Friday, October 24, 2008

$50,000 Tribute to Nanny

By Mitch Fryer
Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Ford City woman who became a modern-day "Mary Poppins" for a Connecticut family for 13 years didn't have to use "a spoonful of sugar" to teach their two boys manners and respect, but she did help raise them "in a most delightful way."

"I did it like they were my own grandchildren," said nanny, Edna Garth, 82, now back home in Ford City living in retirement. "I didn't do too bad with my grandchildren and children. I just love children. I loved being their nanny."

Garth's efforts as a nanny for the family's sons Nicholas and Jacob earned her the appreciation of Mark and Lisa Krosse, who recently honored her by committing $50,000 to Penn State University to endow the Edna Garth Trustee Scholarship.

The Krosses, of Westport, Conn., are retired IBM executives. Neither is a Penn State alumnus or previous donor to the university.

The scholarship will support undergraduates in academic programs in the College of Health and Human Development. First preference for the award will go to graduates of Ford City High School, Garth's hometown.

The program has a unique matching component. The university matches 5 percent of the principal of each gift and combines the funds with income from the endowment to effectively double the financial impact of the scholarship. The matching funds become available as soon as the donors sign scholarship guidelines.

Recipients of the Edna Garth Trustee Scholarship will be determined by the College of Health and Human Development scholarship committee in coordination with Penn State's Office of Student Aid.

Mark Krosse said he selected the College of Health and Human Development for the endowment because of its strong programs in family studies and childhood development.

Garth has a strong connection to Penn State. Her son, Gregory, holds an associate's degree from Penn State New Kensington and a bachelor's degree from Penn State Harrisburg. He graduated from the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center College of Medicine as a medical doctor.

This past weekend, Garth's family and the Krosse family surprised her at a party in Ford City with the announcement of the Penn State scholarship that's established in her name. "I was so honored and proud," Garth said.

"Edna is one of the most wonderful caring people that Lisa and I have ever met," said Mark Krosse. "She has a natural ability with small children and we wanted to honor this special person in a very special way."

Garth recalled the time she took Nicholas and Jacob to an IHOP restaurant one weekend.

"I always let them order those great big waffles with the faces on," Garth said. "The lady at the counter said, 'The children have such nice manners. Are you their grandmother?' "I said no, I'm their nanny."

"After I paid the bill, Nicholas said, 'Come on, let's go, grandma.' I asked him why he did that? He said, 'Because you treat us like grandma.' They never called me nanny."

Garth said she would take the boys to the store and say to them, "If you touch one thing, you will never go back there again."

"They walked through the store like soldiers," she said.

Garth spent her days and nights taking the boys to places such as Scout meetings, soccer games, the beach, to catch the school bus and violin lessons.

"You are always moving," Garth said. "Everything they were in, I went to."

Garth said she is especially proud of Nicholas' Eagle Scout award and his attending American University as a freshman and having an internship with a congressman on Capitol Hill.

"I expect he will be president of the United States someday," she said.

Garth decided to try her hand as a nanny after the death of her husband.

"I had to get out of Ford City," she said. "My husband was well-known and every time I came out the door everyone looked so sad and I didn't want to be feeling down. I had to get away to feel better. I knew I could be a nanny."

Garth searched for a job as a nanny and in the early 1990s she went to work for the Krosse family who liked her resume of watching children.

"I felt just like family," Garth said. "They were excellent parents. I loved working for them. The boys were so good. God saw to it that I had a nice family to work for."

Mitch Fryer can be reached at or 724-543-1303, ext. 242.


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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Top 10 Ways to Care for your Nanny

In an effort to maintain a healthy, loving and long relationship with your nanny, its important to start the relationship off right and to care for your nanny throughout your relationship. Here are some tips!

