How to Engage Babies in Play

Babies’ malleable brains learn about their world at a fast pace, and it’s up to parents and nannies to encourage this learning through developmentally appropriate games. But what games are appropriate for babies? Read on for some ideas.

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How to Encourage Developmentally Appropriate Play

When play is developmentally appropriate, a child builds self-esteem, an internal sense of mastery, and gains the confidence to move forward to other games—and in life.

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The Six Types of Play: Stage by Stage

Children learn about themselves and the world around them through one of the six distinct stages of play. Read our blog to find out more.

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Why is Play Important for Children?

According to David Elkind, PhD, play is a fundamental mode of learning for young children, and parents should strive to ensure their children have ample time to get caught up in their own little worlds.

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The Importance of Play

Join us in 2018 at our workshop for Nannies, where we will discover The Importance of Play, and how to ensure that children from ages 0-6 get the most out of their play time.

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What is STEAM and Why is it Important?

In today's educational landscape, strong emphasis is placed on an educational philosophy known by its acronym STEM—but where does art fit in?

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Child Development for Ages 0-6

Calling all Nannies! Join us in 2018 for an important workshop about child development.

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Creating Intention in Children’s Art Projects

Lauren Sharp, owner of ARTifact, a children's art studio in San Francisco, shares how parents and nannies can help children create intention in their artwork.

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How to Create A Children’s Art Space at Home

Lauren Sharp, owner of ARTifact, a children’s art studio in San Francisco, offers tips for creating a designated children’s art space at home.

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Supporting Children’s Artwork—Even if it’s Messy

Lauren Sharp, owner of ARTifact, a children's art studio in San Francisco, explains why messy art is important for kids.

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How To Talk to Your Kids About Strangers—Without Scaring Them

The world is a scary place for parents, after all, the news is often filled with stories of bad things happening to children. That's why education about strangers is essential. Here are 6 tips to help keep your children safe in public places.

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How to Have Difficult Conversations with Employers

Calling all Nannies! Join us on Sunday, February 21st for an informative workshop: How to Have Difficult Conversations with Employers.

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5 of Our Favorite Audiobooks for Toddlers

Whether you’re taking a long car trip or trying to begin a daily quiet time routine, these fun and age appropriate audiobooks will get your child’s imagination (and their language skills) buzzing.

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Raising Grateful Children

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The week after the holidays often feels like a let down, leaving kids disappointed that the fun is over, the new toys are losing their luster and there is nothing to look forward to. Getting kids to say an obligatory “thank you” can often be hard enough, but how does one go about instilling the idea of gratefulness in children?

According to Christine Carter, director of the Greater Good Science Center Parenting Program at UC Berkeley, and author of Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents, being grateful has a plethora of health benefits including having more energy, sleeping better and feeling more connected to others, and it’s important to help kids learn how to be grateful from a young age.

How can parents and Nannies turn the tables and help kids realize that they need to be grateful for everything they’ve just enjoyed during the holidays?

Here are a few tips:

  1. Talk about each gift your child received at Christmas, and discuss the thought that the giver put into it. For example, explain how grandma knows how much your child loves the color purple, and that’s why she bought the purple sweater, etc. This way, kids will begin to understand that receiving a gift isn’t just about getting more stuff, it’s a thoughtful way that people can show their appreciation and love.
  2. Practice daily gratefulness. Each night before bed, ask your child to name three things that they are grateful for. Remind them that it can be anything, large or small. Explain that there is no right or wrong answer and be sure not to contradict any of their answers—being grateful for anything is okay.
  3. Be mindful of expressing your own gratefulness. Don’t forget that your kids will learn to express gratefulness from you. If you receive a gift you don’t like, be grateful. If your child “tries” to help in the kitchen but ends up making a mess, be grateful. If your partner goes to the grocery store but buys the wrong brand of toilet paper…you guessed it.

How do you encourage your children to show their gratitude? Please share with us in the comments.

Photo Credit: Jessica Lucia/flickr

 

The Importance of Daily Quiet Time

 The Institute for Families and Nannies

The Institute for Families and Nannies

The upcoming holiday months can be a whirlwind. Between school events and holiday parties, families visiting and shopping for gifts, it’s no wonder everyone’s a bit worn out come January.

You may not be able to completely quell the holiday fuss, but a good way to help kids remain calm through it all is to build in a little quiet time each day. Not only does daily quiet time give parents and Nannies a much-needed breather, but it gives kids time to be self sufficient, and to develop their own skills and thoughts without worrying what anyone else is thinking.

So how does one go about incorporating this quiet time?

Naturally, if you begin a daily quiet time when kids are very young, it will become an expected part of their daily life.

