Tips for parents to avoid stress during the holiday season

The holidays are the perfect opportunity to spend quality time with your kids and get together with everyone you love. However, along with the holiday cheer comes the obligations, the expectations, and the stress. Parenting is hard under normal circumstances, so adding in holiday sweets, gift giving, family functions, and time off school means things are about to get chaotic.

  1. Set your priorities

The first thing you need to do is come up with a flexible plan. If you try to schedule everything, you’re just going to end up overwhelmed and stressed out. When you’re thinking about your perfect holiday, try to decide what moments/events/traditions are the most important and make sure there is enough time to prepare. Remember how hectic things can get over the holidays, so be prepared to cut things out. Create a schedule that allows for mistakes, time delays, or rearranging. That way, even if you don’t get everything done, at least your main priorities will still be intact.

  1. Discuss realistic expectations

Setting holiday expectations is just as important for you as it is for the kids. Discuss gift giving and budgets, making sure the kids understand what the season is about and aren’t expecting things they will never receive. Creating realistic expectations means there will be less disappointment, which means there will be less whining and tantrums for moms and dads to deal with.

  1. Make your own traditions

Sometimes, it can seem crazy to push the limits of your patience trying to fit into traditions started by other people. Although it can be important to retain some traditions from previous generations, there is no reason why you can’t also start something new with your own family. If you want to build snowmen together, or take the kids to a late movie, or go volunteering as a family, that is your decision to make, no matter what kind of stress other people are putting on you.

  1. Stay healthy

If you’re going to make it through the holidays in one piece, you’re going to have to make your health one of your priorities (see #1). This means exercising regularly, not overeating too many rich treats, and keeping the holiday cocktails to a minimum. If you are finding it difficult to schedule in some exercise, try involving the whole family. Go for a walk through a local holiday market, go sledding (walking back up the hill is great exercise), or head to a family-friend yoga studio and relieve stress together. Also, be sure to include sleep in your schedule. It is much easier to get sick, lose your patience, or let stress get the better of you when you are exhausted. Get lots of sleep, eat well, stay hydrated, and try your best to stay calm.

  1. Unplug

This one seems to get harder each year, as the reliance on technology and social media grows. However, to truly let yourself relax into the spirit of the holiday, you’re going to need to unplug. Turn off all your screens, stop answering emails, put away your work, and remind yourself what the holidays are about. Focus on your traditions or family moments instead of reading social media updates. It might seem like a small step towards a stress-free holiday, but you’ll be surprised by how much more enjoyable everything becomes when you are living in the moment.

  1. Enjoy quality time

Now is your chance to spend some quality, one-on-one time with the kids. Plan some special outings, or schedule in a family game night. Try making some holiday crafts together, or bake some festive cookies. If you really want to earn bonus parenting-points, ask the kids what they want to do and agree to participate no matter what. Despite their age, your kids will appreciate the effort you are putting in and be less likely to give you a hard time later on. The holiday spirit is contagious, so start spreading it around.

  1. Get some help

There is no reason why you should have to do everything yourself. Even if you have a co-parent, it doesn’t mean the frantic nature of the holidays won’t affect you. Take a look at your schedule and figure out the rough patches, then head to BookJane.com and find some great, experienced child caregivers to help out. Each sitter is qualified and can help in a variety of situations. They can watch the kids while you do last minute shopping, or take the kids on a field trip while you clean the house before you host your extended family. You can try delegating some chores to the kids, but the real help comes from BookJane.

  1. Throw perfection out the window

The best way to fend of stress during the holiday season is to remember that you’re not perfect, so why should your holiday be? When something goes wrong, take a deep breath and remind yourself the holidays don’t last forever, and there is always an alternative solution to every problem. Forcing the kids to follow your holiday ideals often ends with cranky kids, unruly teenagers, and the loss of your patience. Just remember the holidays are for everyone to enjoy, so no matter what happens, try to relax and have some fun. You can do it!

How seniors can have a healthy and happy holiday season

The holidays are filled with family events, parties, and tons of delicious treats, but for many seniors, the holidays can be stressful and even cause depression. Being thrown into the middle of a bustling family schedule, or trying to keep up with the younger generation, are more difficult for seniors because they are not used to change.

