What are the Benefits of a Nanny Share?

benefits of a nanny shareFor families looking for ways to cut child care costs, a nanny share is one option. Families can hire a nanny to watch their respective children simultaneously, or a nanny can work part-time for two different families. In either case, the families share the cost and still enjoy the benefits a nanny provides.

The main benefit of a nanny share is affordability – between the cost of hiring a nanny and the cost of daycare, child care is not cheap. But with a nanny share, families pay a more reasonable amount, as each family pays only a portion of the nanny’s hourly rate instead of what you’d pay if you hired her on your own.

Example: if the going rate for a nanny in our area is $600 per week, then nanny share families would each pay a reduced rate of about $400 per week. That means each family is saving $200 per week over what they’d pay if they hired the nanny for just their own family. Over the course of a year, that adds up to a lot of savings.

It’s also great for the nanny, as she’s now making an extra $200 per week, which is very reasonable since caring for two families requires extra coordination and schedules.

NOTE: Household employers who participate in a nanny share must both be set up as employers and take care of the payroll, taxes, benefits, etc. It is illegal to have one family reimburse the other for their share of the nanny’s wages. When sharing a nanny, BOTH families must provide all the necessary payroll and tax paperwork. It would be the same as a person working for both McDonald’s and Burger King; the employee would receive separate paychecks, separate W-2’s, separate insurance coverage, etc.

Tips for Making a Nanny Share Work

  • The family with which you enter a nanny share should have a child-rearing style similar to your own, since the nanny will be caring for both family’s children at the same time.
  • The children in both your family and your nanny share family should be around the same age, so their progression stays consistent.
  • If your children and your nanny share family’s children don’t already know each other, make sure the kids all get along before starting a nanny share. You want to ensure the children are compatible and avoid any potential behavioral problems.
  • Make sure both families clearly communicate their expectations with the nanny. All parties should be involved in determining the nanny’s work schedule, when she will be off for holidays, and how much vacation time she receives.

For more information, read about Eight Steps to a Successful Nanny Share, then contact us if you have any questions.

Vaccinations Up to Date for Back to School Season?

back to school vaccinationsParents – it’s back to school time; are your kids’ vaccinations up to date? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a recommended schedule of immunizations for infants, small children, pre-teens, and teens. This schedule is designed to protect infants and children early in life, when they are most vulnerable and before they are exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases, and then to continue the prevention in older children.

The schedules show the age or age range when each vaccine or series of shots is recommended. There is also a catch-up scheduler tool to see recommended vaccination dates if your child has missed any shots. Your pediatrician can answer any questions you may have.

2018 Recommended Immunizations for Children from Birth Through 6 Years Old

2018 Recommended Immunizations for Children from 7 Through 18 Years Old

As children return to school, there are requirements in New York State regarding vaccinations. Make sure you are aware of these before your children start school. For questions regarding child care programs, schools, and post-secondary institutions, contact the NYS Dept. of Health Bureau of Immunization’s School Assessment and Compliance Unit:

Phone: 518-474-1944

Email: osas@health.ny.gov

The Importance of Nanny Daily Reports

nanny daily reportEmploying a nanny or other domestic worker is often mistakenly handled as an informal work situation. In fact, it is a professional endeavor requiring formal personnel practices and policies. One of these practices can be receiving a daily report from your nanny. Many parents want to know details about what their child(ren) did all day, including things like meals, snacks, naps, activities, any places you went, and any behavioral issues (good or bad). If a child is sick, the report is a great place to record any medication given, including the dosage and time administered. Parents can use the report to write reminders or important information their nanny might need on a given day.

Some parents may wish to keep the reports in a binder to track their child’s progress and routines, and see how things change over time. A collection of reports can be a fun gift to give the child when they are older.

The nanny daily report can be on a simple pre-printed form that the nanny fills out throughout the day. Many examples of these can be downloaded for free online – just search for “nanny daily reports” and you’ll see many sites that offer these, such as this one from parent24.com:

nanny daily reports

If you and your nanny have more high-tech leanings, there are many apps you can download to track feeding schedules, diaper changes, activities, and medical information. Many of these apps allow for photo sharing and notes so no detail is missed. Some apps also let you track your nanny’s hours and any overtime that occurs. Many of these apps let you add other family members or school staff, and the information is synced in real time so all parties have all the info at the same time. Some of the apps we’ve come across are Daily Nanny, Baby Connect, and Nanny Notes – you can find them in the Google Play Store (for Android devices) or the App Store (for Apple devices).

