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American Nanny & Home Care's Nanny Training Manual Practical Child Care Tips for Nannies

All American Nanny & Home Care nanny candidates are required to read through the following child care tips. You will be queried on some of the highlights listed below during the interview process with our agency. Thank you.


  1. Write down the following important contact information in case of an emergency. You should ask the family where you may post this information so that it is within quick reach at all times. Even if you memorize the home address, it is important to have a written post because in the event of an emergency you may not have quick memory recall:
  • Write down the exact address of the house in which you are working which should include exact street number, suburb and zip code in the event you need to call 911 for fire or medical emergency.
  • The parent's best daytime contact phone number in case of emergency. This might include cell phone numbers as well as their office numbers.
  • The name of parent's company or place of employment in case of emergency.
  • The name and contact number of parent's family member or friend that you can contact in case of emergency if parent is not to be found.
  • Name and number of child's physician in case of emergency.
  • Number of local hospital emergency room.
  • Always immediately dial 911 in case of any serious medical or fire emergency!.


    Napping is an important part of any baby/toddler's routine. It makes all the difference in his moods. . Further, medical experts agree that it's essential for a child's overall physical and mental health and development.

    (1). Newborns sleep frequently and are usually put down nearly every two hours for a snooze.
    (2). As baby gets older, he takes less frequent naps but the naps last longer.
    (3). You'll know its naptime when you see such cues like droopy eyelids, red eyes, rubbing of the eyes, excessive crying or whining, negative behavior, tantrums, less activity or focus, yawning.
    (4). Although he may show obvious signs of tiring, getting your charge to go to sleep or for that matter putting him on a regular nap schedule is another story.
    (5). One rule to remember when it comes to kids is to expect the unexpected. Kids aren't programmed like computers. So remember, use lots of patience as well as the guidelines below. If all else fails, you can always start fresh tomorrow! (***when a child shows signs of cranky behavior throughout the day or unusual signs outside his usual nap time always check for signs that he may be ill and or feverish.)
  2. NEWBORN TO SIX WEEKS OF AGE. Babies tend to sleep light, frequently and randomly throughout the day. The exception might be colicky or fussy babies who might not sleep much at all. For sleepless, colicky infants see MOTION/SOOTHING TIPS below.
  3. THREE MONTHS. Baby begins to hold his head up. Still too young for schedules, baby naps rather randomly.
  4. FOUR TO EIGHT MONTHS. Baby is becoming more active and wants to stay awake longer. He's sitting up, rolling over, becoming more verbal, and enjoying more engaging play with his nanny. Because of this increase in activity, he won't always be very willing to swap playtime for naptime. During this very young age group, the general rule of thumb is to expect three naps per day: Early morning; early afternoon nap; & third late afternoon nap varies. *Remember it's often difficult for very young babies (4-5months) or older fussy (colicky) babies to conform to nap times as their biological clock may not be ready. SEE MOTION/SOOTHING TIPS.
  5. NINE MONTHS. Most babies drop the third nap- the morning nap. The two naps tend to be longer.
  6. SIXTEEN TO TWENTY-ONE MONTHS. By eighteen months the majority of kids has dropped their morning nap and are taking only one afternoon nap.
  7. TWENTY- TWO TO THIRTY- SIX MONTHS. Ninety- five percent of kids are still taking one single afternoon nap. Can vary anytime from 12:00pm up to 4:00pm.
    When a child reaches three, naptime can be iffy. Some children continue with an afternoon nap well beyond four which can be a very good thing since recently scientists have been publishing articles on line and in major scientific journals that short power naps even into adulthood are beneficial to both body and brain. Unfortunately when it comes to in the napping game there are some kids who just will not settle easily into a nap. Some two year olds can become very obstinate about taking an afternoon nap even when they desperately show signs of needing one. If a two and a half year old refuses to continue with his afternoon nap but becomes over tired and cranky with mood changes and other signs that he could use a snooze, he most likely could really benefit from a nap.
    Often parents have their own methods for getting their child to take its nap. Ask parents about napping during your initial orientation nanny training period. Find out such things as how parents prefer you to put down their children for a nap, how often the child naps and what his usual nap times are. The following are heads up sleep technique leads that will put you in the know!