The stress of a chaotic family function can often lead to reminiscing about a time when things were easier. This nostalgia for old times can lead to depression, and isolation. However, there are so many ways to help a senior prevent added stress and discomfort around the holiday season.

  1. Don’t plan every moment

Most seniors are used to having a set schedule. They wake up at the same time every day, do their crossword at the same time, go for an afternoon walk, and enjoy a book and some tea before bed. Throwing them into a chaotic family environment will leave them overwhelmed and isolated. If you plan every single moment of their holiday, there will be no time left for themselves, and no time to relax. Check with any senior relatives visiting for the holidays to see what their schedule is normally like and make adjustments so they can be as comfortable as possible.

  1. Leave time for rest

The holidays often mean extra travel, visiting each relative in turn. It can be exhausting to spend so much time in the car, or on a plane, so be sure to schedule plenty of time for rest, or even a few minutes of quiet. It might seem easy to plan your quiet time for the end of each travel period, but it is often necessary to rest in the middle of a long trip also. Don’t rush your plans; make sure there is always extra time between travel stops, or family events, to take a rest.

  1. Include healthy food options

The holidays are often filled with sweet desserts, rich meals, and festive cocktails. However, it can be dangerous for seniors to let go of their healthier dietary habits because it could lead to stomach issues, illness, or even disease. There is a reason why seniors often eat lighter, healthier meals; their bodies need proper nourishment. During the holiday season, be sure to include as many healthy food options as possible. Not only will it be better for seniors, it will also be better for the health of the whole family.

  1. Keep activities accessible

It is always important for seniors to stay active, especially during times of stress, but family outings can be too physical for many seniors. When planning a shopping trip, make sure to bring along walking aids, or keep the visit short. If you are heading to a holiday party, make sure there are wheelchair ramps, or elevators, so there are less physical impediments. Ask the senior in your life about the type of activities they do on their own and be sure you don’t plan anything that goes above and beyond their capabilities.

  1. Be careful what you drink

Thanks to all the festive cheer being passed around during the holidays, it can be easy to imbibe too much alcohol. Many seniors are on medications, which when taken with alcohol can cause serious damage, so it’s best to keep drinking to a minimum or avoid it entirely. Also be sure to offer water whenever possible to stay hydrated. Dehydration is often an issue during the holiday season when a senior is removed from his or her own schedule.

  1. Discuss your emotions

The holidays often bring about bittersweet memories of lost loved-ones, days long past, and even our own mortality, so it’s important to open up honest and heartfelt conversations whenever possible. Find out how your aging parent or grandparent is feeling this holiday and help them fight off depression by showing interest in their life. It can be as easy as including them in your own life issues, or looking through photo albums and listening to family stories.

  1. Have fun with loved-ones

Seniors often feel grief and loneliness during the holiday season while thinking about their lost family members or friends, which means they will need extra support. Incorporate them into your holiday traditions, or even create new traditions to include them in the fun and show them they are important. Also be sure some of the events are inter-generational, so both the young and old can spend some quality time together. The best way to ensure your aging loved-one has a healthy and happy holiday season is to include them in the fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Questions to ask when hiring a new sitter

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Hiring a new sitter can seem like a difficult process, but with BookJane, it’s actually quite simple. With a few clicks you can find a caregiver with the right qualifications, certifications, and experience needed to take care of your kids. However, when introducing a new person into your life and the lives of your children, it’s always best to ask a few questions first.

Before you begin, ask yourself (and your partner) initial questions to help you figure out what kind of caregiver you are looking for. If you’re not sure what to ask, here is a list of nine questions to get you started:

1) How often do you need a sitter?

2) Do you need a caregiver with specific qualifications, and if so, what are they?

3) Do you want one sitter exclusively working for you, or several on rotation?

4) Do you need a sitter with a certain amount of experience?

5) What style of discipline would you like your caregiver to use?

6) Will the sitter need experience with special needs care?

7) Should the caregiver have a vehicle, or will you provide one?

