arguments when they are so young. By the time children are old enough to know the difference between right and wrong regarding a certain situation, they shouldn’t be doing it in the first place. So the parents and providers should get involved to take care of the issue. Whether the situation is something new or old, huge or mundane, it is our responsibility as parents and providers to help them work through these situations.

It’s Name Calling

As simple as this point might seem, it is still valid. Calling a child a tattletale is name calling. Name calling at any time, for any reason, is wrong. It’s as simple as that.

Children Should Always Be Able to Talk

This is one of the most important points of this whole thing. A child should always, 100 percent of the time, feel safe about coming to a parent or daycare provider about anything. And I do mean anything. Parents and daycare providers can’t know or anticipate all of the situations a child might encounter and you do not want children to ever hesitate to talk to you. What if something bad happened to a child and they did not talk to anyone about it because they thought someone might call them a “tattletale”?

A Bully’s Playground

When children are disciplined and called “tattletales”, it opens the door for all kinds of other terrible things to happen. If a bully or an adult knows that a child will get in trouble for tattling, they can easily use that leverage to pick on and otherwise torment a child. They know the children who live under “no tattling” rules will hesitate to speak out when something is wrong. This is a terrible and easily abused situation which could be avoided if we would all agree that it is a good thing to speak out when something is wrong.

No More Tattletales

I hope that this list of reason is enough to illustrate why the whole idea of calling a child, or anyone else for that matter, a “tattletale”, is wrong. This can have far-reaching consequences even throughout adulthood. We are the parents and daycare providers for children and we must make sure that the children are always able to speak to us no matter what. As parents and daycare providers both, we need to take the pledge to end the destructive habit of calling children “tattletales” and take the time resolve whatever situation might be at hand. We owe it our children and their futures.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)

Daycare Back To School Blues

daycare-center-classroomBack to school time comes with a whole mix of emotions for parents and children alike. Even if you don’t have kids that are in school yet, they are bound to be affected by those that are heading back to school. Some kids will love going to school, while other children will be terrified about a change from their usual daycare routine. Parents can have the same range of emotions as they try to deal with their children in different places and always the struggle of them growing up too fast. Regardless of how you feel, both the children and the parents are bound to be stressed at this time. Here are a few tips to help you along in these transitioning times.

Always Be Excited

Act excited, even if you aren’t!  This will help your child be motivated and interested in these changes.

Always Be Interested

Even though you may feel overwhelmed, make sure you ask specific questions about school or their friends they might have who are going to school.

Take Some Time

Cut out some of the extras in your schedule to make time not only for your kids, but for yourself as well.

Make Sure to Show Attention to Your Kids Who Aren’t in School

It is a huge deal that one of your children is going to school, but you also need to make sure you give attention to those kids that aren’t. They will feel left out if you don’t.

Stay on Top of Schedules

Often during school, schedules become very complicated and hectic. Make sure your schedule matches up with your daycare providers.

It is a stressful and busy time for everyone when school starts and if you have children in daycare it can be very difficult to make everything work. It will be even more difficult if you do not follow these simple rules. You want your kids to be excited about school, happy about those that are going to school, and handling the changes well. As a parent you will need to have them responsive to being dropped off and picked up whether it is daycare or school. These simple rules should make it much easier for both children and their parents to make the difficult transition back to school from daycare.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Is Your Daycare Open Labor Day?

daycare_swingsLabor Day weekend is upon us already. The summer goes by so fast when we have so much going on with the family. Hopefully things are settling down a bit as we leave summer behind us and make our way into Fall. The older kids should be getting in the rhythm of school once again and the younger children should be back to their normal daycare and preschool routine. Hopefully everything in the land of daycare is going well for everyone. Don’t throw a snag in the works on Labor Day weekend by finding out unexpectedly that your daycare center is closed!

It is a good rule of thumb as a parent to never assume that your daycare will be open on any holidays. With Labor Day just around the corner it is a good idea to check with your daycare provider to see if they are open. Different kinds of daycare are more likely to be open than others.

Daycare centers, for instance, are often open during the holidays but they may have different hours so check with them to be sure that your schedules will match up.

In-home daycare providers are often open during Labor Day but each one may vary if they are open or not. They are more likely to change this policy from year to year so be sure that nothing has changed with your own daycare provider. If it has changed, make sure that you are taking steps to accommodate it.

Many in-home daycare providers use this time as annual vacation for themselves. They may try to capitalize on the high likelihood that the parents of the children will have the day off. This way they daycare provider doesn’t have to inconvenience their parents.

