3 Ways to Get Your Child Excited About Learning!

We all know how hard it can be to get our minis excited about hitting the books and studying for their tests. Sometimes, kids would much rather be playing with their toys, watching TV or playing video games. We’ve all been there. But it doesn’t have to be like that! We need to be showing our minis that learning is fun and that even adults are constantly learning every day! Here are our 3 effective ways to make learning fun and exciting!

 

1.      Know your mini’s learning style

 There are seven main learning styles: Visual, Aural, Verbal, Physical, Logical, Social, Solitary. Every child has a different learning style that is best suited to the way that they learn things. Finding the relevant learning style and then creating activities in correspondence with what they react to the best, will ensure that they have an effective and fun study session. It is also beneficial to combine several of these learning styles together to allow your child to develop in all of these areas. Below are the descriptions of each of these learning styles with tips on how to manage these, so that you can get the most out of your study session!

Photo created by freepik

Photo created by freepik

Visual

Visual learners learn best with images, videos or other cues to help them process information.

o   Tip: Get them to write out their thoughts or draw a brainstorm map for them to process what they are thinking.

Aural

o   Aural learners learn best with sounds and music to process information.

o   Tip: Make up songs and rhymes that will help your mini remember all of the information – make sure to include them in the writing process and have some fun with it!

Verbal

o   Verbal learners learn best under verbal instruction and writing.

o   Tip: Get your mini to write out their thoughts and focus on learning a new word every day to increase their vocabulary.

Physical

o   Physical learners learn best by doing hands on activities and keeping active.

o   Tip: Create fun activities that are relevant to the topic that your mini is learning. These can be puzzles, maths games, activity booklets etc.

Logical

o   Logical learners learn best when they understand the reason behind the content they are learning.

o   Tip: Try to explain the reasons behind everything they are doing and give real world examples.

Social

o   Social learners learn best when talking with others about what they are learning.

o   Tip: Talk to your mini about their favourite subjects to help them remember the information and to create a positive attitude about learning.

Solitary

o   Solitary learners learn best when they are by themselves in a quiet space.

o   Tip: Make sure your mini has a clean and quiet space to study in and try to keep anything that might cause a distraction out of the study space.

 

 2.      Set goals and make a weekly diary

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It’s so important to set goals for your mini - these can be daily goals, weekly goals or monthly goals. When goals are clearly written out, it is a big encouragement to your mini when they complete something on the list. It also gives them something to work towards and they won’t be feeling like the work they are doing is irrelevant or unimportant. Make sure to celebrate every time your mini completes a goal, it will give them the motivation to do even more work! Also try to keep a weekly diary that sets out all of the tasks for the entire week broken down day by day. This will turn a big mountain of work into manageable piles and will take the dread out of study and homework sessions when there is only a little work to focus on at a time.

  

3.      Give constant encouragement

It has been proven by many different studies that when a behaviour is reinforced it strengthens and occurs more often and when it’s not reinforced it weakens and the behaviour fades out eventually. Thus, positive reinforcement is crucial in the children’s learning process as it makes them want to engage more so that they can get even more positive reinforcement. So, how do you use positive reinforcement to motivate your mini to learn? It’s easy! Tell them that you are proud of all the hard work that they have put in so far and that they are doing a great job so far. This will uplift their spirit and will encourage them to keep going. 

And remember, if it just isn’t working and your mini is not responding well to the learning process – take a breath and break to reset! Sometimes children are so overloaded by all of the information they are presented with every day and just need bit of fresh air to settle their thoughts before they tackle more learning!

 

With a Mini nanny, your fur baby can enjoy your holiday, too!

Meet Katie Delimon, an inspiring Yogi and wellness expert that trust Mini Nanny Agency every time to care for her fur baby! Find out how she felt about our services (spoiler: it’s love!).

- The Calile Hotel

- The Calile Hotel

With a Mini nanny, your pet can enjoy your holiday, too!

If you’ve been keeping up with our blog posts, or following mini’s Insta page, you already know that it’s a ‘must love dogs’ kind of situation down at Mini HQ. We adore our all the fur babies!

We also know (from personal experience!) how our fur babies become more than pets – they’re really a part of the family. That’s why it was a really easy decision to offer pet nannying as part of our services.

At mini we treat our pet families just as well as we do our human ones. From finding the perfect nanny, to creating a super easy process, to ensuring reliable and loving care, we’re here to make your life easier, and your pet’s life more comfortable.

Katie Delimon is an inspiring yoga teacher and wellness expert, who has recently used Mini’s services to care for her excitable Miniature Bull Terrier, Shark. We sat down with her to find out how she felt about mini and our services (spoiler: it’s love!).

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Katie, can you tell us a bit about your background, and how you first discovered Mini Nanny Agency?

My name is Katie Delimon and I have my own health and wellness business, Unify with Bliss. At Unify we mainly focus on yoga and meditation, but also offer Reiki, mindfulness courses and retreats.

I have lived all over the globe, in places such as Sydney, LA and New York City, but I am now based in New Farm and absolutely love Brisbane! Because I often need to travel for work, I was on the lookout for a trustworthy dog sitter, but being new to the city I wasn’t exactly sure where to go.

I was so glad I met Michelle, the owner of mini Nanny Agency at a yoga class I was teaching in New Farm. I immediately had a great feeling and knew I was in amazing hands!

Can you introduce us to your puppy?

My puppy’s name is Shark. She is a 16-month-old, red Miniature Bull Terrier. The best way to describe her is either very lazy or very crazy. She’s not to be trusted, but too lovable not to cuddle!

What do Mini’s nannies do for you?

Mini found me a sitter for Shark. I was away for 10 days researching places to hold my next retreat (exciting stuff coming soon). A wonderful sitter named Belinda stayed in our home and took extra special care of our four-legged fur baby.

How has Mini made your life and career easier?

The agency made my time away much more carefree. I could concentrate on my work without the guilt of my dog being locked in a cage all day at a kennel. It was wonderful knowing she had the comfort of staying in her own home. The sitter sent us daily photos and kept us up-to-date. It felt like she grew a special bond with Shark, and treated her as if she were her own.

We were very well looked after by Mini Nanny Agency. We had great communication and they put in lots of effort to ensure we got the right fit. We felt very comfortable with their placement, and were thrilled to have such a smooth process. Also, we didn’t have to break the bank to get such a great service! It was the same price, if not less expensive than a kennel and WAY better SERVICE!

I’m sure all dog owners will agree that our fur babies are just like our children, so we worry about them and miss them dearly when we are away. I highly recommend mini to anybody going away, especially those who don’t want to put their pets in a kennel.

Are the nannies really as good with dogs as with kids?

We don’t have any kids so I can only speak to the dogs, but Belinda was wonderful with our baby girl! She even bought her treats and took her to the dog park quite often. It was a fantastic experience and we wouldn’t hesitate to book a mini nanny again!

Thank you Katie! Katie is more than just a dog lover, she’s also an incredible yogi. Her yoga classes are amazing (just ask Michelle)! Definitely check out Unify with Bliss for yoga, meditation, mindfulness training, retreats or even incredible lavender scented eye pillows.

We love our fur babies at mini! Reach out here or contact our Mini team here. We’d love to love your fur baby too.

Nicola Bone brings the art of mindfulness to our local Brisbane schools!

We are on a mission to deliver one million mindful minutes by the end of 2020 - Nicole Bone, Sound Off For Schools.

Meet Nicola the inspiring Founder of Sound Off For Schools! A passionate teacher making waves in our Australian educational system!

Meet Nicola the inspiring Founder of Sound Off For Schools! A passionate teacher making waves in our Australian educational system!

At Mini HQ we are passionate advocates of mental health and wellness. Our personal self-care practices include yoga, meditation and mindfulness exercises, and we have seen firsthand the benefits these can bring to daily life.

That’s why we knew that high school English teacher Nicola Bone, and her passion project, Sound Off for Kids, would be the perfect partner for Mini and our families. Nicola is changing the face of education by bringing mindfulness, contemplation and calm into the school environment.

Mini caught up with Nicola covering topics about mental health, mindfulness, education and how to implement mindfulness practices in our own homes.

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Nicola, tell us… what is Sound Off for Schools?

Sound Off for Schools is a mindfulness education program for students and teachers. It delivers practical and engaging strategies and practices through wireless headphone technology to help young people and educators carve out deliberate time and space to be calm, to contemplate and to learn the skill of being present.

What prompted you to start working with mindfulness?

The program started in my own classroom where I witnessed so many of my students struggling with the crippling effects of mental illness and, therefore, unable to learn, grow or thrive in a classroom environment.

I started with students in my high school English classes by beginning each lesson with six minutes of mindful meditation and breathing. Over time this allowed students to settle, clear their minds of worry or stress and gain clarity for learning.

How can mindfulness help kids?

In Australia currently one in seven young people aged 4-17 suffers from mental illness. This can cause hyper stimulation of the brain’s limbic system leading to the ‘fight, flight or freeze’ reaction. When this part of the brain is stimulated, the frontal lobe, which controls executive function (essential for focus, attention and learning) is offline.

