Friday, December 30, 2011

Nannies from the Heartland wishes
you and your family a very Happy New Year!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Nannies from the Heartland
wishes you and your family Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Gift Giving Ideas

 (originally posted 12/2010)
It’s the time of year we get calls from nanny employers and sometimes from nannies wondering what is “usual and standard” for holiday gifts or bonuses. This is a tricky question as there are no industry standards but typically families do a variety of things to show their appreciation at this holiday time for the service their nanny has provided to them. Many families choose to give a monetary gift which often is the equivalent of a week’s pay. They may also include a personal gift or gift card. Families may choose to have the children give a small item, which could be handmade, to their nanny as well. Much of this depends on how long the nanny has been with the family. Families who have employed their nanny less than a year might choose a modest personal gift to demonstrate their appreciation.

Monday, December 19, 2011

2011 Notable Children's Books

I love books! Maybe it started with our family tradition of getting a new book or two each Christmas. It was something I looked forward to with great anticipation. I have carried this love of books to all my interactions with children and particularly as a nanny. I recently came upon the website for the American Library Assocation and the page on 2011 Notable Children's Books. Here is a sample of their extensive list. You'll see the link to the site at the bottom of this posting, visit the site for their complete list. I'm excited to check these titles out for myself and, of course, share them with the children in my life.

Each year a committee of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) identifies the best of the best in children's books. According to the Notables Criteria, "notable" is defined as: Worthy of note or notice, important, distinguished, outstanding. As applied to children's books, notable should be thought to include books of especially commendable quality, books that exhibit venturesome creativity, and books of fiction, information, poetry and pictures for all age levels (birth through age 14) that reflect and encourage children's interests in exemplary ways.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Tips for Avoiding Frostbite

Could you or your children catch frostbite being active outside? It's possible, given the right conditions. However, with precautions - like proper layering - that can be avoided.

Outward Bound instructor, Kristen Laine, who writes the Great Kids, Great Outdoors blog for the Appalachian Mountain Club says that parents should watch out for conditions that are prime for hypothermia and frostbite. "It's really only when the thermometer heads below 5 degrees F and winds pick up that frostbite becomes a real concern. As the days get longer, getting wet and cold becomes a more serious concern than frostbite — warmer temperatures mean rain or mixed rain and snow; warmer snow means wetter boots and mittens and snow pants. Hypothermia, then, is the concern," says Laine.

She offered these tips for keeping children safe.
• It's useful to remember a 5-30-30 rule: 5 degrees Farenheit, 30 mile an hour winds, 30 minutes before exposed skin risks frostbite. Wind chill advisories and the science behind them are based on adult responses, so err on the side of caution with children. As the temperature drops below 0, only 10 mph winds risk frostbite after 30 minutes of exposure.
• Outdoor gear and clothing has come a long way since. Nowadays, if children are properly dressed in a warm hat, warm mittens, layered clothing, and dry boots, they really can stay outside quite a long time. (Unless it's very windy...)
• But pay attention to signs of cold: cold hands and feet are often the body's first sign that its core temperature is dropping. Uncontrollable shivering is one of the early warning signs of hypothermia.
• On windy days, slather Vasoline on the exposed parts of a child's face -- it's great protection against the wind.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sugar, Chocolate and Peanut Butter

by Kelly Miller

Today I am sharing two recipes that my grandmother passed down to my mother, who has since passed them down to me.  Every year they are requested by friends ... I can imagine my grandmother in her farmhouse making these for my dad.  Enjoy!

Grandma Brun's Sugar Cookies
Cream:  1 1/2 cup sugar and 1 cup butter or lard (if using lard, add 1/2 teaspoon salt)
Add:  2 eggs, 1/2 cup sour cream and 1 teaspoon vanilla (also 1/4 teaspoon almond extract if desired)
Then add:  3 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Refrigerate dough.  Then roll out 1/4 inch or less thick.  Bake at 375 degrees for 7-8 minutes on greased pans.  Frost.

