Proven Methods for Finding Quality Childcare and Summer Camps

May 12th, 2017

Photo courtesy of Pixabay by elfpreschool

Summer camps can provide amazing experiences for children. New friendships are formed. New skills are acquired. Comfort zones are tested. Best of all, children and teenagers have an incredibly fun excuse to take a break from technology for a bit while spending some time outdoors.

Here’s how to find the perfect summer camp or childcare so your children can make memories they’ll cherish for a lifetime:

Counselors, Directors and Staff

It’s important to tour the facility so you can meet as many of the staff as possible. Before registering your child, ask the staff about their credentials. How long have they been working with kids? Are they trained in CPR and First Aid, specifically for children?

Talk to the staff in-person, let your child meet them, and get a feel for whether they’ll be a good fit. Don’t just rely on your first impression; you can take it a step further by reviewing staff bios on the website or checking out online reviews from other parents.

Safety and Security

You also want to make sure the facility is safe and secured. Many summer camps require that children are never left alone without camp counselor supervision at any time. Additionally, your facility should limit visitors to just authorized family members or camp staff. Your child’s safety should always be the number one priority. Period.

 

Regardless of which daycare or summer camp you choose for your child, it can be helpful to prepare your child for the new experience by teaching him or her some basic safety skills. Experts recommend preparing children for summer camp by having some important safety discussions beforehand. Swimming safety equipment is especially important for children, so make sure they are prepared. Remind your child not to share hats, helmets or other headgear with their fellow campers (you don’t want them sharing lice infestations with the rest of the family!).

Special Needs

Does your child have a disability or other special need? If so, it can be helpful to bring your child along with you during your facility visit. This lets you observe camp staffers as they interact with your child. You can learn a lot from these interactions. Be sure to also ask about their previous experiences working with children with special needs, and any licenses or certifications they might have.

Do you need assistance finding the best camps for your children with special needs? You can start by reaching out to disability foundations in your area for recommendations. You can also check with summer camp directories that specialize in camp programs for children and teens with special needs or disabilities. Remember: you’re not alone, and there are many helpful resources available.

Summer Nanny

Having a nanny for the summer helps keep the house running smoothly too.  Your nanny will make sure the kids get to and from camp on time and can be available if a child is sick and can’t make it. Planning camps for multiple kids at the same time can be difficult. When you have a nanny at home for the summer you don’t have to worry if one child doesn’t have a camp the same week as another child.  The nanny will make that week at home fun with games, arts and crafts, and by visiting local attractions.

It’s not too late to line up a summer nanny.  Contact Debbie today at debbie@tlcforkids.com.

Author: Alex Robbins

Summer Reading Challenges

May 10th, 2017

Summer is almost here, and with that, the kids will be out of school. The kids are thinking about pool days, riding their bikes, sleeping in and sleepovers with friends! While you may have planned your summer vacation, day camps, sleep-away camps and play-dates, don’t forget to make time for reading!

Many schools require reading over the summer, and there are plenty of opportunities to make reading fun!

Check with your local library for their summer reading list by age. Many libraries will hold contests for the most books read and award prizes!

Check with your local bookstores. Many will host guest authors and reading challenges.

Barnes & Nobel has their popular reading program where kids can earn free books! Fostering a love of reading and its rewards, the Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program is popular with students in the first through sixth grades and educators throughout America. Participation is fun and an easy way for kids to earn free books. They simply read any eight books – library books, books borrowed from friends or books bought at Barnes & Noble – write about their favorite part, and bring a completed tear page to a Barnes & Noble bookstore. Children then choose their free book from a list of paperback titles.

Scholastic is challenging young readers to join them and has put together an extensive list of recommendations.

Summer Reading Resources

Is your school requiring summer reading? Check out these great tips on Tackling School Reading Lists

A few more resources including:

Summer Reading Lists by Grade

Top 10 Summer Reading Lists

On the go? Whether, plane, or auto, Tales2Go is an innovative subscription service for anyone who want instant access to over a thousand great kids’ audio stories to stream to their smart phones, and listen to anywhere, at any time. They feature the best in kids’ audio stories from leading audio publishers and award-winning storytellers.

Happy Reading!

 

TLC for Kids is currently placing summer nannies in St. Louis and South Florida. If you need reliable, energetic, and professional child care this summer visit our website at tlcforkids.com Or, email us at tlc@tlcforkids.com.

Give Mom the Gift of Time for Mother’s Day

May 3rd, 2017

Give mom something she really wants for Mother’s Day … time! Book a sitter today and give mom a much needed day of pampering, lunch and movie with a friend, or make it just the two of you with a delicious brunch.

Our sitters will take care of the kids while you take care of mom.

