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How to Get Your Yard Ready for Spring in 9 Simple Ways

Posted By Melissa McKenzie, Tuesday, February 20, 2018

After the harsh winter season, everybody looks forward to the moderate temperatures, sunshine and the usual spring showers in spring. I normally look forward to this time of the year, particularly after spending the whole winter hibernating indoors.

 

During spring, it is not only we humans who thrive under the warmth and little bit of sunshine. This weather always perks life back into my yard that had been dormant under inches of snow. Grass starts to grow at an alarming rate which I normally have to deal with.

Then there are also marks left behind by the winter weather which I have to deal with. I believe I am not always alone in this as you may also be going through the same ordeal every year. This is why you need to know how to get your yard ready for spring, and as a bonus, it will become the envy of your neighbors.

  1. Do Some Raking

During winter, leaves and garden debris might accumulate all over your lawn. These leaves and garden debris will make for a not so great lawn look. You, therefore, need to clear all these before doing anything else. After winter, the first thing I do is rake the whole of my yard. I do this to rake up those matted areas that were under the snow.

Raking your backyard has other benefits too. In a way, the yard is aerated after months of being pinned down by snow. Aeration helps in keeping the grass nourished. The rake also removes the layers of thatch that blocks sunlight and water from reaching the grassroots.

  1. Prepare your tools

Over the years, I have realized that the grass, vegetables, and flowers in my yard grow at an alarming rate in spring. Once in a while, I have been caught unawares in my attempts to control the yard weed since my two line trimmers had all broken down without me realizing.

To prevent such mishaps, do a check of all your yard tools to see which ones need to be repaired, replaced or cleaned. And if you have an irrigation system, check to ensure that it is in a perfect working condition. This is because the snow might have damaged it, and your plants and grass will not get all the water they need to grow.

  1. Prune the Trees and Shrubs

Winter provides the best time for pruning your shrubs and trees. At this time, the new growths have not started sprouting out, hence the spread of diseases is controlled at this time. The pruning has to be done very carefully to prevent stressing the shrubs.

Pruning of fruit trees should be done before their buds start blooming to prevent stressing them. Otherwise, you could end up with a tiny crop. If your yard has any dead or ailing branches, then it is better to prune them at this time so that they do not fall off in Spring.

  1. Fertilize the Lawn and The Plants in Your Yard

To ensure that the plants in my backyard will be well nourished and green in Spring, I normally use a combination of organic and chemical fertilizers. By composting the mulch from my mowing activities, the leaves and the scraps from my kitchen, I always have a supercharger for my plants.

In spring, the fertilizer application has to be light and the heavier one to be done in fall. If you overdo it, you might attract a weed problem or even diseases. Or it could be that you had applied fertilizer during fall: The plants are still making do with that and only needs a little.

  1. You Have to Apply a Pre-emergent Herbicide

The application of a pre-emergent always goes hand in hand with the application of fertilizer. This is more so when you have an annual weed problem, such as crabgrass. A Pre-emergent is a type of herbicide that controls weeds by killing their seedlings before they emerge.

The pre-emergent herbicide does this by forming a sort of shield around weed seeds that in turn prevents them from germinating. It is not only crabgrass that you will be fighting, as there are also dandelion weeds. Although their yellow flowers look kind of beautiful to me, I don’t allow them to grow in my yard.

  1. Core aerate your lawn

This is another preparation activity that I never miss while preparing for the spring sunshine. I find core aeration beneficial to the yard as it allows air and water to reach the plant roots at a much faster rate.

In return, root development will increase, and the plants will grow to be firmer onto the ground. But before you do this, you should ensure that the soil temperature is between 55-60 degrees. Beyond this temperature, the voids created as result of aeration only attracts weeds.

  1. Re-Seed Damaged Parts of The Lawn

Winter snow can deliver unimaginable damage to your lawn and the entire yard at large. The moment the snow subsides and the warm sunshine shows, I always assess the extent of damage caused by the snow plows and salt.

Before you reseed any damaged portions, ensure you have not applied the pre-emergent to the soil. This herbicide is non-selective when it is preventing seeds from germinating. All your work will, therefore, be in vain. If the weather permits it, you can hold off the use of the pre-emergent until the grass has germinated, then apply it.

