5 Summer essentials to protect your kiddos from UV & bugs!!!!

Finally, the summer is officially in that means a lot of sun, and park time for your kiddos!!

Disclaimer – I earn no commission or anything from below recommendations, this article purely shares what we use and what works for us.

In search of getting ready for summer, little did w3 knew that sunscreen is not only what you need for summer to protect your little one from harmful UV rays.

Below is our list of 5 summer essentials to protect Siya from harmful rays and bugs

Sunglasses to match style

We love the My First Sunglasses as you can see they are stylish, cool, lightweight and most importantly protect Siya’s eyes from harmful rays. Siya goes everywhere with them and sometimes even makes her baby and mommy wear them ūüėĚ.

Go to sunscreen

As parents, we always want things that are natural, safe and effective for our kiddos!! We want to protect them from the harsh sunrays but in doing so don’t want to introduce more chemicals in their system. My favorite sunscreen for Siya is Thinksport Kid’s safe sunscreen¬†because its natural, non-toxic sunscreen, and easy to apply. It‚Äôs top-rated by the Environmental Working Group and is free of biologically harmful chemicals, including avobenzone, oxybenzone, paraben, phthalate, paba and 1,4 dioxane, or UV chemical absorbers.

 Hat to rescue

Don‚Äôt count on sunscreen to provide complete protection from the sun. Wearing hat is a simple and effective strategy for reducing ultraviolet radiation to the face, head and neck.¬†We have bought some stylish and cost effective hats from Amazon and not only they add an swagger to Siya’s style but also protect from harmful rays when she is out in the park enjoying her bird watching sessions.

Nutrient-rich bug spray

Bug spray, bug bands, bug bombs and there are many more to protect you little one from ticks and bugs. They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So wanted to buy a bug spray that was enriched with botanical extracts and sulfate-free and I came across Zoe Organic Inspect Repellent. This not only keeps Siya safe from bug bites but also gives her an extra dose of nutrient-rich hydration.

Remedy for sunburn & tan

Kids will play out in the sun and will get tan or sunburnt even after you put all the sunscreen. There is a century old recipe that generations in my family have used (especially to combat effects of hot Indian summer) that acts as a great solution for minor sunburns and tan.

  • Take a bowl and mix a
    • Table spoon of coconut oil – Natural moisturizer,
    • A¬†spoon of room temperature yogurt – Natural coolant,
    • A¬†pinch of¬†turmeric – Natural Anti-Inflammatory
    • 2 spoons of chick pea flour (if you don’t have it you can also use oatmeal powder – dry crush your steel cut or rolled oats) – Natural tan remove
    • Few drops of¬†rose water (optional)¬†– Natural anti-inflammatory and reduces
  • Mix all of this together¬†to a cream consistency. Apply this mixture on your baby and leave if for 5-10 mins and wash it off.

This mixture is also part of Siya’s daily bath routine as it acts as a natural cleanser and limits the usage of soap

I hope this has given you few new ideas for your family this season…making it a little more bearable and lot of more. Leave a comment and share your kids summer essential list, if you need other recommendation happy to share what we use.

Part 2 – Choose the right care for your family!!

Part 1 talked about what care is right for you and as you saw; Nanny-care was the right choice for our family. This part of the article talks about our 3-step selection process that helps to choose from the option one gets within the care of choice.

Part 2 Р3-step selection process

Step 1 РGathering the initial pool

We started gathering a list of candidates using the following sources and created a list of potential applicants:

  • Care.com
  • Facebook mom networks
  • Agencies in NYC – Rudra agency, Campus caregivers, Abigail Madison
  • Word of mouth

If you are choosing alternative care options then start your search with google and facebook mom networks.

Step 2 РVetting the pool

Step A Р Initial screening

Initial screening.pngWe got an overwhelming number of applicants (200+) and it was definitely impossible to interview all these candidates. To make our lives would be¬†a little sane and¬†to expedite the initial screening process we¬†created the initial screening checklist. This helped us to¬†reduce our initial applicant¬†pool by 1/2 and now we were left with 100+ applicants.¬†Still a very daunting task but better than before.¬†We started calling the applicants and after¬†interviewing around 20 applicants we started seeing a trend based on experience and education level of a¬†nanny that wouldn’t meet our “Must Have” criteria. This helped us to eliminate another 50% of our applicant¬†pool.

