Teaching your toddler how to STOP

Here's how we solved our street-worries and controlled our speedy-scootering:
by teaching Sam 1-2-3 STOP!

Whether your child is on a scooter, bike or just running around, this method works really well. Make 1-2-3 STOP sound like a fun game, this way your child will be intrigued and excited to listen. 

Before practicing on the sidewalk, find a safe place (I would suggest your backyard or a fenced park) to give your child instructions for how 1-2-3 STOP works. It is best to introduce this method of stopping first by walking, then by running and finally with your child's preferred wheeled-toy.

Tell your child 1-2-3 is a warning (like a yellow light), telling him to slow down. Next will come STOP and he must stop immediately (like a red light).

Practice this with your child several times until they understand the process. Give lots of praise, maybe even a reward (a piece of chocolate?) when 1-2-3 STOP is done correctly. 

Once you feel your child understands how 1-2-3 STOP works, take to the sidewalk! Overtime, 1-2-3 STOP will be mastered and give your street-nerves a sense of relief.


Making Resolutions That Last

With the end of another year, we all look back and laugh, wondering what happened to those New Year’s resolutions we made on January 1st.

There were plans to get thinner, healthier, and happier. Such great intentions! But with another new year, comes setting those new goals.

This year, how about putting a twist on traditional New Year’s resolutions and establish goals focusing on how you can better yourself, so you can better your kids. Here are five resolutions that you can set into motion, in order to cultivate admirable character in your children. Added bonus? When you hit these goals, they’ll last your child’s lifetime.

1. Workout and eat right.

Yes, we said no traditional New Year’s resolutions, but how else will you keep the kiddos in order without having enough energy to race after them? Trade the morning coffee for a morning run and not just your body will thank you, your kids will too. Before you know it, chase and tag will become a breeze.

2. Inspire, don’t demand.

We all want our kids to be the very best. We discipline for kindness, honesty, courage and so much more. But we must remember that there is a fine line between pushing our kids to be better and just pushing our kids. When you are trying to shape your child’s behavior, be sure to inspire your kids to be the best they can be, not just demand and bark orders.

3. Give your child more of you.

More often than not, a spike in tantrums or endless hours of whining aren’t just a phase, but your child’s way of sending you a message: I need more of you and more of your attention. Of course our to-do lists can run for miles, but be sure your children are at the top of the list. Putting your phone down and going on a tech-diet may not be a bad idea, helping you to be more present when you’re in your child’s company.

4. Listen with intention.

Kids have a funny way of getting excited over itty-bitty things, rambling and rambling over something so minute. Sometimes it can be the cutest thing in the world, and other days we just don’t have the time or the patience for engaging in childish conversations. But our mmhm’s and uh-huh’s may be short-handing the kiddos. It’s important that kids feel their thoughts and opinions matter. By putting more effort into silly kiddie conversations and spending time answering their never-ending questions—you’ll let your child know his thoughts and feelings matter to you.

5. Laugh more.

From dusk till dawn, mommies and nannies put full-effort into making sure everyone is taken care of and happy. Yet, some days don’t go as smoothly as we would have hoped. We get down on ourselves that there’s laundry still left to do, or frustrated that a fight between the kids got out of hand. But the reality is we must stop being so hard on ourselves. As long as you put your best efforts forward and have a great attitude, it’s alright if things don’t go perfectly every day.

As you tackle your New Year’s resolutions, keep the focus not on just bettering yourself, but bettering yourself for your kids. Remember, when you take care of yourself, you’re better able to take care of everyone else—especially those little ones who need you most.

Article authored by myself, written for Morningside Nannies.


Quick and Easy Placemat Craft

Christmas may be over, but school vacation isn’t. With New Year’s around the corner, check out this easy to do craft to keep the kids busy and mealtimes less of a mess.

• Several colors of non-toxic paint and brushes
• Various markers
• Various stickers (minimal height, flat stickers work best)
• Colorful tape
• Laminating machine
• Large white construction paper (to fit the 11×17 black mat)
• 11×17 sturdy black plastic-type mat (Kinkos is best!) This is the back-bone of the placemat, there to make it strong and durable. Try to find plastic-type paper that is designed for binding notebooks. If your local office supplies store doesn’t have this, look for any strong plastic-type backing that will make the placemats solid. If you want the placemat bigger or smaller, here is where you would alter the size.

1. Cut the large white construction paper smaller than the 11×17 black mat, about a half inch smaller than the mat on all sides.
2. Decorate! It’s best to be strategic when handing out the paint colors so you don’t end up with a big brown mess. Have him use markers, paint and stickers to create his masterpiece, but be sure to keep the project one dimensional so the laminating machine won’t get angry. Handprints turned reindeer or snowman are a fun winter-themed addition.
3. After the decorated paper is dry, center it on top of the sturdy black plastic-type mat. Use colorful tape to seal the decorated paper to the black mat (continuously flatten the two together to avoid air bubbles). The tape will also create an attractive border.
4. Laminate the final product. Stop by your local office supply store to laminate the final creation. This will ensure the placemats will be able to endure any foodie mess!

