Grab your umbrellas…. It’s that time of year again!

The weather forecast shows nothing but that little rain emoji. Your umbrella becomes your best (and most necessary) accessory, and the fear kicks in as you remember those energetic two year olds that you’re going to have to entertain ALL DAY!

You think about going to an indoor child friendly café. Brilliant idea! Unfortunately, it seems everyone else in the city has the same idea.  

How about staying in bed, curled up with some hot tea and a movie? Not sure the children will like that idea!

With a little imagination, a positive outlook and plenty of coffee there are many activities that will keep you and your little ones entertained during this rainy season.

Here is a list of my top 15 things to do on a rainy day both at home, and out and about!

Grocery shopping treasure hunt!

Most children I know hate grocery shopping. Even though they have just finished a snack in the car on the way to the store, they hit the bakery section and are simply STARVING! This game seems to keep them busy and excited so that you can be sure you are able to grab everything on the shopping list.
*Make a list of the items you need from the store before you leave home
*Divide the list up, so that each child gets a grocery list of their own (pictures work wonders for this)
*Repeat the list the entire way around the store so that the children remember what they are looking ford)
*Walk the aisles until they find their items

Visit a real life superhero!

Every little boy and girl seems to idolize the fireman, policeman or paramedic. Occasionally on rainy days, we have made an impromptu visit to our local, quiet and safe police station. The children LOVED meeting with the police officers and were even given balloons to take home!

Muddy Puddles

Sometimes you just need to embrace the rain! Dress the children up in their toque and sweater, pull on their rain boots and head outside. Find a wonderfully muddy puddle and simply jump! The smiles on everyone’s faces will be priceless

Send family or friends a letter

Everyone loves receiving mail!

Spend the morning writing letters or drawing pictures to post to family and friends. You’ll be encouraging writing skills in your children, teaching them about sending letters via post and you’ll brighten someone’s day when they receive a lovely letter in the mail.

To add to the experience, take the children to the post office with you to purchase a stamp and have them put the letter in the mailbox.

Take the stairs

This is an activity for the mom/nanny who needs a break.

Find a safe and quiet stairwell. Great if you have one in your building, otherwise search the area for lighthouses, old bell towers, historical structures or public sets of stairs. Start the stop-watch and GO!

Obviously, a degree of caution is needed for this. Ensure your children can confidently use stairs and assess the dangers of potential falls etc

Crafts

Children love crafts! Sometimes, we spend hours searching and preparing Pinterest worthy crafts. Don’t stress over this!

Put some pencils, markers and paper on the table and let the children draw. They’ll love it!

Baking

Chocolate Chip Cookies??? Yes please!

Spend the afternoon baking delicious treats! If you don’t fancy a trip to the store to stock up on baking ingredients, check out http://www.4ingredients.com.au/recipes

Library

Spend the morning at the library… simple! Most libraries have a designated space for children and there may even be a coloring stencil for the kids!

As an added bonus, let the children pick a book that they can borrow and take home!

Build a fort or tent

A classic! We all remember the days of the fort in the living room. A simple bed sheet thrown over the furniture provides a parent free oasis for children. Their imaginations will run wild as they pretend to camp in the forest or look out over the castle.

Yoga

Children love to move! They also love to listen to stories. Check out http://www.cosmickids.com/ a free website that will take your children on an adventure whilst incorporating some Yoga moves.

Hide and Seek

Another classic! Children will continue to develop their counting skills, and you will keep them entertained as they hide under beds and in closets.

Balloon badminton

This is an absolute favorite in our household! It’s probably more exciting that we move the furniture in the living room and get to throw things in the house. Either way, everyone is happy when we play balloon badminton!

You can either just hit the balloon using your hands, or incorporate a craft activity and make a racquet using a paper plate and popsicle stick.

*Find a space big enough to play (it’s up to you how big a space you have)
*Divide the room into two. We separate the room using a skipping rope.
*Blow up a balloon
*Hit the balloon from one side to the other.

Indoor treasure hunt

This can keep the children entertained for quite some time. We always have a little prize for the person who finds their items first (it’s usually that the winner gets to pick the snack).

*Make a list of items for the children to find. Pictures work perfectly for younger children.
*Give the children the list, and send them off on a treasure hunt.
*Of course, you can start a stop-watch if you wish.

Sorting the laundry

Sometimes, housework needs to be done. Get the kids involved in this activity by having them match odd socks, fold towels or even ironing handkerchiefs for the older children.

