Blogger Seeking Nanny, Help Requested

We are constantly watching the blogosphere and today we came across a blogger that was looking for some help.  Her name is Sabrina Garibian and she is the visionary behind RhodeyGirlTests.com.  Her and her husband Trig had their first baby in September and she has written about some of her adventures on RhodeyGirl Tests.  You can find out more by reading the PhillyBaby section of her blog located here.

Recently she made the following statement:

“I can’t believe it, but it’s already time to start thinking about long term child care.
I feel so sad. I really wish I could just stay home (and not work, since I work from home), but I am not quite ready for that and neither is my wallet. So back to work I go this January.

How do we find a nanny? I need someone in the house with me 2-3 days a week to watch Raffi while I work, bringing him to me for feedings only. Since it is the most important job in the world, we need to make sure we find the perfect candidate.”

She’s received quite a bit of feedback from bloggers and subscribers that largely empathize with her lamenting about the costs and difficulties associated with finding the right solution.  People talk about challenges with finding quality daycare centers and the high costs associated with traditional nanny placement agencies.  However, everyone agrees that the most important thing is to find someone she can trust with her child.

Since she is a working mom and specifically working from home, this presents some challenges.  We did some searching and came across the following article: 10 Challenges for the Nanny of Work from Home Parents from one of the most established online nanny agencies (over 15 years in the business), eNannySource.com.  We thought that this was an interesting angle to the story that RhodeyGirl might appreciate.  We wish her all the best as she seeks a nanny and look forward to reading more of her posts on her blog.

10 Things to Teach Your Child to Do if They are in a Car Crash

Parents take every precaution to protect their children from injury when they’re in the car. They have properly installed car seats for infants and make sure the older children are in the back seat and buckled up. Hopefully, all these precautions will help the children to survive an accident with little or no injury. What happens if there is a serious accident leaving the driver seriously hurt or unconscious while the kids in the back are ok? Most people don’t think about this scenario, so here are 10 things to teach your child to do if they are in a car crash.

  1. Stay calm – The hardest, but most important, thing to remember for both children and adults is to remain calm after an accident. Parents should stress to their young children the importance of not panicking, which only makes things worse. You’d be amazed at how calmly young children can handle a serious situation. Sometimes it’s the child who has to settle down the parents.
  2. Stay in the car – Parents need to teach their children to stay in the car after a crash unless there is imminent danger by doing so. Unless the car is on fire or ready to fall off a cliff, kids are better protected by staying inside. Getting out exposes them to the elements and any other traffic on the road.
  3. Check for injuries – Kids should be instructed to check themselves for injuries after car crash. If there’s blood, they need to determine if it’s from themselves or someone else. Have the children carefully examine themselves from head to toe and make sure their arms and legs are working properly, before they try to move from their seat.
  4. Call 911 – All children should be taught how to call 911 at an early age, so let them know how they can do this in the car. Show them where the cell phone should be and how to operate it. For vehicles with Onstar or other emergency assistance, instruct them how it works and what to say if they’re contacted after an accident.
  5. Determine location – Chances are children aren’t going to know exactly where they are after a car crash. They don’t know the names of roads, especially if they’re traveling in an unfamiliar area. Teach them how to look for landmarks like road signs and buildings so they can explain to emergency personnel where they are.
  6. Turn off ignition – If the car is still running after a crash, kids need to know where the ignition is and how to turn the car off. Leaving the car running could cause it to keep moving or the exhaust could cause asphyxiation.
  7. Turn on hazard lights – Teach children what hazard lights are and how to turn them on. Show them where the button is and how to tell if they’re working. Explain how it signals other drivers that there is something wrong and increases your visibility, especially at night.
  8. Wait for police or ambulance – Once the emergency personnel have been contacted, teach the children to wait patiently for the police and/or ambulance to arrive. This could take awhile depending on where they are, weather conditions, etc. Let kids know that it may seem like a very long time, but help is on the way.
  9. Don’t leave with strangers – Another important thing for kids to know is not to leave the area with strangers. People are bound to stop and offer assistance, and while most are well meaning and want to help, some may have not have the best intentions. Teach the children to tell strangers that the police or ambulance are on the way, or if not, to call them.
  10. Stay safe outside – At some point, after the police and/or ambulance show up or if it’s dangerous to stay in the car, the children will be outside. Teach them to stay together, with their parents or emergency personnel and out of the line of traffic. Gawkers who are driving by will be rubber-necking at the accident and won’t be watching for young children.

