As a young girl, I played guerilla warfare with my five brothers in the arroyos and vacant lots of our Tucson neighborhood. A playmate and I were enamored with detailed toy horses and even pretended that we were horses, practicing different ‘gaits’ in the desert barefoot, so we could harden our ‘hooves’.

My girls, raised in the 80’s, played with dolls till they were nine years old. Our Fisher Price doctor kit was used continually, with simple homemade costumes and willing patients. The back yard was turned into a primitive village for a few weeks, a complete girl’s house plus one for the boys, including kitchens and bathrooms. The boys got in trouble when they took part of that too literally.

All this because I read widely to them every night, and was too busy working half days from my home office to meddle much.

They constructed a large houseboat out of spools and planks I had scrounged after taking a boat ride on Lake Powell.

Their favorite was a club created in our attic after we had an attic ladder installed. They added carpet scraps, signs, rules, and spent winter days up there in full colonial costume.

How much should children play?

All this because I read widely to them every night, and was too busy working half days from my home office to meddle much.

As you watch your children play, what toys do you find that have less bells and whistles and encourage creative play? I’d love to hear from you since I have three new grandchildren two and under!

If it’s trueasresearcherstell us that imaginative play allows children to make their own rules and practice self-control, what can parents do to augment the benefits of truly creative play?

What we do know is that children entering school now will be retiring in 2065. We can barely recall how life was like 5 years ago, much less five years from now.

Indoors and outdoors, children need large blocks of time for playaccording toJill Englebright Fox, Ph.DResearchers Christie and Wardle (1992), found that large blocks of time of 30-60 minutes are needed to develop mature and complex play, giving the benefits of problem solving, determination, compromise, planning, and collaboration.

I’ve been conducting my own private survey among Moms, asking: “What toys do children really play with a lot?” Train sets? Well, yes maybe, but usually not the way they were intended.

Read ideas from Vikki Valentine in her NPR article The Best Kind of Play for Kids.

It wasn’t until 1955, according to Howard Chudacoff, a professor at Brown University, that almost overnight, children’s play switched from activities, to things—the toys themselves.

Does commercialization of children’s play actually shrink children’s imagination, as Chudacoff claimsin his 2008 book?

Of course safety is an issue now. Kids can’t go roaming through the neighborhood as when I was a kid. As preschoolers, ages 4 and 5, my brother and I were sent to the grocery store to pick up bread for lunch.

Flower soup and flower tea Alison Gopniksays that children are little scientists, and those who are better at pretending are better at thinking of different possibilities. Pretend play is under attack right now because of the onslaught of media and busyness. But pretend play is a crucial part of what makes us so smart. Don’t fear a bit of boredom initially. They will soon come up with ideas. Maybe your goal is to be raising the next Bill Gates.
Beth Weise

David Derbyshire chronicles how children have lost the right to roam in four generations. When George Thomas was eight he was allowed to walk six miles to his favorite fishing haunt without an adult, but his eight year old grandson Edwards is allowed no more than 300 yards from home. You can see the diminishing map here.

As a boy raised in the south, my husband left home as soon as he woke up in the summer, and was off to the swimming/fishing hole till dark.

How can we best prepare them for the real world? it seems like from the first day of Kindergarten or even preschool, we’re getting them primed for that college entrance exam.

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It can be difficult to find someone to nanny for just three hours a day from 2:30-5:30 pm, plus you have to worry about all those random no-school days or sick days.Caring Nannies generally asks for a 20 hr per week minimum because we want to make it a win–win solution for both parties. Our goal is a nanny who stays long term, because we don’t want people coming in and out of your child’s life.

Is an After School Nanny the Answer?
After school nannies are some of our hardest working employees. They pick up children, often from different schools, tidy up, keep the laundry going, run errands, grocery shop, prepare nutritious snacks, supervise homework, monitor online school progress, ferry children to after school activities or appointments, or shop for that weekend birthday party gift

How about a split shift nanny?
Some families want the nanny to come before and after school, which is problematic because it doubles the driving for your caregiver, and the morning shift is commonly only two hours long. We don’t recommend this scenario, because we want nannies have a four hour minimum each time they come to the home. All our requirements are geared to promote longevity in the relationship. If a split-shift is agreeable to the nanny, we recommend reimbursing her for mileage (55.5 per mile) for two of the trips, or using a family car.

What could a full-time Nanny/Manager Do?
Many of our families utilize a third solution, keeping their nanny full time and expanding her duties to include housekeeping, personal assisting or other home management chores. Part-time pay is generally higher than full time so for just a little more, you can have the advantage of full coverage. If you have a home business, she can sort mail, take on more of an assistant role, send out shipping, fill in for your school volunteer assignments or charities, and organize home or office, scrapbook, make travel arrangements, set appointments, pet and house sit when you’re out of town, deal with vendors, or cook dinner for the family. The key is to find out what she’s great at, then utilize her creative talents to make your life easier. You can pay a lower hourly rate, since she is full time, and she’ll tend to stay longer. You win because when you arrive home, all the pressing needs of the day will have been attended to and you need only enjoy the children and your peaceful and organized home.