The Sound Off for Schools program combines scientifically proven practices in cognitive neuroscience, educational psychology and pedagogical teaching to teach young people strategies to become more aware of their cognitive habits. They are empowered by knowing that their thoughts, at any given time, are a choice, and they can begin to navigate their way through the complex world they are growing up in.

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What is your mission at Sound Off for Schools?

Over the past 18 months, we have reached over 6,015 young people and teachers to cultivate over 342,760 mindful minutes in 51 schools. We are on a mission to deliver one million mindful minutes by the end of 2020.

Where can Mini families find your program?

Families can request an information pack via our website or bring the program to their P&F group meetings and suggest that their school implement it. Parents can also arrange a fundraiser event for their school that includes a Sound Off for Schools experience.

What are some ways our families can implement mindfulness practices in their homes?

Mindfulness practices can be implemented in the home as a daily ritual and time for reflection and calm. I would suggest starting out with a simple breathing time upon waking or before story time at night. Have your child place their right hand gently on the base of the belly, with the left hand resting on the heart and with their eyes closed, take three to 10 deep belly breaths (long and steady).

For older or more experienced children, a meditation ritual can be created using a candle, essential oils, poems or a family gratitude jar. The challenge is to make it a daily routine so that the practice becomes part of the family schedule.

What goals do you have for Sound Off for Schools in the future?

Phase 1: One million mindful minutes by the end of 2020.

Phase 2: Digitised content of the program for rural and remote schools to access all content by 2021.

Phase 3: By 2025, every student in every classroom in Australia picks up their own set of wireless headphones at the start of the school year, much like a textbook, to begin each school day with mindful moments to prepare the brain for learning.

Join Nicola by enlisting a school and becoming part of one million mindful minutes by the end of 2020. Reach out here or contact our team at mini Nanny Agency here, and we can hook you up!

Meet Jess Mcilveen of Kids Yoga Therapy: an incredible resource for kids with special needs

‘I am here to revolutionise the way we heal and transform the minds and lives of our children and teens with special needs and who’ve been affected by trauma.’ – Jess Mcilveen, Owner of Kids Yoga Therapy

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At mini Nanny Agency we understand the varied dynamics that can exist in different families, including the unique challenges (and joys!) that families with special needs children often face.

That means we are always on the look out for incredible resources for our mini families, and Jess, of Kids Yoga Therapy is one of the best out there! As a social worker and an incredible yogi, she’s tuned into the needs of kids who may struggle with anxiety, have special needs or been affected by trauma.

Here’s Jess’ story.

How did you find yourself as a social worker AND a yoga instructor?

As a child I was surrounded by depression, anxiety, suicide and addiction, which left me feeling helpless. This ultimately led me to becoming a social worker, as I wanted to be the guiding force for children who felt lost and alone.

After a few years working in Child Safety and Foster Care I realised that the services we were using weren’t teaching children techniques that could help them when they felt scared, fearful or angry.

About this time I started to have anxiety and panic attacks, which was utterly terrifying for me. I didn’t want to take medication so I committed to daily meditation and yoga. I was absolutely astounded when after a week and a half the scary sensations disappeared!

While travelling in Italy I came to the realisation that I no longer wanted to be a social worker. One day a friend said to me, ‘Why don’t you do yoga and meditation with the children you want to work with?’ My head began spinning. Could I really do that?

After some intense research, I booked my flights and enrolled in a Children’s Yoga Course. Kids Yoga Therapy was born two months later.

What impact has yoga had in your life?

When I started experiencing panic and anxiety attacks, I was terrified. I couldn’t eat, sleep or function and I was too scared to be alone with my thoughts.

Yoga and meditation absolutely changed my life. Once I started regularly practicing, the scary sensations disappeared. And now, when they show up again, I have tools that I trust and that I know work.

After my experience, I went through all the research available on the impacts of yoga and medication for special needs and trauma and it’s conclusive – it helps!


How do yoga and social work complement each other?

As a social worker I want to empower people to find solutions that work for them so they can live their best life possible, regardless of what they have experienced. Yoga complements this because it’s about finding the solutions within yourself.


How can yoga help kids who suffer from anxiety or trauma, or who have other special needs?

Yoga helps kids by reconnecting them with their bodies and bringing them back to the present moment. Yoga also works with breath, which is crucial in strengthening the relaxation response in the nervous system. This response is weakened when children have experienced trauma or anxiety.

Anxiety is future focussed, so bringing children back to the present moment with their body and breath helps reduce the anxious state of body and mind.


What kinds of programs does Kids Yoga Therapy offer?

Our main program is an eight-week whole family support package. This includes one-on-one sessions with the child, and access to the Parent Support Collective, which is coached by myself.


What impact has Kids Yoga Therapy had on your families?

The techniques I teach help kids face their fears. For example, a child who was attacked by a dog can now walk into a house with dogs without going into a fear meltdown.

We have also been able to help children who struggled to communicate their feelings find new methods to do so. And foster children who have participated in our programs now have learning tools to help them when they feel overwhelmed by the unpredictability in their world.


What is the most rewarding part of being a yoga teacher and working with kids?

Seeing children’s proud happy faces when they tell me how brave they have been in situations that previously would have left them overwhelmed with fear, and being able to support families during times of turmoil – these are the things that make me feel fulfilled as a yoga teacher and a social worker. Plus, working with children brings out my inner child, which I love!

If you’d like to know more about how Jess can help you or your family, she’d love to hear from you. Reach out here. And we always love to hear from our mini families at mini too! Drop us a line or give us a ring for a chat anytime!

Interview with Michelle Moloney

Infusing vibrant energy into the nanny industry

‘The perfect fit for you.’ – Michelle Moloney, Director of mini Nanny Agency

‘The perfect fit for you.’ – Michelle Moloney, Director of mini Nanny Agency

When Michelle Moloney, Director of mini Nanny Agency, stands up to greet you, it takes only a moment to see why she is breathing fresh life into the nanny industry. Her smile is warm and genuine and she is quick to greet you with a hug, and break out in laughter. She is vibrant and charming, with an effusive energy that is contagious – and when she sits down to chat, you know she is ready to put that energy into getting to know you.

These traits are perfectly aligned with mini where they adore kids, and pride themselves on making the journey of finding a nanny (both for the families and the nannies!) easy, personal and, above all, fun. Michelle, who has been at the helm of mini for the past four years, knows the value of personalised service and the team at mini will always take the time to get to know every family and nanny that they work with to ensure the best possible match.

It’s about time that we took that same approach, and got to know Michelle as well!

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Michelle, tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

Well, I’m a yogi at heart, and obsessed with Dr Pepper (not the drink, my dog!). I love nature, which probably originated from my early childhood growing up in the villages of the Philippines. But really, I’m just a girl that has always had a burning desire to do something meaningful by building genuine relationships. That explains my career perhaps!


What brought you to mini?

It was an introduction that was truly one of the best things that ever happened to me. I had just finished a recruitment contract and started a new job working with a small boutique recruitment agency. During that time, I also began managing mini. Soon I realised where my real love was, and one year later, boom, mini became my baby!


What makes mini unique as a nanny agency?

mini is not for the ordinary! We live for fun, and aspire to have fun every single day. Our mini team is incredibly personable – an important trait as that’s what our business foundation was built upon. And we are responsive. There’s no waiting game here at mini, and our clients can vouch for that. But our most unique characteristic is that here at mini we genuinely want to build sincere, authentic relationships – these relationships are what enable us to find the perfect fit.


What value does mini bring to their clients?

The mini team is here to solve Australia’s number one problem – childcare – while at the same time helping lovely, qualified and trustworthy individuals find meaningful forever jobs with a genuine purpose.


How do you find such incredible, trustworthy nannies?

Well, I can’t tell you all of our secrets otherwise we’ll be out of business! But I can tell you that at mini our expertise lies in our talent sourcing innovation. Our clients often say, ‘If anyone can find a nanny, it’s Michelle!’ We have an extensive in-house database with over 800 registered nannies, and also utilise some of Australia’s top job portals (and no, we aren’t talking about findababysitter.com!). Nanny referrals also go a long way and we take our families’ opinions very seriously.

We  ensure that each of our nannies is recruited using a rigorous onboarding process. It starts with the family registration, which each family completes and which we use to start their personalised nanny search. Then we begin advertising, including contacting suitable nannies from our database. This leads to a shortlist of qualified potential candidates.

From here the real hard work begins because at mini we are meticulous in our nanny screening. First we have a phone call with the potential nanny. If this goes well, we meet them for a face-to-face interview to really get to know their personality. We run validation checks, including police checks, blue cards, first aid qualifications, social media checks and, of course, references. It is only after all this background screening that we begin coordinating family and nanny interviews.

Of course our job isn’t done at mini. We’re there to relay feedback, participate in negotiation (always the fun part!) and supply all the onboarding paperwork once the perfect fit is found. This ensures that our clients are set up for a successful nanny relationship.

Recruitment is an emotional experience for our clients and ensuring there is clear communication throughout the whole cycle is key. You never know who or how your candidates will meet you on your path again!


How does mini help manage and meet the expectations of families and nannies?