Whether you use the printed version or an app, make sure you and your nanny discuss these reports so the nanny knows what’s expected of her, allowing for good communication and a smooth working relationship.

 

Downtown Albany Goes to the Dogs!

downtown albany dogs

We are very excited to partner with the Downtown Albany, New York Business Improvement District (BID) to be a vendor at an upcoming painting event for Albany-area families…and their dogs! Paw-Casso: Paw-painting for pups & people! will be held at the brand new Olde English Downtown Dog Park (located inside Wallenberg Park in downtown Albany at the intersection of Broadway, Clinton Avenue, and N. Pearl Street) on Saturday, August 25 from 11am-2pm.

For a $5 suggested donation, you’ll receive safe, washable paints and a canvas for your dog to customize with their own unique paw prints. All proceeds will benefit the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society.

Local pet-centric vendors will be at the Olde English Downtown Dog Park with goods and services for your pup. Stop by our table to learn about our pet-sitting services!

A raffle featuring prizes from The Olde English Pub and the Downtown Albany, New York BID will benefit the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society.

FREE PARKING is available in the ParkAlbany Quackenbush Garage (25 Orange Street – across from the Dog Park on Broadway).

We hope to see you and your furry friends on the 25th!

8 Summer Day Trips from the Albany NY Area

day trips albany nyParents and nannies are often on the lookout for new ideas for keeping the kids entertained. But sometimes the usual local haunts and activities just won’t cut it. Sometimes you need to pile into the car and hit the road! Luckily the Capital Region of New York offers plenty to do just a short drive from the Albany, Schenectady, Saratoga, and Troy areas. Here are eight places that are sure to be fun for both you and the youngsters.

  1. Cooperstown – just 90 minutes from Albany, this little town is world famous for the National Baseball Hall of Fame. But even if you don’t have baseball fans in your family, there is plenty else to see and do. The Farmer’s Museum is one of the oldest “living history museums,” featuring exhibits, craft demonstrations, and hand-on activities that show what life was like centuries ago. It’s fun and educational for all ages. There is boating and kayaking on Otsego Lake (also known as Glimmerglass Lake), and the cute town features lots of shopping and dining.
  2. Lake George – the “Queen of American Lakes” is an hour from Albany, and has plenty to offer for the whole family. Miniature golf courses and ice cream shops can be found all around Lake George Village, with great shopping and dining along the waterfront. Numerous types of boat cruises and other water activities are always popular, including swimming in the sparkly clear water. There hiking trails in the hills surrounding the lake, and the historically-inclined will enjoy Fort William Henry, French and Indian War site from the 1700’s.
  3. Howe Caverns – an absolutely stunning adventure, and only 45 minutes from Albany! Several types of cave tours are offered, depending on age and how adventurous you are, but the basic tour is perfect for families of all ages. The enormous caverns are lit with multi-colored lights, highlighting the intricate details of this subterranean wonder. Plus there’s a short boat ride on the underground river! Beautiful rock formations and the comfortable year-round temperature make this a must-see for Capital Region families. During the summer, there’s an outdoor activity area with zip lines, rock walls, and more.
  4. Manchester, Vermont – the Green Mountains of Vermont are beautiful during every season, and Manchester is a great place to begin exploring. Manchester is an hour and a half from Albany, and you’ll find plenty of charming shops, restaurants offering delicious local fare, and historical buildings to wander by. Just outside of town there is a wealth of hiking and biking trails, fishing excursions on local lakes, and just taking in the natural beauty of southern Vermont.
  5. Lake Placid – It might only be a couple of hours from Albany, but this village in the Adirondacks feels like it’s a world away. Gorgeous flowers and trees surround the huge lake, and the year-round activities are bound to keep families entertained. In the summer, hike the bridges around High Falls Gorge or the trails at Cobble Hill, or take the mountain bikes out for some action. Of course lots of fun is to be had on the lake itself – waterskiing and tubing, cliff diving, or just a leisurely cruise around the water will hit the spot. The winter season offers some of the best skiing in the Northeast, especially Whiteface Mountain. You can also check out the Olympic Center, the Olympic Jumping Complex, and the Olympic Sports Complex, all created for the 1980 Winter Olympics. The Village of Lake Placid features great dining options at its many restaurants, hotels and resorts, with fun shopping experiences on Main Street, and many cultural activities.
  6. Kaaterskill Falls – Just over an hour away from Albany is one of the most picturesque waterfalls in the region. Kaaterskill Falls is the highest cascading waterfall in New York State, with more than a 260-foot drop! Renowned painters and photographers have captured the beauty of this natural wonder, and the trail to reach the falls is less than 1.5 miles round-trip, making it doable for many kids. However, caution is advised as the rocks near the falls can be very slippery – make sure everyone stays on the marked trail.
  7. Hudson – When you think of the Hudson Valley, the town of Hudson is what should spring to mind. A frequent destination of visitors from New York City looking to escape to the tranquility of Upstate NY, Hudson has lots to offer, and it’s only about 45 minutes from Albany. This walkable town features a shopping district, historic architecture, and is home to numerous restaurants of all kinds. Surrounded by farms, there is a focus on local, farm-to-table eating that draws foodies from all over the state. 10 minutes outside of town is the Olana State Historic Site, a 250-acre landscape designed by artist Frederic Edwin Church. The grounds feature a Persian-inspired house at its summit, showcasing amazing panoramic views of the Hudson Valley and Catskill Mountains.
  8. Natural Stone Bridge and Caves Park – Located a little under 90 minutes from Albany in Pottersville, NY, this site includes natural formations that are over a billion years old! Also featuring the largest marble cave entrance in the east, this beautiful area can be explored via a self-guided trail that winds around waterfalls and deep pools. Some of the caves are accessible by foot, but others require spelunking gear. Tours are available during the summer for the more adventurous. Kids can also enjoy the playground, rock walls, gemstone mining, dinosaur bone digs, and there’s even a disc golf course for those so inclined.

