Tuesday, July 28, 2015

ABC’S of Pool Safety

Swimming is a great way to cool off during the summer months. Unfortunately, drowning is the number one killer of children under the age of five. According to Natalie Lane, Director of the ER Department at Children’s Hospital of Georgia, this statistic is even more alarming because young children are more likely to drown in a residential swimming pool than any other body of water. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents should avoid installing a swimming pool until children are over the age of five. However, if parents and caregivers will engage young children in water activities, be sure to follow the ABC’S of pool safety:
  • Abide by the rules. Never leave children alone in or near a pool. There should always be an adult who can swim present at all times. In addition to a present adult, all children should be wearing a secure life vest. When finished, don’t forget to remove all pool toys and floats from the pool area that could attract children.
  • Be prepared. Teach children how to swim as early as possible, or at least the basic water safety tips. Since an adult will be supervising the children during pool play, CPR and rescue breathing certification is recommended. If at any point during the day a child is missing, always check the pool area first.
  • Childproof the pool. For residential pools, it’s very important to install a self-latching and self-closing fence around the pool area. Safety covers should also be placed over the water when the pool is not in use. Also, remember to keep a phone available near the pool in case of emergency.
Happy summer!
  
Excerpt from: medicalnewstoday.com


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Surprising Seasonal Allergy Triggers

     The rapid plunge into warm and dry weather has seasonal allergies on everybody’s radar. Allergy symptoms consist of sneezing, runny nose, watery or itching eyes, skin rashes, and common cold-like symptoms. To control these symptoms, many doctors prescribe seasonal medications or even yearly medical regiments to control allergy attacks. While we wait for a good rain to wash away access pollen, it’s good to understand allergy triggers.
     Surprisingly, summer fruits are allergy agitators. Grass or ragweed allergy sufferers are advised to take precaution when eating peaches, pears, and melons when these fruits are in season. Baseball parks also irritate allergy sufferers. The dust and dirt from the field may contain high levels of spores, causing allergy symptoms to surface. The more people in the park, the more dust and dirt travels. Be aware and take precautions such as carrying allergy medications in case of an attack.
     As the evening approaches, be sure to remain downwind during those late night camping adventures or bonfires. Smoke inhalation weakens the body’s immune system causing allergy symptoms to worsen. Lastly, on those beautiful summer days, think about the way heat traps pollen and diesel bringing allergens closer to the ground. It’s a good practice to always check the weather report for air quality. If quality is low, take precautions. Don’t forget to also check the pollen count!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Tips For Working With At-Home Parents

Having a parent in the home can be great when input is needed, but it can also disrupt the day because children begin to focus on the present parent. Here are some tips to help manage the day:

Establish a good report with your employer. This is critical. If a parent will be home during the day, the parent and the caregiver must have a comfortable, yet professional, relationship. Both adults must enjoy one another's company. And it is important to know how to complement each other when dealing with the children.

Know expectations of role. Is the nanny there to assist the at-home parent or is she there to take charge as the primary caregiver during the day?

Set boundaries. Prior to starting the position, speak with the parent to find out where the parent will be working. It's great for the nanny to understand what areas of the house are off limits so the parent can concentrate.

Plan outside of the living space. When parents are home, children may want to flock to them and become upset if they know the parent is close but they cannot be with them. It's good practice to plan the day as if the parent is not in the home. Go to work, spend a few minutes going over the daily routine with the parent and child present, and then have the child say their goodbyes to the parents just as if they were going to work. Plan activities outside of the home or in areas of the home where parents cannot be seen. This will help the children from becoming distracted by a parent.

Communicate professionally. When working with an at-home parent, it is easy to become overly comfortable and share more personal information than you would if the parent was less present. It's important to be friendly, but remain profssional. Personal information stays at home!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Apps to the Rescue for Everyday Nannies

Technology is redefining daily interaction for everyone, including nannies. Check out these interesting apps that can help make your life as a nanny easier and more fun!

Job Management Apps

  • Hours Tracker (Available on iPhone and Android) -This app helps easily track time for one or more jobs using timers or manual entry. It can automatically calculate your earnings and overtime. The app also has a great pay period report to help you keep track of pay days. FREE or $8.99 for Hours Tracker Pro
  • DOL Timesheet (Available on iPhone and Android) – This app, created by the US Department of Labor, allows for timesheet recording and calculates your earnings per pay period. FREE
  • Google Calendar (Available on iPhone and Android) – Save time and make the most out of your day. This app helps you create daily events and even offers smart suggestions for event titles, places, and people. It can also sync to your Gmail and remind you via email of upcoming events. Don’t forget the option for various calendar views depending on your own personal style. FREE with in app purchases available
  • Google Maps (Available on iPhone and Android) – This app continues to set the standard for free app-based GPS navigation. Never get lost on your way to a job or various activities. This app is great for drivers, walkers, bikers, and those taking public transportation. FREE

