Wednesday, February 25, 2015

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:

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Tips for Great Interview

A job interview is your best chance to make a great impression. At Nannies from the Heartland we provide our nannies with an interview guide to help them do just that. Here’s are a few of our tips.

Dress professionally. Many nannies make the mistake of dressing for an interview as they would for a day on the job. Casual attire may be practical for the day-to-day work, but step it up a notch for the interview. Business casual is a good guideline. If you’re meeting the family in their home, wear socks or nylons so your feet aren’t bare when you remove your shoes.

Get to know the children. Take time to ask questions about the family’s lifestyle and the children’s personalities. If you get to meet the children, show interest in them. We know that you’re also interested in practical matters such as salary (and those are important to discuss, too), but parents are focused foremost on finding the best caretaker for their family. This can be a personal and emotional decision, so make sure to show your love for children.

Be prepared. Anticipate the interview questions and rehearse answers that highlight your best qualities. Expect to discuss your experience with and outlook on:

• Activities and recreation
• Child development
• Education
• Discipline
• Nutrition and meal prep
• Safety and emergencies
• Housekeeping

If your interviewers don’t bring up these topics, feel free to do so yourself. You want to make sure the family’s outlook is compatible with yours. Think of some examples of times you've encountered particularly challenging situations, emphasizing how you addressed the issue.

Also be prepared to discuss your needs around salary, benefits, and schedule. Remember, interviewing is a two-way street. Families want to attract a great nanny just as you want to attract a great family. Make sure that your own questions are answered and that you know whether or not the job would be a good fit for you.

Send a thank-you. Follow up your interview with a thank-you note or e-mail. This gives you the opportunity to express your enthusiasm about the job and (briefly) reiterate why you’d be a great fit. A note will set you above the crowd and show how courteous and professional you are. I personally had a former boss tell me that she was unsure about hiring me until I sent a thank-you note. That simple gesture gave her confidence that I’d be a good employee.

With some preparation, you should be able to shine in an interview and find a family who will appreciate everything you can bring to the job.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Indoor Ice Castles

by Kelly Miller

The gingerbread houses are all packed away, but we still have many weeks of winter. Are you looking for a fun activity?  Every winter, I make "ice castles" with the children.  We build the castle with sugar cubes, and we use white frosting as glue.   (You could build igloos, too.) Then we decorate the castle with conversation hearts, gum drops, and other Valentine's Day candies. Gummy bears make up the castle's inhabitants.  Each year the castles have gotten bigger and more elaborate... last year, we used five boxes of sugar cubes and two tubs of frosting!