Article authored by myself, written for Morningside Nannies.


Crafty DIY Kids Christmas Crafts

With Christmas around the corner, your to-do list may feel like it’s growing longer. How are you going to get all the family presents ready and keep the kids occupied over Christmas break? The answer is creating Christmas cards.

These toddler friendly activities will keep the kids entertained and will make great personalized gifts. Here’s how to make three DIY kids Christmas cards your family can use to spread holiday cheer.

Hand-printed Christmas Tree

• Green, red and gold glittered non-toxic paint
• Brown paint/marker
• Star sticker (or yellow paint/marker)
• Various markers
• Various stickers

1. Cut construction paper to fit the shape and size you want your card to be, then fold the paper in half to create the card.
2. Paint the child’s hand green, this will be the Christmas tree image. Position the child’s hand so that his fingers are at the bottom of the card and his thumb is closest to the fold in the card. Press down to make the print.
3. Once the tree is dry, have the child use his index finger to add red dots. These will symbolize red ornaments.
4. Once the ornaments are dry, add the gold garland. To do this, drag the child’s finger across the tree with the gold glitter paint. Voila!
5. Next, draw or paint the brown Christmas tree trunk beneath the hand printed tree.
6. Place the star sticker (or draw the star) at the top of the finished Christmas tree.
7. Lastly, open the card up and decorate the inside. Have the child dazzle the card with stickers or by drawing a picture. Don’t forget to include a Merry Christmas message and to have the child sign his name.

(Credited: Fun Handprint Art)

Thumb-printed Candy Cane

• Red and white non-toxic paint
• Silver sharpie/marker/ non-toxic paint
• Various markers
• Various stickers

1. Cut construction paper to fit the shape and size you want your card to be, then fold the paper in half to create the card.
2. Dip the child’s thumb into the red paint and have him press down firmly on the front of the card. Create a pattern of thumb prints to resemble the shape of a candy cane. Be sure to
3. Draw or paint a silver bow on the middle of the candy cane for a nice finishing touch.
4. Lastly, open the card up and decorate the inside. Have the child dazzle the card with stickers or draw a pretty picture. Don’t forget to include a Merry Christmas message and to have the child sign his name.
leave enough space between the red prints so that you can add white prints afterwards. The pattern should alternate continuously from red to white.

(Credited: Leapfrog & Ladybugs)

String of Light Bulbs

• Red and green Do-A-Dot paint markers (or non-toxic paint)
• Various markers (be sure to have black)
• Various stickers

1. Cut construction paper to fit the shape and size you want your card to be, then fold the paper in half to create the card.
2. With the black marker, draw a squiggly line from the top left corner of the card to the bottom right corner of the card.
3. Keep using the black marker to create the bottom of the bulbs. You want the width to be skinny but the height tall. Be sure the bottom of the bulbs are positioned a decent distance apart from each other, not too cramped but not too spacious either.
4. Push the Do-A-Dot paint markers (alternating red and green) on top of the drawn bottom of the bulb. (If you don’t have the Do-A-Dot paint markers, use the child’s thumb by dipping it in red and green paint).
5. Lastly, open the card up and decorate the inside. Have the child dazzle the card with stickers or draw a pretty picture. Don’t forget to include a Merry Christmas message and to have the child sign his name.

(Credited: Meet the Dubiens)

Article authored by myself, written for Morningside Nannies.


Why nannying is perfect for college students

If the joy in sweet Norah's face isn't enough, here are more reasons why being a nanny fits just right for college students...

1. Earn Great Pay

Whether you will nanny full-time or part-time, you’re taking care of the parents’ most loved beings — their children. The parents will reward you for your efforts if you perform well and the children are thriving in your care.

And for many parents, finding a college-educated childcare provider who can assist with homework is an answer to prayer. If you can double as a caregiver/tutor, an increase in your earning potential will be reflected. A typical nanny job could have starting pay at $14 to $18 or more per hour. That sure beats tidying up fitting rooms or seating guests at your local restaurant!

2. Secure Flexible Hours

Each family has different needs, so regardless of if you have morning classes, night classes, or are only available specific days of the week, there’s likely a family out there who needs care when you can provide it. While parents of babies and infants tend to need full-time care, many families are also seeking part-time assistance for preschool arrangements and after-school nannies.

Even if you have a jumbled schedule, you can work as a temporary or back-up care provider. Or you could find a position that last as little as four hours to setting a full-time schedule for up to 90 days. Once you establish your availability, you can find a family who is looking for care
when you’re able to provide it.

