5 Nanny Expenses Your Employer Should Cover

For some nannies, especially those newer to the field, it can be a little tough to bring up money with an employer. Not just salary, either, but the occasional amounts you spend in the course of doing your job that you feel should be covered by your employer. What do they owe you, after all? What do they have to cover, and what are you expected to pay for out of your own pocket? What’s the best way to handle these issues when they come up? If you’re a nanny, you should talk with your employer about their coverage in these areas:

Petty Cash for Outings

This is basically anything you do out and about with the kids in your care as part of your job. For instance, if you take the children to a park or museum and have to pay for things like parking, admission and food, then those ancillary costs should be reimbursed because they’re part of the assigned childcare. A great way to have them cover these petty cash needs without worrying about actual physical cash is to rely on a prepaid debit card. (Visa, MasterCard and American Express all sell these.) This lets employers reload the card with funds as needed while also keeping precise track of how much is on the card at a given time. Talk to your employer early on, or even during the interview process, about how they’d like to proceed.


Driving yourself to and from the home you work in is a normal living expense that’s up to you to cover, but if you use your car to execute specific nanny-related duties — errands, market runs, picking up and transporting the kids, etc. — then you should be reimbursed for your mileage. The best way to establish a fair mileage rate is to use the guide set forth by the IRS. (Here’s a PDF of their 2013 guidelines.) Their standard mileage rate is 56.5 cents per mile in 2013, and it usually increases every year to keep up with living costs. You can use an app like TripLog to keep an accurate count of your mileage, too, so you and your employer are always on the same page.

Work Expenses When Traveling

This is related to the first item on the list. Any traveling you do for your work as a nanny — accompanying the family on trips or vacations, meals out while on the clock, etc. — should be covered by your employer. Many families take nannies with them on vacations to help them enjoy their time away from home, and if that happens to you, your employer should pick up travel and lodging costs. If they arrange for you to have nights off, that’s fine. You’ll be on your own then. But if you’re away from the home and still performing job duties, you need to be paid for them.

Family Expenses

Sometimes you might wind up purchasing things for the family when you’re running errands. This would include household items, food or other items that the family’s asked you to pick up even though they don’t have anything to do with your duties. You need to be reimbursed for these items ASAP. Don’t just cover them with your petty cash and forget about them. Many families will volunteer to give you money for these things up front, but if they don’t, politely (but clearly) ask them what their method of payment or reimbursement will be. Remember: you’re an employee. It’s your job to care for the kids, not act as a sometimes family member.


Although your hourly rate will vary by employer, you should know that live-out nannies and live-in nannies in some states are entitled to overtime. Overtime is 1.5 times your base hourly wage rate for all hours worked over 40 in a 7-day workweek, and though you might not think much of it — maybe an hour or two here or there just feels normal, like part of the job — you’re entitled to every cent, and your employer needs to cover that expense. This is another good topic to bring up early on, preferably during the interview process, to make sure everyone understands the set-up and so no one will feel inappropriately used. It’s also important to note that all nannies must be paid at least minimum wage for every hour worked, so when negotiating your salary be sure that your base hourly wage rate reflects at least minimum wage.

What Should You Do if Your Nanny is Caught Lying

With more than 1.2 million childcare jobs in existence, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment is expected to continue to grow as more working families are seeking help to care for their children. As a parent, it is vital that you trust the person that will be in charge of your child’s well-being. However, in some instances, you may find that your nanny or childcare professional has lied to you. Is this a serious situation that warrants a termination? Is there an underlying reason that this person may have withheld important information from you? What can you do about it? Here are some tips to handle a nanny who has not been honest:

Why It Matters

First and foremost, you are entrusting this person to care for your children. When a nanny lies, even about something that may seem inconsequential, trust is broken. Once damaged, it can be difficult or impossible to repair.

While a fib may seem like a quick fix to a difficult situation, if a nanny presents falsehoods as a truth, you may find that no one is benefiting. You may wonder what else your nanny has lied about if she felt it appropriate to fib about something so unimportant in the first place.