That easy – educate and share knowledge!

Personally, what has been your biggest success as an entrepreneur? Biggest failure?

I don’t refer to myself as an entrepreneur – I prefer the term business owner or director! I feel that after four years in business, it is wonderful that we’re still here and that that’s an achievement every day. I really am grateful. Sure I make mistakes (little ones!) all the time, but I’m an improvement seeker and always want to grow and learn from them.


Where do you see mini going in the future?

I appreciate the hustle and bustle of small business, so for now I think we’ll remain a small business!

If you’d love to know more about mini Nanny Agency or Michelle, reach out here. Michelle is always keen for a chat or a coffee or, even better, both!

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Activities For a Rainy Day

Activities For A Rainy Day

Bad weather is hard on children. They want to run and play, but the weather won’t let them. That can lead to a serious case of the doldrums and cranky children! It’s up to parents to stop that from happening. Here are some fun rainy day ideas that will keep the kids engaged and happy.

 

Get Them Moving

The first problem is that your child is not getting enough movement. This can be a real source of boredom, and if he’s not active, he probably won’t tire out enough to sleep well. Here are some fun ways to get him moving:

 

  • Teach your kids to dance. There are a ton of YouTube resources where your child can find dance moves or the routines that pop stars use in their hit music videos. Check out Fit For A Feast, a website full of free online dance lessons, gymnastic tutorials, and more!

  • This is an excellent time to help your child learn about how to exercise in both rain or shine. Search YouTube for kids’ exercise videos. The Realistic Mama shares her picks for the 9 best videos that teach kids fitness.

  • You can also get creative and think outside of the box. Sure, building a couch fort and staging a battle can be fun, but with a little painting tape, you can create all kinds of neat activities for your kids indoors. Check out these 5 interesting ways to get them moving from Super Healthy Kids.

 If your child is not averse to getting wet and the rain lets up a bit, you can pull out the galoshes and let them play outside for a brief period to cool off. Of course, be sure that the weather is warm enough and you are not in severe weather conditions.

 

Sharpen Their Brain Skills

A break from school can cause kids to lose focus and even skills they learned in the classroom. Keep their brains sharp by engaging them in math and science activities and in everyday applications. Here are some great options: 

  • Did you know that teaching your children to cook is a great way to help them learn math as well as a valuable life skill? Measuring, mixing, and cutting ingredients into halves or quarters teaches math without them realizing it. Here are 5 family-fun recipes from Delishably. 

  • Board games are a great way to learn math as well as other skills. However, you can also create games of your own if the kids are bored of your current collection. Check out this Pinterest board full of math gamesthat you can make yourself. You should also take a look at this list of real-world math activities for kids from HomeAdvisor, which has over 100 ideas on games that kids will love that also boost math skills, including building a rubber band helicopter and designing a Barbie dream house.

  • How about a science experiment with ingredients you have right in your kitchen? Show your kids how to make their own glass of “lava” with this tutorial from Earth Science Jr.

 

Fun Online Activities

There are plenty of other online activities that they can do to enjoy the day as well, including:

  • Learn magic: This article from The Spruce Crafts teaches kids the basics of 11 magic tricks that are actually science projects. 

  • Drawing: Is your child interested in learning to draw? There are many artistic styles he can choose from, including line drawing, pen art, and cartoons, to name a few. Check out ThoughtCo.com’s list of drawing resources to find a lesson he enjoys.

  • Online Learning: If your child doesn’t exactly know his interest, this site offers a comprehensive list of free courses for kids, covering everything from game creation to learning the piano.

Bad weather days can be challenging for kids, but with a little creativity and supervised online access, they can actually learn something new and have some fun. You may even find your child wishing for rain.

Interview with Jo Menken

 
Jo Menken - Breast Wishes

Mini Nanny Agency is a proud supporter of Breast Wishes JOurney. Jo Menken is a super-mum who started this support community to inform others of the BRCA (BReast CAncer) susceptibility gene mutation, preventative measures, and procedures to raise funds for cancer research and create a supportive community.

How did your Breast Wishes JOurney begin?

I was diagnosed with the BRCA gene mutation which I inherited from my mum who had breast cancer in 2009. We didn’t find out about it until her sister was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2013. That’s when doctors became suspicious of the link between the two cancers and the BRCA gene mutation.

After Mum was tested and found to be BRCA2+ this prompted me and a few of my siblings to get tested for the same mutation.

Where does one go to get tested for BRCA? And at what age?

You can get tested with Genetic Health Queensland. I’m not sure at what age other people should get tested at.

I wouldn’t want my daughter to get tested until she’s gone through her teen years. I think the teenage years are already enough to deal with, and it should be her choice when she comes of age.

How did your friends and family react to the news of BRCA positive?

We have a family group chat, so we were already talking about getting tested before I found out. I think they were more worried about it than I was because they know I’m a sensitive person.

I just had a feeling that I had it. I knew that if I did have the BRCA gene, I would get a body cast made before having the mastectomy and put together some kind of fundraising event.

I got tested in 2014 and had the surgery in 2016. It took a long time because I went through the public health system—which I found was quite good. They also want to make sure that you’ll be able to cope with the body changes, so there were psychological tests and counselling involved.

What was it like for you to go through with the mastectomy?

I was consulting with a breast surgeon. They just wanted to get rid of the high risk of developing breast cancer and didn’t care for what I looked like after. They didn’t say that, but that’s how I felt.

Luckily, the public system also offered me to see a plastic surgeon, so I was able to see the two specialists and they worked together. I don’t think too many people know that this is available with our public health system. It does take a lot longer, but it’s there for you.

I was happy to have taken my time with the process. In the back of my mind, I thought I could always pull out of going ahead with the surgery if I wanted to. When it came to being a week out from surgery, I lost it a little bit because the realisation hit me that it was really happening.

Are you familiar with the stages of grieving? After accepting that I was going ahead with the surgery I grieved for the loss of my breasts. I was ready and calm going into the surgery, but I did a lot to prepare myself for that day—meditation, massages, journalling—just to mentally prepare.

After the surgery, I thought “that wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be”—don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t as bad as I had made it up to be in my mind. It’s the unknown that’s scary. I was sharing this journey from the start because it was helpful for me in getting support, but more so that others could find information for what to expect and hopefully take away some of that fear for them.

Body Cast - Breast Wishes Journey

Who are some of the organisations and people who helped you start this project?

I googled “body cast Brisbane” and I connected with Paula from Serenity Body Casting who couldn’t do what I had in mind, but she connected me to a man who used to do these body casts, but no longer did them.

I thought it wasn’t going to happen, but Paula contacted me and was able to get him to help, we did the body cast the day before my surgery. Tove Langridge from TW Fine Art put his artwork on the cast and we auctioned it off at the first Breast Wishes Ball for over $1000!

What can people expect at this year’s Breast Wishes Ball on October 6th?

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and the Ball is a celebration of life. There will be live entertainment, live and silent auctions and raffles. There are lots of positive vibes and people coming together in support of a great cause. There are no VIP tickets because everyone’s a very important person.

How do you juggle Full-Time work, Breast Wishes Journey, and being a Full-Time mother?

I don’t know. I’m so passionate about what I do, and I do it because I love it. I love the feeling that I get from helping others. I work a lot of hours writing proposals, marketing etc outside of my full-time day job, but it doesn’t feel like extra work.

My daughter, Cam sees that what I’m doing is important to me. Now that she’s a bit older, she helps me with fundraising and it’s amazing to see her empathy towards the cause and towards me.

What do you think parents can do to teach children about breast cancer?

I have a video called “Touch Yourself” that teaches people how to self-check and familiarise with their bodies. Look for any changes like bumps and lumps and get checked out.

I think parents should become familiar with the techniques so they can teach their children to get to know their body when they think appropriate.

What’s your message to other women going through what you’ve gone through?

You are strong enough to do anything. I never thought I’d be strong enough to do any of this, but you somehow find the strength.

I always thought I was a big wuss. I was scared to even go under anaesthetic. But this proved that I’m stronger than I thought and I believe that’s the case for all of us.

Big projects on the go?

Product manufactured at the moment proceeds from sales will go to Brisbane Breast Bank.

I’ve partnered with the Newstead Brewing Co. again. We’re doing a BRCA Brew Pale Ale in the next month or so and we’ll have a launch event for it. The whole idea is to get more men involved as they can get breast cancer too. Newstead Brewing Co. has been so supportive!


Mini Nanny Agency is donating $50 from every permanent nanny placement towards the Breast Wishes JOurney ball which will go towards funding the Brisbane Breast Bank for clinical research.

Jo has also partnered with Nicole from Pro Cosmetic Tattoo who specialises in 3D nipple and areola tattoos. After a mastectomy, people have the option of nipple reconstructive surgery or leaving it bare.

Alternatively, women will opt for areola tattoos. Nicole offering one complementary tattooing session a month (with some minor requirements). If you or you know anyone interested in this generous service, reach out to Jo.




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Meet Nanny Manda

 
Meet Nanny Manda - Mini Nanny Agency

This spunky nanny has an Instagram video of herself dancing to the noise of power tools.
It’s apparent upon meeting Manda that she’s the kind of person who finds music and movement in everything she does. 

