Tricks to help you cope with tantrums

Got a toddler that knows how to throw a mighty tantrum?

It’s embarrassing, it’s worrying and it also upsetting when your toddler throws a paddy in public, you feel like the worst parent in the world and it feels like everyone is staring at you.

Tantrums are normally acts of frustration. They stem from nothing, they catch you unaware and you wonder how you are going to cope with this latest outburst.

Dealing with this irrational behaviour doesn’t have to drag you down though, use our tricks and regain control of your life.

1st suggestion is…

Avoid arguing

Seriously, it simply isn’t worth it. You can’t reason with a two-year old that’s screaming their lungs out and rolling around on the floor.

Know the best thing to do?

Ignore it. Don’t argue back. When your child is in full-on tantrum mode, make sure they’re safe but ignore this behaviour. Once they realise you’re not responding to their bad behaviour there’s a good chance they’ll calm down.

2nd suggestion is…

Don’t snap back

This isn’t easy. Try to remain calm as you slowly see your child erupt.  Yes they might be turning bright purple, and it might feel like your ears are about to melt, but try your best to keep your temper intact.

It doesn’t do any good to shout at your child, this just makes matters worse. Try to remain calm. Your toddler might just follow your example.

3rd suggestion is…

Don’t bribe them

This merely endorses their bad behaviour. Some parents will offer their children little incentives if they stop their errant behaviour but this simply sends out all the wrong messages.

Tantrums are naughty. Make your child aware of this and under no circumstances offer them sweets, trips to the parks or an extra five minutes of television just to prevent them throwing a paddy.

4th suggestion is…

Never back down

Stick to your guns whatever you decide. If you say to your child they can’t go into the back garden during a rain storm in their pyjamas don’t give in at the last minute.

Show any sign of weakness and your child has won. Change your mind as they are mid-tantrum and you have just surrendered, your child’s bad behaviour has won the day!

Whatever caused the tantrum, show your child you’re the boss.

It’ll be hard but remain solid and stick by your convictions.

Learning to ride a bike for the first time

Learning to ride a bike is as easy as err… riding a bike… once you’ve mastered the skill it’s something that comes naturally to you for the rest of your life.

Can you remember those tentative first steps though, learning to ride as a small child, and do you recall the exact moment when the stabilisers came off and you could ride solo on your own?

As grown-ups, it’s easy to forget how hard it is to ride a ‘big’ bike when you are little. Learning to ride a bicycle is an important skill and we’ve got the basics covered in this latest blog.

Find a safe, secure area

Without doubt, this goes without question. Try a find a safe area away from traffic (motorised and foot) to practice cycling, a flat section of grass is a good option as long as the turf isn’t too long.

Check the bicycle and get the saddle right

Are the brakes working okay on the bike? Is the chain secure, are the handlebars tight, is the bike ready to ride?

Adjust the saddle so your child can reach the floor. Make sure both feet can touch the ground comfortably. This should give a young rider extra confidence.

Move the pedals into the proper position

Spin the pedals on the bike around so the lead leg is ready to push down, in most cases this is normally the right leg.

Ask your child to push down with their lead leg as you support them at the back. Once the bike moves tell them to hold the handlebars tightly and start peddling. Keep supporting them as they try to find their balance.

Practice stopping

Tell your child to pull the brakes on gently. Get them used to stopping the bike and build up their confidence in bike control.

Keeping practicing starts

If you are happy your child is capable of stopping the bike, keep practicing the stop-start routine. Once they have done this a few times increase the distance they cover as you support them at the back, their balance should start to improve.

Take your hand away

When the confidence builds try taking your hand away and let them ride for brief moments on their own. They’ll be a bit wobbly to begin, you might have to step in to support them, but gradually and with patience, they’ll soon start to take off on their own.

Leave them to it

After a few scary moments and with a bit of determination your child will suddenly blossom, you’ll witness a ‘Eureka’ moment, they’ll take off and they’ll be riding on their own.

This is a proud time to be a parent.

They’re riding!

Job done…

Toddler parties and how to survive

Okay, so your child is growing fast, they’re just about to celebrate their 2nd birthday and you think it’ll be nice to host a toddler party.

The first thought might be to reach for the valium, how on earth do you arrange a toddler party and get through it with your sanity intact?

