For many working parents, the
start of school year means more work – for them. Here our principal software
engineer, Robin, reveals one trick that’s already helped ease the anxiety and
tension -- so she can spend more happy time at home.
I started dreading the start of the new school year in June.
Sure, I’m enjoying the lazier days of summer. My girls are at camp which means no lunches to make, no homework to check. And no drama (well, less drama – I still have two teen girls under one roof!).
I can have the after-school activities booked, the care-schedule in place. That’s nothing. It’s more that my 15-year old daughter stresses me out from September to June. Like clockwork.
My daughter is beyond driven. The pressure she puts on herself take over our house. She wants to get the best grades, be the best athlete, log community service hours and work to earn money for a car. Last year she struggled in a few honors-level classes, and would be up late into the night trying to get her assignments completed – after swim practice and dinner. Her quest to get all A’s (an A minus just won’t do) and build the perfect resume, meant too little sleep, regular stomach aches, and frequent arguments borne of frustration. By the end of the school year, her confidence was weakened. Especially when it came to math.
But math has always been my strength. I was a computer science major after all. Admittedly, I’m a little rusty when it comes to high school algebra. And my daughter has no patience while I get up to speed. Fights start and our relationship tenses. I think back on the days when I was the smartest person in her life. But now, like many mother-daughter relationships, I no longer seem to know anything!
So this summer, I finally convinced her to get a tutor. She was reluctant because she’d always thought that tutors were for kids who were "behind" or not as smart. I finally convinced her that having a tutor to prepare her in advance for next year’s math class would help her feel on top of the material -- and that would build her confidence (as well as lessen her stress-level).
Once she agreed, the funniest thing happened – her younger sister said she could use a tutor too!
So I created a math tutor job post and heard from a ton of tutoring agencies. One franchise owner came over, met with all of us, talked to the girls’ teachers about their strengths and weaknesses, and hand-selected the tutor who would be best for their needs. Even better: the tutor would come to our house!
I have to tell you -- this is the best thing I’ve ever done. We started the sessions this month and our house is already calmer. I’m calmer. My older daughter is going over next year’s Algebra II curriculum, while the younger daughter is refreshing her grasp on last year’s pre-algebra. And the level of confidence I see in both of them is refreshing.
I feel so much better about the roller-coaster ride this fall will bring. I’m sure we’ll still have our tense moments. But hopefully now we’ll only argue about who does the dishes!
Tell me, what stresses you out about the start of the school year? How are you handling it?
July 29, 2013
For many working parents, the
start of school year means more work – for them. Here our principal software
engineer, Robin, reveals one trick that’s already helped ease the anxiety and
tension -- so she can spend more happy time at home.
December 12, 2011
Last week, I posted Care.com’s 2011 Top 5 Gifts for Caregivers and promised that I'd decode the gift of money this week. We tip waiters with every restaurant meal, but when it comes to our caregivers, we may be a little out of practice when calculating the right monetary "thank you." A spa gift certificate, homemade cupcakes, a tip or a bonus? The truth is that, when you find someone who truly cares for your family, the holidays are a great opportunity to show your gratitude – and ensure that your caregiver happily stays with you throughout the new year. To help determine the right holiday gift, check out the guide below for part two of our holiday celebration for caregivers:
Provide full-time nannies and au pairs with a holiday bonus – the equivalent of one week's salary.
While this is the standard, if finances are tight this year, consider giving your nanny an extra week to a few days of paid vacation spread out during the following year. Add a homemade gift. Don't forget that generally, nannies do not get paid vacations on the major winter holidays, including Thanksgiving, the day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Years. If you ask them to help out on any of these days, be sure to pay time and a half.
For babysitters who care for your children on a regular basis, provide a tip – about one or two night's pay. If you want to thank an occasional sitter who helps out on date nights or provides back-up care, send a card with a gift certificate (see last week's post for specific ideas) of about $25.00-$50.00. Again, nice homemade goodies, made with help from the kids, are also a great "thank you."
Special Needs Caregivers
Special needs caregivers can play a crucial role in the lives of our children and loved ones. Like nannies, if your special needs caregiver is full-time, provide the one week salary holiday bonus. If he or she visits only occasionally, stick with the one-or-two-visit tipping rule. However, if your caregiver goes the extra mile in caring for your loved one, make sure that your gesture reflects his or her dedication.
A tip equivalent to one tutoring session is appropriate for tutors who have really made an impact on your child's learning, and I also like to involve my guys in the gift-giving by having them make a thank you card or small gift.