We caught up with Nanny Manda and her pup, Meeku. Manda moved to Brisbane from Adelaide earlier this year, and we had the pleasure of matching her with a down-to-earth family with two minis. 

We talk about how she got into nannying, the importance of communication with parents, and what it’s like to be a children’s entertainer. 

How did you get into nannying?

I’ve always looked after children ever since I was old enough to do so. I helped bring up my younger brothers and taught dance—nannying seemed like the obvious thing for me.

How did you come across Mini Nanny Agency and Michelle?

I found Mini online. I was looking for a nanny agency because I’ve worked with one before—it was nothing like Mini! 

Mini’s website is inviting, and I could see Michelle’s values come from the photos and blog posts. 

Why do you love working with kids?


I’m a kid at heart. I also want to help bring kids up learning the right things so that the world has more decent human beings.

Can you describe a favourite nanny moment? 

Only one? I loved being there for the kids’ “firsts.” I’ve been around to watch kids take their first steps and when they’ve said their first words. It’s so exciting! 

What are some challenges you've experience nannying?

Being at the same level as the parents when it comes to discipline can be a challenge. I’ll always work with the parents when it comes to discipline, but sometimes the communication can get lost. It’s important to maintain your boundaries.

I don’t want to come across as too bossy or harsh with the kids, but I also to be taken seriously. 

Ask lots of questions and set boundaries up from the start with what you’re comfortable with. 

Generally, I only want to work with families with the same values. I think Michelle did a great job finding the right family for me in that sense.

What’s something a parent has done to make you feel really appreciated? 

The little gestures like being invited to birthday parties mean so much and the thoughtful gifts for Christmas and birthdays. It shows they have really been listening and makes me feel like part of the family. 

What you do outside of nannying? Your Instagram says you’re a choreographer, dancer, children-entertainer?

I love to hike Mount Coot Tha with my husband and Meeku in my spare time. 

I haven’t done much children-entertainment lately, but I did clowning and suit-work for ABC kids. My claim to fame was Lulu from Bananas In Pyjamas for meet & greets in the city.

Unfortunately, a lot of these shows are now computer generated, so this costume work is not as popular anymore because the character won’t look like the show in person.

I also love to perform dance if I had the time to. Right now, my main focus is committing my time to the family I’m currently working with. 

I will sometimes take on relief work for dance instructors if an instructor is sick or away and they need someone to fill in. 

What’s your favourite activity to do with kids?

We do lots of playgroups. South Bank does “Little Days Out” on Thursday mornings. It’s different every week. They’ll have tents and set up play stuff and activities. The kids love it, and it’s a nice way to spend the day. 

What advice would you give someone who is looking to become a nanny?

Communication is so important with the parents, to communicate as much as you can. 

For kids, treat them like equals. Don’t be patronising or talk down to them. They like to think they’re “little adults” and they appreciate it when you listen to them. 

Anything upcoming you want people to know about?

I’d like to do performances, but I don’t have anything coming up. I’m still discovering what I can do in Brisbane. 

I’m doing a clothing endorsement with a clothing company out of the UK, so I’ll be looking to do photo shoots and videos for social media. 

Manda and Meeku

Manda and Meeku


If you want to keep up with Manda and Meeku's adventures you can follow her Instagram @_clockworkmanda_
 



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How To Teach Your Minis House Chores and Enjoy It!

 
baby-child-container-437746.jpg

The word “chore” tends to have a negative connotation. I can think of a million other things that are more fun than washing the dishes, folding laundry, or cleaning out the fridge—but it has to get done.

Teaching the value of chores to your kids can be a positive experience. It will require lots of patience, encouragement, and open communication. Household chores are about giving your kids the opportunity to participate in something greater than themselves which will foster a sense of life purpose.

Having your children participate in chores also teaches them responsibilities, basic household skills, and the value of hard work that they will take with them into adulthood.

Start as early as possible

Children are capable of doing a lot more than we realise. We need to give them the opportunity to show us.

You can teach basic chores to your child as young as 2 years old. Have your toddler put away their toys, toss rubbish in the bin, and fetch their own diapers and wipes.

Chores with Kids Mini Nanny Agency

Have patience

Your child’s “assistance” might take twice as long to complete than you doing it yourself, but resist the urge to shoo your toddler away when they volunteer to help you with chores.

Accept your child’s enthusiasm. If they’re younger, their work probably won’t be the best or the most efficient way to complete the job, but at least they’re eager to help you!

teach gratitude

Demonstrate gratitude

This ties into teaching your children gratitude which extends above good manners. It’s a matter of perspective. Demonstrating gratitude to your children for their thoughtfulness and efforts is the best way to instil gratitude into their daily lives.

Practising gratitude teaches that the toys, food, and comforts in the home don’t manifest out of thin air. Everything takes effort and work— when children realise that, they’re less likely to have that sense of spoiled entitlement and can begin to develop a healthy understanding of how interdependent we are.

Create a routine

If you want these lessons to stick with your kids, make a routine out of it. Take the nagging out of chores and make some chores a non-negotiable action.

For example: Get your children to automatically used to picking up after themselves once they’re done playing; have everyone in the family assemble to the dinner table and clear it away after meals, or emptying the trash bin if they’re the last to fill it up.

You can also schedule a family cooking night on Sundays where the kids help prepare the meal, teach your kids to maintain the garden, or take the dog on the evening walk together after homework.

Give more responsibility and autonomy

Chipping into household chores teaches your children how to work, be accountable, and earn a sense of pride for their efforts.

The more accustomed they’ve become to doing simple chores, the better they’ll be at learning new complex tasks. Like taking on extra jobs to earn spending money, teaching family budgeting, and cooking meals.

Teaching kids to do chores
 

Avoid nagging

Practice makes better! Sometimes we can’t help but nag when frustration builds, but learning to use our words effectively will have a better effect on your children’s willingness to participate in chores.

Clearly communicate your expectations to your children ahead of time. You can also opt for one-word reminders instead of lengthy nags to prompt your kids to complete a task.

Set a good example

Motivation and emotion play a huge factor in getting your children to participate in chores. Children have a natural drive to be productive and are drawn to ask with clearly set goals.

If you show your children how to do your chores around the house in a timely manner without complaints, they are likely to model these behaviours after you. Let them know what tasks you’re working on and why it’s important to the family.


Having your children participate in chores also teaches them responsibilities, basic household skills, and the value of hard work that they will take with them into adulthood.

Conclusion

Manual tasks and learning to go hand in hand. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, equip your children with the skills they’ll need to function as an independent adult. These are skills that aren’t taught in school but are taught in the real world and in your home.

Download our Free Family Planner and place it on your fridge to help establish a family routine with chores. 



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Super-mum Nina of F45

 
Nina.jpeg

Meet Super-mum Nina of F45 Stafford, Newstead, and West End

Nina own three F45 studios in Brisbane: West-End, Stafford, and Newstead. She’s an entrepreneur, fitness trainer, and proud mum to Alastair and Harriet. We caught up with this busy super-mum to talk about finding her work-life-family balance, maintaining a fitness regime as a mum, and her entrepreneurial journey. 

What started your entrepreneurial journey? How did you end up owning 3 wildly successful F45 studios?

Nina F45 + Alastair

My partner and I were working in jobs we weren’t passionate about. We weren’t happy with what we were doing with our careers, so we decided we needed to take a risk and do something that we loved. 

When we first started we never envisioned owning three studios! We weren’t sure what F45 was all about, but after visiting a studio in Sydney and training in the first F45 studio in QLD (F45 Mooloolaba) for 2 weeks we thought we’d give it a go. It was a major risk and we even worked out how long we’d have to pay the loan off if it didn’t work out for us. It was a huge decision, but it was so worth it!  

Drew had to keep working for the first 6 months to support our family and I was doing 80-hours a week on my own to get the business up and running. I was teaching every single session of the day, but it was amazing! We made it work—After 6-months, Drew got to leave his job and come on board full-time.

As avid gym-goers, we saw that typical gym environments lacked a sense of community. F45 is all about service and helping people achieve their goals and building a meaningful relationship while at the same time pushing our members beyond their personal limits.

A year and a half after we bought Newstead, we bought Stafford. And a year and a half after that, West End (the first studio in Brisbane) went up for sale. 

We had a meeting with one of our trainers, Kat who has been with us originally as a member at Newstead, then a trainer at Newstead and Stafford. We thought she would be perfect to be a business partner for West End and now she’s part-owner. This journey has been incredible. 

What would be your advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Know what your goals are and stay true to them because there will be bumps in the road, but if you stay true to your standards and values, you’ll get there in the right way.

Our values are ‘The relentless pursuit of results’. When we relentlessly pursue results for our community, our team, for our business and our family, we know we’re pursuing things important to us especially during the times where it can be challenging.  

What do you think is essential for maintaining that work-life-family balance? 

Communication is key between myself and my Fiance Drew.  Both of us have fitness goals and work responsibilities so it’s important that we communicate openly so that neither of us misses out on the things that are important to us. 

