Archive for the ‘Resources for Nannies’ Category

San Diego – Amazing Hidden Gem of California!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

With its miles of glorious beaches, ideal year-round weather and countless cultural and historical attractions, San Diego is one of the most visited cities in the world! If you’re on the fence about where to spend your program year, here are some of the top reasons to choose San Diego.

Balboa Park:

Like no place else in the country, Balboa Park offers a magnificent combination of art, architecture, history and agriculture all in one park. From wonderful concerts featuring the world’s largest outdoor pipe organ, The Spreckels Organ, to tours through science, art and history museums, a day spent in Balboa Park is an unforgettable experience.


Coronado Island:

On the beautiful island of Coronado, you’ll discover a charming collection of shops, art galleries, fine restaurants and fun eateries surrounded by tree lined walkways, swaying palms and sparkling ponds. Across the bay is one of the best views of downtown San Diego. Developed 130 years ago as a haven for the rich and famous, this oceanfront community maintains an air of luxury. Admire the mansions, Duchess of Windsor Cottage and the Museum of History and Art, which highlights the relaxed and enriching atmosphere on the island.


Torrey Pines State Reserve:

Named after the Torrey Pine tree, this reserve is just north of La Jolla and is a lovely place to see indigenous wildlife in its native environment. With more than eight miles of trails, you can explore the serenity of Torrey Pines in the same atmosphere as the first settlers to California. Take a hike to Blacks Beach, popular with surfers. The Torrey Pines Gliderportoh is the only place on the west coast for visitors to go paragliding and hang-gliding.

San Diego Zoo:

One of the world’s most famous zoos, the San Diego Zoo offers hours of fascinating entertainment for people of all ages. Of the several thousand animals that live in the zoo, you’ll have an opportunity to see everything from Giant Pandas and Polar Bears to the Tasmanian Devil and African Wild Dogs—and so much more. The many hundreds of species include rare amphibians, birds, mammals, reptiles and insects that come from all over the world and are cared for in their natural habitats. As you walk through the lush pathways and thriving gardens that frame the zoo, keep in mind that much of the flora are exotic plants and vegetation. Spend an afternoon or the whole day and gain an understanding of the many beautiful animals that inhabit our world.


Gaslamp quarter: 

The heart of downtown San Diego is the historic Gaslamp Quarter. It’s a fun and busy area where you can find: shops, galleries, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, theaters, sporting arenas, conferences, concerts, Comic-Con and more. Head towards Horton Plaza’s outdoor shopping mall to find the likes of Macy’s, Victoria Secret and Claire’s or enjoy the baseball game at Petco Park.


Children’s Pool Sea Lions:

Another famous San Diego attraction is Children’s pool where you can observe seals and sea lions in their natural habitat. Silly, loud, ultra-lovable, and a little smelly, they are sure to bring a toothy smile to your face. Sea lions are often compared to being the dogs of the sea for a good reason. After all, they are smart, playful, and newborns are even called pups. They capitalize on San Diego coastline as prime real estate, colonizing rocky and sandy beaches during nesting season.


Beautiful Beaches:

San Diego is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. There are 70 miles of shoreline and a diverse selection of beaches to explore. If you like surfing, you’ll be in heaven; if you prefer getting lost in your thoughts on a secluded sandy stretch, you’ll also be in heaven. From La Jolla and Mission to Coronado and Pacific Beach, there’s a beach for you in San Diego.


For more information about the GreatAuPair J-1 visa program, visit Families can call 800.604.2507 to speak with a GreatAuPair representative.  Au pairs can call 1-775-636-8302, or contact us on skype at


Au Pair in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Dallas (or DFW – Dallas/Fort Worth as its most commonly known) is actually a group of several large & small cities and towns that make up one of the most diverse areas of Texas.

Fort Worth started out as a railroad and cattle town and still retains much of the ‘cowboy’ culture today.  In addition to its zoo and arboretum, the Fort Worth Stockyards and rodeo are major tourism draws and a great way to spend a day or weekend. This is where you will find the “wild west”.


Dallas, or the “Big D” is home to some of the best shopping, dining, arts, culture and history in the state. You can spend an afternoon with your host family at the Perot Museum where they feature activities for children, teens and families or enjoy a weekend at the Dallas Zoo.  The Dallas Arboretum is a dream in the spring where you can take a picnic and enjoy live music amongst the thousands of tulips. Dallas also has several farmers markets, museums, and sculpture gardens so there is never a shortage of things to do!


