Monday, November 29, 2010

Positive Playdates: Building Social Skills

We ran this article a little over a year ago, but wanted to bring it back since we had a lot of interest on this topic. Enjoy!

Positive Playdates: Building Social Skills

Building social skills in children is always a key objective for both parents and nannies. Playdates can be positive experiences for building skills before those formal school years. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when planning playdate experiences.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cookies with Friends

by Kelly Miller

In 1997, I started a tradition with two of my college roommates.  I had just gotten married, and I wanted to bake Christmas cookies.  In past years my mom and I did this together, and I thought since I had no children, I would do this with girlfriends.  The first year was very time consuming:  we got together with cookbooks, chose recipes, went to the grocery store and started baking.  12 hours later, we were done.

Now it is 2010, and we have streamlined the process to make it efficient and quick.  We each come with three recipes

Monday, November 22, 2010

Kitchen Scientist

Recently, I saw a segment on early morning television news that I thought would be fun to share with you. It featured,  Liz Heinecke, the founder of the Kitchen Pantry Scientist, making Spy Juice from cranberries. Her website has many great child friendly science activities and experiments, complete with videos, using common household items and foods. It would have been great to have this resource when I was young and I’m sure my parents would have appreciated it. They gave me a chemistry set one year for Christmas, which I loved. However, I poured one of my botched experiments down the drain in our laundry tub; it hardened in the drain trap and resulted in a plumber bill which I’m sure they did not appreciate! So, check this site out for some safe and fun science activities! 
Mary O'Connor

Friday, November 19, 2010

Math for Preschoolers

Math is present in all parts of our daily lives, which makes teaching math to preschoolers a breeze. You don't need to look hard to find numbers, shapes and measurements right at home. Creativity and homemade games, allow you to teach preschoolers many basic math concepts and skills without investing in lots of commercial products or toys. Here are just a few ideas to get you started.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Simple Games You Can Make

Stuffed Shelf of Traditional Games

While there are many wonderful games to purchase that are beneficial to young children, I always enjoyed making my own. It offered the opportunity to make them specific to a subject, theme, holiday, season, or another other topic of interest. I could also make different options such as having a simpler version for the youngest child while offering other challenge levels to the older ones.

These four games can take you a long way! Here's the basics you'll need to create your own games:

Monday, November 15, 2010

Self Care

Taking care of yourself it important! It enables you to do your best for the children in your care. Check out Regarding Nannies post for today which is a good reminder to us all about self care.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Safety Check

Are you wondering if the toys or products you purchase for your home and family are safe? The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is on the job!

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from thousands of types of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction. The CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard or can injure children. The CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products - such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters, and household chemicals - contributed significantly to the 30 percent decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.

You can check out their website for more information -

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Easy Suncatchers for All Seasons!

Clear contact paper is the key to making suncatchers anytime!

We loved making suncatchers for all seasons - really anytime. Clear contact paper made it so easy. We would select what we were going to put onto the contact paper, decide on the shape we wanted the suncatcher to be, and how we wanted to place it in the window. Here are some simple steps to follow for your own suncatcher collection:
  1. Decide on what size and shape your finished project will be. You'll need to keep this in mind as you build the suncatcher as you need room to seal the edges and trim to the shape. You may want to have a shape template ready but this is not essential.
  2. Decide on the items you'd like in your suncatcher. Specialty papers, tissue paper, leaves, grasses, small light weight objects - having some items that are translucent and others that are opaque adds interest.
  3. Place items onto a sheet of contact paper sticky side up - keep in mind your final size and shape of the suncatcher.
  4. Press objects lightly onto paper.
  5. Place second sheet of contact paper over the first sealing in the objects. Now you can press more firmly and seal the edges well.
  6. Trim to desired shape and size.
  7. Hang you suncatcher - options include using clear tape and taping to window, using a punched hold and ribbon to hang it or using a window hook with a suction cup holder. We used these hangers because we liked to change out our suncatchers often. We also selected a window that had good light coming through and was an appropriate spot for these delightful creations!
Be creative - take this idea and springboard to another wonderful project! Have fun!

Monday, November 8, 2010

It's Up To Us

Regarding Nannies is a blog that I follow with great information for nannies and families alike. One posting really struck me and I wanted to share it with all of our readers as well. The link is
It is up to us to promote our profession!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Challenging Times - Working Together through Divorce

Divorce is stressful, sad and confusing for everyone. No matter what age the child, they will feel uncertain about what is happening and may feel angry. Mom, Dad and Nanny can work together to ease fears and provide the stability children are seeking.

What to tell the children and when to tell them is often the first concern of parents. Your nanny can be helpful in supporting this process. Planning what you say and timing it makes this difficult time a little easier. Give an honest, child appropriate, explanation. Be truthful in answering “why” and keep it simple. Children don’t want or need long explanations. Emphasize your continued care and love. They may worry that this will change everything in their lives, including the care and love from their nanny. Assure them that their daily lives will stay consistent as much as possible.

Obviously, there will be changes in the family’s life and routine. Clarify those changes simply and to the point – they want to know how this decision will affect them. When Mom and Dad

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Handprint Turkey

by Kelly Miller

As the current nanny of a 7-month-old, I am having alot of fun introducing simple art projects.  Here is an idea that is appropriate for any age for Thanksgiving.

1.  Cover childs palm and thumb with brown tempera paint.
2.  Paint fingers each a different color ... orange, red, blue, green are a suggestion.
3.  Press childs hand down on white paper.
4.  Add googly eye and paint beek on thumb area.
5.  Paint legs and feet on bottom of palm area.
6.  When dry, add Happy Thanksgiving! and cover with contact paper.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Numbers, Numbers, Numbers!

by Mary O'Connor

Nannies from the Heartland is celebrating our 20th year of excellent service to families and nannies. Why is this important? It means than we’re very experienced at we do and we are experts in the in-home childcare industry. We can offer a variety of child care services, long term and temporary, to meet your needs. Since 1990, we have placed 1718 nannies in long term positions with families seeking quality care for their children. We also do 1000+ temporary placements per year. Collectively, our staff has more than 62 years experience in the child care field. We have a great reputation and name recognition in the Twin Cities. This translates into a large network of excellent nannies seeking jobs and clients referring their friends, family and colleagues to us. There have been 32 nanny placement agencies open and close their doors since 1990. We’re here to stay and just as we have been for these past 20 years, we’ll be here when you need us.
At Nannies from the Heartland we are proud of the profile of the nannies we represent and the duration of their placements with our client families. Nannies who are placed with families through our service are average 41.5 years old. Over 50% of the nannies we place with families have a 2 or 4 year college degree related to working with children and 87% have some type of child care related training. The average longevity of placements through our service is just over 3 years. Why is this important? As parents, you know your children will be cared for by an experienced educated nanny. Both nannies and parents can expect stability in employment.