Family Helpers, Inc. January 2008
125 Main Street, Dobbs Ferry, New York 10522
Nannies and Housekeeping
How much cleaning is a nanny’s
In This Issue
T here is hardly a more
for nannies than how
many housekeeping duties
are their responsibility.
housework is involved in the
care of the children and
should be expected of
In our monthly poll
6 helpfulness. Undoubtedly much of the at www.bestnannynews
day caring for children in- letter.com 778 in-home
7 Baby laundry cludes cleaning up after childcare providers took the
and folding children, especially in the survey about housekeeping.
Laundry. kitchen after meals, in Of the caregivers that took
Making a bed. their bedrooms, bath- this poll only 70 (9%) are
8 Ironing. rooms, and play areas. But, both the full-time childcare
most childcare providers provider and the full-time
Nanny advice prefer working in homes housekeeper employed by a
9 column. where the employers hire family. The majority of nan-
How to separate housekeepers to do the nies are responsible for light housekeep-
disinfect toys. family’s heavy cleaning. Some daily ing as summarized here. (Continued on p. 2)
Conquering Kid Clutter
10 Graph of
poll results. Helping children maintain their toys.
By Debbie Williams, Professional Organizer and Author.
11 Family Helpers
2007 Nanny of nless children's play areas are broken, or toys that are safety hazards.
the Year. organized and easy for children to Next, set up activity centers. A
Family Helpers maintain, there's a good chance block or Lego area needs a flat surface
Holiday Party. they'll feel overwhelmed and not want to to build on (a hardwood floor or table-
play there -- no matter how many toys top) while a game area should contain
they have. Kids like to help, and organiz- comfortable seating (floor cushions or
ing toys and games is a good activity to do beanbags). Set up painting easels on
together. Besides helping them take pride linoleum floors for easy mop-up.
in their space, it is an opportunity to learn Store items according to age.
more about counting, sorting and group- Younger children like open bins on
ing, as well as sharing--when they donate low shelves or the floor for easy
items they no longer use. cleanup and storage. Older children
First throw out any damaged, can use drawers, (Continued on p. 5)
References Nannies and Housekeeping
1 Sheila Ellison,
365 Ways to How much cleaning is a nanny’s
books, 1998. (Continued from p. 1) 62 (8%) make the entire family’s beds; and
Ellison’s Of the caregivers that took this poll 62 (8%) iron entire family’s laundry in-
Complete- 770 (99%) clean or wipe counters and cluding the parents. Other tasks listed in-
Mom.com tables after meals and crafts with the cluded: feeding pets, make travel arrange-
Ave, Suite children; 646 (83%) wash, fold, and put ments, and overseeing workmen.
150, Santa away the children’s laundry; 645 (83%) put What housekeeping duties would you be
Clara, CA away and organize toys and craft supplies willing to do if you were paid extra
650-851-1404. in the children’s play areas; and 576 (74%) money?
2 Lynn Erskine
load and unload the dishwasher. Five- Of the caregivers that took this poll,
Bryant, hundred and fifty-two (71%) poll partici- 599 (77%) would be willing to grocery
University of pants sweep, vacuum, wipe-up, mop chil- shop, make a food inventory, and put
Health dren’s and nanny messes if necessary; 529 groceries away; 475 (61%) would be will-
System, (68%) wipe-up messes and pick-up the chil- ing to rotate the children’s seasonal clothes
Senior Project dren’s bathroom towels; 498 (64%) change if compensated extra for the task; 467
Public the sheets and bedding of the children; and (60%) would wash, fold, and put away the
Relations and 459 (59%) clean and sterilize baby pacifi- entire family’s laundry including the
Marketing ers, bottles, and toys as needed (this per- parents; and 459 (59%) would be willing to
Communica- centage may depend on the ages of the chil-
tions, 2901 unload and load the dishwasher. Of those
Hubbard dren cared for by the poll participants). who took this survey, 436 (56%) would be
Suite 2400, Some of the poll participants, 451 (58%), willing to add sweeping, vacuuming, and
Ann Arbor, clean and sanitize toys as needed. About
MI 48109- mopping the entire house as need if offered
2435 half, 436 (56%), of the caregivers that took more money; 436 (56%) would be willing
Phone: 734- this survey empty the kitchen trash and dia- to change the sheets and bedding of the
647-0668 per pails; 420 (54%) make the children’s entire family; 428 (55%) would make the
3 Beth Risinger, beds; 389 (50%) rotate the children’s sea- children’s beds daily; 428 (55%) would
Director of sonal clothing; 350 (45%) inventory food, clean and sterilize baby pacifiers, bottles,