Nina and Family

We are super supportive of each other and that makes achieving a work-life balance possible (most times). Something’s always got to give; If you put too much into work, your family will suffer. If you put everything into your family, your work will suffer.

I’m still figuring this out. For me, scheduling and prioritising is key, otherwise, I end up chasing my tail and always being late. 

Training advice for mums that are pregnant who want to keep active?

If you are already training, there’s no need to stop. Being pregnant is not an illness— your body can handle it if you’ve been training prior to pregnancy.

At every trimester there are some things that you will need to ease up on so make sure you get advice from a trainer that has experience with pregnancy and training as every pregnancy is different.

I would offer different modifications to make mum and baby feel safe, but also to ensure that you respect what is happening with your body during as your progress with your pregnancy. A lot of it is about having awareness of what feels right for your body and ensuring you have someone experienced to guide your training.

F45 Nina and training mums

As a trainer and mum yourself, with a 6-week old. Can you tell us about coming back to the gym after childbirth?

The Golden Rule for returning to training after childbirth is 6-weeks postpartum for a natural delivery or 8-weeks if you’ve had a C-section. We always request a clearance from your doctor after a C-section as it’s a big surgery and we want to make sure your body is ready.  

I felt comfortable enough to get into weights again after 3-weeks and at 6 weeks postpartum I am still taking it very easy.  I am mainly focussing on upper body, pelvic floor and maintaining a body weight program for lower body. 

I am still not ready to add in exercises like lunges as my pelvis and joints are still very loose and this causes me discomfort so keeping both legs on the ground for stability at all times!  I am slowly building my core strength again with advice from my chiropractor and haven’t started cardio yet.

It’s all about listening to your body and being comfortable with your capabilities. Do what’s right for you and be willing to take advice from professionals.

I know many mums can relate to putting too much pressure on themselves. I need to realise when I’m putting too much pressure to look a certain way or be a certain way. I need to stay true to my work and look after my body And respect where I am at physically.

Can you share some advice for new mums that you've found helpful? 

Don’t be so hard on yourselves. It can be daunting being a new mum. You read all the books, and they’re all conflicting and confusing. You feel like you’re not doing anything right, but this is your baby and your baby is different to the baby in the book.  Just do you and don’t be so hard on yourself. 

Build a community of support. Surround yourself with other mothers. At my Stafford studio, we run a 9:30 am class which is mainly filled with beautiful supportive mummas.  

We have someone looking after their babies and children while they’re working on their fitness and focusing on themselves for 45 minutes. The mums go for coffee afterwards, and it’s a great sense of community and support. 

Nina and her beautiful family Harriet and Alastair

What has been your favourite moment as a mum so far? 

The first time we went on a holiday with our son, Alastair when he was 3 years old. It was the first time we’ve spent more than 3 days with him. Prior to that, it was all work and building the business.

It was 7 days of being at the beach and hanging out as a family, and we thought “Shit! This kid is crazy!” 

We had so much fun with him and have focused heavily on a lot more family time since that holiday. It’s my favourite and memorable family moment, and now that we have Harriet, we’ll create more. 

Nina and Harriet

You’ve started a new membership program at F45 made especially for new mums. Can you tell us a bit more about that? 

It’s the active mum’s membership that’s currently only at Stafford. It’s designed for new mums 6-weeks postpartum with clearance from their doctor. It can be hard to find the balance of what your body is capable of after 6 weeks, and generally, mums stop training part way through their pregnancy, so you don’t want to get back into training so quickly. 

We designed this membership with 2 sessions with us at F45 Stafford and 2 yoga sessions with Jamie at Living Well Hub—located up the road from us.

Jamie will help rebuild strength in your core and pelvic floor and we will work on building strength everywhere else! It’s a great way to bring mums together and provide an environment where they can feel comfortable. 


Nina is all about entrepreneurship, fitness, motherhood, and community building! 

If you're interested in the Stafford F45 Active mums membership or would like to connect with Nina click on the button below! 



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10 Awesome Things To Do Around The Gold Coast The Whole Family Will Love

 
Things to do around Gold Coast With The Family

Gold Coast is a goldmine of family fun activities. It’s home to one of the world’s most beautiful and long sandy beaches, waterways, theme parks, and rainforest trails— there are boundless activities the whole family can enjoy. Here’s our list of 10 kid-friendly activities parents and nannies will also love.

Explore Mt. Tambourine

If you’re driving from Brisbane, Mt. Tambourine is just a short detour en route to the coast. The beautiful mountain village makes for a great day trip for the family with a bit of something for everyone to enjoy!
Activities: Shopping, hiking, galleries, cafes & restaurants

 

Bounce Trampoline Park

The Bounce Trampoline park Gold Coast in Burleigh Waters is Australia’s largest indoor playground. They offer a free-jump arena, basketball nets, dodgeball court, bubble soccer and more. Suitable for the whole family—and is especially fun for bringing out mum and dad’s inner child.

 

Mini Golf at Lilliputt

Mini Golf at the Gold Coast

Indoor mini gold is the perfect activity for those scorching hot afternoons. Lilliputt has 18 Ice Age themed courses with a blacklight/glow in the dark room. The lifelike creatures and beasts with state-of-the-art animatronics are sure to be a hit with the kids.

Burleigh Heads National Park

Burleigh Heads offers one of the best views around the Gold Coast and is popular for its ease of access, kid-friendly trails, and ocean breeze.

Activities: Hiking, Picnic, Swimming

Beach Day

10 Awesome Things to do around the Gold Coast

How lucky are we to have access to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches? Here’s a list of beaches along the Gold Coast that we love, and a list of dog-friendly beaches to bring our furry family members.

Abrakidazzle

This multi-level play centre is perfect for kids up to the age of 10 years old. It features padded equipment, slides, tunnels, bridges, and jumping castles to let your minis’ imaginations run wild.

Abrakidazzle also offers dance, singing, and acting classes.

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary 10 things to do around the gold coast

The Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is 27 hectares of Eucalyptus rainforest where the family can get up and close with Australian wildlife.

You can cuddle a koala, feed kangaroos and birds, and watch their spectacular animal shows and learn about caring for our wildlife creatures.

Visit A Theme Park

Visit A Theme Park 10 things to do around the gold coast

The Gold Coast is home to 5 theme parks and is the theme park capital of Australia. With Dreamworld, White Water World, Movie World, Wet N’ Wild, and Seaworld, your family is not short of choices!

Ice Skate at Planet Chill

Located in the Paradise Resort Gold Coast, Planet Chill indoor skating rink is open all year round. It’s the perfect place for younger kids to learn how to ice skate. They even have a “chill-zone” where you can play arcade games, air hockey, and foosball.

Australian Outback Spectacular

The Australian Outback Spectacular is a high-country meal experience the whole family will love. Enjoy a show filled with Australian history, awe-inspiring stunt riders, and animals with a 3-course meal.

 

Stumped on a mother's day gift idea? 

Treat her to a night out with a nanny gift voucher! 

 

 



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Home Adaptations and Preparations for Disabled Parents

 
Home adaptations and Preparations for Disabled Parents

Much of parenthood involves learning as you go, and that holds true for parents from all walks of life, including those who have a disability. At the same time, welcoming a little one into your life is a huge change, and it requires making some changes around your home, too. Taking the time to prepare now will help you feel ready and make it easier to adapt to the role of parenthood when the time comes.

 

Preparing Your Home

It’s completely normal to have some jitters about parenthood, especially when you wonder how you will care for a baby with a disability. The good news is that with options for adaptive equipment and online resources at your fingertips, there are ways to overcome just about any parenting challenge. Start by making some simple home modifications that will keep little ones safe and help with childcare skills.

 

1. Wheelchair accessibility

Your goal with home preparation is to anticipate the daily babycare tasks and find ways to do those effectively. Those primary needs are accessing the baby’s crib, changing diapers and holding and feeding them. Many parents choose to buy an adaptive crib that is accessible in a wheelchair, while others may choose an alternative option for the early days, such as a Moses basket or bassinet. In some cases, you may forgo special baby equipment altogether, like the mom at AbleThrive who recommends using a desk as a changing table.

2. Vision

If you have vision impairment, labelling children’s food with textured tape or Braille labels will make meal preparation easier. Other simple modifications can make everyday care easier such as installing grab bars in tubs and showers will assist in bathing your children.

3. Safety

Other changes around your home may be necessary to ensure your safety, as well as your child’s. Removing any tripping hazards is important in the early days when you will carry your child often, as well as later on once they are toddling. Using non-slip rugs and mats is another way to reduce falling hazards. Preventing falls is one of the top safety concerns with small children, so be sure to childproof your entire home carefully. If you have sight limitations, ask a friend to help with this checklist.

 

Prepare For the First Few Weeks

In the first few weeks with a newborn, focusing on their needs and trying to get enough sleep while also caring for yourself can feel overwhelming. Plan ahead by stocking your pantry and freezer so you have quick and easy meal options, as well as all household necessities. Gather up anything you need for postpartum care as well. And don’t hesitate to line up help! It still takes a village to raise a child, and all new parents find that enlisting the support of friends and family makes those first few weeks much easier.

