Advice for live-in caregivers

By Manuela Gruber Hersch
Special to The Post
 
Acknowledge the importance of being a good nanny
Be proud to be a nanny!
Taking care of children, teaching them and guiding them to become good citizens is an essential job.
Read up on the ages of the children you are taking care of to gain understanding of the different stages of child development.
Canada has a critical childcare shortage and professional nannies can earn high wages.
Be the best nanny you can be! Remember, the children you are taking care of are Canada’s future.
 
Have a good support system in place
It is important when you are a nanny to have a good support system in place outside of work, especially if you also live in your employer’s home.
Many nannies in Canada originate from other countries overseas and when they arrive their employer family may be the only people they know.
If you are new to the area consider taking up some activities in your free time, which will help you to make friends and meet new people.
Local community centres, churches and even playgroups where you can meet other nannies are usually good places to start building a support system for yourself.
 
Assess who your real friends are
Be careful of where you get your information from as friends can sometimes provide false and misleading advice.
Be aware of ultra-radical caregiver groups whose main purpose is to get attention, without having any real knowledge about the various sides of the caregiver industry.
For some of those groups, it is more important to be seen with politicians than to actually improve the lives of live-in caregivers.
Without a doubt live-in caregivers must be treated fairly and employers must obey provincial labour standards, but as in any employment a caregiver-employer relationship is a two way street.
It is best to stay away from caregiver groups who paint all employers as simply bad and abusive.
 
Volunteer and upgrade your skills
Consider volunteering in your free time as a means of expanding on your current skills.
Even if you are a temporary foreign worker you are allowed to volunteer, provided you are not paid.
 
It can be a great way of gaining some diverse experience.
Volunteering at a charity shop for example is a fun way of gaining customer service and people skills, while volunteering at a soup kitchen could be a great way of practising your cooking skills.
These will be beneficial not only to you as a nanny but to any future employment you may undertake.
 
Appreciate the opportunity
The Live-in Caregiver program may be heavily flawed but it is still a very generous program.
If you choose to, you will have the opportunity to apply to become a permanent resident in this beautiful country.
Take a step back and appreciate what being a live-in caregiver can do for you now and for your future.
 
Manuela Gruber Hersch came to Canada as a live in nanny and now operates www.internationalnannies.com.
 

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