Topics in a Car Agreement

By: Greta Schraer
Professional Nanny
2011 INA Nanny of the YEAR!

Transportation is a key part of a nanny’s care for children. There are several options that a nanny and family may decide on as to how transportation is handled and is likely discussed during the interview/contract process. Some families may provide a car for the nanny to drive during work hours. Others may require a nanny to have their own reliable transportation that is suitable for the children.
Nannies should strive to provide a safe environment for children and take the necessary precautions for the possibility of an emergency.
When I first started my current job, it was decided that the family would provide a car for me to drive the triplets as they got older. The were 9 months when I started and it wasn’t practical and manageable for me to be taking big field trips, alone, as the winter was approaching. In Spring, talk began about the purchase of a new car, as my faithful Honda Accord was losing it’s battle for life. We began to discuss options of the purchase of a new car for me personally and how it could benefit us both. My employers offered me a stipend for a portion of the purchase price with certain requirements attached. I know that this is not the decision for everyone, but it was a great answer for us at the time. Many local nannies have asked how we have set up the system that has proven successful for us. I hope that sharing this may give ideas or open up discussions in the future for other situations.

Providing a Stipend
A stipend is simply a “source of funds provided to a particular individual to pursue a particular interest. Stipends do not usually cover all the expenses associated with the pursuit of interest”(business dictionary). A family may decide to give a certain amount of money to the nanny toward a car. A nanny may be able to purchase a nicer car than she could afford without the families help. The family will be able to weigh in on the specifics of the car being purchased – such as safety ratings from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. The family may also ask to for the size of a nanny’s car be more accommodating to the needs of the children (for example: room for three car seats, strollers, bikes, etc.) than if she were to buy one just for herself, depending on the need.

This option would not be a great idea for a short term position, but can be beneficial if nanny and family have a come to a long-term agreement (for example: until the kids are in elementary school). This is an extra benefit for the nanny, increasing her feeling of appreciation and confidence in a long-term position. The following are some questions that may be beneficial to discuss and include in the agreement:

  • How much will this stipend be?
  • Is this a 1-time option?
  • If nanny leaves position after so much time will all or part of the stipend be owed to the employer?
  • What are the car requirements?
  • Any other expectations attached?
Whether or not you decide to do a stipend, communication on paper is a good idea. This can be added to a section of your work agreement/contract. My employers put together a separate and lengthy car agreement detailing the expectations and requirements for the length of my position. Through this article I will outline what I feel are the key components of a car agreement, when the nanny drives her own car.

High5: Topics in a Car Agreement
5. Mileage
If a nanny drives her own car, she could keep track of her mileage while working and be reimbursed at the federal rate, currently $.50/mile. A nanny may be asked to record her data at the end of each month, and be reimbursed from her employer at that rate. It should be noted that the rate includes wear and tear on a car, not only gas, or as it says in the IRS site ” The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of fixed and variable rates for operating a vehicle”.
4. Insurance
A family will require that a nanny have current insurance and may request the nanny to provide current proof of insurance. There should be a discussion about if the nanny has liability only or full coverage. The family may reimburse all or a portion of the nanny’s car insurance.
3. Maintenance
Because the nanny is responsible for more than her own safety, it is essential that she care for her car. If a family is reimbursing for mileage, the standard mileage rate includes maintenance. Though a majority of the maintenance expense will fall on the nanny as the owner of the car, every little bit helps. This could include:
  • Tires: safe tread level, correct level of air, balanced & rotated regularly
  • Oil: changed regularly
  • Wiper blades & fluid
  • Overall in good condition