If your full-time senior caregiver is employed independently by you and your family, operate under the one-week-salary bonus rule or two weeks for caregivers that have been with your family for multiple years. If he or she is employed through an agency or works at your senior's facility, be sure to check with the management regarding policies on tipping. If you know that the caregiver has really gone out of their way to make your aging parent or loved one as happy and well-cared for as possible, give a little extra – check out The Gift of Relaxation section from last week.
Pet Sitters and Dog Walkers
An occasional pet sitter could get a gift card or an equivalent to an extra day's pay. For a dog walker that comes by when you're at work and on a daily basis, provide the typical week's salary as a holiday tip. And if you make regular visits to the groomer, give them a little tip or gift as well.
In general, housekeepers should receive anywhere from 50 percent to 100 percent of their usual weekly fee. Accompany your holiday tip with a nice card or holiday goodies. If you occasionally hire a house cleaner to come in before a house party or a visit from relatives, a tip is nice, but not necessary.
Ultimately, bonuses are greater amounts for full-time caregivers, and tips are a percentage or extra full day’s pay for part-time or occasional caregivers. Whether you choose to give presents, extra paid vacation time, bonuses, or tips this holiday season, ensure that your gift matches your own feelings of gratitude towards the caregivers of your loved ones.
Check out these articles for additional holiday reading:
Ho Ho Ho… How Much? Holiday Tipping Tips from Ettiquette Experts
Holiday Tipping: A Holiday Bonus Guide for Your Caregivers
Holiday Recipes Your Kids Will Actually Eat
December 05, 2011
Every year around the holidays, the Care Team and I notice that families are struggling to find the right gifts for their caregivers. I know from experience – finding that ideal present can be surprisingly difficult. Our caregivers occupy a very special and unique place in our lives. It can be hard to believe that from a simple online profile, they become so much more: our sanity-keepers, peacemakers, stress-relievers, lifesavers, and trusted allies. We call them when there's an emergency. We call them when we need a break. And, every day, we trust them with the most important things in the world: our children, parents, pets, and homes. So how do you say that super-special thank you?
Idea #1: The Gift of Relaxation
You know that your caregiver could likely use some relaxation time – because you know exactly the kinds of messes they've been cleaning, the kids they've been running after, and the dogs they've been walking. Spa gift certificates, including pedicures, manicures, massages, and even time at the hair salon, are all great gifts. Stop by your local spa or salon to ask about a gift card or purchase online. A great fit for babysitters, nannies, housekeepers, pet sitters, and senior caregivers.
Idea #2: The Gift of Good Cheer
Help your caregiver eat, drink, and be merry with special treats that they wouldn't buy for themselves. I'm partial to gift baskets with a mix of healthy and decadent options, like pears with chocolates. To go even healthier, check out local options, such as farm shares and co-ops for potential veggie deliveries to your caregiver's doorstep during the growing months. For the decadent route, find near-by specialty stores and support your local community with wine or cheese basket gifts for your caregiver.
Idea #3: The Gift of Tech
Giving that perfect tech-toy can be a great fit for more than just the younger generation of college caregivers. I know our housekeeper is always plugged into her iPod and favorite playlist. IPod nanos are currently about $129.00, and iPod shuffles are even less: $49.00. If your babysitter is already rocking out with an iPod, consider an iTunes gift card. Another great gift this year is Amazon's Kindle at $79.00. (And just a nerdy techie sidenote: after Black Friday, their latest Kindle Fire tablet, priced at $199.00, is rivaling Apple's $499.00 iPad).
Idea #4: The Gift of Heart
Since caregivers can play such uniquely intimate roles in our lives, consider making a homemade gift if you are looking for a more personal way to say "Thank you." Get the kids involved. Visit the local craft store for fun ideas like homemade soap or candle-making kits. Take a great picture of your nanny playing with your kids, and have your little ones help you put together a festive magnetic frame for the fridge or even a beautiful ornament for your caregiver's tree or home. Snap a picture of your dog in a Santa hat - this is also a great idea for pet sitters and dog walkers.
Idea #5: The Gift for the Whole Family
Finally, think about giving a gift that your caregiver's entire family will enjoy. If you want to go the food route, don't forget to take any food allergies into consideration. For example, if anyone in your caregiver's family has a gluten allergy, find gluten-free baked goodies, and create a unique food allergy-friendly basket. Buy a subscription to a print or e-magazine, like Living Without for food allergy families or fun kid magazines, like National Geographic Kids. If you have any pics of your caregiver with his or her family, add them to digital picture frame for a great family gift.