Don’t forget that TLC is here to help you with all your in-home child care needs.  If you are interested in hiring  a full time, part time, summer or after school nanny visit our website at www.tlcforkids.com.

TLC for Kids is currently placing summer nannies in St. Louis and South Florida. If you need reliable, energetic, and professional child care this summer visit our website at tlcforkids.com Or, email us at tlc@tlcforkids.com.

The Nap-Resister: When Your Child Needs a Nap but Won’t Take One

April 25th, 2017

The Nap-Resister: When Your Child Needs a Nap but Won’t Take One

By Elizabeth Pantley, Author of The No-Cry Nap Solution 

Daytime naps might last just a few short hours, but they can affect all twenty-four hours of a child’s day. Naps can improve a child’s mood and reduce fussiness, crying, whining, and tantrums. Studies show that children who nap daily get sick less often, grow taller, and are less likely to be obese when they grow up. Naps enhance attention span and brain development. Naps can also help make up for any shortage in nighttime sleep. Even a one hour shortage in overall sleep hours can have a negative effect on a child – compromising alertness and brain function, and increasing fussiness and fatigue.

There are many ideas for helping a child to take a nap, but the best idea in the world may not work for you if the solution doesn’t address the reason that your child won’t nap. There is not just one reason that babies and young children refuse to nap – there are hundreds of different reasons. Before you decide on a solution you need to understand your child’s motivation. Once you figure out the cause of your child’s “nonnappingness” you can put together a plan to overcome her resistance. Here are a few typical reasons kids won’t nap – and suggestions to solve each problem:

Problem: Has outgrown the current nap schedule

Solutions: Think about any changes in your child’s life, growth or development. Has he learned to crawl, begun to eat solid food or started daycare? Any change can also affect sleep patterns. Watch your child for signs of tiredness between naps and adjust your schedule to meet his new needs.

Problem: Nap schedule doesn’t match your child’s biological clock

Solutions: Naptime, bedtime, mealtime, exposure to light and darkness, and activity all can affect your child’s biological clock. Look at your child’s schedule to be sure these things occur at reasonable times every day. The improper order of things (such as active, brightly lit playtime just before bed) can affect your child’s rhythm. 

Problem: Nap schedule isn’t consistent from day to day

Solutions: If on weekdays nap times, bedtime and wakeup time are specific, but on weekends they’re hit and miss, then your child will be functioning with a constant bout of jetlag. Other inconsistencies can also affect this, such as when your child naps at a certain time at daycare, but a different time at home, or if he takes a nice long nap on days when you are at home but takes a short one in the car (or skips a nap entirely) when you are on the go. Set up a possible nap schedule for your child and do your best to stay within a half hour of the nap times that you have set up. 

Problem: Child is overtired and over-wired by nap time

Solutions: If you miss your child’s signs of fatigue he can quickly move past his tired spell, past overtired, and into a second wind – that state of artificial energy which often brings with it more crying, fussing, whining and tantrums. When you miss your child’s tired signs it also means he won’t be able to fall asleep when you do finally put him in bed.

To learn your child’s sleepy signs it can help to watch him in the hour after he first wakes up in the morning, when he is well rested. Compare this to his behavior during the time from dinner to bedtime, when most children show signs of fatigue. As his usual bedtime draws near, make note of how his behavior and body language differs from when he is alert and refreshed. Aim to put your child for a nap as soon as he shows signs of fatigue. A tired child will fall asleep easily and sleep longer and better.

Problem: Reliance on a specific sleep aid

Solutions: A child who is accustomed to falling asleep in one very specific way can easily become so used to this one method that if you try to have him nap under any other condition he would be physically unable to do so. The best way to understand a child’s association needs are to examine them from your own viewpoint. It’s possible that you sleep well in your own bed but struggle to sleep at a hotel or someone else’s home. Some children’s sleep associations are so strong it can only be compared to asking you to sleep on a roller coaster!

The most common nap-preventing associations are breastfeeding or bottlefeeding to sleep, being held by loving arms, or sleeping in a swing, bouncer or car seat. These are wonderfully comforting places for a child to nap – but when they become necessary for sleep then it’s likely to cause a problem for the parent who must provide naptime services. These associations are usually so necessary to your child’s sleep that they override every other reason or solution. Because these are complicated issues each of these associations has its own chapter of information and solutions in other parts of this book.

Problem: Sneaky micro-naps

Solutions: The very first stage of sleep can last as little as five minutes and can reduce feelings of sleepiness– it lifts the lid and let’s the steam out just enough. If your child hits a tired zone and is lying on the sofa, sitting in a swing, or going for a ride in the car, he may nod off for five or ten minutes. This micro-nap doesn’t give your child the full benefit of a real nap, but can be just enough to rejuvenate him and prevent him from being able to sleep when you put him in bed later for a nap.

