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Archive for June, 2013

27 Blogs Featuring Easy 4th of July Crafts You Can Do with Your Kids

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

One of the highlights of summer vacation is the Fourth of July and all of the fun that goes along with celebrating America’s Independence Day.  This year, get into the Fourth of July spirit by wrangling up the kids and creating some patriotic crafts together. You can make everything from wands, which are perfect for waving at the traditional Fourth of July parade, to festive clothes and decorations fit for a patriotic party! These 27 blog posts are full of fun, spirited crafts you can do with the kids to make this Fourth of July memorable!

Wands & Sparklers

While there aren’t many fireworks that are safe for kids to use, sparklers are a fun exception. Kids love waving these colorful wands around, and with a little adult supervision they’re generally kid-friendly. However, if real sparklers are out of the question, you can always make faux sparklers that glitter and sparkle, sans the risk of getting burned. Take a look at these nine blog posts for plenty of wand and sparkler ideas.

Wearables

Instead of scrounging around for red, white and blue colored clothes, why not make your own patriotic gear this year? Help your kids put together a killer holiday outfit by making a fireworks T-shirt or a patriotic necklace and bracelet. These outfits will be doubly fun, since the kids will have a blast both making them and wearing them.  These nine blog entries will help you get started making all kinds of patriotic clothing and accessories.

Red, White & Blue

The colors red, white and blue speak volumes to our nation, and they become especially popular over the Fourth of July holiday. If you find yourself hosting this year’s Independence Day party, take a cue from these nine blog posts, which explain how to make various crafts and decorations fit for a patriotic celebration.

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27 Blogs with Methods to Teach Your Child How to Tell Time

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

At some point, every child will need to learn how to tell the time. However, teaching your children how to read time isn’t an easy task. One of the best ways to approach teaching your child how to read a clock is to start with a digital clock and then work up to an analog one. You can also use the activities, crafts and apps that are reviewed in these 27 blogs to help your child learn how to tell the time.

Activities

When kids are young, time is a foreign concept for them. To help them gain a better understanding of time, start introducing them to timed games and activities that use a clock. Teach your child his numbers, both in Roman and Arabic. Play games together that utilize a clock. When bedtime rolls around, show your child the time on the clock so that he can begin to associate a certain time with an event. For more activities that will help your child learn to tell time, read these nine blog entries.

Crafts

Crafts are a great way to hold your child’s interest as you teach them about telling the time. Assemble a homemade clock together so that you can explain the different components of a clock, such as the hour hand and the minute hand and the different numbers and their places on the clock. Take a look at these nine blog posts for more tips for making a clock that you can use to teach your child how to tell time.

Technology

Technology is a useful tool when it comes to teaching kids how to tell time. The games listed in these nine articles are colorful and engaging, and will hold your child’s attention as he learns about reading a clock. The portability of apps on your phone or tablet makes them a convenient way to entertain and teach your child at the same time.

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30 Blogs with Tips for Choosing the Right Summer Camp for Your Teen

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Choosing the right summer camp for your teens is an important task. Your teens are reaching those formative years where they are putting childish things aside and taking the first steps towards becoming young adults. As a parent, this leaves you in a bit of a predicament. There’s a fine line between fun and silliness, so choosing a summer camp that reflects their newfound maturity is difficult. These 30 blogs will help you and your teen decide which camp is best for them.

Things to Consider

First of all, you should sit down with your teens and discuss all your options. Do your research so that you are not just randomly searching for general summer camps. Ask your teens what kind of summer camp they’re most interested in, then start narrowing your list from there. In these five blogs you will find some of the most common things to consider when choosing a summer camp for your teens.

Sports Camps

By the time your kids reach their teenage years, there’s a good chance that they’ll have an interest in a sport or two. If so, this may make choosing a summer camp much easier. Continuing sporting activities throughout the summer is the best way for your teens to improve, plus it’s healthy and fun, too! If you think your teens would get a lot out of a summer sports camp, take a look at these five blogs for some inspiration.