Peanut Butter Krispie Balls
Bring to boil:  1 cup sugar, 1 cup dark Karo syrup
Remove from heat and add:  2 cups peanut butter and 4 cups Rice Krispies
Mix well and form into small balls.  Melt semi-swee ice cap coating chips, then dip balls.  Cool on wax paper.

Friday, December 9, 2011

How Can I Track My Child's Day?

Reposted from August 2010

How can I know how my children are doing during their day with the nanny?

Having your nanny keep a journal about each day's activities, the foods eaten, child's mood and other important information is a great idea. I had a journal for each child in my care. When they were young - infant through early preschool age - I wrote in it each day. As they got older the journal became less formal. The children actually used their journal in a school project at one time or another - they loved reading through them!

Touching base with your nanny throughout the day by phone call is a good idea. Some nannies may think of this as a “check up” call and fear that you don’t trust them. Explain to the nanny that the call will help you to feel in touch with your child, that you simply miss not being there yourself. I appreciated the phone check-in from my employer. It gave me a chance to share some of the highlights of the day and frankly, talk to another adult. I also appreciated knowing I could call them and talk or leave a message if I had any questions. When I started the mother or dad would call at least once a day just to see how it was going. As time went by those calls were more infrequent because we had built our relationship and trust with each other.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Gingerbread Face Cookies

By: Amanda Formaro, from

Make these adorable Christmas gingerbread people face cookies with your children. Just line up the candies and let them have a decorating party!

What you'll need:
Your favorite gingerbread cookie recipe or try ours (see recipe below)!
Candies for decoration such as gumdrops, nonpareils, sprinkles, decorator icing, M&M’s, Skittles, etc

Monday, December 5, 2011

Taking Care of the Caregiver

This is reposted from December 2009. Just a little reminder to parents and nannies alike during the stressful holiday season.
Those who live or work with young children know how physically and emotionally draining it can be at times. For many child-centered people, one aspect is neglected — themselves. Here are some ideas to help you take care of yourself so you can be the best possible caregiver for the children in your life.
Set aside time each day for yourself. When children are napping or in quiet time, resist the urge to catch up on dishes, do laundry, or pick up toys until you have had 15-30 minutes of uninterrupted time for yourself. Remember, lunch hours are a standard in the business world!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Toy Safety Tips: Be in the Know this Holiday Season

This is from US Public Interest Research Group. For more information visit

Thousands of toys are on the market, each promising to educate or entertain our children. Unfortunately, not every toy is safe. Toy buyers can help protect children from injury by being careful, vigilant shoppers.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Homemade Snow Dough

This is a favorite dough recipe from when I was a child. What makes it a Snow Dough is the sparkling quality the glitter adds to the dough. I prefer the iridescent or white glitter rather than the silver or gold glitter which is often also coarser and can tend to make the dough more crumbly or tough. With this dough project children don't have to wait to have a winter fun day. When it's just too cold to play outdoors this can be a nice substitute activity. Appropriate for children about 18 months and up. The children can add props to their snow people and snow scenes - sticks, found objects, beads, etc.

1 cup flour
1 cup water
1/2 cup salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tablespoons white tempera paint (this really whitens the dough which can have a grayish tinge otherwise)
1 tablespoon white or iridescent glitter (this little amount makes a big impact)
*A few drops of peppermint extract or another extract you like (optional)
*If you'd like to color your dough you can add either a few drops of food coloring or a small amount of colored tempera paint.

1. Combine all of the ingredients except the extract (if using) in a medium-size pan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture holds together, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
2.Turn the play dough onto a waxed paper–lined counter to cool, about 15 minutes. If you like, knead in peppermint extract for a festive holiday scent.

I also recommend giving each child their own space at the table. A tray or mat can help keep their creations stable while providing a defined personal space. Everyone at the table is sharing, enjoying the activity while also having their creations and space respected.

If you'd like to create a winter snow scene and snow people to display, use a paper plate or some other container as a base.  Over time the dough will begin to dry and eventually crumble. Children should be prepared for this. This is a teachable moment opportunity - a time to talk about the way our outdoor snow creations don't last forever because of the weather, so too the indoor creations have a limited time. So we enjoy them while we have them!