Lying prevents problems from becoming addressed and solved efficiently and properly. If a nanny lies about the behavior of your children, she may be doing so out of a misguided attempt to protect her job security. Conversely, as a parent, you are unaware of the issues at hand that should be resolved to help your children grow into well-behaved and respectful adults.

Possible Lies

Everybody knows that it’s tough to tell the truth 100% of the time. Even nannies tell little white lies now and then. However, you must be able to distinguish a little white lie from a real and tangible problem. Some smaller lies that many parents have heard from their nannies over the years include:

- “They went to bed right away.”

- “Everything was fine.”

- “I limited television time.”

Chances are, if your children give you difficulty when you attempt to put them to bed each night, they will act the same way with your nanny eventually. She just understands it is part of her job and most likely does not dwell on it or believe that you should be concerned.

If a nanny says that everything went fine during the day, it is most likely because she knows that you do not want to hear anything else or everything really did go fine in her opinion. Unless there was a major disaster or catastrophe that required your immediate attention, she may not hint at any difficult situations.

However, some nannies feel that lying is the only way to keep their job, which is when their statements can become dangerous. For example:

- “I didn’t have a party.”

- “My boyfriend/girlfriend wasn’t here.”

- “I don’t do drugs.”

All of these lies have one common tie — they take your nanny’s attention away from the health and well-being of your children. Whether she is throwing a party, snuggling with a significant other on the couch or using illegal drugs in your home, the focus is off your children, which can be detrimental in an emergency. What would happen if a fire were to start and your nanny was completely under the influence? He or she may not be able to act quickly or think logically in order to protect your children.

Additionally, if a boyfriend or girlfriend is in your home, there is a chance that your nanny may be more interested in some “quality time” with this individual than she is in meeting the needs of your children. Similarly, throwing a party while responsible for your children is just simply immature, disrespectful and irresponsible.

Disciplinary Actions

A nanny may lie about smaller, insignificant situations such as claiming that bedtime went smoothly. However, a nanny may also withhold information about the party she threw after your children were in bed. Each situation has its own punishment, and you, as the parent, are responsible for determining an appropriate course of action.

When you discipline your nanny, make sure you have the entire story or as much information as possible before taking action. You may choose to issue a written warning or terminate her completely. In some serious cases, you may also want to file a police report if a crime was committed.

Regardless of the reason your nanny lies, there is always an appropriate course of action in every situation. It is best to make decisions with a cool head, as feeling angry, emotional or upset may interfere with sound judgment. If your child wasn’t put in danger, take a step back and allow yourself to fully evaluate the situation before jumping to conclusions or making any decisions. If your child was endangered, swift action is probably best.

Remember, disciplinary actions for lies are often easiest to handle on a case-by-case basis. If your nanny fibs a little about TV time, that’s a perfect opportunity to have a frank but friendly talk about priorities and how important it is for your nanny to communicate with you. Termination may be overkill. But if a nannies lies about something that could potentially harm the children — or worse, if they take financial advantage or steal and then lie to cover their tracks — it’d make more sense to end the relationship swiftly. Ultimately, you have to do what’s best for the people who are most important here: your children.

10 Things You Let Your Second Child Do That You’d Never Let Your First Do

New parents tend to keep their first-born in a protective bubble. These eldest children often do not get so much as a scratch on them before the age of two. Once parents see that the first child survived and turned out okay, though, they realize they can relax more with their second offspring. Often, this more casual stance is something that they have little choice in anyway, as there is simply not the same amount of time and energy available to fawn over both children. As a result, you’ll find that you allow your second child to do many things you never would have imagined letting your first child do. Here are 10 of them!