2. Car Seats
In this section it may be discussed the parents preference for seat location, installation and etc. Forward and rear-facing plans and beliefs should be discussed between parents and nanny. Some families will have you be trained to learn to install seats, at the local fire department. A family may also require the nanny to have their car seat installation checked. Each car seat should be labeled with the child’s information.
1. Safety and Emergency Prep
Best always to be over-prepared for the worst situation. A family may communicate the expectations of items that a nanny have in their car at all times. The family may purchase the items needed or may ask the nanny to provide. Here are some examples of items to include:
  • License & registration
  • Proof of Insurance
  • Authorization to treat a minor
  • AAA Card
  • First Aid Kit
  • Cell phone
  • Tire gauge
  • Flashlight
  • Emergency blanket
  • Jumper cables
  • Spare tire, jack and misc.
  • Bottled water
I hope that some of these ideas, give you a start for you car agreement section of your contract. Nannies that drive their own cars should think about the expenses that a family could share in. This option may provide practical and financial benefits for both parties.

http://cincynanny.blogspot.com/2010/08/high5-friday-topics-in-car-agreement.html

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Professional Training provided for New Moms and Nannies in Chicago

Happiest Baby on the Block Class

First Class Care, Inc. has partnered with Gibson Newborn Services to bring to Chicago The Happiest Baby on the Block Class. We are excited to have Cortney Gibson a certified Happiest Baby Educator teach our expectant moms, new moms and childcare providers.

New parents and childcare providers will learn step-by-step how to help babies sleep longer and soothe even the fussiest baby in minutes.

The class is for expectant parents, parents of babies under 12 weeks old, and nannies who care for newborns. Feel free to bring babies less than 3 months old. Please arrange for childcare of older siblings. If you aren’t bringing a baby, bring a baby doll so you practice the techniques during class!

The Happiest Baby Program is a national curriculum dedicated to teaching parents and caregivers an innovative new approach to quickly calm crying babies and help them sleep a little longer. These techniques can reduce the occurrence of SIDS, Shaken Baby Syndrome, child abuse and Post Partum Depression.

Half of all new babies cry and fuss more than two hours a day. Their prolonged wails often cause exhaustion, breastfeeding failure, marital stress, maternal depression, and even child abuse. But this extraordinary program, based on the work of Dr. Harvey Karp, MD, FAAP, has the potential of reducing that demoralizing crying to just minutes a day.

“Dr. Karp’s book is fascinating. It will guide new parents for many years to come.” – Julius Richmond, MD, Harvard Medical School, former Surgeon General of the United States

“Dr. Karp’s approach is the best way I know to help crying babies.” – Steven Shelov, MD, editor-in-chief, American Academy of Pediatrics’ Caring for Your Baby and Young Child

The Happiest Baby Program will teach new parents and childcare providers:
     The Missing 4th Trimester: as odd as it may sound, many babies cry because, essentially, they are born three months too soon.
     The Calming Reflex: a newly discovered group of neonatal reflexes that are virtually an automatic reset switch to stop the crying of almost any baby in the first few months of life.
     The 5 S’s: how to correctly perform the 5 simple steps (swaddling, side/stomach position, shushing, swinging, and sucking) that trigger the calming reflex.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and Leaders of Lamaze, DONA, and Prevent Child Abuse America, have all recommended this program. La Leche League International offers The Happiest Baby DVD in its catalogue. Numerous other sources of media, including Parents magazine, The Dr. Phil Show, and Good Morning America have all featured Dr. Karp and his methods. The Happiest Baby concepts are being incorporated into the curriculum of medical schools, hospitals, clinics and military bases across the country…and around the world.

Dr. Karp’s vision is to share with families his techniques for quickly calming fussy babies and helping them to sleep longer. He achieves this through his certified instructors, as well as other valuable tools, such as his Happiest Baby on the Block book, DVD, and “Soothing Sounds” CD. This priceless information leads to a strong sense of confidence and success in parents and caregivers. Which in turn, reduces the incidence of the negative effects, mentioned above, that crying has on the whole family.

