Petty cash allowance

As a Nanny, we know that outings and activities come up throughout the week that may not be on the original calendar for the week. Having petty cash available can be beneficial to you, your charges and your employer.

We advise having a conversation with your employer about having petty cash available so you are able to indulge their children with proper play dates and fun outings. You should agree on a place in the home where the extra cash will be kept and how you will keep record of the money spent. Keep all receipts and make sure to put them in the same area as the cash so your employer is aware where the money has been spent. Be sure to have on-going conversations with the family about how much money you spend throughout the week and if you feel it necessary to adjust the amount that is set aside. With proper funds for expected outings you have the ability to focus on activities with your charges and not worry if you have the extra cash in your wallet.

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Is it okay to accept a drink from my boss?

The relationship between a Nanny and their employer is an important one. It’s a relationship where you share very personal moments about the raising, development and milestones of a young child. It’s a relationship where lives can become very intertwined and you share both positive and not-so-positive situations.

Employers may also come home at the end of the day and want to unwind or be out celebrating a personal achievement and ask their Nanny to join them in a celebratory drink. However, the Nanny may find this situation uncomfortable and not know how to respond. Our recommendation is that the Nanny avoid partaking in any alcoholic drinks with the employer.

If you find yourself in this situation, ask yourself, is your job worth the momentary indulgence while on the job? Don’t run the risk of altering your relationship with your employer by accepting their invitation. It’s never wise to put yourself in a situation where you may find yourself in a less-than-ideal state of mind. You might end up saying something you normally wouldn’t, offering unsolicited advice or even risking not being stable on your feet, resulting in an embarrassing fall.

The situations described above are most likely to come at the end of a shift, it’s also important to keep in mind that you’re likely to have to drive home from work, and having a drink right before leaving isn’t likely a wise choice. Politely declining such in invitation may feel awkward, but getting home safely is in both your and your employer’s best interest. One suggestion is to politely say, “Oh, thank you so much! That sounds wonderful, but I really shouldn’t. I need to drive home in just a bit and I really shouldn’t.”

Professionalism in any industry is paramount and in the Nanny industry it’s no different. You are a representation of not just yourself, but also the family you work for. While a single drink with your employer may not seem like a big deal, a small gamble such as this may risk the stability of your job. It’s best to politely decline.

Ask Us! Helping my Charges be Grateful

We don’t  fly around with a magic umbrella or claim to have the skills of Mary Poppins, but our Nanny Team Counselors do have over 100 years of combined experience placing great Nanny candidates in childcare jobs all over the Bay Area. When it comes to navigating the world of professional in-home childcare, we’ve just about seen it all. So go ahead, Ask Us!

Do you have any suggestions for me to share with my charges as we go into this hurried season of gifts galore? 

With the hustle and bustle of the holidays upon us, it is easy to forget the most important gift we can give children: the gift of gratitude. Here are a few practical ways to teach an attitude of gratitude daily.

  1. Work gratitude into your daily conversation. Whether it is looking at the beautiful colors in the leaves of a tree or being thankful for the yummy dessert served at lunch, gratitude can often be found in the every day moments, even in the little things we often take for granted. A good exercise to encourage children to be grateful can be to name at least one thing they are thankful for each day.
  2. Set a good example by saying “thank you” sincerely and often. A small “thank you” can go a long way! There are countless opportunities each day to show appreciation to others with a simple “thank you.” You can even go the extra mile and encourage children to write a thank you note to someone who has done something special for them. As an added bonus, it will make the recipient’s day!
  3. Encourage generosity. By encouraging children to identify different ways they can help friends, neighbors and others, they can experience firsthand the wonderful feeling that accompanies the act of giving. When they give their time and energy to assisting others, they will gain an added appreciation for the things in their own life.
  4. Find the silver lining. When kids complain or gripe, try pointing out the positives by focusing on the bright side of the situation. Learning to look for the good in people and situations can help foster an attitude of gratitude for years to come.
  5. Be patient. Learning to be grateful is not something that develops overnight. It is a process that requires practice and reinforcement. The good news is that it truly is the gift that keeps on giving. There is no such thing as being too grateful, so spread the gift of gratitude not only during the holiday season but every day!