  • Play in the Dirt – You would never have dreamed of allowing anything that might contain germs, not to mention anything that threatened to stain the new designer baby outfits, to touch your first child. However, if your second baby grabs a handful of dirt and even tastes a bit, you may find yourself strangely unfazed.  Don’t worry, you have not become a monster parent. You simply know now that a little dirt won’t break a child. You’ve learned to let go and to hope for the best.
  • Explore the Outside of the Baby Barrier – While many parents placed their first-born within a playpen or baby gate that was padded with pillows and floored with thick comforters, the second child is more likely to roam free in the wild of the home. Somehow, with the older child out and about, confining the baby seems silly and like a whole lot of work. Moreover, you probably have less child-proofing in place in general. The toilet and cabinets are probably not as restricted and you may have forgotten all about covering the coffee table corners. While your first child was like an endangered species kept safely in the zoo, your second is more like the king of the jungle.
  • Watch TV –  With your first baby, you were probably busy having sing-a-longs, attending Mommy and Me classes and counting piggy toes. With two children, it’s almost impossible to provide constant entertainment and stimulation. If you need to devote time to the older child, take a break or accomplish a task, the television flips on regardless of what your former stance on the tube may have been.
  • Skip Naps –  First children are typically highly regimented. Their early lives are predictable, and they follow a strict schedule. This allows first time parents to delude themselves into feeling a sense of control when, in fact, they no longer have much. Once the second child is born, the delusion of parental domination is shattered and naps happen when they happen. Often the older child’s activities and other outings turn sleeping on a schedule into a mere fantasy. When your second child misses his nap or only catches a few winks in his car seat between errands, you learn that the world does not, in fact, end, despite the deviation from your routine.
  • Stay with a Sitter – Every new parent is leery when it comes to leaving their first baby with anyone, especially anyone outside the family. When the first born is left with someone else, parents check in often and frantically to ensure that everything is okay. They even leave detailed lists so that the sitter can follow the baby’s schedule, sing the baby’s favorite songs and tuck the baby in with her favorite blanket. By the time the second child is born and the parents begin to experience the weariness that only parents of two or more can understand, the outlook on babysitters has drastically changed. Suddenly, just about anyone who is willing and able will suffice as a caregiver so that parents can get some rest or some quiet to clear their heads. Sitters will no longer be given extensive instructions. Instead they will simply be handed the baby, a diaper bag and a wad of cash.
  • Cry – Letting their first born “cry it out,” just seems cruel to new parents. So, with each nighttime whimper the baby was responded to, held, fed and cuddled. After all, eventually the baby would sleep, and when she did, the parents did, too. With the second child, daytime napping is no longer an option, therefore, the second child simply must sleep at night. Helping a child learn to fall asleep on his own is no longer cruel; it’s a necessity that benefits everyone, including the baby. The second child, therefore, learns to sleep at night.
  • Sleep with You – Because sometimes letting them cry it out is just too noisy, and you need your rest, even if that rest is a few winks here and there because you’re worried about the safety hazards associated with co-sleeping.
  • Take Their Time Hitting Milestones – Anxious parents eagerly await their eldest child’s first steps, first words and first solid food experiences. They are also careful to keep their children right on track, according to what all the manuals instruct. Thus, the bottle is taken at exactly 12 months and the pacifier is given up accordingly. With the second child, there is no such rush. Parents now wish for the baby years to last as long as possible and they know now, from experience, that the marks will be hit and their children will grow up regardless of the milestone timeline. So, the second child is permitted to move at his own pace.
  • Climb Stairs – First time parents would never conceive of allowing their first baby or toddler to climb up steps. In fact, the stairs were probably gated off and an alarm may have sounded if the child got anywhere near them. Yet you’ll find your second child will be zipping up the stairs after his older sibling faster than you can say, “panic attack.”
  • Pretty Much Everything – Yes, there is truth in what your older child is bound to say to you some day: the younger sibling gets to do whatever he wants. Parents are harder on the older kids because they worry about them more. They’re reaching new milestones and developmental phases, while your little one is still in familiar territory.

