Parenting is one of the most challenging things you’ll ever do. Raising a baby through childhood isn’t easy, and it’s even harder for disabled parents. Especially those without a solid support system.
Disabled parents often have a harder time admitting when they need help. Every parent has days where they feel overwhelmed and in desperate need of respite, but disabled parents don’t always have the courage to stand up and ask for the help they need for fear of negativity from others like being seen as unfit to parent or unable to cope.
By welcoming a nanny into your family, you can gain the help you need without worrying about negativity – after all, it’s not like nannies are unheard of!
Here are our top reasons why a nanny is a perfect choice for disabled parents: read more…
Today is Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras, also known as pancake day! It’s the day before the start of Lent, the build up to Easter. Lent was traditionally a time of fasting so all the fat in the house needed to be used up. That’s what gave it the name Mardi (Tuesday) Gras (Fat). It’s also why we make pancakes because the recipe uses up fatty foods like eggs and milk, and sugar too because fasting meant giving up sweet things.
How to make pancakes:
4oz (110g) Flour
10floz (275ml) Milk
Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and break the eggs into another bowl or a jug then beat them
Mix the flour and eggs to a smooth paste using a fork of whisk, then slowly add the milk bit by bit whisking constantly. You want to avoid lumps so you need to whisk hard.
Heat a frying pan on a high heat (you want it good and hot) and add a little oil or butter. Use some kitchen paper towel to make sure all the pan is covered in a thin layer of fat and ladle in some batter. Tilt the pan to get the liquid batter to spread evenly and allow it to cook for a minute or so. When you shake the pan slightly a cooked pancake will be loose underneath. Flip it with a spatula or, if you’re brave, toss it to allow the other side to cook.
You can have sweet or savory fillings for your pancakes – here are some ideas:
Ham and cheese
Sugar and lemon juice
Caramel sauce and chocolate sauce (this is known as a carachoc in France, pronounced ca-ra-shock)
It might seem like a strange question, especially with all the warnings about children and screen time that are constantly in the news, but can blogging actually be beneficial for children?
According to online safety charity WiredSafety, in 2017, there were over 6 million children around the world, regularly writing blogs and whilst there are a number of dangers revolving around children and the internet, there are also a number of benefits to blogging.
Parents and childcarers – nannies, childminders, aupairs or nursery staff – are almost all familiar with the tantrums, but there can be differences of opinion on how to deal with them.
As a childcarer it’s difficult to bring up a sensitive subject. Tantrums are an entirely normal phase of development, coming from a child’s desire to show their independence and assert themselves or an inability to communicate, and intellectually parents know that but no-one likes to hear that their child has been ‘misbehaving’.
Parents may not share details of the behaviours with childcarers, perhaps feeling that it’s a reflection on their parenting skills, or perceived lack thereof. Children do often save their worst behaviour for their parents but it is not a sign of weakness to make others aware of facts.
It’s important that neither party shies away from discussing the issue. The best way to deal with tantrums is a consistent approach from everyone involved. That way a child quickly learns what the limits are and that having a paddy isn’t an effective way of getting what they want. Communicating also allows parents and childcarers to share tips and tricks. Parents may know what frustrates their child and be adept at handling it so sharing that information with their child’s carer is vital to help prevent tantrums. Childcarers may be able to offer strategies that have worked with other children or reassure parents that their child is indeed learning to deal with frustration and that the tantrums will soon decrease.
Toddlers especially need to make sense of the world. It’s reassuring for them to have a set of consistent rules and boundaries, consistent positive attention for good behaviour and a consistent response to a tantrum. It’s especially important that everyone is on the same page when it comes to safety. Communicating about expectations and accommodating each other’s practices where possible makes the transition as easy as possible for children and avoids unnecessary tantrums.
Children also need autonomy. Some adults are inclined to say ‘no’ to anything out of the ordinary, even when it’s perfectly possible to accommodate a request, and others will bend over backwards to comply. Obviously in group childcare settings it’s more difficult to deal with individual whims, and it doesn’t do any good to spoil children by giving in to them all the time, but by working together parents and carers can agree what will or won’t be accommodated.
Finally, while it’s important to communicate between adults it’s also important not to let what happens when you aren’t there affect your relationship with a child. Sharing information should help you understand and deal with tantrums, but it needs to be done sensitively and with respect.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen a significant rise in internet fraud, phishing scams and other ‘traps’ that aim to trick victims into handing over money, providing sensitive information or even putting themselves in physical danger.
To help you stay safe when applying for your next nanny job, we’ve put together our top online safety tips for nannies:
Why Become a Childminder?