If you want to reuse your dough again and again don't leave it out. After playing store in a Ziploc bag or air tight container in the refrigerator. The dough keeps for about two weeks, maybe a little more, if refrigerated.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Holiday Stress - Coping Strategies

For many children, the holidays are happy, fun and exciting. There is a break from school and a chance to see friends and relatives. However, the holidays can also be stressful and confusing.

Family plans and celebrations may be complicated a variety of factors. Relationships with adult siblings can put children in awkward positions. Family dynamics can be hard to navigate particularly with families who are separated, divorced or remarried.

The following are some tips for parents to help children cope with holiday stress:

Discuss holiday plans well in advance, and include your children in the planning process. Children need some degree of control and predictability. Prolonged uncertainty, constantly changing plans or last minute decisions can all increase stress. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a spontaneous experience but be careful that other plans aren’t upset in the process.

Make sure children get plenty of rest. While it may be exciting to stay up late, lack of sleep often leads to increased irritability. Stick to the “normal routine” as much as you are able. This is also true of regular meals and snacks. Holiday time brings in special foods and sweets. Be thoughtful about how these impact children’s health and wellbeing.

Limit the amount of time children spend alone watching TV or playing video games. Encourage physical activity and interaction with peers. Include physical activity in your holiday events. This can be a wonderful time to try something new together as a family. Our family loves to engage in group games and community service projects together. Getting outdoors to play or take a family walk are easy ways for everyone to enjoy physical activity.

Don’t promise things you can’t produce. For example, don’t promise something will happen during the holidays if the decision is really out of your control. Instead stick with plans that are achievable and reasonable.

Don’t try and compensate for an absent family member or inability to do a special activity with lots of gifts. What most children really want is your time and attention. Focus on them. In fact, limiting gifts can have a positive effect. Many families choose one special gift per child. Our family did this along with a family gift – a new game, special activity together or some other family based event that everyone could enjoy. This shifts the focus from gifts to time spent together.

Uphold and maintain family traditions. Children count on certain traditions. They can have an important grounding effect. There is also a place to add a family tradition to as children grow allowing them to broaden their holiday experiences. I know a family who volunteers to deliver meals to families unable to get out. They have done this for years and their daughter looks forward to the tradition and the service to others. Our family plays tag football as part of our traditional Thanksgiving activities.

As the adult, take care of yourself. Try to avoid getting overloaded with obligations. If you feel stressed, it increases the pressure and tension on your children.

Most children enjoy the holidays. However, preparation, patience and honesty can help prevent conflict, reduce stress, and enhance the holiday season for the whole family.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Paper Cornstalks - Thanksgiving Decor

From Family Fun . . .

Add a festive touch to your holiday table by filling a vase with colorful paper cornstalks.

Natural-colored raffia paper
Yellow poster board
Colored tissue paper

1.To make each stalk, cut three 18-inch lengths of natural-colored paper twist (sometimes called raffia paper). Untwist them, then trim the edges to resemble corn husks.
2. Fan out the husks so that they overlap and use a few drops of glue to hold them together.
3.From yellow poster board, cut out an ear of corn (about 10 inches long and 3 inches wide) and glue it atop the husks.
4.Now crumple a bunch of 3-inch colored tissue paper squares to create rounded kernels and glue them to the ear. Lastly, gather the husk bottoms and tie them together with a strip of raffia.

For more from Family Fun visit

Tiny Toms - Turkey Craft

From Family Fun . . .

This is one turkey that won't get eaten this Thanksgiving. Your kids can make a flock to decorate the dinner table -- or for all the kid guests to take home as favors.

