Originally from Costa Rica, Reyna has 23 years of experience as a nanny and housekeeper in the US. Her references describe her as being terrific with infants and toddlers, honest, and the most hard working person they know!  One former family tells us: “She’s very kind and always goes out of her way to make sure everything is to our satisfaction. She is just a really good, trustworthy person. She always goes above and beyond.” Another family tells us: “Reyna is very upbeat, very bubbly, and really enjoys being around them. But when she is here cleaning for us, she is just very focused and organized, and all about getting the job done. She is comfortable with travel and is bilingual, important qualities for the family that hired her this summer as their nanny/home manager in Chandler with a new baby and a busy toddler. They tell us: “Just don’t let anyone steal her away from us!”

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Age discrimination is particularly a sensitive issue,    especially now that I have reached the over 55 point in my life.  Being in the recruitment business since late 80’s, the question of age is often brought up by clients seeking household help.  It should only be a question of experience, a legitimate concern when your responsibilities include caring for children and maintaining valuable homes.  Yet, it isn’t only about one’s skills and talents that are being discussed.  There is no doubt that an older individual even highly educated and experienced, will not be considered for most positions.
What is completely wrong about this notion is that the seasoned veterans are usually the most qualified. One of these professionals recently interviewed with a client and shared her experience as follows:

“I understood perfectly when you mentioned at this job there was a toddler and a newborn baby forthcoming, and that this would be a full charge position. I know this means besides working as a nanny, it would include housekeeping, cooking, doing errands, etc. As you know, I am more than capable of doing all of

this. However, the lady was very rude! I gave her my resume, references, diplomas, etc. especially the ones from UCLA regarding my Early Childhood transcripts. She did not look at any of this; she barely read my resume.
Then she looked at me and said, “How old are you?” I said, “59” Then she said, “Do you think you will be able to do this work? Do you think you will have enough energy?”

At this point her husband interrupted her; he noticed how badly she made me feel. It wasn’t a pleasant meeting.
Don’t worry, we have to deal with many personalities, it is what it is. Let’s turn the page. I hope you will have a better interview for me in the future. Thank you.”
There are many unfortunate aspects to this message.  First and foremost, my candidate, who is very experienced did not get hired and was also humiliated. To think that all these years of hard work building a career, only to be shot down in a matter of 5 minutes as though none of it mattered.
Surely we must all be aware of our appearance and efforts to look good and maintain our health.  Sometimes it includes, losing a few pounds, cutting our hair and hiding some of the grey.  We all know that our levels of energy change a bit after 50, so we must exercise more and take better care of ourselves.  Ironically, this candidate did all that; she looks terrific and has unbelievable energy.  As for the client, she passed up on a wonderful candidate and is very lucky that she isn’t being sued under current law in the United States for age discrimination.

Guest blogger Marta Perrone

http://www.martaperrone.com

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GTM Payroll Services recently added a 401K Domestic Workers Retirement Plan to their service.  The 401k Retirement Plan is the option most workers choose when it comes to saving for their retirement. Historically, there has not been an affordable solution that provides household employees this type of benefit. GTM has worked hard to overcome this obstacle and has announced the launch of a 401K Domestic Workers Retirement Plan.
This plan is an excellent way for families to retain and recruit the best employees. For a minimal cost to employers and employees, employees have the ability to save pretax, via payroll deferral, up to $17,000 a year. In addition, employers have the option to make tax-free contributions into the plan in the form of profit sharing contributions.
To learn more about the benefits of this plan and to enroll, visit their website.

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       Lora and Lucia Enjoy a Quiet Moment

A regular employee / employer relationship can get complicated under normal circumstances, but if you’ve ever been a nanny or if you’ve employed a nanny, you know that it’s different from any other employee/employer relationship. A nanny may spend more time with the children and other members of their immediate family than the parents do. Usually, the children adore their nanny and in turn the nanny loves the children and develops a wonderful bond with them. That’s what parents want–the peace of mind knowing that their children are cared for and truly loved.
 It’s easy for the family to grow close to their nanny, since they are trusting her with their precious little ones, and over time, the nanny naturally begins to feel like part of the family. The nanny’s goals should be for her to make the family and children feel comfortable, to feel she’s part of the family and not just considered an employee. Both need each and rely on each other. It is fine to be close, but the key is not to get too close. This relationship especially requires healthy boundaries. However, that is easier said than done. There’s an invisible line that gets blurred along the way. How can we head off these problems?
1. BE RESPECTFUL. The nanny must respect the family as her employer and the family should respect her limits as the nanny. There must be a degree

of emotional detachment, of not taking things personally.

