Making Back-to-School Smooth and Successful for Child, Parent and Nanny

Published on Baby Gizmo Blog 

It seems almost impossible to believe that back-to-school time is upon us.  As parents prep the backpacks and help kids adjust to early wake-ups, it’s important to make sure your nanny is included so that the transition back to class is a smooth one for your child and the entire family.  Here are some tips to start the school year off right for everyone:

  1. Invite your nanny along to meet the teacher or visit the classroom.   It’s helpful for the teacher to know all the adults who care for the child and ultimately will make your child more comfortable to know that everyone is connected.
  2. Be sure that parents and the nanny are comfortable with the school drop-off and pick-up process.   Even if your child takes the bus most days, be sure your nanny knows how to quickly get to the school and how to enter in case she ever needs to pick up a sick child.
  3. Have the nanny meet the bus driver.  Make time to discuss any concerns you might have about the bus ride with her.  Ask your nanny to pay close attention to your child’s mood when he gets off the bus and to report any problems to the parents immediately.
  4. Post all school information in the house including the school name, address phone number, name of teacher, bus route number, number of bus company and hours of the school day.  Tell your nanny to program the school’s telephone number in her cell phone.
  5. Make a plan for homework and backpack paperwork. Designate a place in your house for your nanny to leave information that comes home with your child including homework and projects that need to be completed.
  6. Be sure that all the adults who care for the child are listening extra carefully those first few days.  Make time to meet with your nanny at the beginning of school to discuss her thoughts on your child’s transition back to class.

By:  Erin Krex is a mom and the founder and owner of First Class Care, Inc., Chicago’s premiere domestic placement agency. Erin believes that outstanding childcare is fundamental for creating harmony at home. Erin is an active member of APNA (Association of Premier Nanny Agencies) and was on the INA (lnternational Nanny Association) Board of Directors for four years. Erin has been honored with StartUp Nation’s Leading Moms in Business award three years in a row and also holds the title of 2010 APNA Agency of the Year winner. As a business owner and working mother with domestic help, Erin frequently writes and speaks on subjects related to best practices for both families and employees. Erin is Bump Club Chicago’s resident childcare expert and provides classes to families about how to hire a nanny. To date, Erin has placed more than 3,000 nannies all across the Chicago area. You can find her on Twitter at @FirstClassCare

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Is Nanny Sharing With a Friend a Good Idea? How to Share a Nanny Without Ruining a Friendship

Published on Momeo Magazine

It’s not uncommon for parents today to consider a nanny-share situation, which can be defined in two ways: a nanny who divides her days and time between two houses and two families, or a nanny who simultaneously cares for children from two families on the same day at one house.

A nanny-share can be a great option for families, especially part-time working parents. Some love the idea of knowing their children are with their peers during the week. Others see a financial benefit because often times a nanny-share means each family pays less but the nanny might actually make more than she would carrying for children of one family.

In many cases, friends will see an opportunity to nanny-share. Your kids already know each other and it’s likely you share similar values. Before committing to this arrangement it’s important to consider a few key points to help make the experience a good one (and for the sake of your friendship!):

#1: Discuss the nanny-share idea with the nanny from the moment you meet the nanny. Understand how she feels about this, how many kids and what ages she believes she can handle and listen to her concerns.

#2: Clearly define logistics from the get go and put it all in writing so that both families and the nanny are referencing the same document or calendar. Define specifics like hours, location and salary at the beginning.

#3: Set the same ground rules. Even your dearest friend might adhere to a different set of parenting rules. Make sure you are on the same page about the basics including food, screen time and naps.

#4: Respect the other family’s time with the nanny. One of the lesser-known benefits of nanny sharing is the ability to quickly call on the nanny and other family in a pinch. If it’s not your day with the nanny and you need a hand, ask the other parent AND the nanny for permission for your child to join them for the day. The needs and schedule of the family whose day it is should take priority. Don’t ask for this too often. Most people are willing to help once in a while, but if the requests become consistent, it’s time to re-evaluate your childcare needs.

