Grandparents are such a vital component of the family unit. They are our elders, our mentors, and precious resources of our family history. We look to them to guide us with their wisdom and years of life experience. As precious as they are…a visit from our charges Grandparents can prove uncomfortable and often stressful. What can you do as a Nanny to alleviate some of the stress and awkwardness?
Imagine, if you will, being a Grandparent and looking forward to a much anticipated visit with your Grandchildren only to find them cowering away from you and clinging to Nanny. If they Grandparents live long distance and your charges are young this could be a common scene. Think about the hurt that Grandparent may feel…
How can you assist in fostering bonding between your young charge and the Grandparent? I’m hopeful that this article will help guide you on bonding tips in the following ways:
- When Grandparents are not near
- When a Grandparents visit is approaching
- After the Grandparent arrives for the visit
Additionally, I feel these techniques can also build a bridge to a healthy and mutually respectful relationship between Nanny and Grandparents.
1. Here are a few ideas on how to make Grandparents a part of your weekly routine even when THEY ARE NOT NEARBY:
- Incorporate Grandparents names into songs your charges already know. “Grandpa Jed had a farm e-i-e-i-o” or “You’re Grammie’s sunshine, her only sunshine, you make her happy when skies are grey”
- Make a photo album for your charge including photos of the Grandparents. Leave it with the toys or books so your charge has easy access to looking at it while at play.
- Talk about the Grandparents while enjoying your daily routine. “Gigi loves bananas. I’m glad you eat bananas just like Gigi” or “I like bath time. Remember when Pop-Pop gave you a bath and put bubbles in your hand?”
- FaceTime! Skype! The visual connection is a great bonding technique.
- Ask the Grandparent to leave a voicemail for your charge on your cell phone. You can quickly access it and play it via speaker phone to keep your young charge familiar with the sound of the Grandparents voice. Recordable storybooks are another great tool!
- Send art in the mail. Text or email pictures of your charges day and tell them key points such as funny things your charge said or something new they learned.
2. Prepare your charges when the UPCOMING VISIT IS APPROACHING and show enthusiasm about the visit.
- Talk about the last fun visit with the Grandparents to help refresh your charges memory. Use pictures from the last visit as a visual!
- Involve your charges in making a welcome sign, card, or artwork for the Grandparents arrival. Your charges will feel a sense of pride and it is a great conversation starter for when the Grandparents arrive. We also like making “love notes” to place on their pillows or bathroom mirror.
- Perhaps your Nanny Family has an itinerary of sorts when they have guests. Talk about some of the things your charge will be doing with the Grandparents during their visit. Get them excited!
3. Grandparents need to feel wanted, welcomed, and that their contributions to the family are valued. Below are some ideas to help you bond with your charges Grandparents and let them know they are an important part of the family unit WHILE THEY ARE VISITING:
- Ask them to tell cute kid stories or fond memories about their own children. Ask if they see any similarities in your charge and the parent.
- Ask them about recipes they made for your employer when they were growing up. Ask if they have any food ideas for your charges.
- “DB mentioned your make the best lasagna on the planet. Would you be willing to make it while you’re visiting?”
- Encourage your charges to interact and seek help from the Grandparents.
- “I’m putting my shoes on. Can you ask Grandpa if he can zip your coat?”
- “Grandma used to make Daddy’s snack. Lets ask her to help us make your snack”
- “When Mommy was a little girl Mimi brushed her hair. I bet she can brush your hair just like Mommy’s!”
- Invite the Grandparents to come with you to school pick up/drop off. Enthusiastically introduce them to your charges teacher!
- Bring the Grandparents along on an outing!
- “<insert charges name> would love to show you how he has learned to go on the big sliding board. Are you available to join us at the park today?”
- “Would you be interested in going to The Little Gym with us tomorrow? <insert charges name> is starting to work on the balance beam!”
- Get the Grandparents excited to teach their Grandchildren about things they did when they were younger.
- “MB told me you played tennis in college. Would you be interested in helping us choose a child size racket?
- “I understand you used to volunteer for a fire department. Would you enjoy going with us to visit a local station? I’m sure you would have great stories and information to share with us.”
Enjoy the next visit from the Grandparents and remember that you are a dynamic component of building the bond between Grandchild and Grandparent!
Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do. Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children.-Alex Haley
Written by Tracey Chipps
Tracey Chipps has been a Professional Career Nanny for over 18 years. During her career she has worked with a variety of types of families. She has experience with typically developing children as well as those with special needs.
Nanny Tracey is at again with another healthy recipe for us. She made this yummy detox salad the other week and raved about it.
Ever feel like your body just needs a ‘detox’? All the over-indulgence of the holidays (because they just seem to keep coming!), and you feel like your body is craving something healthy and nutritious? I know this happens to me frequently. Of course, I admit, I splurge a little to often!
All of the ingredients ready to be stirred together. Look at all
of those beautiful and natural colors!
Blended together beautifully and ohhh so delicious!