2. DON’T SHARE TOO MUCH. It’s important for both the nanny and the employers to understand that neither are each other’s therapists. Both parties need to remember not to divulge too much information, especially personal information to each other. That doesn’t mean they can’t support each other. If something major is taking place within the family, like a divorce, or a death, of course the nanny will know and is affected by it and will help the family and especially the children get through it. However, it is wise not to discuss the following personal matters with your nanny:
a) Marital Problems
b) Financial Issues
c) Sex
d) Problems with a former Nanny
The nanny’s observations and opinions regarding such personal issues within the household should be kept to a minimum. The employer sets the example for what’s acceptable to share and what should remain off-limits. Unless it directly affects the nanny’s job, she really doesn’t need to know. Likewise, when it comes to a nanny’s personal life, the family shouldn’t ask personal questions that don’t pertain to her nanny responsibilities. This helps in preserving the separation between her personal life and her job.
3. SET BOUNDARIES FROM THE START. Although it is not easy, both the family and the nanny should strive to maintain the types of relationships that would be appropriate at an outside-of-the-home workplace. Since that invisible line easily gets blurred, define boundaries from the start, including them in the written Working Agrement. This helps everyone become comfortable with what is and is not appropriate. The result is a healthy and long-term relationship that is beneficial to all, especially the children. We realize this is harder than it seems. The relationship between Moms and their nannies is a veritable mine field, and even Moms who are head of HR stuggle with these issues, because, “She is home with my baby all day and I don’t want to rock the boat–it’s really not that important.” But it is important and it is harder than you’d  think. So remember that you can call our office any time with concerns or questions, or just to vent!:)
Jenny Riojas

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The irresistible series, Downton Abby, touted as an “instant classic” by the New York Times, is airing on Masterpiece Theatre on Sunday nights in January on PBS. This is a revision of the extremely popular Upstairs, Downstairs that ran in England for years in the 70’s, and is all about boundaries.The upper class family upstairs and the other whole world of the servants below, and the class line between them is an education for all nannies and household staff. As World War One begins, the boundaries are abruptly softened.
Lady Mary Crawley asks Anna, the Head Housemaid, for advice in her love life and Anna demurely replies that it would not be for her to say, but she does instructively convey how she feels about her own lost love: “There will never be another for me.” And when a visiting military commander  is threatened by the spirited Irish chauffeur, Branson, the message must go through a ladder of servant levels until Mr Carson, the butler deftly and smoothly averts the attack without any of the dinner guests realizing what just happened, while we’re sweating it out watching.
Understanding boundaries, called “that magic line” which is never to be crossed, by the real world famous butler, Charles McPhearson, is key to the domestic professional, whether a nanny, mother’s helper, baby nurse, chef, personal assistant, butler or estate manager.

One of the many reasons why Caring Nannies only interviews candidates who have 2-3 years

of nanny experience is that they have experience distinguishing these important boundaries. The home environment is fraught with grey areas.A less experienced nanny will not pick up cues when she should melt away or not give an opinion.

Years ago, I helped several families as a baby nurse, and would often touch base with the mom when I came in. One evening, when I came in  the Mom was chatting with a friend and I sat down on the couch to visit with them. The ladies froze, and I realized I’d missed a cue.
One of our nannies was a live-in nanny for an NBA player, and when  just she and the Mom were together, they were best friends. But when visitors arrived, the nanny was instantly relegated to the ‘servant’ role. An experienced professional will take this in stride and not take it personally.
It’s challenging, because what we love to hear when collecting references  is: “She became like part of the family.” That’s what we all want. We want someone to care for our children and homes as though it were their own. But at the end of the day, they do go home. Accomplishing this balance takes the finesse of a tightrope walker, but this is one way that nannies and domestic staff are completely different from any other professional. The exxperienced ones get it.  We’ve had nannies fired for working out in the master bedroom (it was the mirrored closet doors that inspired her), for giving unwarranted advice, and for following their own protocol rather than the parents.
Tips for nannies and household staff:
Remember that the employer is the boss, and they are paying you to follow their preferences.
Assume that the family needs lots of space and boundaries. They are not hiring a friend. Don’t chit-chat with them about your life. If you’re asked a question that crosses your boundaries,  deflect it sweetly with a smile. Be friendly and professional.