#5: Make time for regular check-ins. Schedule time each week for a private sit-down with your nanny to discuss only your child. Additionally, set aside time throughout the month for a group meeting with the nanny and both families to discuss what’s working and what needs improving.

#6: Approach the relationship with communication and compassion. These things are key to any successful relationship and are paramount to a healthy and happy nanny-share experience.

By: Erin Krex is a mom and the founder and owner of First Class Care, Inc., Chicago’s premiere domestic placement agency. Erin believes that outstanding childcare is fundamental for creating harmony at home. The agencywas named “Agency of the Year” by the Association of Premiere Nanny Agencies in 2010. To date, Erin has placed more than 3,000 nannies all across the Chicago area.

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Nanny Patricia – Candidate Spotlight of the Week

Patricia has over 20 years experience as a career nanny. She has worked for a First Class Care family for the past 4 years who said she was like GOLD! Patricia has cared for children newborn and up including TWINS! Patricia drives, but prefers to find a job close to the train.

Patricia is searching for a Full Time Nanny Position
Salary Request: $16-21 an hour
Ideal position would be near the train station at Lake Forest, Highland Park or Deerfield

What childcare tasks are you willing to perform? Bathe Children · Clean Children’s Room · Clean Children’s Bathroom · Make Children’s Beds · Organize Play Areas · Children’s Laundry · Children’s Bed Linens · Children’s Meals · Read to Children · Art Projects · Outdoor Sports · Arrange Play Dates · Purchase Children’s Clothes · Supervise Outdoor Play · Play Music

With respect to childcare, what activities would you organize on a daily or weekly basis? Playdates, music, dance, gym classes, museums, zoos, parks, crafts

If you are interested in meeting Nanny Patricia please call First Class Care at 847-733-2700 x310

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The After-School childcare dilemma – Finding quality after-school childcare for older kids

For many dual-income families, finding reliable and high quality after-school care isn’t easy. When the children are young the solution is fairly simple: day care or a full-time nanny. Things become trickier when the children reach school age. Parents can rest easy (for the most part) during the school day, but that three to six pm gap presents a challenge not to mention those random days off when school is closed but the parent needs to go to work.

What are the options for working parents?
First Class Care recommends 2 different options:

Option 1: Full Time Nanny Manager
This option offers parents flexibility when the kids are sick or off of school. The duties you can have completed include childcare, light housekeeping, organizing, laundry, errands, grocery shopping, schedule appointments, light cooking, manage any household vendors, driving kids to activities and help with homework.

Option 2: Full Time Housekeeper / Nanny:
This option offers parents the same full flexibility so when the kids are sick or have a day off of school you have someone to care for them. The duties you can have completed include full cleaning, childcare for school age kids, organizing, laundry, errands, light cooking, and driving kids.

Bottom line:
Both options allow working parents to spend every minute with their kids after work instead of worrying about the little details around the house.

Why should someone hire a full-time employee if they only need a nanny for a few hours a day?
This is a common dilemma. Say you wanted to hire someone from the hours of 3-6 pm. It is tough to find someone who is willing to only work for just 3 hours a day, especially if he or she is coming from another job. In order to support themselves, they would need a high hourly rate ($20-25 an hour gross minimum) for those 3 hours. Some nannies do this, and parents are willing to pay. However, for the amount you would pay for the 3 hours and a bit more you could hire someone for the full day (average is $15-20 an hour gross). This is a win-win in terms of value. Parents get help for a much longer period of time, incredible flexibility, and the employee benefits from full-time work.

What would a nanny manager or housekeeper/nanny do during the hours when the child is in school?
A good employee knows how to maximize their value. They can keep the household running efficiently. Depending on the position title you choose they can do all the cleaning, shopping, laundry, organizing and cooking. They can manage the yard crew, gardeners, maintenance men, or contractors who come to your home. They can basically do anything that a mother or father might do throughout the day, but when your kids come home from school, they assume the role of a traditional nanny.