If you have a nanny then whether they are off or not should be worked out in your contract. There should be no doubt whether they are available or not. However, make sure to mention it to them to be sure that everyone is on the same page and there are no unexpected surprises come the holiday.

If your daycare provider is providing childcare for Labor Day, make sure to offer them an extra thanks or do something special for them since they are working on a holiday.

If your daycare provider is taking time off make sure that you also have the time off as well or have made other arrangements. It is easy to miss these simple and easy steps when things get hectic around the holidays. Just a few works between you and your childcare provider can help you to avoid a big hassle when you least want it.

Organize Your Family's Schedule In No Time
Organize Your Family's Schedule In No Time

This is also a great time to go over your fall and winter schedule with your daycare provider for the rest of the year. Moving into fall and winter we tend to have more holidays or take more time off. Make sure that your childcare provider knows when these times are and be sure that they match up with their own time off. It’s best to prepare for these as far in advance as possible to avoid conflicts. Many daycare providers are happy to work with their parents to accommodate as many varying schedules as possible.

With a little foresight, planning and common courtesy the parents, children and daycare providers can all enjoy the hectic holiday schedule. This will help everyone to make the most of their time off during the holiday season.


VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Summer Safety at Daycare and Home

sun-shine-daycare-childSummer is here and it’s an important time to make sure your daycare is following summer safety recommendations with your children. Even if a trip outside is supposed to be short, it’s best to make sure they always apply sun block, sunglasses, and wear hats when they are out in the sun. Granted, we should be protecting our children’s skin and eyes year round, but in the summer it’s especially important. We are all more likely to be outside, enjoying the nice warm weather!

When talking to your daycare provider, bring up sun and outdoor safety and make sure they are following good, healthy practices to ensure the safety of your children.

If you think your daycare provider may be touchy about you “questioning” them, you can try one of these questions to lead into a conversation about summer safety, and if there is anything you can do to help.

  • “Do you want me to bring in sun block or are you providing that for the children?”
  • “Would you mind if I left an extra set of sun glasses here for outside time?”
  • “I have a hat that my child just loves. Can we keep in in their cubby for outside time?”
  • “How long do the kids play outside on days like this? Do I need to apply sunscreen at home or do you do that before they go out and play?

These are just a few examples of how you can get into a conversation about sun safety with your daycare provider.

The first and most important thing that all parents and daycare providers need to know is the Heat Index. This is what the relative heat feels like when you take into consideration both the actual temperature and the relative humidity. Both of these factors play a crucial role in what effects the weather will have on your children.

Below is a Heat Index chart showing both the temperature and humidity and the areas of danger you should be aware of.

  • Green – Caution should be taken and you should keep an eye on signs that the children are showing signs of heat exposure.
  • Yellow – Limit time outside in the heat. Water should be provided. Remain in the shade when possible and keep outside play time in this temperature under 30 minutes.
  • Red – You should not be out in these temperatures unless you have to be. In times of extreme heat, children should stay indoors where it is cool. In these temperatures, you cannot keep them cool enough to stave off the effects of heat.
Stay safe in the summer with this daycare heat index chart.


Health Effects of Heat Exposure

Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is a heat-related illness that may occur after you’ve been exposed to high temperatures for several days and have developed dehydration, which is an inadequate or imbalanced replacement of the fluids and electrolytes you’ve lost through excessive perspiration.

Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion

  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Pale Skin
  • Rapid Heartbeat

Heat Stroke

Heatstroke occurs when the body fails to regulate its own temperature and the body temperature continues to rise, often to 105°F or higher. This can happen in extreme temperatures because the body loses its ability to cool itself off. This is extremely dangerous and can cause brain damage as well as organ damage. It is very important for everyone to stay out of extreme temperatures due to this reason.

Symptoms of Heat Stroke

It is important to note that anyone showing signs of heat stroke should be seen by a medical professional. Heat stroke is considered a medical emergency.

  • Convulsions
  • Unconsciousness
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Temperature over 104 degrees
  • Fast heart rate while resting.
  • Either heavy sweating or no sweating.
  • Skin that is red, hot, and dry, even in the armpits
  • Severe vomiting and diarrhea.

How to Stay Cool and Safe

Summer is a fun time and we all want to spend as much time outside as we can. It is important that we are being safe in the heat and even more important to ensure that your childcare provider is practicing healthy practices. To avoid problems, it’s best to keep trips outside to 30 minutes or less. This limits the children’s exposure to the sun and heat but gives them plenty of time to play and have fun. Make sure that water is available to them while they are playing. When the time is up and all the children come inside, they should drink a glass of water or two as soon as they get in. This is a great time to have them sit down for a snack and some water. Avoid giving them juice, pop or other drinks besides water.

