Nanny Gift Ideas

July 3, 2014

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Your child’s nanny plays a vital role in your child’s physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Families that employ nannies should follow the example of top companies and make efforts to show their appreciation and gratitude for work well done. We’ve all heard stories about excellent nannies who decide to leave their employing family. The departure of a beloved nanny can be incredibly disruptive and heartbreaking, particularly for children who have formed a strong bond with their caregiver. Make an effort to show your nanny that her presence makes the lives of your children immeasurably richer. Nannies who receive consistent and regular gestures of appreciation not only report higher job satisfaction, but they are more likely to stay in their positions long term

Below are several gift ideas that your Nanny may enjoy.. Above all, be sure to take the time to verbally tell your nanny how much she is appreciated. And remember, kind words don’t cost a thing.

  1. Beauty Service at Spa : massage, facial, manicure and pedicure, etc.
  2. Movie theater passes
  3. Restaurant Gift Certificate
  4. Book Store or on-line bookseller Gift Certificate
  5. Cash Gifts Bonus (always appreciated)
  6. Paid Day(s) off in addition to vacation time.
  7. Tickets to sporting Event
  8. Tickets to favorite concert
  9. Tickets to theater or play
  10. Electronic items: DVD Player, camera, computer, cell phone, television,etc.
  11. Jewelry
  12. Plane tickets to visit friends or family
  13. Health Club Membership
  14. Clothing Store Gift Certificate
  15. Grocery Store Gift Certificate (especially helpful for nannies who have their own families)
  16. Pre-paid classes: art, pottery, dance, music, tennis, golf, swimming, writing, etc. (This is a perfect gift for a nanny who has always wanted to pursue a particular hobby or learn a new activity.)
  17. Collectibles. Perfect gift for a nanny who has a collection, i.e., stamps, books, figurines, dolls, etc.
  18. Memory books, scrapbooks, or photo albums prepared by the family.
  19. Keepsakes from Children – framed art work, picture frames, charms, and engraved items
  20. Hand written heartfelt thank you notes from family.

Marvalous Babies

June 6, 2014

Marva Soogrim

I believe that I was brought into this world to do this work and share my gift with others so that they, too, can realize the peace and joy of parenthood.” 
- Marva Soogrim


Marva Soogrim, world-renowned nanny to the stars, brings more than 30 years of experience with her unique “whole family” approach to caring for newborns and integrates this new experience into any family.  Her clients include Sheryl Crow, Laura Dern, Dr. Jay Gordon, Courtneney Cox and David Arquette, Kristin Davis, and Chris O’Donnell.

Marva is sharing her wisdom.  She’s offering one-on-one coaching and workshops, both available in-peron or on-line.  She’s penning a book that will be released soon. You can learn more about Marva by visiting her website www.marvalousbabies.com

“The Marvalous Baby Method” will bring order to the chaos in any household.  “When the household is calm, the baby is calm,” says Marva.  Her approach is to work with both parents to integrate their new baby into the home and to make sure everyone operates as a unit.  When a newborn arrives into any family, their lives quickly become all about the baby.  Marva insists that parents also take care of their marriage.

A mother of four herself, Marva can tap into the deep instinct that every parent possesses and help guide them in a way that still fits their individual needs. Also specializing in multiple births, Marva has assisted many families in finding their own ways of parenting by integrating their style with her own proven methods.

Born in Trinidad, Marva came to the United States in the 1980s at the age of twenty-one. With medical assistant training and impeccable references, Marva began her calling as a baby nurse/nanny to some of New York’s most prestigious families. News of her novel and calm approach to caring for babies spread and she quickly became the nanny of choice for celebrity A-listers including Julia Roberts, Reese Witherspoon, Courtney Cox, Sheryl Crow, and Chris O’Donnell, to name a few.  Marva is frequently asked by the media to offer parenting advice.  She has appeared on The Today Show and also writes about parenting for such popular publications as The Huffington Post, SheKnows and MORE Magazine.  She is now making her skills to raise well-adjusted and relaxed children accessible to everyone via her online and in-person workshops.

Connect with Marva:

www.marvalousbabies.com

https://www.facebook.com/MarvaSoogrim

www.twitter.com/marvasoogrim

 

Personal Chefs at Your Service

May 28, 2014

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Imagine private dining with a professional chef in the comfort of your own home. It  can be your reality. We’re really excited to partner with Kitchit - personal chefs at your service. Kitchit allows Cambridge Nanny Group clients to find great chefs based on factors like event dates, budget, or cuisine. Kitchit is home to many professional chefs, each with a unique profile showcasing his or her food, background, personality, and available services.Whether you’re looking to create a memorable dinner party, a new mother needing nutrient-rich unprocessed meals, or a busy family wanting help with meal preparation  The chefs craft your menu, grocery shops, cooks, serves, and cleans up.

If your time is limited Kitchen can hand pick chefs for you through their signature experience.  Once you’ve found the right chef or experience for your event, send an inquiry. The chef will respond to you via email with a custom menu, incorporating any ideas or ingredients you may have proposed earlier. You and the chef can refine the menu until you’re perfectly satisfied.

Know someone who would love the Kitchit service? Give the gift of Kitchit.   Kitchit gift cards are perfect for foodie friends and new parents.

Available in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles. Learn more about Kitchit’s offerings by visiting http://www.kitchit.com/.

 

Cheers,

Ingrid Kellaghan

Founder, Cambridge Nanny Group

 

Conscious Parent

May 27, 2014

Dear Friends,

I recently read a profound book on parenting: The Conscious Parent by Dr. Shefali Tsabary.    I’m going to ask you to step outside the traditional box of parental thinking and re-frame everything you thought you knew about the word “conscious”.    At it’s core “consciousness” is about connection. To be conscious means to engage in an active process of conscious evolvement. This, by definition, means resisting an over-attachment to the ‘doing’ aspects of life  and shifting your energies to engage in the ‘being’ aspects of life.  Conscious parenting isn’t for everyone, and never will be.  It calls us to engage in an emotional archeological dig to discover how the wounds of our past affect our parenting.  When we investigate our own reactions and impulses we find ourselves parenting from a non-reactive place.  Deep stuff.  It takes consciousness and intention to avoid parenting on auto-pilot, repeating the not-so-healthy approaches your parents may have used like guilt, shaming, threatening, or withdrawal.

Being CONNECTED AND ATTUNED to our kids is one of the greatest gifts we can give them. NOT FIXING their problems, but listening as they share their anger or sadness. NOT DISMISSING their concerns, but acknowledging them without folding in our own anxiety. NOT SHAMING them for feeling what they feel, but being present with them as they slog through their upset. And then– and ONLY then– asking, “Can I help? Would you like to hear my thoughts? I’m here–I will help you get through this storm.”

“Instead of being merely the receiver of the parents’ psychological and spiritual legacy, children function as ushers of the parents’ development. Parents unwittingly pass on an inheritance of psychological pain and emotional shallowness. To handle the behavior that results, traditional books on parenting abound with clever techniques for control and quick fixes for dysfunction. In Dr. Shefali Tsabary’s conscious approach to parenting, however, children serve as mirrors of their parents’ forgotten self. Those willing to look in the mirror have an opportunity to establish a relationship with their own inner state of wholeness. Once they find their way back to their essence, parents enter into communion with their children, shifting away from the traditional parent-to-child “know it all” approach and more towards a mutual parent-with-child relationship. The pillars of the parental ego crumble as the parents awaken to the ability of their children to transport them into a state of presence. – Barnes & Noble

I invite you to watch this video of the author Shefali Tsabary, Ph.D., she a clinical psychologist with a private practice in New York. She received her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University, New York. She is the author of the multi-award-winning, The Conscious Parent. Heralded as a game-changer in the parenting genre, this book turns the traditional parenting paradigms on its head and revolutionizes how we raise our families. She has been exposed to Eastern mindfulness at an early age and integrates its teachings with Western psychology. This blend of East and West allows her to reach a global audience. Her ability to appeal to both a psychologically astute and consciousness-driven audience establishes her as one of a kind in the parenting field. She lectures extensively on mindful living and conscious parenting around the world and is in private practice. She resides with her husband and daughter in New York.”

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Warmest Regards,
Ingrid Kellaghan,
Founder, Cambridge Nanny Group

Permission to Parent

May 21, 2014

There’s no shortage of books about parenting available, so when we find a good one we like to share it with our readers.  We’d like to introduce you to Permission to Parent:  How to Raise Your Child with Love and Limits by Robin Berman, MD.

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Children used to be seen and not heard, but now they are at the center of their parents’ universe. Parents today seem skittish about asserting their authority. They indulge in their children’s demands and tantrums, and enter into endless discussions. Sadly, this indulgence is creating a generation of psychologically fragile individuals, and it undermines the very self-esteem it seeks to build. In between these parenting extremes lies a better way to raise thriving, well-adjusted children.

Parents need to know that it is not only OK but essential to be in charge. Children with too much power often become anxious, and not allowing children to work through negative emotions leads to a lack of resilience later in their lives.

Permission to Parent teaches parents to be comfortable setting boundaries while maintaining a loving connection, fostering self-esteem, respect, and emotional maturity. Children need limits more than they need indulgences, time more than schedules, and love more than stuff.

Robin Berman, MD, provides the tools for great parenting by drawing from her extensive clinical experience and wisdom collected from seasoned therapists, revered teachers, and role-model parents. Permission to Parent strikes the perfect balance of advice, anecdote, and research to be an essential parenting guide.

Read an excerpt of “Permission to Parent: How to Raise Your Child with Love and Limits” by Robin Berman, MD. 

 

 

Raising Bullies

Bullies don’t learn how to get along with people—they simply figure out how control them, solving problems through force, cruelty and intimidation. When a bully is feeling powerless or afraid, he is more likely to become hostile, because he needs to quickly restore a sense of power and control.  It escalates to involve others who side with the bully, either voluntarily or through coercion. Parents need to help a child learn how to feel anger or frustration without giving them permission to lash out and harm others emotionally.   Children who bully become adults who continue the behavior.

It takes consciousness, connection and intention to avoid parenting on auto-pilot.   I recently read a great article “How Children Have Become their Parents’ Bullies” written by Robin Berman, MD .   It starts, “At a toy store, I witnessed a common but ludicrous dynamic; a 4-year-old child was emotionally bullying his mother. The helpless mom repeatedly explained to her son that he was not getting a present because it was not his birthday – they were there to buy his friend a present…” http://time.com/98409/children-parents-bullies

Bullies are not born – they are raised.  Bullying, at its core, is a learned behavior in response to stress.  It is our job as parents to set limits, teach appropriate social skills,  develop compassion and empathy, and teach children to control  their impulses and emotional reactions.

 

 

 

U.S Babies Lack Connection

At Cambridge Nanny Group we promote attachment nanny practices that create strong, healthy bonds between children and their caregivers.   Attachment practices fulfill a child’s need for trust, empathy, and affection that provides the foundation for a lifetime of healthy relationships and choices.   We believe choosing an attachment focused caregiver is an investment in your child’s emotional future.

A recent study says four out of 10 babies born in the United States will not form a strong enough bond with their caregivers and the lack of “secure attachment” will cause effects throughout the children’s lives, such as educational, emotional, and  behavior problems.  The bonds are formed during simple actions, such as comforting crying babies and responding to their needs.

This is an issue for families from all social classes. There are many families whose children will never know the street life of the inner-city child, yet are still at risk of emotional deprivation.

The researchers from Princeton University, Columbia University, the London School of Economics and Political Science and the University of Bristol all contributed to the new study published by Sutton Trust, which publishes papers on education and social mobility. The study can be downloaded from the Sutton Trust’s site.

 

Healthy Meal Planning

May 19, 2014

Meal Planning Tips for a Healthy Family

Feeding an active family a nutritious menu is never easy, especially when time is short and picky eaters abound.

The following strategies for budget conscious meals plus snacks will help you nourish your brood, without the drama.

Breaking for Breakfast

It’s hard to overstate the importance of a healthy breakfast, and it’s even more critical for kids. A few things to consider:

  • Studies have shown that children who regularly eat breakfast are more likely to meet their recommended dietary intake for vitamins and minerals.
  • When children skip breakfast, they do not typically make up the lost nutrients at other meals of the day.
  • Children who skip breakfast also tend to fill up on nutrient-poor snacks at school and are less likely to consume the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables.
  • Research indicates that eating a healthy breakfast positively affects cognitive function and academic performance in children.
  • Evidence also seems to suggest that eating breakfast is associated with less likelihood of being overweight.
  • A good breakfast not only contributes to physical health, it also supports emotional stability and mental alertness.
  • Breakfast also helps promote regular meal patterns and consistent energy intake

Okay, so breakfast is important. But what kind is best?

The ideal breakfast should have lots of fiber and whole grains, some protein and good fat, and as little added sugar as possible.

Many typical breakfasts fall short on protein, so consider the following protein-rich foods to give you the wakeup you need:

Video: Make a Green Smoothie

Catherine McCord of Weelicious creates a healthy smoothie your kids will love.

  • Eggs, cooked any way you like them (hard-boiled eggs are easy to have around for a quick protein boost)
  • Unsweetened yogurt or cottage cheese with berries
  • Refried beans spread on whole grain toast or tortillas
  • Nut butters
  • Burritos with eggs or beans and cheese on whole grain tortillas
  • All types of natural meat, such as breakfast steaks, lean pork chops, or turkey bacon
  • Hummus on whole grain or corn tortillas
  • Yogurt, hot cereal, or cold cereal with nuts
  • Tempeh
  • Scrambled tofu
  • Unsweetened kefir
  • Cheese sticks with fruit
  • Cream cheese on whole grain crackers

But how do you get them to eat it?

The best ideas are useless if you can’t get your family to try them. How do you encourage everyone in the house to actually eat a good breakfast?

Start by setting aside enough time – just an extra 10 minutes can make a big difference. If your kids are addicted to empty-calorie food like donuts or pastries, offer them their favorite non-breakfast foods, such as pizza, smoothies or any leftovers. To wean your family off sugary cereals, try mixing in increasing amounts of unsweetened cereals until their taste buds have adjusted.

Need breakfast on the run? Here are a few that are fun.

  • Smoothie + a dollop of their favorite nut or seed butter
  • Hard-boiled eggs + whole grain crackers + fresh fruit
  • Whole grain toast + cream cheese + sliced strawberries

Fun and Healthy Lunches

A kid-friendly lunch doesn’t have to be peanut butter and jelly. Not only can foods like fruit kabobs, pizza quesadillas and noodle bowls be just as easy to make as a sandwich, you may be surprised by how much kids love these healthier choices.
Ideas for spreading the lunch love:

    • Give kids something they can assemble themselves. Kids are crazy for dipping, stacking and rolling up their food into fun treats.
    • For kids, anything “mini” equals fun. Serve them food in miniature, like mini whole grain bagels, potstickers or cheese cubes.
    • Make food into fun shapes: colorful or interestingly shaped pasta, sandwiches cut into shapes with cookie cutters, or fruit carved into triangles, circles and squares.
    • Try to expose your children to at least one new flavor each week. This could be an item they’ve never eaten before or one they haven’t had in a while.
    • Include a special note, cartoon, or joke in the lunchbox.

Like the ideal breakfast, lunch should have lots of fiber and whole grains, some protein and healthy fat, a veggie, and just a bit of natural sugar, like a piece of fresh fruit.

 

Try these ideas for a little something different:

Video: The Fun Factor

Catherine McCord of Weelicious shows you how to make kid-friendly meals more fun!