1. Encourage your nanny to attend a nanny support group. Your nanny needs an outlet and it can really help them to process their experiences with other nannies who are having similar experiences.
2. Always have a daily check-in but certainly have a 6 month and annual check-in about overall job satisfaction and experiences.
3. Value your nanny: Remember important anniversary dates: birthdays and date of hire. Celebrate & acknowledge these dates.
4. When you travel longer than a regular work week, utilize hotel sitters to give your nanny some respite.
5. When your nanny first shows up to your house for employment, welcome her into your family. Decorate her room, bake a cake, have a special dinner. Make sure the children are included!
6. Reward your nanny when they do something that stands out.
7. Treat your nanny as part of the co-parent team
8. Don’t assume, always inquire. Consult with professionals when issues arise. Don’t jump to conclusions!
9. Offer Benefits such as – medical/dental, cell phone, occasional paid day off. Plan for an annual raise and holiday bonus.
10. Use language that empowers and educates your nanny – avoid language that is shaming or judgmental.


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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Top 10 Nanny Safety Tips!

Top 10 Nanny Safety Tips

1) Know your nanny – conduct a thorough background check and acquire a copy of her or his current driving record.

2) Make sure your nanny is CPR/First Aid certified.

3) Create a House Book – keep a binder in your home with important safety information, such as any pertinent emergency phone numbers, hospital and pediatrician addresses, copies of your children’s medical cards, a consent release for your nanny to make decisions in an emergency, etc.

4) Provide your nanny with a cell phone.

5) If your child has allergies, make sure your nanny is well-aware.

6) Be sure your nanny knows your family’s emergency plan.

7) Your nanny should always carry your child’s medical card, pediatrician’s address, and the address of the nearest hospital.

8) First Aid Kits – one for the home, one for your nanny’s car, and a travel-size kit for the stroller.

9) Provide a neighborhood map to be kept in your child’s stroller.

10) Positive communication is key! You don’t want your nanny to be afraid you when an emergency arises.


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Monday, August 4, 2008

Nanny Says: "I'm your Mommy"

"My nanny told my son, "Scott, you have to listen to me, I am your mommy." is this ever okay to do? when I told her that it was not okay, she got very defensive, told me that she needed to be like that with the kids and that I am at work and she is with them more than me. She did not understand that it was simply the words that I did not like. Also, then she changed her stance and said that she did not say that, she said nanny. i feel like it is obvious that i should fire her but i worry about the effect on my kids. She has only been with us for 4 months. any advice?"

Your nanny is absolutely in the wrong here. Her stance and approach is devisive and manipulative and if it continues may harm and confuse your children. Parent & nanny should be working together as a parenting team. It also sounds, at least based on your e-mail she wasn't able to integrate the feedback and concern. Was this due to a language issue between the two of you? Was she scared of you? Sometimes under stress individuals lie and muddle their words.

Now, let's get down to it. You have a couple options here: make it work or plan an appropriate ending. A lot of this depends on the age of the children and your nanny's ego strength. First things first, if you think you can salvage this and she is able to learn from this, then sit down and have a discussion clarifying what is ok and what is not ok. This is not a negotiation- you are the employer stating what you expect.

If she is unable to accept this, then you move to planning an ending. You may also choose to skip right to the ending and not even have a discussion. The best thing to do is have a planned ending. You should speak with the nanny and let her know of your concerns and that you have made a decision that this relationship isn't working out the way you had expected. Think, do you want her to stay for a couple of weeks or a couple of days or a couple of hours?

Plan ahead! Speak with her at the beginning of the work day so that if she just wants to leave the children are present and you are present to manage the situation. Be prepared to stay home that day if necessary. When speaking with her just stick with the facts - make statements that are free from emotion and judgement. If she is able to stay for a few days, or weeks and you feel safe with this and are not worried about her saying or doing harmful things to the children plan a good-bye. Inform the children, decide what you will tell the children. Have a good-bye "party" have the children draw pictures, take a picture of the children with their nanny and give a copy of the pic to the nanny and frame one for each child- nannys are a part of your childs story and children like to hear about who took care of them. Talk about favorite memories, events,etc. Answer the children's questions about where the nanny is going, or why the nanny is going in the least angry and judgemental way possible. They need to understand that they didn't do anything wrong and this is part of a natural transition, a change.