As you review these options and try to decide on how much you should spend in time and money, think about your caregiver's relationship with your family. I generally recommend going bigger for nannies, housekeepers, pet caretakers and senior caregivers that have become honorary members of the family. Consider smaller gifts for occasional babysitters, pet sitters, and dog walkers. And of course cash is always welcome, but do you know how much to give? Tune in next week to our article on tipping.
Check out these articles for additional reading:
Holiday Bonus Guide
Outsource Your Holiday Stress
September 05, 2011
Right now, you and your child are most likely experiencing the effects of that potent back-to-school elixir: two parts stress, three parts excitement, one part high expectations, and a generous dash of chaos. It is a universal American experience that we – both kids and parents – feel an incredible sense of potential at the start of each school year. And, to enhance the excitement around this new beginning, we parents do everything we can. We buy fun new clothes and shiny school supplies. We help our kids to create the perfect study space at home. And, at the end of the day, we encourage our kids to share their new experiences around the dinner table. Or we do as many of these things as possible!
The truth is that we are hoping that the excitement of each of these steps will help propel our kids through the challenges that the new school year presents. Kids have to transition from summer mode to school mode and adjust to a more rigorous set of expectations from teachers and parents. New classes come with more complex social structures, increased responsibility and, of course, homework. Once you find yourselves deep into November, it can be easy to wonder, where did all that back-to-school enthusiasm go?
To keep the momentum going throughout the year, concentrate on these three strategies:
Keep talking. “How was school today?” At some point, your innocent question will engender a sullen, “Fine.” Sure, it could be because you took away TV privileges until certain vegetables were consumed, but it also could be that something happened at school. Instead of asking such a general question, keep tabs on ongoing projects or relationships. Was your friend, Emily, bossy again today? Did you play tag at recess? Don’t forget to incorporate your nanny into the conversation. Your caregiver can be a valuable barometer of your child’s mood and activities. Together, you can get the temperature on whether your child’s enthusiasm for school is waning.
Don’t fall behind. When you begin to suspect that your child could be headed for a downward spiral with homework, for example, don’t wait to act. It can be tempting to hang back and see how things pan out, but when it comes to schoolwork, if your child seems to be on the verge of struggling, take action. Check in with the teacher. Ask yourself, does my child need a tutor? Even if it is for only one day a week, a tutor can give you child that special attention that he or she may not be getting at school. Work with the teacher to get the most of the experience.
Spread the enthusiasm. If you’re excited, they’re excited. While we all have different relationships with learning, there have to be some elements of your child’s schoolwork that you can get excited about. If he or she is just learning to read, get them some fun books to read together at home. Talk about the books that your parents shared with you. Incorporate school themes into home life. Are they learning about addition and subtraction? Have them help you double a recipe for homemade pancakes. Ultimately, if you are excited about learning at home, you can help everyone preserve that back-to-school energy throughout the year.
Have you found that the shiny veneer of new school year excitement goes away a little too fast? How do you help your little ones stay focused?
August 15, 2011
This year, on top of the usual life stressors, going back to school seems to be extra-charged with parental fears: cyber-bullying, school social life, finding child care, academics and generally keeping our kids safe and happy. If you have a new caregiver starting in the fall, it can feel like just more work to get her up-to-speed. Instead of scrambling to get everything done by the first day of school deadline, spend about 15 minutes each on these 5 Back-to-School Basics:
#1. Do Your Homework
It’s worth doing a little work now to ensure both you and your caregiver feel comfortable throughout the school year. Create or update the Emergency Child Care Checklists that live in your home. Walk through the list with your caregiver and make sure he is confident in following your instructions. Just to start, provide your nanny or caregiver with a written description of the daily routine. Include meal times, activities, and errands. Ask your caregiver to take notes while you’re away or use a Child Care Checklist to track the events of the day.
#2. Tackle Their Homework – With the Nanny
When’s the last time you used the quadratic equation? Calculated the diameter of a circle? If your child is facing math that you haven’t touched in years, it’s possible that your nanny may more easily recall that pi equals 3.14. Either way, talk about helping with homework and set expectations. If you are still looking for a caregiver for your school-age kids, take the helping with homework factor into the hiring equation – don’t hesitate to ask about it in the interview. For truly tough homework struggles, a tutor might be the best solution.
