Category Archives: Tips for Nannies

Books to Read with your Host Kids!




Inspiring a love of stories is one of the most helpful tools you can give to kids as they learn to read.  Mastering literacy is a big step to independence in children’s development and it’s no easy task. There is often a large amount of pressure for kids as they begin to practice this new skill, which can act as a deterrent.

Because of this it’s extremely important to make reading fun! Take the time to sit down with your host kids and make reading time quality time. Engage them in the story and have them help you as you read it together. It’s a great opportunity to work on your English as well! If children view stories as something exciting they get to share with you, they’ll enjoy practicing instead of grumbling and complaining about how difficult it is and getting frustrated by the amount of work they have to do.

If you can nurture their love of reading as they grow, steadily choosing material that will keep them engaged, soon they’ll be picking out books they can read on their own, and happily do so. Even if reading is not a hobby they continue later on in their lives, it’s one of the best building blocks you can give children when it comes to their education and imagination – few things inspire and challenge quite like a good book!

Encourage your host kids to explore their school library and even talk to their librarian about what books they are interested in. When they get home from school, set aside a time when you can snuggle up on the couch and read the books they checked out that week.

Another option is the city library. Plan a weekly trip – this is also a great place to connect with other Au Pairs or meet up with your host kids’ friends. Look up the library online and see if they have scheduled story time or music/playtime (if you have younger host kids). Check out a few books for the week and you can also teach your host kids about borrowing and returning.

If you’re at a loss for good reading material, check out some of these great reads:

5 years

Not a Box

No David

Elephant and Piggie


Peanut Butter and Cupcake

6 years

The Paper Bag Princess

You Are Special

The Lorax

Strega Nona

The Wartville Wizard

7 years

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs

The Frog Prince Continued

Cinder Edna

Junnie B Jones

Fantastic Mr. Fox

8 years

Horrible Harry


Toad Rage

Dragon Rider

Wayside School is Falling Down

9 years

Charlotte’s Web

The Chronicles of Narnia


Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

The Spiderwick Chronicles

10 years

The Circle of Magic



Ella Enchanted


11 years

Harry Potter

Ender’s Game

The Hobbit

Percy Jackson

Song of the Lioness

Managing Expectations








Expectations are what we hope will happen in the future based on our past experiences, what we’ve heard from other people or even what we thought we heard from others. It’s important to communicate your expectations so that you can make them realistic.

Reality vs. Expectations – Expectations and reality are two separate entities. Reflecting on what you want out of your placement and how to achieve that can help narrow the gap between the two. Understanding the differences between them will save you from disappointment.

What are your expectations? – Take some time to write out what your expectations are. Be specific and try to come up with a plan or strategies for meeting those expectations. Remember to include expectations for yourself as well as your Host Family/Au Pair.

Communicate – Sit down with your Au Pair/Host Family at the beginning of your placement and talk about what both parties are hoping to accomplish. Be as honest and open as possible, encouraging the other party to contribute. We recommend having sit-down meetings regularly throughout your placement and making expectations a topic to discuss each time.

Be open-minded – Realize that not all of your expectations will be met, that you will have to make compromises here and there, and that’s okay! Life has the habit of turning out differently than we anticipate or imagined. Be flexible and understanding, take everyone’s expectations into account, and roll with it. Even if your placement is not meeting your dream expectations, that doesn’t mean it’s a failure or a bad match. It just requires a different perspective to enjoy the journey and experience as it is.

For example: if you believe the way things should be done is 4+4 and instead your Au Pair/Host Family does things 2+6, you could focus on the fact that it is not how you know/want it to be, or you could realize that the outcome is still 8.

Often times the only difference between a mediocre placement and a fantastic placement is a good attitude.

How to Say “Common Sense” in 5 Languages






English: common sense

German: gesunder menschenverstand

French: bon sens

Spanish: sentido común

Italian: buon senso

Your common sense is your natural ability to make good judgments and to behave in a practical and sensible way. Common sense is a big part of what makes a match successful. It’s often the little things that make the difference between a happy placement and a rocky one, and taking those small things into consideration will make you a better Au Pair and/or Host Family.