Parents don’t want to alarm their children unnecessarily, so it’s important to have the discussion about car crashes without scaring the kids. Calmly explain why they need to know this information and how they can be a big help in a bad situation. Children who are empowered with information are going to be better equipped to handle a severe car crash than those who are not.

10 Examples of Positive Reinforcement at Work on Kids

In a world filled with negative messages, negative images and negative reinforcement it’s nice to see when there are some positive things at work.  Everyone lives in a dog-eat-dog world.  What’s that saying, “Survival of the Fittest”.  You don’t hear much about the weak and soft-spoken people winning.  Although, there is the one that says, “The meek shall inherit the earth.”  I’m sure there are quite of few people that recognize that one.  But for the most part it’s all about being strong and winning no matter the cost.  For once let’s check out 10 examples of positive reinforcement at work on kids.

  1. Disney: While I’m not saying that Disney is the end all, be all of TV for kids I have to say that they do a lot to get kids to be proud of themselves.  Proud of whom they are, what they look like and what they can do.  The shows encourage the kids to respect others for who they are and not judge them by their race or religion.  There are good messages in all of their programming.  Disney makes a point to share achievements made by kids with physical challenges as well as mental challenges.
  2. Glee: Everyone worries about teenagers getting into trouble with alcohol and drugs.  While many stations try to do various Public Service Announcements warning kids about the use of drugs and alcohol many times kids turn a deaf ear to the blatant warning to stay away.  The TV program Glee has a huge teenage following and they have tackled many controversial issues including homosexuality, sex, alcohol use and many others.  The stars of Glee have made announcements during the program and at other times telling kids and adults that using the word retard is as offensive as many other derogatory words used to describe people of different races and religions.
  3. Schools: At school, teachers are always complimenting kids on their achievements no matter how big or small.  If a child improves from one week to the next they are praised for that improvement.  Teachers do a wonderful job using positive reinforcement with behavior, math, spelling, and all other subjects.  There have really been great strides in reducing bullying in schools because not only are they making kids aware of it and how harmful it can be, but they are rewarding kids that recognize acts of kindness in others.
  4. Rachel’s Challenge: This is a nationwide program that started after Rachel Scott was the first student killed in the Columbine High School shootings.  Rachel was interested in being kind to others and that even small acts of kindness can make a huge difference in how another person feels.  Schools are now making paper chains made up of acts of kindness that students recognize in each other.  This program has grown tremendously over the last several years and it really puts the spotlight on good rather than bad behavior.
  5. Family Video: A video chain that gives kids free videos for every A they get on their report card.  All the kids have to do is bring in their current report card and they get a coupon for a free video for every A or equivalent.  This little reward doesn’t cost the store very much and it’s a huge thrill for the kids to be able to rent their own videos or video games.
  6. Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts: These two groups have been around for a very long time and are still setting good examples for kids.  Parents are the den leaders and the kids meet and do fun and education activities.  They earn badges or patches for various tasks, which encourages them to try new things and to get out of their comfort zone.  They can earn badges for cooking or cleaning up a park.  Their good deeds are not only noticed, but also encouraged and rewarded.
  7. Church/youth groups: Most churches have youth groups and they are trying to give kids a solid foundation so that when they are faced with difficult situations in life that they won’t go off the deep end.  Youth group leaders and youth pastors are often mentors for these teenagers and a safe place for them to go and share concerns about things that are going on at school and at home.  Every kid needs someone that will just listen without judgment and reinforce the good decisions that kids are making.
  8. Promotions: Kids that get part-time jobs will get raises or promotions if they do a good job.  This is a positive reinforcement that will hopefully encourage the kids to continue to do a great job.  If the praise stops then the kid will likely feel less satisfied at that job and try for another one.  Your first experience in the work force will probably stay with you for the rest of your life.  Was it a fun job?  Did you like the people you worked with?  The pats on the back that kids receive when given a job to do will encourage them to keep doing a great job.
  9. Soccer patches: One of the new things used in recreational soccer teams are patches.  There’s a whole system developed, but coaches can use them however they see fit.  If a player scores a goal in the game they get a red patch, if they assist another player in scoring a goal they get a blue patch and so on.  The coach can choose to reward a player for whatever they need to work on.
  10. Lollipops: Many places that work with kids will reward them for good behavior with a lollipop.  They get one when they go to get their haircut.  When they are brave after getting shots at the doctor’s office they get a lollipop and a sticker.  Even when they go to the dentist they get a sugar-free lollipop.  Just the promise of getting a small treat will entice children to behave in a difficult situation.

