Archive for February, 2012

10 Ways to Set Yourself Apart from Other Sitters

February 23rd, 2012 by admin

Being a babysitter is one thing. Being an exceptional babysitter is a whole different playing field. And really, who doesn’t want to be exceptional? There are a lot of different things you can do to set yourself apart from every other person out there you are competing with for babysitting jobs. Here are 10 easy ways you can go above and beyond on the job, leaving everyone happy at the end of the night:

  1. Get certified - One of the easiest ways to set yourself apart from other sitters (and boost up your resume!) is to get certified in as many ways possible. This ranges from a babysitting certification to a first aid certification to a CPR certification. Having one will look good. Having all three will look fantastic. Voluntarily getting any certifications will show that you are interested in not only doing the job, but doing the job well. When given the option of hiring the sitter with no certifications versus the one with all the certifications, it’s easy to see who looks more appealing. Redcross.org will let you search all of these certifications and see where the closest locations to you to take the appropriate classes are located.
  2. Be a friend… - The best way to set yourself apart from other sitters is to actually play with the kids your babysitting! Parents love to see their sitters interacting with their children; it puts them more at ease that their child will be in good hands while they’re gone. And no parent wants their child left with a sitter who is just going to gab on the phone the whole time. Kids have a knack for talking too, and if they didn’t have a good time because they could never get your attention, it’s likely that they’ll have no problems telling their parents that.
  3. But not a best friend! - That being said, however, you can’t be the best friend. You are still there to do a job. Just because you want to be friendly with the kids doesn’t mean that you should allow them to do things that their parents wouldn’t be OK with them doing. You want everyone to have a good time, not to get in trouble because you were wrapped up in trying to be the “cool” babysitter.
  4. Early is on time. On time is late. - Get to the job a few minutes early so that you can discuss any particulars with the parents before they leave. If it’s your first time sitting there you want to be sure that you know if the child has any allergies you need to be aware of, if there are any medications you need to be giving them¸ where the emergency numbers are listed so that you can get in touch with the parents if you need to, and the general layout of the house in case there is an emergency of some sort and you need to get everyone out quickly.
  5. Get away from the TV - Yes, it’s an easy out with keeping kids entertained. But you’re more likely to win over the child and the parents if you spend time with them. What parent wouldn’t want to hear what an awesome time their kid had with you while they were gone? Plus, do you really want to have the Dora the Explorer theme song stuck in your head? I’m going to guess not…
  6. Come with a babysitting kit - What kid doesn’t like surprises, especially when the surprises are different toys or crafts? Put together a grab bag of stuff that you can pull out in a pinch when you need to change it up a bit. Kids love new things, so being able to pull out a coloring book they’ve never used and the 96 pack of crayons that has all the coolest colors, a new set of Legos, or the game of Life will be a good switch from their regular toys. And add new toys or rotate different items, this way they will always be excited to see what you’re bringing next!
  7. Give parents feedback - Parents want to know what went on while they were gone, so don’t be afraid to give them some feedback! Every parent wants to hear how great their child was, so if you had a good night with the kids, tell them! Likewise, let them know if something went wrong – you want to be able to establish a good, open and honest relationship with the parents, that way they know they can trust you with their children.
  8. Have references - It definitely doesn’t hurt to be able to give them the names and phone numbers of people that have worked with you in the past (if they’re going to say good things about you, that is!) so that the parent can verify that you’re a reliable and trustworthy babysitter. They’ll appreciate your sincere and candid approach, and it will show a high level of maturity on your part.
  9. Clean the house - This does not mean bust out the Pledge and the mop bucket and go to town with it! This simply means that you need to clean up as you go. Don’t leave dirty dishes lying around the house or toys scattered on the floor. While you’re there, you’re in charge, so do the parents a favor and clean up after yourself and the children that way the parents don’t have to worry about cleaning when they get home.
  10. Dress appropriately - If you show up looking like you’re ready to go out on the town after you’re done babysitting, it’s likely that the parents will be doubtful as to if you are ready to actually spend some quality time with their child. Not to mention, you want to be comfortable, be able to move around with ease, and it not to be a big deal if you get a little dirty.

