Guarantee of Hours vs Banking Nanny Hours

In the Nanny industry it is standard practice to guarantee a certain number of hours to your nanny per week (or month). This guarantee of hours is a standard term used in the nanny industry which states the number of hours per week (or month) that the nanny will be available for work and is usually equal to their typical weekly schedule (for example: if the nanny works 45hrs per week, she will receive a guarantee of 45hrs per week).

Depending on what province you live in, there are different provincial overtime rules set in place. In BC for example, anything over 8hrs per day or 40hrs per week (whichever comes first) is considered overtime hours and the employee is entitled to time and a half.

Banking Hours:

Some families will request that their nanny ‘bank’ time to make up unworked hours that they were paid under their guarantee. This should be agreed upon in advance so that there are no misunderstandings around vacation or sick time.
As the ‘middleman’ between nanny and parents, I do not suggest this type of set up in a contract as it can get messy. not only be confusing for both parties but it can cause strain on a relationship.

An example of banking is: The Williams family employ their nanny to work Mon – Friday 8am – 4pm with a guarantee of 40hrs a week. They decide that they will take a long weekend trip and will not need their nanny for Monday & Tuesday of next week. They will still pay their nanny as per their guarantee but she will ‘owe’ them 16hrs for future babysitting hours. They request their nanny to work her regular shifts Wed – Fri, but also work the following 2 Saturdays (8-4) without any further compensation, to make up the hours.

Again, deciding in advance whether your nanny will be asked to bank hours is extremely important when negotiating your contract. The details around the banking must be laid out also. How much notice will be given to your nanny for time when they are not needed? What is the maximum amount of time that he/she can have in their ‘bank’ at one time? Who is tracking these hours? Not setting this up correctly, can have a very negative impact on your nanny/family relationship if not handled correctly.


Nanny Perspective:

They are ready, willing and able to work their normal schedule from Mon – Fri 8am – 4pm. The family choses not to use her, and they have a guarantee clause in their contract which states that she will be paid. This is the choice of the family if they chose not to use her during her regular working hours and nannies generally feel that she shouldn’t be penalized for the decision of their employer. This can cause hostility if the nanny feels that they are always the ones bending on what was agreed upon regarding guarantees.
Banking time is a money saving for the parents but asking your nanny to complete overhaul their availability and not being mindful of the fact that they have a life outside their nanny role, may mean she walks!

My advice; if you value your employee and are conscious of their work-life balance, you will soon find out that banking time is not the key to a successful relationship with your nanny. Keeping a record or logging who ‘owes’ what will only flaw the relationship if the nanny feels undervalued for not being paid for work outside their regular hours. Stick to the guarantees in the contract and be as detailed as possible from the get go. There is always room for give and take in any relationship, but be sure to be openly communicate any changes and don’t expect them to make up time. If you do wish to bank hours, I strongly suggest having a cap of hours in a bank (this should never exceed a full week’s guarantee of hours) as well as a common schedule that is used to track what is worked and what is owed. You should give your nanny at least 2 weeks advance notice and the ‘option’ of when they can make up the time. Remember that they have a life outside the job!

 

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.

 

 

Searching for Faeries in East Vancouver

While Downtown Vancouver seems to get the most of the love, East Vancouver will always be my favourite part of town. Sure, Downtown has Science World, all the big name stores, and not one but two stadiums — but East Van is full of all sorts of hidden treasures of the smaller-scale variety. It’s a wonderful place to raise a family, with lots of parks, schools, community centres, locally owned shops and restaurants. But did you know it’s also home to many FAERIE FAMILIES?