Tax Tips Anyone Self Employed Needs to Know

With unemployment over 9% many people have given up looking for a job and have decided to become self employed. Fortunately, in this country this is a fairly simple thing to do. However, you do need to realize that self employed people are responsible for their own income taxes, instead of having an employer who takes it out of your paycheck and sends it in to the IRS. Self employed people who are not familiar with the complex tax code can get themselves in big trouble very quickly. Here are a few tax tips anyone self employed needs to know:

Employers are required to collect Medicare, Social Security and income taxes from their employees and deposit into the US Treasury. Self employed people are responsible for their own taxes and those of any employees they have. If you’re a one-person operation, you may need to make quarterly deposits depending on your tax liability. You will need to apply for both federal and state tax identification numbers or TIN’s and be familiar with what’s required for your particular situation. Go to http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=99200,00.html to get more information on forms and publications.

When it comes time to file your yearly taxes, you need to know that self employed people can’t just fill out a form 1040-EZ. You probably will be required to use the 1040 long form and Schedule C, Profit or Loss From Business. Carefully read the instructions for each line of this form so you know what items are business deductions and which ones apply to you. These are the expenses you will have to keep track of throughout the year. You will also need to decide what kind of accounting method you want to use and check the appropriate box on line F.

Two of these business expenses that can be complicated are inventory and depreciation. If you have unsold inventory or materials at the end of the year, they can not be included as expenses and need to be reported on Part III of Schedule C. If you own assets that can be depreciated you will also need to fill out form 4562 for Depreciation and Amortization.

Most self employed people work from their home so there is a provision for them to deduct expenses for business use of your home. This requires yet another form number 8829 that needs to be filled out and can not exceed the amount of your net profit.

Were you aware that employers are required to contribute 6.2% of their employee’s income to Social Security? Now that you’re self employed that means you have to pay that portion for yourself. After you’re done with Schedule C, you move on to Schedule SE to calculate your self-employment tax. You do get a little bit of a break by being able to deduct half of it from your income on line 27 of the 1040 form. Woohoo!

Another tax break self employed people may qualify for is the self-employed health insurance deduction on line 29 of the 1040 form. See the 1040 instructions for that line and Publication 535 for more information on whether you qualify for this deduction. Self employed people can also have their own retirement plans and deduct the contributions on line 28 of the 1040 form. See Publication 560 for details on SEP, SIMPLE and qualified plans.

As you can see, self employment can be complicated when it comes to taxes and there a lot of forms to fill out. It’s very important to keep good records of all your income and expenses throughout the year. Save your receipts and don’t procrastinate on tax filings. If you don’t have any experience in accounting or tax law, I recommend you consult a professional. Since I am not a professional tax lawyer, consultant or accountant, this article is for informational purposes only, and should not be used for the purpose of avoiding any Federal or state tax penalties.