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Indera is just wonderful. She is always happy and clearly loves her job. She is kind and fun and as for the practicalities, she is always on time and very flexible.
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Summer Safety for Kids Cared for by Nannies

Summer is here, and the American Red Cross offers tips for having fun and staying safe as you enjoy the great outdoors.

What’s your plan for this summer? Enjoying the water? Going camping? Firing up the grill? Whatever you prefer, we have safety steps to follow. And don’t forget your furry friends. There are steps you can take to help keep them safe too.

WATER SAFETY
Every day, an average of eleven people die in the United States from unintentional drowning—and one in five of those are children fourteen or younger according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Red Cross wants everyone to know critical safety knowledge and skills that could save your life in and around the water. We encourage families to build confidence in the water by learning to be safe, making good choices, and learning how to swim and handle emergencies.

  • Preventing unsupervised access to water, providing constant, active adult supervision, and knowing how to swim are critical layers of protection to help prevent drowning.
  • Classes to learn how to swim are available for both children and adults. Check the map for learn-to-swim providers in your community. Everyone should learn first aid and CPR too so they know what to do in an emergency.
  • Download the Red Cross Swim app, sponsored by the ZAC Foundation, for safety tips, kid-friendly videos, and activities, and take the free Water Safety for Parents and Caregivers online course in English or in Spanish.
  • It’s best to swim in a lifeguarded area. Always designate a “water watcher” whose sole responsibility is to keep a close eye and constant attention on everyone in and around the water until the next water watcher takes over.
  • Drowning behavior is typically fast and silent. Unless rescued, a drowning person will last only twenty to sixty seconds before submerging. Reach or throw—don’t go! In the event of an emergency, reach or throw an object to the person in trouble. Don’t go in! You could become a victim yourself.

GRILLING SAFETY

More than three-quarters of US adults have used a grill, yet grilling sparks more than ten thousand home fires on average each year. To avoid this, the Red Cross offers these grilling safety tips:

  • Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use. Don’t add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
  • Never grill indoors—not in the house, camper, tent, or any enclosed area.
  • Make sure everyone, including pets, stays away from the grill.
  • Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire.
  • Use long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to help keep the chef safe.

SUMMER AND PETS 

Summer’s heat can be dangerous for your family pets. Follow these steps to help ensure your pet stays safe this summer.

  • Don’t leave your pet in a hot vehicle, even for a few minutes. The inside temperature of the car can quickly reach 120 degrees, even with the windows cracked open.
  • Animals can suffer heat stroke, a common problem for pets in warmer weather. Dogs with short noses or snouts, like the boxer or bulldog, are especially prone to heat stroke, along with overweight pets, those with extremely thick fur coats, or any pet with upper respiratory problems such as laryngeal paralysis or a collapsing trachea.
  • Some of the signs of heat stroke in your pet are heavy panting, an inability to calm down, even when lying down, brick-red gum colora fast pulse rate, and an inability to get up.
  • If you suspect your pet has heat stroke, take their temperature rectally. If the temperature is above 105 degrees, cool the animal down. The easiest way to do this is by using the water hose. Stop cooling the animal when the temperature reaches 103 degrees.
  • Bring your pet to the veterinarian as soon as possible, as heat stroke can lead to severe organ dysfunction and damage. Download the Red Cross Pet First Aid app for instant access to information on how to treat heat stroke, other emergencies, and general care for cats and dogs, and take the Cat and Dog First Aid Online Training course.

VECHILE SAFETY

According to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about forty children a year die from heatstroke, either because they were left inside a car or became trapped in one. That’s about one child every ten days killed in a hot car.

The majority of hot car deaths—53 percent—happen because someone forgets a child in a car. You may be asking yourself, How does this happen? Families who lost a loved one thought the same thing at one point, but then the tragedy happened to them. Hot car deaths don’t just occur in the summer heat. On average, the first vehicular heatstroke of the year happens in March, according to Jan Null, who has been tracking such deaths since 1998. These are among the trends he has discovered over the years:

  • About 46 percent of the time when a child was forgotten, the caregiver meant to drop the child off at a daycare or preschool.
  • Thursdays and Fridays (the end of the workweek) see more deaths than other days.
  • More than half of the deaths (54 percent) are children under two years old.