Don’t all those extra responsibilities detract from the care that they give to the child?
The kids are always the #1 priority, and we go to great lengths to make sure every employee knows that. All extra duties occur while the children are in school.

So why not just hire someone directly? Why should a parent go through an agency?
If you try to hire someone directly, it’s very time consuming and tough to find the right fit. You must go through the process of checking each candidate’s references, experience, performing background checks, etc. It is an arduous task to sort through all the applicants. By going through First Class Care, a parent knows that each applicant has already been carefully screened, interviewed and reference-checked. We accept less than 3% of applicants. We send only the best matches for your job. We take care of the interview scheduling as well as provide ongoing support during and after the placement.

Tip for Parents:
If you plan on hiring a nanny manager or housekeeper/nanny, try to allow at least 2 – 4 weeks for the process. We have hundreds of great candidates available, but you need to have the time to interview, which for working parents is usually only in the evening or weekends. To prepare yourself for our first consultation it is best to have a list of duties you want done throughout the week or day so we know what we are searching for. We can guide you on what to expect and lend advice after you hire on how to keep the relationship strong.
By: Erin Krex
President of First Class Care, Inc.
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Housekeeper / House Manager Andrew – Candidate Spotlight of the Week

Andrew has a Masters Degree and is a Certified House Manager & Butler. Andrew comes with great experience cleaning and caring for antiques as well as Culinary experience. Andrew is bright, professional, dedicated, energetic, organized, articulate and enthusiastic.

Andrew is a Graduate of the Charles MacPherson Academy!

Andrew is seeking a position as a Lead Housekeeper, House Manager or Estate Manager.
Andrew is VERY Fleixble
Salary Request: $15 – 25 an hour


What Household Management tasks are you willing to perform? Receive guests/visitors at the door · Answer house phone · Coordinate staff schedules · Track supply inventory · Track household budget · Manage outside vendors · Make travel arrangements · Oversee parking · Party planning and coordination · Assist in meal and drink service · Manage wine cellar · General cleaning and maintenance · Personal valet service · Ensure care of clothing · Ensure care of fine tableware · Care for household vehicles · Maintenance/Inventory of antiques and artwork · Wardrobe maintenance · Purchase clothing · Maintain family calendar · Schedule family appointments · Pay bills · Household shopping · Manage security systems

Housekeeping tasks are you willing to perform? Make beds · Dust · Mop Floors · Clean bathrooms · Clean kitchen · Clean Stovetop · Clean oven · Clean refrigerator · Clean/Organize pantry · Vacuum · Load/Unload dishwasher · Clean inside windows · Polish silver · Wash dishes · Clean china · Clean crystal · Feed pets · Walk pets · Water indoor plants · Water outdoor plants · Organize household · Shopping/Groceries · Errands · Driving · Keep a household maintenance report · Track inventory of cleaning products


If you are interested in meeting Andrew or any other Chicago Housekeepers and House Managers please contact First Class Care – 847-733-2700 x310

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New Class at First Class Care Academy

Introduction to Baby Signs® : A Workshop for Nannies

The Introduction to Baby Signs® Workshop is a 2-hour class that teaches everything you need to know to get started with Baby Signs® at home.   It is designed for adults and is recommended for caregivers of expected babies, children ages birth to 2 ½ years and children who have difficulty communicating.

The Workshop is a participatory learning experience, not a formal lecture presentation.

Workshop fee includes one Baby Signs® Complete Starter Kit ($39.95 value) per participant to help teach Baby Signs® at home (Kit includes: DVD, music CD, four chunky board books, a reference guide and a parent guide; Spanish language version available with advance request). 