8) What household duties do you expect help with, such as food preparation and cleaning?

9) Do you have any pets the sitter will be interacting with?

Secondly, you will need a few questions to ask during the interview. This can be an in-person meeting or a phone chat; it’s really up to you and your level of comfort. Aside from any personal questions you might want to ask, also ask about anything specific that pertains to your family, such as pet care, special needs care, driving, swimming, infant needs, etc. Here are a few questions to help you determine if the sitter is right for you and your family.

1) What is your experience with children?

2) Can you tell us about any related training, qualifications and certificates you have?

3) What do you think kids like most about you? What is your fondest childcare memory?

4) What do you like most about taking care of children?

5) How do you handle discipline when needed? Can you tell us about a situation where you needed to discipline a child? How would you handle a tantrum?

6) Can you tell us about an emergency situation you have experienced and how you reacted?

7) What do you do when you’re not working?

8) What activities would you like to do with our kids?

9) What is your availability? Are you available for last minute childcare, overnight care, or travel?

10) What are you looking for in the family you work with?

After your new sitter has completed a trial run with your kids, take the time to ask the kids how things went. This is a great way to find out if the kids are happy with your choice, and how the sitter interacted with the children when you weren’t there. Kids are usually very honest, but keep in mind that it could take time for the kids to warm up to a new person. Below are a few questions to ask the kids about their new sitter.

1) Did you have a good time with Jane?

2) What did you do while Jane was here?

3) Did you get in trouble with Jane for any reason? Did she raise her voice or seem angry?

4) Did Jane spend much time on a phone/computer/watching television?

5) What was your favourite thing about Jane?

6) Would you like Jane to come back? Why or why not?

Now that you have hired a sitter and they have spent some time with the kids, it’s time to ask the sitter how things went. It’s always best to ask a few questions after the first time your new childcare provider is left alone with your kids. You can find out if anything went wrong, and if so, could the sitter have done anything differently. You can also find out if the sitter is a good match for your kids, and whether or not it seems like everyone’s personalities are a fit.

1) How did things go today? What did you do?

2) Did the kids give you any problems? If so, how did you resolve the issue(s)?

3) Did you and the kids have a good day?

4) Did the kids eat their dinner/do their homework/argue with you/play well together?

5) Is there anything we can do to make things easier for you next time?

Use BookJane for your life moments

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BookJane is a mobile app that helps you find child care providers for your loved ones, on demand and in your local area.

There will always be moments in life when you need a little help, and now BookJane is here to provide it. Download the app straight to your phone and start browsing through all the qualified, experienced, and amazing child caregivers available right now. All BookJane childcare professionals have an ECA (Early Childhood Assistant) or RECE (Registered Early Childhood Educator) diploma. 

We know that being a parent is a full-time job; you are busy from morning until night, making sure the kids are happy and healthy, leaving little time for yourself. However, life happens, and it’s important to take a break once in a while without feeling guilty. You should be able to work late, or enjoy a date night, without worrying about the kids. Use BookJane for your life moments to make sure you don’t miss out on anything.

Working Late

If you’ve got an impending deadline and the work isn’t finished yet, but you have to pick the kids up from school, what do you do? BookJane is there, easily accessible on your phone, to provide the support you need. At the click of a button you can find a qualified sitter ready to grab the kids and take them home while you finish your project. You don’t have to let your work suffer, just hire some help and stay late when you need to.

Home Sick

When your kids are really little, you often have to take a day off work when they are sick. However, when they are older they just need somebody there to feed them and check their temperature when they stay home from school. Using the BookJane app, you can find a caregiver ready and capable to take care of your sick child while you are at work or while you’re taking care of your other kids.

Date Night

It can be hard to keep the romance alive when you’re both busy with work and taking care of the kids. Be sure to take time out to spend quality time together away from the kids by hiring a sitter for date night. A sitter can spend the evening watching your kids while you head out for a romantic meal, or even take the kids to a movie while you have some time alone at home. Go out and have some fun, knowing the kids are safe with the qualified sitter you found at BookJane.