 

Lean on Resources and Connections

Along the same lines, don’t forget that the Internet can be your friend when it comes to finding guidance. Even if you don’t know any other parents who have a disability personally, they are out there. Blind Motherhood is an excellent blog with all kinds of tips and tricks for parenting little ones. If you or your partner use a wheelchair, you can find inspiration from this family featured on She Knows.

While the Internet provides an amazing source for learning from others, don’t let that be the only place where you turn for support. Ask around in local parenting groups to find other parents who have disabilities. Of course, connecting with other parents doesn’t have to be limited to parents with disabilities. Invest in a good baby carrier or find an adaptive stroller so you can get out to parks and play dates. Simply getting out of the house and socializing is important for adapting to parenthood.

Making these connections and preparing your home now will help ease the transition to parenthood. Those early days are exhausting but wonderful, and preparing now will allow you to focus on bonding with your baby. Disability may make your experience of parenthood different in some ways, but that doesn’t have to mean limitations.

Guest post by: 
Ashley Taylor
http://disabledparents.org/


 

Brisbane, Gold Coast, Byron Bay, & Sydneys Premium Nanny Agency. 

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Meet Nanny Sam

 
Meet Nanny Sam

Meet Nanny Sam

How did you fall into nannying? 

I’ve had 6 children. They’re 24-35 years old now, so I guess you can say I’ve had a lot to do with kids; Caring for children comes naturally for me. 

When we moved to Sydney for my husband’s work, I applied for a nanny/housekeeper position and worked with the family for 8 years! I became part of the family, and it’s a real privilege to experience that and be there for the good and the bad. 

I started working with a family with twins in Brisbane 18 months ago and really enjoyed coming back and being a nanny for a family that reached out to Mini Nanny Agency online. I’m working with beautiful families here. 

 

How do you feel inspired to be the best nanny? What keeps you inspired? 

Every child and every family is different, so no two days are the same. I love the fun days I get with kids and the challenges that keep me on my toes. 

For me, it’s knowing that I get to support parents and be there for the kids and have fun with them and watch them grow up that makes nannying really rewarding and the job so inspiring. 

What’s been your favourite moment as a nanny?

I love moments when we can let our imaginations run wild! 

I love moments when we can let our imaginations run wild! 

I love the moments when the kids are just showing so much love. Just recently, I had a bit of a cold and I received a voice message from the boys that said, “Hi Sam. I hope you’re okay. We love you!” It just shows that they are thinking about me and it’s really nice. 

 

Your greatest challenge as a nanny? 

I think you have to put your own ideas aside on disciplining most of the time and support the parents with the way they discipline the children so that we are on the same page, and that can be very challenging. 

Saying "no" and working through temper tantrums are not pleasant, but you have to hang in there because the child will be okay.

 

What’s the best thing a parent has done to make you feel appreciated? 

This is with the family that Michelle had placed me with earlier this year--they are just gorgeous! In the second week, the family bought me a massive bouquet of flowers. The mum said, “thank you for being part of the family and for everything you do.”

I had only been with them for a short time, but it was such a beautiful gesture. It was really special. 

 

When you’re not on nanny duties, what makes you happy?

Sam and her beautiful grandson

Sam and her beautiful grandson

Spending time with my kids. I love spending time with my family and reading. I also volunteer and do a lot of work with my parish. I enjoy decorating the church for holidays like Easter and Christmas. 

 

Favourite activities with kids? 

Dress up as superheroes and listen to stories at the library with the minis!

Dress up as superheroes and listen to stories at the library with the minis!

We love going to the parks and libraries. 

Making parachutes out of tissues and Lego men is always a hit with the kids! Every household with a kid will have a Lego man--they make really good parachute guys.

Lego parachute men are always a hit in the household! 

Lego parachute men are always a hit in the household! 

You take the tissue or napkin and tie string to the four corners and attach it to the little Lego man and we go to the top and the stairs and send them down. The kids love this. 

I also love playing the made-up games with the kids. Their imaginations are amazing and it’s all about going with the flow.

 

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received? 

Just be honest and be yourself. You can’t go wrong with that, especially working with families.

 

What is your advice for aspiring nannies? 

If you enjoy working with kids, just go for it. It’s such a rewarding thing to do to support families and watch children grow. 




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The Difference Between a Nanny and a House Cleaner (there is a big difference!!)

 
nanny vs house cleaner

A nanny and a house cleaner have two very different jobs. Sure, a nanny takes on some tidying tasks around the house, but they are always centred around the children’s activities.

It’s their role to provide a safe, nurturing and stimulating environment for the children in their care.

nanny vs house cleaner

We believe this is a topic not spoken of enough, or people are generally unaware of. It’s time we set some records straight for nannies, babysitters, house cleaners, and families out there.

Nanny & Housecleaner Costs/Wages

An average house cleaner wage in Australia earns on average $25/ hour, and a nanny earns $25/ hour (depending on the nanny’s experience and skill set of course). We understand that raising a child is costly, but hiring one person to do both the role of a house cleaner AND a childcare professional for the cost of one person’s wage is simply unreasonable.

Some nannies are keen to do both roles, but when you’re finding the candidate to fill the position, make sure it’s clear from the start that you are looking for both a house cleaner and nanny. We can’t stress enough how important it is to establish an employment agreement contract with the people who work in your household. This clearly communicates the job description and so much more essential information.

What should go into an employment agreement contract? 

What should go into an employment agreement contract? 

What are a nanny’s responsibilities?

  • Create a safe and stimulating environment for children
  • Run errands
  • Light housework (general tidying, dishes, taking out the trash, etc…)
  • Reinforce appropriate discipline for the children
  • Help with homework
  • Tidy children’s bedrooms and play areas
  • Plan and supervise nap and bedtimes
  • School and activity drop-offs and pickups
  • Take the children out for outdoor activities and schedule children’s activities
  • Wash and clean up after the children’s meals
  • Prepare meals and snacks for children
  • Dress the children appropriate to the child’s activities
  • Bathe babies, change nappies, and prepare bottles, and feed

Although cleaning is not on this list, the reality is nannies clean a lot--all day, in fact. We all know kids and babies are messy. Nannies clean up the crumbs and spills after each meal, load and unload the dishwasher, tidy and organise the kids play rooms, disinfect toys, do the children’s laundry, wipe down the kitchen counters, and clean up after activities.

Nanny vs House Cleaner

Manageing Expectations

You wouldn’t ask your house cleaner to pick up your child from school or expect them to cook dinner for your minis, so it’s not appropriate to ask your nanny to clean the bathroom or do the whole family’s laundry.  

Most nannies are happy to do household chores like the dishes, tidying up after the children’s things, and light washing. If you’re asking your nanny to go above these duties, you will need to pay them for more for their time and workload, as nannies typically don’t look for positions to clean up after the whole family.

Mini Nanny Agency Kids Mess

Your Nanny is a Part of the Team

Messes that happen before a nanny is on duty, should be the parents’ responsibility. Please do not leave a mess behind for the nanny to pick up when they come on the clock. A great nanny will go above and beyond for their families because they are eager to help the family, but there is a point where the nanny begins to feel taken advantage of especially when families begin to take the nanny’s extra efforts as expectation. A little appreciation goes a long way, and teamwork is key to a happy household.

Are you a nanny who is doing more chores than you are comfortable? Please, speak up. Most the time, parents don’t understand it is not typical for nannies to pick up after the parents too, so have a meeting to voice your concerns. Are you willing to take on more household chores if the family compensates you with a raise? Or do you want your duties to remain childcare oriented?

If your nanny is happy to do so, you can schedule one day a week when you need your nanny to do some extra tidying up on top of their childcare duties and pay them a higher rate for that day.


Parents, are you thinking this might break the bank? Consider what is more important to your household at this time: a house cleaner or a nanny?


Brisbane, Gold Coast, Byron Bay, & Sydney Premier Nanny Agency


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6 Mindfulness Practices To Teach Your Minis

 
Teaching Mindfulness to your minis

I’m sure you’ve heard the buzzword, ‘mindfulness’ being thrown around lately and for good reason. A mindfulness practice has proven to increase mental health and cognitive function, increased emotional regulation and self-control, and a decrease of stress and psychological distress in adults.

 

What exactly does it mean to be mindful?

Mindfulness is the state of being fully awake to life and being aware and focused on the present rather than thinking about the past or worrying about the future, which often is our brain’s default mode. It's the human ability to be fully present in the moment and to be aware of ourselves and the space we occupy without being overly reactive to thoughts, emotions, or other stimuli.

In children specifically, mindfulness has shown to mitigate the effects of bullying, enhance focus in children with ADHD, and improve mental health and social skills. Teaching children how to practice mindfulness will set your children up with a strong foundation for emotional mitigation, empathy, and focusing techniques they will need later in life.

Michelle Moloney Yoga

The best thing parents and nannies can do to help children establish a mindfulness practice is by committing to a practice yourself, and role modelling your behaviour. Headspace is our favourite guided meditation app for a hectic schedule. All you need is a comfortable space and 5-10 minutes for your meditation with this app. You can also find community events for meditation classes and workshops in your area.

