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Paczki Day is today, the Tuesday before Lent begins, or “Fat Tuesday”. Celebrate your Polish pride by indulging in deep-fried dough with sweet fillings covered in powdered sugar, similar to an American doughnut or donut.  All those in Manhattan who cannot make it out to Greenpoint, Brooklyn TODAY are advised to hit up Fairway Market on the Upper East Side (East 86th Street) and get their boxes (6 for $10) before they run out!

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Appears on care.com

In my new book Ultimate Nanny:  How to Find, Interview, and Manage the Most Important Person You Will Ever Hire – Your Child’s Nanny which is on Amazon now (by Kristen J. Duca) I help parents and guardians navigate the childcare search in an organized manner.

The key to finding a great childcare provider (whether it be a nanny, sitter, or companion) for your child is to sit down and analyze your family’s foundation. There are many aspects to your family’s day to day life that you will want to consider before starting your childcare search.  Taking the time to examine the composition of your family in the initial stages of your search will pay off in the end.

It is my belief that the groundwork toward building a stable childcare situation depends on the following:

 

  1. Your child/children: Think about their ages and developmental stages. Will there needs change over time? If so, how?
  2. You/your partner: Discuss both your work and social schedules. Figure out what days and hours you actually hiring a childcare provider for right now. Think about if you have flexibility in the hours you need childcare help.
  3. Your family: Analyze your household structure and examine if you are hiring solely for childcare services. Perhaps, you need assistance with housekeeping, cooking, cleaning, pet care, and errands in addition to childcare.
  4. Layers of help: Writing down a list of emergency contacts is essential for all parents. Consider your surroundings and determine if there are capable, motivated family members or friends nearby who can help you out from time to time.

https://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Nanny-Interview-Manage-Important/dp/1530492041/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1487865805&sr=8-1&keywords=ultimate+nanny

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UltimateMama will have a busy day on Valentine’s Day so thanks to Fairway Market in NYC for making her holiday shopping fun, cute, and easy!  Check out this great heart shaped ravioli!  And, who wouldn’t want some yummy dipped strawberries?!

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UltimateMama loves buying her two girls cute Valentine’s Day gifts that are not candy-related.  It is always a nice surprise to have some new Living Royal socks, Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty, and Mia hair ties!

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Childcare bliss – How to select the right caregiver for your family

By Kristen J. Duca

Article appeared on pages 18-19 in the February 2017 issue of Manhattan Family magazine (NY Parenting)

Selecting a caregiver for your child is one of the most important decisions many families will make. Whether you need childcare because you are returning to work, craving some time to yourself, or spending some time with your significant other, you will want to find the ideal caretaker for your child. Below are a few tips to help you navigate the nanny search:

One size does not fit all

A multitude of childcare possibilities exist for you to consider, and of course there are pluses and minuses to each of them. Just remember that you are in the driver’s seat and can choose the path that best fits your family’s needs. Hiring a caregiver to look after your child is a very personal decision. Every family has its own dynamics and unique views on parenting. Feel secure and confident in your child-rearing decisions.

Be patient

Do not rush the childcare search. Finding the ideal person to take care of your little one will take time and patience. It is important to be prepared and detailed in your search. Finding the ideal caretaker for your child requires a lot of time and hard work. However, if you put the effort into the search up front, you will be rewarded with the result.

Lay groundwork

Laying the groundwork toward building the ideal childcare situation is critical.

Formulating a clear description of your childcare needs now will save you loads of future frustration. You can zero in on exactly what type of situation you need to make sure your household runs smoothly and happily.

The ideal or “perfect” childcare situation depends on you and how specific you are in recognizing and expressing your needs, as well as on how your family spends its time. It is important that before you start your childcare search you set aside time to sit down and ponder what it is that you are hiring for and develop interview questions based on your needs.

Interview candidates thoroughly

Always remember to conduct a thorough interview and check references. You will want to conduct interviews (by phone, in person, or via webcam) with potential candidates in order to screen them through a series of questions. You need to ask prospective candidates the right questions in order to narrow down your list and eventually pick a suitable nanny for your family.

If possible, try to interview candidates in person so you can see their immediate reactions, facial expressions, and overall poise. These interviews do not have to be conducted in your home. You can always meet up at a local diner or coffee shop or get together at another mutually convenient location such as a library or bookstore.

Be reasonable

Be aware of what assistance you are asking for, and make sure it is reasonable. To put it bluntly, if you are not willing or able to do it all, then your childcare provider should not be expected to either.

Childcare providers are not superheroes. They are humans who have strengths, weaknesses, and feelings, just like you. As a rule of thumb, it is generally never a good idea to ask your childcare provider to do tasks that you cannot handle yourself.

Understand that your childcare situation will evolve

As your child changes or your family dynamics change, your childcare needs will change. These childcare needs will constantly evolve as your child blossoms through the stages of life. It is important to realize that you are not pigeonholed into the first childcare situation you created at a specific point in time.

A situation that works for your newborn child will likely need to be scrapped, tweaked, or revised as your child starts school. You may have to realize that expecting the unexpected and having the ability to be nimble is crucial to formulating the right childcare situation at any given point in time.

Go with your gut

You may luck out and hire the first nanny you meet, or you might have to interview several candidates. Everyone has a different experience, but if you are dedicated to the childcare search, you will find the best candidate for your family.

Always go with your gut, and trust your instincts.

Trial

Suggest the nanny candidate you are interested in start working with your family on a trial basis so you can ensure you find the right fit for your family.

A trial period of a few days, a few weeks, or even a month is a good way to find out if your nanny’s personality and style fit well with your family’s. Remember that a happy child makes for a happy parent!

BIO: New York-based working mother Kristen Duca and her husband are the parents of two girls. Kristen has worked in the financial services industry for two decades in addition to serving as a contributing writer for New York area publications. She is the author of “Ultimate Nanny: How to Find, Interview, and Manage the Most Important Person You Will Ever Hire – Your Child’s Nanny” available on amazon.com now. Get the inside scoop on how develop the right criteria, identify, and select the ultimate nanny.

02-01-17 Childcare Bliss – Manhattan Family-KJD article

http://www.nyparenting.com/assets/print/manhattan/2017_02_mf.pdf

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