Parents and caregivers, get in the habit of always checking the back seat of your car before locking the doors. Remember: check the back seat.

 

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds, and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members, and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit https://redcross.org/ or https://cruzrojaamericana.org/, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

Reprinted from https://www.redcross.org/about-us/news-and-events/news/2022/have-a-safe-summer.html

About the NHTSA: 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is an agency of the U.S. federal government, part of the Department of Transportation, focused on transportation safety in the United States. For more information, please visit https://www.nhtsa.gov/child-safety/you-can-help-prevent-hot-car-deaths.

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5 Challenges Parents Face During Their Nanny Search

1. Finding Trustworthy Candidates

Morningside Nannies conducts thorough background checks, interviews, and reference checks on all applicants. We accept 2-3% of nannies who apply.

2. Ensuring Compatibility with Family Values

Morningside Nannies learns your family values, expectations, and childcare philosophies during the interview process. We make fit a priority and conduct personality assessments and interviews that help us really know each candidate.

3. Balancing Cost and Quality

Morningside Nannies helps parents understand how experience, qualifications, duties, responsibilities, and work history impacts wage expectations ensuring parents define budget constraints and prioritize essential qualities in a nanny.

4. Securing Reliable and Consistent Care

Morningside Nannies helps parents establish clear expectations regarding work hours, schedules, and availability during the hiring process. We ensure all candidates understand the job, the duties, and the responsibilities and that they agree to all, prior to sending them for your consideration.

5. Navigating Legal and Contractual Matters

Morningside Nannies partners with nanny tax and payroll firms to ensure you are compliant from the start. We provide resources to help you draft a comprehensive nanny contract outlining terms of employment, responsibilities, compensation, benefits, and termination policies.

Call Morningside Nannies at (713) 526-3989 for a complimentary consultation and to learn more about how we can assist with your nanny search.

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The Vital Role of Integrity When Hiring a Nanny

Doing the right thing when no one is watching.

For parents seeking a nanny, this importance of character trait can’t be overstated. Integrity encompasses honesty, reliability, and moral uprightness – and a commitment to them that one refuses to budge on or change.

When it comes to entrusting a caregiver with the well-being of our children in an unsupervised setting, these traits are non-negotiable. Here’s why integrity should be at the forefront of every parent’s mind when hiring a nanny:

Trustworthiness: Parents rely on nannies not only to meet their children’s physical needs, but also to nurture their emotional and psychological well-being and development. A nanny with integrity can be always trusted to act in the best interests of the child, ensuring their safety and security.

Reliability: Consistency and dependability are essential for maintaining stability in a child’s life. A nanny who lacks integrity may be prone to unpredictable behavior, last-minute cancellations, or neglecting their duties. Conversely, a nanny with a strong sense of integrity will demonstrate reliability, showing up on time and fulfilling their responsibilities with diligence – even when parents are not in the home watching.

Role Modeling: Children are incredibly perceptive and absorb the behaviors and values of those around them. A nanny with integrity serves as a positive role model, exemplifying honesty, respect, and responsibility. Through their actions and interactions, they instill valuable life lessons that contribute to a child’s moral development.

Confidentiality: Parents entrust nannies with intimate details about their family life, from medical concerns to personal schedules. Integrity ensures that sensitive information remains confidential and is not shared without permission. This trust forms the foundation of a strong nanny-parent relationship.

Conflict Resolution: Disagreements or misunderstandings will arise between parents and nannies or among family members in the home. Integrity guides nannies to approach such situations with honesty, open communication, and a commitment to finding mutually beneficial solutions. This fosters a harmonious environment where conflicts are resolved respectfully and constructively.

Emotional Support: Nannies play a significant role in fostering the emotional development of the children in their care. Integrity enables them to offer genuine empathy, understanding, and encouragement, creating a nurturing environment where children feel safe expressing their thoughts and feelings.

Professionalism: Integrity is a cornerstone of professionalism. Nannies who prioritize integrity demonstrate respect for their employers, colleagues, and the nanny profession as a whole. They insist on legal pay, uphold ethical standards, maintain boundaries, and conduct themselves with integrity in all aspects of their work.

