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Katie – West Vancouver,BC

I am very fortunate to have found Janet and Optimum Nannies and Homecare. Janet found us our current nanny who has been with us since 2007.  I was 8 months pregnant with a 3 year old running around when we decided it was time to get some help. By hiring Janet’s agency, it took the stress off sifting through resumes, and endless interviewing.  She met with us, found out exactly what our needs and then began searching for the perfect candidate. After  her extensive search, Janet narrowed things down and sent us 3 ideal nannies to interview.  From there, we found the perfect fit for our family.  Janet also took care of all the reference and criminal checks, and helped us register/prepare the government paperwork necessary when you employ someone. If you’re looking for a nanny placement agency with someone who goes the extra mile, I highly recommend Janet as a great resource !

Katie , West Vancouver,BC

Are Nanny Services Right for You?

Vancouver Nanny Services Available Full-time or Part-time
Children are little bundles of joy that we love to death and for whom we would do anything, yet whenever they start a temper tantrum or open their mouths to cry, we parents run for cover and wish for Mary Poppins to fly in and take over. Our children are our most invaluable assets, and many mothers and fathers would not hesitate to stay at home to raise them; however, in many cases, it is not only impossible, but also impractical. We commend those who choose to become stay-at-home parents, but if you are expecting and are unsure of whether to take care of your own child or to hire help, we recommend asking the following five questions to help determine your answer.

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Nikki – Vancouver

I have known Janet for years and she has always helped me find work. She is resourceful, helpful and very professional. She doesn’t just place her nannies in positions, she cares about them and stays in touch to make sure things are going well. I think of Janet as a friend 🙂 Optimum is the agency I choose when I’m looking for work. I highly recommend Janet and her agency!

Nikki, Vancouver

When Your Nanny Becomes Your Friend

nanny and employer

As a mother and business owner I have employed many nannies. My children are now young adults but they still recall these caregivers with fondness. As an agency owner and employer I know there can be many advantages to developing a close relationship with your nanny. But how close is too close? When does the boundary between employer and employee become so blurred that one or both parties start to feel uncomfortable

When I hired a nanny for my 3 year old daughter I felt very comfortable about my relationship with her. One day I came home from an appointment and noticed she was wearing a sweater that was identical to mine. I asked her where she bought the sweater and she said it wasn’t hers. She was cold and went into my dresser and borrowed my sweater. Of course this was not a big issue but I did feel uncomfortable about the fact she felt we had a relationship where she could go into my room and borrow my clothing. I didn’t say anything about this but promised myself I would if something similar happened again. Luckily it didn’t

Employers may be asked by their nanny to borrow money and the employer may feel they are uncomfortable refusing especially if the favour is related to the health and well being of their nanny. Nannies may feel uncomfortable if an employer discusses personal information about the family that is not related to their job.

A nanny job is very different than a traditional office or retail type job and often the employer wants to make the nanny feel like part of the family especially if they are live-in nannies. It is important to offer support to your employee –within reason. It is not a good idea to assist her with marital advice or lend her money. This doesn’t mean that, as an employer, you should be in the dark regarding marital problems or financial difficulties but referring her to another resource to assist her is more appropriate then becoming personally involved.

A respectful drama free relationship will benefit every one involved especially the children. We recommend that a detailed contract be drawn up. This contract should clearly outline the salary, compensation for use of your employee’s car, over time compensation and any additional issues that may become grey areas.

Over time you may become close to your nanny –after all she is taking care of your children. The problem occurs when the line between employer and employee becomes blurred. I have heard many employers and nannies describe the close friendship they have after the employment relationship is over. This is beneficial to the children as well as the adults involved. But during the employment relationship it’s important to maintain clear employer-employee boundaries to avoid uncomfortable situations that could be potentially damaging.

Corinne – Vancouver

Janet has been most wonderful at connecting me with an employer who just seemed to be a great match! I was employed with a terrific family for five years and am confident that there will be another family that I can provide the best care for. Optimum has been very helpful and professional in helping me find employment that is more than satisfactory for everyone involved.