The Happiest Baby on the Block class is 2 hours and
includes a DVD to take home
along with a certificate that you attended the class.
$50 per couple

Happiest Toddler on the Block Class

First Class Care, Inc. has partnered with Gibson Newborn Services to bring to Chicago The Happiest Toddler on the Block Class. We are excited to have Cortney Gibson a certified Happiest Baby Educator teach our parents and childcare providers.

Anyone living or working with toddlers knows how quickly they can change. One minute all is bliss – then BAM! – they erupt into a mega-tantrum on aisle 6 at K-mart! No wonder exhausted and time-crunched parents feel trapped in a revolving door of “No!” and “Don’t!”

But all that is about to change…help has arrived! Never again will you be helpless while your toddler screams and screams. Now you can learn how to shorten or eliminate most tantrums.

“The Happiest Toddler is terrific…and fun! It will help parents, grandparents and everyone who cares for toddlers be more effective.” – Martin Stein, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, University of California San Diego

In The Happiest Toddler on the Block, celebrated pediatrician and child development expert, Dr. Harvey Karp reveals a treasure sought by parents for centuries – the secret to calming tantrums in minutes…or less. And, what’s more, he teaches simple steps to help you boost your toddler’s patience and ability to cooperate.

Dr. Karp has amazed the medical world with an innovative view of toddlers (aged 8 months to 5 years) that is transforming our understanding of this challenging age, forever.
“Parents will be delighted by this clever approach to communicating with toddlers. It allows us to see the world from our children’s unique point of view.“ — Janet Serwint, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, Director of the Harriet Lane Children’s Clinic, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

In The Happiest Toddler, you’ll learn:
– The #1 rule of good communication – the Fast Food Rule.
 – Four simple steps for translating anything you want to say into your child’s primitive language – Toddler-ese.
 – Foolproof ways to encourage good behavior (time-in, praise, rewards, gossiping, playing the boob, etc.).
 – How to defuse more than 50% of your toddler’s meltdowns in seconds!
 – Smart solutions to the prickliest problems of the toddler years (like separation anxiety, biting, picky eating, sibling rivalry, fears).
 – A simple way to teach even a one-year old to be patient…in a single day

This class is for parents of children 8 months to 5 years. Please arrange for childcare so you can focus on learning these new techniques.

The Happiest Toddler on the Block class is 1.5 hours and
includes a DVD to take home
along with a certificate that you attended the class.
$40 per couple

CLASS INFO:
Happiest Baby on The Block
Saturday June 11, 2011
12:30pm – 2:30pm

Happiest Toddler on the Block
Saturday June 11, 2011
3pm – 4:30pm

Where:
New Mother New Baby
3115 Dundee Road
Northbrook, IL 60062

Register Today for 1 or Both Classes






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Professional Housekeeper Training in Chicago was a SUCCESS

On May 6th and 7th, 2011 First Class Care had our first ever Professionl Housekeeper Training Program. We could not have done this without the help of Charles MacPherson from The Charles MacPherson Academy in Canada. The room was filled with 14 eager students ready to learn all about cleaning high end homes, doing laundry, using green cleaning products, ironing, properly setting a table and more.

The 2 day class was empowering to the Chicago housekeepers and gave them the confidence and knowledge to be successful in their current jobs or a leg up in fnding a new one.

The feedback from EVERYONE in the class was it was WELLWORTH IT! They loved the content, speaker and all left feeling like they learned a ton.

The next class is scheduled for Oct 14 and 15, 2011

Stay tuned for more information.

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Chicago Housekeeper Job Fair – July 9th, 2011

First Class Care is excited to announce our first Housekeeper Job Fair. Applicants can come into our office, complete applications and get interviewed on the spot!