The trick is making it FUN! Start the timer and see how many socks they can match in 5mins. Or, tell the children a story whilst you fold the laundry.

Movie

And finally, when all else fails a classic movie is always a winner! Curl up in the fort you have just built, with the cookies you have baked and watch a movie with the children. If you’re lucky, they might even take a nap!

Happy Rainy Days!!!

 

The BEST and WORST time to Eat Fruits

Fruits are full of nutrients that helps our body combat against different diseases. You can mix fruits with yogurt, salt or even with salad if you like.. But, can we really have fruits any way and anytime we want to? Just like any other foods, fruits can be more damaging than beneficial if not eaten the correct way. To reap the maximum benefits of fruits, given below is a list of the best and worst times to eat it.

❥ BANANA: Lunch: ✓ Strengthens immune system and improves skin moisture.

        Dinner: ✕ Lead to mucus formation and disturbs digestion.

❥ APPLE: Breakfast: ✓ Lowers Blood sugar and Cholesterol levels.

    Dinner: ✕ Hard to digest at night and increases stomach acid.

❥ MANGO: Breakfast: ✓ Eliminates indigestion and acidity.

       Dinner: ✕ High in carbohydrates and sugar.

❥ STRAWBERRY: Lunch: ✓ Helps build a strong hair and nails.

     Dinner: ✕ High in sugar.

❥ WATERMELON: Breakfast: ✕ Causes gastric discomfort.

      Dinner: ✓ Improves recovery time following exercises during the day.

❥ ORANGE: Breakfast:  ✕ Causes stomach irritation and gastritis.

         Lunch: ✓ Improves digestion and increases metabolism.

❥ TOMATO: Breakfast: ✓ Improves digestion & increase metabolism.

        Dinner: ✕ Causes stomach swelling.

❥ KIWI: Breakfast: ✕ Causes gastric diarrhea.

 Dinner: ✓ Promotes better sleep at night.

❥ CHERRY: Lunch: ✕ Causes bloating and intestinal cramps.

       Dinner: ✓ Natural Sleep Aids.

Shift Workers – Different Options for Finding Childcare

It is becoming more and more common to hear of parents working different schedules and varying shifts.

Think about all the Doctors, Nurses, Police Officers, Firefighters, Chef’s, Teachers and Factory workers that you know. It really starts to make sense that finding a caregiver for your children can be a difficult and daunting task if you don’t work the traditional Monday – Friday, 9-5.

Wherever possible, try to offer consistent days. Those that are seeking part time work, usually have other part time jobs which will limit their flexibility and availability.

If you can’t offer consistent days, the best way to work around rotating schedules is guaranteeing a minimum number of hours per week or month. You will be paying for hours that you don’t need, but you will need to compensate them for their flexibility. For example, if someone needs between 30-40hrs per week but the days will vary, you could offer a guarantee of 120hrs over 4 weeks, which will allow you to move the hours and days around. It is important to include the potential shifts that they nanny can expect to be working, as well as if there is any weekend work required.

If you can offer more hours, you can ask your nanny to expand her job description based on their comfort level. Sometimes you don’t realize what someone is willing or capable of offering until you sit down with them to discuss the ‘extras’. This extra tasks can be morphed  into a ‘Household Manager’ or ‘Personal Assistant’ role. This is typically a live out position.

Some common additional tasks when the children are not around are:
* Grocery Shopping
* Running Errands (picking up shirts from the drycleaners, bringing back library books)
* Family Meal Prep
* Family Laundry
* Planning activities such as swimming lessons, camps for summer etc
* Housekeeping (be sure to be very detailed so as to share your expectations)
* Buying birthday presents
* Planning parties (birthdays, anniversary’s, dinner parties etc)
* Organization – sorting through pictures, swapping summer clothes for fall

* Booking travel

            * Arranging appointments such as dentist, dr, renewing a driver’s license etc.

Other options:

Nanny Share – sharing your nanny with another family that either has different needs on different days, or that have children living close by. Be sure to be very detailed in your contract regarding rate of pay (with all children or just some), location of where the nanny will be working (and the different duties at each home), what happens when the families take vacation at different times and whether each family pays the nanny individually or not.

Au Pair – hiring someone from a different country that wants to live with a family for a short period of time (typically 2-6 months) in exchange for learning the culture and exploring the city. They will usually work between 25-35 hrs per week and can accommodate the different demands of parents schedules, as well as assisting with small, everyday tasks. Keeping in mind that this person would not be asked to do much else than what is similar to the other members of the family (emptying the dishwasher, cleaning their room etc) and would be participating in many family activities and special events. Expect to build long lasting relationships with the au pair that comes to stay with you.