Anyone can be a babysitter. But not everyone can be an outstanding babysitter. Too often, babysitters come in just to complete the job and get paid. Set yourself up to go above and beyond what the normal sitter would do and you are far more likely to be called to come back and also referred out to other parents. And remember, happy kids equal happy parents.

10 Things You Should NEVER Wear When Babysitting

February 15th, 2012 by admin

Babysitting is a job and like most jobs there is a dress code. Believe it or not there are quite a few things you may want to avoid when babysitting. Here are ten things to consider before you head over to your next babysitting job:

  1. White - Chances are if you wear white to your babysitting job, you won’t leave wearing all white. Watch for falling spaghetti, marker throwing or grass stains showcasing your latest tumble in the yard. Try wearing darker colors like gray, purple or black.
  2. Skirt - Skirts are tricky, whether you wear them short or long, try avoiding them. Most likely you will be moving nonstop watching the kids. You want to be able to move and jump up freely without worrying about what the kids might see. No need to channel Lindsey Lohan.
  3. Low cut top - You don’t want to spend most of your time adjusting your top each time you bend over to pick up a little one. And keep in mind if you are watching babies you are at risk of being pulled on.
  4. Jewelry that Dangles - Ouch! This is something you don’t want to wear for your own safety. Wearing long earrings is a big no-no. One quick grab and those suckers aren’t coming off without a good scream from you. Also bracelets or necklaces are at risk of being pulled. Keep the pain and jewelry breaking minimal and skip the jewelry.
  5. Dress - This may be your comfortable look but just like the skirt you want to be able to climb monkey bars without scaring the children. If you plan on leaving your babysitting job to go somewhere nice, pack your dress.
  6. Heels - Have you tried running after a 4 year old in heels? Enough said. Bring comfy flats or tennis shoes.
  7. Tight pants - When babysitting you are either watching a movie, playing outside or going up and down the stairs because little Sara wants her ‘binkie’. Tights pants are not comfortable and they come with caution, this could be pants splitting.
  8. Short shorts - It may be hot outside and your short shorts are great for that afternoon cookout with your friends. But it’s not suitable to show that much skin while on the job. Remember the kids, especially the little girls, look up to you. Set a good example and wear appropriate length shorts.
  9. Controversial shirts - You may think your t shirt your best friend got you is funny but remember you are setting an example. Avoid any controversial shirts that may have beer brands or questionable/offensive language.  
  10. Flip flops - Ever heard the term flat tire? Flip flops are notorious for that. Playing in the house and a little one stepping on the back of your shoe can cause you to either break the flip flop or go flying forward, either way not so much fun. Watch for your toes!

Now that you know what not to wear, make sure you wear something that you will be comfortable in. Try jeans, comfy flats and a fitted shirt is a great example especially if it’s something you don’t mind getting dirty. Happy Babysitting!

10 Reasons Kids Shouldn’t be Too Serious

February 10th, 2012 by admin

Are you struggling with your child to get them to take things more seriously?  Or do you have a child that is very serious and you wish they’d just lighten up?  Parenting didn’t used to be this hard.  Kids were kids and they were treated as kids.  When I was young I was sent outside to play all day.  I had to use my imagination and come up with things to keep me busy.  Kids today have a lot of expectations placed on them by others or that they place on themselves.  Check out 10 reasons kids shouldn’t be too serious.