For the entire article and recipe please visit:
Warm Lemon water has LOADS of Vitamin C and other benefits to help us fight colds and flu bugs. As a follow up to Tracey Chipps’ Monday Moxie titled
Preparing your body for cold & flu season, she wanted us to know about the benefits of drinking lemon water!
….Their pièce de résistance however, lies in their astonishingly high levels of Vitamin C. One lemon contains a whopping 187% of the recommended daily allowance.
Vitamin C is one of the quickest and easiest ways to boost your immune system. It helps neutralize free radicals associated with aging and disease and it’s also excellent for the skin.
To read the rest of the benefits of lemons and warm water please visit Reboot with Joe’s article
by Tracey Chipps
*Drink plenty of water!
*Rest, relaxation, & sleep!
*Healthy and well balanced eating!
“This one’s my favorite. This is something you can make right in your kitchen with a combination of a few healthy antimicrobial ingredients:1 TBSP raw honey½ clove raw garlic (minced)1/8 TSP cinnamon½ inch fresh ginger, (peeled and minced)¼ inch fresh turmeric root (peeled and minced)Mix all 5 of these ingredients togetherStir it into a nice paste, then eat it!Its actually quite delicious, the honey does a nice job of making it all very palatable. Do this at the first sign of symptoms, and again before bed that night. Take some again in the morning and until you feel well. This has worked miracles with me. Magic! If you only have some of these ingredients, go ahead and make it anyway, each of these has anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial properties and heal in their own ways.”
…great for brain development!
by Tracey Chipps
You’ve heard the term “music makes the world go ’round”. Music makes a child’s “sensory environment go ’round” as well! Experimenting with a variety of sounds will enrich our charges sensory environment. We often focus on tastes and textures or exposing our charges to different colors. But, how often do you stop to discuss and play with the sounds you hear every day in music? Loud, soft, steady, slow, fast or slow rhythms and beats? How often do you get down on your charges level and clap your hands to the beat of a song or tap your knee as you read rhythmic books?
Children ages 1-3 begin to benefit most from music when they can have a hands on experience. Casually listening to music in the background while at play or drifting off to sleep is beneficial and enjoyable. However, when you give a child an active encounter with music such as with exploring with musical instruments many thing begin to happen within the brain.
The frontal lobes of our charges brains are stimulated when exposed to music. The frontal lobe is where our skills for language and motor development are formed. This frontal lobe portion of our brain is also where our decision making skills come into play. Now your getting it right? Participating in music NOW is setting our little ones up for success LATER in life!
Hands on musical experiences with drums, shakers, tambourines, and other instruments help form more trails between the cells in their developing brains. These neural connections lead our charges to better reading and math. Simply turning on the radio in the car or playing a cd while your charge is building with blocks make these brain connections too, but the most successful way is actively being engaged with the music.
I’m going to show you two instruments that my charge and I made together from re-purposed items. In the following photos you will see how we created a shaker from an empty salt container. You will also see our homemade drum!
The ideas are endless and soon you will be creating your own homemade instruments too. I hope you will share your creative instrument ideas with me!
Summer is finally here! The kids are out of school and its getting hot out there! “I’m bored”, “What can we do now?”, “I’m hot”, or “I’m tired of doing that”. Oh boy! We’ve all heard those phrases come out of the mouths of our charges. When the routine of the pool and the water sprinkler park get too mundane what’s a Nanny to do? Here’s a project that you can easily and affordably create to throw a little something new into the summer time mix.
This recipe for frozen fun is made using a Rubbermaid type container, water, and a collection of toys or objects safe for freezing. After frozen, this project can be used to entertain and teach charges from toddler, older child, to teen. I will give you a quick overview of how to make this effortless project and provide ideas to customize it toward different age groups.
- The first thing you will need is a plastic container. It can be small, medium, or large and of any shape from square, rectangle, to round. It is preferable to have a container with a lid but it is not required if you have freezer space that will ensure the container will not tip over and spill.
- Place about approximately 1 ½ inches of water in the container and arrange a few of the objects you have chosen into the bottom. Place in freezer and allow the first layer to become firm.
- You can then add the second layer of water and objects, allow it to freeze and repeat. This method of layering will allow the object to freeze in position throughout the ice block rather than all objects clustering together. Remember to leave at least a half inch of space between your last layer and the top of the container because, as you know,water expands when it freezes.
- When all layers are completely frozen it is time for the party to begin! It is quite easy to pop this frozen ice block out of its plastic container by running a little warm water over the container.
As shown below in the photos, I used this frozen ice project in a water play table with my toddler charge. Some other places you can take the fun are in a swimming pool, sink, on a baking tray on the porch, in the driveway, or in the bathtub. We chose to handle the cold cube with bare hands and watch it change while melting but you can also provide tools for your charges to work the objects out of the ice. Closely supervise so they do not hurt themselves with the tools or break any of the objects within the ice.
Choose the objects to include in the container to make it appropriate for a variety of ages. Many of these items will be found around the house or you can find new items at the Dollar Tree or similar type store.