If your child goes anywhere in a car or daycare van during the day (for instance, on field trips or to pick up other children), make sure the daycare provider has a procedure in place to make sure a child is not left in a car when an adult is not there. When the group gets to their destination, and when they return to the home or daycare center, make sure that an adult ALWAYS checks the car, van, or bus to make sure all the children are safely out of the car. It is easier than people imagine to accidentally forget a child in a car, and in the hot summer months, this can be a death sentence in as little as fifteen minutes. Ask that your provider never leave the children unattended in the car.

Whether you have a nanny, in home daycare provider, or drop your children off at a large daycare center, it is important, and it is your responsibility, to make sure they are keeping the safety of your children in mind in these hot summer months. It can be dangerous to assume that they know all of the best practices or that they follow the same guidelines you do as a parent.

Ensuring that your daycare provider follows good hot weather habits also makes it much more likely that your children will pick up on these good habits and carry them for the rest of their lives. Ultimately, you will be helping them to avoid so many problems that can arise from unhealthy and even dangerous habits in the heat.

Have a great summer!


VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Winter Playtime at Day Care

snow-at-daycareTime spent playing outdoors is very important for children of all ages. However, during extreme heat in the summer and cold in the winter, it can be unhealthy and possibly dangerous to send children to play outside. Here at, you’ll get some helpful parenting advise to make sure your child is safe and healthy.

It’s a good idea to check your daycare provider’s handbook regarding when a child goes outside to play, and what gear they need in order to be allowed to go outside. If this information isn’t in the handbook, you might want to talk it over with your daycare provider. Be sure to be clear with a babysitter or nanny. Oftentimes they may have different opinions and you want to make sure your expectations are clear.

Cabela's Kids' Waterproof Fleece Mittens
Cabela's Kids' Waterproof Fleece Mittens

As a general rule of thumb, it’s OK for children play outside when the temperature is anywhere above freezing, and below the early nineties. However, the temperature should not be your only consideration, especially when it’s cold outside. You need to know if the wind is blowing, if it is overcast or sunny, and what the forecast is for the day. When kids are outside playing in cold weather, it’s important to be ready to pull the kids inside immediately should the weather turn for the worse.

Even if the temperature is above freezing, you need to consider the wind chill and humidity. These factors can affect your child and make it seem much colder outside. It’s so quick now to check a news or weather website. A widget on your PC, laptop, and phone make it easy to keep track of the weather. These will give you information on temperature and possibly even wind speed. However most of them do not show the wind chill, so use the table below as a quick and handy guide to figure out if it’s OK for your children to be outside.


Make sure they wear the proper clothes for the weather, at any time of year. You need to give your daycare provider extra gloves, a hat, and an extra set of clothes (including socks and possibly shoes). If you have an extra coat, and your day care provider has the room, you might even provide an extra coat for your child. You might want to toss a bag with an extra set of clothes for your child in your car so you are always prepared.

White Sierra Kids' Bilko Pants
White Sierra Kids' Bilko Pants

Keep in mind that children often don’t understand the dangers of cold and windy weather. Kid just want to go outside and play. Be sure to explain the dangers to your child so they can appreciate the dangers of cold weather. It’s easy to overlook the obvious, but they need to learn to handle weather appropriately. Teach your children to look for signs of having been in the cold too long, such as numb and tingling fingers, sniffly nose, and watering eye. If they are able to let someone know they have been in the cold too long, they can come in on their own before frost nip or frostbite sets in.

A great benefit to teaching them to take care of themselves in all weather conditions is that they can tell their daycare provider their needs. If they are visiting a neighbor or relative, or other situations where you might not be readily available, they may be able to correct their own situation or recognize trouble signs in other children.

Just these few extra steps can save a whole lot of pain and trouble, keep your child safe and insure a good and fun winter for everyone!

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Day Care Gifts for Birthdays and Holidays

Gifts for Day Care Providers

daycare_craft_messYour child’s day care center teachers, in-home childcare provider, or nanny, deserve recognition for the priceless service they provide. You want to give them a token of appreciation for their hard work, especially around the holidays, but what would be appropriate? Decide on Day Care is here to help!

Day Care Center Teachers

Your child may be in a room with several teachers. If you are strapped for cash, an appreciative note is very welcome. If you would like to give more, you certainly can. Since you probably don’t know too much about their lives outside the center, a gift like cash or a gift certificate to a restaurant or a store would be good.  If you have a better idea of hobbies or needs, you may be able to tailor your gift a bit more to the individual.