The other day I chanced upon a mysterious tiny door at the bottom of a tree in my neighbourhood…a faerie door! It instantly sparked my curiosity. I packed up my water bottle, camera, and enlisted the help of my trusty canine pal, Chiri (dogs are handy for sensing anything out-of-the-ordinary that us humans might miss). And off we went by foot (and paw) to sniff out more signs and clues of our newly discovered whimsical neighbours. Who knows, if we were lucky, maybe we’d even catch a glimpse of some of these notoriously elusive fae folk themselves…

Faerie Door (not far from Fraser St. and East Broadway): We started at the site of the faerie door that inspired our mission. At first glance it looks like there may be someone home, but upon further inspection it appears to just be some plastic figurines of a human lady, a little girl, and the micro-est micro pig. (The pig was an instant giveaway. There’s no such thing as real micro pigs.) Did the faeries leave them there as decoys? My guess is the true occupants are on vacation, and don’t want anyone disturbing their dwelling while they’re gone. It’s like the faerie equivalent of leaving a lamp on and having the neighbor pick up your newspaper.

Faeries

Faerie Door

From there we headed East towards Gandview-Woodland, a rumoured faerie hot spot.

 

Left:  Who put these boxes all the way high up on this tree stump on Napier Street? …Seems too illogical for human work. How could you even reach what’s inside? I suspect this could be where the local faeries stow away their treasure collections (likely twigs and shiny things).

 

Right: Hmm.. not sure. Those entrance holes seem like a tight squeeze for faeries. Then again, real-life material obstacles like measurements and physics don’t really apply to otherworldly entities.

Faeries

Faeries

Faeries

Faeries

Neighbourhood Book Exchange Box (Charles St. and Lakewood Dr.): Okay, this one isn’t a faerie house; it’s a neighbourhood library box, where you can borrow a book or leave one for someone else to read. But if I were a tiny magical creature this seems like a good place to hide on a rainy day and catch up on some reading. No luck here on this day, since it’s sunny out. The search continues…

Neighbourhood Book Exchange Box

Neighbourhood Book Exchange Box

 

Epic Tree (Somewhere close to Victoria Dr.): FINALLY A FAERIE! She must be a very important one too, since it appears that she’s being faithfully guarded by her noble gnome friend. (Though I get the sense she’s quite capable of sticking up for herself. It’s nice of her to humour him!) This tree was actually full of faeries, dragons, birds, butterflies, and all manner of fantastical beings. Though these creatures were very camera shy and must have hexed my lens because they mostly just showed up as bright silver blurs. I highly recommend seeking this tree out to explore it firsthand.

FAERIE

FAERIES

Front Yard Faerie Village (Southward meander from the “Epic Tree”): **That’s all the location clues I’m giving for this last one!** This is what I imagine faerie co-op housing would look like. There are teeny houses of all shapes and sizes sprinkled through this garden! Not to mention, lots of winged pixies crouching behind plants, lounging around with their familiars, and dreamily watching the passersbies. I’m not sure what the rent is like, but if I were small enough I’d consider moving in.  

Front Yard Faerie Village

Front Yard Faerie Village

Front Yard Faerie Village

Front Yard Faerie Village

A lesson from a wise garden sprite: It’s very important to believe in oneself!

These are just a few of the faeries hiding around East Van. Do you recognize any of these spots? I’d show you more but they are a private bunch, so I don’t want to give away all of their secrets.

 

Why not plan your own faerie walk and see what and who you may stumble across? (HINT: Faeries are everywhere so you likely won’t need to wander far..but sometimes they are tricksters and will disguise themselves as squirrels and pigeons!) Even if you don’t spot any faeries at first, you’re sure to discover some equally interesting finds, if you keep your eyes out and your mind open…

 

Written by Miriam:
Miriam, one of our On Call Booking Agents, is originally from Toronto and has been living in Vancouver since 2010. She graduated from Trent University with a joint degree in Women’s Studies and Cultural Studies. Some of her favourite things include books (of the picture and non-picture variety), ghost stories, and making noises on her ukulele.

Visit and Animal Sanctuary

Looking for a weekend activity that’s truly memorable? Plan a day trip to visit a local animal sanctuary! Sanctuaries are unique, special places where children and adults of all ages can interact with and learn more about the animals that we don’t usually get a chance to know firsthand and up close.

There are many different kinds of sanctuaries. While some have more familiar companion animals like dogs, cats, and rabbits, many specialize in all manner of farm animals, such as pigs, cows, goats, sheep, turkeys, chickens, ducks and more!