#3. Be Strategic
Get organized, and create a couple of systems that will guide you through any future frantic moments. Don’t build complicated schemes that are overly demanding. If you know laundry just isn’t going to get done every night, plan outfits on the weekends for you and the little ones. Freeze a few homemade meals now for those future nights when a healthy dinner just isn’t going to make itself. Check out our Back to School Cheat Sheet for tips on ultra-organization. And if your world seems to be spiraling out of control, read these Secrets of an Organized Person.
#4. Be Safe
If you have any specific concerns about your child, social life at school, cyber bullying or anything, talk to your caregiver. Share your concerns. Talk about things to watch out for and behavior to monitor. Don’t forget to take our Bullying Survey.
#5. Lay Down the Ground Rules
Be clear about TV/screen time vs. homework time. And if your child disobeys? Talk to your nanny about discipline and how you handle these difficult situations in your home. Make sure everyone knows what the consequences are for bad behavior, and check out our Discipline Survey.
Have you talked to your caregiver or nanny about discipline or bullying concerns? How about homework? Does she help with your child’s homework?
August 01, 2011
Every year it sneaks up on you. You start to see it in the school supply aisles first. iCarly and transformers folders scattered about the floor. Crayons and pencils roll through like tumbleweeds. Camp ends and the countdown begins. Before you know it, the last days of the summer have been hijacked by back-to-school jitters. It is enough to make any mom lose her cool. To help you navigate that back-to-school obstacle course, I thought I’d share these Care Team tips on how to be a No Drama Mama (or a No Drama Papa!):
Arrange Before and After School Child Care STAT
Let’s be honest. The No Drama Mama arranges this as far ahead of time as possible. If you haven’t gotten your child care arrangements under wraps, stop the procrastination and post a job now. Or, search for care providers in your area and message the babysitters who look like a good fit. The No Drama Mama doesn’t wait – she takes action! And is cool as a cucumber by the first day of school.
Soothe Back-To-School Fears with Attitude
We know that the little ones can feel more than a little apprehensive when headed for the first day of school. We also know that they easily pick up on the emotions of their parents – so relax! And they will too. Patiently listen to their back-to-school fears and then walk them through the best ways to handle any sticky situation. Armed with your confidence and thoughtful strategies, your kids will stroll through school as confident as their No Drama Mama.
If you are taking the kids out to the mall for a little shopping spree, don’t forget about the clothes that are currently hanging in their closets (or covering their floors). The No Drama Mama grabs those pants that struggle to cover their ankles and donates them to the local Goodwill. Cleaning out the closet, recycling useable items, and donating them to a good cause – it’s just how the No Drama Mama rolls.
Scope Out the Tutors Now
That No Drama Mama – she’s always thinking ahead. If you know from past experience that your child is going to rock math class but will struggle with reading, search for local tutors in your area and scope out who could be a good fit for your family. The No Drama Mama has an arsenal of experts to call in at a moment’s notice – fulfilling all her kids’ and the family’s needs.
Are you a No Drama Mama or Papa? Share your own tips on keeping cool for back-to-school. How do you get it all done? If your back-to-school prep has pretty much resulted in chaos, what are you finding the hardest to accomplish? We want to hear from you.
February 28, 2011
Whether you’ve hired a nanny, dog walker, or housekeeper, you are now a manager. If you are currently navigating your way through the intense process of posting a job, interviewing prospective caregivers, calling references, and requesting background checks, you soon will become one.
As the Care.com Management Team and I know on a daily basis, being a manager is not nearly as easy as it may appear at first glance. We have to constantly work at ensuring that the perfect balance is met; that our employees have the right tools and motivation to do their jobs to the best of their ability.
As the manager of caregivers, your workspace is your home. Not only are you relying on your employees to give 100% at their job, but you are trusting them with your children, your pets or your home. It is important to acknowledge that this trust amplifies the significance of your relationship. Here are the top 10 tips in managing your care provider that we've gathered from our parenting experts to keep your family and your provider happy and running smoothly:
- Make a Contract. Signing a contract requires both you and your caregiver to agree to specified terms. Expectations are set and clear. You are also protected from a legal standpoint. For more information, check out this article on Nanny Contracts.
- Write Out a Schedule. In addition to the bigger picture expectations that you outline in the contract, write out a schedule for your caregiver to refer to throughout the day. It can be a loose outline or an itemized To-Do list – whatever works best for you and the caregiver. Feel free to use this example of a Housekeeping Checklist.