First Class Care Housekeeper jobs pay between $15-24 per hour
Details:
Saturday July 9th, 2011
10am – 5pm

Location:
First Class Care, Inc
3330 Dundee Rd
Suite C2
Northbrook, IL 60062

What you need to bring:Proof you are legal to work
Drivers License
Information about past jobs (dates, names, duties, phone number)
Resume if you have one Letters of Reference if you have them

Requirements for all positions:
Must be Legal to work
20 years or older
2+ years of professional experience
High School Graduate
Work References (we must be able to contact all previous employers)
Doctors physical in the last 12 months
Speak GOOD English
NON Smoker
No criminal convictions
Current Drivers License

Housekeeper Positions: Require 2 years of IN HOME experience within the last 5 years as a housekeeper. We do not count working for a cleaning service or hotels. If we can not verify your references for a position then that experience does not count.

All candidates MUST be willing to have taxes deducted from paychecks!

For More Information Call Us:
847-733-2700

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The Green Caddy Initiative

At the Charles MacPherson Academy we believe that less is more when it comes to cleaning products. Most of the brands we use in homes are unnecessary and can easily be eliminated from our cleaning regimes. I often think that if one were to use the multitude of products that are on the market for cleaning a single room, a wheelbarrow would be required to move the cleaning caddy from one part of the house to another.
By limiting our use of commercial brands and making better use of a few, common household products, a cleaning caddy becomes more efficient, more effective and much more environmentally responsible. I like to call it the Green Caddy Initiative.

Here are some of my Green Caddy tips:
1. Baking Soda is a simple ingredient with so many uses. Do you know that baking soda was used to clean the Statue of Liberty for its centennial? If it’s good enough for Lady Liberty, it’s certainly good enough for me! I use baking soda for everything from removing soap residue on sinks or tubs, to removing crayon marks from walls, to combining it with vinegar to unclog drains.

2. White vinegar is an acidic wonder that inhibits the growth of mould, mildew and bacteria like e-coli and salmonella. Equal parts vinegar and water makes a versatile multi-purpose cleaner. Just don’t use it on surfaces that will react with an acid like floors that are made of marble or wood.

3. A few drops of pH neutral dish detergent with warm water makes the safest of all-purpose cleaners. It cuts through grease and can be used on almost any surface imaginable.

4. Make sure that your Green Caddy has some Ziploc bags to hold any cloths that were used to clean contaminated areas such as a toilet. Ziploc bags help prevent cross contamination within your caddy.

By adding spray bottles to hold your homemade cleaning solutions, some lint-free cloths and some well-fitting gloves, you’re good to go. It takes surprisingly few items to keep our homes and our environment pristinely clean.

By: Charles MacPherson
Meet Charles MacPherson at the Chicago Professional Housekeeper Training School May 6 and 7th for 2 full days of housekeeping do’s and don’ts!
Posted in green cleaning products, Housekeeping, professional housekeeper training | Leave a comment

All About Childcare in Chicago with Bump Club and Beyond


First Class Care had the honor of speaking at Bump Club and Beyonds Expectant Mothers Brunch March 20th, 2011. The room was filled with over 70 expectant Moms (and Dads) all eager to learn about Childcare options in Chicago. Erin Krex, President of FIrst Class Care was the resident Childcare Expert and spoke about How to Find, Hire and Retain a Chicago Nanny successfully!

Bump Club and Beyond is an amazing group of families in Chicago and we look forward to more events with you!

Next Event with First Class Care and Bump Club and Beyond:
The Best Of Bump Club!
May 21st, 2011
www.bumpclubandbeyond.com

Posted in Bump Club and Beyond, Chicago Childcare Events | Leave a comment

Summertime Misadventure – How to Handle Summer Nanny Taxes

With families beginning to make summer childcare plans, this edition of The Legal Review will highlight popular misconceptions about employing a summer nanny — and serve as a reminder that summer nanny placements frequently enjoy a significant tax advantage which you and your families may be able to leverage.

The Mistake
A family hired a nanny to care for their two children during the summer. They paid her about $5,500 over 11 weeks and then took a two-week vacation with the kids right before school started. As the relationship was nearing its end, the family sought advice in a parent forum on how to handle the taxes and also how to get the tax breaks.

