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Parents

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Baby Proofing Your Home

Protect Your Baby and Your Home at the Same Time

Baby proofing your home is hardly a one-time event. As your child grows, so do potential hazards they’ll face and opportunities for your child to dirty and destroy your home that you just spent what felt like hours making spotless. Because let’s face it – although small, children have the unique ability to get into everything and create disorder. Protecting your child as well as your home means preventing accidents and staying ahead of their little curiosities. 

It doesn’t matter what style of home you live in, perhaps you live in a single-story condo in Miami, FL or a three-story home in Atlanta, GA, baby proofing your space is vital to your child’s safety while keeping your home clean and protected from damage. What will your child be able to get into once they start crawling, walking, or even climbing? It’shard to tell, but taking the necessary steps to keep your home clean, and baby proofing to minimize any potential damage they could cause to themselves or your home can give you peace of mind.

Baby Proofing Your Home at Every Stage

Your baby may not begin crawling for many months, but baby proofing your home and setting up a stylish yet safe nursery beforehand is a smart way to create a safe environment for your child while reducing the chances of damage to your home in the near future. Consider taking the following safety measures while baby proofing your home:

Optimising your home for an infant

  • Keep baby monitors and cords three feet away from the crib.
  • Keep the crib free of pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals.
  • Make sure changing and bath areas are secure to prevent slips, rolls, and tumbles.
  • As your baby proofing, secure all cords, including those on blinds and window coverings. Remember, any cord can be a hazard. Consider installing safety tassels or cord stops to tuck away the cords.
  • Place the crib away from any windows, heaters, lamps, wall decorations, and cords. 

Preparing your home for a crawling baby

  • Cover electrical outlets with electrical plugs and remove nightlights, air fresheners, and other plugins that are easy to pull out.
  • Secure or hide electrical cords. They’ll be sure to pull down anything they’re attached to making a lamp, stereo, or TV come crashing down on them and the floor.
  • Close the toilet lid or place a latch on top.
  • Add padding to tables with sharp corners or edges and Install finger-pinch guards for hinges on doors.
  • When you’re baby proofing, install latches on doors, especially to stairs, cabinets, and appliances.
  • Place cleaning products and other toxic chemicals in a safe, dry place with a latch or lock.
  • Always keep the floor and low tables clear of small debris and other choking hazards.
  • Empty bathtubs and buckets of water immediately after use.
  • Use baby gates to keep your child safe from stairs or rooms that haven’t been childproofed.
  • Anchor your television and unstable furniture, such as bookcases, dressers, and loose tables.

Protecting your home from a toddler while keeping them safe

  • Keep all windows latched and add stoppers so they can’t be raised if they are accidentally unlatched. Kids not only can easily make holes in screens using their fingers and toys, but can also fall out of windows if they lean on the screens.
  • Keep medicines in childproof containers in high cabinets that latch or lock. 
  • Keep hot foods and liquids in the center of tables or at the back of counters.
  • Make sure knobs on your stove and oven are securely covered or removed so your toddler doesn’t turn them on and possibly cause a fire.
  • Make sure doors lock from the outside so your toddler can’t accidentally lock themself in a room.
  • Secure doors that provide access to off-limit areas, like garages or workshops. 

Keeping your home clean and orderly at every stage

As you know, baby’s require a lot of attention and energy. As infants, it can feel like a never-ending cycle of feeding, burping, wiping, bathing, holding and cuddling, and finally, putting them to bed. So it may feel next to impossible to find the time and muster up the courage to face your household chores. Luckily, before your children can walk, you don’t need to worry about a mess scattered throughout the home. 

When your baby begins to crawl, they’re on the move and they will start getting into anything and everything within reach. However, keeping your house clean with a toddler is probably the biggest challenge. No matter what stage your child is at, the minute you’re finished cleaning one mess, another one is waiting for you. Whether it’s toys scattered around the room, food smeared on your furniture, or tiny handprints left on your sliding glass door, there is always something to clean up. Here are some ways to stay ahead of the mess at every stage:

Keeping your home clean with an infant

  • Do laundry regularly. Laundry can become a time-consuming task if the clothes begin piling up.
  • Declutter and organize. Always have a designated spot for everything such as toys, baby clothes, medications, and bibs.
  • Keep diapers, cleaning cloths and wipes, and cleaning supplies stored in various areas throughout the home in case of an accident.
  • Clean your home before going to bed. Let’s face it, you’ll get better sleep knowing it’s been done.
  • Apply a fabric and upholstery protective spray to your furniture to prevent any stains from accidents or spills.
  • Lay down blankets to protect your carpet or area rug during tummy time or when changing their diaper.
  • Consider purchasing a handheld shampooer for your rug or carpet to keep your carpet clean and reach deeper dirt, food, or stains.
  • Place baby wipes and supplies out of reach of the baby, but keep them handy for any accidents.