Step B РIn-house interview РFirst round (1-2 hr)

We invited around 40 candidates to interview in-person; there were days when we had over 6 interviews (questions for this interview are available in the Additional resource section). We were again¬†quickly able to identify trends in types of nannies that wouldn’t work for our family; examples the ones that didn’t enjoy going outdoors, personal hygiene/etiquette or had their own method to madness and were not willing to change/listen. We narrowed down our pool to 10¬†candidates and asked them to share their references (2 min) and come back for a¬†second round¬†interview.

Step C –¬†In-house interview – Second round (1 day)

Prior to the second round interviews we called the references for our candidates and asked them very specific questions such as:

  • What did you like and not like about the nanny?
  • How was here work ethic and provide examples?
  • What was her philosophy in child development & discipline?
  • Why did/was leaving your job?
  • Was she flexible in her schedule and how many sick days did she take?

Post our reference conversation we decided not to invite 2 candidate as their philosophy around child development & flexibility in schedule didn’t work for us.

Main purpose of this round¬†was to observe the candidate’s interaction with Siya and us for a day. We looked at things such as:

  • Was she attentive to Siya’s needs and listen/follow our guidance and cues?
  • Was she an active participant in feeding and¬†playing with Siya?
  • What did she bring from her experience in developing Siya?
  • Was she pleasant did she have proper hygiene for herself and Siya?

The crucial piece of this round is your & your child’s¬†INTUITION; what does your gutt say? Based on this we actually eliminated 3¬†candidates because neither Siya (she didn’t go to them) nor us felt warm and fuzzy though they were pleasant and met our criteria.

Step D РIn-house РFinal Round (1 week)

We invited 5 nannies back for a week long trial and use this opportunity to not only share with her our expectations and see her in action but also build a bond with Siya. Our experience in this round was both eye-opening and fun because we could see how for 3 nannies after day 2 we knew it wouldn’t work for us but¬†for others it just felt like family.

Step 3 РSeal the deal

Midway through our week long test if we liked a nanny we told her that we were potentially interested and we re-visited the salary, salary for overtime, transportation, vacation, taxes and wok permit requirements.

Finally, when all our trials were done, we drafted a contract for our top choice and had our nanny review it and once agreed, we both signed it.

Our journey to find the right care has been no shy of a whirlwind and we glad we came out of it with someone we can trust and consider part of our family. I really hope these tips were somewhat helpful! Feel free to email with any questions, your experience finding care for your child or if you just need a friendly parent to commiserate with.

Additional Resources

These are some additional links that talk about different type of cares of your kids and regulations.

Part 1 – Choose the right care for your family!!

Recently, couple of readers asked me about my experience finding a childcare for my daughter. So decided to write this article to share our journey and our method to this madness for finding the right care for our Angel; Siya! This article is long so I have broken it down in two sub-articles:

  • Part 1 – Deciding the type of Care

  • Part 2 – 3-step selection process

¬†It’s¬†been¬†a¬†year now¬†and¬†we couldn’t be happier with our choice but I remember the anxiety, the stress and the madness we went through to get our choice of care.

Little did W3 knew that just like anything else, NYC has over hundreds of options available for care ranging from; day-care, 3rd party home care, student care, family care, au pair and nanny care. Each care option in its own merit is amazing; the key is that it should work for your family and your child.

So where does one start, is a question lot of people have just like we did. We followed the below 4 steps to decode this complex, tiring but most important process; choosing the right care for your child.

Part 1 – Deciding the type of Care

Step 1 РBack to Basics

We started our journey by identifying 5 basic questions and ranking the cares we were interested in against it:

  1. Safety – Safety and security is paramount; How does the caregiver fit this requirement?
  2. Credentials – What do we want out of our caregiver including # of children in care, education, experience, curriculum, routine?
  3. Flexibility РHow long do we want our caregiver to be available ? What happens on holidays and vacation days?
  4. Exposure – What do we want Siya to do when she is with the caregiver?
  5. Value РHow much would you pay the caregiver and is it worth it?