Some helpful tips for good common sense are:

  • Think Before You Act/Speak

Consider all the possible outcomes and make your decision with everyone’s best interests in mind. If you’re expectations are not being met, think about how to find a solution and move forward instead of venting your frustrations.

  • Communication

Often times common sense is inhibited by ignorance. For example: cheese is much cheaper in Germany than in Canada, but if you’ve never purchased cheese in Canada you wouldn’t necessarily know that, and if nobody tells you – you’re unlikely to make the discovery on your own. Au Pairs are here to learn about Canada; host families, this is your opportunity to teach them. If you notice small tidbits are putting strain on your placement, open a dialogue and discuss them. If your Au Pair is putting all of the cheese you got as a special treat on their sandwich, speak up! In contrast, if you’re an Au Pair and you don’t understand why your host family is unhappy that you’re making a cheese sandwich, ask them why! It’s the best way to learn.

  • Understanding

Take the time to look at the situation from the other person’s point of view. If you are able to consider where they are coming from or why they like to do things a certain way, you will be better prepared to make good decisions.

Checklist for Host Families

The arrival of your Au Pair or Nanny is a very exciting time for every family! You’re welcoming a new member into your home and introducing them to your lives. Amidst getting to know each other and helping them settle in, you will also be explaining about your children, their routines, and the ins and outs of your daily schedules. To make this easier, we’ve compiled a checklist of important topics for parents to go over with their childcare providers:

Parenting Styles and Disciplining

  • Do you use positive reinforcement?
  • Do you take away privileges when your children aren’t listening?

Household/Family Rules

  • Not just for your kids but also for the adults in the home

Bedtime Routine

  • Do your children have a lights out curfew or sleep with a nightlight?
  • Do your kids have a special stuffed animal or blanket?
  • Are they allowed to stay up and read or have a snack before bed?

Using the Car

  • Is there a schedule, should they ask first?
  • Who pays for gas?

Inviting Guests Over

  • When is a good time?
  • Is it okay if you’re not home?


  • Emergency contact numbers
  • Home address and landline number

Communication and Expectations

  • When will we get together to talk again?
  • What do you expect from your time in Canada and as an Au Pair/Nanny?
  • What are your expectations as a parent?

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!

Dealing with Separation Anxiety


Separation anxiety is anxiety provoked in a young child by separation or the threat of separation from their primary caregiver. Whether it starts early or late, whether it’s mild or severe, separation anxiety is a normal part of a child’s development and because we know it can be a stressful journey, we’ve put together a few tips to help families cope.

We recommend starting small! Practice in your home environment with a friend/babysitter by leaving the room for a short amount of time before returning. If your child cries, have your friend comfort them and let them know you will be back shortly; you can also call out to let them know you are still there and will just be a few minutes. As your child becomes accustomed to your small absences, you can increase the time you are away. Eventually your child will learn that they are still safe even when you are not present and that you will always reappear.

If you will be leaving your children with a childcare provider for long periods of time make sure that you have prepared them and yourself for this change, especially if this is the first time you will be doing so. You may have practiced short absences with your child and readied them as much as possible for this next step, but it’s not uncommon for parents to forget that they may also feel anxious or even guilty about leaving their child for the day. Make sure to talk to your child’s caregiver about your feelings and let them know you might call to check in with them or would like to receive updates throughout the day. Find a way for you to stay connected during your absence so you can be more at ease and able to concentrate when you’re out.

Be sure to say goodbye before you go. You may do this before your caregiver arrives, you may do it right before you head out the door, every family is different and you will have to find what works best for you, as long as you take the time to acknowledge your absence with your child so they are not caught off guard when you are suddenly not there. Some children react badly when they know you’re leaving, but regardless of how upset the child is, sneaking out only adds to anxiety, increases the fear of abandonment, and breaks down the child’s sense of trust.