What unifies sanctuaries and makes them different from zoos, petting zoos, and regular farms is that their residents are all rescued. Many of them offer guided tours to the public, where you can expect to hear the inspiring personalized stories of the animals you meet.

One thing I love about animals is that they are unabashedly unafraid to be themselves, especially when they are in a happy and nurturing environment. They are a lot like children that way, which is why they often get along so well together! At sanctuaries, animals have the freedom and room to express their natural tendencies, and let their individual personalities shine in a safe place where they are assured to be well cared and provided for.

You may get to rub a pig’s belly or watch one make a straw nest bed to tuck their best friend into. It’s a chance to get friendly licks from a calf and see a goat leap for joy. You can have the satisfaction of viewing chickens frolicking in a dirt bath, enjoying the sun on their backs, or find out how sweet and cuddly some turkeys can be.

No matter whom you get to meet on your visit, you will get the opportunity to experience these individuals in a new light. You may even be surprised to find that the ones you connect to most are the ones you would have least expected. I never would have dreamed I’d have warm and fuzzy feelings about a chicken or a turkey before I got to know some at a sanctuary!

Here are a few tips if you’re interesting in visiting an animal sanctuary:

  • Plan ahead: Another key point of difference between sanctuaries and zoos: because sanctuaries are havens focused on care and rescue, the animals’ needs always come first. Typically this means visitor hours are more limited to give the animals space to relax and enjoy their own time. Some offer regularly scheduled tours, while others may be by appointment only. It’s best to look up each one’s visitor info on their website or call/email ahead of time.
  • Getting there: Sanctuaries are often located in rural areas just outside of cities. This is partly because of zoning laws, and also to accommodate the amount of space the animals require to roam and play in. Pick a day to go where you have a good amount of time to get there and take it all in. You can organize a carpool or share the cost of a car rental with others to make a group trip of it.
  • Donate: Tour admission prices are generally low-cost or sometimes even free, but you may want to consider leaving a small donation (it could be money or other items they may be in need of i.e. food, tools, towels for bedding etc.) Many sanctuaries will have wish lists, which they usually post on their websites.
  • Volunteer: If you enjoy your visit, consider returning to volunteer. There’s always lots of work that goes into caring for so many animals, and help in many different areas is usually welcome and very appreciated! Volunteer roles may include feeding the animals, painting/repairing fences and housing, raking, weeding, and even giving an animal one-on-one cuddle time! There may also be opportunities to help with special events and fundraising. Ask about all-ages opportunities for lending a hand!
  • What to wear: Dress for the weather and bring proper closed-toe shoes or gumboots for your visit. Wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty, as you may get some (adorably) muddy paws on you!

Look up a sanctuary in your area and book a visit for your family; it’s guaranteed to warm your heart and put a smile on everyone’s face!

Here are a few of them to check out, but it is by no means a complete list:

NEAR CALGARY

The Alice Sanctuary (Airdrie, AB): Located about 30 minutes from Calgary, this sanctuary is a haven to various farm animals, including cows, sheep, goats, ducks, mini horses, and donkeys. Tour info here.

 

NEAR TORONTO

The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada (Puslinch, ON): Refuge for donkeys, mules, and hinnies who have been neglected or abused. 1 hour drive from downtown Toronto. Visitor info here.

 

Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary (Campbellville, ON): Home of Esther the Wonder Pig and friends. You may have heard of her. She’s kind of “internet famous” and a big deal on Facebook. Esther is a bit like a real life Wilbur from Charlotte’s Web. Approximately 1 hour drive from Toronto.Visit the Events Calendar page for info on public and group tours, work days, and special events.

 

Wishing Well Sanctuary (Bradford, ON): The Wishing Well residents include all the usual farm animals, plus they even have a llama! Located about 45 minutes away from central Toronto. Tour info here.

 

NEAR VANCOUVER/LOWER MAINLAND

The Happy Herd Farm Sanctuary (Aldergrove, BC): This happy family is made up of many different species of farm and companion animals who live in harmony together! Located approximately 1 hour away from Vancouver. Contact them by email to set up a visit.