  • If you are working with an older child in the two year old or older age range who really shows signs that he desperately needs a nap describe the situation in detail to his parent(s), including the kinds of mood changes and other problems the child is exhibiting due to his lack of sleep. If you are in charge of the bedtime shift, ask if you can put him to bed twenty or thirty minutes later in the evening or if you are not on bedtime duty shift then ask the parents if they think it is a good idea for them to try putting him to sleep twenty or thirty minutes later in the evening. This way there will be time in the afternoon for a nap when he needs it most.
  • Quiet respite/reading. Sometimes a two to three year old still needs a designated short quiet rest time even if they become nap resistant. Reading to a child while he takes some down time is a good idea.
    Many parents are devoted followers of the Dr. Marc Weissbluth method. Dr. Weissbluth, a noted expert on sleep and author of, "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child ," believes that children must learn to soothe themselves to sleep. The parent may instruct you on how on the Weissbluth school and ask you to carry through with it. Just to warn you that it takes a bit of a thick skin to implement it because it may involve a sleep resistant baby and or child who must be left to cry it out. The basic rule of thumb here is that once the care giver leaves the room, the child essentially must be allowed to sooth himself to sleep which means he could very well have to "cry it out" cold turkey without intervention until he falls to sleep. The philosophy is that over time the child learns how to "soothe" himself to sleep. Supposedly the method of learning to soothe one's self to sleep helps us all sleep better as adults. However, even the Weissbluth method allows for soothing techniques prior to leaving the room such as rocking, cuddling, massage, swaddling, etc. According to Weissbluth no child should ever be allowed to cry more than one hour before being picked up and soothed. Further Weissbluth says that anything less than thirty minutes does not count as a nap. ***The Weisbluth napping schedule may not work on colicky or very young children under four months of age. And, of course, exceptions should be made when the child is ill.
    Not all parents agree with the Weissbluth methodology. Some parents don't want their child to cry itself to sleep but prefer that you stay with baby, soothing baby gently into sleep. Here are some soothing tips: soft massage such as light back scratch or running your finger gently across forehead or his arm in circles; gentle playing with babies hair; playing soft music; rocking baby, vibrating infant seat; cradling the baby on your lap while bouncing your knees gently up and down.
  • MOTION: Motion and rocking are usually fail proof methods for putting fussy kids to sleep. The buggy or stroller can be a particularly excellent ally. Wheel baby around in a pram or for older kids in a stroller until he doses. If he's particularly fussy suggest the parents get a pram or buggy for indoor use which can be used in poor weather : Motion and rocking are usually fail proof methods for putting fussy kids to sleep. The buggy or stroller can be a particularly excellent ally. Wheel baby around in a pram or for older kids in a stroller until he doses. If he's particularly fussy suggest the parents get a pram or buggy for indoor use which can be used in poor weather indoors to soothe baby to sleep. Wheeling him through the house or in a certain room with durable carpet or flooring can be a sure fire way to put a fussy baby/toddler to sleep. Also an infant seat with a gentle vibrating feature can be a Godsend. A car ride might also do the trick. Always ask parent's permission before you try this measure. Babies/toddlers tend to drop off almost instantly in their infant seats if driven around the block a few times. Because older babies and toddlers experience a light sleep initially, it's best to allow the child enough time to fall into a deeper sleep stage before stopping the car. Once the child is sound asleep then transfer him from car seat to crib. Warning: Never leave a sleeping baby unattended in the car. If a child does not transfer well from car seat to crib then sit with him in the car. Kick back and enjoy a book or the daily paper-drive through the drive in for a snack or drink.
  • SWADDLING: CheCheck with parents before using this technique. Gentle pressure that comes from wrapping the baby in his blanket can be very soothing and help induce sleep. In swaddling, baby's body, including arms and legs, is gently encased inside the blanket. The baby's face, of course, is always left completely free from any part of the blanket.
  • MASSAGE- Light massage is a great tool for relaxing sleepless babies and even recommended by the strictest Weissbluth fans. You can soothe a baby/ toddler or two year old right into sleep. Always make sure your nails are short and filed smooth. Long manicured nails and kids aren't compatible. Also never wear heavy colognes or perfumes to work as this can be irritating to baby/child.
  • Never give a child a bottle of milk or fruit juice in his bed to aid in falling asleep because suckling the bottle can cause tooth decay.


