Archive | January, 2012

Battling Stranger Anxiety

31 Jan

     Stranger anxiety amongst children can be frustrating for both parents and Nannies alike.  In these cases the child is typically comfortable with Mommy, Daddy, and caregiver ONLY.  I’ve experienced this issue first-hand and would like to share some tips and tricks on how to help a child in overcoming their stranger-anxiety hurdle.

First off, please understand that other people do not know your child the way you do.  Whether you are his or her parent or Nanny, you are the ones that spend the most time with the child.  Notice that the image I used for this blog post is that of a t-shirt from  I think many Nannies (including myself) get frustrated with strangers.  We’ve seen it a million times before; they make silly faces, baby talk, and unnecessarily ask for high fives.  I get it, who doesn’t love a cute baby?  But what strangers don’t get is that not every child is going to be comfortable with being approached.  Unfortunately, when they realize it there is a child wailing while they are frantically apologizing and walking away.  Ah, if only every child with this issue can have a t-shirt like the one shown above.

The severity of the problem depends on the age factor.  Babies can have anxiety when surrounded by unfamiliar people.  My own personal opinion is that you should be exposing your child to new people as often as possible.  Enlisting in various activities can make this possible.  Examples: story time, the park, play school, time with different babysitters, and play-dates.  Also, creating a photo album of friends and family they’ve never met before is a great tactic to get a child to understand that strangers exist all around.

Also, please remember that a sure-fire way to overcome stranger anxiety is time.  Don’t forget that even though your child may be growing, a language barrier still exists.  When he or she is able to talk more, they will be able to understand–thus having the ability to communicate their feelings with you.  So, with a little exposure, time, and patience, your child will be less anxious, and a little more accepting to those who are unfamiliar to them.

If you are calm, they will calm down.


Paper Valentine’s Day Flowers

27 Jan

What you will need

Empty Egg Carton


Pipe Cleaners


Bingo Markers

Construction paper, Stapler, & Scissors


Cut up the egg carton in order to separate the pockets where the eggs sit

Have the child paint the carton pieces their color of choice

Lay carton pieces out to dry

While pieces are drying, have the child use the bingo markers on the doilies

Take two pieces of construction paper and staple the short ends to one another for the child

Roll up the paper into a funnel-like shape (this piece will act as the bouquet holder)

Poke the pipe cleaner through a doilie, then through the bottom of the egg carton piece…continue this process for the creation of each flower

Pinch a knot at the top of the pipe cleaner to secure

Put the flowers in the paper bouquet holder and the child can give them to someone special for Valentine’s Day 🙂

Optional*- For extra security, add a dab of hot glue underneath the doilie

A spritz of Febreeze makes them smell nice as well

***I will be adding fun video tutorials to make craft directions easier to follow…Stay tuned!

Potty Regression

25 Jan

Finally! It has happened.. your child is going potty.  Besides your overwhelming feelings of excitement and pride, you no long have to change (or, even better) purchase diapers.  But what happens when your child stops going and starts having accidents? It seems all too sudden- all that work for nothing? If this potty regression occurs with your child, it can be very frustrating, but there are ways in which you can help your child overcome this obstacle.

1.)  The first rule of thumb is to not get down on your child.  Never tell them they are “in trouble” because they wets their pants and or wet the bed.  It is called an “accident” for a reason and chances are your child’s regression is not deliberate.  Although laziness can be attributed to regression, the situation at hand still needs to be handled delicately.

2.)  By handled delicatley, I mean try acting (at first) like it is no big deal.  I’d say “Oh it’s okay! It happens! time we will go to the potty”. If you lose your cool, your child may get discouraged, and fixing this problem will become even more difficult. Even have them help you wash their soiled sheets/clothes so they are now able to identify that having an accident is in fact, a mistake that isn’t supposed to happen.

3.)  If the regression continues and your child has decided to “neglect” the potty all together, please do not immediately run to the diaper aisle at the supermarket.  Put your child in the driver seat for a week- over the course of that week, if they keep having accidents, hopefully they will get sick of wetting themselves and having to wash/change clothes with you that maybe the result of this will be that they start running to the potty again!

4.)  If this method fails, remember there is no harm in going back to the drawing board.  No shame in starting over (sounds crazy, time-consuming, obnoxious, and “ugh not again!”, trust me I know).  However, you must fix this before your child starts attending school regularly.  If you did not try it the first time, use a potty chart- make it a craft project too..have your child help you pick a print-out from the internet (see link below), (or make it yourself with rulers)  and decorate it with foam stickers, feathers, colored pencils, crayons, etc.  Good luck & have fun, potty training is one of the many experiences you will only have once with your child!


Facial Recognition

18 Jan

The best way to get children to identify their facial features is through song and arts and crafts.  Be sure to look under the “Arts & Crafts” menu soon for a facial recognition craft!

For now, we are going to focus on song/fingerplay.  One of my favorite songs is “One Fine Face” by Ernie and Elmo on Sesame Street.  The song is also featured on “The Best of Elmo” DVD.

This song helped my brother Steven locate parts on his face.  It also helped my former students at the Nursery School.

Here is the YouTube video of the song.