Corinne, Vancouver

The Nanny and Your Parenting Team

parenting

When you look for nanny services, it is much different from having a babysitter. You have a professional childcare provider who is a valuable asset to your parenting team. It is to your benefit to take advantage of the knowledge of your nanny, without taking advantage of him or her. For families looking to hire their first nanny, there are ways to help make the transition a successful one.

It is very important that you treat your nanny with respect, and make sure that your children understand the relationship too. The goal of your parenting team is to keep your children safe and to help them grow into responsible adults. That is a pretty big order, but can be done when everyone is on the same page.

No Over-riding Each Other on Discipline Issues
When your children spend a good portion of their time awake with their nanny, there are going to be times when discipline becomes an issue. It doesn’t matter if you were the one handing out the punishment, or it was the nanny; make sure the punishment stands and is respected by all. It is very hard to help raise children when every time you punish them someone else comes in and undoes it. Your children will learn to play you against each other when this happens.

It is the same thing that happens when you tell your child “No” to something and then the other parent allows it. Make sure that everyone on your parenting team has the same basic disciplinary tactics, and follows through with any punishments. It is also crucial that any reward systems are a team effort, too.

Respect Each Other’s Time
Your nanny has a life of his or her own. Be respectful of the agreed upon working hours. While your nanny will likely be willing help in an emergency, don’t make a habit of being late. Any changes to any schedule needs to be discussed as soon as possible. This includes changes to plans for the children, as well. Any time a friend will be spending the night or going with your children when the nanny is in charge, be sure to communicate.

If you pay your nanny a salary, and need extra hours for special events or weekends away, consider a bonus. It will go a long way in terms of keeping a happy employee.

Share Information
If a child did not sleep well the night before, or is nervous or concerned about something going on in school, tell the nanny when he or she first arrives for the day. Think of it as passing on vital information before going off shift for the day. If you don’t have time to stop and chat, keep a log or memo board for sharing important information.

Having nanny services can be a wonderful and enriching experience for your family. With patience, respect and understanding, your new nanny will fit right into the family, and become a valuable asset in your children’s lives. If you are interested in our services, please feel free to contact us today.

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Hiring a Nanny Who Wants to Bring her Child

nanny with a child

When you begin your search for a nanny you have to consider many options. Do you want a live in or live out nanny? Would nanny sharing with another family work for you? As an agent I rarely receive a request from a parent for a nanny who will bring their own child to the job. However I frequently receive emails from nannies who want to bring their child to work with them.
On the surface this ideas seems wrought with problems. Most parents will not even entertain the idea as they feel there are far too many disadvantages. Sometimes, however, a nanny will become pregnant while working with a family and as the family does not want to loose their much loved employee they compromise to allow their nanny to bring their child full time or part time to work. In this case, of course, the family has a comfort level and trust of their nanny so the decision, although somewhat difficult, is not as uniformed as hiring a new nanny who wants to bring their child. I have placed 12 nannies in the last 24 years who brought their child with them to work. In each case the situation worked out extremely well.
There are many pros and cons to this type of working arrangement.

The Advantages are:

• The nanny will have first hand knowledge and experience as a parent which may provide them with more knowledge and experience regarding a child’s needs
• If you have one child who is similar in age to your nanny’s child this can be an excellent opportunity for socialization and companionship for both children
• Generally when a nanny brings her child to work her salary is negotiated to reflect this. In most cases her salary is lowered by 15 to 20 %.

The Disadvantages are:

• If your nanny’s child is sick she may not have back up care. This is also a problem for nannies who have children and use a daycare but often their resources and options are more reliable
• When I discuss this option with parents the most common concern is the possibility of the nanny favouring their own child over the employer’s child. Interestingly enough, according to the nannies and employers I speak to in follow-up this is usually not the case.
• Obviously if you have a busy household with more than one child this situation may not be desirable. In this case your nanny may need to drive children to activities and appointments and taking their child in tow could be very inconvenient

If you are considering hiring a nanny with a child it is a good idea to have some test days to make sure the children get along. Some children are more aggressive than others and may have entirely different interests. It’s also a good idea to consider the ages of the children involved. A toddler and a young baby would not be a great match and this arrangement would probably not benefit either child.

