Monthly Archives: August 2017

Getting Back into School

The end of the summer approaches and inevitably, the school year is creeping up on us. But instead of panicking and trying to squeeze every last drop of freedom out of the last days of August, try out a few of these techniques to make the transition back into structured routines and scheduled days a little easier on both you and your kids.

  1. Adjust Your Sleep Schedule

Instead of waiting to enforce an early bedtime until the night before school starts, try getting your kids to bed a half hour earlier than they have been during the summer, and waking them up an hour earlier as well. We find there is less grumbling if you plan fun activities that they’d have to get out of bed to enjoy – maybe head to the waterslides or have a beach day. The adjustment period usually takes about a week but it’s worth it to ease into a decent school schedule and it will help your kids start off the year with lots of energy.

  1. Set a Budget for Supplies

We’ve all been there: you head out to buy pencils, erasers and paper but you somehow come home with a new backpack, pencil case, folders covered in cute cats, light up runners, a 30 piece set of felt markers and a superhero lunch kit. We understand, it’s hard to say no and it’s part of the fun! But if you are hoping to keep your purchases on the inexpensive side this year, set a budget and talk about it with your kids. Let them know how much money they have to spend on non-essentials so they can pick out one or two things more exciting than HB pencils but will understand before you get to the store that they will have to be selective.

  1. Read Books about Going to School

Especially if this is your child’s first year of school! Reading together about what to expect will help soothe their worries if they’re feeling anxious, and get them excited about all the fun they’ll have. Some great titles to check out are: The Kissing Hand, How Do Dinosaurs Go to School, First Day Jitters, The Berenstain Bears Go to School, and The Pirates Guide to First Grade.

  1. Brainstorm Ideas for Lunches

Check out Pinterest for some creative and healthy ideas for pack lunches. Get your kids involved and make a list of options that they approve of and you can refer back to throughout the year. Pack lunches can be so much more than a sandwich! If your kids are old enough, teach them how to make some of the recipes or put them in charge of assembling everything in their lunch box and packing it in their backpack.

  1. Get Excited!

Excitement is infectious! Talk to your little ones about what to expect; make it a family discussion by having your older children share their favourite experiences from their first year of school. Talk about what kind of extra-curricular activities your kids would like to try this year and search for good programs. If you’re excited, your kids will be too!

Where to Au Pair – Toronto

 

Toronto is the most assorted multicultural city on the planet where over 140 languages are spoken and the city’s motto is “Diversity Our Strength”. It’s the safest metropolitan area in North America and the ideal city to explore as an Au Pair. Toronto is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked as one of the world’s most livable cities. If you’re looking for the urban feel of New York City with the charm of Canada, you’ve come to the right place!

Get to know Toronto by exploring its rich History.

There are multiple ways to get to know the city from a historical point. Toronto is home to the largest museum in Canada and the preeminent spot to explore the natural world and humankind’s cultural past, The Royal Ontario Museum. But if world-renowned collections, innovative programs, and galleries are not the experience you’re looking for, discover the rich cultural background of Toronto with a visit to Casa Loma – Canada’s majestic castle, complete with decorated suites, secret passages, an 800-foot tunnel, towers, stables, and beautiful 5-acre estate gardens. Don’t forget to snap a few pictures to make your Au Pair friends jealous!

Enjoy Toronto’s tourism with a 13min ferry ride to the Toronto Island!

The island is approximately 5 kms long from Ward’s Island to Hanlan’s Point and is actually a group of 15 islands inter-connected by pathways and bridges. You can walk from one end of the Island to the other. Kids and adults of all ages can find something to do or see on the Island. There are beautiful swimming beaches (including a Clothing Optional Beach on Hanlan’s Point!), sports facilities, bike, canoe and kayak rentals, a boating marina, large grassy fields for picnics, a theatre, nature paths, an amusement park and a charming 150 year-old community of 600 people living year-round in cottage-like homes. This is the perfect place to bring your host family for a day of adventure and fun!

Discover the contrast to the city’s urban rush by adventuring into Toronto’s beautiful Nature.

Toronto has a plethora of natural experiences for you to enjoy! Spend a day exploring Riverdale Farm – home to a variety of domestic farm animals. A visit to the farm is a great experience, particularly in spring when we welcome new additions to the animal family.

Take in the spectacular with a tour of Niagara Falls! The falls form the highest flow rate of any waterfall in the world that has a vertical drop of more than 165 feet (50 m). You will also get to experience the beautiful town of Niagara-on-the-Lake.

opt-falls-background-1600x1000-283kView over 2000 butterflies made up of over 40 different species at the Butterfly Conservatory located on the grounds of the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens. Visitors to the Butterfly Conservatory are transported to a tropical paradise full of lush vegetation, trickling waterfalls and thousands of vibrantly coloured butterflies.

Celebrate and experience some of the world’s best Festivals!

