Friday, 11 May 2007

Employment After a Baby - Solving the Daycare Issue

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After the arrival of a baby, you may want or need to get back to work ...

There are many reasons why you, a parent, want or need to get back to work, whatever your reason, on of the biggest worries will be how to solve the day care issue. It is not really fair to expect other family members such as granparents or parents to look after your child so you will need more than just a babysitter. There are several options open to you - day care facility, a child minder, au-pair or a nanny. But which is best for you?

Unfortunately, that is not an easy question to answer, it will depend on a variety of factors, not least how much you can afford and what services are available in your area.

Day care facilities offer certain advantages over nannies in that your child will get to interact with more children of similar age, as well as the adults, developing their social skills. They will also interact with different adults during the day. With a nanny, the child will be interacting with predominantly one adult and will meet and play with fewer other children.

Whichever you choose, avoid being hasty, don't just go with the first one you find. Check them out - a good day care facility will be able to provide evidence of staff training and will not be shy to show you round. Try to visit when other parents will be there and try to make the opportunity to talk to them. Get their feelings about the place. A Nanny or au-pair will be able to provide you with references, but these alone are probably not enough to allow you to make the decision. Interview the candidates and probe to find out how you feel they would cope with emergency situations. Also try to get to talk with their previous employers and find out how they were and why they left. Using an agency can be helpful here as they should already have done the necessary vetting of the staff on their books.

So, in short, when going back to work, don't rush into the organisation of your child's day care, check it out carefully and only make the decision when you are satisfied with the service and credentials offered.

Disclaimer: This is for informational purposes only, we can not accept any liability for any decision you make.

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Monday, 26 March 2007

Babysitting Advice - Is It Ever Right To Bribe Children?

Many new parents vow that their kids won’t be given sugary foods or stuck in front of a TV! They will only have healthy, well-balanced food and all play will be mentally stimulating and educational.

So…how come Junior is watching that Sesame Street DVD for the 20th time and snacking on cookies?

I’ll give in…just this once

If they’re honest, most parents and babysitters have fallen back on bribery at least once – usually a lot more than once! If you’re exhausted and crave a few minutes of peace and quiet, a little bribery seems the obvious way to go.

Babysitters are often in the awkward position of having to discipline the child – but not having the same level of authority as the parent. This is for two reasons. The babysitter isn’t the parent and doesn’t know the full history of what has and hasn’t worked with the child in the past. And bribery does work – at least in the short term – but what is it teaching the child?

Creating A Demanding Child

People who are steadfastly against bribery argue that it is encouraging children to behave badly as they know it will end in a bribe to stop that behavior.

It helps to look at the dictionary definition of a bribe. It’s ‘anything given or promised to induce a person to do something illegal or wrong’ – so that clearly isn’t what’s happening here. You’re using a ‘bribe’, but to induce good not bad behavior.

It’s All In The Timing

Bribery is offering payment before the deal is closed. In other words, once the child has what they want – why should they do what you want? Especially when yet more bad behavior is likely to result in another ‘gift’.

The fundamental difference between a bribe and a reward is the timing of the action. Whether it’s intended to induce good or bad behavior, a bribe is given before or during the bad behavior, to stop it.

A reward is given after the good behavior. If the good behavior doesn’t happen, neither does the reward.

Make The Child Do The Work

A huge amount of effort can go into persuading, coaxing, explaining and finally bribing a child. It’s exhausting, frustrating and worrying. So stop doing it! The ironic thing is that in the early stages, the reward will have to be offered prior to the situation arising. For example, tell the child that if they are good while you’re grocery shopping, you will be able to get round the store quicker which means there will be time to go to the park on the way home. It’s then up to the child to work for that reward.

Make The Power Shift

When you bribe a child – they have the power in the situation. They are manipulating you in order to gain a reward.

When you offer a reward – you both have power. You can give the reward or withhold it. The child can earn it or lose it. You’ll be surprised how quickly they learn!

Visit for free babysitting tips, advice and how to claim a first aid book and babysitters handbook.

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Thursday, 22 March 2007

Why are there so many movies about babysitters and nannies? It’s because their privileged, immediate access to people’s homes, lives and children creates endless storylines. Here are ten movies featuring babysitters – is your favorite among them?

1. The Baby-Sitters Club

This 1995 film was based on the bestselling ‘Babysitters Club’ books by Ann Martin - the adventures of seven friends who start a babysitting business.

The film featured an early appearance by actress Rachael Leigh Cook. The babysitters start a summer camp for all of their kids but their plans go awry. In surmounting the obstacles, the babysitters learn how amazing true friendship is.

This is a perennial movie that all ages will love.

