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Whether its family, friends, or strangers, being a first time babysitter and can extremely nerve racking. That being said, it doesn’t have to be! Along with the proper preparation and confidence, here are ways that can help make your first babysitting gig a success!

 

1. Bring games/toys

Make sure you come prepared to have fun! If possible, talk to the parents ahead of time about what the little ones enjoy doing. Keeping busy will make the night go smoother and be more fun for everyone.

 

2. Be aware of allergies/conditions

This is really important! The last thing you want to do is make dinner with an ingredient that someone is allergic to. Make sure to get any medical information before the parents leave.

 

3. Be aware of your surroundings

Lock the doors, and pay attention to anything that may be happening around the house. Also, be aware of potential dangers inside the house, and make sure the children are aware and not interacting with them.

 

4. Be respectful

Ultimately, a good impression and a clean, tidy house will leave parents happy and more likely to call you next time on their night out. Be polite, don’t overstep your boundaries, and act like you would if they were there with you!

 

Good luck!

As a health and child care company, we’re strong advocates that everyone who is physically capable to provide first aid and CPR should be trained in it. Why? Because that’s how you save lives.

 

In our information society, no one is ever going to argue with you that education is a bad idea, yet many people are reluctant to be educated in first aid. They see it as a responsibility, which to an extent it is. More troubling however, is that they often don’t feel like they will ever need to use First Aid or CPR training.

 

To prove that first aid training is helpful in your everyday life, here are 10 scenarios which might occur at home, at work or on the go where being First Aid certified would be incredibly helpful:

 

1) Your daughter is helping you to make her favourite tonight; pasta. She insists that she’ll be okay draining off the excess water but when she picks up the pot from the stove the handle falls off. Her legs are being burnt and her clothing has soaked up much of the boiling water. Now what?

 

2) You’re passing by the storage room at work when you hear a banging noise. Out of curiosity you open the door and find someone who has clearly fallen to the floor. Now what?

 

3) While at your sons’ soccer game his friend falls hard onto his shoulder, you hear a loud pop. An ambulance is called but you’re told that because of other more life threatening emergencies they could take up to a half hour to arrive. Now what?

 

4) A couple is enjoying lunch in the secluded section of the park you run through every day. The woman calls out for help saying her husband is choking. Now what?

 

5) During a storm you lose control of your car and end up in the ditch. You have no cell service and the car won’t start. Now what?

 

6) You’re making dinner for a friend and get distracted while talking. You cut your finger and there is a considerable amount of blood. Now what?

 

7) Your child’s grandfather is outside playing with them when your child comes running in saying that grandpa’s face “looks funny.” Now what?

 

8) A friend injures herself badly and needs help around the house for a few weeks, while you’re there she asks for your help in keeping the wound clean and changing the dressings. Now what?

 

9) Your co-worker trips running up the stairs and hits their chin hard. They seem fine, but now what?

 

10) A customer brings in cookies for your staff as a thank-you for something you did for them, she tells you they’re peanut free, but by mistake they aren’t. One of your staff who is allergic eats one. Now what?

 

First Aid situations like these are a part of everyday life. People get minor cuts and scrapes, choke, burn themselves, and suffer from a variety of medical problems such as heart attack, stroke, and allergic reactions. First Aid gives you the ability to make sure they are as comfortable as possible and still alive when they reach medical professionals.

 

Knowing that you can keep your family safe and answer every “Now what?” on that list should be incentive enough to take a course. If not, give us a call and we can provide you with more reasons and competitive rates for First Aid, CPR and AED certification.

It’s a reality for most parents that their school aged children will spend some time alone (or with an older child) before they get home. Many of them will walk home from their schools, after-school programs or friends houses without you. Here are some tips for keeping them safe when you can’t be there.

 

1) Designate “safe places”

Some communities already have these in place for you. They’re often local businesses or houses that have been screened by the local police department. Their purpose being that if a child (or anyone) is uncomfortable, feels like they’re being followed or encounters any dangerous situation there is somewhere they can go where an adult will help.

