Are moms qualified nannies?

At Nannies on Call, we regularly get mothers applying to become nannies and often, these mothers do not have any childcare experience other than raising their own children.  They become frustrated when we tell them that they do not have enough experience to work with us and we hear things such as, “You’re telling me that raising my daughter for the last 4 years isn’t enough experience?” or “I have raised 3 children and 2 grandchildren and have over 20 years of experience – why isn’t that good enough?!”

While we believe that these mothers do have a lot of terrific practical experience, unfortunately, working for another family is very different than raising your own children; it comes with a whole different set of skills, expectations, and values.  Having experience with these situations is important when becoming a nanny and this is why practical experience is not quite enough.

So what are mothers with practical experience to do?  Here are a few things to consider if you are a mother trying to transition to nannying:

Volunteering.  Have you volunteered at your children’s school?  When my daughter was little, she went to a parent-participation preschool.  I spent many hours in the preschool volunteering and we also had monthly education nights where experts were brought in to teach us about discipline, crafts and development.  All of this would count towards professional childcare experience.

Babysitting.  Have you taken care of other people’s children on a regular basis?  Could you get a reference letter from one of the parents?

Coaching.  Have you ever coached your child’s soccer, field hockey, or hockey team?  This is great experience and often gives you the chance to get a coaching course under your belt, too.

Tutoring.  Have you ever tutored children other than your own?

No matter how you gain your professional experience, mothers need to think outside the box.  Consider where have you gained childcare experience outside of your own family and then tailor your resume accordingly.

If you need help please feel free to contact us. We are here to help. or 877-214-2828




Arcela D. Picture 2017

Arcela D. – 5 years

We are very happy to congratulate nanny Arcela D. on celebrating her 5 year Nannyversary with Nannies on Call this month!  Since joining our team in early 2012, Arcela has worked over 500 jobs with almost 300 families who have called her “wonderful,” “absolutely amazing,” and “one of the most capable nannies we’ve ever experienced.”  A positive, hardworking, and dependable nanny, she also works part-time at a Senior’s Care facility because she has no shortage of love and care to go around.  Never one to shy away from a challenge, she is able to keep everyone calm, engaged, and having fun, no matter what the situation.  Whether she is taking the children for a walk to the playground or a trip to the zoo, you can be sure everyone will have a fantastic day.  Congratulations, Arcela!

Nanny of the Month – Lise

liseOriginally from Quebec, Nanny Lise comes from a large family, and has been caring for children since she was only a teenager.  She is fully bilingual in French and English, and has two grown children of her own.

Lise began her professional childcare career as a daycare provider in 2004, and continued on as an early childhood educator until 2009 when she decided to joined Nannies on Call.  Over the years, she has had a special interest in working with children with special needs, and truly shines when working with one or two children at a time.

Lise has been a spectacular part of the on-call team here at Nannies on Call since 2009, and has worked over a 1000 bookings with us!  In fact one of our on-call families enjoyed her so much they decided to hire her long-term, so their children would always be guaranteed her outstanding care, fun games, and positive attitude.

There has been so much excellent feedback about Lise that we had to select just a few of the wonderful things that families have said about their excellent experience with her.

“Lise was absolutely amazing! We were so glad she was our nanny; she arrived with toys and immediately put both our very young children at ease. I can’t say enough great things about her.“


“Lise was great. Our 8-year-old niece said she wishes she could be her regular babysitter. Thank you so much for all of your help.


“Lise was absolutely incredible! She came fully prepared with lots of activities and was wonderful with our daughter! I didn’t even get a good-bye from my daughter when I left! Can’t say enough good things.




Carmelle – Nanny of the Month

Nanny Carmelle S. is celebrating her 10 year nanny-versary with Nannies on Call in Vancouver. Carmelle came to Nannies on Call in 2006 with more than 20 years of childcare experience and has worked well over 1,000 jobs with more than 500 families since then. A mother herself, she understands the concerns of today’s parents and is always ready to take charge, no matter what the situation. When she is not nannying, she can be found volunteering in Guatemala to help build a sustainable village for widowed mothers and their children, working on one of the two children’s books she is currently writing, or spearheading a literacy and education project for women in rural Egypt. Here is what some of our families have had to say about nanny Carmelle over the years:

“We were absolutely delighted with Carmelle. She was on time and had a calm, happy presence. My children are usually very shy with strangers, but they took to her absolutely immediately and she was reading them stories within minutes of her arrival.”

“She was incredibly competent, knowledgeable, warm, and loving. I trusted her immediately.”

“We would love to have Carmelle as our nanny in the future. She is an absolute diamond!”

With all of her energy, talent, and passion for childcare, it is no wonder that Carmelle remains such a valuable member of the Nannies on Call team. Congratulations, Carmelle!

Nanny of the Month


Our October Nanny of the Month, Nanny Arcela, has worked with our agency for 4 years, and has steadily become a favourite of many of our Calgary families. She knows how to win the hearts of the children she cares for with her warm personality and kind heart. Past clients describe Arcela as “wonderful”, and “amazing”, and she always goes above and beyond what is expected of her. We are truly fortunate to have her in our On Call nanny team. Congratulations, Arcela!