  1. Perform Tests on the Soil to Determine the pH

If you have a soil test kit, you can do this on your own, or you can seek for the services of your county extension for the same. Knowing the soil pH helps you in determining what plants to grow in your yard as they all prefer different pH levels.

Most plants and grass as well will grow well in pH values of around 6.0 – 7.0. Then there are those that grow in acidic conditions of between 4.5 to 6.5 pH levels. These plants include azalea, hydrangea, heather, etc.

  1. Mow the lawn frequently

One of the mistakes most people make is mowing their lawns less frequently and at an inappropriate height. Letting the grass grow too high and then cutting it stunts the roots and makes them reproduce less effectively.

What you can do is mowing the lawn after five days for about six weeks if the weather allows it. A mowing height of about 2 ½ to 3 ½ inches should be decent enough. The cutting blades should be in their sharpest states so as not to toughen the grass.

Wrapping up

Everybody would want their lawn to shine again and be attractive to the eyes after the winter season is over. To realize this, you must know some of the tips to apply in getting your yard ready for spring. The tips discussed above in this article will come in handy in preparing your yard for spring. You will just be required to put them into practice and wait to be amazed by the results.



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Bullying in Preschool?

Posted By Melissa McKenzie, Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The preschool years are foundational for children’s social and emotional development—a time when children’s social interactions increase dramatically as they move from parallel to more collaborative play with peers. Not surprisingly, this means more social and communication missteps as children learn how to interact and connect to each other while their social, communication, and emotion-management skills are still in the very early stages of development.

What all of this means is that most of the problems you are seeing between and among preschoolers, particularly those under 4, are often signs of poor impulse control and limited language skills, not indications that children are engaged in bullying. Bullying is a conscious act involving the systematic targeting of a weaker or more vulnerable child. Bullying behavior is purposely mean and hurtful. Young preschool-aged children are doing very little purposely or consciously. Instead, their actions and behavior are often the result of their impulses, emotional reactions, and inability to verbalize their needs and feelings. They may push another child because they don’t have the language skills or impulse control to ask that child politely to move out of the way. They may exclude another child from play to test their growing power and control, or to express their anger and frustration about having to share.

Because this is also age when children are learning how to be in relationship with peers, it is an ideal time to begin teaching the social and emotional skills that they need to form healthy relationships. In other words, it is the optimal time to teach bullying prevention skills.

Here are the skills young children need to prevent their involvement in bullying and to nurture their social and emotional development:

  1. Emotion management skills: the ability to identify, manage, and appropriately express strong feelings.
    The first step in developing emotion management skills is teaching children that there is a range of feelings. Use Kimochis dolls (www.kimochis.com) or feeling charts to begin teaching an emotional vocabulary to children. Once children can understand and recognize strong feelings—such as anger, frustration, and sadness—they can begin learning how to calm and express those feelings appropriately.

Teach your child how to calm herself using a set of simple steps: (1)Put your hand on your tummy, (2)Say, “Calm down,-*” to yourself, and (3)Take some deep breaths with your belly.

As children’s verbal skills develop, they can learn how to use words to express their feelings and needs using “I” communication. If children can recognize and understand their own emotions, they can better understand others’. The ability to experience and show empathy is at the heart of bullying prevention and of healthy social connection.

  • Friendship skills
    Friendship is a new concept to preschoolers. Friendship skills include learning how to join a group, take turns, share, and be a good friend through kindness and caring. Because this is an age at which children first start experimenting with exclusive play, it is the time to talk about the importance of allowing others to play and to introduce the idea that excluding others is hurtful. Try to be as specific as possible. Instead of assuming that a 3-year-old knows what “being kind” or “being a good friend” means, spell it out: “You shared your trucks, and that was very kind” or “You gave your bear to Emma when she was sad. You care about your friend.” This is also a great time to start reading books about friendship to your child.
  • Conflict resolution and problem-solving 
    Yes, conflict resolution and problem-solving are sophisticated skills that many adults haven’t yet mastered. And, yes, you can begin teaching these abilities to your preschooler through role-modeling. Start by narrating problem-solving and conflict-resolution when problems arise between your preschooler and his peers. For example, in response to a tug of war over a toy between your 3-year-old and his friend, you might say, “There seems to be a problem here. It seems that you both want to play with the truck. We could take turns playing with the truck, or we could find a new toy that you can both play with, like these blocks. Let’s try playing with the blocks together for a while.” When your child is about 4, you can prompt him to participate in this process with you: “There seems to be a problem here. What is it, and what should we do about it?” or “The problem seems to be A, is that right? We could do X or Y about this problem. Which do you want to try?” As your child becomes more verbal, you can introduce the concept of “compromise” and seek opportunities to use it to resolve everyday conflicts.