Nanny.png

Our ranking for 5 basic questions

Step 2 РQuick comparison of top choices

We needed a care in the next 2-4 weeks so we didn’t have¬†the luxury of¬†time to vet both our top choices in detail so we came up with key criteria¬†¬†and assigned a value to identify our preferred option. As you can see from the comparison below, Nanny-care is what we choose.

Comparison

Our value assignment for top two choices

Part 2 will share with you what happens next in our journey; where we go through a 3-step selection process to narrow down from 200+ applicants to 1 nanny that is right for our family.

 

Additional Resources

These are some additional links that talk about different type of cares of your kids and regulations.

 

Unveil the mystery of what to do before 2!

What should I do before my child turns two and ready for preschool? How do I provide an enriching experience? Should I consider a toddler class? If I do, which ones, where do I even start?

And many more questions ran in our mind few months ago and Little did W3 knew that NYC had over 4800 toddler classes and over 20 enrichment areas to choose from. Damn, this felt like we were in one of those make to order yogurt places with unlimited toppings and flavors to choose from.

Recently, I received quite a few questions around what classes does Siya goes to and how did we choose. Ultimately, it’s about engaging in the right activities with your toddler that can increase his or her readiness for preschool and kindergarten while providing valuable bonding experiences for both of you. We are no experts in this field, but thought about sharing our experience and tips that might be helpful.

Where to Start

Just like you, Little did W3 knew where to start and how to maneuver through this maze. We were stuck in a classic phenomenon of overchoice; when many equivalent choices are available. Talking to my mom, I got my first break-through in debugging this paralyzing process of too many choices. She simply told me two things; what do you want for Siya to be? and What does she enjoy?

  1. What life skills you want your child to have?

Nikhil and I don’t know what Siya will be and where she will end up? However, we know the key life skills we want Siya to have; Problem-Solving (think critically and be curious), Reading (learn new things and test understanding), Collaboration (value of teamwork and empathy) and Communication (share thoughts succinctly and diplomatically).

     2. Know your child

The life skills and what Siya likes to do became the basis for us to identify the enrichment areas. Siya has always been curious, enjoys athletic activities especially involving her favorite word ‚Äúball‚ÄĚ, is interested in how things fit together, and wants to learn the world through books, music and observation.

Siya’s Enrichment Areas

Life Skills

Enrichment Areas

Problem Solving STEM
Reading Story time, Music
Collaboration Sports
Communication Art, Language

Narrow down your choices

  1. Location

For us this was not a big criterion because midtown west does not have many choices so we decided to define our boundaries based on where Via or Uber could take her ūüėä!! a.k.a. within the limit of Manhattan island

     2. Research

I causally started researching using my favorite friend google and typing the enrichment areas and available classes in NYC. I also tapped into some great local resources listed below.

  • The Parent League of New York has an amazing “Let‚Äôs play” guide book that has list of classes and different activities that are available in NYC.
  • Mommy Poppinsis another great online resource to see the different classes and activities happening in NYC.
  • New York Public Libraryis a great free resource for fun story times, puppet, art& craft and lego activities

 Try it Out

Most of the classes offer a free trial classes so definitely try few of them and see if your child is enjoying it and also you liking. You can also use Kidspass; it is a great resource to help you try multiple classes without commitment and it helps add variety in your toddler’s life.

We tried over 20-30 classes and may be 4-5 in each enrichment area to ensure that we were picking the best that worked for us. For example, for Music we tried James with Music, Gymboree Music and ABC Do Re Me and we liked ABC DO Re Me so we signed up for their seasonal pass.

Siya loves her toddler classes and she is always excited to go to them whether it is a day at the library with her favorite Peppa book or mingling with her friend in her Parkbench class to her being a curious innovator in her STEM class to finally swimming like a fish at her swim class.

If you don’t know have too many choices in your area for enrichment classes then go to the local library/book store for story time, you can buy couple toddler sports equipment at home such as basketball hoop, golf, etc.

Feel free to email with any questions or just reach out if you want to someone just hear you and we’d love it if you would share your experience!!