Monday, June 30, 2014

Communication Styles Start Early

Communication Styles Start Early is an article from the Nannies from the Heartland quarterly newsletter, From the Heart. This article was written for the Fall 2007 issue. We thought you might enjoy it!

Did you know each of us has a communication personality? It’s the style that is most comfortable to us when speaking or interpreting – and it starts early. If you’ve ever wondered why you can’t seem to make your point to your employer, co-worker, friend or spouse it might be your style isn’t matching theirs. And if the children in your lives don’t seem to ever be on the same page with you, it might be that your styles don’t match.

Some of us like the details - need it in fact, while others just want the bottom line. Also, some of us are very tuned in to other’s feelings and are comfortable sharing feelings, while others naturally prefer to keep that part out of their interactions. All these are normal and natural styles – one is not better than another, just a different approach. But what if I knew you were a bottom line kind of person, and I could adjust my style to “talk your language” – wouldn’t that strengthen our communications. You bet it would!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

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.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Performance Review Tips

Performance reviews shouldn’t be feared. Instead it should be viewed as an opportunity to gain shared understanding. Think of a review as a feedback session. Although yearly reviews are typical, I recommend more frequent meetings to set goals, evaluate progress, identify strengths and challenges. The goals set with caring for an infant aren’t the same as those you’d set in caring for a toddler or preschooler. So checking in frequently is important. 
Performance appraisals are a two way street. Listening is critical. Employers need to hear the employee’s views, suggestions or comments. The nanny family relationship and employment situation is unique; the best interests of children bring both the nanny and family into a special partnership and require teamwork. Thus the performance review is an opportunity for everyone to share and set mutual goals, as well as individual ones.

There are four main focus points during a performance review.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Is Your Child Sleepover-Ready?

The first sleepover is a rite of passage for most children but knowing when your child is ready for this special event can be tricky. Here are a few things to consider when deciding if your child is sleepover ready. And just as importantly are you a sleepover ready parent.

No Magic Age - There really is no magic age when a child is ready for their first sleepover. Most often sleepovers with friends start when children enter the school years. Your child should be comfortable with staying overnight away from home. Feeling nervous and excited are to be expected but being fearful isn't the way to start. Children who have traveled with their families frequently, often have an easier time with sleepover opportunities. Staying over at grandparents' or other family member's homes is also a good introduction to the sleepover.

Child Driven - Your child should be the one to let you know they are interested. Pushing your child into anything like this is usually a mistake. They may be talking about this with friends or have an older sibling who is a sleepover pro and they want to know when they can have a sleepover. Even if your child is a sleepover pro they may not always want to participate when invited. Finding out why is important as well as respecting their reasons to "pass" on an invitation.

Trial Run - Your home is a good place for a trial run sleepover. Make it special night where you host a family sleepover - fun food options, activity, video. Do some role playing about how a sleepover could go. Think about options and variations to explore. Part of the process is to sleep somewhere else in the house - not in their own bed.

Making a Plan - Share with your child your own sleepover experiences. Open the door to have them share their concerns with you. Discuss a plan for you and your child with details like drop off process, when you'll pick them up the next day and what would happen if they needed you to pick them up during the night. Sometimes that first sleepover is a false start. They need to know that you'll be there to pick them up as planned. This gives them confidence in you and that next time they may have more success.

Parent Approved - Your comfort is vital to success. For any sleepover, but more specifically the first, knowing some information will help you. Talk with the hosting parents/adults/guardians personally. Who will be home during the sleepover? How many children are participating? What are the plans for the event - including food and activities, bedtime expectations, sleeping arrangements, etc.? If your household has rules about what your children can watch (movies or television) and they don't match the rules or plans of the hosting home - are you ok with this? Make sure that the host family has your contact information and understand that their child can call you at anytime. If you are hosting then you want to be proactive and talk with each child's parents to let them know your plans and expectations. They need to feel confident in you as the hosting family. Making a few calls before your child invites their friends can go a long way to a successful event.