To circumvent this problem, avoid putting your child in a nap-inducing environment, like a ride in the car, or time in his swing, at a time when he’s likely to need a nap, unless you can leave him for a full long nap.

Problem: Health troubles

Solutions: If any health issue is bothering your child it can definitely affect his sleep. Allergies and asthma are two of the most common childhood diseases. Both of these conditions can make it difficult for your child to breathe comfortably when lying down. Colic, reflux, ear infections and difficult bouts of teething are other conditions that can prevent a child from napping well.

If your child suffers from any medical issues good naps are especially important for his health. If this is the case with your child it will be helpful if you are very flexible and open to finding any solution that helps him sleep. Put aside any notion that your child must sleep in a certain place or a certain way, and open yourself to the concept that any nap is better than no nap at all.

At the same time, talk with various medical experts about your child’s health matters and look to find the best solutions for your child.

Tips for encouraging naptime

No matter why your child won’t nap, there are a few specifics that can be helpful as you encourage any child to take regular naps. Keep these basic principles in mind: 

  • Maintain a consistent daily schedule that works with your child’s natural body clock. Create a predictable pattern to the day – with meals and naptime happening at reliable times.
  • Modify your schedule according to your child’s sleepy signs. No matter what the clock says, it’s nap time when your child becomes quieter, loses interest in toys or playtime, fusses, stares off into the distance, rubs his eyes or ears, and of course: if he begins to yawn.
  • Have a relaxing pre-nap routine to cue your child that naptime is here and help him wind down and relax.
  • Set up a sleeping place that is cozy and that sets the stage for sleep. Dress your child comfortably for sleep.
  • Keep mornings bright and active, and the half hour before each nap session quiet, dimly lit, and calm.
  • Keep in mind that you cannot force a child to sleep, but you can follow the basic rules of biology, gauge your child’s sleepy signals, and create a setting that is inductive to sleep and relaxation.

~~~~~~

From The No-Cry Nap Solution: Guaranteed Gentle Ways to Solve All Your Naptime Problems by Elizabeth Pantley (McGraw-Hill, January 2009). Here is the link for information and more excerpts:  http://www.pantley.com/elizabeth/

TLC For Kids, Inc. has been St. Louis’ premier nanny and babysitting agency for over 30 years. TLC For Kids’ dedicated staff is ready to assist you in finding nannies, tutors, newborn care specialists, sitters and more.  Reach us at tlc@tlcforkids.com or 314-725-5660

Do you Need a Summer Nanny?

April 13th, 2017

Summer is a wonderful time for kids! There’s nothing like a little fun and relaxation during the warm summer months, but for working parents, it could be the opposite.  Your schedule likely doesn’t slow down once summer rolls around and it may even be causing you some anxiety thinking about trying to scramble to find reliable childcare while you’re at work. Day camps, relying on friends and family to serve as babysitters, and taking vacation time will only go so far. TLC for Kids has the solution: hire a summer nanny. Your kids will love having a nanny to hang out with and take them places.  You will love not having to figure out childcare on a week by week basis.   A stress free summer for everyone! 

Thank you to Homework Solutions for sharing this article.  Click here to read about some other benefits  of hiring a summer nanny.

Nanny Training in Today’s Job Market

April 5th, 2017

Being a nanny is a very rewarding career.   With more people entering the in-home childcare field the competition for jobs is getting harder.  One way to stand out above the rest is to participate in nanny training.   Keeping your skills set current leads to job security.  Remember a good nanny is invaluable to a family!

TLC for Kids requires all nannies to be CPR and First-Aid certified.   TLC also recommends taking continuing education courses in Childcare and Early Childhood Development.

A few in-home childcare organizations offer nanny training.  Read the blog by Homework Solutions to learn more.

 

April is Autism Awareness Month

March 28th, 2017

April is Autism Awareness Month, and we at TLC for Kids support Autism Awareness in our communities.

In 1943, psychiatrist Leo Kanner observed 11 children who he described as having a desire for sameness and social withdrawal. He also claimed these children had speech and language problems, particularly speech delays and echoing mechanisms.

Kanner used the word “autistic” to describe the characteristics of these children who seemed not to posses an ability to relate to people.

Today 1 in every 68 children is diagnosed with Autism, as reported by the CDC in 2016.  The St. Louis Chapter of Autism speaks says that a new case of Autism is diagnosed every 11 minutes.  Obviously there is a great need to get the word out about Autism and how we can all help.

Finding childcare for a child with Autism can sometimes be difficult.  Parents want to find a babysitter who has the the experience and the know how to work with a child with special needs.