International grocery shop, and put groceries away; and and toys as needed; 428 (55%) would
Executive 226 (29%) keep the nanny car clean (this wash, fold, and put the children’s laundry
Association percentage may depend on how many care- away; and 428 (55%) would be willing to
(IEHA). givers drive a car provided by the family). dust if paid more money. About half of the
Www.ieha.org One-hundred and fifty-six (20%) of the respondents, 420 (54%), would be willing
Brisinger caregivers that took this survey wash, fold, to clean and sanitize toys as needed if
@ieha.org and put away the entire family’s laundry offered more money to complete the task;
4 Debbie including the parents; 156 (20%) empty 420 (54%) would be willing to empty the
Williams, household trash; and 148 (19%) keep their household trash; 405 (52%) would be
Let’s Get it nanny bedroom clean (this number depends willing to cook dinner for the entire family
Organized on how many live-in caregivers completed if compensated for it; 405 (52%) would be
Times, PO this poll). One-hundred-and-forty respon- willing to clean or wipe counters after
Box 590860, dents (18%) iron the children’s laundry; meals and crafts; 405 (52%) would wipe-
77259 Phone: 132 (17%) cook dinner for the entire fam- up messes in children’s bathrooms and
281-286-9512. ily; 117 (15%) sweep, vacuum, and mop the pick-up children’s towels; 405 (52%)
www.organize entire house as needed; 93 (12%) change would change the sheets and bedding of the
Email: sheets and bedding of the entire family in- entire family including the parents; and 405
info@organiz cluding the parents; 93 (12%) dust; 77 (52%) would make the entire family’s beds
edtimes.com (10%) clean bathrooms; 70 (9%) are the including the parents. Of those who took
only housekeeper employed by the family; (Continued on p. 3)
125 Main Street
(Continued from p. 2) Dobbs Ferry,
such as grooming, feeding, or training New York 10522
the survey, 397 (51%), would be willing them.” 914-674-8535
to take the nanny car to be cleaned for Brianna from Chicago, Illinois 800-847-5386
extra money; 373 (48%) would be willing Fax: 914-674-4679
said, "I think everything can be a nanny’s FamilyHelpers.net
to iron the children’s clothing; 358 (46%) responsibility if paid the right salary.” info@familyhelpers.
would be willing to iron the entire fam- As the children grow up and go to net
ily’s clothing including the parents’; 350 school full-time are you willing to take
(45%) would add cleaning bathrooms to Director:
on more housekeeping duties? Susan Tokayer, MSW
their duties if offered more money; and Glenda Propst, a nanny with 23-
335 (43%) of poll participants answered and International
years experience wrote, "If a nanny wants Nanny Association
that they would be willing to be the to stay with a family long-term she needs First Vice President,
primary housekeeper along with their to learn to grow and adapt her job and her 2008 INA Conference
childcare duties if paid extra for more expectations to the needs of the children Committee, and
responsibilities. Some participants an- and the family. The nanny caring for a INA Credential Exam
swered they would not do extra chores Chairperson
newborn does not have the same job as
around the home for any raise or more the nanny caring for a toddler, the nanny
money. Family Helpers was
for a toddler does not have the same job founded in 1995 in
Are there any household duties you feel as caring for a school-age child. Roll with Westchester County,
are not a nanny’s responsibility? the changes if you want to grow with the New York. The agency
Amy Robertson, a nanny in family." serves Westchester
Phoenix, Arizona answered, “Not really, Jane Fields, a nanny from Dublin, and Rockland
because I want to help the family in any California wrote, "No, I'm off to a job Counties with live-out
way I can. This proactive attitude is why I nannies, and
where they need a nanny!" Connecticut, New
think I am paid so well.” Laurin a nanny in Fairfield, York, and New Jersey
Beth McKinney, a professional Connecticut replied,” Not cleaning with live-in nannies.
nanny in Kent, Washington answered, “I responsibilities, because I hate cleaning We offer voluntary
feel that only child related cleaning is a and I've never learned how. But I would support meetings for
childcare provider’s responsibility.” take on more house management respon- our nannies and an
Linda Nevling, a nanny in Ra- sibilities. I'm a nanny because I want to annual holiday party
leigh, North Carolina said, “I don’t think where we present an
care for children, so I will probably move
a childcare provider should be responsible annual Nanny of the
on to a new position when the kids are all Year Award.
[for doing the parent’s chores.]” in school full-time.”