Occasions

Hosting a child’s birthday party at your house can be a major ordeal. By the time you decorate, plan all the games and entertainment, prepare all the food, put together the gift bags, and buy an amazing present, you are exhausted—and the party hasn’t even started. Use BookJane to find a certified and enthusiastic sitter (or two) to help take care of the kids during the party. Having an extra set of eyes will help you relax a little and might actually mean you get to enjoy the party, too!

There will always be moments in life when you need a little help, and now BookJane is there to provide it. Download the app straight to your phone and start browsing through all the qualified, experienced, and amazing child caregivers available right now.

7 Ways to improve quality of life for seniors living at home

For many seniors, it becomes harder and harder to maintain a high quality of life while still living at home. Aging means that everyday tasks become more difficult, friends and family members pass away, and health issues can make moving around a lot less enjoyable. However, there are so many things you can do, either as a senior, or as an adult with a senior parent, to improve the quality of life at home, stay healthy and active, and even have a little fun.

  1. Keep moving

Physical exercise has proven again and again to help people feel better and live longer. Not only does exercise keep you fit, it also helps you prevent issues such as arthritis and heart disease. Activities such as walking and dancing help build strength, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of falling. If mobility is reduced, there are great water aerobics classes that are easy on joints, yoga classes specifically for seniors revolving around stretching and flexibility, or physical therapists who can help create exercise routines right at home.

  1. Do chores

Keeping up with house cleaning and gardening creates a sense of purpose and boosts self-esteem. Feeling good about accomplishments, no matter how small, is a great way to increase the quality of life for seniors living at home. If you are an adult with a senior parent at home, try asking them to help out with laundry, food preparation, loading the dishwasher, and other relatively easygoing tasks. Not only will they feel useful, but you will also get everything done much faster.

  1. Plan excursions

Get out of the house! Depending on the senior’s level of mobility, you can plan a weekly or monthly adventure. If your senior parent is still quite mobile, they can make the plans and head out on their own. A visit to the aquarium, the local library, or a great museum lets them be independent and reminds them they are still living fun and interesting lives. If mobility is an issue, plan a visit to a local park with wheelchair accessible paths, head to the movie theatre, or even over to a friend’s house. It’s important to leave the house regularly to maintain a connection with the outside world.

  1. Hire a caregiver

Senior care is a great way to ensure aging parents are safe and happy if they choose to live at home. Use the BookJane app to hire qualified, experienced, and passionate senior caregivers to help out whenever needed. If your parents are on medication, the caregiver can be there to make sure they remember to take their pills and refill their prescription. The home care worker can also help with food preparation, physical exercise, and light housekeeping. You can even hire a caregiver just to come over and provide some companionship if your elderly parent lives alone.

  1. Treat any illnesses

A senior’s health can deteriorate at faster rates when something goes wrong, so it’s important to address any issues. Make regular trips to the family doctor and see a physician if any aches, pains, or memory loss occur in the meantime. It is also very important to treat depression and other mental illnesses, which often begin after retirement, the loss of a loved one, and can also be caused by certain medications. Maintaining health is a major part of upholding a high quality of life.

  1. Stay social

Seniors who retain friendships and close relationships are more likely to live longer, and also less likely to suffer from dementia. After retirement, it is very important to avoid isolation by taking up new hobbies, volunteering for local causes, and spending time at senior centres. Encourage your parent to attend all family events and stay in touch with their friends and acquaintances. If mobility is an issue, arrange for friends and family to visit them at home, or hire a caregiver to spend time with them (see #4).

  1. Stimulate the brain

In order to retain or improve cognitive function, everyone needs to keep active and stimulate the brain. For seniors, this is especially true because dementia and memory loss are common. Play board games together, or try crosswords, sudoku, or just read a book. Playing a musical instrument and keeping a journal are also great ways to keep the brain active. Having an active and healthy brain will foster a positive outlook on life, which directly relates to happiness and contentment.

How to find the right caregiver for your kids

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Finding the right caregiver for you family can be tricky. You need someone who meets all your needs, has the right qualifications, and also gets along with your kids. The hiring process can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. By following the six steps below, you will be well on your way to finding the perfect sitter.