As you can see, there’s fun for everyone – and you don’t have to go very far to find it! Have a favorite day trip destination? Tell us about it in the comments. And if you need an extra hand with the kids on one of these trips, or want to leave the little ones behind so you can get away for the day, call us at (518) 348-0400 and we’ll send a professional caregiver to help.

Do You Need to Hire a Senior Care Worker?

need to hire a senior care workerIt’s never easy to realize a senior loved one can no longer live completely independently and needs some assistance. But in order to provide the best quality of life possible, some seniors will need a companion or other caregiver to help them stay in their own home. Seniors may also require help with maintaining their home, especially if they are aging in place in their own house. Here are some possible signs that you need to hire a senior care worker.

Signs Your Senior Needs Help at Home

  • Spoiled food that does not get thrown away
  • Missing important appointments
  • Unexplained bruising
  • Difficulty getting up from a seated position
  • Difficulty with walking, balance, and mobility
  • Uncertainty and confusion when performing once familiar tasks
  • Forgetfulness
  • Unpleasant body odor
  • Infrequent showering or bathing
  • A strong smell of urine in the house
  • Noticeable decline in grooming habits and personal care
  • Dirty house, extreme clutter, and dirty laundry piling up
  • Stacks of unopened mail or an overflowing mailbox
  • Late payment notices, bounced checks, and calls from bill collectors
  • Poor diet or weight loss
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and activities
  • Changes in mood or extreme mood swings
  • Forgetting to take medications, or taking incorrect dosages
  • Unexplained dents and scratches on a car

Whatever type of help your senior needs, family caregivers cannot do it alone. That’s where we come in. Our senior care companion services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We offer on-call, temporary, part-time, or full-time options to meet your specific needs.

Contact us at (518) 348-0400 and let us know how we can make your life easier.

When Maternity Leave Ends – Easing the Transition

maternity leave transitionWhether or not you are looking forward to returning to work from your maternity leave, the transition can be quite emotional – juggling family and your career can cause stress, anxiety, and pressure. But going back to work can be manageable – follow these nine steps, starting even before having a baby, to make things smoother.

Before Your Maternity Leave

1. Have a Return Plan

Who will handle your projects and obligations while you are away? This should be discussed with your supervisor before going on leave, along with having a written agreement of how you will transition back to work when leave is over.

During Your Maternity Leave

2. Catch Up!

Reduce any first-day anxiety by meeting with your supervisors and other relevant co-workers before your return. This will help you understand the expectations for when you come back to work, and you’ll be prepared for what to get caught up on.

3. Do a Practice Run

Your routine during maternity leave has likely been very different than your previous workday routine. You’re out of practice, so you need to get used to a new process, such as setting your alarm, getting your work items ready, feeding your baby, taking your baby to daycare with all the required items or preparing instructions for your nanny, and driving into the office. Figure out what responsibilities you and your partner will have ahead of time so that on Day One, you’ll be ready.

4. Try to Get Baby on a Sleep Schedule

If only it were that easy! But getting your baby on a routine sleep schedule before returning to work will make it an easier transition for both of you.

5. Have a Child Care Plan

Babies get sick, daycare centers sometimes close, and nannies have days off or call in sick. When that happens, will you or your partner stay home with the baby? Do you have an alternative babysitter or a relative that can stay with the baby so you can get to work? (If you sign up with A New England Nanny, we’ll have this situation covered.)

