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Jan 18

Apps for 21st Century Seniors

The other day, I was on Twitter and I was ‘tweeting’ with a woman who had some sage advice about how to deal with Untitled design (3)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.

Jan 11

Winter Pet Care

…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…

Imagine yourself, bundled up, taking Fido out for a walk on a cold winter’s night, snow everywhere, whistling this dog sitting in the snowclassic winter theme song… it is all so idyllic!

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:

Outdoors

  • If your dog is an outdoor dog, ensure there is a dry warm shelter for cold winter nights
  • Animals keeping warm burn more calories so will need more food; ensure water bowls have not frozen
  • Keep fur between toes trimmed as it can attract snow and ice, watch for signs of frostbite there and on ears and tips of tails too; Consider getting a coat and booties
  • Sidewalk and driveway salt is very hard on paws so wipe them off often
  • Be aware of streams and lakes that look frozen but could be hazardous

Indoors

  • Winter weather warnings should apply to pets as well; bring animals indoors when it is freezing. Make sure cat and dog doors are not frozen shut.
  • Seasonal features – such as plants like poinsettias and holly and space heaters and fireplaces – can be dangerous
  • Be aware of the impact of winter drafts on smaller caged animals such as birds
  • Animals stuck indoors will sleep more and exercise less so adjust food to reflect needed calorie intake

In-between

  • The garage should be off limits in winter as antifreeze can be deadly for your animals and cats have a tendency to slip under car hoods for the warmth of the engine
  • When out, cars can become like refrigerator so leaving your dog in the car is not a good idea

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.

Jan 5

New Year, New Nanny? Be Ready!

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 Nanny and childthe 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!

 

Dec 28

Have Courage and Be Kind

Have courage and be kind.” Cinderella repeats these final words from her mother frequently throughout Disney’s Untitled designlatest 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!

 

Dec 24

A Christmas Tradition

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!

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Dec 24

Merry Christmas to all of our Friends!

From our family to yours... (1)

 

 

Dec 14

Co-parenting for Happy Holidays

Let’s just say it – creating happy holidays among the hustle and bustle of the season can be challenging for even the Untitled designmost happily married couple. So what does that mean for those who are separated and divorced? And more importantly, what does that mean for the children?

First of all, the basic tenets of co-parenting during the year must be upheld during the holiday season: always be focused on what is best for the children, interactions with each other should be focused on the needs of the children not of the parents, expectations should be based on agreements made and expectations should be met.

Basically – you may have your issues with each other but you should seek to put them aside for the best interest of the children that you still need to raise together and the children should in no way ever (EVER!) be put in the middle.

If you are struggling with these basics, there are a lot of good resources for divorced parents. 

Recognising that co-parenting during the holidays can take it to a whole new level, we have compiled a short list of things to keep in mind:

** Put the time in early to create a holiday schedule: This will allow time to reach compromise and come up with creative ways to meet everyone’s needs. You also want to make sure your children know what the plan is for the holidays.

** Be flexible and create new traditions: It is almost guaranteed that the holidays will not be like they used to be; set the tone for your kids by showing enthusiasm for creating new traditions versus sulking about the things you can no longer do.

** Take care of your needs: you will be happier and better able to support your kids if you are happy. Be sure to make plans with friends when your kids are with your ex so you are not sad or lonely. But also make sure to schedule some down time so you can recharge your batteries.

If you need some extra help to lighten the load and ensure you are able to concentrate on navigating the holidays successfully with your ex, look no further.

Happy Holidays – to one and to all (even your ex)!!

 

Dec 7

Christmas Babies Birthdays!

If you have or are scheduled to have a December baby, you may be worried about the additional stress of “bunched-up festivities – Thanksgiving, Birthday, Christmas, and New Year’s. You likely worry about the impact on cherished family traditions. And what about your child – will his or her special day get overlooked as people are rushing around in this busy season or will friends and family do the “combo” gift, making your child feel short changed?

Like anything in life, it is all about your perspective! Christmas babies have lots of advantages: everyone is a festive mood at this time of the year; friends and family are likely to be in town and spending time together; and when older and looking for bigger presents (tablet anyone?!), the gift combo can be great!

Here are some things to consider when working to make your Christmas baby’s birthday special:Christmas baby post

- Plan your finances so the Christmas money crunch does not impact the birthday party and gifts

- Make gift lists early so you do not lose out on out of stock toys that are popular for Christmas

- Throw a party at school or with friends in late November or early December and save the celebrations on the actual day for family. Send invitations early so your party gets in the schedule before calendars book up!

- Alternatively, throw a birthday party six months away – on the half-birthday mark – from the actual birthday so it is a “stand alone”

- Hold off on putting up holiday decorations until the birthday celebration is done (decorating the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve could be a new family tradition!)

- Explain to your family and close friends that dual presents will not hit the mark for younger kids and that birthday presents should not be wrapped in Christmas paper!

Happy Birthday and Happy Holidays!

Check out the rest of our blog for posts on a range of caring issues, whether for kids, seniors, pets or your home!

Nov 30

5 Ideas for Non-Taxable Gifts for your Sitter or Nanny!

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Need more ideas? Check out the list our friends at Nanny Tax Canada have put together!

Nov 23

The Tooth Fairy’s Rate Card

So what is the going rate for a tooth these days? Kids lose their 20 baby teeth over a period of five to six years, usually starting around age five to seven but sometimes as young as four.

If you have children in this age range then you have likely added “tooth fairy” to the many roles you play. But like Tooth Fairymany things in our busy lives today, we follow the rituals without actually pausing to think why we are doing things and the best way to achieve the desired result.

Losing teeth has the potential to be unsettling for children; the tooth fairy and the gift of money for lost teeth is meant to make the experience more palatable. And frankly, it is such a well-known tradition now that honouring it is part of giving your children shared experiences with other kids. It helps them fit in.

But who invented the tooth fairy? The tooth fairy likely evolved from similar traditions around the world – although more common than the “fairy” is the tooth mouse or rat (called Ratoncito Perez in Spanish speaking countries). 

Okay – so we understand the purpose and background of the tooth fairy but the real question is how to do it well. “How much should I put under the pillow?” is likely the first question that comes to mind. According to several studies (Visa and Delta Dental as shared on Kiplinger.com), the most common amount is $1. Remember that the point of the tooth fairy is not to help your child build his or her net worth.

And money is not everything nor should it be made to be! Get creative in how you mark these milestones. Making a special pillow to fairy dust on the window ledge or tooth fairy certificates are just a few ideas. Get your creative juices flowing and start your own traditions!

If your kids are afraid of the dentist, we have tips here to help you with that!