Integrity is not just a desirable trait; it is essential when hiring a nanny and inviting them into your home. Parents should prioritize candidates who demonstrate honesty, reliability, and moral uprightness, as these qualities form the bedrock of a trusting and mutually respectful caregiver-parent relationship. By choosing a nanny with integrity, parents can increase the likelihood that nannies meet their expectations when they’re home – and when they are not.

 

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Spring Nanny Trends

This Spring, several trends continue to emerge in the nanny industry. While wage trends and industry standards can vary depending on factors such as location, experience, qualifications, and the specific needs of the family, there are some general insights into what trends we continue to see in the Houston nanny market.

Wage Stabilization. We continue to see nanny jobs placing between $22-28 gross per hour, with most falling between $24-26. The fewer the hours, the higher the hourly rate and the more experience and qualifications a nanny has, the higher her wage expectation may be.

Non-Traditional Schedules. Families continue to be comfortable with having less care than in years past, most likely because they continue to work from home at least some of the time. Jobs that run 830a-530p seem less common than in seasons prior and families seem more eager to tweak their schedules to avoid going over 40 hours.

Required Benefits. While benefits aren’t required to be offered, to attract and retain a quality nanny you’ll need to offer paid vacation, paid holidays, mileage reimbursement for on the job driving, guaranteed hours, and sick time.

Wage Compliance. Families seem less inclined to pay off the books, perhaps due to nannies reporting non-compliant families as their employer when laid off due to COVID. We are now seeing families eager to be compliant in offering overtime and withholding and paying nanny taxes.

DIY Scams. More nannies and families than ever are being scammed when searching independently through websites and social media for their match. Jobs and nannies that seem too good to be true usually are, and this premise can be guaranteed regardless of the season.

Finding the right match takes more than luck. If you need help, we’re here.

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5 Ways to Lose a Nanny Job Before You Start

Interviewing for your perfect nanny job can be an exciting opportunity to showcase your skills and make a positive first impression. Unfortunately, many nannies unknowingly sabotage their chances of securing the position by making critical errors during the interview process. Whether it’s exaggerating their experience or appearing completely inflexible, there are several pitfalls that can quickly lead to losing a nanny job before it even begins.

1. Mistake Your Position. In the nanny and family relationship, the parents are the employers, and the nanny is the employee, yet nannies can often be found to position themselves like independent contractors or business owners by stating what they will and won’t do and by presenting their set hourly rate of pay as a requirement to the family. While of course nannies are welcome to accept or reject any job offers – and even counteroffer any they wish to pursue- it’s the parents – the employers – who establish the job duties and the rate of pay they are offering and the nanny who decides how they will respond to what is offered.

2. Draw a Line in the Sand. Parents are seeking someone to bring into their home and join them in caring for their children. More often than not, childrearing becomes a team effort. While nannies certainly have a role, duties, and responsibilities in every job and taking steps to avoid job creep is wise, heading out of the gate with a list of things you will and won’t do because they aren’t your job can send the message you have no flexibility and aren’t a team player.

3. Bait and Switch. It’s not uncommon for a nanny to see a job and apply, hoping that once the family meets her, they’ll increase their budget, meet her demands, or change something else about the position they are hiring for. Doing so leaves a bad taste in a family’s mouth because it sends the message that the nanny may not be forthcoming or keep her word when it really counts.

4. Overshare. No parent wants to leave an interview wondering what the nanny will say about them after hearing negative talk about past employers. And when a parent asks how a nanny spends her free time, she really doesn’t want to know every detail. Sharing strong opinions about politics or religion during an interview can also be a turn off and unintended offensive comments can be hard to come back from.

5. Misrepresent Yourself. Chances are before scheduling an interview the family has done an Internet search on you. They’ve likely seen your photos, viewed your comments, and read every news article you’ve ever been mentioned in. They’ve also reviewed all the information you’ve provided and maybe even called a reference or two. You can expect that during the interview they’ll compare what they have learned about you to how you present yourself. If these things don’t match up, it may be a red flag.

Interviews are make-or-break moments where first impressions truly count. Avoid sabotaging your chances of landing your perfect job by avoiding these common errors.