  1. They’re just kids: The biggest reason that kids shouldn’t be overly serious is because they aren’t old enough to worry about serious stuff yet.  Let them just enjoy their childhood.  Don’t confide in them about your problems because then they take on that burden.  They aren’t mentally ready for grown up problems.
  2. Can’t handle the pressure: If you are putting a lot of pressure on your child to be serious about a sport that they are in because you want them to go pro some day or just because you want to live out your dreams through them, you need to stop and reassess.  All that you are going to do is make that child hate that sport. 
  3. Suicide risk: Kids that are too serious have a higher risk of suicide.  If your child is very serious about school or sports and something goes wrong then they could think that it’s the end of the world.  They may try to take their own life.  Serious kids tend to take things to the extreme and they have very serious ramifications.
  4. Could be depressed: If your child is very serious and doesn’t have a lot of friends you might want to have him/her seen by a professional.  Some kids just have trouble relating to other kids.  Especially if they are only children and have been around adults a lot they tend to be more mature and don’t relate well to other kids.  However, if they don’t have any friends and aren’t interested in making friends then they may be depressed and need help.
  5. Manifest into physical problems: If a child is too serious and stressed out a lot over grades or sports they may develop physical problems.  It works the same way with adults.  If there’s too much stress and no outlet for it then it can cause ulcers and high blood pressure just to name a couple of things.
  6. Cause injuries: Kids are not supposed to be training like professional athletes at the age of 10.  Many of the more advanced pitches and moves in some sports can actually cause permanent damage.  Immature bodies are growing and changing and while exercise is good, the same exercise may cause injury.
  7. Early burn-out:  If a child gets too serious about anything at a young age be it piano, violin, sports or whatever they run the risk of burning out and losing interest in something they could have been great at if they had slowed down a bit.  Parents often put too much pressure on the kids to do too much too soon.  It’s one thing if a child does it because they love it, but it’s another if the parent has to make them practice.
  8. No fun:  If your child is too serious then they aren’t having enough fun in their childhood.  There’s always enough time to be serious later.  Laughter is so important to our health and the health of our kids.  Make sure that your child is laughing.  Children should be laughing 100 times a day.
  9. No friends: When kids are too serious they may have trouble making and keeping friends.  It’s important to have friends.  Help your child by role playing to show them how to approach a new friend.  Try to find out why they don’t have very many friends.  Make sure that you aren’t contributing to them being so serious.
  10. Live longer: It’s a proven fact that people that laugh often and take things with a grain of salt live longer.  Do fun things with your child.  Take them to funny movies or puppet shows.  Encourage them to use their imagination and to make believe.  If they don’t know how to play make believe then sit down and show them.  The more you laugh the more your child will see that laughing is good and laughing is fun.

 

10 Ways to Keep Your Baby Away from Sickies

February 9th, 2012 by admin

With all the new strains of germs and viruses going around, no mother wants to subject her child to exposure. Although it’s pretty near impossible to completely avoid illness or the bugs that cause it, there are some things you can do.

  1. Keep the baby home during peak times of cold and flu season. – Whenever the flu season strikes or is about to strike it’s all over the news. This is a good time to keep the baby home unless you are going directly to a place you know everyone is healthy and the baby won’t be exposed to the public.
  2. Wash your hands often. – Germs and viruses can live for a couple of days on some surfaces so make sure you always wash your hands before handling your little one.
  3. If you are sick, wear a mask. – You probably can’t leave your child if you come down with a cold or the flu, but by wearing a mask you can provide some protection, and of course, make sure you wash your hands.
  4. Cover the baby with a receiving blanket. – If you need to go out and have to take the baby with you, take a receiving blanket along. When you get around other people just drape the blanket over the baby’s carrier or if you are holding the baby tent the blanket by draping it over your shoulder and covering the baby’s head.
  5. Hire a nanny or baby sitter. – For short periods of time or if there is going to be a longer stretch of time during cold and flu season that you have to be out in public, you may want to consider hiring a nanny or babysitter to stay with your child while you attend to business. Just make sure the person you hire doesn’t have a cold or the sniffles.
  6. Avoid crowded places. – Chances are someone in the crowd has a cold so staying away from places that are full of people will cut down the chances that the baby might pick up a bug.
  7. When you visit make sure everyone is healthy. – “Oh it’s just a little cold!” is not something you want to hear when you are visiting your friend and her toddler comes in nose running and eyes watery. It’s all right to find out if there are any sick folks before you go for a visit. Even mildly ill people can transfer bugs to your baby.
  8. Don’t let the baby on the floor in public places. – Unfortunately many parents let their little ones crawl around on the floor in public places, including medical clinics. Keep your baby on your lap or in the carrier. There are way too many germs around to let your baby loose on a public floor.
  9. Call before you go. – When you take your baby to see the doctor call before you go to find out how the schedule is running. You want to spend as little time as possible in the waiting room. If your doctor is running way behind, you may want to make plans to come in closer to the time she can actually see you.
  10. Reinforce wellness rules at home. – Brand new big brothers and sisters like to take part ownership of the new bundle of joy. If they come down with the sniffles you will need to help them understand that this is not a time for them to hang out with their baby sibling.

Keeping baby away from sick people may not always be the easiest thing to do. However with some planning and creative thinking you should be able to avoid most of the obvious threats to your child’s health.

