Babysitters In a Pinch

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Inexpensive Child Proofing in 7 thorough steps

Posted by Erin Raub on Jan 17, 2020 5:28:56 AM

Poke into any parenting group, and you quickly learn that there are two main approaches to babyproofing your house: You can make yourself a little crazy (and go broke; did you know baby-proofing can cost $2400?!) by considering every eventuality, and then purchasing a product to prevent against it; or, you can take a more relaxed tactic, outfit your home with basic baby-proofing supplies, and then let your child’s behavior dictate what else you’ll need.

I (and my wallet) am in the second camp. There are so many baby proofing products on the market but, now that I’ve done this dance for a while, I know – baby proofing is all about your specific kid: What do they get into? What rooms do they frequent? What dangers exist in your home?

Here’s my low-stress approach (wine optional) to baby-proofing the house:

  1. Consider the Big Picture: Your Child + Your House
  2. Install Outlet Covers
  3. Breathe
  4. Start in the Kitchen
  5. Move on to the Living Room
  6. Baby-Proof the Bathroom
  7. Finish Up in Baby’s Room
  1. Consider the Big Picture: Your Child + Your House

Get down on the floor, and take a look at your home from a child’s eyes: What serious dangers are within easy reach? What hazards and challenges does your home present?

Relocate valuables and sand down sharp edges (or add corner guards). Store cleaning products, paint, hazardous substances, and other dangers out of the way, behind lock and key. Install high door locks. Place walk-through baby gates at the top and bottom of the stairs. For general safety, set your hot water heater below 120ºF.  Make sure you have fire extinguishers on each floor, and sufficient smoke and carbon monoxide detectors placed throughout your home. Secure heavy, climbable furniture (e.g. clothes dressers, entertainment centers) to the walls with furniture straps.

  1. Install Outlet Covers

Not going to lie: As soon as my kiddo could scoot, I went a little overboard with the plug covers. The good news is, outlet protectors are one of the cheapest and most useful baby proofing supplies you’ll buy, hands down. Babies are curious and they investigate everything, so think of outlet covers as inexpensive peace of mind. You can pick up a 36-pack of outlet plugs for just a few dollars, or get fancy with self-closing outlet covers.

  1. Breathe

The fun (not) starts here. Baby-proofing your house can be a stressful process: your mind is running through all the potential what-ifs and your parent-bear instinct is kicking in, all while your credit card is getting dinged. And dinged, and dinged.

Do yourself a favor, and take a deep breath. A little deeper. There, that’s it. Baby Proofing can be simple. You can take the relaxed approach. Your little one is going to be just fine. Now, let’s go.

  1. Start in the Kitchen

Confession: My oldest is 5, and the kitchen still gives me anxiety. Knives, and ovens, and open flames – yikes! The dangers are there, you’re usually distracted, and an accident can happen in an instant. So, let’s start with baby proofing the kitchen.

There are few oft-recommended gadgets I won’t recommend, at least not to start. Let’s take safety latches, for example: They can be a pain to open, they don’t always work, and they’re not really necessary, if you rearrange your bottom cabinets to hold baby-safe pots and pans. Lock up vitamins and meds, and place choking hazards, magnets, and cleaning products far out of reach.

So, what do you want? Some way to close your kid out of the kitchen, that’s what! A wide, extra-wide, or even super crazy-wide baby gate should do the trick. Then, grab a good cabinet lock (for your cleaning products, even if they’re up high). Leave the rest – the knob covers, the appliance locks, the burner guards – until your baby is walking and reaching. (I never needed them.)

  1. Move on to the Living Room

Your kiddo is going to spend a lot of time in the living room/family room/den, so this is one place you want to make very safe for baby.

Wobbly toddlers and new runners trip, slip and fall often, so start by slapping on a bunch of those corner guards we talked about earlier. Store knickknacks out of reach. Secure your fireplace with a hearth guard. Tape back any hanging blind pulls (they’re a strangulation hazard), or install cord winders, or indulge in that much-desired upgrade to cordless blinds. Baby-proof the TV, and don’t forget those with anti-tip straps. Make sure your outlet covers are in place, and tape extension cords down with electrical tape.

  1. Baby-Proof the Bathroom

Surprisingly, the bathroom requires just a bit of baby-proofing. Place medicines, soaps, electrical gadgets, and other potential dangers (e.g. your razor) out of reach. If you’ve set your hot water heater to under 120ºF, you won’t need any of those fancy water thermometers or other doodads.

What I do recommend is an easy-open cabinet lock (like strap locks or sliding D-locks), so you can keep at least one cabinet completely off-limits to baby. If your baby is fascinated by water, you might want to consider a toilet lock. Finally, a no-slip bath mat is a lifesaver (literally), when your kiddo is old enough to sit up (or – shudder – stand) by himself at bath time.

  1. Finish Up in Baby’s Room

Your little one will spend a lot of time in their room, so make sure their nursery is safe: Be sure your crib meets current safety standards. Throw away crib bumpers, and take blankets, stuffed animals, and other suffocation hazards out of the crib. Add outlet covers EVERYWHERE. Secure heavy furniture to the walls with straps.