You may start off parenthood with a lot of wild ideas, believing that if you do things a certain way you will have a perfect child who will have a perfect life and is always perfectly happy. With each new phase of your first-born’s life, you start a new model for excellence and you experience a new level of fear. When the second child reaches these same chapters, you know better. You know there is no perfect and that things are perfectly imperfect all the time. Therefore, you let go, you relax and your second child lives without those same boundaries. You realize, thanks to your older child, that the world won’t end if your offspring gets a C on a math test or suffers a sports injury. The first child reaps the benefits of extra attention and doting, while the younger child gets to experience more freedom and adventure.

20 Blogs Explaining How to Have a Successful School Picture Day

School picture day is often met with a certain love/hate sentiment. Some people love to get dressed up and get their picture taken, while others hate picture day with a passion.  For those people that love picture day, these tips may help them love it just a little bit more; for those that hate it, the tips offered in these posts may make the day a little more bearable. Some easy ways to ensure that your child’s school pictures turn out well include ensuring that they get enough sleep the night before the picture, avoiding a lot of salty food the day prior to picture day and drinking plenty of water.  To avoid stressing out the day of pictures, make sure that your kids are wearing clothes that you both like and that they’ve picked a hairstyle that makes them feel confident. These and other tips can be found in the following 20 blogs.

What to Wear

Take some time a day or two before picture day to pick out the outfit that your child will wear.  Make sure that the clothes are ironed and free from stains.  While bright colors photograph well, you also want to make sure that the color compliments your child’s skin tone and is one that they like. Try to err more towards classic looks that transcend the times rather than trendy ones that your child may hate 20 years from now. For more helpful clothing tips, read these five blogs.


It’s tempting to create an elaborate hairstyle for school pictures, but keep in mind that your child may have to wait several hours to get her picture taken and the hairstyle may not look as nice by that time. Boys typically don’t face the same hairstyle problems girls do, but they should still look neat and well-kept, not like they just rolled out of bed.  These five blogs will share some picture day hairstyles that might be perfect for your child.

What Not to Do

Sometimes knowing what to avoid is just as important as knowing what to do.  Many parents will rush out to get their child’s hair cut right before picture day, however it’s better to get a haircut a few weeks prior. This way you have time to figure out how to style it, especially if the cut ends up being a dud.  Check out these five blog posts for more things to avoid on picture day.

Make-Up Tips

Little girls don’t need make-up, even on picture day.  As girls get older, they may want to start wearing a little make-up and getting into a skincare routine. It’s important to teach your kids how to properly apply makeup and how to adopt a “less is more” face routine, otherwise they can end up looking overly done up in their photographs. These five blog entries will explain what kind of make-up works well on picture day.

How to Communicate with Your Child’s Teacher

By Marcia Hall

With school starting, you can expect that there’s going to be a certain amount of chaos going on, from getting school supplies to enrolling in extracurricular activities to dealing with your child’s emotions about returning to school. Another hurdle that many parents face is worrying about their child’s new teacher. To a certain degree, your child’s success in the school year will be dependent on the relationship you as a parent have with her teacher.  Here are a few tips you can use to help start the school year on the right foot with the teacher you will be entrusting the education of your child to for the next nine months.