For small children who are still napping, a good way to begin is to let them take a stuffed animal or board book to bed with them. If they don’t fall asleep, they may play with their toys in lieu of napping. When they wake up, they’ll get used to playing independently for a few minutes before calling out for attention.

For older children, let them know that you’re going to start incorporating a quiet time into each day to help everyone in the family relax. Begin with 15-30 minutes, and work your way up to an hour or more over time. Before quiet time, help your child select a few toys or books they would like to play with, and then set a timer so they know when quiet time will be over.

Three tips for a successful quiet time:

  1. Be consistent. If quiet time becomes a routine, there will be no question asked when the daily time comes. To make sure it sticks, try to have quiet time at the same time each day on every day that you’re home.
  2. Rotate activities. Help children choose what toys and books they want to play with during quiet time, and if siblings want to play with the same toys, make sure they rotate each day. Older children will know they are responsible for choosing something to entertain themselves, and there will be no excuses if they become bored.
  3. Be patient. Kids may take some time getting used to having a daily quiet time, and may come out of their room multiple times at first. Take the time to patiently walk them back to their room each time, and remind them that they need to stay there for the rest of quiet time. Eventually, they’ll realize that this is a daily activity that’s here to stay.

How do you incorporate daily quiet time in your household? Please share with us in the comments.

Photo Credit: Jessica Lucia/flickr

 

4 of our Favorite Peaceful Places in San Francisco

Don't let holiday stress wear you down, we’ve put together a list of our favorite peaceful places in the city to help you feel like you've gotten a little R&R—without leaving the 415 area code.

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Mindfulness for Kids

Not only will being mindful of the present moment help kids relax, but mindfulness exercises help to develop concentration, self awareness and emotional regulation. Try these mindfulness exercises with your child today.

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7 Tips to Help Nannies De-Stress

Let’s face it…caring for children is a wonderful occupation, but it can be daunting at times. Between toddler tantrums, financial worries and communicating about difficult situations with your employer, it’s no wonder that many Nannies feel overwhelmed and burned out—especially around the holidays.

This Thanksgiving, focus on what you love about your job and what aspects of it make you grateful. And if you still feel stressed, consider these seven tips to help you lower stress levels and feel happier on the job.

  1. Take care of yourself. Nannies are constantly thinking of other people, and making sure their needs are being met. But what about your needs? Eating healthy, getting plenty of exercise, sleep and water is important to ensure you have the energy for your job, but it’s also vital to ensure you remain healthy both physically and emotionally.
  1. Focus on one task at a time. When people multitask, it may appear that they’re getting many things done at once, but in reality, those things may not be getting done well or completely. By focusing solely on one task at a time, you’ll feel more present, less scattered, and you’ll get a sense of accomplishment that you’ve done your best. This may not always be possible when you’re with two kids who need different things at the same time, but it’s a good goal to strive for.
  1. Connect with other Nannies. Talking with people who are going through the same situations that you are can be incredibly cathartic. If you’ve never attended one of Chirp’s workshops for Nannies, why not start by coming to the holiday party for Nannies on Sunday, December 10th? It will be a great way for Nannies to connect with each other and celebrate the holiday season. 
  1. Leave work at work. Many people are guilty of taking work home with them, even Nannies. You may not actually take the kids home with you, but stressing about things that happened at work during your off hours can make it feel like you’re working 24 hours a day. When you step out of your employer’s door, take a deep breath, and resolve not to think about work until you step back through the door again tomorrow.
  1. Communicate with your employer. Keeping one’s feelings bottled up can be detrimental in many relationships, and the Nanny/Parent relationship is no exception. If you feel like you’re working too many hours because the parents constantly get home late, are worried to ask for a day off, or are stressed about any aspect of your job that could potentially be resolved through a conversation, make it a point to get that conversation started as soon as possible.
  1. Have a financial cushion. Many Nannies feel stressed about their finances because they are living paycheck to paycheck. By taking the time to create a budget, live within your means and begin saving for a rainy day and retirement, you’ll fee more in control of your life and better able to handle stressful situations as they arise. Watch this space for more information about Financial Planning for Nannies workshops coming next year.
  1. Focus on the things you love about your job. When everything seems to be going wrong at once, it’s easy to focus only on the negative. But it’s during times like those that it’s important to focus on the things you love about your job and the reasons why you became a Nanny in the first place. By remembering the positive, it becomes much easier to remember that the negative is only temporary.

Photo credit: Travis Swan/flickr

Is Your Toddler Stressed?

So how does one go about helping a toddler cope with stressful situations? There are a few ways.

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6 Surprisingly Simple Ways to Reduce Stress During the Holidays

Easy tips to help parents and Nannies have a stress-free holiday season!

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