A few other considerations: Our most-loved bedroom baby-proofing supplies boiled down to a single item that we purchased over, and over, and over again: finger pinch guards for the door. They are incredible, especially if you have breezes blowing through your home. (Hinge guards are also available.) In that same vein, you may also want to swap out your toy chest’s standard hinge for a soft-close safety hinge.

That’s it – the extent of my first-round baby-proofing for any house. Remember, as your kiddo grows and explores, you’ll learn more about what he does (and doesn’t) need, as far as additional child safety and proofing goes. (Great ideas here. Also here.) In the meantime, enjoy the milestones!

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Topics: parenting, success, family, education, organizing kids, safety, Awareness, independent children, independent play, Fathers, Dads, technology for parents, new parents, Child proofing, babysitters in a pinch

10 Undeniable Reasons People Hate Babysitters

Posted by Jaidene Anderlini on Sep 13, 2019 6:12:00 AM

Hate is a very strong word but there is definitely a strong dislike parents have about babysitters' behaviors. It is hard enough to leave your children with a babysitter especially one you don't know but, unfortunately, leaving your kids with a babysitter is a necessary "evil" from time to time. 

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Topics: babysitting, childcare, Babysitting agencies, Babysitters in my area, chores, parenting, success, family, education, organizing kids, discipline, teenagers, safety, Community, Teaching, responsibilities, babysitters In Denver CO

Do your children think money grows on trees?

Posted by Jaidene Anderlini on Jul 12, 2019 5:33:00 AM

We live in an age where parents want to give more to their children than their parents did. This phenomenon has been going on for generations, and now we have children that simply have to ask for something and they get it. We are teaching our children that all they need to do to get what they want is just ask. I want a new nerf gun, I want a new iPad, I want a new Lego set, I want a new doll, I want a car, I want..... Is your response to this; "of course, here you go." OR do you talk to them about the cost of things, teach them to save for things, be patient in order to get some of the things they want especially the more expensive items? Do your children have an allowance? If they do, do they spend it all at once? Do they want to go to the Dollar Store, and spend it even though they want something that is more expensive? Do you give them guidance on their spending, and let them know that they can have the small items from Dollar Store OR they can save their allowance and get the latest Star Wars Lego set?

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Topics: Money, budget, Expenses, parenting, raising successful adults, adulthood, family, education, organizing kids, discipline, thoughtful, Awareness, Teaching, appreciation, responsibilities, Children and money, Savings

10 steps to sharing memories

Posted by Jaidene Anderlini on Jun 28, 2019 5:27:00 AM

I'm sure this isn't original but now that I'm a grown adult, and looking back on some of the things my mom kept from my younger years I wish I had more. This got me thinking about time capsules, and creating family time capsules that families can do together.  

Time capsules have been made fun of but we are always keeping family memories so why not streamline our memories, and get the whole family involved? I know if my sister and I had made time capsules we would have saved Christmas cassette tapes we made every year with us singing Christmas Carols, and recording our yearly changes in our lives. We did this tradition from when I was in 6th grade until a freshman in college. My sister was 11 years older then I and she had children in those years. It is such a sad thing to report we no longer have those tapes. Tapes with laughter, creativity, swearing due to mess ups, and sheer honesty and love shared between sisters gone. I remember and cherish those times with my sister, and it is sad we no longer have access to those recordings.

Family traditions are important to build bonds between siblings and parents, and it doesn't need to be time consuming. A time capsule is simply a way to keep memories that are important to you. Once a year you can simply take all of the photos, and refrigerator crafts, write the wonderful things your family did the past year and put it in a time capsule. Of course edit some what you put in it, and put in the pictures, crafts and memories that are important. This should be a family decision not just a one parent or both parents; the children should be involved once they are old enough to participate. 

Easy Time Capsule Creations: 

  1. Decide how often you want to create a time capsule i.e. yearly, every two years, every 5 years
  2. When will you open the time capsules?
  3. Choose containers that will hold the belongings easily, and that are airtight
  4. Choose a storage spot; will you bury them, will you store them in the attic, backyard, safe, any place that an be secured from prying eyes
  5. Make simple guidelines of what should be kept and what notes and letters will be included in the capsule
  6. If you start with your first child begin your time capsule with their birth, and include your feelings about the birth. Once your first born is old enough around age 3-5 years old you can begin asking them what should be included in the time capsule. 
  7. I suggest you don't establish this tradition around the holidays. Holidays are already crazy busy. Maybe on one of those delightful family holidays like Mother's Day or Father's Day to spend time either opening or creating the new capsule as a family.
  8. My ideal would be every 5 years, start one, open it after 5 years, and create a new one the same time.
  9. Decide what you would like to keep in the next time capsule, and if there are any carry overs from the previous capsule.
  10. Don't make this a trudge. This activity should be a delightful full of love, and not really super organized. Make it time for sharing memories together. Eat some snacks, laugh, love,  and know you are a family that is creating beautiful memories that are sacred and precious.
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Topics: childcare, Babysitting agencies, parenting, success, raising successful adults, family, crafts, fun, education, organizing kids, creating, Hobbies, Awareness, appreciation, family time capsules, memories, time capsules

Discussing 'Free Play' with your Babysitter

Posted by Neve Spicer (We The Parents) on Jun 21, 2019 5:48:00 AM
Photo by  Shuto Araki  on  Unsplash

Excellent babysitters are rare, hard to find and harder still to keep. Whether you hire a sitter for a night out or to provide permanent daycare, letting them know what you expect is essential. It is confusing for children to have one set of rules for dad, another for mom, and ‘who is this stranger ordering me around?’ Whether your sitter is the kid next door or a fully vetted pro from an agency, everyone needs to be on the same page.

