Blog

Back to School Shopping Tips

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.

Why Should your Young Adult take a Babysitting Course?

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/.

What to Consider when Choosing Childcare

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.

Homemade Frozen Treats for ALL Ages

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 Choices

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.