 

Bonuses & Gifts for your Household Employee at the Holidays

CBP1054818Are you making your list and checking it twice? ‘Tis the season to have those around you feel special. Whether you’re thanking your Nanny for the presence they have in your children’s lives or your Executive Assistant for keeping your business running smoothly, continual small gestures or a larger annual one will make your employee feel good this holiday season!

If you’re happy with the work your household employee has done for you and your family this year, why not show them how you feel? The holiday season is here and this is a perfect opportunity to show them just how grateful you are. 

When it comes to holiday tipping, there are no hard and fast rules. How much you give largely depends on what you feel you can afford and the quality of service you receive. That said, there are certain gifts our Candidates tell us are particularly coveted. Here’s our updated annual top ten list:

  1. Money Talks. The time-tested cash bonus is always appreciated and is the gift of choice for about half of the families we work with. How much to give? A good rule of thumb is one to three week’s salary depending on the number of years of service.
  2. Pick Up The Tab. Give them a night out on the town with a gift certificate to a special restaurant or movie passes.
  3. Deck Their Halls. Send a little holiday cheer their way with a wreath, floral arrangement or potted plant.
  4. Put It In Writing. Take time out to compose a handwritten note expressing how much your employee means to you, your family and your children.
  5. Share Their Passion. Let them know you’re interested in the life they lead outside your home with a gift that feeds their passion, such as a wine tasting class, a subscription to a gardening magazine or theater or event tickets.
  6. Let Them Play Hooky. Who wouldn’t love an unexpected day off? Paid, of course.
  7. Get Personal. Traditional picture frames, key rings and bracelets become much more special when personalized with their monogram.
  8. A Moment’s Peace. Ahh, the gift of relaxation. Send them to the spa with a gift certificate for a facial, manicure, pedicure or massage.
  9. Send Them Packing. Help them turn their dream vacation into a reality with the gift of your frequent flyer miles.
  10. Child’s Play. Collaborate with your child to produce a homemade gift from the heart, such as a basket of cookies or a framed piece of art.

As you consider what to give this season, keep in mind that the most important message you can send is heartfelt appreciation for all that they do for you, your household and your family. After all, it is true what they say: It’s the thought that counts.

Laughter and Learning at T+C Seminars

nsemWe love to host seminars for Town + Country candidates and we were thrilled to be able to host two in a week! Our Housekeeper and Nanny each hosted their own seminars this past week and both met with experienced, motivated and fun women to discuss the upcoming holidays and provide new ideas on how to make this crazy time of year a bit more manageable.

The “Holidays in the Home” seminar, hosted by the Housekeeper team, reviewed holiday preparation tips that included silver polishing, tips for cleaning silver and china, formal table setting and pre and post holiday party cleaning.

The Nanny team hosted the hands-on “Creative Seasonal Food & Crafts” seminar that had everyone making Thanksgiving Oreo Turkeys, a holiday birdseed craft and paper doll chains.

Participants in both groups enjoyed spending time sharing personal tips, stories of success and catching up with T+C employees and friends and felt confident taking fresh ideas and skills to their employer’s home.

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We have one more seminar coming up this week, hosted by our Estate Staffing Team, where attendees will hone gift wrapping skills and learn some new, festive decorating ideas that will be sure to warmly greet visitors during the holidays. If you are interested in attending, be sure to register here!

Be on the lookout for our seminars in 2017 – we’re going to have a full schedule and you don’t want to miss out!

 

Ask Us! How do I keep outings and activities fresh?

1488520We don’t  fly around with a magic umbrella or claim to have the skills of Mary Poppins, but our Nanny Team Counselors do have over 100 years of combined experience placing great Nanny candidates in childcare jobs all over the Bay Area. When it comes to navigating the world of professional in-home childcare, we’ve just about seen it all. So go ahead, Ask Us!