Now, if there is to be an ending, you will need to consider if you will pay severence, if you will write a letter of reference, etc.

Best of luck, please let me know if you have any further questions!


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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Is there a Nanny Doctor in the house?

Hello, The Nanny Doctor consulting services were featured in the Style section of the San Francisco Chronicle today! Here's a link to the story!


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Nanny Cams

As a parent, especially a new parent, you may be concerned about leaving your child with a caregiver other than yourself. As a result of these concerns, you may think about using a nanny cam. This is a delicate issue that should be handled in a sensitive manner. There are not only legal issues to consider but also the impact on your relationship with your nanny. Below are some of the details of the California law. In addition to the laws, you may want to think about how this may affect your relationship with your nanny. Trust is very important in this unique relationship and needs to be nurtured. If you are to go with a nanny cam, you should discuss this with your interview candidates prior to hiring (in the interview) and once hired, have the nanny sign a document stating that they are aware of the "hidden camera." This way you are hiring someone who you know is comfortable with this practice.

The short answer is it is legal to use a hidden camera in all 50 states, however it is illegal to record someone’s speech in 15 states (including California) without their consent. California Video recording of "confidential communications" is prohibited without consent.

The laws of 13 states expressly prohibit the unauthorized installation or use of cameras in private places. In California, installation or use of any device for photographing, observing or overhearing events or sounds in a private place without the permission of the people photographed or observed is against the law. A private place is one where a person may reasonably expect to be safe from unauthorized surveillance.

Consider that studies and polls show that many care providers are not necessarily against video taping of child-provider interaction, it's just that they want to know about it. It seems to be a matter of trust and feeling of deception. Some parents handle the situation by telling a potential care provider upfront that a nanny cam will be used so that they can feel comfortable and confident about their child's care. It's then up to the nanny to accept or decline the position with a family who uses a nanny cam.

Something else you may want to look into is A site where you can sign up for a license plate for your stroller so that if someone sees something while your nanny is out and about that is either favorable or unfavorable, it can be reported using the stroller plate, you then receive an e-mail immediately with the posted report! These “license plates” may also be used in such a way that people may report loving, wonderful interactions between your nanny and child, and you may use these reports as reasons to provide your nanny with an incentive or bonus.


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Sunday, April 13, 2008

*NEW* Extended BETTER.TV Interview

Better TV recently posted the extended version of The Nanny Doctor's January interview! Enjoy!


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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

How's YOUR Nanny? is a service run by a New York City prosecutor of child abuse and sex crimes who is also a mother of two. Through this site, parents can now purchase a license plate for their strollers that enables the public to anonymously report good or bad nanny observations. Registered parents instantaneously receive an email alerting them to the confidential report. Featured on Good Morning America, Fox News National and endorsed in New York's Daily News, has been hailed "an honest solution to a tough problem."

People often inquire how the system can deter fraud (i.e. a nanny sending a false report on another nanny whose job she covets). The system has three safeguards on it to deter fraud:

a. The person making the report has to give the date, time and location of the incident they observed. This makes it less likely that a prankster will try to submit a random report as they would not know which state the member lives in.

b. While the person making a report can choose to remain anonymous to the parent/member receiving the report, in order to make a report, the reporter must provide their name, email address and phone number to the site manager. Therefore, while we call it an"anonymous report", no one is ever truly anonymous.

c. If the same email address makes a report (good or bad) 3 or more times, the site manager is automatically notified so they can investigate the matter.

d. Parents are often pleased to hear that the majority of the reports received since the inception of have been "not anonymous". This means the reporter provided the parent/member with their
contact information so that they could follow up if necessary.

They are working with the INA (International Nanny Association) and NANC (National Association of Nanny Care) to educate parents on how to effectively interview a nanny and to improve communication between the nanny and parent. Nannies understand that this service benefits the good nanny as the praise reports can lead to bonuses and better communication. It is their hope that the service will ultimately weed out the bad nannies as well.

Jill often tells parents that the license plate acts as a deterrent to any harmful or negligent behavior. In the truck driving industry, when they started putting the How's My Driving bumper sticker on the back of trucks, the rate of truck related accidents went down by 20-53%. Drivers realized that because they were now accountable, they had to drive more safely or risk being reported. That in and of itself is the reason all parents with nannies or babysitters should have the plate on their stroller. Having the plate encourages nannies to behave safely.

They have been informed by various "Mommy and Me" type classes that the teachers occasionally observe behavior by the nannies that is less than appropriate. These facilities have informed us that they do not make it a practice to notify the parent (if they see the parent) because they do not want to make the parent feel uncomfortable and not want to return to the establishment. These facilities encourage the use of the license plate to facilitate communication in these situations.

Jill Starishevsky is interested in learning how many parents would like a bumper magnet for their car. Some of the suburban moms have asked for this for the nannies that take the children in the car and we are looking to see if there is a need for this addition to the service. They have been working with a car seat safety expert who is encouraging them to implement the bumper magnet in an effort to improve car seat safety and to deter nannies from talking on the cell phone while driving with children in the car. If you have an interest in this, please comment here! 

How do you feel about the license plate? I'd love to hear feedback from parents and nannies!!


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Sunday, March 2, 2008

The Transition Period

The First 3 weeks to 3 months

You’ve found “The One.” Your very own Mary Poppins. A nanny, the person who will partner with you in raising your child. And s/he is arriving tomorrow. Now what?

The first 3 weeks to 3 months is a very critical period in your relationship with your nanny! Poor communication, making assumptions, and not enough time spent educating your nanny about you and your family could easily result in a failed match. How do you avoid this? Read on for The Nanny Doctor’s tips!

The week before your nanny arrives:
Celebrate the arrival of your new nanny and his/her joining your household. There are many things you can do to help your nanny feel welcome!
• For a live-in nanny, tell the kids that you are going to decorate your new nanny’s room. Take them to a party store and ask them to pick out what they think their new nanny will like. Let them pick out whatever they want. What’s important here is they are getting excited about welcoming their new nanny into their home and their lives! If your 5 year-old boy picks out a race car motif – so be it! If you have an infant, decorate the nanny room yourself!
• Live-in or Live-out -Have your children make artwork (drawings or a banner) or handmade cards welcoming their nanny into their home!
• For a live-in, consider sending her a bouquet of flowers from the children that are there waiting in her room upon her arrival!
• Throughout the week, drop your new nanny’s name into conversation. When your child asks about something that you know your new nanny is interested in or will be involved in, say something like, “You know what? I think Katie really likes ballet, I’ll bet she’d love to see you perform on Saturday!”

The first week:
• Plan to be present more than usual during this transition period. This is when you want to spend time with your nanny and educate them about your family.

• Communication is the key! Positive, clear communication – free from emotion and judgment. Discuss what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable. Empower your nanny, don’t shame them. Remember, in an emergency, you want the nanny to feel comfortable reaching out to you – not scared.

• Make your child the expert! They may be a little shy at first, but this activity will help them to gain a sense of control over this big change! When your nanny comes over, encourage your child to be the tour guide of your life! Say things like, “What do we do after dinner?” or “What time is nap time again?” Your child will enjoy “schooling” your new nanny and your nanny will appreciate your child’s involvement.

• Plan some sort of activity or plan for the nanny to attend a birthday party or soccer game. When all else fails – make cookies! Baking is a great activity to spend quality time together and start to build a new relationship!

Things to consider:
• Consider your nanny’s own cultural background. Ask your nanny about her own family’s traditions.
• Consider the last “nanny-family” this nanny had. Unless you educate your nanny about your family, s/he will operate off of the last family’s set of family rules. For example, I recently worked with a family where the family was very laid back and informal. They hired their dream nanny and were quickly upset by the way that she shuttled their children away from them in the house and said “No” quite often. The family was upset. When I was called in, I immediately got to the bottom of it with the nanny. What had been going on the whole time was that this nanny had just come from a formal household where children are literally seen and not heard and the nanny would have been fired if the children had been too loud or interrupted the parent’s schedule. By helping that family to identify their own family’s identity and facilitating communication between family and nanny, they are now a happy household and a failed match was avoided!

• Consider any special skills or training that your nanny brings to your family. Acknowledge and value these skills.

• Your new nanny needs to know she has your support! Your children need to see that you are confident and sure of your decision and that you value and respect your new nanny. Back your nanny up in front of the children. If your children behave rudely or inappropriately towards your new nanny ensure that your children know that this is unacceptable. If you disagree with your nanny, back her up in front of the children (unless its clearly a safety issue) and pull her aside after the incident and discuss your differences at that time.

Take it slow and learn from each other! Building this relationship honestly, openly and lovingly will promote a happy, healthy household in the long-term.


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Monday, February 18, 2008

Safety is ALWAYS First!

Whether you are a parent or a nanny, all caregivers should be aware of ways to teach kids to stay safe! Pattie Fitzgerald from Safely Ever After, Inc. is a certified Child Predator Safety Educator and is also certified by the National Security Alliance/Kid-Safe Network. Her articles have been published in numerous parenting magazines, trade journals and websites. Check out for more important safety tips!

She will also be teaching "An Ounce of Prevention" at Nurture and Nanny Agency in Los Angeles on March 27th at 6:30pm. Call 310-270-6177 to Sign up Now! This 90 minute class is designed to empower parents and caregivers and take the fear out of child safety.

Here are 10 Family Safety Rules! that nannies and parents should use when teaching kids about staying safe! Courtesy of Safely Ever After, Inc.

1. I AM SPECIAL & I have the right to be SAFE!
2. I know my NAME, ADDRESS, and PHONE NUMBER and my parents' names too!
3. I never go ANYWHERE or take anything from someone I don't know.
4. I always CHECK FIRST to get permission before I go anywhere or get into a car, even if it's with someone I know!
5. My bathing suit areas are PRIVATE!
6. I don't always have to be POLITE!
7. I can YELL "NO!" and tell a safe grown-up when something just doesn't feel right.
8. I don't keep SECRETS!
9. I know what to do if I ever get LOST.
10. I always PAY ATTENTION TO MY OWN INNER VOICE, especially that "uh-oh" feeling.


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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Taking Play Seriously

Today The New York Times Magazine looked at the science of unstructured play and its value to our children. Check it out here!


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Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Top 7 Most Important Domains You Need to Ask About

Nurturing/Tending to needs

There are MANY questions to be asked over the period of time from the initial phone screening, and 1st and 2nd interview, however, there are 7 domains that absolutely need to be addressed. These are 1) Safety 2) Interaction/Engaging 3) Communication 4) Discipline/Responsibility 5) Nurturing/Tending to needs 6) Nourishment and 7) Personal/Professional. Below I have included a sample list of questions (this is by no means comprehensive!) that you may ask related to each domain. Every family is different and has different needs. You will need to adapt these questions to fit your needs (ages of child, etc) – that is why I encourage families to focus on the domains and think about how these important domains apply to your family’s needs. Furthermore, these domains should continue to be your guide beyond the interview process.

Safety should be your number one priority! That is why we do so much prescreening and background checking!

-Are you infant/child CPR certified and first aid certified? If no, how do you feel about us having you go to get certified?
-What would you do if my child fell off their bike and knocked their teeth on the cement? Or for a baby, what would you do if my child rolled off the changing table?
-Do you know how to properly install a car seat? Do you know what the guidelines are for age and weight related to car seats?

And here is the rest of it.

-How will you plan to spend your time with my baby/child? Please describe a typical day. Listen for activities that are important to your family (reading books, playground, museum, etc).
-For babies, ask them about what types of games they will play. Listen for responses rich in singing, holding, swaying, floor time, reflecting facial expressions.
-Give me an example of how you can make laundry or preparing a meal a learning experience.
-What activities will you arrange for my child on a rainy day?

-When a problem, concern, or disagreement has come up in the past with an employer, how did you handle it?
-How do you usually communicate the days events to the parents you have worked for in the past? Listen for them talking about checking-in in the morning, or afternoon, or using tools such as a notebook, or texting, or cell phone.
-Tell me about a situation where something happened and you had to call a parent right away. I know this is a tough question to hear the answer to, but listen to the steps that were taken. Do they seem reasonable? Were they thinking clearly?


-How do you think children should be disciplined? Listen for them to defer to you. For example, “I ask how the parents would like me to handle the situation before these situations come up and follow what they say.”
-My child just wrecked his room. Toys are everywhere. How do you address this? Listen for age-appropriate responses. For example, younger children need help to clean it up, did they speak to the child about the behavior, did they try to make cleaning up a game? Do they have a “clean-up” song?
-My child pulls your hair and then laughs. What would be your first reaction? If they say “ow!” that’s appropriate. It’s what they do with that “Ow” that matters! Are they able to be calm and respond with an age appropriate response?

Nurturing/Tending to their needs
-How will you soothe my child when they are feeling sad or hurt or upset? Listen for holding, talking to them in a sweet voice with sweet words, offering the child something they will enjoy – like reading a book or doing an activity. For babies, soothing, swaying, singing, holding, making sure child is dressed properly, diaper, hungry, etc.
-What techniques do you employ when you can tell my child is getting a little tired and cranky?
-What kind of games do you like to play with kids? The best nannies will be creative! And may even tell you about games they created with children.

-For babies, ask about the nannies familiarity with this age group, timing feeding with napping, or for breastfeeding moms, how will the arrangement play out?
-For older children, ask them to describe a full days worth of meals! Including those crunchy snacks tucked away in backpacks for trips around town, etc.
-My child goes to a birthday party and will not eat the meal. He only wants cake. How do you proceed?

-What interests you about this job?
-We celebrate __________ (Christmas, Hanukkah, Halloween, Easter, etc) how do you feel about caring for my child and celebrating these holidays? For example, trick-or-treating, singing songs, etc).
-What ages of children have you looked after in the past?
-Tell me about a memorable moment with a child you have looked after.
-What expertise do you have that you can contribute to our family?
-How long can you commit to my family?
-What other responsibilities do you have outside of your job? Do they have a family of their own? What will happen if their own children are home sick from school?
-What do you like to do in your spare time?
-What in your life has prepared you for this kind of job?
-What are your future goals? A family of their own? Successful actor?

Again, this is by no means a comprehensive list! These are only a sprinkling of questions believe it or not! Many questions should be answered by your agency’s screening prior to you meeting the candidate. Check back next month for the most common errors made by parents in the interview process!


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Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Baby Planners

Hello Readers! I wanted to tell you about a service that I just discovered a couple of months ago! I waited to blog about them until I had an opportunity to make contact with them! The Baby Planners are Ellie Miller and Melissa Gould. They are Los Angeles-based consultants on all things baby prep related! They can help you choose items for your registry and tell you about the hottest new baby products. If you are a first time parent or just so busy you don't know which way is up, they can help you find exactly what you need. They also have gift certificates for any friends that you may have who are expecting! Check them out!


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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Tips For Addressing Biting Behaviors in Toddlers

Patrick Donnelly said...

Lindsay, our son Patrick Jr. is almost 2 years old, and like most 2 year olds he can get pretty wild. Recently he has been doing many things (like biting) that he knows he is not supposed to do because we have punished him for it before. What would be your advice as far as the best ways/punishments that will help us get our point across to Patrick that these are actions that are not allowed?
Thanks for your comment Patrick. Biting is a relatively common behavior for toddlers. They do not yet have the ability to articulate their thoughts and feelings yet and commonly can bite when they get excited, or when they want to "send a message" or get another person's attention. Sometimes, toddlers who bite simply like to see the reaction sort of like an experiment they are trying out. It is relatively rare for a toddler to have premeditated biting and is more commonly related to being unable to manage overwhelming feelings combined with an inability to articulate their needs.

First things first, don't automatically label your child's behavior as planned or premeditated. Deciding as parents that the biting behavior is willful or evil, gets in the way of understanding the reasons behind the behavior, and furthermore addressing this behavior properly.

When the behavior occurs, don't yell or scream. A child of this age is likely to become afraid of you and be stunned and lose sight of the message that you are trying to convey that biting is bad and that you will not tolerate it.

As an adult, you have skills that your child does not possess that will help him to not engage in these biting behaviors. One of those skills is to be able to anticipate his behavior. Many parents know "that look" accompanied with running towards the potential target. This is where you intervene. When you intervene, do not jerk your child away in an aggressive manner, rather redirect him using a distraction or offer a book or game or something of interest - even if you have only a few moments and you can say "Hey look at that little bird out the window!" - anything - just as long as it gently redirects your child away from the biting behavior you believe that they were about to engage in. Remember we want to respect our children.

If you are unable to get there before he bites, immediately following the bite, the first thing you want to do is almost overly console the child who has just been bitten. This will help to convey a clear message to your child that this behavior will not bring attention from mommy and daddy. Make clear statements that reflect your beliefs about that behavior. "We don't bite people in this family" or "Biting hurts." This is an opportunity to build conscience and empathy.

Have your child look at the other crying child and make comments such as "See how Katie is crying? She is hurting right now. Bites hurt! Tell Katie you love her and give her a hug, that will help her feel better." This is also a moment where you can educate your child about "using their words" or coming to ask mommy or daddy for a toy next time and let them know you will help them. The biggest mistake a parent can make in this situation is letting your own feelings about the behavior overcome you and drive your reaction. Also, be consistent in your response every time this behavior occurs and use the same words each time - short responses such as "We don't bite. Biting hurts." This will likely take many attempts and will require you to be persistent and consistent over time.

Now, if you have tried this attempt a good ten times or so, and the behavior continues, respond with a little bit more intensity. Its important to remember that intensity does not translate to force. Again, control yourself and don't let your feelings drive your response. If he engages in the behavior and you have already attempted the above recommendations, put your hand on his shoulder, and say "No biting. You need to take a break." Or say "it's time for a timeout." A pretty general rule for this is a minute for each year of age. 2 minutes is a very long time to a 2 year old. Place him in a specific chair away from the play area. Expect protest and upset. You must be able to tolerate this and don't engage him. If he gets up from where you have placed him, the first time he gets up, let him know that you are going to help him back to his place. If he gets up again, don't speak to him and without aggressive force, return him to his place. Continue this until he remains in his place. You must be consistent and persistent. Even if he gets up 20 times, repeat this behavior. If you crack on the 19th time, he will learn that eventually you will break and this behavior will continue.

Again, if this behavior continues, you may want to supplement it with reading him books that address these behaviors. For this age, I recommend "The Berenstein Bears and The Bad Habit" by Stan and Jan Berenstein, "Teeth are Not for Biting" by Elizabeth Verdick and Marieka Heinlen, "No Biting" by Karen Katz, "No Biting Louise" by Margie Palatini and Matthew Reinhart.

The worst situation for the parent of a biting child might be when your child bites another child on a playdate or birthday party or at school. When your child bites someone else in public, there is a feeling of immediate embarrassment, anger, and wanting to just disappear. Again, remind yourself, that this behavior is common for children around this age, and secondly regulate your own reaction. Repeat the above recommendations. You will find that having a consistent plan of action will reduce your anxiety, provide your child with a clear message about your family's beliefs related to the biting behavior as well as console the child who has just been bitten.


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Thursday, January 24, 2008

What's in a name?

Over the holidays I was fortunate enough to have spent time with not only my family and friends but several families in search of nanny help. Between the two groups, there has been one question that has consistently come up... "What is the difference between a babysitter and a nanny?"

The first thing I do is let them know that there are even more titles for all of the different roles in the childcare world! This is absolutely down right surprising to most. The following is description of the many childcare roles that exist. Where does your family fit in? What other roles/arrangements have you heard of?

Employed on a more "as-needed" basis. A babysitter tends to follow the instructions of the parents and not really contribute any professional experience or knowledge regarding child rearing. Childcare is not usually the babysitter's career goal.