If your child is still having difficulties with your absence, consider leaving behind a transitional object. This could be a blanket, a teddy, or a personal item such as Mommy’s bracelet, Daddy’s watch, etc. – something of comfort to help a child feel more secure and remember that you will be back soon.

Remember, overcoming separation anxiety is a gradual process that takes a different amount of time for each child. But you will all get through it and pretty soon the time they spend with their caregiver will be a positive and exciting part of your child’s routine that everyone looks forward to.

Tips for Creating a Professional Nanny Resume


In today’s competitive job market, it is important to have a professional resume that catches the employer’s eye. A resume can either make or break a job! Below are several tips on how you can land that coveted interview.

Creating a Professional Nanny Caregiver resume Tips:

Cover Letter

  • First and foremost, include a cover letter when submitting your resume. Take this opportunity to introduce yourself and address some of your main personality traits. Cover letters provide detailed information on why you are qualified for the nanny job you are applying for and the reasons you are interested in working as a nanny. Make sure to state your most recently acquired skills and experience.

Contact Information

  • It is absolutely imperative that you include your full name, cell/home phone number and email address at the top of the resume page. It is also a good idea to include your street address and city. This makes it easier for an employer to get in touch with you.


  • Although uncommon elsewhere, in the nanny industry it is a good idea to attach a photo to your resume. This is not mandatory and it really depends on your personal comfort zone.

Customize your objective

  • It is important that you tailor your nanny resume objective according to the specific job you are applying for. Ensure that you state whether you are looking for a live-in or live-out nanny position.


  • It is generally preferred to list your work history in a chronological order-with your most recent or current job listed first. It’s a good idea to include responsibilities, ages & number of children cared for.


  • Using bullet points, list your highest academic achievement including your graduation year. You may also include any special caregiver training courses, first AID certification, driver’s training, etc.

Skills & Other Information

  • Following your education, you can include relevant skills, nanny capabilities, hobbies, spoken languages, etc.

Proof Read

  • It is critical that you check your resume for spelling errors, typos, alignments, etc. Remember that even a small typo can affect your chances of getting hired. You may also consider adding key words that pertain to the job description (organize, manage, household,etc.)

We hope these basic steps help you design a solid and effective resume that can increase your chances of getting hired! If you are looking to be hired as a nanny or caregiver in Canada, fill out this online nanny application form


My Nanny Diaries

on June 19, 2012 by Anjum in Parenting

By Sheba
and online

I used to think having a nanny was the most pretentious cop-out ever to being a parent. The first time I came across the concept of a nanny, other than in movies like The Sound of Music, was a friend of a friend who had three kids and a nanny. At the time, being a newlywed with no kids, I thought I knew it all when it came to what kind of parent I wanted to be and what type of kids I would have; well behaved, smart, respectful and of course, ones who never watched TV because we’d always be outside learning and discovering. I judged anyone who had a nanny and I swore that no matter what, I would never be that ‘selfish’ or ‘inconsiderate’ to my children.

A couple of years later, my son Yusuf came along and then 18 months later, his brother Zeeshan popped out. I had a few girlfriends by this point that had nannies they would rave about. I had also matured in my opinion of nannies and although I did see the benefit and realized the cost was nowhere near what I thought it was (much more affordable actually), I still wanted to do it ‘on my own’. So that first year of my second son’s life, I managed two babies by myself. With no help from my strong mother, who lives four hours away, or my mother-in-law, who has her hands full taking care of her own aging mother.

My husband would walk through the door at 5:15pm and I would be ready to run out, yelling that I needed a break and would be at the Starbucks down the street for half an hour or so. This is how life continued: me being exhausted and my husband working double duty with work and evening daddy duty. Never mind our relationship, which was non-existent.

Regardless of how worn out I was, both mentally and physically, I remember secretly judging my friends with nannies, especially the ones who weren’t working. The concept of having ‘outside help’ in North American South Asian communities is often received with judgment, ignorance and misapprehension.