On a smaller scale, you can set these places up on your own. Family and friends houses or businesses. You can always go the extra step and work to set up a network similar to the one listed above by gathering information about who may be interested in the community and then having them screened by your local police department. Your child’s school may be able to help you to do this.

 

2) Make sure they know the code

Stranger danger has been drilled into our children’s heads, but even if the person is an acquaintance your child shouldn’t be going somewhere with them. To ensure they don’t, set up a code word that a friend or relative will know if plans have changed and they will be picking your child up and so on.

 

3) If your child will be spending time at home alone…

Make sure they know the emergency numbers and you have them posted in a spot where they won’t be easily misplaced. If it’s possible, try to find an older child or a childcare giver who can take care of them during your absence. They are safest when they aren’t alone.

It’s back to school time and we all know what that means: grumpy kids. No more sleeping in, a more consistent bed time and a lot less time outside (or in front of the TV). So how can you counter the back to school blues?

 

A great way is to keep some of their favourite activities throughout the fall season. Do they absolutely adore going to the park with you? Great, take them on the weekend. Did you go camping all the time and they loved it? Try getting away for a weekend as it gets slightly colder, it just means more campfire fun!

 

Another way to counter the back to school blues is by making things like homework fun. Try and tie in activities, games, or characters and toys that they enjoy with the work. In doing this you will make the process more enjoyable for both yourself and your child.

 

It’s important to remember that the best way to have a happy child is also to have a healthy child. If you keep them active throughout all the seasons, you’ll have one! Healthy, active children also sleep easier, are better rested, and enjoy school and learning a bit more.

Every child you’ve ever met has their own unique set of needs; why treat children with mental or cognitive disabilities any differently than you do any other child?

When interacting with such a child, we really recommend one core idea: treat them as you would any other child. You hated being singled out for being different as a child (many of us as adults still find ourselves tortured by how the rest of society views us), why perpetrate that view onto the next generation?

So how can you provide the best care for a child with mental or cognitive disabilities? Easy. Follow some of these helpful tips and trust your instincts.

 

Figure out their needs

There are some basics: food, water, shelter… beyond that, every child is different. Observe, let them try new and old activities. Only give them help if the situation becomes dangerous for them or if they ask for your help.

 

Encourage Them

No matter what the child is doing, you need to encourage their good habits. Let’s be honest, we all remember to reprimand; to tell the child no when they pick up the expensive vase in the living room and so on, but we rarely remember to praise them, especially once they are out of their toddler years. Remember to encourage and you’ll have a happier child.

 

Go at their Pace

Just because your favourite children’s book says they should be able to ________ by the age of ________, don’t put extra pressure on your child. Understand that development is different for everyone and that we all progress at our own place. Better yet, if you discover that your child is say fantastic at math, but a terrible English student praise them for their success. It’s okay to encourage them to work on the skills they lack, but understand they may never be the scholar you were and that if you are going to help them learn, be sure to make it fun.

It was not so long ago that my mother used to take me back to school shopping for all my supplies… I remember the days fondly, running up and down the aisles of various pens and pencil crayons and markers and erasers and scissors and a billion different binders and pretty pencil cases and… Are you starting to understand why back to school shopping is so expensive? I am.

The reality is that most of us need to back to school shop on a budget, especially if you happen to have multiple school aged children (and don’t think that your 16 year old isn’t an expensive back to school shopper; four classes means four binders, you know). So here are a few tips as the sales start up to make sure that back to school doesn’t mean no lunch money for a month.

 

Shop the sales.

There’s no sense dropping $10 on a binder when a week later you would only have to pay $5. The closer you get to the actual school year often the more sales there will be.

 

Think logically.

Does your child really need 4 binders? Sometimes it pays to be a logical thinking parents. Is your child going to have time to make it to his locker between class 1 and 2 or 3 and 4? Probably not. Buy a bigger binder and save some money. Need dividers now? Get the ones where you can change the subject on them by slipping out a piece of paper, that way next term (next year if you’re lucky) you can use them again.