Taking on a nanny job with a colicky baby is a challenge. Because colicky babies cry almost continuously and leave little downtime, this position requires endless patience and nerves of steel so make sure you have what it takes before excepting a position such as this. Even the best of parents can become unnerved over a crying baby. Here however are a few tips that will help baby!

  1. One good technique to help comfort your wailing charge is to carry the baby almost continuously around with you either in an infant sling positioned on your front or on your back in a sling, African style. Fussy babies need to be held and soothed a lot until they outgrow the problem. Motion, rocking, cuddling, and close body contact with the care giver are critical to the colicky child.
  2. Aside from constant holding and rocking, oddly enough certain extraneous background noises seem to distract these babies. Amazingly the noise of a running vacuum cleaner, air conditioner, fan or even the buzz of an off the air TV station are sometimes effective in soothing fussy babies. These extraneous sounds are actually available on a C-D. If the parents aren't aware of such tapes make the suggestion.


A. ***Never microwave breast milk when warming or defrosting frozen breast milk supply. Simply run container or bottle of breast milk with warm tap water only. Only store- bought brand formula or regular cow's milk may be warmed in microwave.

Mom's been breast feeding baby the past ten weeks of maternity leave. Baby has never even seen a bottle until you come into the picture. Mom intends to express milk at work and then freeze it so that you can feed it to baby in his bottle. But baby has other ideas. As you approach baby with that first bottle you might as well play the theme to Jaws in the background because as far as baby is concerned that bottle is like a Great White heading straight at him. Don't be alarmed if baby screams bloody murder each time you attempt to offer him the bottle. After a few days he'll start to get used to it. Here are some tips for transitioning breast fed babies to bottle:

  • Mom should be nowhere in sight when you attempt to feed him with the bottle. (At ten weeks he's smart enough to know he wants mom's breast over that horrid bottle).
  • As an on demand breast fed baby he may not want to drink very much milk from the bottle at any one feeding so you'll have to offer him the bottle more frequently.
  • Don't try to put breast fed baby on any stringent feeding schedule - at least not in the beginning. Keep in mind if mom's planning on continuing breastfeeding he's going to be getting the breast on demand on your days off and after your shift ends in the evenings. Each time you return after a weekend or the next day after a single night of breast feeding it may very well take some adjustment for him to settle in with the bottle.
  • Keep a written log journal/book in which you record how many ounces or milliliters the baby drinks from the bottle at each feeding and at what time he drank it. Mom should continue logging in the book i.e. how many minutes he nursed with her before you arrived and at what time.
  • Eventually mom will wean the baby from breast. To wean from the breast milk, some pediatricians suggest giving baby half formula/half breast milk. If he's an older baby, half whole milk/half breast milk. Always check with mom on how she wants to handle weaning. Nanny and mom should work together as a team to insure baby's best welfare.


Usually for first few days the umbilical cord will appear rather swollen and jelly-like. Over the next few days it will begin to dry up and will fall off within a week or two. Help it along by gently cleansing with an antiseptic or alcohol cotton swab around the base. Don't worry, it won't hurt the baby. Always ask mom if there's a specific solution to use or any special instructions..


  • Unusual crying can be a signal the child is sick, has an ear infection or is teething.
  • Always check for a fever if a child seems off. There are many new digital thermometers being used today. Digital thermometers are usually placed under the arm pit or in the ear. Sometimes they can register a degree or so off. The instructions should tell you how to read the temperature. When you start on the job it's always a good idea to ask mom where she keeps the thermometer and how to use it. Also ask the parents what medication to give for a fever and how much to give.
  • Always keep a written log of what time you administered medication to a child under your care and, of course, how much you gave. That way it assures continuity from your dose to the parent's dose
  • Never administer medication unless you have first discussed it with the parents. For example mom might tell you that if he has a fever or is having a bad teething episode to give him a certain medicine. Follow her lead for future episodes.
  • When in doubt about how much meds mother may have given child on last dosage or what type of meds or at what time meds were given then give mom a call. Parents don't mind "these kinds of phone calls". ***Mixing different kinds of medicines can be dangerous. Always make sure you know what medication the parents are administering and follow through with this exact medication.
  • Never switch a cold medicine or cold tablet for another kind or different brand. Stick with what the parents or other care giver on the shift before yours is administering..
  • Never give a medicine or diarrhea remedy containing aspirin to young children. Administering products containing aspirin can result in a serious illness.