10 Simple Meals Kids Can Make

February 7th, 2012 by admin

At some point or another it’s important that your kids are able to put together a meal on their own. The following recipes all come together quickly and easily, and they all come together to make the perfect solution when your kid wants to cook or they need dinner or a snack and no one is home to make it for them. Fancy? No. Delicious? Yes.

  1. Peanut Butter & Jelly - It’s a childhood staple, and while it may seem like it’s the easiest meal in the world to make (ok, maybe it really is the easiest meal in the world to make…) the kids still have to learn how to put it all together at some point! To up the nutritional value of this not so nutritional meal you can pair it with an apple and even add sliced bananas onto it. And if your kids are feeling really creative they can swap in any type of berries or other fruit slices in place of the jelly to change things up a bit!
  2. Grilled Cheese - Who doesn’t remember growing up with the cheesy-goodness of grilled cheese sandwiches? The possibilities are endless with all the different ways you can make them – from adding in lunch meats and tomato slices to experimenting with different kinds of cheese, these ooey-gooey sandwiches are something every child should learn how to make, and in the most basic of forms all you need is two slices of bread, a slice of cheese, a little butter for the outside of the bread, and a pan and stove. Dinner in a flash!
  3. Eggs in a Basket - Growing up eggs in a basket was always my favorite breakfast meal – and it’s so easy that your kids can make it themselves! All they need is a circular cookie cutter to cut out a circle in the middle of the bread, bread, and an egg . Spray the pan with cooking spray, place the bread in the pan, and then crack an egg into the middle. After letting it cook for a few minutes flip it over and let it cook a little longer, then serve with syrup – it’s delicious and fun!
  4. Mini Pizzas - What kid doesn’t love pizza? Mini pizzas make the perfect afternoon snack and come together in a flash – all they’ll need is English muffins, marinara sauce, and shredded cheese. Simply top the muffin halves with sauce and cheese and then pop them in the oven until the cheese melts or zap them in the microwave for a minute. Pizza is served!
  5. Nachos - Finger foods are always a good option for kids, and nachos are easy enough for them to make on their own. Just layer chips with cheese and any other extras they want to add in, such as onions, salsa, beans, etc., and then either bake them in the oven or nuke them in the microwave. Once the cheese is melted they can dig in – no parents necessary.
  6. Quesadillas - Quesadillas are like grilled cheese with Mexican food flair to them! And also like grilled cheese, the possibilities are endless when it comes to what they layer in between the tortillas and cheese – they can do anything from chicken and salsa to spinach and mushrooms… it all depends on what they’re craving!
  7. Spaghetti - Spaghetti can go one of two ways: easy or complicated. If the kids are cooking then they don’t need all the fancy twists to it, just a pot of boiling water, a timer, noodles and jarred sauce. It’s the perfect weeknight dinner for kids who want to surprise Mom and Dad by making dinner for the family.
  8. Parfaits - Yogurt – granola – berries – chocolate chips – repeat. Who doesn’t love a meal that comes in layers? Parfaits are not only delicious and easy, but they’re also fun to look at and each bite brings on a new flavor!
  9. Pigs in a Blanket - A family favorite, pigs in a blanket are easy to make and fun to eat. You just need Pillsbury Dough Boy Crescent Rolls and mini sausages. Wrap up the sausages into the roll and bake for the prescribed time. In no time at all you’ll have a fun afternoon snack or dinner that’s kid-approved.
  10. Mac ‘N Cheese - Every kid will have the Kraft blues at one point or another, and who can blame them? Mac and cheese is one of the easiest (and most delicious!) kid-friendly meals. Not to mention making macaroni and cheese comes together fast, requires minimal ingredients, and is a slam dunk for almost every kid out there.

Bon appetit!

10 Lessons Kids Can Learn from Watching the News Every Day

February 6th, 2012 by admin

The last thing kids usually want to watch on television is the boring old news. SpongeBob SquarePants or Bevis and Butthead are certainly more interesting and entertaining. With hundreds of cable news channels to watch at any given time, even adults can go for years without ever watching the news. Unfortunately, bad things tend to happen when people are not paying attention. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to get kids more informed on what’s happening in the world by watching the news. Here are 10 lessons kids can learn from watching the news every day.

