Luckily I do not travel for work as much as I used to but there was a time when I caught three or four flights in a week. I used to say that, for me, taking an airplane was like catching a bus. Travel can be exciting but when you have kids, it can also be difficult. Here are some of our practical tips for how to stay close when far away:
Before you go
When you get back
SOSsitter.ca is a Canadian portal designed to help you find local caregivers in your area, easily and quickly. The caregiver who is right for your family is only a click away.
Whether it’s a holiday, PA day or a “too cold to go outside today” day, there are lots of ways to keep your kids busy when they are not in school. We have found that the best way to make these days fun – for the kids as well as for the parents, nanny or babysitter – is to plan ahead and to get your kids engaged. This means you will not be at loose ends and that your kids will have ownership for their day. There are tons of great ideas online so start Googling!
Some of our favourite ideas include:
Let the fun begin!,
We’re a portal for finding caregiver support for your home and family BUT we also have lots of content about parenting, nannies and babysitters and things to do with kids. Check it out!
Valentine’s Day is about telling and showing the people you love and care for – and who love and care for you – how you feel. Nanny certainly falls into that category so make sure he or she is on your list! Here are some of our favourite ideas for showing Nanny how you feel this Valentine’s Day:
But why not use the good china every day? Or in other words, there are things you can do every day to make Nanny feel like the valued and loved member of the family that he or she is already. No need to wait for a holiday! Let your imagination run wild; some ideas to get you started follow:
It is important to say that all of this should be in addition to a solid relationship in which expectations, remuneration (pay and benefits) and performance is communicated about openly and fairly.
Looking for a local nanny or babysitter? Look no further!
So how about it Nanny? Will you be my Valentine? xo
Let’s dance! Put on your red shoes and dance the blues…
Remember your first song – the song that opened your mind consciously to music? Mine was David Bowie’s Let’s Dance.
I was just reminded of it recently with the news that Bowie’s creative genius had left us. And singing that song in my head took me right back to sitting on the bottom bunk in my sister’s bedroom as she played it for me for the first time. I can see it perfectly in my mind’s eye: her green bed spread, her cassette player and my very own sister as a newly minted teenager, all as though I was there.
I was also lucky enough to be exposed to a variety of music: my Dad loved the Beatles and my Mom blared Opera and Elvis’s Blue Christmas at the holidays! We went to see the symphony. And like most kids, I complained my way through piano lessons for a good part of my childhood.
Music is powerful! It is wonderful! Helping your kids discover the gift of music is easy and has so many benefits.
Why do it?
Whilst music can encourage creativity and act as a form of expression, it is also very good for teaching discipline through the patience and constancy needed to learn a new instrument. Music can be a means for connecting with others (choir, marching band, singing in the back seat), for gaining confidence, and for retreating and feeling understood.
Turn it on, turn it up, tune in; play music in the house, in the car, where ever.
Sing songs you know and learn the songs your kids are singing at school.
Encourage your kids to take up an instrument.
Kids are generally (and naturally) great dancers; get some dance parties going at home.
And most of all, Enjoy! Your love and enjoyment of music will be all the inspiration your kid needs to start their own wonderful journey in life with music.
And if you are looking for another “member of your band” – whether a Nanny or pet sitter or housekeeper – auditioning and finding the right addition is easy!
Psst… You. Yes, you! It is time to sit down and listen to some hard truths. There are a few things your housekeeper would like you to know:
1 – I am not a mind reader!
If you would like things done in a certain way, please don’t hesitate to say so. Your housekeeper wants you to be happy with the results of their work but they need to know if there are specific things that are important to you. Remember, your housekeeper is a professional, not a magician!
2 – I find it hard to clean around your clutter!
Unless agreed in advance, housekeepers are there to clean the house, not fold laundry or wash a sink full of dirty dishes. Further, if they are to clean, they need to be able to “get at it” so pick up dirty clothes and kids toys off the floor.
3 – I find it hard to clean around your family!
As lovely as your family is, a housekeeper has a job to do. And sometimes doing that job is hard when the kids are playing catch in the living room. If possible, schedule the cleaner for times when the house is quiet.
4 – Your family’s fluids belong to you!
Anything intimate or gross that belongs to or comes from your family should stay with your family. For example, if your child has been throwing up all night, you should clean it up. Do not leave the soiled linens for your housekeeper.
5 – I have views on cleaning products!
Your housekeeper is the professional so consider discussing which products work best. For example, if you are interested in going “all natural”, it is a good bet your housekeeper knows which products work and which just make you feel good.
6 – I am a person too!
Housekeepers provide an invaluable service to your family and deserve to be treated with respect. Treat your housekeeper well by not only demonstrating that you understand the points above but also by paying a fair wage and treating them with kindness.
Burning the candle at both ends? Look for a housekeeper in your local area and take a break! You deserve it!
The other day, I was on Twitter and I was ‘tweeting’ with a woman who had some sage advice about how to deal with a cat that was peeing inappropriately. I, in turn, responded to her questions about the value of an iPhone over an android device. I decided to follow her and then checked out her profile. She was an 81 year old great grandmother from BC. Awesome, right?