  1. Never turn your back on a baby while it's lying on the changing table- even if the baby is too young to turn over.
  2. Most babies wear disposable diapers. The front of the diaper usually has some kind of design along the upper edge-little animals or fairy tale characters. There are sticky tabs that come out from each side which flap over to secure the diaper.
  3. Most moms use diaper wipes- pre-packaged pre-moistened wipes- to clean baby's bottom. It's always a good idea to change the diaper as soon as possible and especially after a poop. Frequent diaper changing is important to prevent diaper rash.
  4. For diaper related rash , always check with parent. If mom tells you to pick some up or she cannot be reached for the day, then pick up any over the counter diaper rash ointment containing Zink Oxide.
  5. If a baby has a particularly messy poop don't hesitate to give him a quickie bottom mini bath. Likewise a heavy poopy toddler might be better off with a bath as well.


Always make bath time a fun time for kids. Bring in some fun water toys into the tub and engage them in some singing and games. Always make sure the bath time is safe with these tips!

  • Water temperature should always be checked by you - with your hand - before you ever pop baby or toddler into the tub! Never put a baby or child into bath water before you test the temperature with your hand!
  • Never leave a toddler or young child in the tub unattended. Never turn your back on a child while he is in the tub. If you've left a bath towel or his diaper in the next room, no matter. Leaving a child in the tub - even for a few seconds - can spell disaster and can affect not only the child for the rest of its life but your own life as well!
  • Remember to immediately drain all the water from the tub (ASAP!) after bath time as it poses an equally deadly danger. A young child can drown or sibling can fall into a tub and drown!
  • Likewise make sure all electrical appliances- hairdryers, radios, heaters are out of the way. Don't leave them on the bathroom floor, as even a small splash of water can serve as a powerful conductor and electrocute a child.


Always empty water from the tub or basin immediately after a bath!

  1. You can bet that if a child wonders into a bathroom with even a few inches of water in the tub, he'll attempt to reach in and touch it. A young toddler or baby can attempt to reach into the tub, fall in and drown!
  2. Likewise the toilet or even a bucket of water can pose an equally dangerous threat. The ugly truth: Frequently tragic news stories feature babies or young kids reaching into toilets and buckets that end up drowning!


The current school of thought on toilet training is to begin at around two years of age. Most pediatricians believe that a child under age two may not have the proper physical control and thus will become frustrated. Always be positive and encouraging. Here are some of the givens in potty training game:

  • Although two years of age is a good starting point, even a two year old maybe too young in some cases to begin potty training. The child must set the pace! If a child is not ready to be potty trained do not punish him with time outs or harsh works because this will only lead to other negative behaviors and acting out.
  • While in potty training sometimes a good technique is to put some grown up under panties on him just after he has had a snack time with plenty to drink. Kids love grown up panties and this might encourage him to work with you! Then while in his grown up panties try and take him to the potty every fifteen minutes or so. Don't ask, "Do you need to go potty?" as he will invariably have something else more important to do. Gently take him by the hand and tell him it's time to go potty because he's wearing grown up panties. Each time the child goes potty, clap hands and reward him with lots of praise.
  • Try reading to the child a favorite book while he is on the potty. This can make the session an overall pleasant experience until mission is accomplished.
  • In the end, use patience and never punish a child for any accidents, lapses or detours in his potty training as this will frustrate him, making potty time a traumatic time. If he's not ready . . .he's just not ready!


Until six months of age most babies are fed formula milk, breast milk and or a combination of formula and breast milk. Here are some things to know about feeding baby as he grows!