Live in Nanny –  hiring a live in nanny from overseas under the live in caregiver program will offer you the flexibility of different hours per week. Be sure to discuss your schedule in advance, don’t take advantage of the nanny having a life outside of the family home, and that you are offering a fair compensation package. Live in nannies bring a great

Whichever route you decide to go, it is important to do your research and have a contract in place with the person you choose to hire. You will be required to hire this person as an employee so it is imperative that you make sure that you are withholding and remitting the correct taxes on their behalf, as well as paying an employer portion. This varies from province to province.

 

Lisa Bruce has been successfully placing nannies in family homes for over 10 years. She has extensive experience with negotiating and drawing up contracts and understands the needs of parents as she is a mom to 2 awesome kids, ages 11 & 7 yrs.

 

Opening in the Capital City – Ottawa

Nannies on Call is excited to announce that we are opening in Ottawa on October 1st, 2017!

Nannies on Call provides Extraordinary on Call nanny services and Full time, Part time and Short Term nanny placements services in Ottawa. Our Extraordinary nannies are devoted childcare professionals placed at an exceptional standard of quality and reliability at the request of prestigious hotels, government officials, films industry clients and private families.

All nannies have been fully pre-screened including but not limited to: 19 years of age or older, hold a minimum of two years childcare experience and have presented childcare reference letters; each nanny holds a current First Aid/CPR certificate, have a current clear criminal record check and have been met by one of our recruiters face to face. Many of our nannies are Early Childhood Educators and hold their Bachelors of Education.

Nannies on Call provides devoted care across Canada and has been in business since 2001 with branches in Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary, Edmonton and Toronto.

To find out more visit us online at: www.nanniesoncall.com

Or call our Ottawa Manager: Alison Burton-Williams
She would love to chat with you!

Phone: 613-656-6783 Ext 113.
Email: alison@nanniesoncall.com

Taxable Benefits and Nannies

A taxable benefit is a perk that is provided at no cost to the nanny.  The perk is for the nanny to use for his/her personal use, on his/her personal time.

Some common examples of taxable benefits that nannies’ often receive are:

  • transit passes
  • room and board
  • gym memberships
  • cell phones (proportion for personal use)
  • cars (available for non-work related purposes)
  • cash gifts and gift certificates.  

“Although the nanny doesn’t physically pay for it, it does increase the nanny’s taxable income, therefore reducing the nanny’s net (or take home) pay”,  says Deborah Shure from NannyTax (www.nannytax.ca).  For example, if the nanny’s annual salary is $40000 and she receives a $100 bus pass every month ($1200 per year), then the nanny’s taxable income is now $41200. Taxable benefits are a great way to sweeten the employment package during the negotiation stage.  

What makes a difference is how the nanny receives the taxable benefit. If the nanny is given money each month to pay for the bus pass, then that is insurable income, which means that income taxes, employment insurance (EI) and Canada Pension Plan (CPP) premiums are applied to that amount.  The employer must also pay the employer’s portion of EI and CPP to the CRA.  If the employer buys the bus pass and hands the pass to the nanny each month, then that is non-insurable income.  (Taxes come off and so does CPP, but EI is not deducted).  In this case, the employer is also paying the employer’s portion of CPP to the CRA but again, EI is not a factor in a non-insurable benefit.

Dental, private health insurance, mileage at a prescribed rate provided by the CRA (when the nanny uses her own car for work purposes) and tickets to events/activities with the kids (ie. swimming pools, movies, museums) are all examples of non-taxable benefits. In addition, if that bus pass is provided to the nanny only so that she can pick up and drop off the kids at their school, then this is not a benefit at all, and simply a tool provided to the nanny in order for her to do her job.  

For more information visit the CRA’s website.

Kate McGeachin has been matching nannies and families for over 12 years.  She lives in Vancouver with her husband and her daughters.  When she is not camping, skiing or biking, she is scouring the Internet looking for the latest vegetarian-gluten free recipes.

 

Why book a babysitter with Nannies On Call?

One of the most frequently asked questions we get here at Nannies On Call is, “Why should I book a babysitter with your agency?” Great question! We’re happy to answer it!

If you are a parent in search of a professional babysitting service, you should know that when you book a babysitter with Nannies On Call you can have peace of mind knowing that we send only the most professional nannies to your home. We do all the nanny pre-screening, vetting, interviewing, and training, so that you don’t have to.

