Over the years, we’ve heard of some pretty awesome nannying and parenting tricks that help protect the caregiver’s free time while raising balanced, self-reliant kids. Here are some of the recent favorites that we are definitely incorporating into our lexicon!
The Sleep-In Clock:
“On weekends, we set an alarm clock for the kids an hour (or two) after everyone usually wakes up (6 am at our house!) They always get up earlier, but the rule is they have to play quietly by themselves until the alarm goes off. Once it does, they come down for breakfast and snuggles. They know that any fighting or calling for parents (for non-emergencies!) is met with a 2 min increase in time. Hello, peaceful start!” – Ray Shapiro, Jersey City, NJ
The Toy Auction:
“Throughout the day, my children are expected to clean up after themselves. At the end of the day, I remind them gently to run through the house and tidy up anything they missed. If they skip it, after bedtime, I go through the house and pick up any toys that are left out, and put them into a locked chest. At the end of our monthly family meeting, we have an auction where my children can use their allowance money to bid for toys that were left out. Any toys that were not purchased during the “auction” are donated to charity along with the money they spent.
- Bonus: less time spent cleaning up after my perfectly capable kids (they learn fast!)
- My kids gain time, negotiation, and money management skills
- No more time (or tears!) spent yelling or arguing with my kids at night
- More toys are given to charity and kids take better care of what they have
- I get to see so many sides of my kids during the auction 🙂
- I love it and suspect they will remember this with fondness, even if they complain about it now
– Lillian Nielson San Francisco, CA
Boring? What Is Boredom?
“Denying the existence of boredom has not only been a lifesaver for our nerves, but it also helped our daughters increase their attention spans and imagination. Anytime one of them says something is boring, or that they are bored, we use a variety of responses to deflect the burden of amusement onto them. which is ultimately where it will be for the rest of their lives. We might get the occasional eye-roll response, but its a skill that will benefit them for a lifetime.”
– Richard Green Seattle, WA
Here is a simple but genius method that saves loads of both parent’s and nanny’s time. If you have more than one child, use a sharpie to put a dot representing their birth order on the tag of their clothes (one dot for firstborn, etc.) I nannied for three little boys and this trick saved hrs of guesswork. It’s a great system that even works for hand-me-downs. Just add a dot each time its passed down!
-Alexandra Jackson Chicago, IL
“Excuse Me? I Can’t Understand You When You Speak Like That.”
“When one of our children speaks to us in a whining, screaming, or extremely impolite way, we softly and gently let them know that we can’t understand them when they use that voice. This especially works because their old babysitter introduced it to them when they were young, and we’ve maintained consistency with it. It is a pretty effective de-escalation tool that empowers children by suggesting they have something valuable to say while invalidating (ignoring) the rude presentation.” – Anne Grable Brooklyn, NY
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