Harmony Schutt, a nanny in Rebecca Flanagin, a nanny from Hours:
Essex, Vermont said, “Anything not Atlanta, Georgia said, "Nope. Hire a Monday 9am to 6pm
directly related to the children should not Tuesday 9am to 5pm
housecleaner; we are not paid enough to Wednesday 9am to 5pm
be part of the nanny's duty.” do the families dirty work." Thursday 9am to 5pm
Shannon Baas, a nanny from Jaime of Oregon City, Oregon Friday 9am to 5pm
Providence Village, Texas answered, “I answered, "If the children are not there as Saturdays 11am to 2pm
don’t feel a nanny should be responsible much and there is more time to work on
for the parent’s laundry.” Publisher:
the house, I will clean as long as I am Be the Best Nanny
Terri Carroll, a temporary and paid for it." Monthly Guide
traveling nanny from Ventura, California What housekeeping chores are the PO Box 43477
responded, “I have been inexplicably Upper Montclair, NJ
children responsible for? 07043 USA
asked twice to train the family dog. That Debra Mathwig, a nanny from 973-259-1101
is clearly not a nanny’s job.” Plymouth, Wisconsin wrote, "I have the www.bestnanny
Marie Marqui, a nanny in Cedar- children help with everything. It makes newsletter.com
burg, Wisconsin agrees. She wrote, BeTheBest-
them feel good to help me out." Nanny@aol.com
“Nannies should not have to care for pets, (Continued on p. 4)
Nannies and Housekeeping.
How much cleaning is a nanny’s
(Continued from p. 3) pick up before taking another toy out to play.”
Gretchen Denton, an au pair from Germany Au pair, Fiona McVetty, who works in the
working in Delaware recommended, “I fill a sink Boston. Massachusetts area wrote, “Put similar
with warm water and bubbles and the kids help utensils together in the dishwasher to make putting
wash their toys and plastic dishes in the sink.” them away easier. For example, put only spoons in
Fern Scott, from Seattle, Washington said, the same bin and forks in another.”
“The kids are responsible for cleaning their rooms, E. Chandler a nanny from California sug-
picking up toys, and cleaning up their own messes.” gested, "Have a contract that is very detailed about
Lisa Garrelts, a nanny from New Canaan, your responsibilities so there is no misunderstanding
Connecticut replied, "The children pick up their from."
rooms, clear the table after dinner, and put toys Julia DuBois, a nanny from Grafton, Wiscon-
away.” sin answered, “Obviously you should clean up after
Another nanny, Allie Kamrud wrote, “The yourself and the children. Anything else should not
children are responsible for making their beds and fall on your shoulders. The parents should be aware
picking up toys and I help as needed. Matching that the more chores that are given to the nanny, the
socks is a great way of learning colors." more time that is taken away from spending with the
Christine Watson, a baby nurse in McLean, kids.”
Virginia wrote, "Children should be responsible for Tina Rysio, a nanny in Wynantskill, New
everything that they are able to do. That's how they York said, "Don't start doing housekeeping just to be
learn true self-esteem." nice."
Do you have any advice to share with other in- Judy Taylor a nanny in Snohomish, Wash-
home childcare providers about housekeeping? ington wrote, "Make sure you a compensated fairly
Cindy Brinkman, a nanny from West Bend, and the parents understand your primary job is to
Wisconsin advised, “Never mix household chemi- care for the children. They ought to always under-
cals and babies. Any cleaning chemical can be stand if something goes undone because of the chil-
caustic or poisonous:” dren's needs, it is okay."
Francine Ramsey, a nanny in Naples, Mary Hoffee a nanny, house manager, and
Florida agrees. Francine warned, “Don’t leave housekeeper from Ashland, Ohio suggested, "Never
buckets of water unmonitored. Children can drown. agree to do something that you do not feel you
Keep cleaning supplies on high shelves behind should have to do."
locked cabinets.” Heidi Angulo, a nanny in Aptos, California
Nancy Ackart, a nanny from Nebraska, mentioned, "Cleaning should never take precedent
recommended, “Sprinkle an all-natural, antibacte- over the children."
rial carpet deodorizer powder in the bottom of the Meredith Nicholson, a nanny in Atlanta,
diaper pail to eliminate odors.” Georgia wrote, “Always pick up after the children.
