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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Last night I called a friend for advice. One of my adult kids had made a remark about their growing up years that left me feeling like I had been a less than perfect mother, and my feelings were hurt. Believe me, I was, and am and always will be a ‘less than perfect mother’.
“How did that make you feel when s/he said that?” my friend asked. She listened, asked more questions. “What lies am I believing”? I asked her. She didn’t try to solve my problem. She was just curious. I began to realize that I needed to go back to that child and ask more questions. I now had the courage and comfort to do it. And I could do it matter- of- factly, rather than with a “poochy lip”.
I count among my closest friends those who are good listeners. When I talk to them, they give me their full attention and think deeply about my problem. They listen not only to what I am saying, but to the feelings I am experiencing. They ask questions, respond with empathy, recap. They respond to what I am feeling, their soothing words resonating emphatically. They imagine what it’s like for me. I feel heard, understood and valued. There is healing in that. Dr Savage tells us that “life is a meat grinder, an Arab funeral with all the tears”. So we all need someone who we can pour out our feelings to without fear of being rejected or judged. By the time you open your heart to them, you already know what to do. Effective listeners help us come up with our own answers because they accept us and free us to listen to our own hearts and heads. The goal is not to solve our problems, yet it brings about change in us and our basic values. When we are listened to sensitively, we become more emotionally mature, less authoritarian and less defensive. We listen to ourselves more carefully to see what we are actually thinking and feeling. Listening builds deep, positive relationships and growth, even in the listener.
In our Caring Nannies office, we sometimes see relationships fail, and very often it is because of a failure in communication. A resentment will build up, nothing is mentioned, then, tempers can flare, burnout increases. We may say that we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, but we are hurting the relationship. We feel awkward or uncomfortable discussing what is on our mind. Those things that really bother us that we are reluctant to discuss are usually the things that really need to be communicated for the sake of the relationship. Our most basic need in life is for relationships, and relationships are the source of the most enjoyment in our lives as well as the source of the most pain and frustration. However, to speak from love, anyone wishing to encourage must be willing to endure what they fear—the loss of relationship with others.
I was deeply impacted by how quickly I felt empowered by my short phone call last Sunday night, so I did some research on listening. I feel determined to make this a part of my life, because I want to encourage those around me. It is difficult, because I am basically selfish and really only want to talk about me. It takes courage to get past my own fear and reach out to the fear in another. We have also highlighted this in our Nanny Boot Camps.
The end result of effective listening is encouragement—hope that solutions exist for every problem and that life does make sense. Hope stirs people to greater love and more good deeds and perseverance. Encouragement is not a technique to be mastered; it is a sensitivity to people and awareness of their value.
Listening behavior is contagious. As we know, anger is met with anger, argument with argument, smile with smile. My experience with my friend makes me want to learn to be an encourager, with adults as well as the children in my life.
And what was the lie I was believing? Probably that in order to be valuable, I need to be a perfect Mom. Could LOVE be spelled TIME? I think so. The very act of listening well communicates that I am valuable, so I will say no to the lie, and accept the value my friend placed on me.

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