Saturday, November 26, 2016


According to Pew Research center, “68% of U.S. adults have a smartphone… 86% of those ages 18-29, (with) 83% of those ages 30-49 and 87%,” with this, it is very likely that your babysitter will have a smart phone. It is vital to set boundaries for your nanny ahead of time on typical use and photos of your children.

There are three big risks with your nanny using social media while caring for your children:
·         If the nanny is using social media they are not watching your children.
·         The nanny could post a picture of your child on the internet creating an unnecessary  unsafe situation for your child
·         The nanny could unintentionally give away important information about you including your address, bank accounts, and other private information.

There is one huge benefit of your nanny using social media while caring for your children. The babysitter can use their phone to take pictures of the children and send them throughout the day to you (the parents only). Make sure the babysitter deletes the pictures off their phone immediately. This method helps reassure the parents that their child is safe, and having fun throughout the day.

Ultimately it is up to the parents to decide what level of social media use is acceptable, but make sure to discuss it with your nanny or babysitter before they post unwanted pictures of your house or your child online.

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1. Take the child to the dollar store
The dollar store can provide hours of entertainment for children from 3-8 and can teach them independence, counting, and create a day of fun for under $5.00. (for more ideas check out the article on my blog “HOW I TAUGHT A CHILD LIFE LESSONS FROM THE DOLLAR STORE”

2. Use a pinecone and add some peanut butter (or almond butter) and add some nuts with a string and you have an instant bird/squirrel feeder.
Living in Colorado there are pinecones everywhere and with a little string, peanut butter, and some seeds you can create a feeder that is inexpensive, and can create hours of entertainment. In addition, you can use this project to teach children about nature, conservation, and caring for the environment for under $5.00.  (You can substitute almond butter or sunflower butter for children with peanut allergies).

3. Use old formula and food containers to create boxes for your children to practice opening (as babies) and to decorate as art projects for older children.
I save old water bottles, cereal boxes, and baby food containers to use as recycled toys. I give clean containers to older children along with markers, paper, stickers, tape and pipe cleaners, and have been amazed at the creations children have made. I have seen everything from cars and trucks, to home-made books, and robots (with younger children I make sure there are no choking hazards on the containers and I monitor the child very closely while playing with the container).

4. Use big cardboard boxes to create giant structures.
I went to a big box store and picked up 5 clean jumbo sized boxes and gave them to a child I was caring for. I told him he needed to use his imagination to create whatever he wanted with the boxes. We proceeded over the course of 2 weeks to make a castle, a house, and a car he could sit inside and pretend to drive (complete with a steering wheel).

5. Use YouTube videos to enhance the child’s curiosity.
I don’t usually approve of watching videos while caring for children, but I think YouTube videos can be incredibly valuable as an educational tool. I had a little boy ask me what “germs” were. I proceeded to discuss bacteria, viruses and the lot. He then asked how our body gets rid of germs and I was able to show him a video of white blood cells attacking pathogens. We then used that one video to make a whole day of non-video entertainment. We made a puppet show for his parents and had a great day creating projects based off the one video we watched.

Sunday, November 6, 2016


For the 2016-2017 season, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the flu shot IIV and RIV. Babysitters and nannies can slow the spread of illnesses like the flu.

Flu facts:
Approximately 20,000 children under 5 years are hospitalized because of the flu and complications related to the flu. The best protection is for children to get a seasonal influenza vaccine each year. Children aged 6 months and older can get vaccinated (talk to your doctor about your child’s specific needs).

How you and your babysitter can keep your children safe from the flu:

  • Recommend that your sitter or nanny get vaccinated
  • Have your babysitter stay home when he/she is sick or your children are sick. 
  • Have your babysitter cover his/her nose and mouth with a tissue when they cough or sneeze and have them wash their hands afterwards. Teach young children to cough into their armpit and older children to use a tissue then have the children wash their hands when they sneeze, cough or touch their mouth or nose.
  • Recommend that your sitter wash their hands often, and your children's hands using the 20 second wash with soap and water method (see my proper hand washing blog for more info), or if no water is available use an alcohol based hand sanitizer (it is not recommended to use sanitizer for children under 2).
  • Have your sitter and children avoid touching their eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects often especially when children are sick or mouthing toys. 

For more information visit the CDC at:

For more information on babysitting visit my websites: