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Christmas Letters, the perfect activity for Nannies, parents and children

October 13, 2017 | Leave a Comment

Christmas is coming! Nannies be prepared with our quick guide.

The festive season is nearly upon us. Don’t let your children or charges forget to write their letter to Father Christmas and his Elves to inform them of what they would like to receive for Christmas this year.

Nannies and parents, if you are looking for the perfect activity to do with your charges after school, have a go at writing a letter to Father Christmas.

Christmas is a very busy time for Santa and his Elves. He needs plenty of time to get gifts sorted and wrapped and make sure his sleigh is prepared for the long journey ahead. Not only has he got to get all of this sorted, he will be busy replying to all letters he receives. So, make sure your child or charge sends theirs in by Friday 8th December 2017, to receive a reply don’t forget to include your name and address!

Royal Mail Letters:

If you are sending your letter off to Father Christmas via Royal Mail, please address your letter to:

Santa/Father Christmas

Santa’s Grotto

Reindeerland

XM4 5HQ

If your child or charge has already sent off this years Christmas list, or is perhaps too young to write a letter to Santa, fear not! You can arrange for them to receive their very own letter from Santa!

Charity Letters:

Have your child or charge receive a letter from Father Christmas by creating one via the NSPCC.

You can order a letter and choose from a number of different templates, just by making a small donation to a worthy cause.

There are a number of different templates to choose from depending on the age of your child or charge. Once you have selected your template, have fun personalising your letter to make it special.

This is a lovely way for children to receive their very own letter from Santa.

Give it a go and have fun personalising your letter for your charge today >>> https://letterfromsanta.nspcc.org.uk/

Create your own:

You may decide that you would like to create your own letter on behalf of Father Christmas. Have a go at designing and personalising your own letter for your child or charge.

Don’t forget to leave out those ‘special treats’ for Father Christmas and a couple of carrots for his reindeers! I have been told that Santa is quite partial to a mince pie or two.

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10 Top Tips that all new Nannies should know

July 11, 2017 | Leave a Comment

Here are 10 top tips for new nannies;

If you are starting a new nanny role it can be daunting, but it is an exciting job to have.

1). Always be professional – 

This is a top priority. You should always conduct yourself in a professional way when at work. To maintain professionalism avoid: using your mobile phone, gossiping whilst at work, and always respect your employer.

2).  Maintain a positive attitude –

Everyone has down days, including nannies. That being said, you should not let it affect or interfere with your work. At the end of the day, you are the employee and are employed to do a job.

3). Learn how to communicate with your employer –

Communication is key! Especially for a nanny. You should always make sure you are communicating to your employer about the children you are taking care of. You need to make them aware of anything that has happened during the day that you think they have a right to know. Having a nanny diary on hand is a great resource. This enables you to write down any key information or notes about the day. It can be hard to remember the days events especially if you are caring for more than one child. Having a nanny diary on hand can take away some of this pressure.

You should also try to build up a good relationship with your employer so you are able to communicate worries or concerns that you have. You should feel that you can take to your employer about everything you need to regarding your job.

4). Know that is it okay to say ‘no’ –

Occasionally you may find yourself needing to say ‘no’. This is allowed in certain aspects. You may feel like you are letting your employer or someone down. Along as you have a good reason for saying no, you have nothing to feel guilty about. This is also why it is good to be in constant communication with your employer. It is always advisable to give as much notice as possible if you are able to.

5). Respect everyone and everything –

Nannies, when working in your employers house it is always important to respect their property and household objects. This is also true of anyone that enters the house.

6). Always be helpful, go that extra mile –

A great way show your employer that you are a good nanny is to always try and go that extra mile. Always clean up after yourself, make sure you complete all your duties to the best of your ability and always maintain a positive attitude.

7). Maintain personal hygiene and your personal appearance –

When working, always ensure you are maintain a good standard of personal hygiene. Be conscientious of the environment you are working in. The way you look is important and you want to give your employer a good impression. It is always a good idea to style your hair in an appropriate way, keeps nails short and makeup professional. Some employers are very particular about the way their nanny looks. You should respect this and follow there requests, after all you are a role model to the children.

8). Be proactive and adventurous –

This is always really important especially if you are looking after children during a school holiday. You are going to be required to keep your nanny children entertained, but don’t blow the budget!

9). Have a good relationship with your nanny children & employer –

This should be at the top of your list. Having a good relationship with your nanny children and employer will reflect in the work you do. It may take time to build up a relationship, but it should be a priority. It may take longer to build up a bond with some children.

10). Be tactile when it comes to discipline –

There may come a point when you will have to discipline your nanny children. This is one of the hardest parts of the job as you want you maintain a good relationship with your nanny children but it is a necessary part of the job. You should always try to be tactile about this. It is always a good idea to know what the parents methods of discipline are and then to coordinate them with yours.

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Easy After School Snacks ideal for Children

July 11, 2017 | Leave a Comment

Nannies and Parents, do you get the ‘I’m hungry’ after school from your children or charges? After a full day at school, it is expected for your children or charges to come home hungry.

Instead of reaching for those unhealthy, sugary snacks, try mixing it up a bit with a variety of healthy snacks for your child to munch on. It can be hard to know what snack is best to give that is suitable to be consumed before dinner. The last thing you want is for them to feel full and not want to eat their dinner that you have prepared.

Getting children involved

Cooking and baking is lots of fun and an activity that most children enjoy. It is a fantastic way to encourage them to eat healthy and allows you to introduce them to some new foods. Cooking also provides you with an opportunity to introduce some new skills, for example, weighing/ measuring out the ingredients, reading along with the recipe and identifying the correct ingredients. These skills are perfect to understand and establish when children are young.

After School Snack Ideas:

When children need energy fast, a snack plate is the perfect thing to create. A small plate of their favourite healthy snacks always go down a treat.

A few great snacks to include:

  • Bread sticks/ crackers. Served on their own or with some hummus
  • Dried fruit
  • Cubes/ slices of cheese
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Chopped apple/ grapes / berries/ banana
  • Raw carrot / pepper / cucumber
  • Nuts/ seeds.

These snack options also work really well on the go. If you find that your child or charge is hungry as soon as they come out of school, prepare a few of these easy snacks and take them with you to the school gate. A quick and easy food fix.

If you find that your child is still hungry or is looking for something slightly more filling, have a go at making these quick and simple snacks, perfect to fill a hole:

Fruit Kebabs

Fruit kebabs are fun, easy and healthy snacks that children love. Simply choose from a selection of different fruit, cut it into small, bite size chunks and let your child have a go a creating their own fruit kebab. Perfect treats to make that are not time consuming and are hassle free. A great way to encourage children to eat fruit by letting them get involved. Add some excitement to your kebabs by offering some yoghurt, honey or even chocolate dips on the side. This might be added as a special treat on a Friday to celebrate the end of the week.

Flapjacks

A great snack to make after school with your children or charge. There are so many recipes available for you to choose form. The main ingredients include: butter, brown sugar, golden syrup and porridge oats. Adding extra’s to your flapjacks including, dried fruit, nuts or seeds can make a special addition to them.

Mini Omelettes

Mini omelettes are the perfect snack to create and enable you to use up any vegetables. Simply whisk up some egg, add your chosen vegetables, pour the mixture into a muffin tin and bake. Extras (cheese) may also be added if desired. the great thing about these is you are able to store any leftovers in the fridge for up to a week.

Baked Apple Crisps

A new spin on an apple. A great way to encourage children to eat fruit is by disguising it by turning it into a crisp. Simply slice up an apple, space it out onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper and cook in the oven. Prior to putting in the oven add some cinnamon to give a dash of spice. These can take a little while to cook in the oven, so it might be a good idea to make a batch at the weekend ready to be served after school. They are perfect to store in an air tight container and keep in the cupboard as simple snacks.

Written by Emily Martin for Harmony at Home Limited. All Rights Reserved, 2017

Little known ways to be the best Nanny

May 17, 2017 | Leave a Comment

Little known ways to be the best nanny that you can be…

A nanny is a valued part of the family. Being a nanny can be a tough job. It can be demanding and can involve working long hours of the day. However, it can also be rewarding, exciting and fulfilling.

With these little known ways, you can be the best nanny:

Be on time… or early

Your employer is going to be relying on you! Always aim to arrive on time or even better, try and arrive early. This not only shows reliability & professionalism to your employer, but also that you are keen to start the job.

Be positive

Every job will bring with it new challenges and obstacles. If you have a problem, make sure you consider all the possible solutions before bringing it to your employer. Remain open to these challenges, and this will have a positive reflection on you. Always remain cheery and have a smile on your face. Your positivity will have an effect on the environment and the people with in it.

Be an outstanding role model

Children may see you as someone they can look up to and can go to for guidance. Because of this, it is only right that parents want a nanny who they know have good morals and can be a suitable role model for their children. How you come across and what your personality is like, will have an impact on the children you care for. Being a good role model means that you are able to demonstrate good confidence and leadership, communicate and interact with everyone and show respect and concern to all.

Be outgoing

All nannies carry different responsibilities. To be the best nanny you can, make sure nothing is too much trouble. Take initiative and when necessary, go above and beyond.

Communicate effectively

As with any job, communicating to your employer is key. If you have a problem or if their is something that you are wanting to discuss, make sure you arrange to speak with them. This should be arranged within a suitable environment. Don’t let it go under the surface or keep it hidden away. The same goes if you know that you are going to need to take some time off. Try and give your employer a decent amount of time to find alternative childcare arrangements. Leaving things to the last minute is unprofessional and does not give your employer the best impression.

Feedback to your employer what you have done with their children or any key things that you think they might like to know. A great way to remember key things that might have taken place during the day, is to record them in a diary. Harmony at Home’s company director and qualified Norland Nanny, Frankie Gray, has written her very own version of a nanny diary that allows you to record day to day events and important pieces of information that you may like to forward to your employer. For example: nap times, feeding times/meals etc. This handy diary is perfect for all nannies, especially those who are caring for younger children, allowing you to record any progress that a child might be making.

Always give 110%

Being a nanny requires 110% commitment.  Some days can be harder than others; you may feel less motivated or you may just be having ‘one of those days’. It is important that you don’t let this effect your work and the job that you are required to do.

These are just a few things that you can do to ensure that you are being the best nanny that you can and to have a top level relationship with your employer and their family.

Written by Emily Martin for Harmony at Home Limited. All Rights Reserved, 2017

Random Acts of Kindness Day – 17th February 2017

February 16, 2017 | Leave a Comment

This year, the 17th February 2017 is Random Acts of Kindness Day.

Nannies and parents why not get involved and encourage your children to make someone’s day this year.

Here is a list of 10 FREE & easy things that you can encourage your children to do to show someone a random act of kindness:

  1. Make someone a cup of tea or coffee
  2. Compliment someone
  3. Write positive words or phrases on a sticky note – ‘you’re amazing’, ‘you’re fantastic’
  4. Hold the door open
  5. Make someone laugh, tell a joke
  6. Give someone a hug
  7. Always be polite, manners cost nothing
  8. Pay for someone’s hot drink by leaving money in an envelope on the table in the cafe
  9. Give up your seat to someone who needs it
  10. If you are queuing in a long line, let the person behind, go in front

These are just a few simple things that you can do this Random Acts of Kindness Day. Just the simplest of things can have an effect on someone’s day.

To find out more information, click and follow the link to be taken to the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation Website: https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/

Written by Emily Martin for Harmony at Home Limited. All Rights Reserved, 2017

 

Cost Effective London day out ideas for Parents and Nannies

February 16, 2017 | Leave a Comment

Nannies and parents, are you looking for some low, cost effective ideas for days out in London with your children this half term?

This article will help you see what low cost activities are available in London for nannies and families to take part in over half term.

Whilst going to the theatre or visiting London’s top attractions like the London Eye, Madame Tussauds and the London Aquarium are all fun days out for the children, they are also particularly pricey. This can be just to enter, and doesn’t take into consideration costings for coffees, lunch and the trips to the gift shop. If you have a big family, a day trip to London can be scary!

But it doesn’t have to be, you just have to know where to look and plan ahead. Here are some top London attractions that are low cost or even free that are still fun for all the family.

Museums:

The Natural History Museum:

About: Lots of exhibits to see and an all-round great day to be had. You are able to view the upcoming events and exhibits on the Natural History website so you can plan and tailor your visit according to what you and your little ones love. There is always so much to see so it is defiantly a day trip to be had.

Fees: What is even better is that admissions are FREE so you don’t have to worry about paying an absolute fortune just to get you and your family in. The only charges that you may occur are for some ‘special exhibits’ and for any coffees you buy or any little treats you pick up in the gift shop. What is fantastic about this, is that it is totally up to you about how much you want to pay. More information can be found on the website here:

General Information: Open Daily 10:00am – 17:50pm

Website: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/

The Science Museum:

About: The London Science Museum is not only extremely fun and interactive but it is educational as well. A fun way to get your children interested in Science and learn all about Space, Einstein, engineering, robots and so much more. There is always an exciting event on at the Science Museum so be sure to check out the website to see their event calendar. Suitable for families, with activities available for all age groups.

Fees: Just like the Natural History Museum, it is FREE admission into the museum. Most of the exhibitions are free, however there is a charge for the IMAX cinema, simulators and some special events. More information about this can be found on the website here:

General Information: Open daily 10am – 6pm

Website: http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/

Tourist Attractions/events:

Even though there may not be free to enter, there is nothing stopping you from visiting London’s top attractions and snapping some pics of you and your family.

Here is a list of some of the top attractions in London:

  • The London Eye
  • Buckingham Palace – Changing of the Guard
  • Big Ben
  • Tower Bridge
  • Trafalgar Square
  • Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Parks:

Why not visit ones of these top parks with your family. The children are able to run around and burn off some energy or engage in some of the selected park activities, whilst you can sit back and relax looking at the stunning scenery around you. When the weather gets a little warmer, why not pack a picnic, and enjoy a lovely day out. Suitable for all ages and is absolutely free to all.

Hyde Park

A great selection of activities to enjoy. Including, swimming, boating, cycling and skating. Also facilities including pitches for sports games, tennis courts, horse riding tracks and a fun filled playground for children to enjoy are all available. Ice skating is also available during the colder months, running from November to January.

St James Park

Home too many different types of wildlife. You may be lucky enough to spot pelicans, which are fed daily at 2:30, water birds, owls, woodpeckers and bats! A perfect opportunity to spend time with the family and see lots of different animals

Richmond Park

An ideal space to run around and take in some great scenery. If you are lucky, you may even be able to spot a few deer’s running around.

Kensington Gardens

Also called the Royal Park, is the home of the Peter Pan statue. There are also 2 playgrounds including the Diana, Princess of Wales memorial playground for children to enjoy.

London is full of fun! Whether you live there as a family or nanny, or are visiting for a day or weekend, there is always something to be discovered, lots to be seen and plenty of adventures to be had, without having to break the bank. So go on, see what you can discover in the great City of London.

Written by Emily Martin for Harmony at Home Limited. All Rights Reserved, 2017

Love your Nanny this Valentine’s Day

February 3, 2017 | Leave a Comment

Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us. It is a special time to show your loved ones how much you love them. If you have a nanny employed in your family why not show them some love this year. They are an important part of your family and deserve a special little treat. So why not encourage your children to get creative and show how much their Nanny means to them.