Fear not, we’ve handled quite a few toddler parties over the years at Taxing Nannies, we don’t just carry out payroll services for various clients, we’re also parents, and we have organised countless parties in the past.

That being the case here’s our simple but structured advice for any parent planning a toddler party, do this and keep those tantrums in check.

1. Have a select guest list

At two your child is just about old enough for a party. They might be a little clingy at first but once they get into the spirit of things there shouldn’t be anything holding them back.

A good tip is to keep the party number down to a minimum, invite too many toddlers and this can be a little overwhelming for them and a little overwhelming for you too!

Carefully select a handful of children to attend the party and have plenty of supervision, the more adults you have around the easier it will be.

2. Pick the right time of the day

Toddlers get tired quickly. When toddlers are tired they get cranky and trust us, you don’t want a room full of screaming children; this is the ultimate party killer.

Pick a good time to have the party. If your little one takes a nap mid-afternoon the chances are their friends will too, host the party at lunchtime and guests should be less irritable.

3. Don’t make the party too long

This is a classic mistake that parents of small children make. They plan a party for a couple of hours little realising most toddlers will be ready for home after an hour at the most.

Keep birthday parties short but fun-filled at such an early age.  It’s better to leave guests wanting more than sending parents home with over-tired kids, they won’t appreciate it if their little ones are ‘kicking up a storm’ simply because they are shattered.

Still planning a toddler party?

Good luck!

The perfect picnic for teddy bears

The weather is warm, the sun is shining and you’re wondering how to amuse the infants in your care, have you thought about a teddy bear picnic?

Pack a picnic, grab a rug and ask your kids to take their favourite teddies along, pack these essentials and have a little fun in the sun.

We suggest these items to keep those teddies happy.

Picnic food

Take a little troop of toddlers down to the park for a picnic and you’ll want to provide an army of food.

Little tikes get hungry, so a stash of sandwiches, biscuits, cakes and crisps are a must if you want to prevent tiny tums from rumbling.

Pop a supply of drinks cartons into your picnic hamper too. It’s thirsty work keeping teddies entertained, especially if you are running around or having a sing-a-long.

Picnic fun and games

Part of the fun of a teddy bear’s picnic is organising fun games to play in the park. This could include hide and seek, pass the parcel, an impromptu sports day or simply take the children to the play area and let them take turn on the swings.

Plan what you are going to do once you arrive at the park, think of fun games that will add to the occasion.

One thing you should do is have a little sing-a-long, fill a music player with nursery rhymes and enjoy your ‘impromptu’ outdoor concert.

Picnic decorations

A great way to make your teddy bear’s picnic extra special is to decorate the site and create a unique theme. Place rugs on the floor, use tablecloths with matching cups and paper plates, hang bunting from bushes and create your own teddy bear corner.

Try to dress the picnic area before the children arrive for maximum effect, send somebody ahead to do this to and it makes a nice surprise.

Children love picnics, especially when teddy bears are invited, get creative and have a little fun!

Getting the best out of bedtime routines

Bedtime is a battle in some households.  Try getting those tots off to sleep and it seems like mission impossible on some nights.

We hear you at Taxing Nannies, as parents, we fully understand your plight.

Bedtime isn’t the best time if you are having problems getting your children off to sleep so why not try some of these ideas?

Set a time and stick with it

Establish a routine with bedtime, pick a time and stand by your guns. If you set a 7 o’clock curfew for example, start preparing for this time half an hour before. Make this milk time, bath time and brush your teeth time, just make sure your little one is in bed at 7pm on the dot.

Avoid exciting activities

You can hardly expect your child to sleep if you are chasing them around the house whooping and laughing five minutes before bedtime.

Over excite your child just before they snuggle down for the night and it’s no wonder they won’t feel like sleeping.

Keep things cool, calm and collected. Turn the half hour before bedtime into a wind-down moment.

Read a short story

Agree to read a short story with your child just before they go to sleep. Give them the choice, let them pick the story and tell them it’s ‘snuggle down time’ once you have finished reading.

Ignore cries for an ‘encore’ otherwise you’ll end up reading extra stories and bedtime will be set back for half an hour at least.

Choose a stuffed ‘substitute’

Ask your child which teddy they want to sleep with tonight. Some children have favourite stuffed toys they like to sleep with. Others pick and choose a different teddy every night depending on the mood they are in.