Yellow and red felt
Tacky glue
Googly eyes
Brown pom-poms
Pipe cleaners

1.For each turkey, cut out a yellow beak and a red wattle from felt. Then glue the beak, wattle, and a pair of googly eyes onto a pom-pom to create the turkey's head.
2.Glue the pom-pom head to the tip of a pinecone. Allow the glue to dry.
3.Wrap a pipe cleaner around the middle of the turkey's cone body, starting from the top and twisting it together a few times on the underside. Separate the ends of the pipe cleaner (below the twists) and bend each tip into a 3-toed foot.
4.For the turkey's tail, individually wrap 3 or 4 pipe cleaners around the back of the pinecone, starting from the underside and twisting them together a few times on the top of the pinecone to secure them. Then loop both ends of each pipe cleaner to shape tail feathers.

For video instructions visit

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Ice cube Painting and more!

by Kelly Miller

As a nanny for a 10-month-old, I am searching for activities to do this month.  After all, this is his first Thanksgiving!  I know his parents will save all the special projects we do.  Here are some ideas!
Handprint Turkey -- Trace the child's handprint onto brown cardstock.  Cut out.  Glue onto construction paper.  Glue on googly eyes and draw the turkey's feet and beak.  Write "My 1st Thanksgiving!" on top!  This is a special keepsake for parents as it records the child's handprint for the year. 
Pudding Paint Turkey -- Print out a turkey from an on-line source.  Have the baby paint with chocolate pudding for the body.  Add food coloring to vanilla pudding, and the baby can use the various colors to paint the turkey feathers.  Use leftover paint on paper!
Ice Cube Paint --  Cut out large leaves from heavy paper.  Make ice cube paint by combining large amounts of food coloring with water in an ice cube tray. Freeze with foil over the top.  Poke toothpicks, popsicle sticks or straws into the cubes.  Once frozen, give the baby a leaf and a frozen paint cube.  The paint will slowly melt over the leaf, making a beautiful fall project.

Friday, November 4, 2011

How Physical Affection Helps with Discipline

This article is from Minnesota Parent. The link has been included so you can read the full story!
How Physical Affection Helps with Discipline
By Kelly Bartlett

A group of 15 parents were gathering for their weekly parenting class, when one mother shared a moment from the previous week. “My daughter had a fit the other day when I told her it was time to get in the car.”

Every head in the room nodded in recognition and understanding. Another dad said, “My son threw LEGOs at the TV because I told him to turn it off.”

These types of exchanges are shared by the most well-meaning parents; and despite even the most positive parenting efforts, kids can get mad. Their immature brains do not have the capability to remain calm while working through challenging feelings. They “flip their lids” easily; . . . read more at

Friday, October 28, 2011

Unemployment: A Real Life Story

From our friends at Breedlove and Associates . . .

With a record number of claims for unemployment benefits over the past few years, state agencies have become increasingly vigilant about protecting taxpayer assets from fraud. This recent case illustrates the importance of diligent record-keeping and accurate reporting.

One of our clients terminated her employee, Claudia. Within a couple of weeks, we received a notice from the Colorado Department of Labor indicating that Claudia had filed for and was receiving unemployment benefits. This particular notice asked for the employer to respond with Claudia's last day worked and her wages earned during the current quarter.
We provided the client with the requested information, along with copies of all her payroll documents. The documents gave a detailed listing of the exact number of hours worked each week as well as the date of last wages paid and Claudia's severance check amount. The client forwarded the documents to the Department of Labor.
A few weeks later, we received another notice from the state on behalf of the client. It stated that Claudia had given false information when she applied for the unemployment benefits from the state.

The Law
When an employee is let go from a job due to no fault of her own, she has the option to apply for unemployment benefits from the state. The state then goes through a verification process to decide whether or not she is eligible to receive the financial aid. The claimant (employee) is generally NOT eligible to collect benefits if she left employment for one of the following reasons:
  1. She voluntarily quit
  2. She was discharged with cause
  3. She already has another job
  4. She was hired as a student during school vacation
The employer is asked to either affirm or refute the compensation and termination details as provided by the employee. If the employer does not respond to the notice by the deadline, the state assumes the employee's side of the story is correct and the corresponding benefits are awarded.