If you have concerns or see a better way of doing something, bring up those concerns privately, not in front of the children or others. If they are not open, drop it and cheerfully continue with their way. In general, give no unsolicited advice unless the children are in danger. As one of our Moms’ reiterated last week, “If you feel you have a better way of doing something, please do it my way or come to me and let’s talk about it.” Your job is to discern needs spoken and unspoken and work with a servant’s heart so that when the employee walks through the door at day’s end, they are free to enjoy their children and home knowing that the major issues of the day have been dealt with.
The longer you’ve been a professional and the more you know, the harder it will be for you to do it their way unless you have that essential servant’s heart. You’ll be accustomed to doing things the way you know is best. Also, you have the recent experience of your last

family, and will naturally want to have the same kind of relationship/ rules/experience that you had before. Be ready to adjust to the new family worldview. Remember: Expectations ruin relationships.

How the family can help:

Be precise in your expectations, definite about messes and schedules. You’re the boss, so be assertive about it. Not easy for most of us. Start the relationship with a written agreement that details duties, hours pay, how discipline is to be handled, mileage compensation, family rules, etc.
It is difficult to become friends with your nanny or housekeeper and then come to them with problem or constructive criticism. Be warm and friendly, but keep back a bit of reserve. The best scenario is when you truly like the person you’ve hired, and you do feel like they could be your friend or a family member, since they are rendering such a vital service to your family.
Schedule formal monthly meetings with your nanny. Obviously, you will touch base daily or weekly, but these longer, more structured meetings will give you an opportunity to take more time to de-clutter any problems in the relationship. A shy caregiver may need more time to open up, and you may need moments of silence to share what is bothering you as well.  Caring Nannies has tools that can help, but you have to opt into a monthly email reminder. We provide tips on how to get started, annual and semi-annual performance reviews and much much more!

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Free iPhone App has now been upgraded

to make it easier and safer to use

You’re shopping at the mall with your children when one of them suddenly disappears. A quick search of the nearby area is unsuccessful. What do you do?
Now there’s a free new tool from the FBI that can help. And it’s just been updated!
The iPhone mobile application, which enables users to electronically store photos and vital information about their children, so it’s handy if they need it, was launched on August 5 and has been downloaded over 80,000 times.
In response to user feedback, the FBI Child ID APP has been updated with new features, including password protection and more photo capabilities. With the Child ID App, you can quickly share pictures and physical identifiers such as height and weight with police officers. And using a special tab on the app, you can quickly and easily e-mail the information to authorities with a few clicks.
This app also includes tips on keeping children safe as well as specific guidelines on what to do in those first crucial hours after a child goes missing. Tell your friends and families about this life-saving tool. The FBI does NOT have access to any of the information about your child untill you release it to them.  READ MORE         DOWNLOAD

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You’ve gone through the work and expense of searching for that perfect fit for your family, and you’ve hired a great nanny, so now how can you ensure that she stays long-term? The keys are simple, but you need to make them a priority. It is essential to make your nanny feel respected, appreciated, and valued. Great nannies are hard to come by, so you’ll definitely want to follow these helpful tips.

THANK HER. Sometimes families get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, and become too comfortable with their nanny, and forget to recognize all the little things she does on a daily basis to help the household run smoothly. A simple thank you at the end of the day goes a long way. Thank her for all her hard work in caring for your children and she will feel appreciated.

COMMUNICATE WITH HER. Open and honest communication is essential to foster a healthy and long-term bond. Discuss the terms of the position before her first day of work and fill out a working agreement together. Make an effort to sit down once a month for an informal review to just make sure everyone is on the same page, remembering that this is also the time to really listen to how she is feeling about the position and to discuss any concerns she may have. Give feedback and constructive criticism and also let her know that you value her voice and opinion. Just be sure sure to communicate your thoughts and feelings with her every step of the way. So often a nanny is left confused as to why the arrangement didn’t work out because she was not told what she was doing wrong, and there was no real communication. This is hard to do, Moms, but JUST DO IT!
BE FLEXIBLE AND VALUE HER TIME. Nannies know that flexibility comes with the job and they usually have no problem adjusting their schedule to meet the needs of their employer when asked. But as you are asking her to be flexible with you, be flexible with her occasionally, and don’t abuse her flexibility. If she asks to leave work early for a special event, try to make it work. From the nanny’s perspective, if the parents are consistently showing up late from work, the nanny will not feel that her time is being valued. This will cause resentment and will affect how flexible she chooses to be in the future.

SUPPORT HER AUTHORITY WITH THE CHILDREN. Be sure to be on the same page with discipline. The nanny needs to clearly understand how you want situations handled and follow your guidelines. A common problem nannies encounter is when parents undermine her authority with the children or intervene when she is disciplining the kids. The nanny will feel unsupported, but it also creates a problem for the children as they will become confused as to whom to listen to. They really want to know whois in charge and will test everyone if there is any confusion. This is the foundation of their security. The nanny does not feel like she is trusted to make the right decision if she is constantly being undermined. Let the children know that while the nanny is here, she is the one in charge and her rules must be followed. The nanny will feel valued if the rules are consistently upheld, even on the weekends.

