Thursday, July 29, 2010

Don't Neglect Self-Care

By Colleen O'Connor

Self-care is important for everyone, but especially for parents and nannies. Caring for children is an emotional--and at times highly draining--experience. Because of this emotional investment, it’s easy to give everything you have to your children and forget to save some energy for yourself. Parents and nannies who neglect their own needs are less effective caregivers because they experience constant stress, exhaustion, and burnout. They also lose the ability to respond quickly and creatively to challenges. Children in their care will sense and reflect these emotions as well as the implicit lesson being taught: “Keep giving to others even when it becomes unhealthy to do so.”

Monday, July 26, 2010

From the Heart - Follow Question from Tip #2

We had a great follow up question for our Tip #2 about using online services.

The question: Do online nanny sites offer a guarantee like local agencies do?

Answer: No, we're not aware on any online sites that provide for a placement guarantee. Since they have limited or no interaction involved in the placement they provide no guarantee. Families could experience having several nannies start and end with their family in a short period of time which is disruptive to the whole family but most particularly to the children.
A local full service agency usually does have some type of placement guarantee provision in place with client families. Nannies from the Heartland provides two levels in our guarantee - a four month replacement guarantee and an extended guarantee that is in effect up to a year. For more information on this and other placement specifics visit

Keep the questions coming!!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Nanny and Child Picnic

Nannies from the Heartland - Annual Nanny and Child Picnic
*This annual event is one we look forward to all year!
*Seeing the nannies we've worked with and their charges is great fun!
*We're also open to meeting new nannies who would like to join us.
*Please call the office to let us know - first name and age of children, along with the nannies name

Wednesday, July 28
Veteran's Memorial Park in Richfield
10:30 AM to 12:30 PM
RSVP by Monday, July 26 . . . call the office at 763-550-0219

Events include:
      *Enjoying the playground from 10:30 ro 11:15
      *Children's Games at 11:15
      *Lunch Together around noon

     *Picnic lunch for nanny and children

     *There is a great mini-golf at the park opening at 11 AM
     *There is a pool nearby opening around noon

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Pleasant mealtime experiences for children and the whole family, can sometimes be a challenge. The following tips may help take a "bite" out of stressful mealtimes.
Meal Preparation Involvement: Allowing your child to take part in meal preparation can help increase your child's interest in a new or unfamiliar food. When children take part they have "ownership" in the experience.
Include Preferred Foods: Routinely offer a choice of foods. Provide at least one food that you know your child will select and eat. Then they are more likely to make other choices as well.
Vary Colors and Textures: This will create interest and increase the number of foods your child will accept and try. Eat the rainbow!
Portion Sizes in Proportion: One way to consider portion sizes is to have one tablespoon of each type of food for each year of the child's age up to an adult recommended portion. Portion control is challenging for adults as well - usually they are too large. Pay attention to the recommended serving sizes. During growth spurts, especially preteen and teen years, children may want or even need that second helping. Be aware of physical development changes that can effect portions.

Monday, July 19, 2010

From the Heart Tips #2

Another question addressed on our continuing series.

Searching for a nanny on internet sites seems less expensive – but what are you getting . . . or not?

This type of question comes to us from time to time. It’s true that families pay less when using an online option but what services are you getting? Not all online sites are alike but none that I’m aware of offer the type of full service your local agency can provide. With online placement you know very little about the candidate – they are quite literally strangers to your family. The online sites do not meet the nanny in a personal interview and only a few will check references before forwarding their information onto you. If they do check references, how do they determine these are genuine? Some of these sites simply allow you to search their nanny database and then it’s up to you to do all the work on screening the nanny.

There are all kinds of horror stories about people posing

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Nanny Featured

2010 INA Nanny of the Year
Greta Schraer is featured on the Positive Discipline Association's website

After returning home from the 2010 INA Annual Conference where she sat in the Positive Discipline for Young Children workshop, Greta put the new knowledge and skills she learned to work with her toddler aged triplets.
She had such positive results, she wrote an article on her blog, CincyNanny about the Positive Discipline approach and the workshop she attended.
The article caught the eye of the Positive Discipline community and Greta was contacted by Dr. Jane Nelsen, founder of the Positive Discipline training manuals and co-founder of the Positive Discipline Association. She praised Greta for her glowing review and arranged to have Greta's article featured on the Positive Discipline Association's website,

Congratulations Greta for representing INA and nannies well!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Smoothing Out Your Day: Effective Transitions

Reprinted from Nannies from the Heartland Fall 2007 Newsletter

Transition: “Passing from one condition or place to another.” A day with a child is full of transitions. How are you handling them? Some are manageable, even positive, while others create “bumps” in our day or week. Here are a few helpful hints that can make those transitions work for you not against you.

  • Observation: Taking the time to evaluate what is working and identifying what isn’t is the first step in making changes. Although, each day is unique there are patterns that you’ll be able to identify.
  • Prepare: Anticipate transition challenges based on your observations, patterns and the activities of the day.
  • Plan: Once you’ve identified your transition challenges it’s time to make a plan. Using some basic techniques can help you avoid the transition blues. It won’t eliminate every challenge but it will make for an easier time for you and the children.
  • Evaluate: Take a moment to evaluate your plan. Note the successes and failures. Specify what went wrong and what went right so that you can adjust your plan in the future.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

State Parks Offer Camping Classes

Do you want to take your family camping, but aren't sure that you have the knowledge or equipment you need? Check out the I Can Camp program offered by Minnesota State Parks! These overnight workshops will give you the skills and confidence to enjoy camping as a family.

Experienced instructors are onsite the entire time to give hands-on instruction and lead fun activities. Your family will also enjoy plenty of free time for hiking, swimming, fishing, geocaching, biking, or just relaxing in the great outdoors.

Each workshop is only $55 per family and most of the camping gear is provided, including tents, air mattresses, and cooking equipment.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

From the Heart Tips

As a new feature of our blog we'll be popping in from time to time to answer questions we get fairly frequently. We're calling this new feature From the Heart. Check back often to see our next tip. We'd love to have your questions - feel free to comment and suggest a question for our staff.

I’ve heard of hiring an au pair from another country. Isn’t this a less expensive child care option?

     The au pair program was designed as a cultural exchange and educational opportunity program. Most au pairs are 18 to 25 years old. They may or may not have child care specific experience or training. They usually speak fairly good English, but aren’t always savvy to our American culture. That’s part of the experience -  to learn more. Families provide room, board and a weekly stipend in exchange for some child care.
     I’ve met several au pairs over the years. Most are very nice and really want to help a family out while spending time in the US. They can offer another cultural prospective for the host family. However, not all of them are ready to be away from home, family and friends for an extended period of time. They often become homesick and it affects every aspect of their life, and their host family. Because they are typically younger they may need a lot of guidance from

Friday, July 2, 2010

Responsibility: Encouraging Skills

Reprinted "From the Heart" - Nannies from the Heartland newsletter

I don’t know a parent or nanny who doesn’t place a high priority on building responsibility in children, but encouraging skills can be a challenge. Knowing how to incorporate building skills into the daily routine and what to expect from all ages of children are important considerations. We should start by defining responsibility; responsibility can be thought of as respect for the rights of others and personal accountability for one’s actions.

Responsible children need the opportunity to practice and learn skills from adults who are patient through the process. There are several areas where adults can make an impression in the area of responsibility.