  1. Look at the start of the school year from the teacher’s perspective. Though you see the return to school from a parent’s perspective, your child’s teacher may look at it from a different point of view.  She is preparing to meet sometimes close to 30 new faces that she will spend the next many months teaching, molding and caring for.  Being a teacher essentially means that she will become a part of the lives of many different families, and each child will have unique struggles and specific dynamics that they face both in the classroom and at home. Though her job is to teach the children during school hours, the children bring with them baggage from family life, too. Your child’s teacher has to be understanding when one of her students has parents that are fighting or separating.  She has to be patient with the child who did not sleep well the night before because his sibling was sick.  She has to find a way to get through to the child who is trying so hard to understand a math problem, but just can’t seem to focus.  These are the many things that teachers encounter on a daily basis.  So as you and your child meet the teacher for the very first time and you begin getting to know her, remember the many daily obstacles the teacher will have to navigate to educate and care for your child.
  2. Attend any meet the teacher days or orientations that you are able to and really listen to what is expected of your child and you. This is your chance to begin to understand how your child’s teacher operates.  Parents often attend these assuming they already know what to do, but teachers hope to use these meetings as an opportunity to get every one of her students started on the right track.
  3. Ask thoughtful questions, but don’t take up too much of the teacher’s time with questions that you can find the answers to elsewhere. Obviously, you need to fully understand what the teacher is expecting of you and your child, but if you have been given a packet of information, search that before taking time to ask the teacher.
  4. Use notes and email instead of trying to ask the teacher questions at the start or end of the school day.  The teacher will be thinking in a dozen different directions during drop-off and pick-up times, so this is usually not the time to ask questions. Communicating via short notes that are to the point or by email allows the teacher to respond when she has time, which can be very helpful.
  5. Offer to help the teacher out, whether in the classroom or in some other way. If you can physically help in class from time to time that’s great, but not all parents can do that.  You can also ask if there are any other supplies that the teacher might need or want for the classroom.  Instead of simply purchasing larger items for the room, you can also contact other parents in the classroom to chip in.
  6. Remain positive when addressing concerns you have with your child. Use “I” statements like “I needed clarification on ….”  The last thing you want to do is criticize the teacher on her methods or accuse her of anything.  However, sometimes poorly chosen words can seem threatening.  When you use the word “I” instead of “you” it puts the focus on you and simply asks her help to solve your problem.  This will put the teacher at ease and will make her more likely to be flexible and helpful.
  7. Frequently give her positive feedback on the things that you see run well in the class or the way she handled a particular situation. Never underestimate the need a teacher has for some positive feedback.  Let the principal know when you have good things to say, too.  They very often only hear the negative complaints.
  8. Resist the urge to assume that your child is not at fault or never misbehaves. It can be very easy to get protective of your child.  Be focused instead on how to solve the problem at hand.
  9. Be involved in your child’s education and know what he is learning about.  Do homework with your child.  Read the notes that are sent home.  Ask him what he is learning.

Your child’s education is important to you. The relationship you have with your child’s teacher can make a big impact on his education. Good communication can improve a challenging relationship, and it all starts with considering the teacher’s perspective.

Easy Ways for Busy Moms to Take Care of Themselves

By Marcia Hall

Fulfilling the role of mom is arguably one of the most difficult jobs out there, but it is also one that is equally as rewarding as it is demanding. With each new day comes dozens of problems to fix, hurts to help heal, opportunities to teach and needs to meet. During all of this hustle and bustle, it can be a challenge for a mom to find time to meet her own needs for relaxation and rest.  There are a few simple things you can do to help meet those needs.

From an early age help your children understand that their needs are important, but they are no more important than your own needs.  It can be difficult for a small child to let go of her mom for even a small amount of time.  However, if from infancy you make sure you carve out some time each week to be on your own, even if it is just to take a shower every day, you can begin to build this idea in your child.  Truthfully, she may not like it.  Your infant may not be able to be soothed for this short period of time, your toddler may throw a temper-tantrum when you leave and your preschooler may do everything in her power to hinder you leaving, however this step is not only important for you, it is also a vital developmental step for your child.

Don’t let the stress build up.  Moms seem to have a knack for powering though all of the chaos.  It can be easy to get to the end of the week and discover that you have been running on emotional fumes. You are worn out, cranky and short tempered.  Avoid this crash at the end of the week by making time for a midweek break.  Maybe all you can find is 30 extra minutes to read a book, take a walk or soak in a bubble bath.  If that is all you can do, then do it.  If you have to enlist the help of friends or a babysitter, then it is worth it.  Wouldn’t it feel great to get to the end of the week and still have more energy to give to your family without being frustrated with your children?