6. Time to Go Shopping?

Pregnancy and breastfeeding often change a mother’s body. The outfits you wore to work before your pregnancy may not fit the way you like any more, so try them on before going back to work. You may need to head to the mall to update your wardrobe.

Returning to Work

7. Have Accurate Expectations

The hardest part about returning to work is the first few weeks. Try to start with smaller projects as you get used to the routine. Take your time and allow yourself some breathing room to ease the adjustment.

8. Slow Down

Your first week back might be more manageable if you return in the middle of the week instead of on a Monday. If you can start with three or four days a week, or with reduced hours each day, that will help as you gradually get back to your full-time hours. Make sure you know what time you’re leaving work each day – you’ll likely be more productive during the day.

9. Be Prepared to Pump

If you will be breastfeeding your baby, you might want to keep a second breast pump at work plus an insulated bag to carry the bottles home. You may even want to get a car adapter or a battery-operated pump if you need to pump while commuting. Believe it or not, having a photo of your baby with you can help with the let-down reflex. Be sure to schedule pumping times on your work calendar.

Nursing mothers have federal workplace protections, including having reasonable break times and a place, other than a bathroom, where you can privately pump.

A New England Nanny is here to help! Whether you need full-time or occasional child care or senior care, or if you just want your house cleaned or pet looked after, we can assist. Contact us at (518) 348-0400.

What You Need to Know Before Getting a Nanny Cam

nanny camWhile the hope is always that a family will have a great relationship with their nanny, many times that’s not the case. Tragic incidents have occurred in homes around the country involving nannies, leading some parents to want to install a hidden camera known as a “nanny cam” so they can keep an eye on their children during the nanny’s shift. These devices aren’t solely for nannies either – some families use them to keep tabs on pet sitters or housekeepers – anyone who might be in the home when the parents are not.

While nanny cams may provide peace of mind for parents, it’s crucial to understand the laws regarding these surveillance devices before you install one in your own home.

It is legal in all 50 states for a household employer to install a hidden camera in their home. It is illegal, however, to place a nanny cam in a private area such as a bathroom or, for live-in nannies, their own bedroom. Typically these cameras are installed in a playroom, the kids’ rooms, or other general living areas.

While making video recordings is legal in all states, recording audio secretly is not always legal. In California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Washington, you cannot use hidden audio recording devices. But it is legal in New York.

It’s also important to keep in mind that if you install a nanny cam, the recordings can only be used for the monitoring of your home and loved ones. If you use the footage for business purposes or share the recordings with others, you could face legal trouble.

The benefit of having a nanny cam is being able to monitor how your children are being cared for, and to be able to address any issues immediately. It is up to the family whether or not to tell the nanny about the camera(s) – if you are installing the device based on a suspicion you have, then you may wish to keep the camera a secret if you’re hoping to “catch them in the act.” But if you are merely using it for general home safety, you might want to disclose this information to your nanny when you install it or when you hire the nanny. If you don’t tell her and she happens to find the hidden camera on her own, it could negatively impact the level of trust she has with you and your relationship could suffer. If you decide to inform the nanny about the device, you may wish to have her sign a release form stating that she is aware she is being recorded.

A New England Nanny seeks to minimize the need for our families to install nanny cams through our rigorous background checks and screening process. But we also understand that some families just want an extra layer of security when it comes to those they love most. If you have any questions regarding nanny cams, please contact us at (518) 348-0400.

A Walk in the Park

a walk in the parkToday is National Take a Walk in the Park Day! The kids are off school, so scoop them up and get them outside. According to Nationaldaycalendar.com, taking a walk at a local park is an excellent way to clear one’s mind from the stresses of the day, re-energize and at the same time, improve health. Even if the weather is a little damp, you can still enjoy the beauty of our local parks.

So where to go? Check out this list of Capital Region parks, then get out and take a walk in one (or more) of them!

Albany Area

  • Albany Pine Bush Preserve
    • More of a nature center than a park, it offers interactive exhibits about local wildlife and plants. Then take one of the hiking trails and see the animals and flowers you read about in the nature center!
  • Jennings Landing (formerly known as Albany Riverfront Park)
    • A beautiful stretch of walking paths along the Hudson, you can watch boats on the river or stroll along the tree-lined walkway to a playground.
  • Crossings of Colonie
    • Enjoy the large playground, hedge maze, and winding paths through trees and around the big lake.
  • Washington Park
    • Tulip season is the best time to visit this park, but year-round the large fields, playground, and walking path around the lake make this park worth a visit.
  • Buckingham Lake Park
    • The brand new playground is great for kids, and a walk around the pond offers views of wildlife and various flowers and trees.