The same logic applies to multiple pencil cases, getting crayons and pencil crayons, and why you should really just buy the variety pack of pens so you blue, black, and the coveted red.

 

Set limits before you go.

Let your child know that you can’t buy everything in sight. Sit down together and plan out what they need. Make a list, and tell them they can only buy one thing that isn’t on the list.

Tough Love.

Sometimes, you really don’t need to do a big back to school shop. Binder isn’t broken? Check. Backpack still works? Check. Your child has a billion and one pencil crayons already? Check.

Remember to buy only what you need; not only will you save a bundle, but you’ll be teaching your child a lesson in the importance of money management and environmental sustainability.

Seeing as this blog is hosted by a childcare provider service, it might seem odd that we’re promoting that young adults take a babysitting class, but this is our line of thought; Not everyone is going to hire a childcare service. Many people will continue to use their neighbour, oldest child, or middle and high school students to take care of their young kids. Although we don’t feel that’s the right choice for everyone, we still want those who use the neighbourhood babysitter to know that their child is safe.

If your child is between the ages of 11-14 they can register for a babysitting course with a variety of agencies, ours included. The course will teach them safety precautions, about household dangers when watching over small children, how to change diapers, how to stay calm through an emergency like a break-in or fire, and techniques for dealing with children when their parents are gone. Many courses, ours included, can be done in combination with CPR and First Aid training to ensure that in a life threatening situation your babysitter will know what to do to keep your child alive until emergency services arrive.

So why should your child take a babysitting course?

Babysitting teaches young adults responsibility and gives them a chance to see the effort that goes into earning money

The skills learned in a babysitting course, such as how to react during a break-in or fire, will help to keep them safe

The children’s parents have peace of mind that your child will be able to care for their children

If taken with a CPR and First Aid component, your child is more likely to be calm in an emergency and able to handle a life threatening situation.

For more information on an effective babysitting course for young adults, visit http://www.visitingangels.ca/specialty-childcare-training/.

kids and childcare worker on floor reading

Long ago are the days when parents simply hired the teenager down the road to babysit. Now, maybe we worry a little more, maybe we’ve learned from the past and gotten a little more cautious, or maybe in the age of the internet we’ve just gotten scared by the horror stories, but most people will agree that hiring a trained professional to take care of your children is the right choice.

When you select a childcare agency there are a few key things you should be looking for…

 

First Aid, CPR, AED trained

 

You want a child care provider who can provide your child with care in case of an emergency. Children tend to find trouble wherever possible as they explore the world, and you want to know that the person you’ve left them with can provide them with the best care possible (short of leaving them with a doctor). Your provider should have basic First Aid and CPR certification that is up to date. It’s not going too far to ask the provider to show proof that their staff has received this training. At Babysitting Angels we have staff that is licensed to teach First Aid and CPR. We never fall behind in our training and are always willing to run a class to teach parents these lifesaving skills, regardless of if they use our other services.

 

24 Hour Service

 

Sometimes life happens and you may not make it back at the time you expect to. Childcare professionals will not leave before you return. With a service such as Babysitting Angels we are on call 24 hours a day which means there is never a time where your children will not be provided for. We even will do overnights at home or in hotels.

 

Testimonials from previous clients

 

Any childcare company worth its salt has made an impact on the clients it serves. Take a look through their website for testimonials or call to see if they have some on file. If they don’t, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should run for the hills, you may however want to inquire more into how long the company has been in service, the education their staff undergoes, and whether or not they’d be willing to approach previous clients for testimonials.

 

Screening Process

 

You don’t want to leave your kids with people who have no business caring for children. Look into the screening process of the childcare provider and ensure that whoever will be looking after your child has the proper training, credentials, and a good record.