Hearts on Noses Sanctuary (Mission, BC): HONS is dedicated to the care of over 40 potbellied pigs, mostly who were former abandoned or neglected pets. They also have a few full sized pigs who were saved from the food industry, and some non-pig occupants too. About 1 hour away from downtown Vancouver. Visitor info here.

SAINTS Rescue (Mission, BC): SAINTS stands for Senior Animals in Need Today Society. Most of the animals they take in are seniors or have special needs, and would have a hard time being adopted through local shelters. They care for approximately 120 animals, including dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, and also horses, cows, sheep, goats, and pigs. Approximately 1 hour drive from Vancouver. Tour info here.

 

NEAR VICTORIA/VANCOUVER ISLAND

RASTA (Rescue and Sanctuary for Threatened Animals) (Chemainus, BC):  With RASTA’s recent relocation from Alberta in 2015, they have become the first sanctuary for farm animals on Vancouver Island. They serve as a permanent home to many abandoned and abused animals, with a strong focus on farm animal advocacy. Approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes from Victoria. Visitor info here.

Written by Miriam:
Miriam, one of our On Call Booking Agents, is originally from Toronto and has been living in Vancouver since 2010. She graduated from Trent University with a joint degree in Women’s Studies and Cultural Studies. Some of her favourite things include books (of the picture and non-picture variety), ghost stories, and making noises on her ukulele.

 

How to be a super popular, highly-requested babysitter

Here at Nannies On Call, we speak with dozens of clients about childcare and babysitting on a daily basis. Hundreds of clients per month. Thousands of clients in a year. What this means is that we have a very clear idea of the types of babysitters our clients are looking for, and we know exactly why some nannies are regarded as ok, while others are stellar and always in high demand. This is valuable, worth-sharing, inside information.

If you are a new nanny looking to make your mark, a seasoned nanny looking for tips on how to make your nanny star shine a little brighter, or perhaps a curious, potential nanny candidate looking to become a babysitter with Nannies On Call, then this blog post is for YOU!

The most popular, highly-requested babysitters…

  1. Love children and love spending time with them. This may seem like an obvious thing, but our clients always request nannies who like to “have fun and will get down and play” with their children. A fun, playful nanny who loves children and enjoys playing with them will always be in demand.
  2. Come prepared and ready to follow a schedule, but are also flexible enough to accommodate last minute changes, emergencies, or whatever the day may bring.
  3. Are punctual. Nannies who consistently arrive for their appointments on time, stand out as being reliable, which is something all parents expect and appreciate.
  4. Communicate clearly. The most popular nannies are known for being excellent communicators. The ask the right questions at the beginning of each babysitting appointment and make sure that they are clear about the parents’ expectations. At the end of the babysitting appointment, they debrief with parents and provide feedback about what she/he did with the children.
  5. Inspire trust. All parents want to feel that the person they are leaving in charge of their children is a professional, competent nanny. The best nannies know how to put parents at ease with their confidence, body language and assertiveness. They also know how to put the children in their care at ease by making quick connections, engaging with them in a genuine manner, and offering a warm and friendly smile.
  6. Go above and beyond. In babysitting, childcare and the welfare of the children come first, but if everyone is taken care of, the children are sleeping or napping, and all other childcare-related tasks have been completed, then nannies can use that time to do some extras. These may include things like tidying up the kitchen and living areas, wiping counters, hanging up coats, putting away shoes, etc. These are easy, light housekeeping tasks that can show clients you care enough to do a little extra.

Are these things that you already do as a nanny? What are some things that you do as an in-demand nanny? Let us know in the comments.

When A Nanny Uses Her Own Car To Drive The Children

Nannies who have their own cars are high in demand!  When a Nanny uses his/her own car for work purposes, here are a few items to keep in mind:

  • The Nanny should keep a detailed log of the kilometres used for work and submit that log regularly (once a week, or once a month) to the employer.  This would include trips such as school runs, driving kids to activities, running errands for the family etc.
  • This log should include the date, the destination and how many kilometres were driven.  (Google Maps is a handy tool!) A simple notebook in the car is all that is needed, or there are also quite a few apps that can help track it.