  1. The mother will instruct you on what kind of formula she wants you to feed baby. Pay close attention to how to mix the formula. Some formula come already made but others may require you to add water. Always write down instructions as mom explains-that way there are no mix ups!
  2. Mom might have you feed baby with her own breast milk. Mom will pump milk and leave it for you in the freezer or fridge.
  3. Another reminder, that when warming a bottle of store bought rand formula it's okay to pop it into the microwave but never warm breast milk in a microwave. Just run the breast milk under some warm tap water.
  4. Baby's milk should be room temp or slightly warmer. E.Always test milk by pouring a few drops on your sensitive forearm before you feed baby to make sure it's not too hot!
  5. Babies don't generally begin sold foods until around six months of age.
  6. Baby's first starter food consists of things like strained bananas, applesauce, pears, rice cereal. Initially only a small amount of food is placed on the baby spoon.
  7. Eating with a spoon is learned behavior, not a reflex. Baby needs learn to eat solids with a spoon by practicing.
  8. Never feed a child under two years of age any products containing nuts or peanut butter, unless the parent gives the go ahead. (see food allergies #11).
  9. From 7- 9 months babies are eating more of a variety-of foods- mashed potatoes, yogurt, peas, avocados, squash, carrots, barely cereal, pear and apple juice.
  10. Anywhere from 9-12 months of age babies can begin eating meats such as chicken, lamb, veal as well as bite sized vegetables.
  11. Always cut all meat up in tiny pieces.
  • Caution: Never allow a baby or small child to grab too many pieced of veggies, meats or even cereal pieces at one time to stuff into his mouth. Kids love to stuff finger foods in their mouth but can choke if they over do it! This same caution goes for snacks like raisins or cheerios, etc.
  • Remember to cut those baby food meat sticks up into smaller pieces as the diameter of the average baby food turkey stick product is about equal in diameter to a sixteen month olds' esophagus which poses a choking danger.
  • By one year baby is eating a whole variety of adult foods- all kinds of fruits, whole eggs, beef, pasta, graham crackers, honey, pancakes, grapes (cut in half).
  • Usually by one year of age baby is drinking whole milk. Most medical experts tout that children under the age of two need whole milk, as the fat is important for brain development.


A. BREAKFAST: Oatmeal with (sparingly) maple or brown sugar; Cheerios; scrambled eggs with melted cheese; fruit & yogurt; pancakes, waffles, buttered bagel, bagel with melted cheese.
B. LUNCH & DINNER SIDES: Broccoli with melted cheese, peas with small dab of cheese, grilled cheese, deli honey roasted turkey breast, lean sirloin hamburger, broccoli-pasta- chicken-melted cheese combo, Tuna fish & mayo.

  • If two years or older with parents consent, peanut butter.
  • If they hate to drink their milk than add a spot of chocolate syrup for flavor.
  • At eighteen months or older their eating very much like you or I.
  • Fruit juices should still be diluted with half water to avoid tooth decay!


Be careful about introducing new foods such as any kind of nuts or shellfish because these foods can cause physical reactions. Some will be severe life threatening reactions that will require you to call 911. Other reactions such as hives may require you to give an emergency epinephrine injection which the parents will train you to do.

  1. Allergic reactions to foods can present the following symptoms (any, some or all).
  • Hives or rash: parents will give you instructions on what to do if this happens. Sometimes they will tell you to give the child an injection called epinephrine or some other type of medicine such as an anti- histamine. Always follow what the parents advise. Call 911 If the child appears severely ill even after you have followed the parent's instructions.
  • Some foods may cause diarrhea. Again, follow the parents lead.
  • Swollen lips and or puffy face. Follow the parents lead and or if the child seems severely ill call 911 immediately.
  • Trouble breathing. Immediately dial 911 for help if a child is having this type of allergic reaction.
  • If the child is experiencing stressful breathing along with any hives or swelling call 911 immediately.
  • Nuts can be present in many foods- always read package labels to make sure the product is nut free and make sure the food is not made in the same factory as nuts.
  • If you are at attending a party with the child always ask the adult responsible for hosting the party if any of the treats such as cake, cookies, cupcakes or candies are made from nuts. Ask >if the foods were made in a bakery, factory where nut products are also used.
  • Always carry along fun and delicious safe snacks to a party just in case the host is not sure if there are possible allergens present in the treats. This way, the child will not feel left out or disappointed!
  • Always carry along extra safe treats to the park so the child does not feel left out on occasions when other children are sharing treats or participating in unexpected events.
  • Remember that shellfish can be hidden in the least expected fun foods such as many ethnic treats including Asian foods, egg rolls, Thai rolls, summer rolls and even pizza.