Toddler: ABC magnets, rubber animal bath toys, plastic shapes, or teething rings.
Older Child: plastic necklaces, coins, beads, cars, hair accessories, buttons, or Legos.
Teens: Yes! You can also use this frozen activity in a creative way for teens! As grown up as they may seem, they do still enjoy having fun and being silly! Ideas for a teen could be to add a couple of low dollar gift cards, earrings, coins for pool vending machines, movie tickets, a special note or other passes (enclosed in a zip lock bag before emerging in water), key chains, colored shoelaces, hair accessories, or get their house key cut into a funky pattern.
Consider going with a nature theme using rocks, feathers, small sticks, blades of grass, or flower petals. You know all of those shells and treasures you brought back from the beach trip? Make a beach theme ice block and talk about the beach memories!
This activity can be a great start to discussing temperature, textures, colors, shapes, counting…..the learning opportunity is whatever you make it!
Make this activity ahead and have it on hands for when you really need a fun break, some diversity to your routine, to reward a well behaved charge, or to simply help cool off. Enjoy!
Written by Tracey Chipps
Tracey Chipps has been a Professional Career Nanny for 18 years. During her career she has worked with a variety of types of families. She has experience with typically developing children as well as those with special needs. Tracey is the founder of Triangle Area Nanny Group (T.A.N.G.) in Durham, NC. If you would like more information on joining T.A.N.G, please email TANGnanny (at) gmail (dot) com .
Cute Rubber Ducky…but, what’s inside doesn’t look so cute!
While bathing Baby J one evening, I noticed that our cute yellow ducky bath toy had an odd color showing from within. Could this be the nasty mold I had been hearing about or was it simply discoloration from the aging rubber toy? I set the questionable toy aside so Baby J would no longer be exposed….just in case. I continued the fun with the smaller rubber bath toys by having penguin and frog romp in the soapy water and starfish and crab do the Cupid Shuffle down the side of the bathtub. As Baby J giggled at my show I wondered if the same discoloration was happening inside these darker colored toys.
Only one thing could tame my curiosity…yellow duck had to go under the knife! (Don’t look Nanny Dana! Rubber Ducky was a gift from sweet Dana).What I found inside after carefully slicing the rubber toy with a sharp butcher knife was disgusting black mold. Sadly, Ducky had to hit the road followed by all of his little friends! Moist environments promote mold and bacteria and these rubber bath toys are the perfect host! They have a small opening which is easy for water to get in but not so easy for the air to enter to dry the toy out. Some of the molds that are found in our charges bath toys can include molds that cause staph infections and intestinal and respiratory issues. If you have charges with asthma some of these molds could possibly cause their symptoms to flare. You may notice a lingering cough in your charge and it is possible that moldy bath toys could be the reason. Tummy cramping and diarrhea could also ensue after our babies and toddlers playfully put these mold filled toys to their mouth.
Dr. Paul Williams of Northwest Asthma and Allergy Center and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Section on Allergy and Immunology was quoted in an article by Leigh Balber as saying, “[Parents] don’t need to be worried in the sense that their child’s health may be harmed by ordinary quantities of mold in the environment. There are thousands of mold spores in the air that we breathe every day. So, in a lot of ways, molds are just a part of our everyday environment and our system handles it quite nicely.”
The article also noted Dr. Konopasek, an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at New York-Presbyterian/Weil Cornell Medical Center and mother of two as saying, “The likelihood of a child getting sick from this is close to zero,” but adds that kids who would be at risk are those with immune problems and those younger than three months old. That may be true, but that is not good enough for my Baby J! If he is going to slurp bath water from toys (because we all know that our charges do despite our urges for them to stop!), I want him to slurp from a toy that I can actually see from all sides. As his Nanny I am responsible for his well being and I am certainly not taking any chances!
While there are methods of cleaning bath toys on a regular basis from using simple soap and warm water to using bleach or vinegar mixture we are taking a stronger approach in our bath tub environment. Baby J’s bath toys now include only toys we can clean easily and without small holes that can harbor water. Toys such as hand sized balls, small buckets, stacking toys with no holes, and terry cloth puppets can be great choices for fun in the tub. Select safe recyclable items such as small plastic juice bottles can be used and put out for the recycle when your charge loses interest. Plastic boats that have a top that easily pulls apart to clean are also fun. (To keep in good graces with Baby J, Nanny Dana replaced Rubber Ducky with a new and similar version. We will keep an eye on Ducky!) Keep in mind that even these toys that are less likely to harbor mold still need sanitized regularly by either using the methods mentioned above our by running them through the dishwasher.
Now that this moldy issue has been brought to your attention, take time to evaluate your charges bath toys. Those that already have mold should be disposed of immediately and those that you even suspect could be containing mold you will want to be tossed out as well. Talk about this with your employers so you can all be aware of the possible dangers and be a team in providing a safe and fun bath time experience for the children. Rub a dub dub play safe in the tub!!
written by Tracey Chipps