We take pride in our extensive pre-screening process which includes making sure that each nanny is at least 19 years of age, and has at the very least 2 years of proven childcare experience. We ask each nanny applicant to submit written references, and we also contact past employers directly to verify their breadth and depth of their childcare experience. Each nanny applicant meets in person with one of our nanny recruiters, who are experts in asking the right questions and in determining whether a nanny candidate is a good fit for the service we offer and the clients we cater to. On top of this, we also make sure that each nanny has both a clear criminal background check, as well as a valid First Aid/CPR certificate, while working with our agency.

Our nannies are childcare professionals, who love children, and enjoy the time they spend with your little ones. They will come prepared to follow your family’s schedule or routine, and they will also bring their own Nanny Bag of tricks to help engage and bond with your children as soon as they walk through your door. After each babysitting appointment, we look forward to your feedback, and hope that you will take the time to let us know about your experience with our service. Your input is valuable, important, and helps us to improve and grow as a company.

We believe that booking a reliable, professional babysitter should be a positive, stress-free experience, and that’s why we’re here! Booking a babysitter with Nannies On Call is as easy as setting up an appointment online (but you can also call, email or text us!), and then all you have to do is wait for us to confirm an extraordinary nanny for your appointment.

If you are ready to book your first babysitter with Nannies On Call, but want to speak with one of our Booking Agents first, you can reach us at 1-877-214-2828. You can also email us bookings@nanniesoncall.com.

We look forward to your first babysitting booking!

Vegan & Gluten-Friendly Curried Chickpea Salad

Like all great recipes, this one started at a restaurant – I ordered a curried chickpea salad sandwich, took one bite, and knew that I needed to figure out how to make it.  It’s a very simple and low-tech recipe (I’m sure you could use a food processor for a smoother salad but I like the chunkiness) and even allows for some wiggle room in terms of flavours.  To be honest, I’ve never really measured any of the ingredients before writing up this recipe which means that no matter how eyeballed your own measurements may be, it’ll still taste great!

1 can (19 oz) of chickpeas, drained
½ a granny smith apple, diced fine
1- 2 baby dill pickles, diced fine
1 stalk celery, diced fine
small handful of raisins
approx. 3 – 4 tbsp. Veganaise
approx. 1 tsp. dijon mustard
½ tsp. of curry powder
¼ tsp. paprika
salt and pepper, to taste

Put chickpeas into a large bowl.  Mash with a potato masher until chickpeas are broken down but not entirely smooth. (Food processor would also work but a masher is easier to clean, still very quick, and much more satisfying).

Add in all other ingredients and mix thoroughly with a spatula.  Season with salt and pepper to taste, as needed.

For serving, you can either serve it on a bun or toasted bread for a sandwich, with some crackers as a picnic lunch, or with some celery or carrots for a gluten-free option.  It keeps for at least a week in the fridge and gets more delicious as the days go on.  

Enjoy!

by Brianne – master of making one batch of good food last a week’s worth of lunches.

On Call Babysitting Checklist

On Call Babysitters work with dozens, even hundreds, of families throughout their career. The best nannies come prepared for their appointments equipped with the booking confirmation, a fabulous nanny bag, a warm smile, and a list of questions for mom and dad. Knowledge is power! And having the information about the children in your care, as well as the household rules, will help you have a more positive and successful babysitting experience.

Here are some questions/ideas that will help you get the conversation started:

  1. Seems obvious, but always restate the names and ages of the children that you are going to be looking after. Sometimes you start out the day with one child in the morning, but then more children show up in the afternoon (eg. after school). It’s good to know this ahead of time.
  2. What are your expectations for the day/afternoon/evening? Ask about the children’s routine, including eating schedules, snack options, nap time, bedtime, etc.
  3. Will you be allowed to take the children out for playtime? If so, where are the house keys, buzzer code, etc.
  4. Where are the coats, jackets, boots, stroller, sunblock, diaper bag, etc.?
  5. What are your rules regarding TV and electronics (if applicable)?
  6. Do you have any tips or tricks that may help with the kids?
  7. Do any of the children have any allergies, illnesses, or special needs?
  8. Where is your first aid kit?
  9. Who do I contact in case of an emergency? (Name and telephone details)
  10. Will you be calling/texting to check on the children? Do you have a landline? Cell phone only?
  11. Will you be expecting anyone else to come by the house today? (Family members, deliveries, etc.)