Sarah Rowena, a nanny from Indianapolis, Leave the house in the same or better condition then
Indiana said, “Keep a container of disinfectant when you came.”
wipes under each bathroom sink that the children Melissa Hauca, a nanny from San Anselmo,
use. Each day use a wipe to clean off the sinks, California advised, "Someone once said to me, 'The
counters, and toilet bowl.” best gift that a nanny can give a parent is more time
Ellen, a professional organizer from Texas with their children.' It is important to have a clear
answered, “Create routines that encourage and fair understanding about what household respon-
‘organizing as you go’. Have a rule about how sibilities belong to which party, but going above and
many toys can be taken out at one time and then beyond once in a while can be a wonderful thing.
See graph on page 10 for poll results. END
Family Helpers P. 4
Conquering Kid Clutter
Helping children maintain their toys.
By Debbie Williams, Professional Organizer and Author.
(Continued from p. 1) fashion (jewelry, belts, scarves, hats). I once saw an
under bed storage, shelves, pegs and pegboards, but entire wall of a kid’s room lined with pegged hat racks,
items should still be within easy reach. creating a chair rail. The pegs were at eye level for the
Blocks, doll clothes, small toy cars, tinker little ones, who hung stuffed animals from ribbons,
toys, play-doh, and all the other loose items floating hats, totes filled with blocks, and various light-weight
around the house belong together. I strongly recom- kid treasures.
mend using shelves with tubs of different sizes as Allow children to only play with only three toys
opposed to toy boxes. Toys last longer when they are at a time, and then it's time to put them away before
stored gently and not stacked, and the kids can find dragging out another one. This rule works well with
things easier. Storing toys this way reduces boredom puzzles, books, and other similar items. If you start
and makes for fewer trips to the toy young, they may continue this "clean as
store as well. Get creative and let the kids you go" rule throughout life.
Small plastic shoe boxes are help you label the boxes Be sure to provide ample shelv-
perfect for Legos, Barbie clothes and with photos or magazine ing, simple containers, and practical so-
accessories, and Hot Wheels. Find clippings of the items.
lutions for this rule. Board books fall
plastic totes a size larger than a shoe right through the slatted bookcases, so
box with handles on the top for easy carrying to and stacking bins in primary colors are better for the
from the play area. smaller books. Use the bookcase for large toys instead.
Larger tubs hold blocks, play food and At the end of the day make sure baseball mitts
dishes, and other pieces that just seem to multiply in are not left outside, and bubble mowers are not drip-
the night. Save the large tubs for train sets, car ping on the carpet. Assign locations to the toys and try
tracks, doll accessories, and sports gear. to stick to them: inside toys, outside toys, upstairs toys,
Flat under-the-bed boxes are wonderful for and downstairs toys. Often this is a safety factor, such
out of season clothes and toys. Most closets are not as all toys that can be thrown are OUTDOOR toys such
large enough for toys and clothes, so why not store as balls, bats, and Frisbees. All paper items are
unused toys as you would clothing. Stash kites, INDOOR toys.
beach gear, and baseball gear during winter months; If you work in a two-story home, upstairs toys
and store football, hockey stick, and ice skates should not be dragged downstairs; they stay in the bed-
during the summer. Use clear tubs for easy viewing, room or playroom. Keep a few toys on a small shelf, in
or label with words or pictures for younger children. a wicker basket, or toy bin downstairs in the family
If they cannot see what's inside, chances are they room. These must be cleaned up each night before bed-
won't use the toys within the nicely organized con- time. Downstairs riding toys must stay downstairs and
tainers. Kind of defeats the purpose, don't you think? off the steps.
Get creative and let the kids help you label Encourage the child's creativity by enlisting
the boxes with photos or magazine clippings of the their help for novel solutions for storage.
items. Finally, enforce cleanup rules and conse-
One of the key rules in organizing and deco- quences. Learning to put things away and stay organ-
rating is to utilize vertical space. There is lots of ized takes time and practice (even for grown-ups).
unused storage and visually appealing space right Children need adult help to learn new habits, so be
above the furniture line! Hat racks, expandable or consistent with expectations and routines. Remind kids
pegged, make wonderful hooks for stuffed animals, that keeping their play space tidy is not a chore, but a
dress up clothes, hats, jackets, back packs, and book way to make playtime more fun. END
bags. Smaller items can be hung to organize them by
function: sports gear (baseball hat, glove, cleats), or
Family Helpers P. 5
Kids Love to Clean?
By Sheila Ellison, Author of 365 Ways to Raise Great Kids.
E ach day the list of things to be done to keep the Three- to Four-Years Old
household functioning is endless. An attitude of
helpfulness creates a feeling of togetherness for
children as everyone works towards a common goal.