In the online forum, they received conflicting advice. MountainMama94 said they had no obligations since the employment was seasonal. MrZoomerang advised the family to “call the nanny an independent contractor and fill out a Form 1099 to get the tax breaks.” Ultimately, the family followed MrZoomerang’s advice and gave the nanny a Form 1099. At the end of the year, they filled out Form 2441 in order to take the Child Care Tax Credit.

The Law
The IRS has ruled definitively that nannies should be classified as employees, not independent contractors. As employers, families are subject to federal, state and local labor law. In addition, they have employer tax obligations if they pay an individual $1,700 or more in a calendar year (sorry MountainMama94, the IRS won’t buy the “seasonal” argument). Once that threshold is crossed, the family is required to withhold Social Security and Medicare taxes from the employee’s wages. They also have an obligation to match the Social Security and Medicare withheld, and pay federal and state unemployment taxes. It’s the employer’s responsibility to see that all employment tax returns and taxes are filed and remitted on a timely basis and that the employee receives a Form W-2 at year end (not a Form 1099, MrZoomerang). Finally, household employers are required to file a Schedule H with their federal income tax return.

Since MrZoomerang brought up the childcare tax breaks, here’s a quick review. Families who fulfill their obligations have access to at least one of the following tax breaks:
1. Dependent Care Account (also known as “Flexible Spending Account” or “FSA”): Many employers allow employees to set aside up to $5,000 of pre-tax earnings for childcare expenses. Enrolling for this benefit can save families up to $2,300, depending on their tax bracket.

2. Child or Dependent Care Tax Credit (“CCTC”): Families can take advantage of a 20% credit on expenses of up to $3,000 for one dependent, or up to $6,000 for two or more dependents by filling out Form 2441 on their federal income tax return. This tax break saves families $600 or $1,200 per year, depending on the number of dependents they have under the age of 13.

3. Those with 2 or more children can leverage the FSA and still itemize $1,000 on Form 2441 for the Child Care Tax Credit, saving up to $2,500 per year.

These tax breaks can offset most of the tax cost for those hiring full-time nannies; for those hiring short-term or part-time nannies, the tax breaks usually outweigh the tax costs by a significant margin.

The Mess
The nanny completed her federal income tax return with the help of a tax preparer at an H&R Block office. After hearing her story about the 1099, he informed her that she had been paid incorrectly and was, therefore, responsible for both halves of the FICA tax on the $5,500 in wages, which increased her tax obligation by $841. In order to help her retrieve that money, he also prepared and filed Form 8919, which is a form the IRS created in 2007 to help collect FICA taxes in cases of worker misclassification.

The Form 8919 filed by the nanny triggered a review of the family’s tax return. Since there was no Schedule H summarizing the household employment activity, the IRS sent a preliminary audit letter asking the family to clarify the situation.

The IRS quickly surmised that the family had misclassified their employee as an independent contractor. They demanded back taxes plus penalties and interest.

The Outcome
In all, the family paid wages, taxes, penalties and interest totaling just over $8,000. Had they paid correctly, they would have paid a total of $4,913 (see math below).

The nanny was reimbursed the $841 in FICA taxes once it had been collected from the family.

Here’s a look at the family’s math if they had paid correctly:
Employee’s Gross Wages $5,500
Employer’s Tax Obligation $613
Total Cost Before Tax Breaks $6,113
Savings from CCTC <$1,200>
Total Cost After Tax Breaks $4,913

Note: If they had been enrolled in an FSA, the family could have reduced their total cost to as low as $3,613 – even though the wages were $5,500! For an estimate of the taxes and tax breaks your families will receive, visit our Employer Budget Calculator. Most families employing a summer nanny will be very pleasantly surprised.

How it Could Have Been Avoided
Had the family sought tax guidance from a tax professional instead of MrZoomerang, they would have saved a tremendous amount of time, stress and money – for them and their employee. We provide that guidance for free through our website and our team of tax and labor law experts.