These are only a few basic questions to get the conversation started, and you may find that others may come up depending on the individual needs of the booking, family, and situation. The important thing is that you have the information you need to do your best work as a professional nanny. With this knowledge you will be able to put parents at ease and have a successful day with the little ones in your care. Go nanny, go!

We are hiring a Booking Agent

 

Nannies On Call, an upscale boutique company with branches in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Victoria and Toronto, has an opening in the downtown Vancouver office for a customer service representative/telephone booking agent with an upbeat, outgoing personality. This is an entry-level position with opportunity for both mentorship and growth — in a fun, young company with genuine clients you’ll actually care about.

You must have:

*An impeccable phone manner (natural ease and ability to connect with clients)
*Impeccable writing skills
*A creative, outgoing, positive, “can do” nature (we are a “casual” office with a “professional” image)
*Customer service/sales and call centre experience (calm, confident and polite)
*Ability to keep calm under pressure
*Able to multi-task and perform general office duties (typing, computer-friendly)
*Concierge type attitude towards service (client & detailed oriented)
*Ability to work independently and as part of a team
*Excellent leadership abilities
*Great work ethic and ambition

Job Requirements:

*Respond to client and nanny requests by phone and email, providing relatable, efficient service
*Resolve problems at first point of contact, able to diffuse minor conflicts without escalating to management
*Actively recruit sales opportunities through both the inbound call centre and creative initiative.

Full time position with work schedule as follows:

Mondays: 8:30AM – 6:30PM
Fridays: 8:30AM – 6:30PM
Saturdays: 9AM – 6PM
Sundays: 11AM – 5PM

Start Date: ASAP

Please send cover letter and resume detailing relevant experience, Attn: Silvana Felix.

In a world where you can send an email in a blink of an eye, we are looking for someone who stands out in the sea of applicants. Show us you care as much as we do.

Thank you to all who apply, however only successful applicants will be contacted for an interview.

 

Puzzles: Entertainment to Focus On

Summer is here and getting outside is easy.  Trips to the park, the beach, or waterpark abound and every day gives the opportunity for a new adventure.  And although the sun makes it hard to think about the rain and snow returning, staying in can be just as much an adventure.  While dress-up and make-believe can also make for an exciting day, puzzling is another great way to spend some quiet time.

Here are some benefits of puzzling:

Keeps kids busy and focused.  With screen time taking over much of our lives, attention spans are getting shorter and shorter.  It can be nice to unplug and spend time working on a puzzle together.  Not only is it a nice way for you and the children to spend some quality time, it also teaches kids to stay focused and reminds them that there is more to life than their favourite t.v. show or video game.

No matter your interests, there is a puzzle for you.  Speaking of favourite t.v. shows and video games, more likely than not, you can find it on a puzzle!  Do your kids love Disney princesses?  Action heros?  Harry Potter?  Not a problem!  There’s a puzzle out there for everyone’s interest.

Puzzle time is often quiet time.  Someone napping but you need a fun activity to keep everyone else busy?  No worries!  Puzzles allow children to remain engaged while letting baby brother or sister enjoy their nap in peace.  It’s also a great way to let you start on dinner while the kids work close by at the kitchen table.

No matter your age, there is a puzzle for you!  From 6 piece wooden farm puzzles to 2,000 piece art puzzles, there is a puzzle for every age.  Many companies are now even offering “family puzzles” that come in a variety of sizes so that your 5 year old can work on one section, your pre-teen can work on another, and you can focus on your own section.  This means that the whole family can get involved and stay invested.

Increases your children’s organizational skills.  Whether or not your kids know it, puzzling is actually one form of organization.  They are taking a jumbled set of pieces and putting them into a predetermined pattern.  While this may not help them clean their room, chances are, it will help them realize that every item has a place.  

Puzzles should never break the bank.  One of the best brands around, Mega Puzzles, sells many of its puzzles at Dollarama and other dollar stores.  This means that for a few bucks, your kids can have a new puzzle to work on.  And once your kids have found a puzzle they love, they will enjoy doing it over and over again and getting faster and faster!  You can even time them and turn it into a game.

Just remember: no matter the size or subject of the puzzle, always start by flipping over all the pieces over so you can see them clearly.  When in doubt, start with the edges and group like-colours together.  Keep the box handy for reference and you’ll be a puzzling master in no time!!

by Brianne – redoing the same 550 piece frog puzzle since the age of 12.