The Parents should reimburse the Nanny for these kilometres at the rate set by Revenue Canada.  The current rate for reimbursement is $0.54 per km.

  • This reimbursement should not go on to the Nanny’s pay cheque as he/she should not have to pay tax on this amount.
  • The cost of getting to and from work is the Nanny’s own expense.

It is wise for the parents to provide an extra set of car seats that will remain permanently in the Nanny’s car so that the car seats are not being reinstalled each day.  This can be time consuming, but it is also a safety issue if they are not installed properly.  

  • Be sure to alert the Nanny’s insurance provider that her car will be used for work as a nanny. They might advise for the Liability Insurance to be increased. This is a minimal fee over the course of a year.

Alternatively, when the Nanny uses the family’s car to drive the children, the employers will pay for all gas and appropriate insurance.  

Drive safely!

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.

 

Baking with Suzie’s Sourdough Circus

Sourdough is no ordinary bread! We got to talking all things sourdough with Kathy Sager, author of Suzie’s Sourdough Circus. The book is a delightful rhyming story about a little girl, named Suzie, who lovingly prepares sourdough bread with the help of her dad. As she works, the sourdough “creatures” begin to stir and come to life. In no time, they are in full swing of their own “sourdough starter celebration,” where they “sing and dance in wild fermentation,” and get up to all sorts of zany antics!

The book features beautiful and comical illustrations by Eliska Liska. It also includes some sourdough recipes in the back pages, that are designed for you and your kids to follow together.

Kathy is a certified Early Childhood Educator and a mother of 2 youngsters, so she has a wealth of knowledge about baking with kids. She currently owns and operates Bonnington Blossoms Childcare Centre in Nelson, BC.

How did you get the idea for your book?

So I was mixing sourdough starter into a bowl of warm water one evening, to prepare the first stage of my bread. As I was mixing it, I imagined all the wild yeast and lactic acid bacteria waking up in the warm water and having a little party. I thought, I should write a children’s story about this! I was working at a childcare centre at the time and was inspired to write a book for children after reading so many great children’s books.

What’s so special about sourdough?

Sourdough is special for a lot of different reasons. For one, the fermentation process of making sourdough bread creates a more nutritious and more easily digestible bread than a bread baked with baker’s yeast.

Another thing that is important to me about sourdough is that it is made by everyday people and passed from friend to friend or family member to family member, rather than bought in a store like baker’s yeast. The sourdough starter I have has been shared for over a century and has its own history.

I also really enjoy the sour flavour that can be achieved by baking with a sourdough starter. It is interesting though, that depending on if you keep your starter wetter or dryer, as well as other factors, you can create a less sour or more sour product. Sourdough baking is a true art form and I think that is pretty special!

Tell me more about your sourdough starter. Do you know where it came from?

The sourdough starter that I have been baking with and sharing for about 9 years now was given to me by my friend, Sara. The character, Susie, is based on Sara, as she learned to bake with her dad and the sourdough starter was given to her by him.

If I remember correctly, her dad received it from a friend’s grandmother and they traced it back to Alaska over 100 years ago. Many sourdough starters were made in Alaska and the Yukon during the gold rush. The people who panned for gold were often referred to as “sourdoughs,” because they always kept a little pouch of sourdough starter hanging off their belt for making their bread.

What tips do you have for baking with children and getting them excited about it?

In my experience, all children are excited about baking. It takes a bit of extra time and planning to bake with children, depending on their age and developmental level, but it is well worth it. Baking is a hands on way that children of all ages can learn practical math skills and begin to understand chemistry and other science.

Because the fermentation process takes many hours, the first stage of sourdough baking with children needs to be done a day ahead of time. It is neat for them to see the changes that occur after the sourdough creatures eat the flour and blow bubbles in it overnight.

I wrote a short article that touches on how baking with children, and even the clean up stage, can nurture so many different developmental stages. **Note: You can read the article here.