As a placement agency, if you’re not already doing so, please consider leveraging us in order to add financial and legal guidance into your employment process so none of your families feel the need to seek tax and legal counsel from a parent forum. It’s another way to give your clients convenience and expertise. You’ll also be giving them guidance on tax-advantaged strategies that may create tremendous financial benefits for your families.

If you have additional questions, please call 888-BREEDLOVE (273-3356)
or visit http://www.breedlove-online.com/. We’re here to help our agency partners
provide clients and candidates with information, tools and resources
that improve the employment relationship, eliminate legal risk for all parties,
and increase the professionalism of the industry.

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Chicago Professional Housekeeper Training School

First Class Care has exclusively partnered with The Charles MacPherson Academy to bring Chicago it’s world-renowned Housekeeper training course. The 2-day training course features the exact same material taught in their famous Butler & Household Manager’s School.

During the program, students will have both classroom and hands-on classes. Each student will receive a copy of the housekeeping & laundry textbook from the academy that covers with intricate color drawings many of the class lessons that will be taught. The subjects taught will include, but not limited to:

•Understanding Personal Hygiene & Sanitation
•Cleaning tools required for the house of today
•Cleaning products both chemical and non chemical
•Cleaning technique’s to include best practices and “How To”. Rooms to be covered include, bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens
•Dealing with specialty surfaces such as wood cabinetry, stainless steel, ceramic, shower doors, blinds
•How to correctly dust anything from delicate to everyday surfaces
•Dealing with specialty items such as antiques, art, books, drapery’s, sculptures, painted and wallpapered walls, chandeliers and rugs
•Time management on how to schedule your time and keep track of what has been done and what do you need to do as well as when items in the house need to be cleaned
•Laundry will deal with sorting for the wash, folding, stain removal, ironing and how to wash a cashmere sweeter by hand

At the conclusion of this course, students who successfully complete the program and testing requirements will graduate with a certificate as per our governance.
If you are a First Class Care candidate you will graduate as a Certified First Class Care Housekeeper.

Schedule:
Friday May 6, 2011 and Saturday May 7, 2011
Arrive 8:30am for coffee, mingle and meet the other members of the class,
9am – Class Starts
2 x 15 minute breaks, coffee and tea, snacks provided, everyone is on their own to mingle and go for lunch as they please (1 hour)
5pm – Class Ends

Cost for the 2-Day Course:
First Class Care Candidate / Client $399.00
Non-First Class Care Candidate / Client $599.00
DEMA Member $499.00

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Creating a Discipline Plan with your Nanny

Imagine this. It’s a warm summer evening and you had a great day at work. Naturally you are in a good mood. During dinner, little Johnny begins to act silly and throws his food at his little brother. Because you are in a good mood, you respond by laughing and maybe even join in a bit. After all, you ARE a cool parent. Not only has Johnny learned that it is ok to act this way, but he has even learned how to get your attention. A few days later, Johnny decides to try this with his nanny during lunch. Your nanny doesn’t approve of this behavior and responds in the EXACT OPPOSITE way than how you responded. Now Johnny is confused because while he was at the table with mom (who thought it was funny) and now he is with his nanny, she is angry.

Having a nanny who works with your child for 40+ hrs/ week can be very difficult, especially if you and your nanny are not using the same behavior management techniques. A nanny never wants to feel as if they are letting you down by being too “loosey goosey” on rules or taking the role as the “big bad wolf” and always reprimanding your child. However, you also know the importance of consistency and ensuring that everyone is managing challenging behaviors the same way. This will help your children learn how to act appropriately in certain situations and create a more positive environment for both your nanny and child. By using this technique, you will feel more comfortable knowing your nanny has everything under control while you are away and life will be much easier when you are home as well!