Baby Nurse:
A baby nurse is an experienced/trained infant/newborn specialist who comes into your life during the first few weeks of your infants life to assist the family with the day-to-day care of their new infant. Baby nurses work on a 24 hour schedule. They are on-call 24 hours a day. A good baby nurse educates the parents about their newborn, and assists in establishing a sleeping routine, eating routine, and often provide lactation consulting to breastfeeding mothers.

Employed full-time or part-time, can live-in or live-out and work various hours depending on a family's needs. Responsible for "all-things-child": laundry, food prep, snacks, shopping for clothing, toys, books, etc. A nanny is responsible for planning educational and socially stimulating outings, reading to your children, playing with your children. A nanny is essentially responsible for providing physical and emotional safety for your child in your absence. Also, traditionally, a nanny usually has a great deal of experience raising children and may even have some formal training such as classes in early childhood development or parenting.

Mother's Helper:
A mother's helper is someone who comes into the home usually immediately following the homecoming of mom and baby and is there to literally "help" and support the newly formed family. A mother's helper may run errands, do laundry, assist with various tasks around the house, and directly assist mom/dad with their new baby. Usually a mother's helper is not left on her own to care for the kids rather she accompanies and assists.

Au pair:
A young person from another country, often somewhere in Europe, usually between the ages of 18-25 who comes and lives with you for at least a year. Their previous experience is usually limited to babysitting back home or caring for family members' children. An au-pair usually provides childcare as a way to have a new experience in the United States and unlike a professional nanny, childcare is not their final career destination (at least in most cases!). The number of hours an au-pair works per week is limited and a family is expected to provide them with a room and board, minimum salary, and allow time for him/her to take classes as well as pay for tuition in some cases.

A caregiver who, in addition to caring for her charge, also puts a premium and priority on educational activities and often tutors the children she looks after.


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Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Nanny Doctor's BETTER.TV interview!

I'm very excited to share the first of two Better TV interviews with you. Follow the link to the video!


And here is the rest of it.


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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Nanny Doctor's NYC Diaries

So, I was in NYC last week and got to meet a lot of great people and do a little television in the process! I arrived late Tuesday night and had dinner with friends at a great little yummy restaurant called Otto they have great wine and pizza! The weather was surprising! I was hoping and wishing for some rain (a southern californian gal needs it!) and the weather was similar to L.A.'s current weather - 60 degrees! The next day, I worked a bit and also met with Denyse Kapelus from Professional Nannies. Denyse is fabulous! She is so passionate about helping families find the right nanny for their family. She is very inspirational and a true leader in this process! On Thursday morning, I showed up at the Better.TV studios - affiliated with Better Homes and Gardens and Parents Magazines for my television interviews.

If you do not get this station in your city, you can check out The Nanny Doctor interview online on Thursday, January 17th on www.Better.TV I will be featured on Better.Tv and Parents.Tv, speaking about Finding and Maintaining the Right Nanny for Your Family! It was brief but nice! After that meeting, I quickly scurried over to meet with Wendy Sachs from The Philadelphia Nanny Network We met up in this great little cafe with gorgeous desserts! Wendy has been in this business for a long time and was the president of the INA for years! I also met with various mommy websites, one of which was I met with Karen Knapstein who works with their founder Stacy DeBroff - mom extraordinaire! We are planning to collaborate with each other in the future! On my last day in New York it was raining and thundering and lightning! I loved it! But then I had to come home...but it was a great trip all in all and I look forward to my next trip!


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International Nanny Association - INA Vision Newsletter, Winter 2007

Click on the image to read my article from the International Nanny Association's winter 2007 newsletter. I will also be speaking at the INA's annual conference in May. For more information about the INA, please visit


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Sunday, January 6, 2008

The Nanny Doctor in New York

This week is a very exciting week for me -- I'm headed to Manhattan to appear on Better TV for a pair of interviews. Stay tuned! I'll be sure to post the air dates and link the video clips.

I will be visiting New York beginning Tuesday, January 8. If you are in the Manhattan area and would like to schedule a meeting, send an e-mail to


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Tuesday, January 1, 2008