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Topics: Insider, babysitting, childcare, Babysitting service for visiting families, Hotel babysitters, Babysitting agencies, Babysitters in my area, parenting, success, family, fun, education, summer, creating, safety, Teaching, babysitters In Denver CO, independent children, independent play

Oh Bother!

Posted by Jaidene Anderlini on Jun 7, 2019 5:29:00 AM

To quote Winnie the Pooh, "Oh bother" a gentle way of saying I'm frustrated, angered, disappointed, etc. Simply put babysitting is a challenge and much different then parenting and teaching. Babysitters need to make a connection with a child immediately while adhering to family rules, keeping children safe, making snap judgements as to safety and what is really allowed by parents and what is not. There are always details missing, and kids will inevitably tell a babysitter that they can do something when they probably can't.

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Topics: babysitting, childcare, Babysitting service for visiting families, Hotel babysitters, Babysitting agencies, Babysitters in my area, parenting, raising successful adults, family, education, fun facts, summer, organizing kids, creating, discipline, no, safety, thoughtful, Awareness, Community, gratefulness, Teaching, community service, appreciation, recruiting babysitters, When you are sick and have children, responsibilities, babysitters In Denver CO

Children, money and competition

Posted by Jaidene Anderlini on May 3, 2019 6:14:00 AM

In my lifetime I've seen so much change in the way money is viewed by children, as well as competition shared within adult and child minds. I don't think the changes have been healthy for our children. I'm actually not sure myself about healthy attitudes about money; but I do think the example of parents in how they treat money, and competition is what will have the most impact on your children.

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Topics: Insider, Money, budget, Expenses, parenting, raising successful adults, family, education, discipline, thoughtful, Awareness, Community, gratefulness, appreciation, Style, responsibilities

Summer is here: really?

Posted by Jaidene Anderlini on Apr 5, 2019 5:33:00 AM

 It's only April! Yeah I know, but if you're like most parents you will procrastinate making arrangements to have your children in camps, STEM programs, or even childcare; then, the last day of school you will slap yourself in the head and start the summer childcare scramble! Don't do it to yourself. Start now and you will have a worry free summer. If you; wait a lot of camps will be filled up, and then you'll really be hurting.

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Topics: babysitting, childcare, Babysitting service for visiting families, Hotel babysitters, Babysitting agencies, Babysitters in my area, parenting, family, fun, education, summer, organizing kids, Awareness, Community, recruiting babysitters, babysitters In Denver CO

Do you need more than a babysitter?

Posted by Jaidene Anderlini on Mar 22, 2019 5:24:00 AM

Let's take a peek at your day: wake up (really early because you need to get ready and organize yourself before the kids get up), make sure the kid's clothes are ready to go. When you do that you have to go into their cluttered rooms and you make a mental note that you need to get it organized AGAIN. You then go to the kitchen to figure out breakfast and pack lunches/snacks for the kids, when you look in the pantry you find that you are so low on snacks that if you don't go to the store today the kids will have to share the last bag of goldfish tomorrow for lunch AND snacks; you might have more but you can't find them due to the state the pantry is in (note to self organize pantry this weekend along with soccer, gymnastics, taking the kids out for a play date). You wake up the kids with coffee in hand, and they clump to the kitchen, sit down and proceed to complain that you are out of their favorite cereal, and while the kids get all riled up they then spill their orange juice on their school clothes that they put on BEFORE breakfast which you don't like them to do, but choose your battles, you go back to their rooms only to find that drawers are in complete disarray, there are more clothes on the floor then in closets and drawers, you then make another note that you need to sort out clean laundry to dirty laundry because we all know that the clothes on the floor aren't all dirty but, you need to find a clean shirt now, and you're finding that impossible. This is only your morning. Needless to say the rest of the day is just a chain of events that keep you off balance, and not just today but nearly every day.

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Topics: Expenses, chores, parenting, raising successful adults, adulthood, family, education, organizing kids, Awareness, Community, responsibilities, Personal Family Assistant

The Importance of Teaching independent play

Posted by Jaidene Anderlini on Jan 25, 2019 5:20:00 AM

Okay you need a little break from all the chaos that living in a child’s world gives you on a consistent basis. Should you take a break while they are awake or only while they’re sleeping? What if you need to make a quick phone call to make a doctor’s appointment or arrange a play date? Should children EVER be left alone unless secure in their beds asleep? 

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Topics: childcare, parenting, success, raising successful adults, adulthood, family, education, Awareness, Community, Teaching