Mindfulness Practices for you children

Try not to complicate mindfulness activities with your children. Establishing a mindfulness routine takes significant time and practice, and is especially beneficial to you and your minis if you practice together. You can use these exercises before doing homework, settling down for bedtime, or getting over a fear or uncomfortable moments.

Mindful Hearing

Annaka Harris is a children’s book author and a volunteer mindfulness teacher for the Inner Kids Organisation. She has a guided mindful hearing meditation activity on her website that encourages children to guess the sources of a wide range of sounds to improve concentration. With practice, children can implement mindful hearing in their daily lives to connect them to the present.

Mindfulness With Children

Mindful Play

This is an activity the whole family can partake in. Dedicate a block of time for mindful play with your children by tuning out all distractions and making it a tech-free zone. If you find your mind wandering, simply bring it back to the present sensations of being with your child.

Mindful Cooking

Cooking is a whole sensory experience and a great way to spend quality time together for some mindful play. You can help your mini notice colours, smells, textures, and sounds in the kitchen.

Mindfulness with your kids

Mindful Breathing

Deep and slow breathing stimulates the nerve that connects the brainstem to the heart, lungs, and organs in the abdomen, the vagus nerve (part of the parasympathetic nervous system). In addition to slowing the heart rate, the vagus nerve controls the release of various neurotransmitters.

Left Brain Buddha shares a video of her son teaching different styles of mindfulness breathing. It helps your children visualise their breath and gives them something to focus their attention on. This is a skill they can take anywhere to relax both the body and mind in times of stress, pain, or concentration.

Mindful Stroll

Take your mindfulness practice outdoors with and engage your “spidey-senses.” You can both point out observations you’ve never noticed before in the neighbourhood and then commit another portion of your walk to complete silence simply noticing the sights, sounds, and smells from your walk.

Mindfulness Journals

This is where you can let your child’s creativity run free with their mindfulness practice. You can both commit to a mindfulness journal where you write or draw the things you’ve noticed on your mindful stroll.

The journal can also be a gratitude space where you write or draw something you are grateful for that day. Practising gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression. According to a study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, people who practice gratitude journaling have better sleep.


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Protect Yourself With Nanny Insurance: How to get covered and why it’s important

 
Protect Yourself With Nanny Insurance

Child care regulations for nannies and babysitters are not always clear because every household situation is unique, and every family has different requirements to support their child’s routines.

No one likes to entertain thoughts of worst-case scenarios, let alone have them become a reality. In a split-second, lives can change, and when it does you want to have the piece of mind that you are protected from shelling out significant expenses. We’re here to point you in the direction of getting the right information regarding your nanny and employer insurance.


For Nannies

Should I take out nanny insurance coverage?

If you are a self-employed nanny with an ABN number, nanny insurance is a must but not a legal requirement. As a childcare professional, you understand that nannies wear many hats. Your job encompasses everything from chef, chauffeur, educator, cheerleader, confidant, and entertainer.

Even if you’re a natural Mary Poppins, the fact remains that accidents can occur even when you and the family are cautious of any potential danger. When the child is under your watch, as the paid childcare professional, you could be held responsible if something were to go awry. Insurance is key to protecting yourself and your livelihood should an accident occur.

What kind of insurance should I have as a nanny?

Public Liability Insurance

Public liability insurance typically covers your legal costs and expenses in the event you are found negligent for personal injury or property damage to another party. Most insurance plans offer millions of dollars in coverage for Public Insurance at an affordable premium.

For example:
Administering the wrong doses of medication that leads to injury
Damaging property while cleaning or starting a cooking fire

 

Personal Accident Insurance

This insurance is popular among those who work in accident-prone environments, but as a nanny running errands for the family, working the before school and after school drop-offs and pick-ups, and extracurricular activities, this coverage is something you should carefully consider.


Personal Injury Insurance gives you peace of mind should anything happen to you while at work. You and your family won't have to worry about the medical or living expenses in the event of an accident.

Where do I go to find a nanny insurance plan?

Our go-to nanny insurance provider is nannysure by finura. You can find their insurance coverages and their premium pricing guide for child care professionals here. Nannysure has packages that cover both Public and Personal insurance, and if you are a member of the Australian Nanny Association, you are eligible to receive up to 30% off the insurance plans.


For Families

If I hire a nanny do I need employer insurance?

If you employ a household worker, it is required by law that you take out a Household Workers’ Insurance Policy to protect against potential compensation costs in the scenario your employee is injured while working in your home. The employees include nannies, babysitters, cleaners, gardeners, tradespeople, and other in-home care providers.

Among many the things that should be fleshed out in the early stages of interviewing and negotiating the employer agreement, insurance should definitely be a top priority. When you decide on employing a nanny, you must meet the obligations of employment.

Household Workers Insurance policies are governed by the state. So to learn more about employing a household worker please visit these websites:

WorkSafe Queensland
WorkCover New South Wales

If you have any other questions or concerns about nanny insurance or employment insurance, please don’t hesitate to contact the team. We’re happy to answer or refer you to the right people.



 

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Meet Nanny Kate: Nannying is the best job for her work-life balance

 

Kate Waud is a nurturing soul and mother of three kids: 12, 14, and 16. As her kids are getting older and gaining more independence, Kate reached out to mini Nanny Agency for part-time work that allowed for a work-family life balance and provided an outlet for expressing her creativity.

How did you fall into nannying?

My life is very family-oriented so, nannying is the perfect part-time job for my lifestyle. I homeschool my kids, and I love the flexibility this job offers.

I  appreciate the time Michelle took to figure out who I am. I think she does a great job matching nannies to families because the connection is such an important aspect of the job.

How do you feel inspired to be the best nanny or caregiver?

I love kids. It’s the little moments of connection I have with the kids that inspire me and remind me why I do what I do. The other day, the kids and I were playing school. I was the student and the kids were the teachers. It was so much fun to play pretend with them and watch their imaginations take over.

Having older kids, I understand the importance of play at a young age. When you’re parenting and are in the midst of it all, you don’t think the craziness ever stops, but when it did, I really missed it.

Kate  with her sleeping nephew and son. 

Kate  with her sleeping nephew and son. 

What has been your favourite moment as a nanny?

I’ve only been working with the family for a couple of months, which is not a long time in a kid’s life, but when you have moments of pure love you know you’re doing something right. I love the moments filled with cuddles and kisses.

What has been your greatest challenge as a nanny?

You have to learn the routines and personalities of the family members fast. When you come into someone's life, you need to figure these things out to make that transition as smooth as possible.

I also needed to remind myself that my experiences with my kids are not the same with the kids I'm caring for now, and it's always a learning experience.

What’s the best thing a parent has done to make you feel appreciated?

This is my first nannying job. The first week I worked with this family, the parents bought me a bottle of wine as a "cheers, you made it through the first week!" It was very thoughtful. 

When the parents notice my efforts around the house and the play time with the kids, it makes my job feel very fulfilling. 

When you’re not on nanny duties, what makes you happy?

I’m all about family and spending quality time with hubby. We love being outside and staying fit. We rock climb and I’m currently learning how to surf!

Kate and her beautiful family at the beach

Kate and her beautiful family at the beach

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?

If you don’t appreciate the little moments, you’re not going to like what you do. I don’t love sweeping someone’s floor, but I love knowing that I’m making someone’s life easier; and that's incredibly rewarding.

You have to love what you do, so you can easily put the boring chores into the context of the big picture.

Finally, What’s your hot 101 nanny tip/ advice to other aspiring nannies?

If you’re not willing to get on the floor and be a tiger, you’re going to have a hard time! I’m joking, but I think it’s all about making the effort to find points of connections with the family, especially the kids.

I first met the family right before Christmas, and I gifted the kids strawberry plants. I love gardening, and it’s something I wanted to share with them, and they love it! Gardening was our first point of connection and they still have the plants today. 

 

The Single Dad's Guide To Navigating the Challenges of Parenting

 
Filios Sazeides - The Single Dad's Guide to Parenting - Mini Nanny Agency

Written by: Daniel Sherwin

Parenting is one of the most amazing experiences in life, and yet it’s also incredibly challenging. As a single dad, those challenges are multiplied, but the rewards often are too. The trick is to find balance in everything from work to childcare and having a life of your own. That’s certainly easier said than done, but it is possible when you face these challenges head-on.


Challenge: Work/Life Balance

Single Dad's Guide to Parenting - Mini Nanny Agency - Pexels

When you’re parenting solo, you may feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. You have to work and provide for your kids, be there when your kids need you, and then still find time for yourself. The key to making it all work is flexibility. With telecommuting easier than ever, more employers are offering options where you can work from home. If working from home isn’t an option, ask employers if they can be flexible with your hours so you can work around your children’s schedules.

Flexibility also means being willing to ask for and accept help. Team up with other parents, especially other single parents, to help each other out. Chances are they can use the help just as much as you can. Create a carpool for school/activity drop-offs and pick-ups or swap childcare on a regular basis so parents can have scheduled times for childcare, freeing up a little time for themselves. Leaning on help from others and connecting with other single parents is beneficial to your mental health by keeping you from feeling isolated.