  • Whole wheat tortillas spread with peanut butter, sprinkled with raisins or dried cherries, rolled up and cut in two
  • Baked corn chips, black beans, cheese wedges and fresh pico de gallo
  • Tuna salad with grated carrots, served with crackers or in a pita
  • Cheese triangles with pepperoni and whole wheat crackers for stacking
  • Whole wheat crackers served with roasted turkey, hard-boiled eggs and pickle spears
  • Vegetarian brown rice sushi rolls with soy or ponzu sauce
  • Hummus and spinach wrap, cherry tomatoes, string cheese and any bite-sized fruit
  • Smoked salmon, cream cheese and cucumbers on mini bagels
  • Chocolate almond butter with graham crackers

 

To give kids a sense of control and a vested interest in eating their lunches, involve them in the prep work and decision making about what goes in the lunchbox. Best to do this on the weekend or the night before to avoid the dreaded morning meltdowns.

Dynamite Dinners

 

Eat dinner as a family whenever possible! The studies are in and it’s clear that eating family dinners provide benefits beyond nutritional requirements. Children who eat meals with their parents have healthier eating habits than those who don’t. Families who eat together at home tend to consume less fast food and more fruits and vegetables, and preparing meals at home gives parents control over both the quality and quantity of food. Plus, it’s a great way for families to reconnect.  regroup and relax together.

Tips for making dinner a group effort:

Video: Mac & Cheese

Catherine McCord of Weelicious cooks up a delicious batch of mac and cheese with a healthy twist!

  • Allow each family member to choose the menu on a regular rotation.
  • Have family members check out cookbooks or online recipe collections and choose a few new recipes to try out.
  • Set specific days of the week and times for family meals and stick to it. If something comes up, make it into a family event so you still end up sharing a meal. For example, if your daughter’s soccer game is scheduled on a family dinner night, everyone goes to the game and eats together afterward.
  • Take pride in your table. Set the table more elaborately, or have one of the kids set it for the whole family. Add cloth napkins, placemats or flowers.
  • Learn to cook with a pressure cooker or slow cooker to make meal prep easier on everyone’s schedule. You’ll return at the end of the day to a dinner that’s ready to serve.
  • Cook several meals over the weekend and refrigerate or freeze them to be reheated later in the week.
  • Mix healthy store-prepared and homemade foods to save time and still provide complete nutrition.
  • Turn off the phone, television and other distractions. Play soothing music or light if you choose.

 

Separation Anxiety and the Nanny

May 11, 2014

A new caregiving situation can be upsetting for both parent and child, but with some preparations and suggestions, parents and caregivers can work together to ease the transition.

An all too typical scene on the first day of a new caregiving situation is  frightened child in tears, clinging to a parent’s leg.  Parents often feel embarrassed or confused about what to do next.  They may feel a mix of strong emotions:  either sympathetic and angry toward the child for his protest, guilty for leaving the child, or perhaps questioning what they have “done wrong” since her friends children seem to be adjusting well to their nannies during the first days and weeks.

Separation is a developmental challenge.  When adults take children’s feeling seriously, talk to them honestly, and give them lots of understanding support, children can learn ways to cope with separation successfully both now and in the future.   Responding to “I want my mommy!” is only the beginning.

 

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TIPS TO EASE SEPARATIONS

  • To build trust, always tell your child the truth – that you are leaving but you will be back.  Don’t disappear without notice.  Sneaking out does not build trust!  Say, “Mommy is going to work and I will come back to get you after your nap” (or whatever time, based on an activity in the child’s schedule).
  • Stay calm and show confidence in your child, but get help if needed.  Ask your child, “Can you say goodbye to me by yourself, or do you need (Nanny’s name) to help you.
  • Develop a special goodbye ritual that you are your child share at every separation.  It should be short, pleasant, and loving.
  • Always talk to your child about happy experiences to expect in the new situation.  Help your child look forward to a favorite activity or person.
  • Keep a brief schedule of your child’s activities or discuss your child’s day with the caregiver as time permits.  Use that information to reinforce the good times as you talk to your child.  One of the least fruitful questions a parent can ask a child is, “what did you do in school today?” because the response is usually “Nothing.” But if you were to ask, “What did you do at the park today? you may open up an entire conversation about your child’s day.
  • Prepare your child for a new separation by discussing it in advance.
  • When the nannies first day arrives, be prepared for your own separation anxiety. Once you have said goodbye, leave.  Prolonging your goodbye only makes things harder. If you are concerned about your child during the day, call your nanny.  Most parents discover that all was well shortly after their departure.
  • Watch for your child’s individual expressions of anxiety – wetting pants, thumb sucking, or other behavior that changes. Patience and understanding from parents and nannies will help your child cope with  his feelings.
  • Be prepared for separation anxiety to appear after a seemingly painless initial adjustment. (Many caregivers call this response “Second Week-itis”) Your child is now comfortable enough to show her true feelings. Don’t misgtake this apparent delayed reaction with indications that something is wrong with the caregiver and terminate the relationship with the nanny needlessly.