- Build Trust. When you welcome someone into your home, you are trusting them to treat you, your family, and your house with respect. Give your caregiver the same respect. Don’t forget to ask your caregiver about their life outside your walls! It will go a long way. Take a look at what our mom blogger, Ellen Seidman, has to say about having a great relationship with your nanny.
- Set Boundaries. At the same time that you show respect, it is also crucial that you set boundaries. Make sure your caregiver understands his or her job parameters. If you don’t want your housekeeper doing your laundry, make it clear.
- Check Your Gut Reactions. Conflicts will arise in any workplace. Before you react to a problem, try to take a moment and breathe. When you decide to address the issue with your caregiver, remember that his or her intentions were likely good, and your goal is simply to ensure that the problem does not continue to occur.
- Celebrate the Victories. When your caregiver helps your child to get an A on a big test or your dog walker teaches your pup a new trick, celebrate! Let the tutor or the pet sitter know that you really appreciate his or her work with a little gift or even just kind words – these small gestures can really mean a lot.
- Check In with Your Caregiver. On a regular basis, once a week or once a month – whatever works best with your schedules – take the time to meet with your caregiver. At Care.com, we call these one-on-ones. It gives you both a chance to talk about what’s working, what can be fixed, and how things are generally going.
- Stay Connected. Open the lines of communication by encouraging your caregiver to text you with little updates throughout the day. Our Editor-in-Chief, Wendy Sachs, loves the banter that “ranges from utilitarian to insightful.” If texting or e-mailing isn’t your style, have a community whiteboard or leave little notes.
- Give Vacation Days, Sick Time and Tips. If you have a steady dog walker or housekeeper, be sure to remember them around the winter holidays with a homemade goodies or a little extra bonus. For employees that work full-time, like a nanny, it is important to also provide paid sick time and vacation days. Check out these articles: Etiquette Experts Say People Should Tip Service Providers and Tipping Points – Give or Yule Be Sorry!
- Say Thank You. Don’t forget to say thank you. While you do have a business relationship, nannies and employees who work in your home have a special window into your life, which can bring you closer together than office interactions. Acknowledge this by being respectful and giving thanks.
Last week I wrote about the guilt of working parents and introduced this survey below. If you haven't yet had a chance, I would love to hear from you. This information helps us to provide you with a great Care.com experience.
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February 08, 2011
You don’t have to look at the results to last week’s “Are You a Competitive Parent?” quiz to know that we parents are doing everything we can to ensure our children’s success. And it seems like this passion for our children’s futures is increasingly focused on their education. At Care.com, over the past two years, parents have started using academic-related keywords, like homework, 25% more frequently in their job posts. This means a quarter more parents today are including homework in their caregiver’s job description than they did in 2009.
I'll admit, I am a stickler when it comes to homework. Every parent wants to make sure her children have all that they need to succeed and excel in the world. I know I do. As a young mother in college and later in graduate school, I would wake up at 3 a.m. so that I could do homework before my older son Ryan woke up.
When my boys were young, I supplemented their school homework with a curriculum I created from various educational resources, including writing exercises and Singapore Math workbooks. I called them “blue sheets” since I didn’t like the word “work.” I emphasized that they were fun and always planned a variety of activities for the week on blue pieces of paper, tailoring them to what I felt was appropriate for their individual needs. Believe me, I took ribbing for them from friends who thought I was the uber-extreme mom.
When Ryan was found to have ADHD, I realized that I couldn’t keep up the rigorous academic schedule I’d been pursuing. Trying to get Ryan to do his homework often left us at odds, and I came to realize he needed special help that I couldn’t provide. My boys needed me as a supportive mom, not another teacher. I still expect great things from my sons - and encourage them to excel in everything that they do - but for everyone's sake, I've learned my limits.
For most parents, we don't always have time to tutor our kids, particularly if they start having difficulty in school and begin to fall behind. While it's tempting to relearn calculus in order to help your child succeed, it's equally important for parents to know that there is help – and options – both for you and your kids. The realization that it's okay to seek help can be a breakthrough and a relief.
As I've mentioned earlier, I’m always evolving my parenting style. Tutoring – or homework help – no longer feels like an indulgence of competitive parents but rather a necessity in order for our kids to compete successfully now so they can be prepared for the future.
Whether it's a belief – or hope – that a child will catch up, most parents wait too long before getting their kids the academic help that they need. For me, it was my own drive to do it all, and Ryan's increased resistance, that enabled me to seek help elsewhere. Good tutoring can be the safety net your family needs and get your child back on track.