Healthy Meal Prep Apps

  • Foodly Recipes (Available on iPhone) – This is the world’s largest recipe network app where you can discover and share any recipe on the web. Pick up great tips and fun ideas for mealtimes with your charge. FREE
  • Cook It Allergy Free (Available on iPhone) – Are you cooking gluten, egg, dairy, or nut free? Try this app with over 200 recipes to choose from with great ideas for safe alternatives for those with food allergies. $3.99
  • Nutrino (Available on iPhone and Android) – This is a free app perfect for replacing those delicious, yet not so healthy, recipes with equally delicious and nutritious meals. FREE

Daily Nanny “Go To” Apps

  • Baby Timer (Available of iPhone) – This app helps caregivers track diaper changes, feedings, naptimes, and playtime. It allows you add descriptions of each event as well as compile charts and graphs to show consistency and monitor routines. $4.99
  • Old Macdonald Sing & Play (Available on iPhone and Android) – Sing along with your charge to everyone’s favorite childhood song. Interact with the various farm animals and have a blast discovering their unique characteristics. FREE
  • Around Me (Available on iPhone and Android) – Don’t ever worry about running out of things to do when out and about with your charge. This app uses the GPS in your phone to find local attractions such as neighborhood events, parks, theatres, kids’ classes, fun places to eat, and so much more! FREE

Monday, March 2, 2015

Concussions and Youth Sports

Active children can’t wait for the day when they put on their first little league, football, soccer, or various other team uniforms. While youth sports are fun for the entire family, there is an increased warning that parents and caregivers should be aware of regarding childhood concussions. Concussions are mild brain injuries. They occur after an impact to the head or after extreme cases of whiplash. Emergency room reports show that the most dangerous contact sports for boys are ice hockey, football, lacrosse, wrestling, and soccer. For girls, the most dangerous sports are soccer, lacrosse, and basketball. Signs of a concussion include:

          ·         Dizziness
          ·         Vomiting
          ·         Sensitivity to light and noise
          ·         Double or blurry vision
          ·         Headaches or pressure in the head
          ·         Sluggish reactions or feeling “hazy”
          ·         Confusion of surroundings
          ·         Memory problems
          ·         Losing consciousness (even if only for a few moments at a time)

While concussions are not 100% preventable when kids play contact sports, there are a few ways to help prevent them. Make sure that the child is following all safety regulations set by the coach and team. Also, be sure that all protective gear is worn, and worn correctly the duration of the game. Lastly, encourage good sportsmanship so that games don’t become too physical.
 If you suspect that a child may have a concussion, seek medical attention right away and until they are cleared by a doctor, keep the child out of play and on the bench. Give ample time to ensure that the child does not have any lingering issues. One concussion can have a lifetime effect.


Excerpt from: Healthline.com

Monday, February 23, 2015

Working with Multiple Ages

Working with multiple ages is full of benefits. It gives kids the opportunity to learn together, work together, become individual leaders, and experience teachable moments. With various ages, it is important to know where each child is developmentally and where their progress is headed. Planning for the day is key. Make sure you find a rhythm and establish a routine. Be sure to use the physical space allotted to you and monitor time as the day progresses. Great things to think about throughout the day include:

Open-Ended Materials
  • Stock up on materials that can be used in more than one way. This helps develop problem solving, spacial awareness, and imagination.
Collaborative Projects
  • These are projects where the kids are not competing against one another but working together towards a common goal.
Physical Space Ideas
  • Create corners or other room areas that can be blocked off as a safe place for older kids to play.
  • Plastic baby pools or bright colored towels/blankets are great for showing kids where a safe place for the baby to play is.
Activity Ideas
  • Sensory play
  • Imaginary play
  • Water play
  • Contact paper stained glass windows
  • Outdoor play
Modifications
  • If stringing beads: give toddlers a pipe cleaner while older kids use thread.
  • If painting: give older kids brushes while younger kids use bath scrunchies, hands, to chunky stamps.



Excerpt from: Nannypalooza presentation by Sue Downey

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Enjoying the Day When Charges Are Sick

            Seasonal colds are at a high during the winter months. Caring for a sick charge does not mean the day can’t be entertaining, it just means that the plans must be altered to fit the mood of the day. Upon arriving to the home, be sure to discuss the details of the child’s illness with the parents. Understand all expectations in terms of medication boundaries, sleep schedules, and routine check-ins. Before the parent leaves the home, be sure to ask about the child’s mood and where have they been in terms of activity level. Do they have an appetite? Are they sleeping more than usual? Once established, plan the day accordingly.
            Being indoors with a stuffy nose, slight fever, and tickled cough does not mean playtime won’t happen, just plan on a “gentle play” kind of day. Some great sick day activities include:

  • Story time
  • Eye Spy
  • Coloring books 
  • Soothing music 
  • Creating a stuffed animal doctor’s office
  • Board games for older children

A day full of calm play and relaxation may be just what your charge needs to get back on their feet. Be sure to monitor their symptoms throughout the day to ensure that they do not overexert themselves. If capable, try some of these fun, but calm, suggestions to take their mind off of being sick because laughter truly is the best medicine!