Silikids

April 22, 2014

 

Parents and Caregivers,

We are excited to introduce you to our new product partner – Silikids!

Traverse City, Michigan based Silikids was founded in 2006 by two moms, Stacey Feeley and Giuliana Schwab. Silikids is the first mom-founded brand focused on creating products that are toxin- free, hypoallergenic and made entirely out of silicone. Silikids combines necessity with innovation along with the technological advances of silicone, making the company a pioneer in the children’s market. The Silikids collection includes Silibib®, Siliskin® Glasses, Siliskin® Top, Siliskin® Sippy, Silimap, Siliskin® Bowl, Silispoon and Silibags. For more information, visit www.silikids.com.

 

Check out some of their innovative products:

 

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NEW PRODUCTS NOW AVAILABLE AT RETAIL:

 

Siliskin® Top, a Silicone Top which stretches over and covers the top of a glass.

Combined with the Siliskin Glass, the glass is completely encased and protected.  This top is the perfect solution to making the 6oz Siliskin glass a sippy.  The Top can also be used with other standard size glass cups, turning your average glass cup into a sippy.

Available in two colors, Fresh and h20.

Siliskin® Sippy, a stylish 8 oz. sippy cup where Silitop and Siliskin Glass come together as one.  Glass, skin and top included.

Silimap, a portable silicone placement with cool/fun educational themed graphics to teach kids about the US.  Presectioned panels allow for Silimap to fold easily and compactly, perfect for a diaper bag.  Available in two colors, Free and Sea.

Silibib makes its introduction with a fresh new design.  The bib’s new ergonomic design allows for it to lie flat.  The bib includes a hidden pocket too that easily flips forward for use so the bib can be worn with the pocket in front or with the pocket flipped behind.  Silibib is soft and comfortable for baby and hypoallergenic and is easy to wipe off and dishwasher safe.

Available in two colors, Spice and Fresh.

Siliskin Glass 6 oz., silikid’s signature “Big Kid” cup, a glass encased in a silicone protective sleeve features a  patent-pending shock absorption design.  Moms nationwide love Silikids glasses!  Said Silikids mom Cheryl Friedman of Boston, MA  “Finally, a safe glass I can give my kids! We love the cups and my family thanks you!”.  This enthusiastic mom fan, Angela Baptiste of Austin, TX had this to say about Siliskin Glasses, “These have made our mealtime so much better!  My kids love the colors”.

Available in a two pack in Tart and Sea.

The following products will be added to the Silikids collection and are slated to be available at retail sometime in April/May 2014:

Siliskin® Bowl, a sectioned ceramic bowl with Siliskin is ideal for young children starting solid foods and for suggested portions of the four food groups.

Available in Spice.

Silispoon, a silicone spoon designed to encourage independent eating habits.  Silispoon features a textured handle and wide spatula style head to make it easy to scoop up food.

Available in a 2pack in purple/pink and green/blue.

 

Silibags, translucent silicone sandwich/snack bags which make it easy to see what is inside.  Embedded closure keeps bag sealed shut.  These reusable bags replace disposable plastic sandwich bags! Available as a 2pack in colors Spice and Mellow.

The Silikids collection is available at specialty juvenile products stores nationwide including Giggle and online at 2modern.comdiapers.comamazon.com and atwww.silikids.com.

 

Watch the Silikids video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YCIoEfqrms