With the holidays right around the corner, many people are already purchasing gifts and gift cards for their friends, family, and loved ones. One person that leaves many people stumped in the gift department is the babysitter or caregiver. You want to choose a gift that shows your appreciation for the employee’s hard work and dedication; however, you don’t want to choose the wrong gift and end up paying additional taxes to the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA). Fear not! As long as you follow a few simple rules, you can choose a fabulous gift that isn’t taxing.
Know the tax-free gifting rules and limit!
The CRA states that every gift an employer gives to their employee is taxable, unless there is an approved reason for the gift. Approved reasons include religious holidays, the caregiver’s birthday, their wedding, or the birth of their child. Having an approved reason to give a gift allows employers to give a caregiver, babysitter, nanny, or other employee up to $500 in acceptable non-cash gifts annually before they become taxable.
Skip cash and gift cards, and instead buy an actual item!
Many people think that cash and gift cards are the way to go, but these are just two of the items that will have families coughing up extra money in taxes. The CRA states that cash, gift cards, gift certificates, store/travel points, and any type of gift that allows the employee pick their own gift from many items are always taxable. Instead of giving your caregiver a gift certificate to her favorite candle or beauty store, tax savvy people give an actual item from the store. Not sure which item she would like? Bring up the store casually in a conversation, or pay attention to the items she currently uses. You can always tuck in a gift receipt so that she can trade the item if needed. Buying an actual item is a great way to skip additional taxes.
There are a few small goodies that are never taxed!
The rules set out by the CRA can be confusing, and some people may feel like giving up when it comes to finding a non-taxable gift. Thankfully, some items can be gifted without any sort of taxation. The CRA states that tea, coffee, coffee mugs, plaques, and t-shirts with a company logo are never taxed. This means you can whip up a gourmet basket of coffee or tea, tuck in a cute mug, and not have to worry about additional taxes. Make a customized plaque of appreciation from your family for your caregiver, or allow the kiddos to create a t-shirt and put your family logo on it. Your logo can be as simple as your family surname, or even just the kiddos handprints.
Giving a holiday gift to your caregiver shows them that you appreciate all they do for your family. It makes them feel cherished, appreciated, and like an extended member of the family. With a little thought, you can find a gift they will love that won’t have either of you paying additional taxes.
NannyTax is Canada’s first and longest serving nationwide business dedicated to nanny payroll tax solutions. We do the math, so you don’t have to! Visit NannyTax today and let us know what we can do for you!
The crazy season is upon us – and with it stress and major multi tasking. It is always a very busy period for us as well where a lot of families are looking for in-house help for their children, ailing parents or pets.
This year, we want to make this time of year easier for you. We have partnered up with Planiclik to help you and your family stay ultra organized this holiday season.
Planiclik is a private family space that allows for effective planning of your family schedule. Each user can log in with their own username and password. Family organization and communication have never been so simple!
With Planiclik, you can:
• Gather in one convenient place all the tools you need to effectively manage your family schedule;
• Always have on hand all useful and important information for each family member;
• Record and share effectively the expenses related to children;
• Reduce the stress and frustration due to poor communication;
• Better manage work family balance.
Get a FREE yearly access to Planiclik with every purchase of Annual Membership to SOSsitter
How many times have you talked with your nanny or babysitter about the kids coming home from school hyped up on sugar or suffering from a sugar low? Birthday celebrations, holidays, special occasions and rewards … oh let me count the cupcakes!
It does make you wonder what we are teaching our kids about how to have fun while still living a healthy life. Many schools are starting to address this challenge and you and your nanny or babysitter can help!
Alternatives to cupcakes: Cupcakes are not the only thing that says party! Make fruit fun by creating fruit ’swords’ on wood skewers and have them stick out of a watermelon ‘pirate ship’. Or use small cookie cutters to make fun shapes out of bananas and melons. Muffins, seeds, graham crackers and popcorn bags can be made fun too if you add the most important ingredient – your creativity!
Alternatives to food: Instead of a party based around sugary snacks and sodas, create active celebrations. These can include giving kids extra recess time, playing games that you keep for special occasions, creating a scavenger hunt with non-food prizes, doing a special craft project or throwing a ‘dance party’.
Alternatives to ‘a party a day’: Some schools are designating one day a month to celebrate all the birthdays within that month; this means that even if cupcakes are served, it really is a special occasion versus ‘a treat a day’. some are even down-playing a party and recognise a kid’s special day in other ways: the birthday boy or girl can choose their favourite book for story time or wear a birthday sash and hat or be the assistant to the teacher for the day.
These ideas are just the tip of the iceberg. Once you and your nanny or babysitter get talking, you will come up twist on these themes. And don’t forget to include the most creative minds in your home – your kids!
