10 tips to keep your trick or treating fun and safe




It’s Halloween! For young children Halloween is full of excitement and one of the best nights of the year. There are lots of treats to be had but there is no trick when it comes to keeping your children safe.  You just need to take some precautions and teach your children some simple rules.  Here are my top 10 tips for a fun and safe Halloween:

  1. Put reflective tape on costumes and give kids a flashlight or a glow stick.  This helps drivers see children when they are crossing the street.
  2. Plan your route and let your child know what the route will be.  Give them a meeting place should you get separated.
    Children should always be with a responsible adult and they need to listen to the adult that is with them.
  3. Let your kids know that they should NEVER go inside another person’s house or car.  They are to remain outside the front door and never approach a car.
  4. Tell your kids that they should not eat any candy until they get home and you have had a chance to inspect it.  Any candy that is in ripped packaging or is home made should be discarded.
  5. Children should not go trick or treating alone.  It is always best to go in groups or with a buddy.
  6. Tell your children to be aware and alert and to only visit well lit homes.
  7. If they are wearing a mask make sure the mask fits well and they can see properly out of it.  If their view is obstructed they could injure themselves. Kid friendly make up is a better choice.
  8. To avoid injury kids should walk, not run and stay on the sidewalk
  9. Running across dark lawns can also cause injury.
  10. Carry an extra bag or back pack with you that you can empty their candy into so their bag doesn’t get too heavy.

With a little bit of planning and simple precautions you can make sure that Halloween is a safe and happy experience for the whole family.




When parents hire a nanny they expect the nanny to perform certain functions: caring for their children, keeping them safe, preparing nutritious meals, maintaining a clean house, walk the dog…just to name a few.  However, I often get calls from clients complaining that their nanny, most of whom are from the Philippines, cannot discipline their children and as a result the children walk all over her.  They ask me over and over what should they do about this.  Here is what you should know so you can understand your nanny better and my advice on how to deal with it:

  • First of all you must remember that Filipino women are very gentle, nurturing and loving.  That is part of what makes them such wonderful caregivers for our young children and babies.
  • Culturally Filipino parents discipline their own children by talking to them in a gentle manner.  As children themselves they weren’t given “time outs” or had privileges taken away.  Instead they were taught good manners, right from wrong and how to respect others.
  • Over the past 10 years of traveling to Hong Kong (and over two dozen trips there) we have learned something very much worth knowing : Chinese parents, for the most part, do not discipline their children.  More importantly, their Filipino nannies are FORBIDDEN to discipline the children.  Yup.  Forbidden.  If they do try to discipline the children they will be fired.  So when they come to Canada they literally DO NOT KNOW how to properly discipline children.  The concept is literally foreign.
  • It is essential that parents who want their nannies to be consistent with their disciplining techniques heavily train their nannies in this area.  I say heavily train because you are teaching them something that goes against everything they know.  It goes against their nature and it goes against what has ever been expected of them.
  • Be patient.  Encourage her constantly and don’t expect her to be able to discipline exactly like you do.  Teach them gentle discipline techniques such as time outs and save the bigger punishments for when you get home.
  • The more time you spend training your nanny the better your results.  Write down what is ok and not ok for your children to do, teach her how to handle certain common situations, talk to her and find out what she is comfortable doing and revisit the topic often, especially during the first year.  If you stick with the treaining, over time she will get more comfortable.  Don’t expect her to be as strict as you are…that will never happen…but with your help she should be able to exercise the basic disciplining techniques that you have taught her.

Top 6 reasons to go with a live in nanny instead of daycare

New parents and parents who have never had a nanny are always calling me and asking me what the benefits are to getting a live in nanny.  Many parents initially think that they are going to go the daycare route because that’s all they know.  Many feel that getting a nanny is probably too expensive.   They are also uneasy about having someone live in their home…they feel like they will not have any privacy.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  Once your nanny is finished with her work day she will retire to her room.  The truth is, they want their privacy just as much as you do!