In-Home Child Care Provider or Nanny

When you drop your child off at someone’s home day care five days a week, or she comes to your house, it’s easier to get an idea of a good present for her.  Again, a note expressing your appreciation for her is very nice. She has a close relationship with your child, and something from your child or with your child’s photo on it is a sweet gift. If you are not sure, the cash or gift card route is always appreciated.  For a day care provider, you could also purchase something for the day care, like toys, books, or craft supplies. Also, don’t forget your child’s day care on her birthday. It will really make her feel appreciated to be celebrated on her special day.

Best Gift Ideas For Women
Best Gift Ideas For Women

She may love:

  • Cash
  • Gift cards (to restaurants, salons, her favorite store)
  • Something from your child
  • A note of appreciation
  • A cleaning service (make sure you know she won’t take this as an insult instead of a gift!)
  • If she has children of her own, offer YOUR babysitting services
  • A day off, with pay

Teaching Moments with Day Care

This is also a great opportunity to teach your child the meaning of the season of giving.  Have your child make something special for your child care provider.  They love craft projects and your day care provider will love the specialized gift and note of thanks straight from your child. This is a great opportunity to talk to them about the merits of giving and why we give things to each other. Talk to them about what it means to offer appreciation to those in their lives.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Daycare Research Spreadsheet


When I first tried to find daycare for my children, I realized how difficult it was to keep track of my findings about each of the daycare providers, and it wasn’t easy to compare the different providers.

I learned so much information as I interviewed them over the phone. There were many questions I asked the daycare providers as I interviewed them on the phone: Does that daycare have a preschool curriculum? Did that daycare have any pets? What was the childcare provider’s discipline style?  Were there any smokers in the house?  What were their hours?  So I created a spreadsheet to track all this information I collected during the phone interviews.  I also collected information from the local United Way and other organizations that had information on daycare providers specific to my area.

Ecosystem Grid Journal
Ecosystem Grid Journal

This tool became invaluable. I realized I could look at different daycare providers at a glance and see which ones fit our needs better.  When I became tired of calling providers, my wife could see where I had left off, call more providers on the list, and fill in the information we needed. It was such a helpful tool for us, I hope that it can help you in your own search for daycare. The spreadsheet includes costs, extra fees, and some of the more common questions you’ll ask. There are also several places for miscellaneous daycare information for any specific questions you may have.

Download the spreadsheet and save it to your computer. Fill out as much detail as you’d like…I would suggest being very detailed.  You need to have enough information on the sheet to make a decision between many daycare providers.  If your notes are too generic it will be difficult to see differences between providers. Specific references to the conversation may jog your memory about the provider.  It is possible that you may need to return to your daycare search sooner than expected. If it hasn’t been long since you started, your spreadsheet will be very helpful to you, and providers who didn’t have openings when you began looking may have an opening six months later.

Make sure to have this spreadsheet open and ready when you start making your phone calls and start investigating the specifics of each daycare provider.  This spreadsheet can be used for preschools, daycare centers, nannies and even babysitters.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask.  We would also love to hear any feedback you may have, including suggestions about items that we could add or change to make it more useful.

Good luck tracking down your perfect daycare! This extra effort will be well worth the reward of finding the perfect daycare or preschool for you!

Click here to download the spreadsheet. (This does not have any macros in it.)

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

How is the Nanny Doing?

daycare_center_teacherOnce your nanny is in place, you want to know she is doing a good job. But how do you know when you are away from the house all day? Some families turn to a “nanny cam”—a hidden camera designed to show you what goes on in your house while you are away.  Using a hidden camera with no sound is legal, but you’ll want to check the laws in your state regarding recording a person’s speech without their consent.

If you are considering a nanny cam, consider advising your nanny about it. Most providers understand the desire to know what goes on with their children when they are not around, they just want to know about it.

But you don’t necessarily need a hidden camera to determine how things are going. If your child is happy to see the nanny and is excited to tell you about the fun things they did during the day, and the nanny seems engaged and happy, it’s a good sign things are working out.  If she seems overwhelmed, exhausted, and unhappy, be sure to talk with her about it.

Here are some warning signs to watch for:

  • Your child seems anxious or withdrawn around the nanny
  • The nanny doesn’t talk about the day or her stories don’t make sense
  • Your childrearing requests aren’t honored
  • Change in your child’s behavior—any sort of dramatic behavioral change.
  • Your child starts using inappropriate words.
  • Your child starts showing an unusual interest in people’s private parts.
  • Any talk of secrets or keeping anything from anyone.
  • An excessive amount of scrapes, cuts, and bruises.

Listen to your intuition—if things don’t seem right, and a conversation with the nanny doesn’t seem to help, it may be time to look for someone else.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)