Schenectady

  • Central Park
    • Tons of trees, green lawns, woodland trails, a small pond & an outdoor public swimming pool are all here. The rose garden must not be missed!

Troy Area

  • Peebles Island State Park
    • Located where the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers meet, the park offers great river views along the miles of paths through the gently rolling and wooded landscape.
  • Frear Park
    • A beautiful part of Troy, it features nature trails, tennis courts, a golf course, and an ice rink.

Saratoga Springs

  • Saratoga Spa State Park
    •  Enjoy the picnic areas and shady stream side trails as you wander over the many acres. The park is also home to the National Museum of Dance, the Saratoga Automobile Museum, and the Gideon Putnam Resort and Roosevelt Baths and Spa.
  • Congress Park
    • Right in the center of town, this park features beautifl landscaping, hot springs, the Canfield Casino, and an historic carousel.

Other Areas

  • Thacher State Park
    • Take a walk along the cliffs, enjoy woodland and open fields, and have a picnic at one of the many available sites. The Indian Ladder Trail is one of the most scenic you’ll find in the region, and there is a new nature center and playground.
  • Grafton Lakes State Park
    • Miles of nature trails for hiking and biking, plus horse riding trails. When it’s warm enough, the lakes offer swimming, fishing, and boating.

So whether it’s National Take a Walk in the Park Day or not, there are plenty of parks around to get out and enjoy nature with the kids!

Valentine’s Day for Families and Nannies

valentine's day for families and nanniesValentine’s Day is upon us, and families and nannies both often wonder how to help the children celebrate. While store-bought cards are thoughtful and convenient, they will adorn the counter or windowsill for a few weeks, then ultimately retire to a drawer somewhere, even with the best of intentions to be saved for years to come. Why not make this year’s gift something sentimental and give the “drawer of memories” a bit more room?

We asked our friends on Facebook for some of their favorite Valentine’s Day gifts to give to parents, as well as some of their favorite to receive as a nanny.  Here is a brief list of the most popular responses.

For Parents

A dinner date with the kids

Plan a special dinner at home with the family’s favorite foods, and have the children help make everything! Let the kids give the dining room a restaurant name, leave an “RSVP card” for the parents to open in the morning, have the kids create a hand-written menu, then slip it into a sheet protector or laminate it using clear packing tape.

Mommy Money/Daddy Dollars

A new twist on the old classic: coupon books.  Most dollar stores sell packs of blank printouts of “money,” allowing the children to decorate each dollar and assign it a value. You can help them create a Valentine’s Day sales flyer to give their parents! Ideas could include “movie night” or “reverse bedtime” (the children tuck the parents in to bed, and read them a story).

Memories

Parents are often guilty of having stacks of their children’s artwork on desks, in drawers, and in boxes, waiting to be put into scrapbooks or frames.  Why not create an affordable and fun display for them to admire, display, and store the works of their aspiring artists? By hitting up your local thrift shop or going to an art supply store with a coupon (almost all are available digitally), you could pick up a shadow box (also called a collector’s case) for about $5. By carefully placing the most recent masterpiece backed by cork board or a matte to the front of the glass, and using poster putty to keep it in place, you’ll have a few inches of space to store previous pieces. (Tip:  If you save one piece from each month, you can scan them to have printed as calendars for the holidays!)

For Nannies

Valentine’s Day breakfast

Mornings can be hectic for the entire family, the nanny included! But with a bit of prep-work the night before, you can surprise her with a treat to start the day, and let her have some time with the family. You could make heart-shaped pancakes the night before, and reheat them in the toaster or oven a few minutes before the nanny arrives.

Kids Cash

Using the same concept as “Mommy Money” or “Daddy Dollars,” give your nanny a Valentine’s Day bonus in the form of fun activities to do with the kids! Have them create a sales flyer that caters to her.

Memories

One of the best gifts you could possibly give a nanny for Valentine’s Day would be memories. Nannies sometimes have multiple families, each with multiple children in them, so they end up with lots of “stuff.” Rather than presenting your nanny with another well-meaning gift certificate or trinket, why not plan an outing for her and the children, and be sure to offer to pay for any photo-ops that are provided at the event. This way, not only will she have the experience, but also a great memory of it. (Bonus: once you see the picture, be sure to scan it or take a very clear picture of the picture, so you can print it and frame it, along with a heartfelt note of thanks!)