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5 Shortcuts to Avoid When Hiring a Nanny

We’ve all seen the horror stories on the news that depict when nanny care has gone wrong.

The nanny who would not leave her employer’s home.

The nanny who wasn’t who she said she was.

And the nanny who had a criminal record, that an online website didn’t find.

The list goes on.

While choosing a nanny to provide care in your home doesn’t come without risk, there are certainly ways to significantly reduce them.

This starts with avoiding shortcuts during the nanny hiring process to ensure the safety and well-being of your children, as well as the reliability and suitability of the caregiver.

Here are some shortcuts to avoid:

  1. Skipping Background Checks:Conducting thorough background checks is crucial to verify the nanny’s criminal history, driving record, and any past incidents that may affect their suitability for the role. Skipping this step can put your children at risk. And remember all background checks are not created equally. Knowing what reports you are purchasing, what their limitations are, and how to properly interpret the results are essential.
  2. Neglecting Reference Checks:Contacting previous employers who can vouch for the nanny’s character and caregiving abilities is essential. Neglecting reference checks can prevent you from obtaining valuable insights into the nanny’s past performance and reliability. While outsourcing reference checks or accepting written letters of recommendation can be tempting, don’t. The tone a reference uses and what a prior employer says, as well as what they don’t, is important.
  3. Rushing the Interview Process:Taking the time to conduct comprehensive interviews allows you to assess the nanny’s qualifications, experience, and compatibility with your family’s needs. Rushing through the interview process may result in overlooking important red flags or missing out on crucial information. Consider doing a phone interview, in person interview and longer in person interview before making a hiring decision.
  4. Failing to Verify Information:Ensure that the nanny possesses the necessary qualifications, such as CPR and first aid certification, as well as relevant childcare training and experience. Failing to verify qualifications can compromise the quality of care your children receive. You’ll also want to be sure that the nanny’s application or resume and what her past employers say match up before accepting the information as accurate.
  5. Not Assessing Compatibility:It’s essential to evaluate how well the nanny fits with your family’s values, routines, and parenting style. Skipping this assessment can lead to conflicts or misunderstandings down the line, impacting the quality of care and overall family dynamics. While many things can be trained on with a new hire, you are either a good fit or you are not.

In addition to avoiding what you should not do, there are some things you want to be sure to do, too. These include familiarizing yourself with any legal requirements and regulations regarding hiring a nanny in your area, having a written work agreement, and making sure all the pieces of information you gather align so that you can make an educated and informed hiring decision.

By avoiding these shortcuts and investing time and effort into a thorough hiring process, you will likely find a trustworthy and reliable nanny who provides the best possible care for your children.

Morningside Nannies accepts 2-3% of applicants and each applicant represented by our agency must:

  • Have verifiable, professional childcare references.
  • Be able to legally accept employment in the United States.
  • Be able to read, write and speak English fluently.
  • Have a valid U.S. driver’s license with a good driving record and current auto insurance.
  • Have access to a vehicle to be used for the transportation of children.
  • Submit to a background check.
  • Be a non-smoker.
  • Be at least 19 years old.
  • Have a high school diploma, GED or formal education in child related studies.
  • Have current CPR/First Aid certification or be willing to obtain it prior to starting a position (offered to qualified applicants at no cost).
  • Submit to a personality assessment and child development and safety assessment.

Call our team today to learn more about our nanny screening process and how we can help you find the right nanny for your family.

 

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2024 Updates for IRS Mileage and More

The IRS has announced the standard mileage rate for 2024: 67 cents per mile, up 1.5 cents from 65.5 cents in 2023.

The Social Security Administration recently released next year’s Employment Coverage Threshold for household employees. The 2024 nanny tax threshold increases by $100 to $2,700.

Tax Responsibilities for Texas Household Employers

Taxes required to withhold, file, and pay:
• Social Security
• Medicare

Other taxes GTM Payroll Services strongly recommends withholding (but are not
required):

• Federal Income Tax
• State Income Tax
• Local Taxes, if applicable

In Texas, household employers are responsible for the following four taxes, to be
added on top of the employee’s gross wage:

• Social Security Tax Rate of 6.2%
• Medicare Tax Rate of 1.45%
• Federal Unemployment Tax Rate of 0.6%
• State Unemployment Tax Rate of 2.7%

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2023 Nanny Employer Gift and Holiday Bonus Guide

Providing a holiday gift and/or holiday bonus for your nanny is a thoughtful way to show appreciation for her hard work and dedication to your family.