It got me thinking that there are so many great apps not only for all of us but also and perhaps especially for seniors.
“Apps” or applications for our smartphones, tablets and computers have changed our lives – in a big way. Can you imagine life without Google? Netflix? Facebook? LinkedIn? Pinterest? iBooks? And the list could go on and on.
Need some ideas? Need to sell the idea to your senior loved one? Well…. There are apps to:
And so many more. Just ask an 81 year old great grandmother. She’ll tell you!
Are you looking for some in-home support such as housekeeping or help with pets or perhaps you are looking for a local caregiver to help you take care of your senior loved one? We can help.
…Gone away is the bluebird… here to stay is a new bird…He sings a love song…as we go along…walking in a winter wonderland…
But is it ideal for Fido?
Maybe not. Our pets always seem so robust and able to weather any storm but actually, they need special considerations to be able to deal with frigid winter temperatures. Here are some of our top tips for keeping your beloved pets happy and healthy this cold season:
And if you cannot bear the thought of walks with Fido because it is just too cold for you, look for some help from a pet sitter in your local area who can help with the full range of your pet care needs.
It is easy; some of our top tips follow:
House – ready!
With a new Nanny arriving, you will want to get your house in order. It does not require the “fresh coat of paint” that the Queen of England requires but it will be easier to understand and get in synch with your systems if there is some order. And if your Nanny will be living in, be sure to make sure her room is ready – clean, fresh, and comfortable.
Nanny Notebook – ready!
What? You don’t know what a Nanny Notebook is? A Nanny Notebook is simply where you keep all the important information about your family: kids’ routines, medical information, important telephone numbers, and more.
It can be whatever you want it to be. You can also use it as a place for the Nanny to record important information, such as how much baby slept or ate.
You can make your own at home very easily, but you won’t be surprised you can even buy notebooks especially for this purpose!
Family – ready!
Your family will likely already be well aware that a new nanny is starting. Some say kids find this even easier than parents and get excited for someone new to bring fun change and adventure. Many find having the Nanny over a couple of times in advance for some structured engagement helps ease the transition for everyone. Enlist your kids to help with the tour of your home on Nanny’s first day and consider organising a fun activity for Nanny and the whole family as a nice welcome.
If you need a new Nanny but have not found one yet, you have come to the right place! We not only have a blog with all sorts of subjects important to parents today, but is also the place to find qualified nannies in your local area.
If you are a nanny, we’ve got some tips to help make your first day a little easier!
Have courage and be kind.” Cinderella repeats these final words from her mother frequently throughout Disney’s latest version of the classic fairy tale. This is not surprising for a tale that seeks so deliberately to demonstrate the difference between kindness and cruelty and the ultimate consequences of both.
Even if you cringe at elements of the old tales – is the portrayal of the damsel in distress rescued by her Prince Charming still relevant? – it is hard to argue with “have courage and be kind”.
And before you get on your high horse, note that a study by a psychiatrists at Harvard University found that 80% of the kids in the study said that their parents were more concerned with their kids own happiness and achievement than thinking about others.
This tells us we might all have something to learn from the tale of Cinderella. Here are some ways you can teach your children to be kind:
– Tell them to be kind and why: Whilst kids are inherently helpful and kind, you want to nurture that and the best place to start is talking about how important it is to be kind.
– Make them practice being kind: Like anything in life, practice makes perfect. Work with them to find kind words when they trip up on the first go. Encourage them to be find ways to be kind to siblings and reward them for their efforts.
– Help your kids navigate negative feelings: Everyone will be faced with negative feelings, including negative thoughts towards others. Help your kids work through these feelings by looking for positives or taking a step back and counting to 10 before giving an angry answer.
– LEAD BY EXAMPLE: The single most important thing you can do is be kind yourself. Remember that you are the single most influential teacher for your children.
Find more information about teaching your children to be kind online.
Although we cannot magically produce helpers like Cinderella’s fairy godmother, we come pretty close by connecting you to caregivers in your area. Check it out today. And remember… have courage and be kind!
Of all the traditions that we’ve read about in the last few weeks, one of our favourites was the reading of the poem ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’. In case you want to take up the tradition yourself, here are the words, as written by Clement Clarke Moore and now in the public domain:
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads; And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap, had just settled down for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash, tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below, when, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick. More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, and he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now, DASHER! now, DANCER! now, PRANCER and VIXEN! On, COMET! on CUPID! on, DONDER and BLITZEN! To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, when they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky, so up to the house-top the coursers they flew, with the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof the prancing and pawing of each little hoof. As I drew in my hand, and was turning around, down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot; A bundle of toys he had flung on his back, and he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes — how they twinkled! his dimples how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry! His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, and the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, and the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath; He had a broad face and a little round belly, that shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself; A wink of his eye and a twist of his head, soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, and filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk, and laying his finger aside of his nose, and giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, and away they all flew like the down of a thistle. But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight: HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD-NIGHT!