Posted with permission from Parent's Place.

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6 Easy to Execute Tips Parents Can Use to Teach Kids About Money!

Posted By Melissa McKenzie, Monday, February 12, 2018

 

by: Sam X Renick, Award Winning Author, Financial Educator, and Creator of Sammy Rabbit


THE RESEARCH

Can babies really learn in utero? It is a fair question and a fascinating article to read. Parents, this may not surprise you, a variety of sources agree learning begins while babies are in the bun so to speak. Penn State assistant professor of psychology, Dr. Rick Gilmore responds to the question in the above article with an emphatic – absolutely!


In turns out, youngsters are astonishingly adept at acquiring knowledge. Time chronicled this fact in its column – Infants understand more than you think, study shows.


This research may be music to mommy and daddy’s ears, except, well when it comes to one of life’s vital topics: money.


THE ISSUE AND CHALLENGE

Parents, this may surprise you, did you know research from Cambridge University found adult money habits are formed by age seven? This coincides with the studies cited above, indeed, little kids are excellent learners. So, what’s the issue? The issue is we do not want kids learning everything, especially behaviors we may not be good at, like managing money. Unfortunately, that is not one of kids’ criteria for learning. They just soak it all in. They absorb everything. That would include all sorts of information, knowledge, attitudes, feelings and beliefs on personal finance, many parents are not even aware they are teaching their children. Uh – oh!


You might be naively thinking that your child’s okay because you don’t talk about money at your house. You may want to think again. Parents talk to and teach kids about money all the time. It is unavoidable. True, it is easy to miss. Why? Because the communications do not need to mention the word money. Typically, the communications are disguised. They are expressed as hopes, dreams, adventures, attitudes and feelings on things like becoming princes or princesses, taking trips to Disneyland, celebrating first birthdays, living in homes with white picket fences, and on and on.


What further exacerbates the problem, is it turns out lots of parents do not either like to consciously talk to kids about money and/or find it difficult to do. This reality seems to translate into a whole host of problems that sabotage kids and their futures, like bad debt for example.


WHAT TO DO – 6 TIPS

Do nothing or do something. If you choose not to take conscious control of your kids financial education during this crucial timeframe while their money mindsets and habits are being shaped, understand this, someone else gladly will. Advertisers to name one.


On the other hand, if you want to do something, here are six strategies to consider.

 

  1. Get up to speed yourself. Plenty of resources on personal finance are available, whether it is in books, magazines, or videos online. The basics are easy to master.

  2. Get on the same page with your partner. If you can communicate the same money philosophies to your kids, naturally, you will be more effective.

  3. Write down your financial values on paper. Reduce your thinking to short and simple phrases that are easy to share and easy for your kids to remember and repeat. Some of Sammy Rabbit and my favorite slogans are: “Saving is a great habit.” “Earning money is fun to do.” “You can have everything you want if you are willing to work for it.”

  4. Do your best to talk your talk and walk your talk. In other words, speak and live your message. Kids love to imitate their parents. It is one of the primary ways they learn.

  5. Read kids storybooks, have them listen to music and do activities that share your financial values. Be sure to check out Sammy Rabbit. Sammy and I thrive on making easy and fun to learn about finance.

  6. Have your kids play and act out scenarios that involve money. Two obvious scenarios to play and perfect are saving and store. I would prioritize saving. Learning to save money is one of the most underrated skills a child can learn. It teaches a child to be prepared, delay gratification, be disciplined, set goals, plan and prioritize. Those skills are transferrable and can be leveraged to have success in all aspects of life. Playing store, if done properly, can teach a child to be a savvy consumer. That is also an invaluable skill, particularly in an environment that is consumption crazy!  