2. Adventures in Babysitting

This 1987 comedy starred Elisabeth Shue. It was directed by Chris Columbus, prior to his blockbusting ‘Home Alone’. Shue plays a babysitter who ends up taking her charges on a night-time romp in the city. The many adventures include being forced to sing in a blues bar – where they perform a hilarious song entitled ‘Babysitting Blues’.

The film was re-titled A Night On The Town for release in Europe. It’s an endearing comedy which has stood the test of time.

3. Mary Poppins

A huge favorite with all ages – Mary Poppins was made by Disney in 1964. It starred Julie Andrews as the nanny who is practically perfect in every way. She was ably supported by Dick Van Dyke (famed for his toe-curling, yet loveable cockney accent), David Tomlinson, Glynis Johns and Hermione Baddeley.

The film pioneered the combined use of real people, animation, musical and fantasy as well as some good special effects. Who can forget Uncle Albert (Ed Wyn) bouncing around the ceiling, laughing?

Mary Poppins won five Oscars, including Best Actress for Julie Andrews, Best Song and Best Visual Effects. It was released on DVD in 2000. A truly loved family film.

4. Mrs Doubtfire

Chris Columbus directed this 1994 huge hit comedy, starring Robin Williams, Sally Field and Pierce Brosnan. Williams plays a loving but unreliable father. This leads to an estrangement from his wife and in order to be back with his family, Williams’ character becomes Mrs Doubtfire – the dream nanny that his ex-wife needs.

Williams is on top form and there are some hilarious scenes – notably when he is being transformed into Doubtfire by his make-up artist brother, played by Harvey Fierstein. However, the film also has a poignant depth in the scenes where he is missing his children. Well worth seeing – Robin Williams steals the show!

5. Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead (rated 15)

This was made in 1991 and starred Christina Applegate. Sue Ellen (Applegate) thinks she is going to be in charge of her siblings when her mother goes away for two months. That is until a tyrannical babysitter arrives…

Worth seeing for the appearance of a young David Duchovny as a slimy clerk.

6. Halloween

This is only for under 17’s if accompanied by an adult - and for good reason. It is still one of the most frightening films ever made. Director John Carpenter’s use of scary music (written by him) darkness and creepy camera movements masterfully build the horror.

Jamie Lee Curtis is a teenage baby sitter trying to survive a knife-wielding maniac on the loose on a terrifying Halloween night.

Halloween was made on a low budget and was such a box office sensation that many sequels were made – none as good as the 1978 original. It’s a must-see movie but be warned…you’ll want to sleep with the lights on!

7. Daddy Day Care

This 2003 comedy starring Eddie Murphy and Anjelica Huston is great fun. Murphy and a friend are an unemployed pair who open a day-care center. Huston is their competitor, trying to shut them down. Great scenes with hyperactive kids!

8. The Hand That Rocks The Cradle

A 1992 film and another one where you’ll need an adult with you if you’re under 17. Rebecca De Mornay stars as an extremely disturbed au pair. The horrid fascination is in watching such an attractive, kind girl gradually revealing terrifying malevolence. Made in 1992, the film also features Julianne Moore.

9. Nanny McPhee

Emma Thompson is wonderful as the nanny with hairy warts, a scary unibrow and a mesmerizing buck tooth. She follows 17 nannies, already despatched by the children of a recent widower, played by Colin Firth. Unless the children are tamed, he stands to lose his lifeline inheritance from his aunt (Angela Lansbury). Celia Imrie is the bride set up for him but he loves the maid (Kelly Macdonald). Nanny McPhee and the kids plan to make things work out…

10. Don’t Bother To Knock

Made in 1953, this starred Marilyn Monroe, Anne Bancroft and Richard Widmark.

In her first starring role in a drama – Monroe plays a babysitter whose initially shy behaviour becomes more bizarre as the night goes on. The film becomes darker as the suspense grows – hence the Parent Guidance rating. Not one of her more famous films but worth it to see a wonderful performance – proving that Marilyn really could act.

Visit for free babysitting tips, advice and how to claim a first aid book and babysitters handbook.

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Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Celebrity Babysitting Snippets ...

Tom Cruise allegedly hired a whole team of babysitters for his children so that he could join his (then) fiancée, Katie Holmes in lengthy gym sessions. They both looked svelte in the wedding photos so it must have worked!

Before fame hit, Little Eva was a regular babysitter for the daughter of Gerry Goffin and Carole King. King was working on a song one day when Eva started to dance. The result was ‘The Loco-Motion’.

Martha Stewart’s daughter, Alexis, has a radio talk show called ‘Whatever with Alexis and Jennifer’. When Jennifer was growing up, her babysitter was actress Phoebe Cates.

Jude Law had an affair with his children’s’ nanny, Daisy Wright, which lost him Sienna Miller. Bet he wished he’d hired Nanny McPhee!