Children love knowing that they have certain things
Preschoolers can often accomplish the same
chores already listed above plus they can help feed a
pet, make their bed by handing the nanny pillows and
blankets, carry dirty dishes to sink after eating, putting
that are expected of them. In order to make the young dirty clothes in the hamper, and putting away clean
children feel like part of a team, create a chore chart clothes by handing them to the nanny. Adults must
with stickers for each child. The key is to have fun and model and teach children to fold laundry. Just be
not be picky. Effort is much more important than patient with the folding and putting away of laundry
quality when it comes to since they will un-
children and chores or Save Time Taking Inventory doubtedly be wrinkled.
housekeeping. By Debbie Williams, Professional Organizer It’s more important that
As a nanny it’s It is typically a nanny’s responsibility to help keep an you appreciate their
ongoing inventory list of all the food and hygiene items her helpfulness than have
important to allow
employer’s family needs. A great place to keep it is on the side of
children to help you and the fridge. Use a pencil so you can erase items when they are the chores completed
feel good about their bought. Organize the shopping list in the order of the aisles at your perfectly.
chores. They love to help. favorite grocery store. The trick is to save time by having the list in Four-to Five-Years
Nannies can reward chil- the order you normally shop in at your favorite store. Bring a pen Old
and a notepad with you to the grocery store and write down the Four- and five-
dren for their helpfulness
names of all of the aisles and departments in the store. List them in
by allowing children to year olds can often
the order in which you shop. Later, make a shopping list using a
pick a cooking project or computer. Place the name of the aisle or department at the top of accomplish the tasks
an arts and craft activity. each section and then list the favorite foods and items the family described previously
You’ll especially appreci- usually needs in each aisle. For example, under the heading of and they may be able to
Dairy you might type blueberry yogurt and skim milk. Leave space help with more difficult
ate any help children give
under each aisle title to write in other items you might need. Shop-
with the clutter and pick- ping with a list that is customized to your store ensures a more chores such as setting a
ing up of toys. efficient grocery shopping trip. table by having them
Remember: you hand you the silverware
must never yell to get things done. Parents should and progressing to letting them set out the plates, and
determine the consequence of punishment when a so on. They can help make their bed, fold and put
chore isn’t completed. Instead, you should focus on away clean clothes, and pick out their clothes for the
having fun and giving a lot of praise. next day.
Here are some general age appropriate ways Five- to Six-Years Old
kids love to help nannies: Children this age can help change sheets on
Nine- to 24-Months Old their bed. They can start helping by taking off the dirty
Easy to follow directions such as carrying dirty sheets and handing you the clean ones. They can set
diapers to the trash can and getting wipes. out their backpack, shoes, and whatever is needed for
Two- to Three-Years Old school the next day. They should help clean their bed-
Young children can accomplish easy to follow rooms by helping pick up things and putting them in
directions such as throwing things in the trash when their appropriate places.
told and getting things when asked. They can also be Six- to Seven-Years Old
rewarded for using the potty, washing hands, brushing School-aged children love to feed and walk
teeth with toothpaste, help watering the garden with pets. They are also old enough to help wash dishes
pre-measured water, and the picking up of toys. with help from the nanny. They should be expected to
help clean their rooms. END
Family Helpers P. 6
Baby Laundry Folding Clothing
B aby skin is more sensitive than adult skin. When
choosing a detergent, it is best to pick one that is
free of fragrance and color to prevent a rash or an
allergic reaction. Also, avoid using fabric softener, bleach,
1. Dry clothes fully to be folded.
2. Separate clothes to be folded from clothes to be
hung in the closet. The clothing that shouldn’t be
folded include pants with a seam, clothes made of
or dryer sheets. Look at the tags on the clothing for special woven materials (such as khakis), dress shirts,
washing instructions. formal wear, suits, and silk clothing.
It is best to use laundry detergent and not laundry 3. Fold a long-sleeved shirt by laying the shirt face-
soap because soap removes the special fire retardant down on a flat surface. Smooth out any creases.
chemicals on the baby's clothes. Cross one sleeve horizontally so the edge of the
You can wash baby clothes along with other family cuff lines up with the seam of the opposite shoul-
clothing. However, cloth diapers should be washed sepa- der. Repeat with the other sleeve. Fold one side of
rately from all clothing. Diaper covers can be washed with the shirt lengthwise to the midpoint of the back.
the regular laundry, but make sure to fasten all Velcro Repeat for the other side. Fold the bottom of the
straps together before washing. Air dry diaper covers so shirt up until it meets the line where the sleeves
they do not melt in the dryer. Wash all new baby clothes cross. Fold up once more, this time in half, to the
and diapers before use. top of the shirt.