Give your kids the best school birthday celebration you can with a lesson in healthy and fun ways to mark their birthday so they will live long and have many, many more!
On this day, we show our thanks to our veterans and current members of the Canadian Forces, who work every day so that way may remain safe.
All parents need time away from the kids to interact with other adults and recharge their batteries; this is especially true for parents of kids with special needs. But if parents of typical children find it difficult to find a sitter or care-giver to trust with their kids, this can be even more challenging when looking for sitters and caregivers with the skills and experience needed to care for your special needs child. Follow these tips to make it easier:
1. Build a pipeline
Even if you already have a primary care-giver for your special needs child, you need to make sure you have babysitters who can cover in a pinch. Look for sitters whose circumstances mean that occasional work suits them. Alternatively, form a group with parents of children with similar special needs so, collectively, the ‘occasional’ work becomes steady work.
2. Fish in the right pond
Be clear about the needs of your child. State explicitly what issues your child faces or symptoms that need to be addressed; include a description of technology or medicine used in the care of your child. Highlight triggers and things the sitter or caregiver should avoid to keep your child safe, comfortable and happy as well as what ‘emergencies’ or bad days might entail. Ask for resumes from babysitters and caregivers that might suit the needs of your child: this will ensure that you bring realistic candidates to your home to interview.
3. Interview AND road test
Test the experience highlighted in the sitters CV with a list of targeted questions and scenarios specific to your child’s needs. Also ask about particularly challenging events with other kids and how he or she handled it. But most importantly, make sure there is time for the sitter or caregiver to interact with all your kids. You will see first hand how he or she both manages the needs of your special needs child and how they get along. You will also see how the sitter balances care given to the siblings. Always call ALL references and do / review a background check.
4. Develop a safety net
Once you have a primary caregiver and back-up babysitters in place for your special needs child, you should be confident that you can leave your child with others so that you can take care of your own needs, right? If only it were that easy! Develop a safety net so that you know your sitters have options if they cannot contact you if an emergency arises. This can include an emergency care guide that you create and leave at home that includes what to do and who to call for emergencies. Family members are great ’second lines’ as are the group you created with parents of kids with similar special needs.
5. Recharge your batteries
Go! Get out of the house! Your batteries need to be ‘full’ so that you can give your special needs child and your other children your very best.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the #1 cause of death for healthy infants under the age of one inCanada. What is SIDS and what causes it? SIDS is the term given for the sudden and unexpected death of what seemed to be a healthy baby and for which no cause can be found. Although research is on-going, today no one knows why a baby dies so unexpectedly.
There are things that pregnant women can do to reduce the risk of SIDS such as living a healthy lifestyle and avoiding cigarette smoke. And new parents are advised to create a safe sleeping environment as surprisingly the bed is one of the most dangerous environments for babies. However, what about the caregivers supporting your young family? What do you need to tell the nanny, babysitters and other caregivers about how to reduce the chances of SIDS?
Let your nanny, babysitters and other caregivers know that research shows that all babies should be sleeping on their backs. Some people believe that babies who sleep on their back wake up more, which might not be a welcome side effect for a caregiver looking for a needed break once the baby goes down. Remind them that babies (like yours) who are used to sleeping on their backs but are then put on their tummies are 20 times more at risk for SIDS. Explain that this is one of the single most important rules in the care of your child.
Nannies, babysitters and other caregivers must also understand that: beds should be kept free from clutter (pillows, blankets, bumper pads, stuffed animals and other toys); babies should never sleep on adult beds surrounded by pillows; and babies should be supervised when awake in play pens or when in the car seat.
Whilst it is scary for you and your caregivers to even think about SIDS as it relates to your baby, talking about the ways to reduce the risk of SIDS could save your babies’ life.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This international health campaign raises awareness of the disease as well as funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure. Why is this important? Because Mom’s want and need to be around to care for their kids!
This is also a good reminder that Moms must make taking of themselves their first priority. Moms need to be both physically and mentally strong to give their best to their kids. And Moms are important role models who should demonstrate healthy behaviours.
Here are the top five ways that Moms can take good care of themselves:
1. Physical Health – Eat well, exercise and get enough sleep. Get an annual physical with your doctor. Take care of health issues as they arise. Go to the dentist.
2. Mental Health – Take time away from the kids to recharge, renew, revitalize. Don’t feel guilty about this time away; it is an essential part of the formula for a happy Mom and a happy household.
3. Right attitude – Perfection is the enemy of progress and a happy and healthy Mom. Learn to know when good enough is good enough. For example, it is okay to buy cupcakes from the store for the school bake sale instead of staying up all night making frosting from scratch.
4. Strong Partnership – Invest in your relationship with your spouse or partner by finding time to spend together without the kids. This will help you be more effective in day to day parenting. And don’t forget that sex is a great stress reliever and is fun!