Lyrics to “One Fine Face”

Ernie: I’ve got two eyes
Elmo: Oh, got two eyes
Ernie: So I can see
Elmo: Yes, eyes can see
Ernie: I’ve got two ears to listen to what you say to me
Elmo: What you say to me

Ernie: I’ve got a mouth
Elmo: Yes, got a mouth
Ernie: So I can speak
Elmo: A mouth can speak
Ernie: I’ve got a cheek right here
And here I’ve got another cheek
Elmo: Another cheek

Ernie: I’ve got a nose
Elmo: One little nose
Ernie: So I can smell
Elmo: A nose can smell
Ernie: I’ve got a chin
But what a chin does I just can’t tell
Elmo: Just can not tell

Ernie: I’ve got eyes, ears, nose, mouth, cheek, and chin
Each in it’s place
And they’re all part of one fine face

Ernie: You’ve got two eyes
Elmo: Two pretty eyes
Ernie: So you can see
Elmo: Just look and see
Ernie: You’ve got two ears to listen to what you say to me
Elmo: What you say to me

Ernie: You’ve got a mouth
Elmo: Oh yes, a mouth
Ernie: So you can speak
Elmo: A mouth can speak
Ernie: You’ve got a cheek right here
And here you’ve got another cheek
Elmo: Another cheek

Ernie: You’ve got a nose
Elmo: A little nose
Ernie: So you can smell
Elmo: A nose can *sniff*
Ernie: You’ve got a chin
But what a chin does you just can’t tell
Elmo: Just can not tell

Ernie: You’ve got eyes, ears, nose, mouth, cheek, and chin
Elmo: Each in it’s place
Both: And they’re all part of one fine face
Yes, they’re all part of one fine face

(be sure to point to each part of the face as it comes up in the song)

**At the end, the characters say:

“And a nice face it is too, it’s a nice face!”

Then Ernie does his signature laugh: “Hee hee hee” and Elmo mimics him.  I always try and do the laugh at the end because the kids get a real kick out of it!

Trust me when I say that the song works.  The kids are learning and having fun at the same time.  You’ll have fun too, just watch 🙂

Valentine’s Day Project

17 Jan


What you will need:

4 large popsicle sticks

Red or pink paint

Small puzzle pieces

Glitter paint

Hot glue

Photograph of child

Permanent marker

**Paint popsicle sticks the child’s color of choice.  These will act as a frame for the picture.

Paint non-picture-side of the puzzle pieces with the glitter paint.

Hot glue puzzle pieces around the popsicle picture frame

Hot glue picture of child underneath the frame

Write in permanent marker on the top and bottom popsicle sticks (horizantally) either…

“You hold the pieces of my heart”


“I love you to pieces!”

Cute huh?..Don’t forget to send pictures to!

“They only want to eat cheese!”

17 Jan

Courtesy of Wonder Costumes

    I said cheese because I’ve had a lot of experience with it.  I feel like all kids are obsessed with cheese!  Mac & cheese, cheese doodles, cheese sticks, cheez-its, or just slices of cheese.  Cheese is fine, but I feel like too much of it can be unhealthy.  I’ve also found that too much of cheese also destroys their pallet, causing them to be picky eaters.

It’s not only cheese.  It’s salty foods as well: TV dinners, frozen pizza, chicken nuggets, and cold cuts.  Excuse me for being so blunt, but it’s all crap.  This crap, or fast food, can cause constipation due to the lack of water and fiber in the diet (fact courtesy of  By the way, fast food can be bought at the supermarket; it doesn’t have to come from a drive-thru.

If the child you are feeding knows nothing else besides the foods presented here then you may feel as if you have a real problem on your hands.  However, I have compiled a list of foods that children may not say no to:

Pork tenderloin

Scrambled Eggs (eggs are a great meat-alternative)

Tuna Fish

Oatmeal with a sprinkle of nutmeg

Bowl of fruit

Grilled Chicken with steamed carrots

There are more foods to be listed..Send suggestions to or TWITTER @theniftynanny

Meanwhile, check out these great links:

Win over picky eaters

Healthy foods for kids

Learning Colors

17 Jan

The Lollipop Song (sang to the tune of skip to my lou)

Lollipops, lollipops, yum yum yum!

Lollipops, lollipops, yum yum yum!

Lollipops, lollipops, yum yum yum!

Please come over and give me some!

**This one is a fingerplay because you will be utilizing props**

What you will need:

White construction paper

A circle stencil, no smaller than your palm

Popsicle sticks


Paint (colors of the rainbow, plus more)

Paint Brushes


With your child (or chilDREN, provided you are working in a Nursery School), make 10 circles out of paper.  Make them no smaller than the palm of your hand, as they will be learning visuals.  The colors of the lollipops will be as follows:

Red     Blue     Green     Yellow     Orange     Purple     Brown     White     Pink     Black     Gray

The goal here is to get the child/children learning all of their colors.

After all of the circles are painted each color (one color per circle), wait for them to dry.  After drying process is complete, glue one popsicle stick to the back of each lollipop.

After the glue dries, you may begin singing the “Lollipop Song”!

Upon completion of the line:

“Please come over and give me some!” … Ask the child/children to give you one of the lollipops by color..then another, and so on.

OPTIONAL:  If you have time, you can make a chart with velcro and attach the lollipops as the song goes on.

***TIP***:  In between the identifying of each color ask: “Can you name something that is that color?”  This will exercise their cognitive skills.  This is a super-fun activity.  If you decide to do it at your Nanny-gig or in your classroom, please send a picture to


Clipart courtesy of Pam’s ClipArt.