3. Increase Your Skill Set

Nannies acquire better caretaking skills while on the job. Children go through different phases and have different needs throughout various stages. And since every child is unique and each nanny job is unique, you’re provided with an ongoing opportunity to hone your skills. Try working with infants, preschoolers and school aged children. This way you’re ready for any future nanny job, since your skill set will grow to accommodate bottle feeding, potty training and even offering social advice.

Some families also need a nanny who can take on household management type tasks. Supervising repair workers and organizing family schedules could become part of your daily routine. This hands-on approach would provide you basic management skills that can be applied to many other future careers.

4. Do Something that is Memorable and Enjoyable

There’s more to being a nanny than changing diapers and driving children to and from activities. From taking a trip to the zoo to pushing a child on the swing at the park, nannies and children get to experience life and make memories together.

In many positions, nannies have the freedom to craft how they spend their time with the children, which means you can make your day as fun and memorable as you wish. As with any job, there will of course be ups and downs, but when it comes to caretaking, the good days almost always outnumber the bad.

5. Build Relationships

Once you began to get comfortable with the children, they will likely see you as a respected confidant or even as an extended member of the family. Giving and getting affection will become regular and the end of your work day may not even be something you look forward to.

When you work as a nanny, you become part of the children’s life as you watching them grow and discover their personalities. The relationships you create with the family will likely become relationships you treasure forever.

Article authored by myself, written for Morningside Nannies.


Teaching children gratefulness

Thanksgiving is here!! How can we be sure that kids know there’s more behind the holiday than classroom crafts and grocery store runs?

What does Thanksgiving mean anyways? According to Merriam-Webster, thanksgiving is the act of giving thanks.

But in the crazy, consumer me-me-me society we live in, how can parents and nannies teach children to take a moment to stop and express thanks?

To be sure you don’t get stuck in the holiday gobble, gobble, here’s five ways you can cultivate an attitude of gratitude in young kids.

1. Say “Thank you.”

It’s as simple as that! Whether your child gets a new gift, a compliment or is the recipient of another act of kindness, “thank you” should immediately follow. We often forget that these two simple words can go such a long way in making someone feel special and appreciated. When “thank you” is instilled in a child’s vocabulary at a young age, offering up thanks will become a lifelong habit.

2. Lead by Example.

When you stop and think about it, it really is mind boggling how well little eyes and little ears can see and hear. Children are learning machines, growing in knowledge every day. But learning goes deeper than gaining knowledge. Children pick up the behaviors and characteristics of those around them, shaping them into who they later become. Be sure to let your children hear you give thanks and offer praise when someone shows you kindness. And of course, don’t forget to tell your children why you’re thankful for them.

3. Turn negatives into positives.

Regardless of age, at some time or another, most people struggle with turning lemons into lemonade. Wouldn’t it be so rewarding to help a child learn to see the silver linings, rather than leaving him to focus on life’s frustration and disappointments? The next time your child complains he can’t go to the park because it’s raining, find a creative way to make staying inside seem just as fun.

4. Take a look around.

Go for a nature walk with your child. Have her point out a few beautiful items that catch her eye. Maybe she noticed how big and bright the sun is or how bright the wings of a cardinal really are. Help your child see and appreciate the beauty in the world around her.

5. Give thanks together each day.

Oftentimes we get caught up in our busy lives and forget what’s truly important. Make a habit out of sharing what you’re grateful for each day while you’re sitting around the dinner table. A simple family activity like this can go a long way in helping children to appreciate the people, places and things around them.

By putting some of these strategies into place, you can cultivate thankful hearts that will continue to be grateful long past the holiday season.

Article authored by myself, written for Morningside Nannies.


Sensory Bean Pit

Every child needs some sensory stimulation. As for Miss Norah, her senses are a bit undeveloped because of her diagnosis of developmental delay, so she especially needs sensory play!

We decided to give Norah an at home sensory bean pit. It was extremely easy to put together!

The bean pit consists of:

1. big bag of beans (ours is from Ralphs)
2. medium size container (ours is from Target)
3. average sand toys (found from around the home :))

Norah LOVES it! The beans are amazing for developing senses, it gives her a proper awareness of her own body.

I would encourage you to pour the beans on the child's head (softly of course!), squish their feet in the beans, even have some fun and put a few beans in their belly button!

Norah didn't like this so much at first but I continued to explore her body with the beans. Overtime she became comfortable with beans in odd places, accepting these new sensations, which is awesome!

I would also advice getting a small container rather than filling up say, a blow-up kiddie pool. With a tighter space there is less stimulation, making it easier for the child to focus. The child-size container also helps gives the child a sense of ease, creating a very calm environment.

All in all, I highly recommend this one! It's cheap, easy to put together and a small toddler would love it!

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