Here are 3 top valentines appreciation ideas for your Nanny;

  1. A special homemade card – Be creative with your children and help them to create a special Valentine’s card made just for them. Include some nice words about how much you appreciate all they do and all the hard work they put in. Encourage your children to decorate the card and personalise it. A simple personal touch can make all the difference.
  2. A special homemade gift – Why not continue the creativity with a homemade gift to accompany the card. If you have caught some special memories on camera of your children with their nanny then why not put together a special collage of them. Add some glitter and sticky hearts to the collage to add that extra love. A perfect opportunity for the children to grab out the craft box and discover their creative side. There are so many different craft ideas that you can choose from; why not try decorating a special mug or plate, making some soap or decorating a photo frame that has a special photo of your child with their nanny. All our fantastic opportunities for children to get messy and have fun!
  3. Creative and special Valentine’s Day treats – Why not encourage your children to make a sweet treat for your Nanny. Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to eat lots of chocolatey delights (and let’s be honest, everyone LOVES chocolate!) Why not find a recipe for some Valentine’s Day cupcakes, cookies or cakes, get your apron on and start baking. What a perfect opportunity to spend some time with your children in the kitchen, making that special treat for your Nanny.

So, don’t forget, February 14th is St. Valentine’s Day. Take some time out with your children and make something nice for your wonderful nanny. Get messy with a craft or get creative in the kitchen, but most importantly, have fun!

Written by Emily Martin for Harmony at Home Limited. All Rights Reserved, 2018

Nanny Appreciation for Valentines Day 2017 from a leading top Nanny Agency in SW London, Nannies in London, British Nannies, UK nanny agency

What all nannies and employers need to know about the SNOW!

January 11, 2017 | Leave a Comment

Today the BBC indicated that there may well adverse weather conditions. This may mean the chance of snow, and for some people, this can be a worry and a concern and can cause some serious problems – especially for parents and nannies.

Many people think of snow as a ‘Winter Wonderland’; a chance to build snowmen, have snow ball fights and make snow angels. However, for parents and nannies, this can mean having to take time off work, and risk the chance of missing out on pay! This article will examine the challenges that some parents have to face when it comes to snow and employment as a nanny, or nanny employer.

One of the most important things to remember is to only drive in the snow if the journey is crucial! Do not drive unless you have to – check the Met Office website and weather websites for snow warnings and advice. Be sure to call your employer and let them know that it’s unsafe for you to travel, don’t risk having an accident.

When it comes to snow, ice and adverse weather conditions, not only getting to work can be the problem. Most employees will have families and will have the added complication of making childcare arrangements for children with closed schools and nurseries. This tends to be given at short notice and can cause complications for the employer. They may also not be able to rely on a relative or another care giver thus meaning, employees not being able to attend their place of work.

Due to this, employees are entitled to take off a reasonable amount of time in order to take the necessary action due to the unexpected disruption of the snow. Strictly speaking, this would result in unpaid leave. However, some employers may decide not to take this approach and offer a good will payment. This is dependent on your employer and your relationship you have with them.

What about being a nanny or a child carer? What do you do then? Being a nanny or a child carer also gives you the opportunity to stay over at the family home, if the weather conditions are severe and you don’t think you would be able to make it home again after work, then consider the possibility of staying over.

When the snow comes, it undoubtedly brings with it problems. Parents will be trying to source emergency childcare, as the may otherwise miss out on pay. What exactly can be done? Our best advice is to ensure you have a backup plan, and to speak to your employer in advance, and make sure you understand the protocol for adverse weather.

If you do have to take a few snow days we recommend that you use the opportunity to enjoy a few days at home, perhaps undertake a spring clean or fill a box for the charity shop. There are lots of rainy day ideas to be found here.