Included in the Workshop are:

  • ·       the history and research behind Baby Signs®
  • ·       the benefits for nannies and baby
  • ·       when to begin Signing with baby
  • ·       effective ways to teach Signs at home
  • ·       what to expect as baby transitions from Signs to speech
  • ·       handouts, games, songs, activities


Instructor: Cathy Silvern: Independent Certified Instructor, On the Grow ™ Educator

Minimum Class Size:  8 people

Important: this workshop is intended for adults without children present in order to provide the best possible learning experience – consider it a day or evening “off” which you so richly deserve!

If you register AFTER July 19th, Your Starter Kit will need to be picked up at First Class Care at a later date.

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Manny Zack – Candidate Spotlight of the Week

Zach has over 7 years of childcare experience with children 2 yrs old and up. He has also done many house manager duties in his positions. He is a professional tennis player that loves to teach kids. Zach is outgoing, flexible, hard working and creative.

Zach is searching for a Full Time Live-In Manny Position (Zach drives but does not own a car)
Salary Request: $650-800 week

What childcare tasks are you willing to perform? Bathe Children · Clean Children’s Room · Clean Children’s Bathroom · Make Children’s Beds · Organize Play Areas · Children’s Laundry · Children’s Ironing · Children’s Bed Linens · Children’s Meals · Read to Children · Art Projects · Outdoor Sports · Arrange Play Dates · Purchase Children’s Clothes · Supervise Outdoor Play · Play Music

What household tasks are you willing to perform? Vacuum · Dust · Make Family Beds · Laundry · Grocery Shopping · Run Errands · Pet Care · Heavy Cleaning

Why are you interested in working in childcare? I really enjoy connecting with the family as a whole. I also feel that since I am studying education I can use my knowledge in my everyday work.

If you are interested in meeting Manny Zack please call First Class Care at 847-733-2700 x310

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First Class Care Charity Drive


First Class Care has partnered with Share Our Spare to help a family in need.

About Share our Spare:

Share Our Spare is a Chicago-based not-for-profit organization that makes it as easy as possible for families with “extras” to share with families in need. We know what it’s like to cram one more storage container of clothes into the closet…and we also know that there is nothing better than clearing out those closets to help others in need. Share Our Spare helps parents, children, and businesses make personal connections to community service by encouraging families to donate their “spare” items to children-in-need. You clear your house – and you make another young person’s life significantly easier.




Our Family: Jocelyn RuedaJocelyn


Jocelyn Rueda is the mother of 4 year old son Joniah (a real sweetheart!) and 1 year old daughter Jaliyah. The past few years have been very difficult for Jocelyn. She had Joniah when she was 14, forcing her to drop out of school. Joniah’s dad wasn’t around very much at the time (he is now a participatory father) and Jocelyn had to rely on her mother for support. Once Jocelyn’s mother could start providing child care for Joniah, Jocelyn went back to school. Unfortunately, she got pregnant with Jaliyah (same father) and had to drop out of school once again.Jocelyn is currently enrolled in Casa Central’s GED & Certified Nursing Assistant programs. However, what she really dreams of doing is working for a non-profit where she can help others and utilize her strong people skills. In fact, she’s talking with Casa Central about starting an internship there. She also hopes to obtain a part time job so that she can start becoming more financially independent as she currently relies on her mother and the children’s father for all of her and the children’s needs.

Jocelyn finds it very difficult to provide anything besides the absolute necessities for her children. She often worries that she’s not providing them enough learning opportunities given that it is difficult to purchase books or toys and very challenging to take them on “field trips.” She would be very grateful to Share Our Spare and the organization’s donors if they could help her with the items on her list. She made a special request for a bookshelf because she’d love for Joniah to have a special place to keep his beloved books.

Since having her first child at the age of 14, Jocelyn has been involved with Casa Central’s Adolescent Parenting program. Jocelyn credits the program with teaching her so much about healthy parenting including things that were essential when she first brought Joniah home like holding him correctly, feeding him, and practicing tummy time. Now with two children, the instructors share lots of resources with her and help her practice patience, disciplinary techniques and activities to do with her kids.