Have a plan of action for when you begin to feel stressed.  While it is important to get away from time to time, the reality is that it is not always possible to get away the moment you begin feeling overwhelmed.  It might be a good idea to keep a game, video or other activity close at hand that you know your kids love.  When you find yourself suddenly overwhelmed, bring that out and use the time to practice an activity that will help you to unwind.

Involve your child in the things that bring you peace and contentment.   You won’t always be able to get away.  You won’t always be able to find a babysitter.  That is life.  By practicing some of the activities that help you unwind with your children, you not only provide yourself with a way to relax in the presence of your children, you also teach them a very valuable lesson.  Children have the same need as adults to find activities that help them decompress.  Maybe you find practicing yoga relaxing.  Your child might enjoy it, too.  Maybe reading a book is one of your favorite past-times.  Your child might discover that joy as well.  Perhaps a nice walk gives you all the refreshment you need.  Your child might find this also helps her.  Even if she does not love your relaxation activities as much as you do, witnessing you modeling the activity will show her the value of relaxation.

Do yourself and your family a favor: avoid giving every ounce of your energy to them and keeping nothing for yourself.  You may think that doing so is what it means to be a parent.  In the end, this will only work to hurt them.  If you are not at your best, you cannot give them your best.  By keeping yourself emotionally healthy you will be able to help those in your family with whatever problem, hurt, need or learning opportunity that they face.

7 Smart Ways Nannies Can Avoid Injury on the Job

Working as a nanny means always being busy. You spend your days wrangling kids, sometimes several of them, and it can seem like you never stop moving. Activities, play dates, housework, cooking: there’s always something going on and something else to do. Unfortunately, in the midst of that chaos, it can be easy to overlook personal safety and find yourself dealing with an injury, even a severe one, which can sideline you and leave you unable to work. It’s not too late to start playing smart defense, though. Remember these tips for avoiding injury on the job:

Lift Properly

“Lift with your legs, not with your back.” Everyone says this all the time, and that’s because it’s true. Why? Because your body is built to use the legs to lift things. As a nanny, you won’t be lifting construction equipment, but you will be bending over every day to pick up objects of varying weights, including small furniture, heavy toys and, well, kids. The only way to survive is to use proper lift techniques. Squat with your legs, keep your back straight, grab and lift. It’ll probably take some practice if you aren’t used to it, but your body will thank you in the long run.

Rest When Needed

Your body needs to recharge, especially after days spent chasing kids and running a household. Don’t try to be a superhero or assume that you can power through. Proper rest is vital for letting the body bounce back from physically demanding tasks like workouts or childcare. (Sometimes workouts might even feel easier than childcare!) Get plenty of sleep and take care of yourself.

Don’t Overdo It

This (obviously) doesn’t mean you can lie around and trust the kids to look after themselves. It does mean that you should always be careful about how and when you exert yourself and that you should listen to your body when it tells you to slow down or stop. Too much stress and strain on your body can lead to fatigue and sprains, and those can easily spiral into bigger problems if you don’t heal and rest properly. Be smart about how you spend your energy, even if you’re just cleaning up around the house.

Avoid Repetitive Motions

Repetitive stress injuries are commonly associated with office tasks like computer work, but they can happen in any situation that requires you to go through repeated physical movement without proper breaks or training. Running, sports and other physical activities with repetitive movement — including games you might play with the children in your care — fall into this category. Be sure to consider your movements and always do a warm-up or cool-down if you’re going to be doing anything big. Even something as simple as a few basic stretches before you arrive at work can do wonders for injury prevention.

Watch How You Dress

Nannies deal with a lot of messes, from kid-related mishaps to food spills, and sometimes cleaning them up can be just as messy. (Ask anyone who’s mopped themselves into a corner.) This tip isn’t so much about dress code as it as making sure to wear things that can keep you safe. For instance, it’s a good idea to wear shoes with rubber soles and good traction to reduce your chances of slipping on a wet or messy floor. Similarly, clothes that dangle or that could get caught on something might lead to a fall, whereas less baggy gear will reduce this risk while still making it easy to move around.