Let your child pick the teddy of the night and make this part of their bedtime routine, they’ll soon settle with a stuffed ‘mummy’ or ‘daddy’ substitute tucked under their arm.

Fun beach games for small children

Whether you’re a nanny or parents of little children, a day at the beach is a great way to enjoy the best of the sunny weather and burn off a little energy at the same time.

Take those tikes to the beach and there’s so many things to do you’ll be spoilt for choice, we suggest these ideas at Taxing Nannies though, if you really want to make the best of the day.

Game 1

#Build a sandcastle

Arm a child with a bucket and spade and they’ll spend hours digging and playing in the sand.

Build a castle. Dig a moat around the outside and stick a flag in the top. You can decorate the outside of the castle with shells you find lying around the beach and make a makeshift drawbridge out of a piece of driftwood.

Game 2

#Fly a kite

Take a kite to the beach with you. Run like crazy down the sand and watch as the kite gently lifts into the air, see it flutter in the sky and look at the excitement on your child’s face.

Keep a tight grip on the string though. You don’t want to see tears because the kite flies away!

Game 3

#Go hunting in rock pools

Buy a cheap fishing net then visit the rock pools that are littered around the edges of the beach. Hand a bucket to your children and get them to ‘explore’ the pools looking for a variety of oceanic species.

Hunting in rock pools is fun and it’s educational as well, your kids will love this temporary aquarium and they’re sure to discover a wealth of marine life.

Game 4

#Play a ball game

Take a cricket set to the beach with you, have a game of rounders or play beach volleyball instead. Boules is a good beach game, you could simply have a kickabout with a football, take the Brazilian approach and enjoy ‘footie’ on the sand.

Game 5

#Throw a frisbie

Toss a frisbie backwards and forwards, see how many times your children can catch it without dropping it on the sand.

Host a competition. Find out who can toss the frisbie the furthest, the winner gets to choose their favourite ice cream.

Game 6

#Bury dad in the sand

This is something that you simply have to do. Dig a big hole, bury dad up to his toes and leave him submerged in the sand.

It’ll take a while but it’ll keep the kids amused, just don’t forget to dig dad back up again afterwards.

Ways to welcome a new nanny into your home

You have to feel for a nanny on her first day at a new home. She had no idea how the children are going to take to her, everything will feel strange and unfamiliar and she’ll want to settle in the position as soon as possible.

Make the first day as easy as you can for your new nanny, break her in gently and use these suggestions with our pleasure at Taxing Nannies.

Make a welcome card

Sit down with the children, grab a blank piece of card and have fun making a welcome gift for the new nanny. Tell your child they can be as creative as they like with the card, use glitter, glue and tissue paper if you like and turn this craft project into a work of ‘welcoming’ art. Your new nanny will love it!

Bake a welcome cake

Okay you made the card so why not bake a cake as well. Keep the ideas coming, find a cake recipe, let the children have a hands-on role mixing and stirring the ingredients. Make this an enjoyable project. It’s a great way to alleviate any fears they might have about meeting their new nanny.

Talk about the nanny with your children

Start to chat about the nanny a week or so before they arrive, include them in conversations you have with your kids. The more you talk about the nanny the more your children will become curious and hopefully they’ll be excited to meet her.

Ask your children for help

Give your little ones special tasks to make it easier to welcome the nanny into your home. They could be tour guides for the house for example and be given the honour of showing the nanny where everything is, see them grow in the role and watch them enjoy the extra responsibility.

Thoughtful ideas make it easier for your nanny to settle into her new role, use your imagination and she’ll soon bond with your children.

Reasons why you wouldn’t want Mary Poppins as your child’s nanny

Watch the classic Disney film Mary Poppins and it’s easy to get a little misted-eyed. Julie Andrews seems like the perfect nanny in the film, however would you really want her to look after your children when she’s guilty of these terrible crimes?

Teaching children gobbledygook

Hire a nanny and you expect her to assist with your children’s speech, you want her to nurture their vocabulary and improve it if possible, you don’t want her to teach your child strange and weird words.

Mary Poppins thinks words like ‘supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ are okay, would you really want her anywhere near your child?

Taking unarranged holidays

Again, Mary Poppins takes the biscuit here, she whisks the children away for a ‘Jolly holiday’ with Bert the chimney sweep/pavement artist/master of all trades and she doesn’t even ask their parents.