I have been working with my charges for three years and often find myself repeating the same activities and outings over and over again. How do I keep it fresh and new for them? I’d like to challenge them in an effort to accelerate their various developmental stages and to keep them excited.

With today’s technological advances, there are many resources for you to discover new and exciting activities for you and your charges! Pinterest is a great resource and offers many age-appropriate activities for children. You can narrow searches down by specifying seasons, holidays, months, age groups, etc. If technology isn’t your thing, you can easily do research with your eyes and ears:

  1. Talk to other Nannies! What are some projects that they engage their charges in?
  2. Be sure to keep a pen and note pad with you at all times! You never know when an idea is going to plop into your lap. For example, you may be at the park with your charges and overhear another Nanny playing a game you’ve never heard. Ask her what they’re playing and take note!
  3. Do your charges celebrate a specific holiday? Do any of their relatives or friends or stuffed animals have a birthday coming up? Together you can make cards, construction paper chains, decorations or masks.
  4. With the permission of your charges’ parents, take them to a local pumpkin patch, hiking trail, duck pond or a new park! Are your charges’ of school age? Perhaps they enjoy mini-golfing, bowling, frisbee or having water balloon fights. Don’t forget to bring a change of clothes for everyone!
  5. Check to see if your local library is having any themed story-time sessions! Or perhaps there is a fun, child-friendly maze nearby!

Check out our Pinterest page for additional fun fall ideas, including the following:

  • Finger painting trees
  • Button trees
  • Painting leaves
  • Apple stamps
  • Paint pumpkins
  • Candy Corn Guys
  • Paper hand wreath
  • Scare-a-crow puppets
  • Paint a pinecone
  • Monster puppets
  • Paper plate witches
  • Paper plate spiders

Happy learning, exploring and building!

It’s Pumpkin Season!

fan2016960Whether you’re buying a pumpkin for carving, for roasting the seeds or just for fall decorating, living in the Bay Area gives you plenty of options for finding the perfect one. Of course, one of the most common pumpkin hunting spots is in Half Moon Bay, where you’re sure to find a prized round veggie at one of the many pumpkin farms. If you’re not afraid of crowds, and have the patience of a saint, attending the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival might be the most memorable pumpkin picking outing you’ll ever have. This year’s event is held on October 15th and 16th from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and best of all, it’s free! You can find out more information here.

Once you’ve acquired the perfect pumpkin and you’re ready to decorate it, let your imagination fly. You could have your charge use finger paints, grab some spray paint and a stencil, use paper cutout props or take the old fashioned approach of carving it freestyle.

Whatever you decide to do, have fun doing it. Don’t rush the process and make some lasting memories this fall season!

Ask us! Does Town + Country Resources have temporary work available?

1079265We don’t  fly around with a magic umbrella or claim to have the skills of Mary Poppins, but our Nanny Team Counselors do have over 100 years of combined experience placing great Nanny candidates in childcare jobs all over the Bay Area. When it comes to navigating the world of professional in-home childcare, we’ve just about seen it all. So go ahead, Ask Us!

I’m looking for a new permanent Nanny position but don’t want to show a period of unemployment on my resume. Does Town + Country have any temporary jobs I could work while I’m searching? 

The answer is YES! We are thrilled to be able to present so many great backup care work opportunities! If you’re not yet aware of our Backup Care program, please call our offices at 415-567-0956 or 650-326-8570 and ask to speak with our Temporary Department. We would love to help fill your schedule while you’re looking for a permanent position or to compliment your current position for additional income. Give us a call, we would love to tell you all about it!

Below are five tips from our Backup Care team to help you be the best Backup Care Nanny you can be! 