  1. Current events – The main purpose for watching the news is to stay abreast of current events. The local news will cover things going on in their community while national and international news expand their horizons to what’s happening around the country and around the world.
  2. Media bias – Unless they watch every day, kids may not realize there is such a thing as media bias and how to identify it. By watching different news sources from multiple channels, they’ll see that some shows may have an agenda and others are more objective.
  3. Global events – Watching the news will expand a child’s world beyond their personal experience and expose them to things going on around the globe. Even if they don’t completely understand what is going on or why, they at least know what’s going on and can ask questions for further clarification.
  4. News versus sensationalism – Daily observations will teach kids how to tell the difference between what is really news and what’s just sensationalism. Some news outlets get carried away with what Hollywood celebrities are doing rather than covering other important topics.
  5. News is depressing – One note of caution is that watching the news every day can be depressing. News sources tend to focus more on the bad things going on than the good, so too much exposure to the news can be a bad thing.
  6. Hot topics – Kids watching daily will soon learn how everyone will be covering the same stories each day and then all switch focus to the next hot topic that comes along. If they want to find out whatever happened with the last event, they’ll have to do more research than just watching TV. Television has a short attention span.
  7. History – Children may not realize it, but by watching the news, they’re witnessing history in the making. Years from now, when their kids are learning history, they’ll be able to remember when they watched historical events unfold on the news.
  8. Well informed – Kids who watch the news every day are far better informed than their peers. Instead of focusing on video games and cartoons, they would actually have some concept of what’s going on the world and be able to carry on a conversation with adults.
  9. Help with school – Any students who watch the news regularly are going to far better in school than those who don’t. They’ll have an advantage in any social studies, civics and history classes they take.
  10. Politics – There’s nothing like watching the news to keep up on politics. Kids who are better informed on that topic are more likely to get involved in political school organizations or even run for class president.

Kids who don’t have much exposure to watching the news may balk at first, so parents can make it a challenge. By giving them an incentive that gets them to watch every day for a week, maybe they’ll get hooked. Another way to gets kids watching is to just make a point of having the news on when their around instead of just switching the channel. Parents should always be sure to watch the news with their children in order to explain issues that are confusing and engage them in conversation about what they observe. Kids who watch the news are far more likely to succeed in life than those who live in blissful ignorance.

10 Sure Fire Cures for Diaper Rash

February 3rd, 2012 by admin

Diaper rash has several potential causes, the most common type being the result of a combination of moisture, friction and irritants. So treatment of common diaper rash means effectively addressing these sources of the irritation. Here is a list of sure fire cures you can use for diaper rash:

  1. Change often. – As mentioned above irritants like poop and urine, plus the moisture therein and due to lack of air circulation result in diaper rash. So the first line of defense is frequent diaper changes.
  2. Rinse – Cloth diapers should be rinsed using a ½ cup of vinegar added to the rinse cycle. This will help to remove alkaline irritants.
  3. Loosen up. – No, not the baby’s stools, but her diapers. Air circulation is key to curing diaper rash, and loose-fitting diapers will promote that, as well as reduce chafing.
  4. Lansinoh® Diaper Rash Ointment – A very effective zinc-oxide topical cream in the treatment of diaper rash. Fragrance- and preservative-free.
  5. Calendula Ointment – A homeopathic alternative diaper cream. Natural ingredients, and natural healing properties for instant relief.
  6. Drink up. – No, not you, the baby. Giving him more fluids to drink will dilute his urine, thus decreasing irritation to his skin. Children older than 12 months can drink cranberry juice.
  7. Hydrocortisone 1% cream – Apply twice daily to reduce inflammation. Can be used in conjunction with other creams, but only as a short-term measure, as long-term use can lead to irritation of the sensitive skin in the diaper area.
  8. Clotrimazole Anti-fungal Cream – Use where there is evidence of a yeast infection. This type of rash will usually appear as red spots of irritation, as opposed to a general redness of the overall area in the case of common diaper rash.
  9. Desitin – An over-the-counter ointment, it can be used to reduce the irritation, but should not be applied directly to broken skin.
  10. Air it out. – Let your baby wear as little as possible, as often as possible, to allow her skin to remain dry and ventilated. It may mean having to do a little more laundry in the form of linens, towels, dresses and such, but your baby will be grateful.