PARTING THOUGHT

Do everything you are able to in order to make the process fun and joy-filled. Encourage and educate your children to have a positive relationship with money – one of life’s most frequently used and mismanaged tools.


FREE RESOURCES

Download Sammy Rabbit activities and music for FREE at the Dream Big Club.


Visit Sammy Rabbit to check out the storybook Sammy’s Big Dream which was just chronicled in Financial Advisors Magazine: Children Form Financial Behaviors by 7


ABOUT SAM X RENICK

Sam X Renick is the creator and driving force behind Sammy Rabbit and the Dream Big Club. Sam and Sammy are dedicated to empowering kids’ dreams and improving their financial literacy through the development of great habits and strategic life skills. Sam has read and sung off key with over a quarter million children around the world, encouraging them to get in the habits of saving money and reading! He has won numerous honors throughout his career including the New Jersey Coalition for Financial Education's Lifetime Achievement Award!

 

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"Ask the Nanny Expert" Week 4

Posted By Melissa McKenzie, Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Question: Are raises expected after a certain period of time? Is it a year? I'm curious to know what the common practice is. And, how much of a raise is acceptable? Or, could we offer other things in lieu of a raise? education credit? health insurance? Trying to understand what is acceptable.‬


Dear Member,


As a household employer, one of the most common and clear ways to demonstrate how much you value your nanny is through her compensation, so I appreciate your question!


My advice is as follows: A performance and compensation review should be offered every year on the anniversary of your nanny’s start date.


The amount of a raise should take the following into consideration:


  1. Has the job changed in the past year? Have the responsibilities increased?

  2. How motivated are you to keep the nanny employed with your family in the years to come?

  3. How does your nanny’s current compensation compare to fair market?


Your answers to the above questions will help you to determine eligibility for a pay increase; the rest will be determined by your family budget. As a side note, the cost of living increase (~3% in 2017) should be your minimum.


Regarding health insurance:

Beginning in 2017, you can institute a Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangement (QSEHRA) and start helping you nanny pay for her health insurance. The maximum amount per year is $4,950


Any household payroll service can help you set this up and manage it for you. The service I recommend is Homework Solutions (www.homeworksolutions.com)

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The Importance of Learning Through Play

Posted By Melissa McKenzie, Tuesday, February 6, 2018

I have been asked by our clients to share the importance of learning through play. There are plenty of articles out there explaining the direct developmental benefits and I'll attach my fave reads below. I'm going to explain my experience watching children play and how I have witnessed first-hand the developmental changes in them. To break-up the developmental domains, I'll begin with the cognitive domain. When a child is able to play, they also begin to process the experience of it. They are able to cognitively interpret their experience through the colors they see, the shapes and patterns. The more play they have, the more comfortable and experienced they become. The repetition of the toys and experience in their environment is a very valuable concept. The more exposure a child obtains to a toy, object or surrounding, the more competent and familiar they become. Once this occurs, the cognitive process or the common saying "the wheels really begin to turn" and the learning begins. It may be a quick or slow process as each child is different. The cognitive domain blossoms when a child has processed their toy, object or surrounding and can explain verbally what they are experiencing in their own words. This is a real special moment not to be missed! As an example, I have witnessed this first-hand at Wund3rKID when a member who was only a year-old played with our colorful liquid-filled shaped blocks. When she first started coming, she would just fondle with the blocks and stare at them. This was still the cognitive process at work! Once she was 1.5, she began to attempt to stack them and repeated this process over and over. When I had a chance to play with her, I would verbally say the shapes and colors during the play. She would just stare at me! Also, part of the cognitive process. Lots of eye-contact and judging looks, hehe. When she was closer to 2, I witnessed her stacking the blocks while saying the color to herself. Although it was difficult to understand which exact color she was trying to verbalize, it wasn't hard to tell she had recognized and cognitively processed the color. Amazing to watch and again, not to be missed!