Managing the mess with a crawling child

  • Keep markers, pens, or crayons out of your child’s reach to avoid any upholstery or walls from getting drawn on.
  • Use safe-spill drinking cups to avoid spills and stains.
  • Pack away any valuables and breakables, and any furniture or decor that could be damaged.
  • Store dry goods, heavy kitchen supplies, oils and spices, and sharp objects in an upper cabinet or a locked cabinet. 
  • Find a safe place for everything so it’s easy to return your house back to normal after your baby goes to sleep.
  • Purchase a basket or bin to hold your child’s toys. Having a set place for their toys can help to keep your house less cluttered.

Tidying up your home with a toddler

  • Create designated play areas in your home.
  • Establish a cleaning routine and have your toddler help out so they’re invested in the cleaning process too.
  • Consider placing rugs down to save your floors from scratches or dents.
  • Vacuum regularly to pick up any dirt or spilled food.
  • Give away or store any clothes, toys, or supplies that your toddler has outgrown.

Maintaining a healthy Nanny/Employer relationship

Maintaining that Nanny/employer relationship is one of the most difficult relationships to manage. It is easy to blur together the professional and personal boundaries, causing emotions to often run high. While everyone’s best interest is in the child/children, differing viewpoints on how to achieve a goal can cause underlying tension in the relationship. However everyone needs to remember that they are a TEAM and everyone is working equally as hard to make sure that the child has the best balance and start in life.

Keeping that balance is key to having a healthy relationship and I find that when these 5 tips are followed your Nanny/employee relationship is successful.

  • Be respectful

Respecting each other goes a long way in this relationship, if you have this, then your relationship will work. For example, respecting each other’s space, working and living in a private household is a challenge due to the intimacy you have when it comes to drawing that line of ‘off duty’ and ‘on duty’. It is difficult to do this sometimes particularly when younger children are in the house, when the Nanny lives in the family home, young children will never understand when their Nanny is off and on. So it is easy for them to be calling the Nanny’s name on weekends around the house or coming into their bedroom asking questions or even just wanting their company. Families need to be mindful of the Nannies privacy so they feel like they have had a break, but of course Nannies do have to be flexible with this and understand that this will happen – anyway to be loved so much by someone so little isn’t such a bad thing is it.

Another way to be respectful is respecting your contract/work agreement, make sure you are turning up to work on time just as the employers should be returning home from work on time.

  • Be flexible, when possible

We all realize that not everyone’s plan/schedule will run smoothly every week and so both parties need to be flexible. As part of a Nannies job a lot of the time families will specify at interview or in the contract that they need flexibility as routines can quite often change especially if they travel a great deal etc. Nannies and employers often work general business hours which leaves little time for other personal matters, for example doctors/dentist appointment’s. Making time for these things in each other’s schedule’s will help Nannies/employers feel supported in taking care of themselves and their personal business.

  • Show appreciation

Showing appreciation is so important and doing this action can go a long way.  It can be as little as writing a note, or giving a bunch of flowers. These unexpected things can make someone feel valued.

  • Give incentive

It is always nice to give incentives to Nannies to allow them to feel appreciated and give them a desire to continue their great work and to always go above and beyond. A good way to do this could be, salary increases, bonuses, gym membership, days off, reward cards to their favorite coffee shop/food or retail outlet.

  • Be committed

Investing time in finding the right Nanny for your family takes time and chances are you want the relationship to work just as much as the Nanny wants the employment. There will be high and low points as always in any relationship but knowing you are both committed makes those small hiccups easier to overcome. The Nanny/employer relationship is a rewarding one and so putting in that effort will make a difference, at the end of the day everyone just wants what is best for the child/children.

 

 

Benefits of hiring a Nanny

How to decide whether hiring a Nanny is best for you and your child

When it comes to childcare, how do you decide if hiring a Nanny or using a daycare is the best option for your child/children? Suitcase Nanny tells all about the benefits of hiring a Nanny.

Nannies come with a wealth of information and will either have experience and/or qualifications that enable them to provide excellent care for your child. Some Nannies will have gained all their experience after working for many years with families first hand whereas other nannies may have studied or be new to Nanny life and taken courses to broaden their knowledge before taking that first position.

To list a few Nanny duties:

  • Be aware of educational and development milestones for each child and ensure your child is properly stimulated throughout the day
  • Nannies sometimes take on Nursery related duties (taking care of child’s clothes, meal prep, tidying of child’s spaces)
  • Ensure the safety of your child at all times when on duty
  • Work alongside other household staff members when needed including chefs/housekeepers/drivers
  • Arrange playdates/educational classes and activities that will benefit your child
  • Liaise with parents regularly to ensure everyone has the same common goals for the child

Benefits of hiring a Nanny

First of all, you get to know the Nanny as a person and in your own time which will enable you to build trust with this person. Having a Nanny in your home also allows you to keep an eye on her and your child. Some families choose to have Nanny cams fitted in their home so they can check up on their house while they are away or at work, this gives some parents peace of mind and sense of security when leaving someone alone with their child. When hiring a Nanny from an agency, in most cases you would not need to do background checks as the agency would have completed this all for you. Most Nannies that are found through an agency are required to have a minimum level of childcare experience, CRB check and first aid certificates. While having a Nanny and it being a professional role in some cases families do start to think of the Nanny as part of their family however you need to keep in mind that you are their employer and this is their job and so maintaining that balance of professional and personal boundaries is important to avoid conflict.