5. Outside interests – Variety is the spice of life. Join a book club, take a class at the local college, or start writing that novel you always knew you had in you. Having something that is your own will make you a more balanced person.
Remember – you will only be able to take good care of your kids, if you take good care of yourself. This is Priority Number 1!
Your kids are likely thinking about their ABCs now that school has started. Parents should be thinking about XYZ(zzzzzzzzz)s. Ensuring your kids get a good night sleep – every night – is very important. Sleep deprivation causes kids to become hyper active and irritable.
But don’t loose sleep over bad habits that have formed in your household; we have five tips that will help you (and your nannies and babysitters) get your family back on a good sleep track quickly and easily:
V… Establish a bedtime routine
A good routine should be relaxing and should start long enough before bed that your kids have a chance to unwind from the busy day and begin to get ready for quiet and sleep.
W… Make it a SIMPLE ritual
Your kid will likely try to draw out or overcomplicate the routine. Keeping it simple will mean that everyone – even occasional babysitters – can stick to it. Give kids some “jobs” like picking out their pyjamas.
X… Keep a consistent routine
Set a bedtime and wake up time and stick to it – preferably all year long, including special occasions. If you do this, your babysitter or nanny will find the kids are used to the routine and continue with it even when mom and dad are out.
Y… Get to bed earlier rather than later
Kids that stay up so late that they grow over-tired will have a harder time falling asleep and staying asleep, which means more bedtime battles and night waking. Why make it harder on you and your kids? Get on an earlier schedule.
ZZZ… Create a comfortable environment
Make your kid’s bedroom conducive to a good nights sleep. For babies, this might mean removing the distracting mobile from above the crib. As kids get older, make sure that their rooms are clean, beds are in made with clean sheets and used only for sleeping and electronics are turned off.
Get your family on a good bedtime routine for happier and more productive days and nights!
Communicating with your baby is not always easy. It would be so much easier if he or she could speak. Well it’s almost possible! A growing number of families are using a form of sign language to communicate with their babies.
Most of the time we understand our baby’s needs. But imagine your little eleven-month old telling you, by a hand gesture, that she wants you to sing the song you just finished again! Or your little eight-month using a gesture to say that he wants milk. This is what sign communication allows.
Researchers working with deaf children discovered this technique more than twenty years ago. They realized that these children started to “talk” with their parents around 7-9 months rather than the usual 12-18 months. And it also works with “hearing” children.
The reason is simple. Language skills develop early in babies, long before they have the necessary motor skills to coordinate the tongue and vocal cords muscles. On the flip side, the motor ability of small hands are well developed when the capacity for language appears. So if a baby cannot say “milk”, he or she can make a gesture meaning the same thing!
There are plenty of resources for learning to use sign language with your baby. Signing workshops are available in most cities. There are also many books available. And there are online dictionaries for sign vocabulary.
But the foundations are very simple. Simply start with a small number (two to three) signs for common objects or activities such as “milk”, “eat” or “more” and use them whenever the opportunity arises. When your baby begins to use them, you can introduce new signs to expand the vocabulary.
Consistency and continuity are the keys to success. This means being consistent in the way you make the sign, but also in the context when you use the signs. For instance, if you sign “milk”, do it every time you give milk to your baby. And always sign the same way. This helps your baby recognize the sign and associate it to its context.
It is also important to maintain consistency with other people looking after or spending time with your baby. The more people around your baby signing with him or her, the more likely he or she will use signs to communicate. The sign vocabulary becomes more “rewarding” because it allows him or her to communicate with more people.
It therefore makes sense to introduce the concept and explain how it works to the people who interact most often with your baby: your partner, siblings, grandparents, and of course, your nanny. But don’t be surprised if people are wary Some people will likely asked if it will cause a delay to the development of spoken language (the answer is no, quite the opposite).
If your baby already signs, it’s usually easy to convince doubters. If not, it might take a little more effort. Videos on YouTube that show how well this works can help you convince them.
And rest assured, it does not make it harder to find a nanny to help you care for your baby. A nanny who is interested in your kids should be happy to find ways to communicate better.
As explained above, the principles of this are very simple. You just have to show your nanny the signs that you are using, and the context in which you use them. It is important to also point out the signs that baby is likely to use and how he or she signs as it is normal for babies to do an imitation (rather perfect replica) of the sign as you do it.
You will likely find that your nanny appreciates an additional way to communicate with your baby and that your baby will pick up sign language easier when surrounded by people signing.
Francis Lacoste has been interested in sign language for babies for more than six years. He used this technique with his three boys and wrote a hands-on guide to help parents who want to use this method. Connect with Francis on Twitter @SignerAvecBebe Photo by_David Van Horn_ under license _cc-by_.