 

Challenge: You’re Stretched Too Thin
 

Juliane-Liebermann - The Single Dad's Guide - Mini Nanny Agency

Work/life balance is about more than just making sure you support your family. It’s about making sure your own needs are met, too. The way we eat, drink, love, and cope with stress, depression, and anxiety all play a big role in the state our mental health. Sometimes, it’s necessary to take a step back and ask yourself if you’re doing the right thing for you, and not the easiest thing.

It’s clear that many single dads struggle to prioritize self-care. A 2016 study found that single dads were twice as likely to report poor physical and mental health compared to dads with partners.Sometimes doing something simple and easy to care for yourself is all you need for a mental health boost.

 

Victor Freitas-The Single Dad's Guide-Mini Nanny Agency

Physical fitness is the ultimate in self-care because you’re taking care of your body, lowering stress, and boosting your mood all at the same time. To squeeze in some fitness, look for a gym that provides childcare or get active together with your kids. The Good Men Project recommends setting goals for yourself. Whether for fitness, simple daily self-care, or larger life goals, setting goals and working toward them keeps you focused on improving your own life.

 

Challenge: Do-It-All Parenting
 

Naassom Azevedo - The Single Dad's Guide - Mini Nanny Agency

In two-parent families, each person often takes on different roles in parenting responsibilities. As a single parent, you have to do it all, including being sensitive to kids’ emotional needs while still maintaining discipline. While this may not always be the case, many men are not raised to be nurturing caregivers, so you may not know how to handle this role.

One single dad at the National Fatherhood Initiative recommends letting go of your expectations for parenthood. If the sensitive side of parenthood doesn’t come naturally to you, accept that and be willing to learn from your children as much as they do from you. The thing to keep in mind is that as you learn to be nurturing, sensitive, and strong all in one, you are showing your daughters and sons that men can do all of these things.

Carly Rae Hobbins - The Single Dad's Guide - Mini Nanny Agency

Being a balanced role model for your kids is just one example of how being a single dad can actually make you a better parent. It still isn’t easy, but going through these highs and lows together will make your relationship with your kids stronger, too. Just remember to care for yourself because you can’t be the parent you need to be if you’re running on empty.

 

Meet Supermum Vicky from Boppin' Babies

 
Boppin Babies

Babies learn to understand through music long before they understand words. Through
cooing, lullabies, and humming, caregivers communicate with infants through
music every day whether they realise it or not. There have been many studies conducted suggesting that music positively effects linguistic, social, and cognitive development in children, further demonstrating the importance of music in our lives. 

I had the chance to interview Vicky, the founder and director of Boppin Babies in the midst
of her handing in her PhD paper- she's another incredible super-mum and local business
owner mini absolutely loves to support!

Vicky is a Registered Music Therapist and created Boppin' Babies as a music early learning program designed to harness the science of music therapy combined with the spontaneity of music and movement to empower parents to live a musical life with their babies.


What is music therapy, and how does it differ from music education?


I wouldn't call Boppin' Babies either.  We're somewhat in the middle of music therapy and music education. 

Music therapy is a research-based practice using a very specific plan with music as a treatment to sort through social and emotional issues. Music Therapy uses music in a planned way to help people reach their potential. Whereas music education teaches the learning of music. 

Infants are inherently sensitive to music so we don't teach an infant pitch or tonality, but we give parents the confidence to interact with their babies musically. 

I meet a lot of parents who aren't confident to use music. I see my main role is to empower and educate. Humans are engineered to interact musically with their babies. Parents who are attached to their child in a positive way will interact with their child in a naturally musical way without even knowing. 

Helping parents be in the musical moment and take delight in their child's musicality is
what we do. Music is proven to improve milestones in learning as well. You can only win.


How did Boppin' Babies come about?

Babies playing - Boppin Babies


When my daughter was an infant (10 years ago) we went to music programs, but the stuff I
took her to didn't offer the things I wanted out of a music program. There wasn't
anything wrong with them, but it wasn't what I wanted. These programs had more of an
educational focus which was not necessary for a 4-month- old.

Children are innately musical, we don't need to teach them. At Boppin’ Babies, we don't teach music until preschool, and by then they have been surrounded by music for so long they
can sing in pitch and have a great sense of rhythm.

I just wanted a space to be a mum and be musical. I was in a mother's group and brought
my guitar one day to sing to the bubs. One of the mums said it was  "sublime" and told me I
should be charging, so I started a little group, mostly for my daughter, and word of mouth
started to grow and Boppin’ Babies grew from there.


What are some of the activities Boppin' Babies puts together?


Coming from a music therapist background, a lot of what we do is research-based and
focused on parent-child attachment theory and early childhood development
philosophy.

We show how music can support a child's development, and we nurture the parent-child relationship through musical play and interactions.

Everything we do session plan structure, but we let the spontaneity of music and the children lead the program. That way the class is not prescriptive, rather it is but more child-led and flexible in how we use our session and lesson plans.

We use our voices to lead, and our guitars to accompany, and always start and
end the days with hello and goodbye. The class structure is repetitive because children
learn best with structure and like the predictability, but every day will be different.

Our classes have a goal to instil confidence to make music at home. Most of the toddler
and infant development happens at home, not in the one-hour session.
Our job is to
enrich, empower and provide families with a space to practice each week.

Baby drums - boppin' babies


Can you give any advice for first-time boppers coming to a class?


Our program is catered to ages 0-4. My advice for first-time mums is to have the
confidence to sing to your baby. Your baby is hardwired to hear you. They want to hear
your voice, even humming is stimulating physically in its vibration when holding your baby
as well as auditorily. Sing to your baby like no one (else) is listening.


For first-time mums coming to a class, my advice is: We won't over stimulate your baby. I
think there is a focus on "sensory" which has been a buzz word lately. Mums think they
need to do this, but they don't. Kids don't need constant stimulation, they're already
exposed to a lot of stimulation.

Play guitar - Boppin' Babies


I have an article on my website talking about sensory programs.  We're not
a sensory program, we are a music program. But music is still sensory and provides
enough sensory stimulation. We just don't believe in overstimulating. We're more about a
gentle approach with live music and support through multi-modal stimulation.


How do you approach parents that might feel anxiety towards singing if you ever get any?


For the parents who don't feel particularly comfortable singing, we give them many
different resources to help them overcome that, and we'll give them options to make
different music at home like playing or listening to music, making shakers out of plastics. Containers for example, until they feel comfortable to hum and then sing.
 

What is the day in the life of Vicky, RMT/Founder of Boppin' Babies/ mum/ wife?

Depends on which day.  My days are busy but they're fun! Before school, my daughter and I get plenty of cuddles in and she practices her violin. When she's at school, I go to work either running music groups each day, teaching children music, or working on my PhD and research.

I run 11 music groups a week with babies, toddlers and pre-school schoolers at Chermside. A couple mornings a week, I teach music too. When I come home, I do the business administration and work on my PhD.

My husband or I will pick my daughter up and take her to sports, walk the dog together, or
do homework. My daughter goes to bed quite early, so I'll continue with research or work
on my business at night if I need to.

I use my time well. One thing that motherhood did for me was teaching me how to be
extremely efficient- I can get a lot done!

Boppin' Babies and Vicky


How do you find that work-life balance with Boppin' Babies and your family?


I take a day or two a week out just to study, but I have to pull back sometimes, other than
that it's been fine. What I research is closely aligned to what I do, so it never feels like
there's a pull.

My husband works from home, so we're quite flexible and equally parent like a partnership. This helps. I try to take afternoons off most days to be with my daughter, and then work at night when she is in bed.


What are some of your favourite activities to do with your daughter?


We love singing!I help out sometimes with her community choir and I love seeing the
musical side of her. It's becoming a real part of her personality.

She's great at sports. Hockey, swimming, touch football. We also like to go bush-
walking on weekends and camping. We like to get away from our phones and iPads.


Where would you hope Boppin' Babies to be in the near future?

boppinbabies toddlers


Boppin' Babies is turning 10! We're throwing a party in September during school holidays
at Roma Street- so stay tuned for that.

Our business has really grown up in 10 years. We now offer music therapy and music
education to cater for our Boppers as they grow up. And we provide music therapy to
special education settings and adult disability services. I love that we can now support and as our little boppers musical journeys as they grow up.

I see us positioning ourselves to provide greater support to all families through a wider
capacity and more programs. We're running more community groups and holiday programs, as well as events and activities every day.


Do you have any advice for entrepreneurial mums out there?


If you have a passion and want to turn it into a business, my advice is to do a fair bit of
research and to look for something unique or niche to provide to the market.
Go into
classes to get the skills, like social media and marketing that are so important these days,
and then go for it!

It can be overwhelming and stressful, but it makes you whole hearted. It's such a lovely
way to live if you can create an income and support your family from the very thing you're
passionate about. It will be your passion and lifeline.

Music is in our blood, it defines who we are as a family. I love this and would recommend that to anyone, to find their passion and make it their own.

Baby hand and guitar - Boppin' Baby