Nanny of the Month

skylarCongratulations Nanny Skylar, you are our September Nanny of the Month!

Working with Nannies on Call since 2015, Skylar brings a ton of energy and a great attitude to all the families she has worked for.

Skylar, who is known for her nanny bag full of fun games and crafts, is someone who is always sure to excite your children! She has years of exceptional childcare experience varying as a babysitter, nanny, and caring for children with special needs.

Skylar has so many positive attributes, that it was tough picking those to include.

Here’s a small look at some wonderful things that have been said about Skylar’s childcare abilities.

Tracey – “She’s amazing – she’s really, really good. The kids would run to the door when she arrived. She always had a special babysitter bag with games and crafts and she’d always bring something different in it. My daughter is 12 now and is taking a babysitter course and I can see her modeling the positive behaviours that Skylar had. Skylar not only took care of them, but impacted them in such a great way.”

Tracey also added, “We’ve had lots of babysitters and she was absolutely the best. When we came home the house was always impeccable, she would do our dirty dishes, or leave out freshly baked cookies. It’ll be a lucky family that gets her.”

She was working for one one of our families in a short term nanny position this past summer. They liked her so much that they have offered her a permanent position!

Thanks for all your hard work Skylar!

Doing a Background Check on Your Nanny

background check on nanny

Why You Should Do a Background Check on Nanny

I try not to worry about my kids. However, as a mother who is a bit of a new-junkie, I am inexplicably drawn to every tragedy like a moth to a flame. Any story that makes me take a deep breath to quell my fear or that makes me reach for a tissue to dry my tears will make its mark on my psyche. The scope of my tragedy-meter is not limited geographically.

Through the power of the internet, I am transported to news sites that fuel my primal fears as a parent. No matter that an abduction may have occurred as far away as Calgary or Ottawa or Toronto. The stories make me clutch my little ones a bit tighter as we cuddle on our couch in Halifax.

Yes, I do take solace that Canada has an admirably low crime rate compared to the country south of our border (Edmonton and Vancouver, for example, ranked as two of the top five most “violent” cities in Canada have a relatively low crime rate of 95 per 100,000 people -about 1/15 of their counterparts in the United States).  Nonetheless, I still import fear by watching shows like CSI: Criminal Scene Investigation and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. I gravitate toward gruesome mysteries like Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones. My commitment to this genre has not done wonders for making me view the world as a Utopian paradise filled with sunshine, rainbows, and lollipops.

Given my morbid fascination with the criminal world, it should come as no surprise to you that I will only use an agency for a babysitter or nanny services that completes full background checks.

I want someone to partner with me to screen any applicant who will have any potential interaction with my children. My agency also checks on the validity of a nanny’s references on our behalf.  Most importantly, they provide copies to me of all background checks of our final applicant(s).

Do I insist upon background checks because of the stories that I have read?  Maybe. But, if you prefer to romances to true crime novels, you should still have run background checks on your nanny. If you would rather read the comics than the police blotter, you should still make sure your nanny has a background check. If you would rather watch a darling cat video than the evening news, you should still have a background check on your babysitter. It’s not paranoia, friends. It’s just good parenting.

Great Board Books for Your Nanny to Read to Your Young Child

Putting Books in Your Nanny’s Hands:

Favorite Board Books for Your Nanny To Read to Babies and Toddlers

Looking for a fresh list of books for the nanny to check out for your toddlers from the Toronto Public Library? Or perhaps, you wish to send a special gift to your cousin who’s expecting her first baby in Halifax?  Maybe you are creating a wishlist to take to Kidsbooks, the great children’s bookstore in Vancouver (no worries if you live in Calgary or Edmonton – you can also check out their online stock).  Maybe you are simply trying to motivate your nanny to engage your toddlers in text.

Whatever the case, if you are in the market for some some terrific board books with the dual durability of spine and story, here are some of the tried-and-true favorites.  At my house, we have a special basket of books for the nanny, and I am glad to share some of our favorites with her.  Your kids (ages 1-3)will want her to read them over and over (and over) again.
To begin with, anything by Sandra Boynton.  My kids loved (nearly) all of them, but especially:

Board Books for Your Nanny To Read to Babies and ToddlersIt’s a refreshing spin on the “A cow says MOO” genre.  Sure, there’s teaching happening, but there’s also kid-friendly humor as well as lovely, simple rhyming.  I have an extra copy of this that I keep tucked into the nanny’s diaper bag.   The little ones love to hear it, and the older ones can use her simple illustration style to try and draw their own comedic animals.




Board Books for Your Nanny To Read to Babies and ToddlersKids like the repeated pattern “…but not the hippopotamus” as well as the surprise ending.  I personally love how the illustrations also gently depict the awkwardness of exclusion and the joy of inclusion.





Board Books for Your Nanny To Read to Babies and ToddlersAgain, Boynton has a knack of taking basic teaching elements  (the naming of colors, the identification of clothing) and spinning them into something fun.  Kids particularly love the “Oops” factor of this book.





