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I have used two other agencies, both were difficult to work with and did not live up to their promises and Morningside Nannies did.Dr. Susan Streusand
In a time crunch you provided me with two excellent applicants within hours!Dr. Anita Tonking
I liked the fact that you screened the candidates before sending them to us, rather than sending the candidate to me before I knew anything about them, like happened with (name withheld), your competition.Name Withheld
The first person you recommended met my needs perfectly.Carolyn Goodrich, Stay at home mom
During our search for our current nanny I used several well-known services in Houston. I found that Morningside Nannies had the highest- quality applicants in town.Dr. Katherine Tiwari
Compared to other agencies Morningside presented a higher caliber of candidate.Phyllis Epps, Law Professor
Morningside Nannies was outstanding. The process was stress free and the caliber of applicants was far superior to that of other agencies. Morningside Nannies was thorough in their review and timely presentation of candidates.Susan Sherman, CPA
Objective and professional with an obvious personal touch, small but important comments about each person.Dr. Shari Rochen
We made you work and you did! I was extremely picky! Thanks.Dr. Cheryl Caragnano, Pediatrician
Quality of applicants was way above what we had hoped for. Thoroughly enjoyed working with your agency – we will highly recommend you to friends.Kim McMillan

How to Organize a Play Date

How-to-Organize-a-Play-DateThe kids are restless, you could use some time conversing with adults and the schedule is free for the day. Why not organize a play date?

Organizing a play date takes some planning, but with these tips, you can provide your children with opportunities that will help them academically, socially and emotionally.

Why Plan a Play Date?

Providing the children you care for with opportunities to socialize and play with others is an important step in their social development. Your children also benefit from learning how to share and communicate with others.

Preschoolers, especially, have a lot of energy, and need ways to exert this energy in positive ways. According to the experts at Nemours KidsHealth, preschoolers are also discovering what it means to play with a friend instead of just alongside another child.

“By being around other kids, a preschooler gains important social skills, such as sharing and taking turns,” said the childcare experts at KidsHealth. “Despite occasional conflicts, preschoolers learn to cooperate and interact during play.”

Getting Started

The best place to begin is by assessing your invite list. Gather names of parents or nannies in the neighborhood or talk with adults at your child’s preschool to gather interest in a play date.

Once you have a guest list prepared, inquire about times and dates that will be convenient for the children and their nannies or parents. It is also important to work around your family’s schedule since you don’t want to host a play date when your employers have engagements in the home. Assess your own schedule, too, to make sure that you schedule the play date during a time when the children will not be napping, hungry or cranky.

Prepare for the Play Date

Preparation is key when it comes to hosting a play date. Michelle LaRowe, executive director of Morningside Nannies and author of “A Mom’s Ultimate Book of Lists,” recommends putting away any special toys your child is unwilling to share. “Putting these prized possessions away during playdates can head off potential sharing problems,” she says.

Prepare for snack time, too, by setting up healthy options, such as fruits, veggies and snack crackers. Juice boxes or cups with lids will help prevent spills. Snack time is a great way to break up the play date when children are getting restless.

When scheduling a play date, make sure, too, that you set a time limit. Instead of leaving the play date open ended, let your guests know that it will begin at a certain time and end on time. Two hours is typically the norm for play dates – this also works well for a late morning or late afternoon gathering so children can keep their daily routines and nap times.

Prepare for Play

A structured setting works best for a play date. LaRowe recommends setting up different stations with activities. For example, one station could focus on kitchen play, one for blocks and one for animated games or art projects. Ask your fellow nannies or parents to help facilitate each station to ensure the activities go as planned.

Interactive games also work well to provide a structured setting. The experts at KidsHealth recommend the following activities:

  • Play bounce catch
  • Use paper airplanes to practice throwing
  • Balance a beanbag while walking
  • Play freeze dance
  • Play wheelbarrow by holding your child’s legs while he or she walks forward on hands

Creating a theme for your play date will keep the children engaged, too.

Potential play date themes can include:

  • ABC’s  – Ask each child to bring a memento or toy that begins with a pre-assigned letter
  • Space Exhibition – Offer activities and games that revolve around the planets, including art projects or impromptu plays
  • Birthday Fun – Throw a birthday party for all of the children, complete with party hats, cake and games
  • Farm Fun – Ask each child to bring a drawing, picture or toy that represents his or her favorite animal and have sharing time during the play date

When creating a theme for your play date, pull out toys that represent the theme or print off coloring pages from the Internet so they can leave with a piece of art that will leave a lasting impression of their time together.

Most importantly, allow the children to socialize naturally, sit back and converse with the other nannies and parents and resist the urge to mediate any disagreements at first. Allowing children to work out their differences in a play setting is a valuable learning experience.

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Morningside Nannies 3701 Kirby Drive, Suite 989
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We used two other services and an online service. Morningside Nannies had the most highly qualified candidates, one of whom we selected.Dr. M
I have used two other agencies, both were difficult to work with and did not live up to their promises and Morningside Nannies did.Dr. Susan Streusand
Quality of applicants was way above what we had hoped for. Thoroughly enjoyed working with your agency – we will highly recommend you to friends.Kim McMillan
I described the person I wanted and that’s what you found for me. Thank you.Penny Featherston, NorAm Energy
Morningside was by far the best as compared to the other services we used!Dr. Michael O'Reilly and Dr. Valerae Lewis
Originally, I tried to find a nanny on my own and it took me much, much longer and only half of them spoke English. I had to do my own background checks. Morningside Nannies made it much easier, faster and more efficient.Holly Weinstock, Stay at home mom
Morningside Nannies was far more professional and focused than the other agencies. They listened to my request and responded promptly. I feel very fortunate to have such superb childcare and appreciate the luxury of returning to work with-out worry. Many thanks go to Morningside Nannies for that.Jeremy and Lauren Blachman
As a new mom I was nervous about hiring a nanny, but now I couldn’t be more pleased. I’ve sung your praises to everyone I know.Tarala Rybacki
I trust Morningside Nannies & their research into their nannies more than any of the other seven agencies we talked with. The checks are reliable and the quality of nannies was superb. The process of finding a nanny was handled quite professionally.Dr. Kim Burgess, Pediatrician
Morningside Nannies only sent me nannies that fit my needs. I felt that I wasn’t sent the resume of everyone on file.Jodie MacCrory, IBM