Amslee Institute Chats with Michelle Dragalin, Author Communicating with Families

Michelle is an elementary school teacher (PK-8) in Texas, has worked as an elementary school teacher in Colorado elementary and as a special education teacher.

As a new organization offering college level training and childcare diplomas for Nannies and Sitters, Amslee Institute is introducing our faculty, strategic partners, and industry leaders to the childcare community.

Our Facebook live guest is Michelle Dragalin. Michelle earned her Educational Specialist in Educational Technology from Walden University, Master of Education from University of Phoenix, Bachelor of Art in Special Education from Old Dominion University, and Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Bemidji State University. Michelle is an elementary school teacher (PK-8) in Texas, has worked as an elementary school teacher in Colorado elementary and as a special education teacher.

The Communicating with Families course focuses on strengthening communication skills when starting a new position as well as advancing work relationships through daily conversations and interactions with families.

The Communicating with Families course focuses on strengthening communication skills when starting a new position as well as advancing work relationships through daily conversations and interactions with families.

Many topics were discussed and enjoy the re-play to learn about:

  • Why face to face conversations are so important
  • Challenges with text messaging
  • Communication tips when you meet potential employers
  • Common concerns parents share

Can you share why communication is so important when working with families?

Michelle: Families today have chaotic schedules and the larger the family – the more potential chaos. Playdates, school, work meetings, cooking, sports, and summer vacations are just a few of the family activities and commitments that can create a hectic schedule but strong communications between families and nannies can help child routines go smoothly. Communication is critical in maintaining family routines and minimizing stress.

In an age of text messages and emails, why are face to face conversations important?

Michelle: The benefits of a face to face conversation are sometimes overlooked. Taking a few minutes when transferring supervisor responsibilities can make a world of difference. Nannies can communicate the highlights of how the children were feeling and behaving while in her care and the family can share the key activities for the day. Remember to make eye contact and be aware of how your body image impacts the meaning of your words. Speak clearly and listen attentively. If you are receiving a lot of information, take notes and then restate the information to make sure your comprehension is accurate.

When discussing the job responsibilities, how can you make sure the communication is clear?

Michelle: Each nanny position is unique with respect to job duties and expectations. A work agreement is a great tool that lists the job responsibilities and expectations which allows the families and nannies to align on expectations. Work agreements are developed between the nanny and the family with both sides agreeing to the contents. Work agreements most often start as a conversation about the job and advance into a written document to ensure both sides understand the position as well as the compensation. If you don’t have one already, take a few minutes to review a work agreement as there are a lot of free templates, including one on Amslee’s website.

When working with a family, how do you develop strong communication and ensure it’s clear?

Michelle: A communication center provides a place help the family and nanny share information. A communication center can be a physical location such as a bulletin board, refrigerator, or cubby hole. It can also make use of today’s technology and be a group email list or a joint electronic calendar. The crucial element is that every family member has access and regularly checks the communication center. Nannies and Families must have access to the communication center. Sharing key information about activities and events with their locations and times help the nanny know when and where to care for the children so she can do the job successfully.

What information should be tracked and shared with the Family?

Michelle: A daily report may be a one-page template or a quick written note highlighting the activities and key points from the day. The contents of the daily log will differ based on the child’s age and the desires of the parents. It may include feeding, toileting, activities, completed homework, and any household management duties completed during the day, among other things. Unusual events such as symptoms of an illness or a fall at the playground, as well as any actions taken by the nanny such as administering medication or getting medical assistance should be listed. The daily log should be shared in the communication center. Of course – an emergency must be handled appropriately and then summarized later in the daily log.

Thank you, Michelle, for your time tonight!! If you aren’t already, follow Amslee Institute on social media to see weekly articles published by our faculty and other Facebook live chats.

To learn more, a Communicating with Families course is available with enrollment in the Advanced Childcare program.