Board Books for Your Nanny To Read to Babies and ToddlersThis is a lovely book, noted for its ginormous-sized lift-the- flaps and its fun premise. Kids can guess the animal before the “big reveal.”  Also in this series: “Peek-a-Moo.”






Board Books for Your Nanny To Read to Babies and ToddlersKaren Katz knows how to make a cute, interactive board book to engage little ones. You can’t go wrong with one of her books, although this classic remained a favorite.







Board Books for Your Nanny To Read to Babies and ToddlersIn 2014, this classic celebrated its 20th birthday.  The story remains enduring to a new generation of readers.  Nearly every child’s favorite page is the smorgasbord page, detailing how much the little caterpillar can eat.  For the nanny, parent, or grandparent reading the book, it’s fascinating to notice the beauty and intricacy of Eric Carle’s designs – created with handpainted papers, cut and placed to create colorful collages.  It’s a gem, worth reading over and over again.


*If you are looking for books for older kids, here’s a great place to browse: Top 100 Canadian Kids Books.  The books are either set in Canada or have a Canadian author and/or illustrator.

Your Nanny and Homework

nanny help with homeworkWith September looming in the not-too-distant future, our thoughts are slowly – albeit reluctantly – turning back to school.  All across Canada, classrooms wait to be decorated for a new group of learners.  “Back to School” signs adorn storefronts from Toronto to Halifax.  Backpacks are flying off the shelves in Vancouver, pencils are being sharpened in Calgary and Edmonton, and uniforms are being fitted in Ottawa.  All of this activity means one horrible truth for our family:  the season of homework is nearly upon us.

Whether you currently have a nanny or are considering hiring one this fall, now is the time to determine what role your nanny will play regarding after-school support.  For our family, it is a non-negotiable that our nanny must be equipped to help our ten-year old with her homework.  Although both my husband and I are college-educated (and <cough,cough> I am a certified, full-time teacher), we have made a conscious commitment to outsource a portion of our daughter’s need for academic assistance to our nanny.  And here’s why:
(1) Our nanny is there when our children get off the bus.  She gives them a snack, and then our daughter and son start any homework after 20-30 minutes of relaxation.  This is a great timeframe for them to get to work.  If they wait for us to get homework started, we are all exhausted.

(2) School is difficult for our daughter.  She needs extra support, and sometimes she just wants her mom to be her mom and not her teacher.  Our nanny is a great cheerleader for her as she does her work.  (Our son, who can work more independently, just needs a mild taskmaster to keep him focused on his work and not the dog.)

(3) There was a lot of homework last year.  Completing two shifts of homework made it more manageable for my daughter as well as for our family sanity.  She would complete 30+ minutes with the nanny and then finish up with one of us in the evening.
If you plan to have your nanny provide tutoring or after-school support, be certain to include this requirement in your application process.  If you already have a nanny, sit down with him/her and discuss your expectations with homework and your children this fall.  Make sure the nanny has access to study materials, online resources, and other support aids that the school has provided you. Be clear that the nanny should only provide support and not answers. Finally, give yourself an “A” for effort if you keep the lines of communication open among your children, the nanny, the teacher, and you.  Happy Back-to-School!

Why Your Nanny (and your kids) Need a Routine

Make a List For Your Nanny and Things Will Go Smoothly!

You have a nanny – now what?  Establishing a routine with your nanny should be your first priority.

While today’s television sitcoms feature nannies in outrageous situations, real-live nannies in Halifax, Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, and Victoria need a simple routine to establish the parameters of each day. Just as a teacher invests the first weeks of school instilling the routines and procedures of the classroom in order to establish a productive learning environment, so you should take the time to plan, organize, and implement a daily routine for your nanny to follow with your children.
Why Should You Bother?

make your nanny a list
Having a consistent routine fosters comfort and can have a calming effect on children (and caregivers).  Everyone knows what is expected. For example, little ones know that before breakfast, we change out of pajamas and put on play clothes. It also teaches sequencing to developing young minds. When we come home, first we take off our shoes and then we wash our hands.

Routines also help children (and, dare I say, nannies?) develop time-management skills. Posting a morning schedule on the refrigerator, a bathroom routine on a mirror,  or a bedtime routine in a child’s bedroom can also give little ones increased responsibility and a sense of accomplishment as they work through the list.  Make the lists fun, colorful, and with small pictures to accompany simple instructions (a picture of a toothbrush with the words “brush teeth”).

Also, having clear guidelines help children, families, and nannies work successfully with one another.  For instance, kids and nannies know the same rule: all meals are eaten at the kitchen table, but that it okay to have popcorn and water bottles in the living room.  This helps everyone function in a healthy and happy way.
But, aren’t Schedules Restrictive?
The beauty of a good routine is that it allows for flexibility and creativity.  You are providing the skeletal structure for your nanny and kids to follow.  Within that structure, they can then make personal choices and make the most of each day.

When presenting the family routines to your nanny, take the time to write them out with some general times provided. In your tone, be friendly but firm on the points that are not flexible. After the first day, ask how the schedule worked. After the first week, ask if your nanny sees any improvements or problems with your family routine. Keep the lines of communication open as schedules evolve through seasons and as your kids’ needs change. One of my favorite resources for planning family routines can be found here.