While parents are under no obligation to provide a gift or bonus to their nanny, doing so has become industry standard.

In fact, many nanny employers factor providing a year-end bonus or holiday gift into their childcare budget and even include reference to an annual bonus in their written work agreement with their nanny as a performance incentive.

How Much to Give?

Typically speaking, nannies receive a holiday bonus equivalent to one to two week’s wages.

Things like experience, how long a nanny has been with the family, geographical location, and what a family can truly afford may influence how much a bonus is.

This amount typically increases the longer a nanny has been with a family, with long-term nannies receiving as much as what is equivalent to one month’s of wages.

For nannies who are new to a family, calculating one day’s pay for each month of employment is a standard approach to determining how much to give.

Tax Implications

While parents and nannies may be familiar with the idea of year end bonuses, many are not aware that the annual bonus counts as taxable income, so be sure to consider your tax and payroll responsibilities when providing a bonus.

Alternative Ways to Show Appreciation

For families who are seeking a non-cash way to show appreciation to their nannies or wish to provide a gift in addition to a bonus, here are some nanny centric ideas:

  • Something handmade by the children. A photo frame with a photo of the nanny and children included.
  • A subscription to Nanny Magazine at NannyMag.com.
  • Membership in the International Nanny Association at Nanny.org.
  • Nanny Training at NannyTraining.com.
  • Nanny merch from NannyTees.com.
  • A day at a local spa for self care with a paid day off.
  • A monthly subscription box that suits her interests or a monthly floral delivery.

Looking to start a nanny search for the New Year? Call (713) 526-3989 or email info@MorningsideNannies.com.

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Hire Smart

There are many ways to find a nanny.

Regardless of how you find applicants, it is essential that you hire SMART.

Hire SMART!

  • Screen Candidates  
  • Meet in Person
  • Assess Qualifications
  • Reference and Background Check
  • Trust your gut

You must know who you are hiring and making an informed and educated hiring decision is the first step in doing so.

Screening candidates, conducting in-person interviews, accessing qualifications and the appropriate supporting documentation, conducting reference and background checks, and trusting your gut are some of the best steps you can take to gather the information needed to make an informed and educated hiring decision.

Morningside Nannies only accepts 2-3% of applicants and only presents vetted and screened candidates to parents who are seeking a qualified and experienced nanny, allowing parents to focus on fit.

If you are seeking a Houston-based qualified nanny for your family, call Morningside Nannies for a complimentary consultation at (713) 526-3989.

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Finding Your Fit

For many parents, finding the best nanny is a crucial decision in ensuring the well-being and happiness of their children.

Before you start your search, it’s essential to clearly define your childcare needs and expectations.

Consider factors such as:

Hours and schedule: Will you need a full-time, part-time, or occasional nanny? Consider your typical schedule and be sure to factor in buffer time for work emergencies and commutes.

Specific skills or qualifications: Are there any specific skills, qualifications, or certifications you require from a nanny, such as a background in early childhood education or experience with special needs children?

Household duties: Do you expect your nanny to perform additional household tasks or to have any non-childcare responsibilities, such as family meal preparation or running errands?

Childcare philosophy: Are there specific parenting styles or philosophies you’d like your nanny to align with?

Role in family: Are you seeking to have a formal relationship with your nanny or are you expecting her to become an extended member of your family?

Having a clear understanding of your requirements will help you draft an accurate job description that will focus your search on nannies who truly meet your hiring criteria.

When choosing a nanny, finding someone you trust and feel comfortable with is key. Trust your instincts and consider how well the candidate fits into your family dynamics.  Remember that a strong personal connection and a shared childcare philosophy can be just as important as qualifications and experience.

At Morningside Nannies we conduct objective screening for our families, ensuring that parents are only interviewing candidates who meet their hiring criteria, allowing them to focus on family fit and connection.

To learn more about our candidate screening and family matching process, call us today for a complimentary consultation at (713) 526-3989.

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