Aside from sourdough bread, what are some other recipes that are popular to make with your daughters and the kids at your daycare?

We bake sourdough buns. I find this more fun than doing loaves of bread with children, because they can each have their own bun and it is a good size for their small hands to work with. They often get really creative with the buns and I like to give them raisins to put in the buns too. Raisins make everything more exciting and delicious!

For my children’s birthdays, I often follow the cake recipe found in the back of Suzie’s Sourdough Circus.

To find out more about sourdough, including sourdough sharing, great recipes, and informational videos you can visit The Suzie’s Sourdough Circus website.

You can purchase a copy of Suzie’s Sourdough Circus through the Harbour Publishing website.

Written by Miriam:
Miriam, one of our On Call Booking Agents, is originally from Toronto and has been living in Vancouver since 2010. She graduated from Trent University with a joint degree in Women’s Studies and Cultural Studies. Some of her favourite things include books (of the picture and non-picture variety), ghost stories, and making noises on her ukulele.

Mango Float Recipe

Mango Float is a delicious dessert that is quick and easy to prepare. Learn how to make this amazing dessert for parties and gatherings.. You can also try to freeze your mango float to make it more like an ice cream cake texture.

Ingredients:

  • 5 ripe mangoes, thinly sliced.
  • 1 box of Graham crackers
  • 1 box of Crushed Graham (optional – you can crush some graham crackers)
  • 2 cans of all-purpose cream
  • 1 can of condensed milk

Directions:

  1. Prepare a rectangular glass dish.
  2. In a bowl, mix the all-purpose cream and condensed milk. Mix well and whisk until smooth.
  3. Scoop a small amount of the cream mixture and place into the bottom of the dish.
  4. Place a layer of graham crackers until the dish is fully covered then coat the crackers with another scoop of cream mixture.
  5. Spread out the thin sliced mangoes evenly on top of the cream.
  6. Repeat by placing layers of crackers, mangoes and cream mixture.
  7. Garnish top layer with mango and sprinkle the crushed graham.
  8. Chill the Mango Float for at least 2 to 3 hours before serving.

Here are some Pinterest inspirations for Mango Float! 🙂

https://www.pinterest.com/explore/mango-flosat/

Customer Service Rep Opening!

Nannies On Call, an upscale boutique company with branches in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Victoria, Toronto, and Ottawa, has an opening in their downtown Vancouver call centre for a customer service representative 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.

Part-time position with work schedule as follows:
Tuesdays: 8:30AM – 6:30PM
Wednesdays: 8:30AM – 6:30PM
Thursdays: 8:30AM – 6:30PM

We will consider offering full-time hours to the right candidate.

Start Date:
Please send cover letter AND resume detailing relevant experience, Attn: Silvana Felix. silvana@nanniesoncall.com

Job Requirements:
*Respond to client and nanny requests by phone and email, and text providing courteous, 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.

Qualifications and Skills
We are looking for someone who has worked in a call centre setting, and who has:
*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)
*Tech savvy
*Ability to work independently and as part of a team
*Excellent leadership abilities
*Great work ethic and ambition

Salary: $16.70 /hour

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.

Husband Approved Thai Red Curry with Vegetables

If your husband is anything like mine with a caveman desire to eat meat wrapped in meat topped with meat, then you know how they cringe at the word vegetarian or vegan. I’ve had to be quite crafty in tricking him into eating a vegetarian meal. I myself try to eat a meatless dinner at least once a week. This recipe however, he loves, as do I! It’s vegetarian, vegan and gluten free!

Click HERE for the recipe!

Written by: Kelly Trozzo

Originally from Arizona, Kelly graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Family and Human Development. Coming from a childcare background and transitioning into recruiting, Kelly is the seasoned recruiter for Calgary Nannies on Call! Kelly is passionate about cooking; she will talk your ear off about food and the definition of a “great meal”. Kelly is due to have her first baby in September 2017, she is currently going to great lengths to remain cool and comfortable during the summer.

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!!!