5 Tips for Spring Cleaning in Vancouver

Spring Cleaning with our Nanny Services in VancouverSpring has finally arrived in Vancouver and beautiful, sunny days are gracing us more frequently with their presence. As we behold our homes under the revealing rays of the sun, many of us should come to a startling realization: Our little nests have become disgusting pigsties! Spring is known as the season of renewal and birth, so why not let your homes also embrace a new beginning by following these five time-saving tips we have compiled for you – after all, the less time you spend on work, the more time you will have to enjoy the warm weather and to frolic in the pretty meadows.

Tip 1: Make a battle plan

Before you tackle the grand mission of cleaning your entire home, consider making a plan. Having a plan will help you strategize how to best undertake the challenge of cleaning your home from top to bottom. Start by listing out all the rooms and thinking about the different tasks you have to do for each one. Once you have a list of the duties, you can divide them up and group them together to save time in changing equipment/routines. For example, once you finish scrubbing down the kitchen sink, do the bathroom sinks next as you are already in ‘scrub’ mode and have all the equipment ready.

Tip 2: De-clutter and throw away

We understand that things accumulate, especially after winter when holiday festivities can quickly add items that take up space in your house. Consider going a quick run-through of your house and getting rid of all unwanted items you have collected over the years/holidays. Spring cleaning provides you with the perfect opportunity to force yourself to see past the sentimental values of your old clothes that you saved in the hope that you will be able wear again after re-gaining your youthful figures as well as never-used appliances that you bought after being brainwashed by oh-so-powerful infomercials. Clearing up spaces in your home will ultimately mean that you will have less items/areas to clean, thereby speeding up the process.

Tip 3: Prepare the equipment ahead of time

For most homes, it is unnecessary to have different cleaners for each individual task. Consider investing in a good, biodegradable all-purpose cleaner for everything from walls to floors and only separate cleaning solutions for things that need specialized cleaners. Also, make sure that your tools are in useable conditions before you use them. It is neither fun nor time-efficient to have to stop in the middle of your cleaning streak to run out to buy replacements. Also, damaged tools can make your chores last twice as long or even damage your furniture, so, to save time and heartaches, best to make sure your tools are in good shape before using them.

Tip 4: Work your way up the ‘yucky’ scale

Whether it’s dusting off your furniture or wiping your floors, always start from the cleanest spots around the house and gradually work your way to the dirtiest places. By starting with the cleaner areas, your equipment will become dirty slower, thereby saving you big on trips to the sink or to the bucket to refresh your feather duster or wiping cloths.

Tip 5: Save the heavy duties for last

Unlike in real life where we save the best for last, best to treat cleaning like a videogame. Like in videogames where newbies should start with the easiest pests (e.g. minions) and work their way up to the most challenging enemies (e.g. bosses) so as to conserve their strength, you, too, should adopt this strategy to maximize how you spend your energy. Tackling the heavy duties early on will tire you out faster, leaving you less efficient to perform the subsequent chores. Therefore, save the most laborious tasks for later and push yourself faster to the finish line.

We hope that these cleaning tips help you make your home brighter this spring. If you are interested in Nanny services please feel free to contact us with your questions.

Kid Friendly recipe for Spring

Sugar Free Mango Popsicle Recipe

mango-creamsicles-4

Several months ago I stumbled upon this amazing website that has a multitude of incredible gluten free and sugar free recipes. I have tried many of these recipes and I have to say I am a very impressed. Many children have allergies to gluten so I thought it would be fun to showcase a kid friendly recipe appropriate for our changing weather condition.

For the recipe go to All Day I Dream About Food