The following are a few tips on how to ensure consistency with you and your nanny when it comes to disciplining your child:

1) First of all, you need to emphasize that you understand being a nanny isn’t JUST being a nanny. You DO realize they are also a chauffer, a server, a bathroom monitor, a playground supervisor, a playmate/friend, AND the “rule enforcer”. Really emphasize that you understand that they have a difficult job are busy and sometimes having a little fun with you child isn’t always bad but when it comes to teaching them the right ways to behave and enforcing the rules, it’s important for everyone to implement the same strategy for dealing with difficult behaviors.

2) Take data on the difficult behaviors you are experiencing and ASK your nanny if she is experiencing the same behaviors. EMPHASIZE that you know they are wonderful and that is why you are turning to them for strategies.

3) Brainstorm WITH your nanny. Since everyone has their own way of managing challenging behaviors, its best to discuss specific situations and what the best way to respond. Remember, 2 minds.. J

4) Don’t be afraid to speak up. We all know that thinking about your child’s challenging behaviors is hard enough let alone discussing it with others. However, realize that your nanny is with your child for most of the day and he/she may be experiencing the same things you are AND he/she may have some behavior techniques that your child is responding positively to!

5) Be very thorough with your concerns and take good notes on strategies and solutions that you both are going to implement. Be sure that after you talk with your nanny, you repeat back what was said, that way there is no confusion.

6) Ask for a follow up meeting in a few weeks. Use the next couple weeks to take data and implement the new strategies that were discussed. Be sure to document how your child is responding during this time and take note on any positive or negative behaviors that occur.

Not everyone is comfortable (and willing) to implement behavior management strategies with children, especially when they are not their own or they may feel that they can’t “reprimand” because it may cost them their job. If this is the case, you must put their fears to rest and work out a plan everyone is comfortable with. Be sure to tell your nanny that you understand that they don’t feel comfortable implementing some strategies; however, for you to maintain control in specific situations, you need everyone to respond the same way. Be sure to be confident, clear and direct (yet understanding) while talking with your nanny and emphasize that you want them to best role model for their children.

Brooke Einhorn, M.S.Ed is a behavior analyst and education specialist at North Shore Pediatric Therapy. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Kansas in Behavior Analysis and Child Development. She then continued on to complete a master’s degree in special education from Loyola University of Chicago. Brooke has experience working in various settings including therapeutic day schools, a children’s psychiatric facility, personal homes, private pediatric clinics, as well as being a lead teacher in a school for special needs children. For over nine years, Brooke has worked with children, teenagers, and adults with developmental disabilities, emotional disorders and behavior disorders. In addition, Brooke has helped create modifications and accommodations for children who are having educational difficulties. Brooke’s passion is to help children learn and behave at their maximum potential by using techniques from the science of behavior analysis.

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Nanny 101 – Nanny Wear


By: Greta Schraer
www.RegardingNannies.com

I thought about calling this article “What Not To Wear” as it is much more attention seeking and dramatic, however, when thinking about my audience (my nanny friends who are pretty practical and likely no to crazily dressed), I decided to skip the play on the fashion show that holds people hostage until they relinquish their awful clothes. Not that I haven’t seen some nannies – or been the nanny – that needs a little change in the wardrobe department. Today’s class is meant to give thought to what you wear, not because you must dress to impress, but because professionals should think about all aspects of their job, including how they present themselves.

Lesson 1 : The Interview
The first interview is your one and only chance to make the right first impression. The saying is true about never getting that second chance. It is important to think about what your clothes, hair, make-up may add or take away from your first impression.

Nanny Sonya carefully placed her resume in a folder with her impeccable references, left 15 minutes early just in case of traffic, and remembered to leave her cell phone in the car as to not take away from the time she would spend with Mr. and Mrs. Johnson. As Mrs. Johnson welcomed Sonya into the house she was greeted with a warm smile, but recognized the messy ponytail in Sonya’s hair… “had she just woken up?” she thought. As they sat around the dining room table Mrs. Johnson couldn’t get past the bright orange chipped finger nails as Sonya pointed to and explained her resume. Sonya had the right experience and the Johnson’s saw her eyes shine bright as she spoke with the children. But as Sonya left, Mrs. Johnson said to her husband… “She was wonderful, but will she teach our girls to care for their bodies and look respectable?”