The city is alive with celebrations of culture and diversity year round – but don’t take our word for it! Check out a few of the fantastic festivities Toronto has to offer and join in the merriment:  The Toronto Caribbean Carnival, an exciting cultural explosion of Caribbean music, cuisine, revelry and visual and performing arts; the largest cultural festival of its kind in North America.  The Toronto Summer Music Festival, bringing world-renowned performing artists to Toronto for an unparalleled combination of concerts, guest lectures and masterclasses. The Candian National Exhibition, this annual fair is fun for the entire family! Midway rides bring chills and thrills. The National Trade Centre boasts an International Marketplace with goods spanning the globe along with innovative products. Horse shows and dog shows entertain both young and old. The Toronto International Film Festival, the world’s largest public film festival, screening more than 300 films from around the world in venues across the city. The Toronto Christmas Market, inspired by the Old World and influenced by the New, this annual event captures all of the tradition, heritage and charm of a European Christmas Market, while showcasing hundreds of unique and local handcrafted products. The TD Toronto Jazz Festival, delivering the sounds of the world’s greatest jazz musicians from the quaint and most intimate of venues to large concert halls. And many more!

Bundle up and get ready for some fun in the Toronto Snow.

Winter is cool! And Toronto is an exciting place no matter what the season, but when the weather gets chilly Torontonians get creative and gear up for some frosty fun! If you like to skate, get your groove on at the Harbourfront with free skating every Saturday night and DJs spinning different genres to keep the party going. You could also check out the city’s first skating trail at the Colonel Samuel Smith Park. If skiing and snowboarding is more your speed you’ll be thrilled to know that you can do so within the city’s limits! Centennial Park and Earl Bales Park are home to urban Ski & Snowboard Centres. Both locations offer a variety of hourly, daily and seasonal passes and programming to suit your needs so you can get the most out of the sport you love! Warm up after with a cup of the best Hot Chocolate in Toronto! Epic hot chocolate drinks are the newest thing in Toronto and local shops are taking the winter staple to new heights with wild ingredients and preparations. Grab one to go and if you feel like trying something new, rent a heated hut and learn the art of ice-fishing. The sport is currently witnessing renewed interest, so if you’re game to bundle up this winter to catch some fish, then now might be the time to take the plunge.

hotchocolate Toronto is alive with unforgettable experiences! It embodies the friendliness of Canada through its multiculturalism and celebration of diversity and is the perfect balance of a fast paced city with easily accessible nature at your fingertips. There is so much to do and see in this remarkable metropolitan that you will be hard pressed to cram it all into your year as an Au Pair and may have to return again and again!

Where to Au Pair – Iqaluit

 

Welcome to the youngest territory in Canada! It’s one of the largest unspoiled natural paradises on the planet; it’s big, ancient, beautiful, and new! Iqaluit – meaning “many fish”, is the Au Pair adventure of a lifetime! This exciting, dynamic city is the political, business, journalism and transportation hub of Nunavut. Because so many Iqaluit residents originate from somewhere else, the community is known for its laid-back, culturally varied and tolerant, welcoming personality. The friendly people of Iqaluit — the ‘Iqalumiut’ — love to go out on the land, sea and ice at all times of the year to enjoy a variety of outdoor activities.

Stop by the Unikkaarvik Visitor Centre

If you are new to Iqaluit, this is a great place to visit to get your bearings. You will learn about Iqaluit’s history, its culture, and everything it has to offer. With great displays, lots of crafts, a friendly and helpful staff, and all the information you’ll need regarding activities in the area, this will be your first step to discovering this beautiful territory!

Get up close and personal with the Aurora Borealis

Iqaluit Northern Lights

View the Northern Lights – it doesn’t get better than this! These “dancing lights” appear in a wide array of colours and shapes as they move across the sky. There are many different myths surrounding the Aurora Borealis, including the Inuit peoples belief that the lights were the souls of the animals they hunted; but in fact they are caused by collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter the earth’s atmosphere.  Don’t forget to capture the moment with your camera – these beauties will secure you bragging rights among all your Au Pair friends!

Immerse yourself in the unique culture and traditions of the Inuit in Iqaluit

For centuries, Inuit in the area lived in small nomadic groups around the bay, which provided them with caribou, fish, seal, walrus and whales as staple sources of food and clothing. However, their lifestyle was dependent on the movements of the area’s wildlife, which in turn were determined by shifts in local climate. As a result of these shifts, Inuit often travelled extensively in search of supplies. Take part in one of Iqaluit’s annual festivals celebrating the traditions of the Inuit people.  Learn about their culture, take part in traditional games and music, as well as joining in the fun of modern winter sports – snowmobile racing, cross-country skiing, etc.

Tackle the gorgeous expanse of land by exploring the multiple Parks and Beaches

Iqaluit’s charm lies in its natural beauty! Get out and explore some of these exquisite parks filled with historical sites. Whether you are hiking with your host family, participating in a group tour with other Au Pairs, or on the lookout for wildlife (we’d recommend bird watching! Nunavut contains several bird sanctuaries that are excellent to visit) you will have an unforgettable experience. Be sure to check out Sylvia Grinnell Territorial Park, Qaummaarviit Territorial Park, and Apex Beach!

Parks-Auyuittuq

A modest urban outpost smack in the middle of one of the world’s most rugged wildernesses, Iqaluit is unmatched in its combination of the past and present. If you love the outdoors and have and adventurer’s heart, you will fall in love with this city!