 

Now onto the development of the physical domain through play. I've seen it occur based around our colorful dome climber. Babies just as little as 9-months will crawl around it until they are comfortable enough to crawl through it. The developmental stage which they become comfortable enough to crawl through the climber is typically closer t0 11 and 12 months. 

 

Then once a child is comfortably walking then they will attempt to climb the structure. It is also not a moment to be missed! The progressive actions they take shows their developmental level.

 

They will begin by using their arms to hold their weight up and then racking one of their feet up to the bars. Even if the foot does not quite reach over the bar, this shows that physically and developmentally, they are close to exhibiting the action. When they are around 1.5, they may rack one foot up on the bar but not have the arm strength just yet to pull themselves up. This action physically occurs when they are closer to 2 and when they are 3, they can climb the whole thing! 

 

The emotional domain is developed through daily experiences. I have seen it through children by watching their facial expressions! Yes, they are darn cute but it's also easy to tell how they are feeling through play. Playing also allows them to express themselves emotionally by displaying if the toy they have selected is of their preference or if they are not interested in it at all. The same could be said for friends. Children are more attracted to some friends than they are of others. I've mainly seen older kids ask for children they like playing with or play with each other each time at W3K. There was a core group of 4 little gals all around the same age (16 mos. - 2 years) who loved running around together. Typically, two would play with each other at one time but there were also memorable moments when they would all play together on the patio, for example. It was an interesting dynamic to watch because they would grow concerned if a one of the gals was crying or upset. They would show their concern by going over to rub their friend's back. These types of interactions allowed the children to tap into their emotional domain. Best of both worlds. I will explore this more while sharing my experience with the development of the social domain. 

 

In my opinion, the social domain is the most perceptible. Young children as small as infants have the ability to make eye contact, smile and coo at their caregiver. It's a special moment indeed. Babbling counts too! As young toddlers begin to verbalize what they see in their environment, it is a continual step towards the development of their social domain. At Wund3rKID, the social development domain is supported daily through play and our offered classes. Children get a chance to be amongst their peers, The social domain is developed through actions such as sharing and making eye contact with their peers. The more exposure and practice they obtain, the better! 

 

I hope I have helped those who would like to learn more on the importance, benefits and process of play in young children. It is always such a pleasure to see parents and caregivers interact with their young ones at Wund3rKID. Even if they are just sitting next to them while they play, their presence is valuable to each child's development. Play is easy and fun! It makes me feel great to know we have successfully created an environment to foster such play experiences. I will write to more articles in this series on play.

 

Coming up: Developmentally-appropriate toys + easy activities to replicate in your home environment

 

Wund3r Recommendations:

https://www.naeyc.org/our-work/families/10-things-every-parent-play

 

https://www.naeyc.org/our-work/families/five-essentials-meaningful-play

 

Michelle Doan is the owner of Wund3rkid in Palo Alto.  Visit their website to learn more about their facility and their new preschool opening this year! 

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"Ask the Nanny Expert" Week 3

Posted By Melissa McKenzie, Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Question: My nanny is hesitant to care for my children when they are sick. What do I do?


Answer: One of the advantages of employing a nanny is that your children will receive the care they need—while healthy or sick—in the comfort of your own home. That said, germ exposure is an issue that affects everyone! As we head into the thick of flu season, I recommend the following:


1) Have a sick policy in place

This would establish specific guidelines that outline scenarios such as when the child is too sick to be cared for by the nanny. For instance, is that point when a fever is present? How high does the fever have to be? Is the child vomiting? Is a rash present?)


2) Determine a policy that applies to both the children AND the nanny

Ask yourself questions such as: is it acceptable for the nanny to work when she has a head cold, but otherwise feels okay? How will you keep germs from spreading?


3) Take a team approach

I recommend active communication and record keeping. If you don’t feel comfortable asking the nanny to make judgment calls, make sure you are accessible to guide her decisions. If you need to call the pediatrician, consider asking the nanny join in on the call.


4) Ask your nanny to keep records

It may have been a while since you recorded your child’s bottle and diaper activity, but when a child of any age is ill, grab a note pad! Track fever readings, medication doses and times, and other important symptoms. This will be helpful if/when you have to speak to the doctor about your child’s health when he/she was with the nanny.