I've found that by creating an environment where I encourage interest, my sons don't need pressure. When Adam learned from his singing coach that he could be the best treble in the country, I saw a new sense of determination and excitement in his face that I could never achieve with one of my former "blue sheets."
If my story seems a little too familiar, consider the following options:
Check out these articles and resources for additional tips:
Have you hired a tutor? What was your experience? Would you recommend that other parents hire a tutor for their kids? Post a comment and share your own family’s story.
May 10, 2010
Well, it’s the same thing with Care.com: we have a new look and we want you to check it out!
We’ve worked behind the scenes for a long time to give Care.com a new ‘do. But it’s more than a makeover—we’ve redesigned our site to make it easier to find the care you need for children, adults & seniors, pets, and home. Come take a look!
The main thing you’ll notice about the site is that we have four new tabs on the top, left-hand side of the page: Children, Adults & Seniors, Pets, and Home & Lifestyle. We’ve divided the categories by the four main types of care members search for on Care.com.
The same goes for families in need of adult or senior care. You can find specific types of providers like those with special needs training or tutors and teachers in the “Adults & Seniors” category.
New Ways to Search for Care
If you’re a parent looking for child care, we’re helping you get started by letting you search for the specific type of care provider you’re looking for: babysitters, nannies, special needs care, au pairs, summer care, tutors, and day cares. You’ll find all of these options right on the “Children” tab.
As always, posting a job is still the easiest way for you to find the care you need. It’s free, too!
Special Needs and Tutoring & Lessons
If you’re looking for our special needs service or tutoring and lessons, we’ve split those categories into two age groups and now offer them specifically for children or adults. If you’re a member looking for help in either of those categories, we’ve made your search easier by specifying what types of care you’re looking for from the very beginning.
To find a specific special needs service, just hover your mouse over the Children or Adults & Seniors tab and select the option you need. The same goes for tutors, too!
Housekeeping & Care Gigs
We created a new category of service called “Home & Lifestyle.” Here, you’ll find our housekeeping service, as well as our Care Gigs category which helps you find personal assistants, errand runners, shoppers, and more!
If you’re looking for last-minute babysitters, special needs care, in-home senior care, or pet sitters, then you need Care-on-Call! You’ll be able to broadcast your needs to local care providers within seconds. You can still access Care-on-Call by visiting www.care.com/careoncall or via the drop down menus.
Looking to trade child care or pet sitting services with another Care.com member? You can post ads listing your needs or connect with local families through Care Exchange. You’ll find Care Exchange in the Children or the Pets tabs or by clicking www.care.com/careexchange.
Articles & Resources
We have loads of resources for your family from our babysitter pay calculator to educational articles on caregiving. You’ll still find those areas of our site by checking out each of the categories and clicking “Articles & Resources.”
So what do you think about our new look? I’d love to hear your feedback, so leave a comment. Post any questions you have, too! We’ll have our Member Care team respond ASAP.
January 11, 2010
Answer: Before age 7.
Every language has its own set of sounds (for example, Japanese doesn’t distinguish between the “L” and “R” sounds the way English does). According to new research, scientists believe babies are born with the ability to distinguish all of these sounds, but gradually lose that skill as they age and learn their own specific language. That’s why it’s easiest to learn a language early in life instead of in the wee hours of the morning in a college library, cramming for a final exam—not that I’ve ever done that or anything!
Don’t worry if you’ve missed that window with your kids, though. There are plenty of ways to help children learn a second language.
Newer TV shows like Dora the Explorer and Ni Hao, Kai-lan have joined the classic Sesame Street to give youngsters an entertaining and educational way to pick up phrases in foreign languages. And there are plenty of books, CDs, and DVDs out there to help kids out in any language—from baby sign to Tagalog.
If your children have started to show an interest in learning another language, now is a great time to think about hiring a tutor or an instructor to help encourage their development—no matter how old they are. With a new school semester beginning, children are adjusting to new schedules and are mentally prepared to take on more challenges. If their school doesn’t offer foreign language classes or is cutting language programs in the recession (which is, unfortunately, a common problem), you may want to look at adding a language tutor as a fun after-school activity.
The benefits of learning a second language are well-documented. Speaking another language can help children with their cognitive development, give them extra future opportunities, and help them connect with their heritage.
If you’re thinking about having your children learn a second language, be sure to check out the Care.com Tutor Guide, which is full of information on finding, interviewing, and hiring tutors.