As a South Asian woman, you are supposed to do it all on your own. Be an energetic and happy mother who is always challenging her children with new lessons, life plans and outdoor adventures. A wife who can manage a spotless house, make a healthy meal and have enough energy left over for her husband to ‘always be in the mood’. A working woman who can handle her deadlines, projects and coworkers without batting an eyelash. A friend, daughter and sister who is always ready and willing to lend a supporting ear. We are supposed to be superwomen – all with a smile on our faces.

Well, I was no superwoman during that first year with both kids. And I certainly wasn’t smiling. I was drained, hormonal, overworked and overwhelmed. I had zero energy left for my relationship, which used to be one of my favorite passions.

When my husband suggested the possibility of a nanny, I had every excuse in the book: we couldn’t afford it, there was no point since I work from home, the idea of a stranger in my house creeped me out. I had convinced myself that date nights were a thing of the past and this was going to be our new life. Secretly though, I think I wondered what people would think of the idea of me doing something so seemingly ostentatious.

The idea of having an uninterrupted conversation with my husband or having a spotless house with two toddlers running around started to win out and I relented. I crunched the numbers, did some research and realized that a nanny is much more affordable than people think. We went through about 40 interviewees in search of our Mary Poppins and finally found someone we liked. It’s now been ten months since she’s come into our lives. We chose a live-out nanny as opposed to a live-in and she has been a huge blessing.

I get to start my day off with a long shower, a luxury I gave up when I became a mother of two. I regularly go out with my husband on date nights now where we can actually connect. Many people think a nanny is a replacement for a mother, which may seem threatening to some. But while I’m out at the splash pad with my boys, my house is being cleaned, laundry being folded and dinner being cooked. My kids rarely ever watch TV anymore because mommy has energy to run around with them. On the days when mommy is working, our nanny has them exploring the outdoors.

For those of you who have children, you already know how much your relationship changes after having a couple of kids. You really have to work at it to stay connected; otherwise you’re just going through the motions. Our nanny has re-opened the doors to our relationship. My husband will openly tell people that the biggest change in our lives since we’ve gotten a nanny is me. I am a completely different person. No longer exhausted or overwhelmed, I am full of life and energy. I find him funny. I like him again!

I still have those friends who smirk when I bring up my nanny and I can’t even judge them. I used to be them. They just don’t know what they are missing. For those of you out there who are considering the nanny route, I say go for it. It is LIFE CHANGING. Your kids will have a happy mom who is full of energy, who can go to work, run errands, see friends, go grocery shopping. It doesn’t make you a bad mother to have a nanny. Think of it this way, if you are South Asian and your parents are immigrants, chances are, they grew up with nannies, they were just called maids or naukhars.

Sure, there is no doubt we are capable of doing it all. But why should we have to? If we have affordable help, why not take it? I did and it changed my life. To all those I judged, I’m sorry. I had no idea what I was missing!

If you would like to hire a nanny or caregiver, please contact International Nanny and Homecare Ltd. in Canada for qualified nannies.


Your Open Work Permit Has Arrived? What Next?

Tips once your open work permit arrives:

After at least two years of working as a live-in caregiver, the arrival of your open work permit is very exciting! While some caregivers may consider childcare a lifelong profession, for others, an open work permit signals a chance to seize fresh opportunities.

As enticing as it sounds, simply jumping from one job into another isn’t the best way to manage your new found freedom. If anything, there are some important steps to take after receiving your open work permit (and even before!)

1. Tell Your Employer: When the time arrives to apply for your open work permit, you must tell your employer about your plans. Will you continue your employment with the family after the permit arrives, or do you plan on finding a new job?

2. Give Your Employer Notice: If you do plan on leaving your employer for another job, it is best to give your employer a formal notice of resignation. What does this mean? You must provide your employer with a written letter explaining  that you are “giving your notice”, or in other words, “quitting your job”. In your letter you must provide the date of your last work day. The standard is two weeks’ notice however; your employment contract may provide a longer notice period. Some may state 4 weeks, or even 8 weeks.  Since finding a suitable nanny takes considerable time, you should stay with your employer until they find a replacement, or arrange for alternative care.