If shopping is your thing, there are several malls and outlet malls as well as vintage shops and craft festivals.


Weekends in and around DFW are always filled with options.  In the spring, there are farmers markets, baseball (both professional and minor league), art festivals, a St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Greenville Ave, food and wine festivals (Greek Fest, Taste of Addison, Chocolate Festival, and much more).  In the summer there are several water parks, lakes, Six Flags of Texas, and tons of shopping.  4th of July offers KaBoomtown in Addison, and fireworks in almost every town!


In the fall and winter, you can’t miss Oktoberfest in Addison, the Balloon Festival in Plano, train rides in Grapevine, Texas football games, or countless other activities.


Dallas is a 4 hour drive from Austin or San Antonio, and 6-7 hours to Houston, so weekend trips are a must!  Austin has a great music and art scene and is our state capital.  San Antonio is home of the Alamo, and the world famous Riverwalk, and Houston is close to Galveston, the beach, NASA and  Moody Gardens nature museum.

Complete your application today, so we can match you with our friendly Dallas/Ft Worth host families!

How To Keep Kids Busy During the Summer

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

            For most children across the world, school is out, and they can hardly wait for the summer fun to begin! If you’ve been hired as a summer nanny, or if the children you watch year-round are out of school for the summer, the parents will expect you keep their children occupied and safe. While an occasional movie or trip to the library is an option, there are lots of other things to do in the summer! Here are some of GreatAuPair’s tips to keeping everyone safe and happy this summer!


           If you are watching school-aged children, you may notice them missing their school friends as the summer continues on. Set up a few play-dates where they can get together and socialize! Ask the parents and children for a few phone numbers of school friends, and give them a call. Make sure not to agree to watch more children than you can handle, and always get permission from the parents before agreeing to invite over someone’s else’s children.

Plant a Garden:

 Gardening is a great outdoors activity for children to take part in. Not only is it fun, it’s a confidence-booster to children that get to see their hard work pay off! Try planting some easy-to-grow crops first, like sunflowers, radishes, cherry tomatoes, and lettuce. Kids will be eager to see results, and you can make the garden a part of their daily summer routine. What a fun way to spend time outdoors!

Go to the Park:

           School-aged children are used to keeping busy with their daily routines, so they’re likely to have a lot of energy, even in the summer. Why not take them to the park? Always be sure to supervise them playing on the playground. Bring along a few snacks and always pack plenty of water to make sure the children stay hydrated in the summer heat. Be sure and pack a first aid kit, to clean up any scrapes or cuts!

Arts and Crafts:

           Sometimes, it’s just too hot to play outside. Why not enjoy part of the day inside with some arts and crafts? You can do fun things with the kids like make tie-dye shirts, finger-paint, create fabric necklaces and bracelets, or even put on a play with hand-made masks and costumes. Try Pinterest for more ideas on different arts and crafts activities you can do with the children.

Get in the Water:

If you have a pool nearby, or even in the backyard, you’re one lucky nanny! If you don’t, and the beach is too far away, why not check out your local recreation center, (YMCA or Boys and Girls Club) to see if they have a community pool? Swimming and playing in the water is great way to conquer the summer heat.

It’s extremely important to always keep an eye on the children when they’re in the water. If you’re at a community pool with a lifeguard, don’t assume that they will always have their eyes on the children. It’s your responsibility! Going swimming and getting to play in the water is a great summer activity the children will enjoy, but only if you’re comfortable watching children in the water. Don’t forget sunblock, towels and floaties. 


           If you have a zoo or aquarium nearby, why not take the kids there for the day? Pack a light lunch and plenty of drinks, and head out for a day of exploring! Younger children will appreciate looking at the animals from their strollers or your arms, while an older child will enjoy a more-hands on approach. Sometimes, these places provide exhibits that allow visitors to feed or touch the animals. Look to see if there is a petting zoo exhibit open. Challenge the kids to mimic the sounds of the animals and have a great time! It’s best to go on a weekday when it’s less crowded.


           Museums are a great way to avoid the heat and spend time indoors. If you have a Children’s museum in your area, take the kids there to have some hands-on playtime. You can also visit a local art or science museum. Call in advance and ask if they have any activities planned for children. Some museums have special exhibits centered around children during the summer. Always keep a close eye on the children!

No matter what you decide to do, be sure to keep you and the children safe and hydrated. Have a great summer!

Can I still work in other countries if I’m over 30?