A New York nanny was recently arrested and charged with stealing jewelry - $500,000 worth, from clients including Robert De Niro and Candice Bergen.

Both Robin Williams and ‘Law and Order’ actor, Joe Piscopo married women who had formerly been nannies to their children.

At the Academy Awards, actress Julia Roberts did a ‘to-camera’ Happy Birthday to Marva - the nanny to Julia’s twins, Phinnaeus and Hazel. Marva was allegedly chosen from over 100 applicants. Julia Roberts is rumoured to have conducted interviews and done background and credit checks on all of them. Julia is the reader of the audio version of ‘The Nanny Diaries’.

Author and nanny Tracy Hogg was called the ‘Baby Whisperer’ by her famous clients. She cared for over 5,000 babies including the offspring of Jodie Foster, Cindy Crawford, Michael J. Fox, Calista Flockhart and Jamie Lee Curtis. Tracy sadly died of melanoma aged 44.

Notorious Hollywood ‘Madam’, Heidi Fleiss, worked as a babysitter from the age of 12. She was so good at it that she began a babysitting service, employing her friends to share the load. This was how she first found that she was a good businesswoman!

Billy Crystal’s father managed the Commodore Music Shop on 42nd Street in New York. His uncle founded Commodore Records – a jazz label. Billy grew up surrounded by jazz greats and his babysitter was Billy Holliday!

When Keanu Reeves was a kid, his babysitter was Rock musician Alice Cooper.

As a teenager, actress Gina Davis worked as a babysitter for a famous New York member of ‘the mob’.

‘American Idol’ judge, Paula Abdul was seven years old when Michael Bolton first babysat her. She says that Michael is such a good father today because he got his training while babysitting her!

It’s rumoured that actor Al Lewis (‘Grandpa’ in TV’s The Munsters) once hired the notorious Charles Manson to babysit his sons.

“Quote, unquote”

“The only reason he had a child is so that he can meet babysitters.”

David Letterman talking about Warren Beatty in 1991

“A good film is when the price of the dinner, the theater admission and the babysitter were worth it.”

Alfred Hitchcock

“I babysat for my nephew and it’s not as glamorous as it looks.”

Beyonce Knowles

Visit for free babysitting tips, advice and how to claim a first aid book and babysitters handbook.

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Friday, 26 January 2007

Babysitter Today - Highly Paid Nanny Tomorrow?

Lots of people babysit - some for the money and some because they love children. For a few, it can be the first step on the ladder to a highly lucrative career as a nanny. Good nannies are constantly in high demand and their earning potential is huge.

CEO's are desperate for decent childcare

Having problems with childcare causes stress to millions of families – whatever their income. Everyone would love to find the dream nanny and few do. A child-care meltdown happens to most people at one time or another.
CEO's may be high fliers but they are as prone to child care disasters as everyone else. In their desperation many CEO's are offering salaries in the region of $100,000 – more than some people with law degrees get!

Why Are They Paying So Much?

CEO's are highly paid because they are under a huge amount of pressure to deliver at work. Having a reliable, sensible nanny takes an enormous amount of worry out of their daily equation. Sudden business trips often arise and knowing that your children are in safe hands is worth a big salary.

CEO's spend more on childcare because they understand the associated legal and tax issues. They are also generally great to work for as they don’t want to risk a law suit for having their nanny in a ‘harsh work environment’.

How Does Someone Become A High-End Nanny?

Employers are more than willing to pay extra for someone with a degree in education, nursing or child psychology. In fact, many nanny agencies are now actively recruiting at colleges that major in child psychology, education and development. Most start on a salary of around $30,000 but can more than double that in a couple of years.

Personal Preference
Some employers like their nanny to have experience and to have been on some kind of training course. Others don’t mind so much and like the nanny to do things their way anyway. Some nanny agencies offer training

Common Sense is priceless!

Just being willing to show initiative is impressive. For instance, being prepared to take the car in for service, pick up dry cleaning and generally keep everything 'ticking over' – is seen as a desirable quality in a nanny. Other easily acquired skills, such as having a swimming certification, knowing CPR and knowing the latest childcare recommendations all look good on the CV.

A nanny is employed to make life easier for the parents of the family – so long hours (often around 60 hours a week) and working holidays are to be expected.

What Other Benefits Are There?

The homes that high-end nannies work in are usually ‘dream’ homes.
The food is commonly gourmet standard.
A nanny will often be given a car as part of the payment package.
Pay is often tax-free.
Foreign trips are standard. The nanny is still working but will enjoy first-class travel and often visits to expensive restaurants, museums, amusement parks and mind-blowing shopping trips.

If this sounds like a dream career to you - take the first step to making that dream come true. Visit for free tips, babysitting advice and how to claim a first aid book and babysitters handbook.

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