By Monica Schoenborn (from Twin Cities Professional Nannies, September Newsletter)
How families prefer to communicate about the daily lives of their children varies. Verbal feedback of the day is a given and for some parents this is all they may want. Besides verbal feedback many parents like to have a written daily log. We have always used a simple notebook as a daily log at my work. There are sites like babyslog.com that offer a download copy of a baby or toddler log sheet that can be printed. There are various reasons that a family may like to use an online resource where everyone (traveling parent or if parents are divorced etc…) can be kept up to date. Dailyconnect.com offers a free basic service that will send daily emails of what was put into the log. They have an app for the ipad and in the Google play store ($4.99) for other devices at this time. Also, during the day the parents may like a text update and/or picture sent to them from your cell. Some parents and nannies use email as a form of updates to log the activities of the day. Parents may forward emails to the nanny that are related to the child’s activities that they are involved in as more organizations seem to be using email to inform and update participates.
The daily log content will evolve as the children age. My boss will once and a while still refer to it as the “poop sheet” even though the potty training years are well behind us. The daily logs have been a record of development, meltdowns, meal data, medication time logs (and amounts), activities, phone messages, appointment information, quotes of things the kids have said, messages from the kids, repair service information and much more. In the mist of the potty training days there was one frustrating day that the only feedback I gave was “no your child is not potty trained yet”. A log has been very helpful in giving pediatric doctors better informed information on when symptoms or change in behavior started.
When the children become school age then the homework feedback questions start. The activities that a child is involved in plus the length of time it takes to do homework impacts the family life. Over time we have come up with a second “log” of sorts that we call P.O.A. (Plan of Action) for one of the kids. For example:
P.O.A. – Wednesday Sept. 25th
Pg. 23 2-24 evens, 25-30 odds
We make a word document with all the subjects and homework information on it. Then the kid numbers the subjects in the order he will do the homework and he checks them off as he completes it. This helps him develop time management skills, planning skills and keeps him organized. It is also the place his parents can check to see where he is at in homework without distracting him. His brother used his school planner so a P.O.A wasn’t needed but he still had to develop the time management skills. One thing to note is the schools are changing with the technology developments. It is helpful to check if the school district web site has teachers assignments posted online. We just cut and paste the assignments and put them in a word document to save time. It is also helpful to see if the students are allowed to use the camera on their cells to take a picture of the assignments written down in class.
Just because a kid goes to school doesn’t mean they automatically are mini adults and have all the life skills a middle age adult has gained. (Okay, we can all come up with exceptions but you get the idea) They still need nannies. Our feedback changes but it is still about the well being of the child, tween or teen. Feedback is more verbal for the simple fact we have helped this kid to learn to read. The tween may not want to read that we think he may have hit the age where deodorant is needed. Middle school highlights that teens are developing at different rates. Playdates change to hang out time with peers. But we can still be a trusted adult in their lives that is part of their team during the school years.
As nannies providing this type of feedback in its various forms, we are showing our employers one of the reasons it is valuable to hire a nanny in the first place. Other childcare options generally are not going to be able to provide this level of feedback.