Camps with a Difference

During their teen years, most kids will develop an interest in a particular hobby or activity. As long as it’s healthy and safe, most parents are happy to nurture their teens’ interests. When it comes to summer camp, there’s no reason why teens shouldn’t get to continue with their passion. With that in mind, these five blogs cover some of the more unusual choices for teen summer camps.

Education Camps

Let’s face it, some teens are never happier than when they’re doing math or solving some cosmic conundrum. These kids, who value education and learning above all else, may thrive in an educational camp that encourages and applauds their inquisitive nature. For a camp that will truly challenge your teens this summer, check out the brainiacs in these five blogs.

Children with Special Needs

Children with special needs each have their own specific requirements. Parents of special needs teens obviously want them to have the best summer camp experience possible, which means finding a camp that can facilitate all their requirements. Whether your teen needs physical, emotional or mental support, you will find some great ideas for suitable summer camps in these five blogs.

Security and Insurance

No matter what your teens’ wants and needs are, their security and safety is always paramount. If you have legal, health or insurance concerns, then it is best to thoroughly vet every camp on your shortlist. These five legal-savvy blogs will help you make the right decision and ensure that your teens have a fun but safe time at summer camp.

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10 Ways to Be the Mom Your Teen Hates

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

No matter how great your relationship is with your teenager, there will inevitably come a moment when she screams that she hates you at the top of her lungs. While these declarations of animosity will naturally leave you feeling hurt, angry and even like a bit of a failure as a parent, they can also be a sign that you’re doing something right. Involved, engaged parents are occasionally forced to make decisions that are in the best interest of their children that their teenagers hate. These are ten of the ways that you can be a mom your teenager hates, at least until she gets older and acquires a new perspective with age.

  • Give Her a Curfew – One surefire way to make your teenager hate you for a few years is to set a reasonable curfew. Teens are itching to express their independence and explore the boundaries in their lives, and they’re eager to make their own rules. When you insist on their return home at a reasonable hour, you know that you’re keeping them safe and helping them to get the rest they need. Your teen just thinks that you’re out to spoil her fun, though, and she will hate you for it.
  • Get to Know Her Friends – There’s nothing quite as embarrassing as your parents talking to your friends when you’re a teenager, which is why yours will not be your biggest fan when you get to know her friends. You’re a walking, talking and breathing embarrassment, and she’d probably rather her friends think that she sprung, fully formed, into existence. Don’t take it personally; she hates your presence on principal, but she doesn’t really hate you.
  • Make Her Dates Come to the Door – Generations of parents have been hated by their teenagers when they refused to allow a date to pick their kids up by honking a horn in the driveway. When your daughter’s dates meet you at the front door, she’ll hate you for embarrassing her and making her seem childish. Later in life, she’ll realize that you were just keeping a healthy eye on who she was spending time with.
  • Insist on Family Dinners – Kids from families that share meals on a regular basis, rather than eating on the go before heading out to yet another activity, tend to perform better on an academic level and are less likely to experiment with drugs and alcohol or experience a teen pregnancy. Your teenager may hate the fact that she’s forced to spend the evening with her lame family while her friends are having a great time without her, but those family meals will be treasured memories one day. They’ll also have a lasting impact on the person she becomes.
  • Make Her Earn Her Own Money – Today’s teens are often accused of being filled with a false sense of entitlement, and of being materialistic or spoiled. Generalizations aren’t always accurate, but you can help to prevent entitlement issues in your teen by insisting that she earns her own money, especially for pricey, frivolous items. When her friends’ parents are lavishing them with gifts while she works for the things she wants, she’ll probably hate you a little bit. Later in life, when she’s able to manage a budget and appreciate the value of hard work, she’ll thank you.
  • Give Her Chores – Kids that don’t have to do chores around the house get to have more fun with their friends, and enjoy their teenage years without many burdens. What they don’t do, though, is learn how to be an adult. Your teen will hate being forced to manage household chores, but she’ll be learning valuable lessons about how to care for herself when she’s no longer living at home.
  • Assign Her Real Responsibilities – Your teen wants to be free of responsibilities because she wants to spend her days talking to her friends and exploring her identity as someone separate from her family. When you make her responsible for certain things and hold her accountable when she fails to meet those responsibilities, she’ll hate you. She’ll also, however, be figuring out the importance of taking care of things independently.
  • Let Her Learn About Natural Consequences – Teenagers want complete independence from their parents, but they also want those same parents to shield them from the harsh realities of life by covering for them when they make a mistake. It’s never easy to let your child fail when she doesn’t do what she’s supposed to, but experience is the only way she’ll learn to modify reckless behavior.
  • Enforce a Dress Code – Sweatpants aren’t appropriate for a family celebration, and party dresses aren’t ideal for a trip to the mall. Your teen is probably still learning about dressing appropriately, and will hate you for pointing out her missteps.
  • Establish House Rules – Your teen wants absolute freedom, not rules. She’ll hate you for establishing and enforcing house rules, but she’ll appreciate the values you’re instilling later.