Wipe or scratch as much of the substance as possi- 4. Lay short-sleeved shirts face-down on a flat sur-
ble (spit-up, baby food, etc). Soak the item as soon as pos- face. Smooth out any wrinkles or iron if needed.
sible in cold water. Never use hot water to try to remove a Fold in one side lengthwise to just before the inner
stain. If the stain doesn't come out, soak it for 30 minutes collar line or neck band. Fold the sleeve back out
or longer in cold water and detergent, then wash. horizontally so the cuff lines up with the crease you
Keep a covered diaper pail near the changing table. just made. Repeat on the other side. The sleeves
Store soiled cloth diapers in a diaper pail until you are may overlap one another a bit at their folds. Fold up
ready to wash them. Some people prefer to soak the diapers the bottom of the shirt so that it meets with the bot-
in the pail before washing (wet pail method), while others tom of the sleeves. Fold once more to the top of the
prefer the dry pail method. collar or neck band.
Wet pail method: Put a solution of warm water and 1/4 to 5. Pull out the pants that do not have a crease. Fold
1/2 cup of borax in the diaper pail. Rinse all poopy diapers the pants vertically with the legs together and pock-
out in the toilet before putting them in the pail. This will ets on the outside. Bring the legs to just above the
help remove stains and make the washing easier. Before pocket, or two inches below the waist line if there
washing, drain the excess liquid out into the toilet. After are no pockets. Do the same for shorts.
dumping the diapers into the washer, rinse out the pail.
Make sure to keep the pail covered and locked for safety.
Dry pail method: Put a washable liner in the diaper pail.
Shake or scrape off any poop into the toilet and then put Folding Fitted Sheets
the diaper into the pail. When you are ready to wash, dump 1. Place each hand under two corners of the sheet.
the diapers out of the liner and into the washer. Wash the 2. Bring your hands together in front of you, touching
liner as well. hands. Slip the left-handed corner over the right-hand.
Washing and drying: First, run the diapers through a cold 3. Pick up the third corner with your left-hand.
water rinse cycle to rinse and help remove stains. Next, Transfer the corner over the right-hand. You now
wash the diapers with laundry detergent or borax using a have three corners on your right-hand.
hot water wash and a cold water rinse cycle. Adding 1/4 4. Pick up the final corner and transfer it over the
cup of white vinegar to the last cold water rinse cycle gets right-hand. You now have all four corners over the
rid of detergent residue and acts as a whitener and softener. right-hand.
If you want, you can add 1/4 cup baking soda to the last 5. Lay the sheet on a table with the elastic folds on top.
rinse cycle to keep diapers soft and smelling fresh. Do not Fold the sides connected to the elastic on top of the
use bleach or fabric softener. Hang the diapers outside to sheet, shaping the sheet into a rectangle.
dry. This helps bleach and disinfect them. 6. Fold the sheet in half and then half again.
Reprinted with permission of the University of Michigan Health This should leave you with a long rectangle.
System, December 2007. 7. Continue to fold the sheet until it fits in the closet.
Family Helpers P. 7
Making a Bed How to Iron Shirts
1. Wash new sheets prior to use. Avoid perfume 1. Find the tag on the shirt that indicates what it is made
detergent and fabric softeners for sensitive skin. of and if can be ironed.
2. One-hundred-percent cotton sheets should be ironed 2. Check manual for manufacturers recommendation for
to get out the wrinkles. Most sheets have some polyes- type of water to be used in the iron. Plug in the iron and
ter in them to prevent wrinkles. set the dial to the recommended setting for the fabric.
3. It is best to can use a mattress pad between the One-hundred-percent cotton and linen need a high set-
sheets and mattress. This protects the mattress from ting; wools and cotton blends call for medium heat;
stains and keeps it looking new. polyester, rayon, nylon, silk, acetate, and acrylic all need
4. Begin with a freshly laundered sheet set. Place all a low heat setting.
bedding on a nearby chair to prevent contact with the 3. Iron the back of the collar first, then the front, taking
floor. While many hotels use flat sheets for both top care to iron in from the edges a little at a time to avoid
and bottom — securing the lower sheet by the miracle creases
of hospital corners — the family you work for proba- 4. Open the cuffs fully. Iron the inside first, then the out-
bly own a perfectly beautiful, fitted bottom sheet. Pull side.