Step One: Figure out what you want

Before you start the process of meeting and hiring a caregiver for your kids, you should think about what you need. Do you want a sitter with a driver’s license to pick the kids up from school and drive them to their soccer practice, swimming class, and piano lessons? Do you need a caregiver with experience working with children with special needs? Do you want a sitter who can help with French homework?

Sit down with your partner, or anyone else who shares the childcare duties with you, and sort out your priorities. Write down your needs, as well as expectations, to make sure you are on the same page. It will be much easier to find a suitable sitter once you understand what it is you’re looking for.

Step Two: Browse your options

Get on BookJane and start looking through the variety of qualified and experienced caregivers available for hire. It used to be such a hassle to find quality childcare; contacting friends and family to let them know you need a sitter, searching through websites and agencies hoping to find a suitable person, reading through endless resumes hoping one will have all the right qualifications. Thanks to BookJane, the entire process is now super easy.

Download the app, choose any certificates, diplomas, languages, and years of experience you deemed necessary in step one, and then browse through the sitters who match your criteria. Take your time to fully read each profile to get a feel for the caregiver’s personality. Double check their credentials and make sure they provide the services you need. Then proceed to step three.

Step Three: Schedule an interview

Once you have found a few sitters who fit your needs, contact them for in-person interviews. Your kids are your most prized possessions, and now is your chance to meet with professionals who understand your needs. Have a list of questions prepared ahead to ask the candidates, making sure to note how each person answers to discuss with your partner afterwards.

First impressions can be so important, but keep in mind that you don’t have to make up your mind after a single meeting. Plan a second meeting, or even just a phone chat, to see if the sitter is right for you. And remember to interview more than one person to provide comparison and a variety of options.

Step Four: Have a meet and greet

After you’ve narrowed your search down, have the remaining candidate (or candidates) meet with your kids. This can be a quick meeting, just to see if everyone gets along, or you could plan to have everyone interact for an hour or so to see how things go. This is also a great way to hire more than one sitter; parents often find that hiring two or three different sitters gives the kids an opportunity to enjoy different personalities.

Each caregiver will have their own unique strengths, so you could even have one favourite for helping out on date night (a sitter who knows how to plan a night of fun for the kids), one for excursions (a sitter with more experience, a driver’s license, and the ability to keep kids calm in crowded public settings), and one for day-to-day help (light housekeeping, homework help, food preparation, etc.). It would be nice to find one person who meets all your needs, but it can work just as well to spread things out. Plus, it’s always nice to have more than one sitter you know and trust, in case of last minute appointments or emergencies.

Step Five: Do a trial run

After you’ve met the sitter, and the kids have all met the sitter, it’s time to give them some space. Go grocery shopping, see a movie, or even just lock yourself away in the home office and get some work done. Let your new sitter have some alone time with the kids to see if they play well together. This will give your kids a chance to come out of their shells, and will allow the caregiver to find out if your family is right for them also.

The optimum trial length is either a morning or afternoon, depending on when is best for your schedule. A weekend is usually the best because you will have more free time and be available before and after the trial to have a chat with the sitter and the kids. Don’t expect too much from this first session, just have them spend some time together at home.

After the trial is over, ask the sitter a few questions about how everything went. Find out if they enjoyed themselves (in an attempt to see if they like your kids), or if any problems arose (in an attempt to see how they handle sticky situations). Also make sure to ask the kids how things went to get their perspective on the new sitter. It’s not vital for your kids to love them from the start because it’s more important for you to trust your sitter, but it would be a great bonus if the kids like their new caregiver.

Step Six: Don’t be afraid to start over

If you’ve gone through steps three through five and realize things just aren’t working out, don’t worry; you can just start over. It can take time to find the perfect sitter for your kids, and there’s no need to rush the process. It might seem harsh to tell a sitter they aren’t right for your family after having spent time with them, but she/he will understand because they are professional caregivers.

Go back through your notes and figure out where you went wrong the first time around. Learn from your mistakes and update your priorities. BookJane has so many amazing and qualified caregivers available right now, you’ll have no problem finding one that meets your needs and is