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100 Tips for Nannies and Families

The advice in this book comes from Candi Wingate, President of Care4hire.com.
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Using Commute Time as Connection Time

You shuttle your kids to and from school, lessons, sports, clubs, and a host of other activities.  Drive time is a perfect opportunity to connect with your kids.  That is because you all are in a close, closed environment with minimal distractions.  Additionally, the motion of the vehicle often has a lulling effect that can set the stage for calm, disclosing conversations.  So, turn off your cellular telephone (or let calls go to voice mail), do not pop a DVD in the vehicle’s DVD player, leave the radio off, and talk with your kids.  In the hectic pace of life, do not miss these opportunities to connect with your kids; understand their thoughts, feelings, and activities; and communicate that you love them and are interested in their lives.

Here are some questions to ask routinely as you and your kids are in commute time.

What all do you expect for your school day today?  Any particular events or activities?

Do you think school today will be fun or stressful?

How was school today?

What did you learn?

Do you have homework tonight?

How is (a teacher or classmate who has been ill) doing?

What team are you playing this evening?

Do you think it will be a good game?

You did great on the field tonight!  Are you exhausted?

Are you looking forward to this play date (or other social activity)?

What all is planned?

How was your play date (or other social activity)?

Did you have fun?

Did you see a lot of people that you know?

What all did you do?

When your kids answer your questions, tell you things that may excite or trouble them, share their excitement and calm their anxiety.

Here are some responses to make as you and your kids are in commute time.

“Hey, that’s great!”

“I’m so proud of you!”

“Good job!”

“That sounds like a lot of fun!”

“Oh, you’re going to love that!”

“You’re really good at that!”

“You’re so funny!”

“Oh, I’m so sorry that happened!  Why do you think it happened?”

“Are you ok?”

“Two weeks from now, nobody will remember that you dropped that ball.”

“I know you’re disappointed.  Disappointing things happen from time to time . . . to all of us.  It’s ok to say you feel hurt.  I’m here to listen, any time.  With time, the disappointment and hurt feelings fade.  It will be ok, even though it doesn’t feel like it right now.  I promise.”

Last, but certainly not least, as your kids get out of your vehicle, don’t forget to say, “I love you” every time.

You, your babysitter, and your kids spend a lot of time in the car, shuttling to and from school, lessons, sports, clubs, and a host of other activities.  In the hectic pace of life, do not miss the opportunity to connect with your kids; understand their thoughts, feelings, and activities; and communicate that you love them and are interested in their lives.

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