The Outcome
Since the client was able to provide detailed copies of the payroll documents, the state case worker was able to make a prompt determination about Claudia's benefits without any additional involvement from the employer. (If employers are not able to provide clear and compelling payroll records, they typically get consumed by meetings with the case worker to iron out the discrepancies).
In this case, Claudia had intentionally misrepresented her termination date as well failed to report the severance pay in an effort to get more money from the state. The state launched an investigation about the misrepresentation of wages as reported by Claudia.
They found that the under-representation was intentional, and they disqualified her from receiving any future benefits for a specified amount of time. Additionally, Claudia was required to repay the benefits she had already received from Colorado with interest.

How the Whole Thing Could Have Been Avoided
In this case, the family did everything right. As a result, they were able to avoid serious tax evasion problems -- Claudia's filing for unemployment would have triggered an audit if they had been paying her "under the table." Also, by keeping timely and accurate payroll records, the family was able to avoid getting entangled in time-consuming "he-said, she-said" meetings with the state Department of Labor.


If you have additional questions, please call 888-BREEDLOVE (273-3356) or visit

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Halloween Traditions

As a child we had several Halloween traditions. Some of these I passed onto my past nanny family of 20 + years and they adopted them. They also developed their own traditions. So here is a summary of the blending of some fun customs you may also enjoy!

Carving Pumpkins
This is a given for many families but we took it a bit further by having each child and adult in the household carve at least three and sometimes four pumpkins for our annual display. When the children were small they drew their design or face on their pumpkins and the adults did all the carving. Once they were old enough to use the plastic carving "saws" we let them do most of the work. Each year we'd chose a tall pumpkin and a large round pumpkin to carve Bert and Ernie (from Sesame Street). Once we get all our happy, scary, fun pumpkins carved we'd get them out on Halloween day to set up our display. We use holiday twinkle lights in our pumpkins - they are safe and a long string of them can light most many pumpkins. It made the house a favorite stop for the neighborhood for many years!

Spider Cracker Snack
After rest time or school we'd make Spider Crackers for our snack. You'll need two crackers of you choice for the body, Chinese noodles for the legs, raisins for the eyes and a nut butter or spreading cheese for the insides. Spread the cheese or nut butter onto one cracker, attach "legs" and top with second cracker. Stick "eyes" on with the cheese or butter and there you go! These snacks are easy to assemble and fun for children to make. We'd always have several on a plate for their parents to munch on when they got home from work.

Chili Dinner
This is something my mother always did for us and I started doing for my employer family - making a hearty chili dinner before going out Trick-or-Treating. My mother never wrote down a recipe and thus the final product was often different from one time to the next. I, of course, do it the same way. The basics are ground turkey or beef, a variety of beans of your choice (I like chili beans, black beans and kidney beans), tomato sauce and seasonings to taste. Served with shredded cheeses and /or sour cream and wheat bread, it really makes a full meal. A great warm start to an exciting evening.

Pumpkin Pie
After a night of Trick-or-Treating at the neighbors everyone would come back together for a slice of pumpkin pie and warm up by the fireplace. We'd take this time to hear all about the fun, inspect and sort out their candy. They could have one candy treat but often the pie was the bigger draw. It it was an especially cold night we might also serve hot apple cider or hot chocolate. I remember it as a sweet time to be together before heading off to bed.

We'd love to hear about your traditions!! Won't you share with everyone by making a comment?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Information You May Find Valuable

Recently the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has come out with updated information about Media Use for Children Under Two and Safe Sleep Recommendations. You may find their website helpful. This is a great site for parents, family members and nannies.

The American Academy of Pediatrics—an organization of 60,000 pediatricians committed to the attainment of optimal physical, mental, and social health and well-being for all infants, children, adolescents, and young adults. Their website is

Media Use for Children Under 2:
Safe Sleep Recommendations:
ADHD in Children:
Archived Articles:

Friday, October 21, 2011

Halloween Costume Ideas

Need a little creative jump start or a little inspiration? Here are several websites with costume ideas for children. Many of these are no sew and easy to assemble. This could be just what you need to come up with a creative solution of your own!