Keep the House Clean

A certain amount of cleanliness comes with the job, of course, but this isn’t just for appearance’s sake. A clean house means a house free of obstacles and instruments that could lead to trips, falls, bumps or bruises. You don’t have to put the place on lock-down, but make sure that books are off the floor and on shelves, shoes are out of walkways, clothes aren’t in a tangle near the bed, etc.

Stay Active

The more generally active you stay, the better shape you’ll be in to deal with whatever your nanny job throws at you. You don’t have to run out and train for a triathlon, but you should make an effort to stay active on your own time and not just while you’re at work. Physical fitness and basic strength training will mean stronger muscles, less risk of costly sprains or injuries and a more resilient body. It is work, but it’s worth it.

How to Help Your Child Adjust to a New School

By Marcia Hall
Transitioning into a new situation can be difficult for any child, but it can especially be hard for a child who is highly sensitive. Trying to transition your young child into a new school can be a particularly challenging event. Whether you’re moving and your child can no longer attend his old school, you’ve decided his current school isn’t a good fit or he’s attending school for the first time, there are several ways you can ease the stress he feels in the situation.

Give him plenty of warning.  Parents often wait to tell their children about upcoming changes until every detail is worked out and settled.  This can be a mistake when it comes to moving your child to a new school.  Telling him when the change is still a just a possibility can help him become a part of the process.  He may not have a choice whether he wants to move or stay where he is, but if he is in on the idea from the beginning there is a good chance he will warm up to the idea much more quickly.

Don’t cut ties with old friends.  Though it may not be possible for your child to continue having a strong friendship with the kids at his old school, cutting the relationship immediately will be very painful for him.  Instead, hold onto those relationships as long as possible.  Getting the friend’s phone number and address in order to call and send letters can help.  Have your child give out a little handmade card to each child he wants to stay connected with.  You can put your phone number on it so that your child’s friend can call him too. If both parties have the technology, using Facetime or Skype can be a really fun way for children to stay connected.  Allowing your child to actually see or talk to his old friends can help with the transition.

Visit the new school with him before the move.  In order to make your child as much a part of the process as possible it is best to take him to the new school a few times before he begins school there.  Often, parents scout out potential new schools on their own, but if you are able to bring your child along to meet the principal and some of the teachers it can help ease the transition.

Be expecting some emotional sadness at the loss of close friends and teachers.  It is important to be extra sensitive to the emotions your child will be feeling as he starts a new school, and to understand that those nervous emotions will surface in many different ways.  Some of these behaviors may surprise you. Sleep patterns may change, and a normally good sleeper may start waking early or have trouble sleeping at night.  Your child may change his eating habits, too.  A child that once was an adventurous eater may suddenly want to only eat a few of his favorite foods.  Potty training may regress, and you may find that there are suddenly more day and nighttime accidents.  Control behaviors may develop, like thumb sucking, nail biting, hair twirling or itching.  You will likely find that your child will test limits and boundaries that he has not tested in quite some time.  These behaviors are not a sign that your child is bad, but that he is stressed.

Work to spend extra time with your child.  Instead of focusing on the new or altered behaviors your child has developed in his stress, validate the concerns you suspect he has.  Let him know that it is OK for him to be nervous about the many new things he is going to experience at his new school.  Gently remind him that he will meet new friends, but allow him to be sad for the friends that he will not be able to see as often too.  Avoid pushing him to “be OK” with the transition if he really is not happy about it, and instead tell him that it is OK to not like the situation.   Let him know that you are available if he needs to sit and be sad with someone.

Get him involved in social gatherings or sports as soon as you can. In order to help him move beyond his sadness and see that his new school and new friends will be pretty great too, get him involved in something that he likes as soon as you can.  It is often best to have him try something new right away that he did not do at his old school.  Sometimes the comparison of the old and new can trigger frustration.  Even if the new is better, it is not what he is used to and he may not like it right away.  You never want to over-schedule him, but getting him involved can help him meet people and discover that life at the new school will not be so bad.