As a reminder, we all have different views when it comes to illness. Some are highly susceptible and are extremely cautious about being exposed to germs. Others have stronger immune systems and less worried about illnesses, making them more relaxed and flexible. Making the mistake of assuming your view is in line with your nanny’s can be cause for uncomfortable conversations down the road. I hope these tips provide a framework for an honest conversation between you and your nanny.


Above all, stay well!


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The Art of Parenting

Posted By Melissa McKenzie, Tuesday, January 30, 2018
Updated: Monday, January 22, 2018

Hi! My name is Laura Myszne, I’m a certified professional parenting educator and classroom management mentor, and I’m honored to be here today, with you.


Parenting is no piece of cake (you’ve probably discovered that by now), and no one prepared us for this challenging journey (don’t you wish someone had?!).  We all have questions, insecurities and regrets. Luckily though, we have one another. For support, information and relief. We.Have.One.Another.


I’d like to share with you one of the first concepts that I learned and adopted during my training. The Adlerian concept of “having the courage to be not perfect.” The courage to be not perfect? Indeed. Perfection does not exist. At least outside Facebook ;) I’ve never met a perfect mom, a perfect wife, a perfect person. We are all not perfect and that’s what makes us unique and beautiful. We wouldn’t need one another and we wouldn’t live in communities if we were perfect. Have you thought about that? We would be self sufficient and very solitary. So being imperfect has its beauty. It allows us to connect.


So what does the courage to be not perfect have to do with parenting? Well, needless to say, being a parent is super hard, we have a lot of pressure on our shoulders and no parent knows all the answers, and because there’s no two children alike, no parent has yet figured out the perfect recipe to parent. Still many times, we are struggling to give more and more, fearful of what will be of our child if we don’t, embarrassed or uncomfortable to accept our imperfectness. Why thought? Because there’s this “perfect” mom on Facebook or at school that we look up to, or because we have someone close to us pointing out where we are supposedly missing out. Well, let me tell you brave momma, that in real life these people are as imperfect as you are and have as many questions as you do. If you get close enough to them, you will be able to see it.

You might be wondering what will happen to your child when you make mistakes (because you will make them, same as I do, same as every other parent on earth). If you listen close enough to an older generation they will say to you: “She’ll survive”, and you know she will but then the question of “at what price?” will arise. Exactly. At what price?

 

Allow me to share with you something that I learned a long time ago: as long as you are making your decisions based on your child’s real needs putting aside your own personal ones and your fears, as long as you empower your child to be independent, respectful and responsible, then she will be just fine. It is your job to provide your child with these fundamental tools to succeed in life. The rest, is up to her to figure out.


So Mom, embrace your imperfectness. That’s what makes you human, beautiful and precious.

 

Laura Myszne is a Mountain View based parenting educator and classroom management mentor, wife and mother of three. She’s been working internationally on this field that she loves for the last 13 years helping parents and teachers from different cultures feel understood and supported while empowering them with effective tools and answers which last a lifetime.

 

 You may learn more about Laura and her work by visiting her page www.lovingboundaries.com If what you are looking for is food for thought, you might also want to visit www.facebook.com/lovingboundaries or join her Facebook group The Art of Parenting.

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Teen Research Program for Facebook! Earn Over $300!

Posted By Melissa McKenzie, Tuesday, January 23, 2018

 

We have a special opportunity for teens ages 13-16 in the San Francisco area to be a part of a fun and exciting research program sponsored by Facebook!!

If selected for the program, your child and his/her friend will meet with Facebook monthly (over a 3-month period) and share their thoughts on new apps/websites, new trends that teens are into, etc.! This is a great opportunity for your child to earn some extra cash just by sharing their opinions with Facebook!

How can I sign my child up?

 

  • Complete this survey (link below)to determine eligibility (around 5-10 minutes).

 

  • Refer your child’s friend (age 13-16) that they want to participate with.

 

  • Brief telephone interview (about 5-10 minutes).

 

  • Fun in-person session at the Facebook Offices in San Francisco with your child and their friend to determine if the program would be a good fit.

 

For participating in this research, you have the potential to earn over $300.00!!!