Becoming a childminder has been a popular career choice in recent years. Many stay-at-home parents choose to become registered childminders because it gives them the flexibility of being able to work from home, during hours that suit, and still being able to look after their own children.
Some people believe that childminding is just a pocket-money job for stay at home parents, but this is not the case. Childminders are professional childcare providers who have undergone a registration process, which ensures that they are suitable for caring for other peoples’ children.
- In order to become a registered childminder, you will need to attend a pre-registration session at which you will receive all the information you’ll need, plus an application pack and information about the Early Years Foundation Stage. To find out when and where the next pre-registration session will be, contact your local authority. They will also be able to provide information on the availability of childminder start-up grants that may be available to you. Like any new business, there is an initial investment.
- If you decide to go ahead with your application to be a registered childminder, you will need to submit your application along with your registration fee.
- Next, you will need to have a CRB check – Ofsted will advise you on how to go about this. Additionally, anybody over the age of 16 who is regularly in your home will need to have a CRB check. You will also need to be registered with the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA)
- You will then be subject to an inspection by Ofsted, where you will need to prove that you meet the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage.
- Before you are registered, you will have to attend a paediatric first aid course. Within 6 months of your registration, you will also be required to complete a childcare course.
Contrary to what you might believe, you don’t need a big house and garden to be a childminder. You don’t need to own your home either. However, your home should be safe and suitable for children of all ages. You will need to invest in safety gates in order to stop small children attempting to climb stairs unassisted, and you may need to get some cupboard locks for your kitchen cupboards.
You will need to have toys and books for the children but these needn’t cost the earth – excellent quality toys and books can be picked up second hand for very good prices at car boot sales, charity shops and in local classifieds.
An outside space is a bonus, and some parents may prefer their children to have the option of playing outside whilst with their childminder, but if you don’t have a garden there’s no need to worry. The first priority of most parents is not the garden space of their children’s prospective childminder – their ability to lovingly care for their children is far more important.
How many New Year’s resolutions have you seen or heard from your family, friends and co-workers so far? How many of those were about weight, smoking, drinking, or travel? How many of those were about parenting or childcare? I’m guessing the latter was a significantly smaller number than the former.
This New Year, wouldn’t it be nice for us to make a New Year’s resolution that will not only benefit ourselves but our children and the rest of our family? That’s why we’ve put together a list of areas that we can all try to improve upon in the New Year when it comes to caring for our children.
Christmas is, apparently, the most wonderful time of the year. And indeed it can be!
However, it can also be one of the most fraught.
The Christmas hype begins in mid-October usually, slowly gaining in momentum and
causing most of us – children included – to be worn out, stressed and anxious by the
middle of December.
This article aims to help you reduce, control and hopefully eliminate a lot of the stress
surrounding the Christmas period, allowing you and your family to have the most
relaxing Christmas possible.
#1 – Don’t stress on the presents
We all want to shower our nearest and dearest with amazing presents that they’ll
love and cherish forever. Christmas is all about giving – but that doesn’t necessarily
mean spending the most money (or very much money at all). The stress of trying
to find perfect gifts, and worrying that you haven’t got enough presents for your
children, can put a dampener on the whole festive period. Remember – it’s supposed
to be enjoyable. Handmade presents, pre-agreed spending limits and Secret Santa
arrangements are all great ways to take the focus off the gifts without ruining
#2 – Be realistic
The Christmas period – Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day – are just
three days of the year, and you can guarantee it’s going to fly by faster than usual.
Don’t try to pack the days full of visits to other peoples’ homes, activities and various
other commitments – young children especially will often find this very stressful,
along with the excitement and routine-changes that Christmas brings. Be realistic
about what your family can handle – after all, it’s your Christmas too.
#3 – Be lenient
Children love Christmas – however, it can be very stressful for them, too. And
children don’t tend to handle stress very well, especially not when full of sugar
and excitement. Meltdowns are inevitable – when they happen, take a deep breath
and empathise with the child. Tell them you hear their frustration, and that you
understand. If younger children are over-stimulated, take them off to a quiet room to
read a story or maybe even have a nap to allow them to recharge their little batteries.
#4 – Relax!
Ok, a lot easier said than done, we know. Christmas is a great time of year but it can
put a lot of extra pressure on families, too. Dealing with difficult family members
you wouldn’t normally see, spending a lot of time together in close quarters, pent
up excitement from the children and trying to organise the day itself can put a lot of
strain on parents. At every opportunity, put your feet up and do your best to unwind.
#5 – Remember what’s important
Christmas means a lot of different things to people, but one theme that tends to run
through everybody’s celebrations is that of love, family and togetherness. Let the
little things go and cherish this time you have together as a family. Take hundreds of
photos, eat chocolate until you feel sick and take joy in seeing pure magic light up the
faces of your children as they spot their full stockings for the first time.