If baby cries and strains when pooping do the following:

  • Let mom know.
  • Ask mom if it's ok to substitute white grape juice instead of apple juice.
  • Cut down on the bananas, oat products and rice.
  • Make sure he's drinking enough water.


Diarrhea can be a very serious problem for very young babies and children as they can quickly dehydrate.

  1. Alert mom immediately if baby or young child has diarrhea.
  2. Ask mom what products she gives baby for diarrhea.
  3. If baby develops bad diarrhea and mom can't be found than call the doctor's office. If the doctor is out on an emergency than call the local pharmacy. Speak with the pharmacist.
  4. Most doctors and other professionals recommend giving baby electrolyte solutions- that means special liquid drinks containing a certain balance of salts that are important for baby's system so he will not become dehydrated. One example of a popular drink is pedialyte. It comes in various flavors such as bubblegum and apple.
  5. Don't give baby any fruit juices when he has diarrhea.
  6. Ask mom's advice but suggest to her that she ask the doctor about the "brat diet" for toddlers with diarrhea. Many doctors and professionals recommend this diet which consists of rice, no fat, no dairy, no protein, saltine crackers, bananas and plenty of liquids such as Gatorade, Pedialyte.
  7. Even plain old frozen popsicles, Seven-Up or Gingerale are good hydrators for diarrhea.
  8. If a toddler is vomiting and with diarrhea let mom know ASAP. While under your care , watch carefully for dangerous signs of dehydration which may include a very dry mouth or extreme lethargy. Offer small but frequent amounts of liquids during this time. Withhold all solids.
  9. Likewise a fever can result in dehydration. If a baby or toddler is feverish offer him as much fluid as you can.


(1). It's your second day on the job. You're at the park with your new eight year old charge watching a soccer game. The game has another half hour to play out. You suddenly announce it's time to go and pick up his four year old sister from her play date just five blocks away. The boy protests. He's insisting his mother always lets him watch games in the park on his own for a few minutes while she runs errands. He tells you to call his mother on the cell phone, that she'll confirm. His mother has told you not to call unless it's an emergency. She does not like to be disturbed for simple issues. You tell him no, that he must come with you but he makes a scene and begins screaming. He says he hates you and calls you every name in the book, threatening to have you fired. What should you do? Choose one or more from the following:

  1. If he's so insistent that his mother allows him to watch the game on his own than he's probably right.
  2. Why not just make a quick run and leave him. It's only a few blocks away and you'll be right back.
  3. Ask a nearby nanny or mom to watch him for a few minutes while you run to pick up his sister.
  4. Call his mother and confirm if it's okay to leave.
  5. Insist that he go with you or else in an angry tone.
  6. Calmly explain to him that you're very sorry but that this time he must go with you.
  7. Promise him that the next time he can stay.

(2). You're at a pool party for a three year old. There are ten children present. It's Saturday, your day off but you're doing your employer a favor. The parents of your charge promised to be there by three o'clock to relieve you, so you can make it to your concert. They're way late. If you don't leave now, you'll miss the concert. What should you do? ( Choose one or more from the following:

  1. Ask the host mother if she can keep an eye on the child until the mom arrives.
  2. Ask a very reliable nanny friend of yours at the party to watch over the child.
  3. Forget about the concert and wait till the parents of the child arrives.

(3). You've been on the job for three months. It's a snowy, cold day. The two year old is upstairs napping in her bed. The school nurse phones. Her six year -old sister is sick and needs to be picked up from school. The school is just a ten minute walk from home. What should you do? (Choose one or more of the following)

  1. It's too cold to take the two year old outside. Best to leave the two year- old in her bed and go by yourself to pick up the six year old.
  2. Call the mother. If she doesn't respond to her voice mail in a half an hour then just run out and get the six year old. There's no sense taking the two year old along. After all, one child is already sick.
  3. Call the mother. If she doesn't respond than wake the two year old, bundle her up and go.