3. Consider Your Options: Although the world beyond your employers’ home looks promising, finding work in Canada is a challenge, even for Canadian citizens. That being said, it is wise to research your job options. How much do you realistically need to earn in order to afford rent and other living expenses? Is your plan to save money for family sponsorship? Are you interested in attending school? Many live-out nannies earn approximately $15/hour. While this may seem like a significant increase from your minimum wage salary, after factoring in new costs, you may not have much extra cash to save, or put towards other expenses.

4. Maintain Your Work Ethic: If you do plan on leaving your employers, the receipt of your open work permit is not an excuse to lower your work standards. You should, until the day you depart from your employer’s home maintain the same high level of work.

5. Take Care of Business: Give your employers ample time to complete your Record of Employment and to calculate your final pay cheque, which may or may not include vacation pay depending if you took vacation during your employment period. You may also want to ask for a letter of reference so that you have a record for future employment opportunities.

Above all, treat your employers with respect. Although an employer-employee relationship exists, your family not only provided you with an excellent job opportunity, but also welcomed you into their home and their lives. Receiving you open work permit is worth celebrating, but not at the expense of the people you’ve spent two years or more, caring for.

Contact International Nannies and Homecare Ltd if you have further questions.

Live-in Caregiver vs. Au Pair: What’s the Difference?

What’s the difference between a Live-in Caregiver compared to Au Pair?

Many people use the terms “au pair” and “live-in caregiver” interchangeably.  While it may appear
that both provide the same level of household assistance, this is actually a misnomer.

The term “au pair” comes from the French word “en pair” meaning “equal to”. Unlike a regular employer-employee  relationship, an au pair is viewed as part of the family, or a big sister. Au Pairs come to Canada for a “cultural exchange” under a Working Holiday Visa and desire an opportunity to explore the world. Many of them are young (Between 18 to 35) having just recently completed high school or post-secondary education. Au Pairs are often new to the nanny scene, whereas live-in caregivers are required to have at least 1 year of full-time work experience as a nanny, or completion of a 6-month caregiving course, along with the equivalent of Canadian high school education.

By working as an au pair, participants not only have the chance to experience Canadian culture by working very closely with a Canadian family, but are also able to earn money and travel, when time permits.

Most au pairs are willing to commit for one year, although there are some who may only wish to work for 6 months, therefore spending the remainder of their time traveling. Live-in caregivers are interested in long-term employment, and are often prepared to work for at least two years. An au pair’s main responsibility is childcare and child-related household duties. In contrast, a live-in caregiver will often assume full responsibility of the household during the parents’ absence, which may include light housekeeping and meal preparation for the entire family.

An au pair’s working hours range between 25 – 44 hours per week depending on the family’s needs. For families who do not require full-time care, but would like the benefits of having someone live in their home, an au pair could be a good solution. Like live-in caregivers, au pairs are paid minimum wage and room and board is deducted from their earnings. These numbers vary depending on the province in which you reside.

Hiring an au pair is an easier process than hiring a live-in caregiver. When hiring a live-in caregiver, employers must satisfy requirements established by the Government of Canada; proof of income, submission of a labour market opinion, as well as payment for the caregiver’s flight into the country is all necessary. In contrast, when hiring an au pair, employers need only submit an application to International Nannies and Homecare, conduct interviews, and wait. The au pair is responsible for all costs incurred, which includes their Working Holiday Visa, airfare, and health insurance while in Canada.

Au Pairs and live-in caregivers are both interested in childcare opportunities, but differ slightly in terms of their work schedule, responsibilities, job experience, and entrance process into Canada. Regardless of the choice you make, of most importance is selecting the caregiver that will provide the best solution for your family’s needs.

If you would like to hire a nanny or caregiver, please contact International Nanny and Homecare Ltd. in Canada for qualified nannies.