I've enjoyed using the ideas that start with a sweathirt or hoodie and sweatpants or leggings. They are comfortable and warm. If you buy them a little large they can still get another warm shirt or pant under them if needed.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Halloween Safety Tips

  • Bright and/or Reflective - consider adding reflective tape to costume or treat bags
  • Shoes that fit well
  • Costumes short enough to prevent tripping or entanglement
  • Non-toxic makeup and decorative hats are safer than a mask that can limit range of vision. If using a hat it should fit properly so it doesn't slide over the eyes
  • Costumes made using hoodie sweatshirts and sweatpants are very comfortable, warm and easy to make yourself
  • If purchasing costumes, make sure everything is labeled flame resistant
  • Look for accessories that are safe for the child and others
  • Flashlights for escorts and/or children should have fresh batteries
Pumpkin Decorations
  • Small children can draw the face on their pumpkin with a marker leaving the carving to an adult
  • Consider a flashlight, glow stick or twinkle lights instead of a candle to light your pumpkin
  • If using a candle, a votive is the safest choice
  • Candle lit pumpkins should be located on a sturdy surface and away from flammable objects and should not be left unattended
Trick or Treat Safety at Your Home
  • Keep your home safe to visiting children by making sure that the porch, front yard or driveway area is clear of obstacles (toys, bikes, decorations, garden hose, etc.)
  • Make sure outdoor lights are in working order and provide enough light for young children and parents to walk
  • Leaves can be slipery, so it's best to have them swept from sidewalk, porch or steps
  • Make sure pets are secure for their safety and the safety of trick-or-treaters
Out and About Safety Tips
  • Children should always be accompanied by an adult
  • If older children are going alone, preview their route and agree on a time to return + stay with their group at all time + consider having a cell phone with the group
  • Only go to homes with a light on and never enter a home
  • Use the sidewalk and travel on well lit streets
  • Don't cut across yards or travel up alleys - especially for older children out together
  • Cross street at established crosswalks and corners - never between parked cars
Halloween Health
  • A good meal prior to parties or trick-or-treating will help discourage children from filling up on Halloween treats
  • Children should return home to sort and check treats with adult supervision
  • Non-food treats are a nice option to hand out at your home - pens, pencils, crayons and coloring books or stickers can be a nice alternative
  • Non-sweet treats are another option - packages of crackers, raisins, sugar-free gum, cheese sticks or even a juice box
  • Try to ration treats for the days following Halloween

Monday, October 17, 2011

CPR and First Aid Opportunity - Twin Cities Area

Twin Cities Professional Nannies are hosting a
CPR and First Aid Update Training
Saturday, November 5 from 9 AM to 3 PM
Maplewood Professional Building - next to St. John's Hospital
1655 Beam Avenue   Suite 202
Maplewood MN 55109

Registration is required!

If you are interested contact us at and we'll forward you
the registration form and contact information.
TCPN members receive a discount.
You can become a TCPN member and get the discount all in one!
This event is open to everyone - you don't have to be a nanny to participate.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Tantrums, Fussing, Whining: Oh My!

Parents and nannies often find the most frustrating discipline problems during early childhood to be managing tantrums, fussing and whining. Here are some ideas to help get a handle on them.

Emotional Control: Most often these behaviors are caused by a child’s inability to express or control his emotions. Tiredness, hunger, boredom, frustration and other causes can frequently be avoided or modified. Observation of those underlying issues will help you get your child back to their happy self.

Choices: You may be able to avoid problems by giving your child more of a say in his life. You can do this by offering choices. Instead of saying, “Get ready for bed right now,” which may provoke a tantrum, offer a choice, “What would you like to do first, put on your pajamas or brush your teeth?” Children who are busy deciding things are often happy.

Eye-to-eye Communication: When you make a request from a distance your child will likely ignore you. Noncompliance creates stress, which leads to fussing and tantrums – from both of you. Instead, get down to your child’s level, look them in the eye and make clear, concise requests. This gets their attention.

List of DO’s: Instead of focusing on misbehavior and what you don’t want them to do, explain exactly what you’d like your child to do or say instead. Give simple instructions to follow and then praise results. Remember “thank you” goes a long way.

