Eldercare and Childcare

Caregiver stress is the emotional strain created by having to care for another person. Studies show that although there are many emotional benefits to being actively involved in your relative’s well-being, without proper support caregiving can take a toll on physical and emotional health.

The EFAP can help by providing:

  • Personal counselling to help you develop strategies for dealing with caregiving issues and the stress associated with it.
  • Referrals to childcare, and eldercare options such as assisted living, at-home care and senior activities
  • Financial consultation to help you understand how care is paid for—especially through the Medicare program
  • Legal consultation to support you through decisions related to estate planning
  • Educational resources on all sorts of topics related to caring for your family


Every parent goes through times when the pressures of being a parent feel overwhelming. . Ask for help when you need it, and take advantage of support resources available to you. 

Parents on Campus Group

Parents on Campus provides a social platform for meeting other parents, information sessions and events, and a comfortable place to attend to your children on campus.

Communicating with children

Being able to express both positive and negative feelings and solve problems together are keys to a successful and happy family. Unfortunately, few parents were raised in families where open, empathetic listening and communication was the norm. It is never too late to learn to improve your family communication skills

Practice these simple rules for better listening and communicating within your family:

  • Think before you speak. Take the time to contemplate your message. Do not react hastily to what someone says if you disagree. You may regret what you say. Children are very perceptive about pointing out inconsistencies and inaccuracies in your messages.

  • Be as clear as possible. Whether it is an expectation, emotion, question or other message, be very specific about what you are trying to express, especially with young children. Mixed and incomplete messages are very easy to misinterpret. Avoid sarcastic comments with double meanings like, "I really don't care what you do."

  • Stay on the topic. It is natural to want to avoid talking about the difficult things. Help family members stay on track by saying things like, "That is an interesting thought, but I would like to finish our discussion about ____ first." Avoid bringing up a litany of past offences and stick to the topic of the moment.

  • Maintain consistent eye contact while talking and listening. Show your interest in what others have to say by following them with your eyes. Nodding occasionally gives the message that you are still with them.

  • Make your tone match your message. It is tempting to break up a serious discussion with laughter. Do not use humour to avoid a meaningful, serious topic. Humour has its important place but it can diffuse your serious message.

  • Refrain from judging or disagreeing while listening. Instead, aim to understand. Avoid interrupting while someone is talking. Likewise, ask that a family member not interrupt you. Aim for healthy dialogue, not one-sided lectures.

  • Use "I" statements instead of judgmental and exaggerative "you" statements. For instance, instead of saying to your child, "You never listen to what we have to say," rephrase your message: "I feel that you're not listening carefully to what we have to say."

  • Avoid criticizing, ridiculing, embarrassing, whining at or nagging another family member. Demonstrate that fair, constructive and open dialogue is the best way to settle differences.

  • Give each person an equal say. Be sure to include every family member, especially young children.

  • Stress the respect of differences. Enforce your family rules, but allow each family member a healthy means of expressing disagreement.

  • Avoid speaking on behalf of another family member, unless they ask you to do so. Let that person indicate his or her own preferences and opinions.

  • Be consistent with your partner when communicating with children. Do not confuse a child by disagreeing or arguing with the other parent-discuss what you are going to talk about with the children beforehand, and decide who will lead the discussion.

  • Talk to a young child on his or her level. When talking to a preschooler use language he will understand. Get down on their eye level to communicate effectively.

Therapists use a technique known as "active listening" to help patients express their feelings. As a parent, you can use this technique to help your children too.

Your kids want you to listen, not solve their problem for them. Your child comes home from school and says "None of the other kids like me". You respond, "Of course they do" and "You have to learn to love yourself first". You have just told your child that how he feels is incorrect and given him a solution that he has no hope of understanding.

Learn to be an active listener: In the example above simply saying, "You feel like you don't have any friends," lets your child know you understand how he feels. This encourages him to talk more about his hurt feelings and come up with solutions that will work for him.

Say less. Most of the time your child wants you to listen, not tell him what to do. Make yourself available, listen carefully, and demonstrate your sincere eagerness to understand and hear their story by saying, "Wow, go on!" "No kidding!" or "Mmmm...that's very interesting," or nothing at all.

Do not expect to come to a resolution for every problem. Just like the problems that adults face, children's issues will not always be resolved in one discussion. Some problems do not have simple and neat solutions. By not ending your discussion on a note of false hope, your children will get the message that you take it seriously too. This gives them a chance to work things out for themselves.

When divorce is involved

As the sole parent in your household, you are faced with extra challenges while raising your child. 

Workplace relationships

Developing good professional relationships can be a difficult process because people have different personalities, working styles, goals, attitudes and moods. Working well with others involves understanding human nature, being willing to compromise, and looking beyond the surface to understand people and the reasons for their actions.

Tips for getting along with co-workers

No matter what the job, employees need to respect each other and cooperate for the company to be successful. The most important thing to remember when dealing with co-workers, especially difficult co-workers, is to remain professional by doing the following:

  • Treat others as you would like to be treated.
  • Keep an open mind.
  • Focus on team spirit.
  • Be cheerful, and do not concentrate on minor disappointments or issues.
  • Be polite.
  • Never lie or spread gossip.
  • Never confront or ignore a co-worker.
  • Never make promises to others that cannot be kept.
  • Be kind and encouraging to co-workers.
  • Take an interest in co-workers.
  • Do not discuss topics in the office that may make co-workers feel uncomfortable.
  • Respect a co-worker's decision not to participate in a conversation that makes him or her uncomfortable.
  • Do not worry about receiving praise or credit; concentrate on doing a good job and keep a good work ethic. Praise will naturally follow.
  • Try to work out problems with co-workers before going to a supervisor.
  • Respect the moods of fellow employees (understand that everyone has a bad day every now and then).
  • Try to solve problems instead of creating them.

Tips for getting along with supervisors

Managers, supervisors and bosses are responsible for employee performance on the job. Treat them with the respect they deserve.

  • Remember this person is your supervisor.
  • Be friendly, even during a disagreement.
  • Always look a supervisor in the eye.
  • Do not be afraid to talk to the boss about problems or questions.
  • Listen carefully.
  • Express feelings in positive ways.
  • Never use bad language.
  • Do not talk negatively about a supervisor; if you do not have anything nice to say, it is best not to say anything at all.
  • Maintain a professional relationship with mutual respect.

Marriage and relationships

There can be a lot problems, frustrations, fears and hopes in romantic relationships. Whether it's nurturing an existing relationship, dealing wih a break-up or coping with a toxic relationship there is support through the Employee and Family Assistance Program available if you need it.

Getting help

Employee and Family Assistance Program

USask's Employee and Family Assistance Program offers someone to talk to and resources to consult whenever and wherever you need.

Free and confidential support services include:

  • Confidential emotional support
  • Work-life solutions
  • Legal guidance
  • Financial resources
  • Physical health coaching 

1-855-575-1740 (toll-free)

Some information on this page was taken from the Employee Family Assistance Program's online resources.