it taut from corner to corner until the mattress is cov- 5. Iron sleeves after smoothing them flat to avoid
ered. creases. Do sleeve backs first, fronts second, and take
5. Standing at the footboard, shake out the top sheet extra care on armhole seams.
until it billows down evenly over the bed; adjust to en- 6. Hang the shirt over the board so that one front panel
sure a similar length drapes down either side of the of the shirt can be extended flat (collar at narrower end
mattress. With printed sheets you want to lay the flat of board). Iron from shoulder to shirttail.
sheet face down (with the pretty print facing the bot- 7. Rotate the shirt over the board so that you iron the
tom sheet) put the biggest hemmed area at the top or back next, and the other front panel last.
head of the bed. Align the top of the sheet with the 8. Hang warm shirts on a hanger immediately to avoid
edge of the bed. Make sure you hang the sheet down an re-wrinkling.
equal amount on the left and right sides. At the bottom
How to Iron Pants
of the bed, lift the top mattress and tuck the bottom of
the top sheet into the space between the mattress and
box spring. Then on each side, near the foot of the bed, 1. Turn the pants inside out. Look for the tag that gives
grab the sheet near the bottom of it, and pull it up to ironing and fabric information for the garment.
the top of the mattress like a triangle. Tuck the little 2. Choose the heat setting appropriate for that fabric.
part that hangs down under the mattress and then fold 3. With the pants still inside out, iron the waistband,
the triangle back down. This will make a neat corner. pockets, fly area, seams, and hems, in that order.
6. Repeat this step with the blanket, but lay the top 4. Turn the pants right side out and pull the waistband
hem two hand widths short of the headboard. Fold the over the pointed end of the board. Iron the waistband
top sheet back over the blanket to protect the sleeper’s area and any pleats along the front of the pants below the
face from rough fabric — and to protect the blanket waistband.
from body oils and moisture that increase the need for 5. Lay the pants lengthwise along the ironing board with
laundering. Give the top sheet and blanket two swift both legs together and carefully line up any pre-existing
hospital corners (see below) at the foot, leaving the creases.
sides loose to ease tucking yourself in. 6. Take the hem of the top pant leg and bring it toward
7. Hospital Corners: Tuck the top sheet and blanket the waistband, folding the top leg away from the bottom
together under the foot of the mattress. When you are leg. Iron the inside (hem to crotch) of the lower leg. Turn
done, the dangling fabric at the sides of the foot will the pants over and repeat for the other leg.
have made a short U-turn back along the length of the 7. Smooth out both legs and iron the outside of the top
bed. Pinch the U between your fingers and pull it to- leg. Turn the pants over and iron the outside of the other
ward the headboard, parallel to the mattress. Then, leg.
tuck the hanging corners of the sheet and blanket to- 8. Hang warm pants immediately to avoid wrinkling.
gether under the mattress. Let the remaining fabric fall Fold them through a suit hanger to avoid crushing them
over the tucked portion. in a pant hanger.
Reprinted with permission from www.ieha.org
How to Disinfect Ask Susan Tokayer
Children's Toys Expert advice for nanny problems
C hildren's toys are a haven for germ
and bacteria growth which can
spread quickly throughout the
house often resulting in illness for the
family. Keep the ones in the home clean
By Susan Tokayer, Owner of Family Helpers, Inc.
Q : When I interviewed for my nanny position I agreed to do
some housekeeping duties. In an effort to please the parents I
slowly started doing more housework. Now I feel over-
whelmed. I don't want to complain and sound like I do not appreciate
and the child healthy by following these my job. But, I'm feeling exhausted. What should I say or do?
easy steps to disinfect kids toys. : Sometimes parents unwittingly begin to add more house-
1.Wash hard, plastic toys in mild soap keeping chores as the weeks and months pass. You mentioned
and water with a scrub brush. Rinse well. that when you began working with the family you agreed to
Then, soak the toys in a mild bleach do some housekeeping. Did you complete a written agreement with
solution (one tablespoon of bleach to the family? If not, in the future, all employers should specify in writ-
each gallon of water) for 10 to 20 min- ing all household duties before the job begins. This way if there is any
utes to disinfect them. Rinse well in negotiating that needs to be done it can happen before first day of
clean water and allow the toys to dry. work. It is much more difficult to negotiate after the job has started.