Validate Feelings: Help your child identify and understand their emotions. Give words to feelings, “You’re sad. You want to stay here and play. I know.” This doesn’t mean you must give in to the request, but communicating that you understand can help keep things calm.

Distraction/Redirection: Children can easily be distracted when a new activity is suggested. If your child is whining or fussing try viewing it as an “activity” that your child is engaged in. Since children aren’t very good at multi-tasking you might be able to redirect them with a recommendation of something different to do.

Call on the Imagination: If a child is upset about something, it can help to vocalize his fantasy of what he wishes would happen: “I bet you wish we could buy every single toy in this store.” This can become a fun game.

Prevention: Review desired behavior prior to leaving the house, or when entering a public building, or before you begin a playdate. This might prevent the whining or tantrum from even beginning. Put your comments in the positive (tell what you want, not what you don’t want) and be specific.

When It’s Over, It’s Over: After an episode of misbehavior is finished let it go and move on. Don’t feel you must teach a lesson by withholding your approval, love or company – or with a lecture. Children bounce right back, and it is okay for you to bounce right back, too.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Child Passenger Safety

This information comes from Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
Their web link is:
You'll find PDFs links to making sure your child is in the right restraint, how to properly secure your child and visual instuctions, and so much more. Related links -

Keeping Kids Safe in VehiclesIn Minnesota, three out of four child seats are used incorrectly, and many parents aren’t aware of the restraint steps a child should progress through as they age and grow. A vehicle is the most dangerous place for children— and crashes are the leading killer of children under age 14.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sensory Bottles for Infants and Toddlers

by Kelly MillerSensory Bottle: Floating ABC

I have been saving water bottles, pop bottles and juice bottles for several weeks with the plan to make sensory bottles for the 8-month-old boy I am currently nannying.  This weekend my 8-year-old daughter and I had a blast making sensory bottles ..... I am excited to bring them to work tomorrow!  Here are some websites I looked at to get fun ideas.  We especially had fun with the Floating ABC bottle!  I seal all bottles with hot glue before giving to young children.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Make Snack Time Fun

Here are two fun ideas from Parents magazine. Visit their website at for all types of ideas, articles and information. Nannies, you'll love this site as much as parents do!
I've made the Nutty Popcorn recipe without the nuts. A good choice if you or the children have any nut allergies. It's still a tasty, healthy treat!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Back-to-School Projects

While looking for some fun back-to-school projects I found three on the Family Fun website that we have done over the years. I actually thought we'd "invented" them . . . now I see others have had these ideas. Maybe your school age children will love them as much as the children I've cared for.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Long Term Nanny / Family Relationships

"We’ve had challenges keeping a nanny long term with our family. What are we doing wrong?"

The nanny employment relationship is very unique. For one thing it is very personal and intimate. This makes for a great foundation for caring for children and working with parents in a partnership. It also increases sensitivity about the daily issues that can come up and can make dealing with concerns challenging for everyone. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

MUTUAL RESPECT: This is huge. Respecting each other is critical from day one. Being cognizant that your nanny is a professional and her expertise can really be an asset to your family. Great nanny and family relationships rely on respecting each other.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Mutual Respect: A Two-Way Street

We’ve all heard the adage: To gain respect we must give respect. How do children learn to be respectful? We all know that children learn from the adults around them, so what are we modeling? Are they seeing that mom, dad and nanny are treating each other respectfully? Are they expected to be respectful themselves? Are they feeling respected? Respect is a two-way street

Although children may not put labels such as respect or disrespect to the behaviors they see around them they are watching . . . and learning. Is it the lesson you want them to receive? When children see adults they care about communicating in an open and valued manner they will follow those examples. And it’s not only what is said or how it is communicated but body language as well. Children are constantly interpreting what they are seeing and feeling.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Back-to-School Time Capsule

Another great idea from Family Fun.

Back-to-School Time Capsule Need a simple project for those itchy, edgy, last few days of summer vacation? Have your child assemble this Back-to-School Time Capsule. By adding to it each year, she can create a book of memories and milestones. Imagine a fifth grader looking back on what she liked and disliked in the summer before second grade; it would give her a great feeling of personal growth--and no doubt a good laugh!