Can you imagine what they would have said?

Using questionable tidying skills

I’m sure we’d all like the ability to use magic to tidy clothes away but this is the real world, you have to roll your sleeves up and get stuck in.

Mary Poppins thinks it’s perfectly fine to use her ‘special powers’ to pack away clothes, worst still, she enlists the children in her magical actions and makes them her partners in crime.

Blowing her own trumpet

In Mary Poppins’ own words she is practically perfect in every way.

What a show off!

Okay she might be good but does she really have to ram it down your throat, isn’t there a more subtle way of expressing your capabilities as a nanny?

Disappearing when the wind changes

It sounds preposterous but Mary Poppins leaves you in the lurch once the wind changes direction.

That’s not very professional.

Imagine if every nanny took this approach.

You wouldn’t know where you were up to from one day to the next!

Mary Poppins had her good points but we’ve come to a conclusion at Taxing Nannies..

‘You wouldn’t want her looking after your kids’ 

Sensible sun care tips for children

Want to stop your kids frying this summer?

Read our red hot sun care tips. Keep little ones protected at all times.

Sensible precautions to take this summer…

  • Wear sun hats – When you take children outdoors during sunny weather make sure they are wearing sun hats. Too much exposure to the sun causes heat stroke and it can burn the top of the head.  Keep heads covered, especially if your children have fine hair.
  • Slap on sun lotion – Buy a high factor sun cream for your brood and keep applying it throughout the day. There’s no such thing as too much sun screen, cover the face, arms and legs and any area of flesh that is going to be exposed to the sun.
  • Stay hydrated – Give your children plenty to drink during hot weather, they could start to feel ill if they become dehydrated. Pack bottles of water, cups of juice or cartons of drink if you are going out for the day during hot weather, give your kids plenty of opportunity to drink and monitor the amount of fluids that go into their body.
  • Take shade where possible – During the hottest parts of the day, between 11am and 3pm, try to stick to the shade if you can. Take a trip to the beach for example and you could hit the sand early morning or mid-afternoon then visit other indoor attractions during the peak sun times.     
  • Cover up if necessary If you are really worried about your children burning in the sun, dress them in loose clothing that covers the arms and the legs. Long sleeved t-shirts and hats with cotton neck protectors built in to the back are good for covering vulnerable areas of skin.
  • Wear sunglasses – Eye protection is important during sunny conditions too. Get your kids to wear sunglasses that conform to industry standards, they’ll love ‘looking cool’ and you’ll love the fact that their eyes are being protected from the sun. 

There you go, sun care tips to protect children this summer.

Stay safe in the sun, whatever you get up to!

Summer fun you might want to try this year

As we draw nearer the summer holidays it’s a good time to consider what you are going to do with the children in your care to fill those long weekdays and weekends.

Whether you are a nanny or a parent that’s clutching at straws at the moment, try our suggestions at Taxing Nannies and keep those kids entertained over the summer, it’ll be here before you know it!

1st suggestion

Have a bake day

Kids love getting messy. Dress them up in aprons and let them be your kitchen helpers, get them mixing the base ingredients (with help) for biscuits, cookies or cupcakes. Once you bake something tasty in the oven have fun decorating it afterwards, the best bit is you can eat the fruits of your labour once the icing sets.

2nd suggestion

Pack a picnic

Make a selection of sandwiches. Pack them in a hamper with cakes, juice and a picnic rug. Head to the local park, the children can take their teddy bears along with them if they like, a picnic in the park is perfect for teddies, toddlers and nannies too!

3rd suggestion

Beach day

Okay, it’s a gorgeous day, you have a free day with the kids so what are you going to do? How about a beach day? Pack the car with buckets and spades, head to the coast and have fun playing in the sand. Don’t forget the obligatory ice cream, fish and chips and sticks of rock. A ride on a donkey is a must as well.

4th suggestion

Trip to the zoo

Pay an educational visit to the zoo, it’s good for children to learn about natural wildlife and where better to see real life living animals than the zoo? See little faces full of awe as they peer at elephants, giraffes, tigers and monkeys, make a day of it and pick up a few souvenirs from the gift shop before you leave.

You can do all of these activities as a family and they’re good suggestions for nannies too.