2. Use a dishwasher to disinfect plastic You sound like you are very conscientious and trying to do a
or other dishwasher-safe toys. Because good job without complaining. However, let’s give your employers
of the high heat in the machine, they do the benefit of the doubt and assume they have no idea how exhausted
not need a bleach solution. you are. It sounds like a talk with them is past due! You may have put
3. Disinfect stuffed or cloth toys in a off talking to them about your dissatisfaction with the job because you
regular washer and dryer. Wash them may feel that they may be angry with you for complaining. Keep in
once each week with a mild detergent. mind that your approach with them will really set the tone as to how
4. Clean tables, large toys, or play areas they view the discussion. Start the conversation with something posi-
with a mild bleach solution and sponge tive, such as, “I really like working with you and your children. They
or rag. Mix one tablespoon of bleach are fun, bright children and we have a developed a great relationship.
with one gallon of water. Wash the sur- However, I have been feeling overwhelmed lately with the amount of
face area taking care to reach the crev- housework required of me. I am finding that I am not spending as
ices and hidden spots. Rinse with a much quality time with the children as I would like and I’m really
sponge and clean water and let dry. exhausted at the end of the day. Do you think we could discuss
5. Use a bin to store dirty toys for regular children related chores that are reasonable for me to perform?”
cleaning and disinfecting. Once the Also, you may want to contact your nanny referral agency for
item has become soiled, place it in the support and suggestions. Remember that a family would rather hear
bin (away from children) so it stays out about issues and have the option to resolve the problems before you
of the play area. quit. Most families highly value a wonderful nanny and will work
earnestly on a resolution. Good luck!
How to Organize Bath Toys
1. Throw out anything that is old or mildewed. If the children have a hard time letting go of the toys, tell them that
you will take them on a bath toy shopping spree. Take them to the dollar store and buy them some new bath toys
(preferably ones without holes in them that can trap and store water).
2. Wash what you are keeping. You can wash bath toys in the top rack of the dishwasher as long as they are se-
cure. Turn off the dry cycle, pull out the toys and let them air dry.
3. Buy a mildew resistant bath toy organizer, preferably one that will suction cup to the shower wall. There are
many good models out there from mesh bags at the dollar store to more expensive, heavy-duty models. The im-
portant thing is that the organizer has holes in it that will allow the toys to drip dry in the tub.
4. Start good habits. Every time the kids get out of the tub drain all the water from the toys and put them away in
their organizer. Hang any plush or spongy toys to dry.
5. Put the toys in the dishwasher and wash again every two weeks.
What Housekeeping Duties are Nannies Responsible For? Results from BestNannyNewsletter.com
wipe count- 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
ers for chil-
toys and play
food and put
Is the house-
2007 Family Helpers Nanny of the Year
C indy Augustine has been
working with children
since she was a teenager.
Cindy, who was born and raised
in San Jose, California, began
Cindy has worked for
families facing difficult chal-
lenges, including a family with
a member that has advanced
volunteering in a daycare center Cindy has a cheerful,
when she was sixteen-years-old. positive attitude which enables
She then worked for the YWCA her to face challenges while
in Santa Clara, California for remaining optimistic. Her
seven-years before becoming a current employer says that
nanny. She always loved work- Cindy’s motto is “not a
ing with children, but wanted to 2007 Family Helpers problem,” and that she’s a
become a nanny to be able to Nanny of the Year
favorite of other children in the
care for just a couple of chil- neighborhood. She is described
dren, which allows a more one-on-one by her employers as being, kind, supportive,
relationship. She was working for a family creative, and always helpful.
in California that moved to New York for Cindy accompanied her current
business reasons. She came with them and employer’s family on a week-long vacation
decided to stay in New York even after that with another family over the summer. The
position ended. other mother, a well-known writer, was so
Cindy’s creative talents enable her to impressed with Cindy that she published an
create a fun environment for her charges. article about her. You can find the article by
Cindy was involved in musical theater in her going to the following link: http://article.
teen years, performing four musicals a year NationalReview.com/? q=Yjc5MWYz
with the Children’s Musical Theater of San OTM4ZTc 5MWExNDM0OGU3YTc
Jose. She also tap dances! 2ZGU0N2NkZDA=
Family Helpers Holiday Party
Claudia Ashterman won grand prize!
A s you know, we had our annual Family Helpers
annual holiday party on November 30, 2007.
It was great seeing everyone and catching up.
This year we had a raffle, which was fun, especially
for the people who won! The grand prize winner was Claudia
Ashterman, who won the computer! Claudia was especially
thrilled because she’s been using her son’s computer. He is
going away to college in January and taking his computer
Claudia Ashterman won Congratulations Claudia and enjoy your prize!
a new computer!
Family Helpers P. 11