5 Communication Tips for Busy Families with Nannies

Communication is critical in maintaining family routines and minimizing stress.

child on bikeFamilies today have busy schedules and the larger the family – the greater the challenge. Playdates, school, work meetings, cooking, sports, and summer vacations are just a few of the family activities and commitments that can create a hectic schedule but strong communications between families and nannies can help child routines go smoothly. Communication is critical in maintaining family routines and minimizing stress. Here are 5 tips to help busy families and nannies better communicate.

1. Face to Face Conversations. In this day of cell phones, texting, and emails, the benefits of a face to face conversation are sometimes overlooked. Taking a few minutes when transferring supervisor responsibilities can make a world of difference. Nannies can communicate the highlights of how the children were feeling and behaving while in her care and the family can share the key activities for the day. Remember to make eye contact and be aware of how your body image impacts the meaning of your words. Speak clearly and listen attentively. If you are receiving a lot of information, take notes and then restate the information to make sure your comprehension is accurate.

2. Communication center. A communication center provides a place help the family and nanny share information. A communication center can be a physical location such as a bulletin board, refrigerator, or cubby hole. It can also make use of today’s technology and be a group email list or a joint electronic calendar. The crucial element is that every family member has access and regularly checks the communication center. Nannies and Families must have access to the communication center. Sharing key information about activities and events with their locations and times help the nanny know when and where to care for the children so she can do the job successfully.

daily log3. Daily logs. A daily report may be a one-page template or a quick written note highlighting the activities and key points from the day. The contents of the daily log will differ based on the child’s age and the desires of the parents. It may include feeding, toileting, activities, completed homework, and any household management duties completed during the day, among other things. Unusual events such as symptoms of an illness or a fall at the playground, as well as any actions taken by the nanny such as administering medication or getting medical assistance should be listed. The daily log should be shared in the communication center. Of course – an emergency must be handled appropriately and then summarized later in the daily log.

4. Expense reports. Nannies should have access to money for childcare related expenses – whether it is petty cash or a prepaid card. An important part of the job is communicating how that cash is spent. There should be a defined process to track finances. A weekly report which includes all receipts for expenses is usually sufficient. The report should list the date, location of purchase, items purchased, and total amount spent. For family assistant positions that include shopping such as picking up dry cleaning, groceries, and putting gas in the car, the weekly report should list all the receipts with a general summary of the items purchased.

5. Work agreements. Each nanny position is unique with respect to job duties and expectations. A work agreement is a great tool that lists the job responsibilities and expectations which allows the families and nannies to align on expectations. Work agreements are developed between the nanny and the family with both sides agreeing to the contents. If you don’t have one already, take a few minutes to review a work agreement. For free templates, visit AmsleeInstitute.com/courses which has a 30-minute video on work agreements as well as templates for Sitters, full time nannies, and live-in nannies.

Successful communication between a nanny and the family is critical to successful completion of the nanny’s duties. Communicating with the children can set expectations for daily activities and routines resulting in consistency for the children. Successful communicating with family members reassures all involved that the children are receiving the best possible care.

To learn more, a Communicating with Families course is available with enrollment in the Advanced Childcare program at AmsleeInstitute.com.

About the Author. Michelle Dragalin. Michelle earned an Educational Specialist in Educational Technology from Walden University, Master of Education from University of Phoenix, Bachelor of Art in Special Education from Old Dominion University, and Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Bemidji State University. Michelle is a Texas elementary school teacher (PK-8) and has experience in Colorado elementary schools and working as a special education teacher. Michelle is an adjunct faculty member of Amslee Institute.

 

Top 10 Benefits to Nanny or Babysitter Certification

Families, agencies, and employers are always looking for high quality babysitters and nannies so set yourself apart as a certified childcare provider.

Want to be a babysitter or nanny? How can you compete? Families, agencies, and employers are always looking for high quality babysitters and nannies so set yourself apart as a certified childcare provider. According to Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce*, on average, certificate holders earn 20 percent more than high school-educated workers. Moreover, even when certificates don’t provide an earnings boost, they make individuals more employable.