It’s been a warm summer in Ontario (and pretty much everywhere else too) and everywhere I go, do you know what I see? Ice cream. And it’s killing me.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a complete health nut, and I like to indulge from time to time, but there are so many healthier, more satisfying foods to feed the kiddies in the hot, hot heat.

Here are 3 ideas to get you to skip the ice cream in favour of your children’s health (and their taste-buds too)!

Real Fruit Popsicles – These delicious treats are super easy to make at home. You can make them as decadent or as simple as your children desire. Dump fruit into a blender and blend until nearly smooth. Repeat the process with different fruits until you have 2 or 3, or blend them all together. Take molds (or make some with tinfoil) and fill them with some of each blended fruit. Add a Popsicle stick at the bottom (you can find them at the dollar store) and place them in the fridge for at least two hours. They’re delicious and chalked full of nutrients. They’re also perfect for anyone who suffers from a dairy allergy. Although you can add yogurt to your fruit to make them more “creamy”; if you do, we’d recommend Greek yogurt, it’s thicker and packs a punch of protein!

Frozen Fondue – Fondue, although traditionally hot, is fantastic with frozen fruit. Freeze your strawberries, banana chunks, grapes and so on a few hours before you heat up your chocolate. The frozen fruit with the warm chocolate will cool you down fast, and what kid (or parent) doesn’t love chocolate? (Use dark chocolate if you’re trying to be healthy, it beautifully counteracts the sweetness of your frozen fruit!)

Frozen Bananas “bites” – They’re all the rage right now, and for good reason; you can add almost anything to them and they taste delicious. Cut the banana into half inch slices, then dip one side (or both if you’d like) in chocolate/caramel (or any other topping you’d like) and then into the nuts and freeze. They’re kind of like ice cold, sweet chips.

Child care can often make or break working parent’s careers. If your sitter isn’t quality, neither is your effort at work and it can lead to costly mistakes, like having to cut out of a meeting early or missing out on a promotion because you’re late every Tuesday. Child care was created to help working parents, so if you are one, and your current option isn’t working, maybe it’s time to reconsider.

 

There are four basic options when it comes to choosing childcare:

 

Good ol’ Mom and Dad
Although this option is sometimes fantastic, and often the most cost effective, care provided by a relative can be problematic. They may not understand the type of commitments you have at work, or their age may be a factor in preventing them from giving your children proper care, especially when they’re young. If you do choose to leave your child with a relative, make sure they know what needs to be done, and are aware of how to handle emergencies properly. Honestly, we recommend that anyone who is being left to care for your child is First Aid/CPR trained.

 

Care in your Home
Agencies like ours provide care in your home which doesn’t mess with the routines you’ve worked so hard to ingrain in your children, of any age, and which make them feel comfortable and safe. It isn’t always the most cost effective option (the more children you have, the more cost effective it becomes), but it is one of the safest. Our staff are trained in post-secondary fields related to child development and are trained in First Aid/CPR and crisis management. They have the experience you want a care provider to have.

 

Day Care Center
This option puts your child with a group of other children under the guise of teachers or ECE’s who follow instructions of a director. They are strictly regulated to keep your children safe. The hours are limited however and can make it difficult for parents who start early or work later than the traditional 9-5, which has gone the way of the wind in most jobs these days. Available subsidies may make this more affordable for single moms or those who make below or close to the poverty line.

 

Family Day Care
These are the small daycare centers run from a person’s home. Some drawbacks are that you’re at the impulse of a single person; if that person gets sick, now where does your child go? There are also fewer regulations with home day care centers. They can however be an affordable alternative, but again, with very limited hours.

 

As a working parent, you need to choose the option, or variety of options, that is right for yourself and your children. You may decide to enroll your child in a Day Care Centre, but to use an in home service for night meetings or to go away for a night with your partner, a friend, or on business. The important thing is that your child ends up in a safe environment with appropriate supervision. Don’t be afraid to tour facilities, interview staff, and ask questions before leaving your child or inviting someone into your home.