Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Fun Ways to Beat the Heat

It's summer so we expect the heat but some days the temp is really up there. This got me thinking of all the fun things I've done with children to beat the heat. Here are a few of my favorites. Remember to reapply sunscreen often and encourage hydration!

Fill 'Er Up!
Ready to get wet? Then the children will enjoy this team game. You'll need two plastic cups about 6 oz size works well, two ping-pong balls and two hand held spray bottles filled with water. One teammate holds the cup while the other squirts water into it in order to raise the ping-pong ball up and out of the cup. Sometimes getting the ball out of the cup is a challenge so it can be modified to get water to the top of the cup. A refill bucket of water is available as needed for the squirters. Switch with your teammate and do it all again.
While this is meant to be a relay race it isn't necessary to race - - - it is perfect to just get wet. So you don't really need teams either just the desire to enjoy the activity.

Splash Volley Ball
Using a large sponge and a small kiddie pool enjoy a game that's cooling and fun! The kiddie pool is the net and the water loaded sponge is the ball. Because everyone can be around the perimeter of the pool you can play with any number of children. The goal is to keep the sponge going and keep the water splashing. Slipping into the pool from time to time will happen so I filled the pool with only a few inches of water. Because this can become very active make sure an adult is keeping an eye on the action.

Water Obstacle Course
We didn't have a large in ground or above ground pool in our backyard but we did have several kiddie pools. So we set them up around the yard. In each pool was a different activity - fill the bucket, scoop and poor, sponge toss, floating ducks. You can come up a with several options for different ages or different levels of difficulty. Children will enjoy the cool off along with the active play. Ask them to come up with different skills - they'll get a chance to show off their creativity.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Nanny/Family Employment Agreements

We once asked nannies on our Facebook page what advice they wish they had gotten as a new nanny. Their responses were overwhelmingly about pay, benefits, and the “rules of the game.” All of the challenges the nannies mentioned would have been prevented if both parties had written and followed an employment agreement.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Why Agency Longevity Matters

Since Nannies from the Heartland opened in 1990, we have seen over 30 other local nanny agencies come and go. Very few agencies last more than a few years before shutting their doors, and even fewer can match Nannies from the Heartland in longevity and experience.

Why does it matter how long your nanny agency has been around?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

"How Can I Get a Job Through Nannies from the Heartland?"

Having been in business since 1990, Nannies from the Heartland has an excellent reputation among nannies and families alike. Many nannies wish to be represented by our agency, and often ask us how they can present themselves as an experienced and well-qualified candidate. We want to help you do this; our goal is to match nannies with rewarding professional jobs.

Here is some of our best advice about how to find that job through our agency:
  • Review our qualifications. Our website describes the qualities we seek in our applicants. Our families are seeking to hire the "cream of the crop," which is why we have these standards. The nannies we represent all have at least one year of recent, full-time professional childcare experience with young children. A two- or four-year degree in a child-related field can substitute for some (but not all) experience.
  • Submit a polished application. Not only does Nannies from the Heartland staff see your application, but so will client families to whom you are referred. Therefore, make sure your application materials look professional. The application should be typed or neatly hand-written, as well as proofread. You may also include a resume, cover letter, or letters of reference. If you send a resume, make sure it is childcare-oriented.
  • Choose your references well. We require candidates to provide 3-4 childcare references for us to contact. You want these references to be able to give glowing, detailed information about you! The best references are current or former employers, whether they be a family you nannied for, a daycare client, or someone for whom you babysit. If you have recently earned a degree, your instructors or practicum supervisors may also serve as references, provided they have observed you working with children. Family members are not ideal references; although they know you very well they may not be as objective or impartial. (Note: if you do not wish for us to contact your current employer until later in the process, just let us know this when you apply.)
  • Present yourself professionally. Nannying is a career, and you want to show that you take it seriously. Therefore, present a good image when interacting or interviewing with our agency and with hiring families. Dress nicely (we recommend business casual), demonstrate courtesy and maturity, communicate professionally, and let your passion for working with children shine.
If we receive your application but decline to represent you at this time, it doesn't mean that you're unfit to care for children. Rather, your application just doesn't reflect the level of verifiable, long-term childcare employment experience our client families seek. Again, our families choose Nannies from the Heartland because we specialize in screening and placing the most-experienced nannies in the Twin Cities. We certainly welcome you to continue building your credentials and then reapply with us in the future.
  • Gain additional experience. This could include working in a daycare or finding a nanny job through another source. Consider furthering your education by earning a degree or certificate in a field such as child development or early childhood education. Network and expand your skills by joining a professional nanny or childcare organization.
  • Some nanny applicants are parents themselves but do not have any childcare employment history. While we definitely agree that raising your own children is certainly invaluable experience, the challenge with it is that it can't be evaluated as professional employment can. Parenting doesn't come with a supervisor or impartial references. Therefore, we typically do not represent candidates whose only childcare experience is parenting.
Thank you so much for your interest in being represented by Nannies from the Heartland. If you ever have questions about how to apply or whether you meet our qualifications, please feel free to call our office. We're happy to speak with you!