Above all, enjoy! Merry Christmas!
Christmas time is never short of inspiration for parents, nannies and childminders alike for creative projects for the children to undertake. Here are three simple projects to get you all started, which can be easily adapted to all age groups from about 2 years onwards (although little ones will certainly enjoy joining in if you can handle the mess!).
Salt Dough Christmas Decorations
Making salt dough decorations is incredibly cheap, fun and creative. It’s a great project for children of all ages, although children under the age of 2 might be more interested in eating the dough rather than creating Christmas decorations!
To make salt dough, all you need is:
- ½ cup salt
- ½ cup water
- 1 cup flour
Simply combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, and then slowly add the water as you mix. The dough should eventually form a soft, pliable ball. You can add more flour or water if the dough is too sticky, or too dry.
Then, you can make your decorations! Use pastry cutters to make shapes, or knead the dough into shapes by hand (you can use a little olive oil to moisturise the dough if needs be). To harden the finished shapes, lay them on greaseproof paper on a plate and pop them in the microwave for two or three minutes. If you don’t have access to a microwave, they will harden after a couple of days air drying or you can put them in a very low oven (you may need to cover them with foil to stop them from browning).
Once they are hard and dry, they can be decorated with whatever the children wish! Glitter glue, paint, sequins and even spray paint! Finish up with a coat of clear varnish if you want them to keep until next year.
At Christmas time, with all of the hype and excitement over presents, food and pretty lights, it can be easy to forget about the spirit of the festivities – the spirit of giving. A simple, ongoing project for Christmas time that teaches children about the true meaning of Christmas is the Advent Challenge. The concept is simple – every day, do something to put somebody else first. This could mean sharing a special toy with a sibling, choosing an item of clothing to donate to a shelter or charity shop, or taking on an extra chore around the house to ease the load of a parent or sibling. Make sure the giving is on the child’s terms, or it negates the whole point of finding joy in helping others.
Make a Family Christmas Memory Book
A lovely project for children at Christmas is making a ‘memory book’ about their family celebrations. All families celebrate a little differently, and each family has their own little traditions that make their Christmas unique. The book could be in chronological story form, with each page detailing a different part of the day, or it could be a more random collection of the things the children love most about their own individual family Christmases.
3 Simple Projects for Children at Christmas
Your nanny’s annual leave can sometimes be difficult to negotiate, especially at Christmas time. When making your own plans for work and time off over the Christmas season, you will need to take your nanny’s plans and needs into account as well.
So, how can you strike a balance between your childcare needs, and your nanny’s need for time off over Christmas? How can you keep your nanny happy without leaving yourself in a tricky situation?
Fairly negotiate holiday entitlements
If your nanny is full time, and is given the minimum 4 weeks of paid annual leave each year, a good compromise can be that she chooses when to take two weeks of her holiday, and you choose the other two weeks. This is to prevent situations such as you choosing to go on holiday, leaving her with no work to do and (quite rightly) expecting payment. You will likely both have to compromise a little but this is much fairer than things going in just one party’s favour. Make sure that these arrangements are put in writing and signed by both parties, to ensure that nobody will be surprised or let down later on. Most nannies will have terms in their contracts that cover issues surrounding annual leave, so you both ought to know where you stand from the beginning.
Plan in advance
Christmas may seem a whole world away earlier in the year, but it is worth discussing in advance what your plans are for the Christmas period, and what your nanny wants to do. She may have quite specific days that she wishes to be off, or she may be quite happy to be flexible. If she has her own family, it is pretty safe to say that she will want a decent amount of time off over Christmas. Agreeing these things in advance, and then putting them in writing, will hopefully avoid disagreements later down the line. If you know that your nanny would like some time off over Christmas and New Year, you will have plenty of time to organise things at your workplace so that you can be home, or so that you can make alternative arrangements for the care of your children.
Offer benefits – especially at Christmas
Remember, your nanny is your employee. If she doesn’t feel appreciated, she may well look elsewhere for work. You may wish to give her some extra holiday on full pay over Christmas as a thank you for her hard work throughout the year, or a monetary bonus of some kind. Although unsociable hours can sometimes be a part of a nanny’s job description, those hours should always be agreed in advance and not dropped on her suddenly – especially not over Christmas and New Year when she may have her own special arrangements.
Remember, although you are your nanny’s employer, she is a special part of your family. The relationship should be kept warm yet professional. As long as everybody is honest and upfront early about their needs and wishes over the festive season, there should be no reason for any aggravation.