TLC For Kids has babysitters and nannies who have experience caring for kids on all levels of the Autism Spectrum.  Our team of Special Needs providers have attended seminars on Autism, taken OT or PT classes, or are teachers and nurses with experience.   If your child has Asperger’s,  or PDD-NOS we can also help.

Contact us 314-725-5660 to learn more about our Special Needs providers and reserve a sitter today.

TLC For Kids, Inc. has been St. Louis’ premier nanny and babysitting agency for over 30 years. TLC For Kids’ dedicated staff is ready to assist you in finding nannies, tutors, newborn care specialists, sitters and more.  Reach us at tlc@tlcforkids.com or 314-725-5660

Original article appeared April 2013, updated with current statistics. 

Top 5 Nanny Sites You Should Be Following

March 22nd, 2017

The nanny world is full of resources and information for nannies, parents and agencies. We’ve pulled together 5 of our favorites that we think you should be checking out for the information they provide.

  1. Regarding Nannies. Created by industry veterans, this site brings together the best of what nannying has to offer. From Monday Moxie to Financial Friday – there’s something for everyone every day of the week. Looking for tips on how to talk to talk to your employer? Or are you looking to transition your job? How about giving a shout out to your favorite nanny for NNRW?
  2. International Nanny Association. The longest running nanny organization serving the in-home child care industry, INA bring together all aspects of this industry – nannies, newborn care specialists, parents, agencies, training programs and service providers. With Recommended Practices for Nannies to the INA Nanny Credential Exam, the INA has it covered. Check out their resources for Parents and their annual conference, this May in Chicago.
  3. Nanny Counsel. NC is a fresh voice in the nanny community. Practical tips and advice, along with access to a free Nanny Contract.
  4. Nanny Network. NN has been around a long time and their listing nanny and parent resources is extensive. Check this site out for help on questions to ask, tax and payroll, and much more.
  5. Practically Perfect Podcast. The musings of two veteran nannies, Lora Brawley and Sue Downey, they bring hot topics in the industry straight to listeners everywhere.

Identity Theft Among Children on the Rise: Use Caution with What You’re Sharing

March 14th, 2017

Our guest blog comes from Tonya Sakowicz, Newborn Care Solutions, a mom to two school-age kids. She shares with us her tips for what NOT to share when it comes to children and social media. 

You’ve just had a baby—congratulations!!  And everyone wants to know when the baby was born, where, how much they weighed and what you named them. And as a new, proud parent, you want to shout your new joy from the rooftops, right?

Not so fast according to Social Media Safety Experts. Children are one of the largest targeted groups of identity theft because their information is so readily available. Because of this, it is often not until they are ready to take off for college and apply for their first credit card or a student loan that ID theft is discovered.

And of course, there are the creeps. The ones who target young children or even just steal their photos and put them in places we don’t ever want them to be. It is up to us, their parents and their caregivers to protect them. Everyone has to make their own decisions about how much information, but here are several things to consider before you hit the “post” button.

Read all of Tonya’s tips on what not to share and learn more about Newborn Care Solutions.

TLC For Kids, Inc. has been St. Louis’ premier nanny and babysitting agency for over 30 years. TLC For Kids’ dedicated staff is ready to assist you in finding nannies, tutors, newborn care specialists, sitters and more.  Reach us at tlc@tlcforkids.com or 314-725-5660

Nannying & The Work-at-Home Parent Part 2

March 9th, 2017

Now that there have been boundaries and ground rules established, the nanny and the work at home parent will need to talk about how to handle conflict/discipline as well as work on a schedule/routine that can be followed on a daily basis.

How to handle conflict:

When looking to hire a nanny, having a discussion about discipline philosophies and methods is necessary. Common areas of conflict are often discussed during the interview process, but if it’s not, this could cause issues between the nanny and work at home parent. Having regular, ongoing communication will help both parties discuss their ideas and preferences, but there will need to be a clear understanding of what the parent’s wishes ultimately are. A great way to keep the communication line open is by having an open dialogue type of meeting every month or every other week. This could be a safe place to discuss how things are going, what expectations parents have for in-home policies or specific rules in the house that may be changing, and it will also give the nanny the space to ask questions or share any difficulties/successes she has had in recent days with the children.

Read on to find additional tips on routine, work environment and avoiding micromanaging.

HomeWork Solutions is one of the nations leading nanny tax and payroll companies.

TLC For Kids, Inc. has been St. Louis’ premier nanny and babysitting agency for over 30 years. TLC For Kids’ dedicated staff is ready to assist you in finding nannies, tutors, newborn care specialists, sitters and more.  Reach us at tlc@tlcforkids.com or 314-725-5660