It’s important to realize that there’s a very real difference between being an authoritative parent that kids occasionally feel like they hate and being a harsh, authoritarian parent that teenagers genuinely dislike. Make sure that you’re making decisions with your kids’ best interest at heart, rather than trying to live through them vicariously or browbeat them into submission.

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20 of the Best Blogs with Creative Ideas to Teach Your Kids about Butterflies

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

As the weather begins to warm up, you’ve probably noticed some more color popping into your days, whether it’s the lush green grass growing in your front lawn, the flowers blooming on the side of the road or the butterflies fluttering amongst the trees and flowers. From their delicate wings to their vibrant colors, butterflies are an enchanting part of the spring and summer months. In addition to the beauty they add to the days, they also can provide plenty of lessons for kids. In these 20 blog entries you can find guidance in the form of lesson plans, crafts and worksheets.

Lessons

While you probably know the basics of how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly, sometimes it’s nice to have more information to supplement what you know when teaching a concept to kids.  These five blog articles will recommend some books to read, as well as offer ideas for how to teach your kids about butterflies and their life cycle.

Crafts

There are lots of craft projects that feature butterflies, but it’s important to point out the different features of a butterfly while you are doing the craft so that you can tie the science into your lesson.  The crafts in these five blog posts are simple and allow you to talk about the different components of the butterfly.

Printables   

To reinforce your butterfly explanations to the kids, you may want to have a print out of the lifecycle and some fun puzzles that they can do.  Keeping with the theme, you’ll find a maze and a color-by-number sheet on these five blog entries.

Snacks

While butterfly snacks are not required when talking about butterflies, they sure can be a darling tie-in to your discussion about them.  All of the snack ideas found on these five blog articles are healthy snack choices for the kids that will add a fun twist to snack time.

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Helping Same Sex Siblings Get Along

Monday, June 10th, 2013

Sibling fighting is one of the biggest complaints of parents and caregivers alike. Siblings, especially same sex ones, seem to know how to push each other buttons. Here are some tips to help your kids stop fighting.

Set clear boundaries. Often, parents send the message that sibling fighting is a normal part of the relationship, so it’s also an acceptable part of the relationship. It’s up to you to let your children know that although disagreeing is a part of every relationship, you expect them to take action to solve those disagreements. Your expectations will set the stage for how siblings treat each other and how they work together to solve their conflicts.

Teach problem solving skills from a very young age. Kids are naturally problem solvers because they’re naturally creative thinkers. By giving your children a framework for problem solving and teaching them real world skills, you can help them learn to solve their own conflicts with siblings. Teach them how to identify and name their own feelings so they have the vocabulary needed when talking about how they feel and what they want. Encourage them to look at the situation from the other person’s perspective and imagine how the other person thinks and feels. Model brainstorming several solutions for a problem and show them that if one doesn’t work, you have the option of moving onto another solution until you do find one that works. These problem solving skills require a lot of patience and practice, but they will serve your children in every relationship they’re in.