With 5 licensed and industry respected certification programs from Basic to Advanced and Professional, you can pick the certification that patches your career goals. Here are the top 10 reasons to invest in certification.

1. Childcare Knowledge.

Having solid knowledge of child development is a key piece of quality childcare. Knowing what is typical or common at different ages is important in providing appropriate and effective care for the children placed in our supervision. This training includes the major developmental stages of infancy through elementary and middle school age; discussion of the physical, cognitive, and social-emotional milestones within each stage; and activities that encourage healthy child development. Learn the basics on positive discipline from a child psychologist, nutrition for children from a clinical dietitian, and important employment information from a lawyer.

2. Practical Skills.

From diapering infants to temper tantrums to helping with homework, these courses provide practical advice and tools that you can apply when caring for one child or a group of children. Faculty experts also share how to create daily schedules, support the child athlete, and help children learn to cope with stress.

3. Better Job Opportunities.

Are you applying for your dream job working with children? Training and certification increases family and employer’s confidence in your skills and creates a competitive advantage for positions. With advanced certifications that require work experience, you may even earn a higher wage. If certified by Amslee Institute, you get job placement support including resume writing and interview preparation.

dad and child feeding kangaroos at zoo4. New Places.

Want to travel or live in new and exciting locations? Certified applicants have greater opportunities to work at resorts, on cruise ships or find employment in another city or country. Completing a well-designed curriculum demonstrates broader childcare knowledge as well as specialized skills required for in home care.

5. Demonstrated Commitment.

Children need stable environments so families as well as employers look for someone who will commit to the position – often for at least a year. An investment in training and certification demonstrates this type of commitment to a childcare career.

6. Confidence.

By completing the courses and passing the proficiency exams, you can be confident knowing you’ve learned the skills you need to be successful. Attaining a professional certification shows that you have done the work – you set a goal, worked towards completion, and earned a certification.

woman using laptop7. Continuous Learner.

According to the Guardian**, there’s a strong correlation between learning and sustained employment. Employees who demonstrate that they’re conscientious about their personal development are likely to be seen as highly motivated and engaged. With 5 certification levels, you can improve your skills and knowledge over time to demonstrate you are a continuous learner. Part-time babysitters can start with the Basic certification and as they gain experience, seek additional certifications. Experienced nannies may start at the Advanced or Specialist level and progress to the Professional level.

8. Leadership.

The Professional certification program includes a student project that requires the students to share their expertise with others. Mentorship opportunities are also available to allow Professional certificate candidates the opportunity to help those early in their careers.

certification9. Simplified Hiring Process.

Amslee Institute certification programs require completion of First Aid and CPR certification, passing of proficiency exams, written recommendations, and documented work experience. These job requirements and achievements can be shared with an official transcript. This will streamline the hiring process with potential employers. In addition, when certification is completed, Amslee Institute will help connect graduates with potential employers.

10. Community.

Students become part of the Amslee family and can network through classes, join the private Facebook group with other students and faculty, and participate in on-line discussions where fellow students and faculty share best practices and answer questions.

Certification can fast track a childcare career in weeks with training that is specifically designed to provide students with the mental, emotional, and social skills needed to positively influence the development of young children. With job placement support and demonstrated skills, an industry respected certification may earn higher compensation.

For more information about childcare certification programs, visit Amslee Institute at www.amsleeinstitute.com/programs.

*Carnevale, Anthony P., Rose, Stephen J., Hanson, Andrew R. (2012, June). Certificates: Gateway to Gainful Employment and College Degrees. Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. Retrieved from https://www.cew.georgetown.edu/certificates.

**Mills, Corinne. (2013, May 6) Keeping your professional development continuous. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/careers/careers-blog/keeping-professional-development-continuous.

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