Finally, please remember to ensure you keep safe and warm in the snow. The impacts of the cold weather are worse for young children, babies and those with pre-existing medical conditions.

If you know or look after someone you may be susceptible to the effects of this cold weather period, please help make sure that they stay warm and well

  • Stay tuned in to weather forecasts
  • Check and maintain daytime room temperatures of 21C
  • Check bedroom night time temperatures and maintain it at 18C or warmer
  • Keep warm and active and if you must go out dress warmly and wear non-slip shoes.

Written by Emily Martin for Harmony at Home Limited. All Rights Reserved, 2017

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Letters to Father Christmas – an activity for Nannies

November 28, 2016 | Leave a Comment

Don’t forget to write your letter to Father Christmas, so that he can tell his Elves exactly what to make! This will need to be written and sent as early as possible to give his Elves enough time, and the deadline is Friday 9th December, so please make sure you have sent him a letter by this date. Father Christmas has said that he will do his very best to respond to each and every one of you.

Please send it to the address below so that Santa receives your letter:

Santa/Father Christmas,

Santa’s Grotto,

Reindeerland,

XM4 5HQ

Please make sure that you send your letter to the correct address and that it is stamped correctly! Don’t forget to include your full name and address so that Father Christmas can respond to you.

Father Christmas is busy making his list of who has been good. He is very busy preparing his sleigh for his long journey with his reindeer’s. He is very excited to deliver your presents on Christmas Eve and would like to remind us all to be good, and not to forget his Mince Pie and Carrot for Rudolph!

Harmony at Home Limited. All Rights Reserved, 2016

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Booster seats explained

November 28, 2016 | Leave a Comment

UPDATE: New approvals rules for backless booster seats look set to come into force before March 2017, and not December 2016 as originally expected. Under current UK law, all children travelling in a car must use the correct child car seat until they are 12 years old or 135cm tall. In some European countries this height limit is 150cm. However, a committee of European safety experts has voted to amend the approval rules for backless booster seats (sometimes called booster cushions), under the R44 regulation, to limit their use to children taller than 125cm and weighing more than 22kg. The regulations will apply to new products entering the market.

Read more: http://www.which.co.uk/news/2016/10/booster-seats-rules-change—update-453898/ – Which?

——————————————————

A new law comes into place around December (date to be confirmed) that changes the rules on Children’s car booster seats.

It’s important as a parent or nanny with children that you are aware of the change and what it means.

These new rules only allow children that are taller than 125cm and weighing more than 22kg to be able to use a Booster seat purchased or manufactured as new from around December 2016. Please check the government website for this new law release date here: https://www.gov.uk/child-car-seats-the-rules/using-a-child-car-seat-or-booster-seat

Here is a list of things to remember when buying a new Booster seat

  1. Ensure it is high back;
  2. Ensure it has head protection;
  3. Ensure it has shoulder protection;
  4. Make sure that there are red guides to feed seat belt through;
  5. Choose a seat with Isofix fitting if your car has Isofix points (this stops the seat “swaying”, fixing the seat to the vehicle).
  6. Don’t be distracted by character design/colour;
  7. Avoid buying online, visit a retailer where expert advice can be given, and you can try the seat in your car with the help of an expert fitter.

Current law states that all children must use a booster seat until they are 12 years old or 135cm tall. This law will stay in place for Booster seats purchased prior to the change in law.

The new law is only for new Booster seats that have been manufactured and purchased after the expected December 2016 change. We strongly recommend that you switch to a high-backed booster seat for children aged 4-12 until your child reaches 125cm tall or 22kg. Recent research shows that a high-backed booster seat will offer a lot more protection for your child than the backless booster seat.

Further information about car seats and their use can be found on the ROSPA website here: http://www.childcarseats.org.uk/types-of-seat/booster-cushions/

Harmony at Home Limited. All Rights Reserved, 2016

628 x 1200 family in car

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