 

YOUR CHILD MUST BE WITH YOU TO COMPLETE THIS SURVEY.

 

Click the link (or copy & paste it into your browser) below to see if your child qualifies!

https://touchstoneresearch.3uu.us/uc/2018F2010818/?a=&b=PAMP&c=


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If you would like to speak to us directly about the project you can call us anytime at (860)-335-7685

Please note if you do NOT have a child ages 13-16 but have a family member/friend with a child in the age range you can share the above link with them! If you share the link with them and they qualify, we will pay you $25 for each referral! (Just be sure your friend gives us your name while taking the survey/speaking with us!)

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"Ask the Nanny Expert" Week 2

Posted By Melissa McKenzie, Monday, January 22, 2018

Question: How do you recommend temporary “nanny sharing” if you’re taking a long vacation over the summer, so you aren’t paying for a nanny who isn’t working?


Answer: This is a tricky arrangement. Considering that you wish to retain your nanny so you can continue to employ her upon your return but are not willing to employ her during the time you are out of town. Be aware that you are severing your employment relationship.


However, IF you can find a family who is willing to employ you nanny during this period, I recommend you consider the following:

  1. Your nanny should have the option to opt out if she doesn’t feel a fit with the other family

  2. Risk of nanny and other family forging a bond, and you lose the nanny

  3. Risk of the nanny and other family parting, leaving your nanny searching for a job


For the reasons stated, our standard recommendation is to pay your nanny for the time you are away even though she is not required to work. Another option upon mutual agreement is to “meet in the middle” and offer to pay your nanny 50% of her compensation and refer her to a reputable temporary service to find her interim work. This takes the burden off of her to fill every hour of her time, which can be difficult. We have helped several nannies in these situations. You want to be sure to choose a source that is reputable like Stanford Park Nannies.


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"Ask the Nanny Expert" Week 1

Posted By Melissa McKenzie, Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Question: Current going rates for various types of nannies. For example, a 20-hr / week with 2 kids and cooking responsibilities nanny, a 50-hr/week with 1 kid plus driving and laundry responsibilities, etc. kind of like a case study of a specific situation and associated rate ranges. I know there was a survey done a while ago but this would be more of a deep dive into a few specific setups.


Edited to add that I’d be interested in total compensation package - incl salary, benefits, pto, sick days, car, gas allowance, food, phone


Dear PAMP Member,


Thank you for your question on current nanny rates and compensation packages. As a starting point in our conversation I will mention that, while there are several organizations that conduct salary surveys (with the best, in my opinion, being through the International Nanny Association), I have found that national surveys miss the mark when it comes to our local market. We have some of the highest housing costs in the country and this fact, along with other local economic factors, has a significant bearing on compensation ranges of nannies.


Before discussing rates, it is important to understand why they might vary based on the source of information. At Stanford Park Nannies, we provide the guidance and expertise to ensure that our clients abide by all payroll and tax laws. That being said, we are currently seeing a compensation range of $25 to $30 per hour gross for most of our placements. (It is important to note that California requires nannies to be paid hourly instead of on a salary). This might be higher than figures that you have heard through non-agency sources because of the gross-to-net conversion in addition to the high standards we have set for our vetted nannies.


Other legal factors to consider in addition to payroll taxes are overtime, sick pay, and mileage reimbursement. By law, overtime must be paid for any hours worked over 9 hours in a day or over 40 hours in a week at the rate of 1.5x the base pay. Also required is to provide no less than 3 sick days per year. Mileage reimbursement is set by the IRS and is 54.5 cents/mile for 2018.


When deciding upon the rate you will offer, it is important to look at several factors, including: family budget, experience level you require, number of children, job duties, and the current market. In addition to meeting all employment laws, it is beneficial to ask yourself how attractive your job and compensation package are. For example, while the law requires three sick days, if you are in a position to offer additional time it might attract more applicants. Health care reimbursement is a highly attractive benefit. By law you can offer up to $412 per month. Benefits are an area where you can also get creative. We once had a client who owned an ice cream shop, and they included free access to their ice cream as a benefit! I don’t know about you, but that is definitely attractive to me!


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