Finally, the two year old child who you have been caring for since birth says his first words. At last, communication! And what does the little angel finally have to say to you after all the months of cleaning his poop and wiping his nose? "I love you." Or "Thanks for being great nanny." More than likely you'll hear things like, "No!" "Go away!" "I do!" And last but not least, the infamous, "It's mine!" Indeed the terrible two's can be impossible years. But it's only normal behavior. They are trying to earn their rite of passage to a strong sense of self and independence. And so chances are they're going to want to do all the things that thus far you've been doing for them. They'll want you to stand aside while they climb up into the car seat by themselves, wipe their own noses, feed themselves unassisted, put on their shoes, go down the highest slide on the playground without your help! At this point the best thing you can do for them is to stand aside and give them some room to grow. Don't be a control freak. They need to learn. Instead of smothering them, be there for them, spotting them as they go down the high slide but let them have some freedom. WARNING: It's tough to stand by quietly while it takes what seems like forever for your little charge to clumsily splatter water all over you and the sink while he washes his hands unassisted. In the end though, it will all be worthwhile when he gets a little older and throws his arms around you and says, "I love you."


Always check with a parent on how they wish you to handle their child's behavior issues. The following are some handy typical contemporary guidelines that many families follow when it comes to kids and unacceptable behavior.

  1. When correcting rude or aggressive behavior always try and explain to the child why the behavior is unacceptable. Use short, simple sentences for very young children.
  2. You're at the communal play train set at the local bookstore with your eighteen - month- old charge. He aggressively grabs Thomas the Train from the hand of another child. What should you do?
    1. Calmly take the toy away from your charge and give it back to the other child, all the while explaining to your charge in short simple sentences why this is not acceptable. "No." "We must all take turns." "It's his turn now."
    2. Perhaps pick up another train piece and give it to your child, demonstrating that there's plenty for everyone to share in.
  3. Remember that sharing for the majority of toddlers and two year olds is a near impossible concept, so don't be too dogmatic over the issue.
  4. For very young children emphasis should be on positive reinforcement in regard to sharing toys with other children.
    1. Praise the child for sharing behavior by clapping and or with a cheer/good job reward.
  5. If your child pushes or hits another child , you must react calmly but firmly by saying "No, we never hit because hitting is not nice."
    1. If the child continues to repeat hitting or other bad behavior, threaten that you will take him home or give him a time out if he does it again.
  6. Keep in mind that when correcting a child you must be the stellar model of non- aggressive behavior.
  7. NEVER GRAB or PULL a child away in an aggressive manner or lose your temper in response to his aggressive behavior as this only reinforces aggression!
    1. Use a calm but firm tone as you explain in simple, short sentences why this is not "nice" behavior.
  8. If the child is disrupting other children and is old enough to understand the time out punishment concept than threaten to give him a time out if he repeats his behavior. If he repeats the bad behavior again than you must follow through with your threat.
  9. If he's old enough to understand this concept of taking a toy or favorite privilege away as punishment , then threaten in a calm but firm tone that if he repeats the behavior you will do this.
  10. Don't obsess or overreact when a child talks back to you. Expect that bad outbursts and temper tantrums often go along with the territory of kids.


Remember to never argue with a young child. You're the adult. Things don't always have to be either or. Sometimes a little give and take is the order of the day.

  1. Use positive distractions and diversions to calm an upset child. For example, if he is screaming bloody murder over wanting a toy stuffed bunny that his sister is holding, then try substituting another toy or begin engaging in some fun instant game with him.
  • If a fussy five -year- old is fighting to the death over indulging in a lollipop before dinner use some common sense. Don't come down to their level by arguing the point. Negotiate something reasonable such as, "Let's first have dinner and then afterward I promise you can have the lollipop."
  • If it becomes an all out drag out tantrum with an overtired child over a few licks of a lollipop sometimes negotiating is the best policy. Allow a designated small number of licks (no more than one or two) before the dinner if the child promises to stop crying and save the rest for after the meal.
  • Never go back on your promise to a child or you will never win back his trust. If you promise he can have a treat or engage in some privilege then you must never back out.

*Bibliography references used for American Nanny tip manual:
*Parents® Magazine *Pediatrics for parents *Nature Magazine *Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. Marc Weissbluth

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