Key points of hiring a Nanny include:

  • Solely focused care for your child/children, your Nanny can then focus on the exact needs of your child individually and attend to them efficiently and attentively
  • Children will have a strong attachment to their Nanny and feel safe and secure with another person other than their parents, parents can feel reassured their child is being taken care by someone who loves them as much as they do
  • Trust issues are higher due to that personal working relationship between Nanny and the family
  • Routines can be tailored to each child being taken care of
  • Nannies will try and make the child’s day as productive as possible
  • Nannies can teach your child a language, many families now opt for a Nanny that speaks several languages
  • Nannies sort schedules and routines for the child so parents can have peace of mind that their child is being fully stimulated throughout the day and is sleeping/eating correctly
  • Nannies can create healthy meal plans for the child
  • Due to the nature of Nannies working relationship with the family, they often help out and do extra hours when needed and can be on call for if emergencies arise subject to contract agreement
  • Any issues or problems that arise with childcare can be discussed and amended quickly due to the personal relationship
  • As the Nanny will be working in the family home parents have more opportunities to fit in seeing their child more often around their schedule. For example, if parents come home during lunch breaks they get to see their child, this is harder to do if the child is in a daycare centre.
  • Having a Nanny will also help your child become familiar with other people. When your Nanny takes the child to classes and activities outside the home your child will be constantly interacting with other children/caregivers.

So, the only thing to do now if you are thinking of hiring a Nanny is finding the best one suitable for your family’s needs.

Register with Suitcase Nanny here and let us show you how we can help to find the best Nanny for your family. We have a guide specifically tailored to ‘hiring a Nanny’ which gives a lot of advice, guidance and information that will reassure you that choosing a Nanny is the right thing for your family.

Please note Suitcase Nanny will not find you a Nanny but will give you the guidance needed for finding the right one.

Deciding on hosting an Aupair

How to decide whether hosting an Aupair in best for your family

Many families choose to host Aupairs rather than hiring a Nanny because of the low cost.  Aupairs are seen as temporary family members who you pay a stipend for (pocket money) because they care for your child/children.

The pros of hosting an Aupair:

  • Cultural exchange – Your family will get to know more about another country and other cultures, this also will benefit your child and raise their cultural awareness and tolerance.
  • Low cost – Hosting an Aupair is more affordable than hiring a Nanny or paying for your child to attend Nursery.
  • Flexible time – As the Aupair lives with your family you have the flexibility to assign childcare related tasks when you need them to fit around your schedule staying within the maximum allowed number of working hours.
  • General duties – The Aupair can do light household chores and help around the house which enables you to spend more time with your children after a busy day at work.
  • Another language – Many Aupairs come from other cultural backgrounds and speak other languages and so your family could have the chance to learn another language by hiring a native speaker.
  • The length of time an Aupair can stay – Aupairs can stay for up to two years on an Aupair exchange program visa (this may vary based on location) which gives your child reassurance and a long enough time to create a bond with that person.

The cons of hosting an Aupair:

  • Loss of privacy – An Aupair lives in your home and this will have an influence on your privacy, you definitely get to know each other quicker and have to be open-minded and understanding of someone else’s personal habits.
  • Living costs – When you host an Aupair this means there is an extra person in your home and so you have to be prepared for your bills to increase such as phone, fuel, water, food, heating and electricity costs. Also, you would need to pay the Aupairs share if you go out for lunch, on activities or outings or on holiday.
  • It’s not a professional childcare – The main aim of the Aupair program is the cultural exchange so many Aupairs don’t have professional experience or formal training of looking after children, they have usually just done some babysitting or helped other siblings.
  • Cultural gap – It can take a while for Aupairs to get used to a difference in the country, rule change, a different environment, laws and cuisine. An Aupair can feel homesick also so you have to be understanding. It can take a while for your child/children to accept a new person in their life. Also, you could struggle with communication if your Aupair is not fluent in your native language.
  • Other considerations – As a host family you will need to provide the correct documents to the Aupair agency, pay for visas, flights, boarding etc. and have a big enough house where you can accommodate an Aupair properly.

Register with Suitcase Nanny here and let us show you how we can help to find the best Aupair Agency for your family. We have a package specifically tailored to ‘hosting an Aupair’ which gives a lot of advice, guidance and information that will reassure you that choosing an Aupair is the right thing for your family.

Please note Suitcase Nanny will not find you an Aupair but it will give you the guidance needed to find the right one.