  1. Be up early! The old saying, “The early bird gets the worm” is most definitely true for Backup Care assignments! Our Backup Care department begins receiving requests at 7:00 am on weekdays and they continue all the way till 9:00 pm on Sunday. The Nannies who are booked most often are those who are up and ready to hit the road by 7:30 am.
  2. Confirm directly with the Backup Care family as soon as you receive our email. Backup Care positions require that you call the family directly to reconfirm as soon as you’re booked. Families can be very sensitive to this, and some have canceled care when a Nanny fails to call them directly to reconfirm. Please make sure you develop a habit of calling to confirm as soon as you see our email confirmation in your inbox. If there is a particular reason you cannot call the family immediately, just communicate that to us so that we may set their expectations appropriately. Please be sure to reconfirm the job details, including location, during the call.
  3. Be your best self in the confirmation call! Families want to hear a friendly, professional voice that puts them at ease about leaving their child with someone they’ve not yet met. Smile as you speak to them – they can hear it! Ask questions that show you care about their child’s experience and their preferences as parents. Reconfirm the date, hours, location and contact information. In short, impress them! If you make them feel comfortable during the confirmation call and do a great job on the assignment, you can be sure that they’ll request you back time and again!
  4. Avoid cell phone use while working. We would like you to be focused on your charges while you’re working. Please keep your cell phone out of sight and only use it for emergencies, or to communicate with the parents throughout the day if they request that you do that.
  5. Log your hours in a timely manner! We send automatic email reminders, but we would like our Backup Care Nannies to be in the habit of logging their hours on our website immediately after completing the assignment. Reporting your hours promptly helps make sure that there won’t be any delay in getting paid. Backup Care hours need to be reported by Monday morning at 10 am so that your payment can be processed via direct deposit on Wednesday morning.

Helping Your Charges Develop Good Manners

1039290-2Manners and etiquette include a large measure of personal preferences and can vary greatly from family to family. Most Moms and Dads want their children to have manners, but teaching them can be a frustrating process.

Consistency is important, so talk to your charges’ parents and see what they are doing to encourage manners. Once you have an idea of which manners are important to them and what they are doing with their children, you can focus on these manners together, and your efforts will be consistent with your charges’ parents’ efforts as well.

If possible, meet with the parents and make a list of manners that you would like to work on. Focusing on a few manners at a time usually is most successful with children. For instance, you can work on saying “please” and “thank you,” using a napkin at mealtimes and looking someone in the eye when being introduced and saying “hello.” While you will have to remind the children at first, hopefully these manners become second nature. Try to recognize them when they do something without asking and praise them for it.

Once they have mastered a few, add a few new ones. Keep the parents up-to-date on their progress as well. Manners go a long way in life and your charges will eventually thank you for taking the time to teach them!

Getting into the Back-to-School Swing!

Young couple walking together --- Image by © Rachel Frank/Corbis

The start of school can be tricky after a nice, fun, relaxing summer break. Here are a few helpful hints to help transition back-to-school in a smooth manner.

Make room in the pantry or refrigerator for designated snacks. Not only will you have foods ready to supplement lunch, but those looking for food will know which snacks that they can have, without having to ask you what’s okay to eat or what the portion size should be.

Set expectations. Have a chat about what to expect when school is back in session. Will the children have afterschool activities every day? Will they still be able to play with the neighbors when then get home? Knowing what to expect will allow for a smoother transition when they get home.

Lay out clothing for school the night before. Gone are the days of changing two or three times before heading out the door! The morning can be a time of rush and chaos. Planning ahead will allow everyone to breathe a bit more in the morning. If you have a child that likes options, pull out two outfits that they can choose from. Better yet, place dividers in the closet with a label of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and have your charge hang up an outfit behind the designated day so clothing is planned out for the week.

Make a calendar with important school dates, after school activities, specified homework time and any other appointments the children have. Assigning a different color for each child is helpful so you can glance ahead and have an idea of what the week looks like for each person in the house.

Set an alarm before bed. If you help get your charges out the door in the morning it might be helpful to make sure they each have their own alarm – not a cell phone or a tablet, but an actual alarm clock. Upper elementary and older children enjoy the responsibility of accomplishing a task on their own time frame. Let them do it. They may surprise you!

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