Friday, May 17, 2013

If you’re over 30, and dream of working in another country, your visa options may be limited. However, there is still a chance of success.

Most childcare visa programs are limited to au pairs who are age 30 or below.  Every country has different age limits for their designated visa programs which can be found on the GreatAuPair visa page.

There are other work opportunities outside of the au pair visa program that may be an option for you.  Some countries have student visa programs without age limits.  However, you are required to attend University classes and work just part-time in a family’s home.  There are no restrictions to the type of work you do as a student, so look for jobs as a part-time tutor, language instructor, caregiver, housekeeper, or personal assistant. Be sure to check with the Consulate to inquire about the restrictions and make sure you’re not breaking any rules. For example, if you’re an American interested in studying in Italy, contact the Italian Embassy or Consulate in the US for the most up to date student visa information.

There are a number of jobs available in Canada, where there are no age limits as long as you have experience either caring for children or seniors.  If you’re interested in immigrating to Canada, the Live-in Caregiver visa will allow you to become a permanent resident after you have worked three years on this visa program.

Greece and New Zealand have programs for candidates up to age 35. You can work as an au pair in Greece until you’re 35. New Zealand accepts 35 year olds into their working holiday programs and into their BUNAC student visa programs. Look for work/study and BUNAC study visas for your home country. Some of these are restricted by age, so, make sure to do some research before setting your sights on working in that special country.

Look into special arrangements between your country and other locations. There is a Japan-Philippine Economic partnership agreement that allows qualified nurses and certified caseworkers to live and work in Japan for 3-4 years after they complete Japanese language training.

Some countries have work permits that allow you to work at any age with family sponsorship.  These open work permits are available in Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt.

Look for places where you could go to teach English as a second language. China is looking for English speakers so they’ve recently launched a number of programs. Type “China embassy” in your search engine to find links to programs available in your country.  US citizens can click here.

If you want to teach English in a foreign country, you will need to be sponsored by a company, rather than an individual host family. GreatAuPair only works with individual host families.  However, we wanted you to know that there are ways to work outside of your home country if you’re willing to get creative and do some research.

Teachers, nurses, occupational therapists and sometimes senior care providers can also find jobs in almost any country as long as they are licensed and submit applications to schools, hospitals and senior care companies. While you may not find these jobs through GreatAuPair, you can take the experience you earned working abroad or at home and expand your search to find these positions.

Start your search by looking into your visa options first.  We don’t want you wasting your time looking for jobs in countries where you’re ineligible to work.

We wish you the best of luck on your search!

How to Keep Kids Busy During Winter Break

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The holidays are a great time to have extra time for bonding with the children you care for. However, keeping them occupied can be quite stressful, too! Here are GreatAuPair’s ideas on how to keep kids busy, entertained, while maintaining a stress-free attitude this holiday season. Enjoy!


  • Make a Wish-List: This is one way to have the kids come up with ideas for you! Make a wish-list together of things you’d like to do together over the holiday break. Be careful that the wishes don’t get too wild—a wish for an “all-day shopping spree” might not come true, so be sure to remind the children to keep their wishes realistic.
  • Encourage Reading: Even though school’s out, the learning doesn’t have to stop! Take regular trips to the library, make reading seem fun under a homemade fort in the living room, and perhaps even offer a reward for a certain number of books read over the break. Librarians are also quite happy to help children find books they’d like, so use this resource to your advantage! If the children are too young to read, help them find fun books they’d like you to read aloud to them.


  • Go Outside: Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy the outdoors. Depending on where you live, there might be cold-weather activities such a skiing or snowman-making to keep the kids occupied. If you’re in a more temperate climate, you may want to check out nearby hiking for older children.  If you live in the United States, state parks often have children’s educational programs during the winter—some of these are even held indoors!


  • Rock Climb: Rock climbing is a great skill to teach kids because it offers them a chance to problem solve, be active, and boost their self-confidence. There is nothing like getting to the top of a wall, looking down, and seeing what you’ve accomplished. If you’re not an experienced rock climber, check out nearby gyms that offer lessons, kids days/groups, etc.


  • Arrange Play-dates: Coordinating play-dates with other neighborhood children can be an inexpensive and easy form of entertainment. It’s a good idea to have some games and snacks on-hand just in case.


  • Get Crafty: Visit your local craft shop for ideas on fun projects. Or visit websites such as and to get ideas of crafts to make with everyday household items. Ask the kids for their ideas, too. They may have always wanted to try papier-mâché, making a hat, or even something as simple as a paper airplane.