Here are the six top reasons to go with a live in nanny –

  1. Convenience – Imagine not having to run around getting your child up, dressed, fed and dropped off at daycare before you head to work.   The only person you need to worry about getting ready is yourself!  Your caregiver is already there.  Now think about how much stress you are eliminating and how much time you are saving by not having those extra tasks on your plate.  Now you can head into work without feeling like you were racing against the clock all morning and jumping through hoops all at the same time.  Ahhh…..
  2. Flexibility – Is work running late?  Last minute meeting perhaps? Stuck in traffic? Many things can and do pop up that cause you to be running late.  For every minute you are late to pick up your child at daycare, not only are you greeted with a forced smile from the daycare staff, you will be dinged with $1 charge for every minute that you’re late.  Ouch.  If you find that your schedule can be unpredictable you can work this all out with your caregiver.  Live in nannies know and understand that they are not punching a clock each day.  They are aware that sometimes life isn’t to the minute and their flexibility is priceless.
  3. Illnesses-every parent who has ever had a child in daycare knows the drill: you go pick up your child from daycare only to realize that there are some runny noses in the mix.  Great.  Chances are your child will have picked something up and will be the one with the runny nose the next day.  Or perhaps they will wake up with a full blown cold…with a fever.  Now not only can you not take your child to daycare, you cannot go to work.  Maybe you will only miss a day of work, maybe the better part of a week. During cold and flu season germs and illnesses can be passed around and around the daycare and each time your child gets sick you have to miss work.  By having a nanny if your child gets sick you can still get on with your day without worry.  You will have a loving adult at home that will see to his or her every need.
  4. Housework – Yep! It’s true.  Your nanny will tidy the house, start the dinner preparations and walk the dog in addition to taking amazing care of your children.  That means you can come home after a long day and not be bombarded by dirty dishes, baskets full of laundry and sticky fingerprints on the fridge.  You can come home and enjoy your family without having to worry about all of that other not so much fun stuff.  Trust me, it makes all the difference in the world…and to your day.
  5. Date night – Have you ever been home in the evening and wish you can pick up and go to the movies, out for dinner or just out for a coffee (or drinks) with your spouse? Or go out with a friend?  Of course you have!  But finding a babysitter on such short notice is near impossible.  Enter live in nanny.  A built in babysitter who is more than happy to do extra work (for extra pay of course)!
  6. Affordability – Many people think that live in nannies are unaffordable.  That is simply not true.  If you have one child in daycare a nanny will be slightly more expensive.  However if you have two children in daycare it will actually be less expensive to have a live in nanny. And, let’s not forget that in addition to caring for your precious children she is also taking care of your home and the chores that come along with it.

Sounds like a good deal to me!


What are the requirements for live in nannies and caregivers?

Live In nannies and elder caregivers come to Canada on the Foreign Live In Caregiver Program.  This is a federal program that allows immigrants to work and live in Canada on a work permit.  The Live In Caregiver Program is a 24 month program.  Once the caregiver has completed 24 months she can then apply for Permanent Resident status.

In order to qualify for the Foreign Live In Caregiver Program candidates must have at least 1 year of relevant childcare or elderly experience or have completed a 6 month Caregiver course.  They also must have the equivalent of a grade 12 diploma in Canada.  In the Philippines this is 2 years of post secondary education.  Finally they must have a clean bill of health and no criminal record.

Family Matters has very high standards when it comes to choosing which candidates will be considered for our clients.  We look for candidates that we would be willing to hire to work in our own homes and take care of our own children.

To me this doesn’t necessarily translate into finding a nanny with the most amount of experience.  We look for candidates that possess good moral values, an excellent work ethic, candidates that are flexible, honest, have good common sense, a great attitude, good communication skills, patience, loving personalities and have an eagerness to learn.  We look for candidates that want to be part of their employer’s family and are team players.  Cleaning, cooking and following your family’s schedule can all be taught.  A person’s values, work ethic, positive attitude and integrity however cannot.