So to keep that great nanny you just hired, remember to show her she is valued and appreciated. She is caring for your precious children and her dedication to the job deserves to be recognized. Let the last thing she hears from you at the end of the day be: THANK YOU!

Jenny Riojas

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Two Glendale, California brothers may have been sexually molested by a 19 year old babysitter they found through an online site. Investigators say the suspect was communicating with up to 100 families using online childcare sites.
Online babysitting sites give families a false sense of security by saying the applicants are ‘mom approved’ or have gone through a nationwide background check. Most online services are just postings put up by anyone who wants to advertise their availability and do not ensure a families safety.
Families don’t realize that the $9.95 computerized background checks can easily miss a red flag. Sitter City uses LexisNexis, and has a disclaimer on it’s site that it covers only 38 states. Some online job posting services call the LexisNexis check nationwide which can be misleading. Misdemeanors rarely show up on the quick and inexpensive nationwide computer searches. Typically, only a felony will be reported. So the inexpensive background check may give feeling of security, but they won’t report a candidates lower level run-ins with the law which tells you so much about their past and character.

While the cost of a professional background check is much more expensive, costing up to hundreds of dollars, it takes time and knowledge to do it right, and most critically, it is done by a person, not a computer. This is the safety net that Caring Nannies puts up for each our families before sending a candidate to work in a home with young children. You can read in detail what a thorough background check entails here
Caring Nannies uses US Information Search, a nationally recognized service that provides the most comprehensive checks available. A candidate’s social security number is traced to find every state in which they have lived. A record search is done of each county where the candidate has lived.
We meet with each candidate in person and are experienced in seeing potential problems, and we know the right questions to ask. We also use a personality testing program to search out candidates who are patient, kind, and genuinely love children.
The online sites will represent anyone who can fill out the form.
After 28 years in the business, families come to us because of our reputation for sifting out all but 8% of the candidates who come to us. Your family’s safety and security and well being is our top concern.

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In September, I had the privilege of attending my first Association of Premiere Nanny Agencies (APNA) conference.  35 reputable nanny agencies gathered in beautiful San Diego from all around the country to network, exchange useful information, gain insightful knowledge, and grow and develop their businesses.  It was a very educational experience for me and I walked away with a wealth of knowledge on the domestic staffing industry, a renewed excitement for being a part of this dynamic national association, and a new network of friends and colleagues. It is difficult for me to narrow in on only a couple core points that I retained from this 4 day APNA conference, since there were so many amazing speakers and topics shared.  The itinerary was jam- packed with so much valuable information such as: how to survive in an online world; how to build your brand with social media; how to meet and exceed expectations of employers; how to retain  your top

 talent in a competitive market; and how to survive and flourish in the nanny industry.  Plus there were several opportunities for me to network with other agencies to share ideas,  ask questions, and exchange business information, which was invaluable time spent.
Overall, the most important thing I learned is for us at Caring Nannies to lead with relationships and not tools. Relationship-building is everything to our families and our nannies. Those who deliver service and relationships will win.  Listening to our families’ and nannies’ needs, responding promptly, and communicating openly creates loyalty and builds lasting and trustworthy relationships.  That is our goal at Caring Nannies.
I was more than thrilled to represent Caring Nannies at this year’s APNA conference. Only the most professional Nanny Placement Agencies in the country belong to the Association of Premier Nanny Agencies.  They are a cut above the rest!  In order for a nanny agency to be a member of APNA, it must adhere to APNA’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Ethical Practices.  APNA promotes best business practices in all areas of the nanny placement and household staffing industries and their placement agencies have undergone extensive screening and scrutiny. Caring Nannies is proudly the ONLY nanny agency in the state of AZ that has the coveted seal of APNA and has been affiliated with APNA since….

So why choose an APNA agency instead of the others? They are the best of the best! It is highly beneficial to both nannies and parents to choose an APNA agency to represent them.  For nannies who consider themselves the best of the best in the childcare industry, they know that when parents want the highest caliber of nannies, they will look for an APNA agency nanny.  For parents, they can trust that a reputable APNA agency will be an honest, thorough, ethical business partner throughout this sensitive nanny placement process.  Both nannies and parents know that an APNA agency is going to be a constant source of comfort and support.

My 1st APNA conference was a huge success and I look forward to next year’s and many more to come.  Jenny Riojas, Placement Consultant.

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