Transform a blank three-ring notebook into a time capsule by decorating pages so that they record both what the summer was like as well as hopes for and thoughts about the coming school year. For example, your child might include a photo from summer camp and also write about the sports team she'll play on at school this year. Check out the starter list below for more sample ideas.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Recall Alert

DATE: August 2, 2011
CATEGORY: Toys & Games
THE DANGER: The metal toy keys and the plastic key ring can break, posing a choking hazard. The U.S. Consumer and Safety Product Commission and Battat have received 17 reports of keys breaking, and 14 reports of key rings breaking. No injuries have been reported.
DESCRIPTION: This recall includes about 1,083,600 B. FunKeys with factory code H58000-01 or H26300-01, and Parents Magazine Electronic Keys with factory code H26300-01. The factory code is located on the back of the remote. The remote of the B. Fun Keys is olive green or red and the top of the keys are multi-colored. The remote of the Parents Magazine Electronic Keys comes in different colors and the top of the keys is a solid color. Both remotes have sound buttons, and the metal keys hang from a plastic ring.
SOLD AT: Retailers nationwide and online sellers from April 2010 to May 2011 for B. FunKeys, and from January 2006 to December 2009 for Parents Magazine keys for about $9.
WHAT TO DO: Immediately take the recalled toy keys away from children and contact Battat to receive replacement keys. Contact the company toll-free at 866-665-5524 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 866-665-5524 end_of_the_skype_highlighting or visit

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Three Fun Ideas

Just had to share these three ideas with you to add to your creative activities. One is a food project, one is an art project and the last one is an easy game to play. All are from Family Fun.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Just for Fun Days

August is a month lacking a big holiday . . . but there are some fun "special days" in August. Here are a few for this weekend. Why not celebrate?! Get your creative juices flowing!

August 5
National Waffle Day - Not only could you eat waffles but you might think about ways to be creative with art projects with a waffle focus. Learn more about the history of the waffle.
Neil Armstong's Birthday - Research more about Neil and the space program. Visit your library for information or do an online search. Construct your own rocket from found objects and take flight with your imagination. For more about Neil Armstrong -

August 6
National Mustard Day - My brain is spinning with all kinds of mustard related art, games, songs, not to mention some great eating. Want to know more - check out
Wiggle Your Toes Day - Take your toes out on an adventure. Instead of finger painting, try toe painting. Learn more about your feet and toes. Walk, swim, roller blade and give your toes some exercise.

August 7
American Family Day - Have a family party! Celebrate your family's history. Have a family story time to share the rich memories of your family. Draw or paint a family portrait. Make a family video or scrapbook. Plan a family outing or gathering.
Friendship Day - Write an actual note or card to send to a friend and share what they mean to you. Gather with friends to play, go on a bike ride or take a walk. Plan a friendship picnic or meal. Host a game night.
National Kids Day - Check out for information on Kids Day.

Friday, July 29, 2011

National Kids Day - Sunday, August 7, 2011

We found this information and wanted to pass it along to you. We believe in children and families - so sharing information you may find helpful is part of our goal. National KidsDay was created in 1994 by KidsPeace, a 129-year-old national children's charity, to encourage adults to spend more meaningful time with their children.
Nannies from the Heartland Staff
National KidsDay is …
an opportunity to celebrate childhood; to demonstrate our commitment to nurturing children; to inspiring our nation, our communities and our families to love and appreciate children; and to prepare our children for a healthy, happy, successful future.

Ways to celebrate!
With more than 129 years of expertise on helping children facing crisis, KidsPeace created National KidsDay as an annual event on the national calendar to honor and celebrate the inherent value and worth of children.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Chill Out with Cold Treats

Keep cool with frozen treats you make yourself. This article with recipes comes from the Star Tribune's taste section. You'll find Fruit Salad Ice Pops, Banana Malted Milk-Shake Pops, Watermelon Paletas and more. Check out the link for more on keeping cool and treating your family!