While the small details such as hair and nails may seem petty, they communicate how you care for yourself and in turn how you will care for children. These details can speak volumes when you are under a microscope. No matter who you are interviewing with, you should put your best foot forward, so to speak.

In my personal opinion, a nice, clean casual outfit is best. For example: kacki pants or pressed jeans and a simple collared shirt. Stay away from tight fitting clothes or plunging neckline. Also, strong perfumes and heavy make-up may leave a lasting impression, and not the good kind. You will want to dress comfortable enough to get on the floor in case you end up playing with kids. Hair can be up or down, but out of the eyes. Finger nails should be properly manicured. I personally think that dressing up in a suit or heels is too much and doesn’t fit the casual nature of the job. It is unlikely that in the privacy of their own home that parents play with their kids dressed to the nines.

Lesson 2: The Work Day
A nanny should dress appropriately for her daily workday. This may look a little different for different nannies of different families, so it is important to take cues from the specific family in your care. It is also important that clothes do not hinder a nanny’s day. She should be comfortable, able to move quickly and easily to her tasks at hand. Her clothing should in no way be provocative. While a nanny of newborns my wear sweatpants and ever-changing t-shirts with her spit-up babies at home all day, a nanny taking older children the families’ country club would embarrass herself and her charges in the same attire. While a nanny should not try to copy her employers dress, she can take cues on what is appropriate in certain situations – a day at the park, a doctor visit, a school function, or the swim club.

Mrs. Bonomini never misses her twin’s doctor appointments, and today is no different. She arrives home to take the kids with Nanny Lucy to the pediatrician. She escapes upstairs to trade her suit for a pair of jeans, a cardigan, and her coach sneakers. Nanny Lucy notices her attire and grabs her own zip-up sweater to cover the pizza stain Ben left so nicely on her stomach. She quickly pulls her hair back into a neat ponytail and adds a little lip gloss. Nanny Lucy has learned it’s important that she is presentable for these types of appointments.

Each day can look different for a nanny, but it is likely that most days our focus on is on the children far beyond ourselves – and the way we look. I admit there have been days with the triplets where I look like I have been hit by a bus (it was really just a head-butt to my nose). And though I am not saying that our priority should be something other than the children’s well-being, remember, that the way we take care of ourselves is a direct reflection on the way that we see our job.

Lesson 3: The Special Occasion
There will likely be days where you as a nanny will join the family at some special event. I have friends that have worked for politicians and local stars, and I am sure that thinking about what to wear for a special occasion can be a little daunting.

Nanny Rosa was completely at a loss. She was about to take her first vacation with the Klein family and had no idea what to expect. She had never been out of the country and had no idea what to wear in St. Lucia. After hearing “private plane” and “formal affair” mentioned she was all the more nervous. While hanging out with her good friend Tammy, she was encouraged to give her boss a call and simply ask what was expected. Mrs. Klein was happy to tell Rosa that she didn’t need an evening gown, but a long sundress would be appropriate for dinners. Mrs. Klein also mentioned that “what you a wore to the swim club” would be appropriate for the beach and pool. Nanny Rosa was finally at ease.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, feel free to ask your employers what they think is appropriate for you to wear and what the children will be wearing. This will show that you respect the situation and want to do that right thing.

Homework Assignment:
1 – Think about what you wore to your last interview. How was it received? Looking back is there anything that you would change?

2 – What is your go-to outfit for work and why? How could you enhance your workday attire?

3 – What cues can you take from the family you work for to apply to the way you dress or dress the children?

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