Even children that seem to thrive in transition may have underlying concerns.  Don’t be so sure that the child who seems to have no issues in new and unfamiliar situations will be truly OK with a new school environment.  Often, children who seem to have quickly transitioned can develop issues a few weeks or months into the new school.  As a parent, it is important for you to be alert to any signs of trouble, even several months into a transition.

All children transition to new things at a different pace.  Spending quality time with your child is never more important than it is during times of transition.  As you spend time with your child you will learn his worries, which can help you work with him to move beyond them and to develop a love for his new school.

How to Find the Right Tutor for Your Child

It can be painful to watch your child struggle through a particular concept or unit in school. Whether it is difficulty in understanding long division, struggling with standard English grammar rules or anything in between, there is only so much that teachers and parents alike can do. For children who are having trouble in particular areas of study, it often helps to hire a tutor. This can be a great way to help a child better understand concepts in a way that relates to him. Over time, working with a tutor can result in a significant improvement in a child’s grades and give him a boost of confidence.

Benefits of Hiring a Tutor
With the right tutor, a child is able to get the one-on-one attention that he needs in order to better understand a concept. The opportunity is always there for the student to ask questions as needed, request clarification and practice. Furthermore, a qualified and experienced tutor will be able to determine a child’s needs and his particular learning style and then tailor each session accordingly to maximize understanding and long-term success.

Choosing the Right Tutor
Of course, choosing the right tutor for your child is not always easy. You’re going to be spending some money here, so you’ll understandably want to find the tutor that will help your children achieve the best results. While the process of choosing a tutor can be time-consuming, it will be more than worth it in the long run. Here are some basic steps that all parents and guardians can keep in mind to assist them along the way in picking out a tutor for any subject.

  • Consider Expectations: The first thing that any parent who is considering hiring a tutor should do is write down a list of expectations, both for the tutor and the child involved. This could be anything from a specific final grade that the parents want the child to end the class with to a specific amount of experience or certification that the tutor has in the relevant subject matter. By creating a list of the most important expectations and qualities to look for in the tutor, it is possible to narrow down your options quickly. Plus, when you’re honest about your expectations, there is less of a chance of anybody feeling let down in the end.

  • Begin Searching & Seeking Recommendations: There are plenty of resources online where tutors can be found, regardless of where you might live. (Tutor.com is a popular choice.) Additionally, you can put the word out on Facebook or via an email to friends with kids to see if they have any experience screening and hiring tutors, or if they have anybody they can recommend for the job. Going to the child’s school and asking if they have any recommendations or suggestions for finding a local tutor can also be helpful.

  • Set a Budget: If money is a concern when it comes to hiring a tutor, it may be wise to set a budget ahead of time. Determine what you’d be comfortable spending per week or per month on tutoring services, and be honest during the interview process with tutors about what you’re able to pay. If the tutor is out of your price range, better to know now. Being honest could also lead to a situation where you and the tutor compromise on rates to do what’s best for everybody. Most tutors will be willing to work with you and find a way to make the services affordable.

  • Ask Lots of Questions: All tutors vary in their styles, strengths and weaknesses. Similarly, every child has a preferred learning method to go with his own strengths and weaknesses. Having a positive working relationship between your child and his tutor is extremely important in ensuring long-term success for your child in any subject matter, so it is vital to find a tutor who truly understands how your child learns and what his personality is like. This way, he can receive the maximum benefit from each session since the tutor and student methods will be in sync; he will not only feel comfortable meeting with his tutor and feel free to ask questions, but will understand the tutor’s methods as well.

Overall, choosing a tutor is not an easy task. However, by keeping the above basic tips in mind, it is possible to find a great tutor who can make all the difference in your child’s success and confidence in school.