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When you need help, we’re here for you!
1200 conventions are held in Phoenix each year. More companies are becoming family friendly and more families traveling for business want to bring their children with them.
This summer, Caring Nannies has been providing personalized, fun childcare events for conventions for Edward Jones, Maritz Travel and many weddings!

Caring Nannies Event Childcare is bonded, insured, approved and referred, by state, hotels, concierge and many corporations, Caring Nannies is here for you when you need help! Our trained childcare givers can turn a resort room into a fun, inviting and safe space filled with age appropriate toys, crafts and games for children from age one month to 12!

Planning a wedding, birthday party or family gathering and need childcare?

You Provide the Kids, We’ll Provide the Safety and the Fun!

For groups from 10 to 100 or more…….we’re here for you
While Mom or Dad are in important meetings, you have the peace of mind that there’s a special event for the kids too, from infants to age 12
Call our office for a Free Proposal at 480-946-3423

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Last summer’s backpack collection for Excelencia and Larkspur Elementary schools was so successful, enabling 180 more children to go to school with the supplies they need for a successful school year. Our goal this year is to fill 280 backpacks but we need your help.
The cost to fill a backpack is about $30. Filled backpacks can be dropped off at our office throughout July. Questions? Call Beth at 480-946-3423.

(Please include all the items)

1. Backpack (at Target or Walmart from $10-$20)
2. 12 No. 2 Pencils (sharpened with erasers)
3. Erasers
4. Crayons (24 maximum)
5. Colored Pencils (sharpened) and/or markers
6. Dry erase markers
7. Pencil box or pouch
8. Glue sticks and 1 bottle white glue
9. Small scissors (Fiskars brand preferred)
10. Pocket folders (3-5 in different colors)
11. Spiral notebooks
12. One ream white copy paper.
13. Sanitizing wipes (clorox, Lysol, etc)

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FIND A CARING NANNY –featured in the November Luxury Edition of Az Foothills Magazine

Beth Weise has been in the child care industry for more than 27 years. Needless to say, she knows how to spot a good nanny. As the CEO of Caring Nannies, based in Scottsdale, Weise facilitates nanny-family introductions after a rigorous nanny screening process. “I am constantly happily amazed at the high caliber of candidates that want to do this type of work” Weise says.
With a database of more than a thousand qualified nannies in Arizona, Weise says each nanny represents the attrributes that make an exceptional caregiver. “We feel that the most important job of a nanny is to bring passiona and joy to the life of a child and peace of mind to a family.”

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Caring Nannies Recently held a cutting edge one day training event in Paradise Valley with 37 nannies in attendance, greatly exceeding our expectations! We were expecting 8 but hoping for 20!  Nannies who had never experienced training geared to the private home environment were delighted and encouraged.

 Why do we need to train nannies? Doesn’t a good nanny already have the skills she needs to work successfully with children?

There is no other job as important as raising a child, your own or someone elses, and the informal home environment lends itself to parents and nannies thinking that ongoing training isn’t needed. It just comes naturally, right? However, research shows that nannies become skilled professionals when experience and a warm engaging personality is combined with knowleldge of how a child develops physically, socially, intellectually and emotionally plus creative ideas to make it happen.

The event was open to nannies throughout the community and many of the parents graciously paid the registration fee.

As in any profession, there is always more to learn, and it’s motivating to receive the appreciation for their critical impact in their unique role. The opportunity to network with  others in their field and exchange contact information is encouraging. Nannying can be isolating with no peers to talk to during the day.

With Kathy Rowe from Music Together, in a very hands on fun session, we experienced  how to incorporate music into the day–a huge brain boost to children. Jeremy King from Az Tutor and Life Coach laid out how to effectively develop responsibility and self-motivation, a seasoned Newborn Specialist explained the keys to babies and toddlers taking naps and sleeping through the night. Martha Rockwell, professional career coach and owner of A+Resumes, gave tips on how to find our dream jobs, and a panel of expert Home Managers discussed how to move from Nanny to Nanny Manager.

Breakfast and lunch were included as well as a goodie bag including a kid’s cook book. Fun prizes were raffled off including a large basket of essential safety devices from Childproofers USA, an hour of professional career and resume counseling from Martha, a make-over from Dephane Marcel from Salon Moda Fina in Scottsdale, and a Monster Repellant Spray from Fairytale Wishes. Lice Doctors generously sponsored our lunch.

The event was sponsored by Nanny Biz Reviews and was held in conjunction with National Week of the Young Child. Caring Nannies is tremendously encouraged by the success of this years training and is already at work planning our next training event this fall. At Caring Nannies, we are asking our caregivers to commit to two out of three training events per year, because we have experiencd the difference training makes.

Beth Weise
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Cuddle up with your loved ones and enjoy this video of Trace Adkins and his philosophy on fishing with his kids. My brother said that fishing is a way to ruin a perfectly good day in the woods, and Henry David Thoreau said that “Many men go fishing their entire lives without knowing it is not the fish they are after.” But good Dads know that when they take their kids fishing its not the fish they’re after but quality one on one time just hanging out. Whatever you do you with the kids for fun, make it a habit and do it often. Check out this helpful rsesource for some fishing tips.

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