Let your kids solve their own problems. It’s natural to want to jump in and solve the sibling squabbling yourself. Chances are you know exactly what needs to be done and it would be quicker and easier for you to do it than to wait for your kids to figure it out themselves. However, when you intervene, you’re not giving your children the chance to practice the problem solving skills you’ve been teaching them. You’re also sending the message that they’re not responsible for their problems. Instead, step back and let them find a solution on their own. They probably won’t get it right on the first try, and that’s OK. The goal is to give them the space to learn how to get along by themselves.

Don’t play favorites. In many situations, one sibling often seems like the instigator. He’s the one who teases, who hits, who takes things without permission and who does other things that drive his brother crazy. It’s easy to fall into the trap of siding with the “victim’ sibling and ganging up against the instigator. However, that will only increase the tension between the siblings and will often cause anger and resentment to build up. The result, of course, is more problems between the brothers. Remember, there are always two sides to every story. Give both children the benefit of the doubt and focus your attention on solving the issue and moving forward, not on who’s to blame.

Don’t get stuck on the ideal of fair. Of course, you should try to be as fair as possible with your children. But the reality is that life isn’t always fair. When you’re cutting up the cake, one piece may be bigger than another. Because your schedule is different from day to day, your five-year-old’s play date may have to end 30 minutes earlier than your seven-year-old’s play date. If you allow yourself to get caught up in the idea that you’re responsible for balancing out those things somehow, you will be caught in a never ending cycle of trying to make things up to your children. It will drive you nuts and it will give your children unrealistic expectations as to how things really work. Instead, take the stand that sometimes you get the bigger piece and sometimes you get the smaller piece. Let your child work through his feelings about the unfairness of it all without feeling like you have to fix it for him.

Stress the importance of the sibling relationship. From the child’s perspective, a sibling can seem more like a curse than a blessing, especially if the relationship is a difficult one. Of course, that changes with time and circumstances. Older kids learn that a brother or sister, even one they fight with often, holds a special place in their hearts. If you have siblings, model the type of relationship you want your children to have. Talk to them about the special role that siblings play in their life. Let them know that family, even when they drive you crazy, is irreplaceable.

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20 of the Greatest Blogs with Fun and Fabulous Ideas for the Perfect Graduation Gift

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

Do you know someone graduating this spring?  You are probably wondering what to buy for the graduate.  Try to keep in mind what the next step is for the graduate.  Is he going on to college in the fall or out to get a job?  If he’s moving out of the house he may need items for his new place.  If he’s going job hunting he may need a suit and other dress clothes for interviews.  You may just want to get something sentimental like a personalized watch or necklace that he will always have to remember his special day.  These 20 blogs will help you determine what the right gift might be, whether you’re buying for a guy or a girl.  You may end up just giving him money and if so you may want to check out the blog posts about unique ways to give cash.

Guys

For some reason guys can be hard to buy for.  Men like gadgets so maybe you could get him a new cell phone, a laptop for college or a tablet.  Personalized items like a stadium blanket for those games that he will inevitably go to see or cuff links so that he can look very stylish at his interviews.  These five blog entries will help you choose something for your male graduate.

Girls

Sometimes girls are easier to buy for, but only because girls like technology, fashion, travel, and cars just like the guys so there’s a wider range of things to buy.  Take a look at some of these ideas for your female graduate and see if you get any ideas.

Unisex

Many items are unisex such as luggage, alarm clocks, docking stations for music as well as many other things.  These kinds of items might be good for the graduate that you aren’t too sure what they’re interests are, the last thing you want to do is to buy a gift that won’t get used.  Check out the ideas on these five blog articles and see if you can find any clues as to what you should buy.

Monetary

If all else fails you can give the graduate cash, but no one want to just hand over the cash because it will be combined in a pile with other cash and pretty much forgotten.  If you want to make something unique glance through the ideas on these five blog posts because they show a bunch of different ways to give cash as a gift that will make it far more memorable.

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