*New crib
Pack n play sheets
**Twin bed
Twin bedding
Twin size waterproof mattress pad
Diaper pail

Double Stroller
High Chair – WE GOT!!

Bottle Essentials
New nipples (fast flow)
Bottle brush

Diapers and Wipes
Diapers – size 4 and size 5
Diaper ointment

Food and Formula
Children’s utensils
Children’s plates and bowls

Bath & Potty
Shampoo/Baby wash

Nail clippers
Baby monitor
Child proofing supplies (baby gate, outlet covers)

Clothing and Accessories
Onesies (12+ mos girl)
Pajamas (12+ mos. girl, 4T+boy)
Spring/Summer Clothing (12+ mos. girl, 4T+boy)
Fall/Winter Clothing (18+mos. girl, 5T+ boy)
Shoes (12 mos.-girl, 11/12-boy)

New pacifiers
Age appropriate toys (1-5 yrs.)
Age appropriate books (1-5yrs.)

GENTLY used items can be dropped off at our office:
3330 Dundee Rd.
Suite C2
Northbrook, IL 60062
Mon – Fri 9am – 5pm
Accepting Items Until July 31, 2012
If you are planning on donating items you can email me so we know it is coming!


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Nanny Banine – Candidate Spotlight of the Week

Banine has over 8 years nanny experience with children 5 months and up. She is bi-lingual English and French and was even a French teacher for many years. Banine is sweet, loving and looking for a new long term family to care for.

Banine is seeking a Full Time Nanny position near Lake Bluff, IL
Salary Request: $15-19 per hour

What childcare tasks are you willing to perform? Bathe Children · Clean Children’s Room · Clean Children’s Bathroom · Make Children’s Beds · Organize Play Areas · Children’s Laundry · Children’s Ironing · Children’s Bed Linens · Children’s Meals · Read to Children · Art Projects · Outdoor Sports · Arrange Play Dates · Purchase Children’s Clothes · Supervise Outdoor Play · Play Music

What household tasks are you willing to perform? Vacuum · Dust · Make Family Beds · Laundry · Cook for family · Grocery Shopping · Run Errands · Pet Care

With respect to childcare, what activities would you organize on a daily or weekly basis? I would organize time for play time, play dates, homework time, active time outside, outings with the parents’ permission, art projects, or whatever the children are interested in doing

If you are interested in meeting Nanny Banine please call First Class Care at 847-733-2700 x310

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National Nanny Training Day Gets High Marks

   Last month, over 1,000 nannies across the country participated in National Nanny Training Day organized by Nanny Biz Reviews. In 27 major cities, these dedicated child care providers learned, among other things, how to land their dream jobs, add a little music to their lives, manage homework without tears and frowns (well, maybe a few frowns are okay), solve sleep and potty problems, and instill some Zen into their charges’ daily lives.

  “In the Chicago area, we had more than 60 nannies attend our training day, a number that happily exceeded our expectations,” said Erin Krex, president of Northbrook, IL-based First Class Care, which spearheaded the Chicago event. “With the help of our fabulous sponsors and top-notch speakers, we were able to create a full-day workshop that accommodated not only our attendees’ busy schedules but their need for-and desire to-learn as much as they can about this important profession.”

What made the event especially gratifying, added Krex, were the bonds forged among people who’d never met before. “I’m particularly happy that the nannies were able to talk with one another,” said Krex. “It’s always helpful to trade war stories with other people in your profession.”

One impressed participant had this to say about the one-day training event: “Meeting other nannies and learning new perspectives on current issues and having fun made it a special day for me.”

Another nanny said, “I drove four hours, rented a car and spent money on gas to go and I was happy with it all.”

Plans are already underway for next year’s National Nanny Training Day. “We’ve already started to put the 2013 program together, something we know will be even bigger and better,” said Krex.

For more information on National Nanny Training Day 2013, please contact Erin at

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