Category Archives: Family

Customer feedback

Every day we are getting applications from the new families, which are looking for an Au Pair. Often our current families are recommending us to other families. Our customer loyalty is important for us and we are glad for every positive feedback which we earn!

Liberty Finnegan has been our customer for less than a year. It was a first time when she received Au Pair and they are very happy with her. Liberty says, her Au Pair is very lovely girl and she assesses our service as excellent and rates company overall as good.

We are willing to hear our customer feedback so we can keep developing and improving our service to become better every day!


Host families feedback

In 12 years Cara International has accomplished a lot of experience in the Au Pair placement business. Our customer positive feedback is a proof of it.

Sandra Walsh has been our customer for less than a year and she is sharing her own experience. Sandra evaluates Cara International overall as a very good agency. She says, Nikki was fantastic, her customer service was second to none and she went way beyond what would be excepted to help us. I would recommend Cara to anyone, so professional and very understanding of our need as a family.

Martina Grimson also has been our customer for less than a year. She assesses our customer service as excellent and a company overall as very good agency. She says, very quick finding a placement, very good when I had a problem.

Applying as a host family, our Cara International team will be doing everything to help you! Satisfied clients are our future!

Testimonials about our Agency

It is good to read about previous host families before you decide on Au Pair programme or on becoming a host family yourself.

Cara International presents you some testimonials from previous families. Enjoy reading!

“I dealt with Nikki – it was great to have continuity – felt Nikki really understood what I was looking for in an Au-Pair & matched me perfectly with Itziar. It was my first experience of employing an Au-Pair and I was most satisfied with Cara International – I have recommended your agency already to friends & in particular Nikki!”

Mary Rose Cantillon

“The best decision we have made was to get an au pair for 12 months. Our German au pair has been with us now for 3 months and I don”t know how we survived without one beforethis as we have 3 children ages 3, 2 and 7 months. She just adores the baby and her interaction with the others is excellent. She is a lovely girl and we treat her as part of the family…just like I would like my little girl to be treated if she ever went abroad to live and work. Our au pair is very happy here and we are certainly delighted that she has agreed to stay with us for a year.”

Sinead and Gerard Tormey

“I have found Cara International to be very capable, professional and friendly in all our dealings with them. There is a great level of support provided by the agency. We have had many au pairs from Cara International and would recommend them highly to any family who is considering them as an agency for au pair placement with their family.”

Angela Garvey

“We have worked closed with Cara International for quite a lot of years now and have found them to be excellent. They are always very tuned into our family’s needs and are sensitive to our concerns, i.e. the wellbeing of our children. They are easy to talk to and very helpful with all the various issues that arise when organising an Au Pair to come and stay with your family. Their staff are top class and Caroline has a team that is excellent to work with. I would recommend them without reservation.”

Steven and Maria Breen

Make Changes – find yourself a demi Au Pair

You hate lifting your children out of their beds and bring them to the crèche or external childminder? With an Au Pair your children can stay in their own environment with their own toys, bed and own routine. Are you worried about their exposure to infection? They have less exposure to infection as they are not as exposed to other children especially for younger children.Your children are getting to old and don´t want a childminder or creche?

An Au Pair is an ideal solution. It is cool to have an Au Pair. It is also a chance for older children to learn a language in an easy way like through play.You hate paying out large money to a weekly babysitter when you could have an Au Pair for the whole week for not much more?

A Demi Au Pairs receive a minimum of €50 per week pocket money for 20 hours plus 1 nights babysitting. You hate having to come home and do all the household jobs and would love to share the burden?

Au Pairs can do light housework especially around the children such as tidying their bedrooms, ironing their clothes, helping prepare their food etc.They are here to help and assist you like a family member. In return you treat them as a family member by including them. 

You hate that you cannot get a babysitter and never go out ?The Au Pair program is flexible. The Au Pair is entitled to 2 days off per week but this can be in half days or around times that suits the family.

The demi Au Pair can do one nights babysitting per week.You would love your children to be exposed to cultures and languages?The Au Pairs can share their culture with you and your family and teach your children some of their languages too.

You have heard so many bad stories about Au Pairs and really not sure it’s for you ? This is why it is so important to go through an established agency. Our Au Pair Agency in Ireland Cara International is as over 10 years of experience in the Au Pair industry. We have placed in excess of 2000 Au Pairs. We know this program verry well and have very established systems in place to make sure your placement is successful. We are happy to say that we have approximately 99% success rate with our placement.

You cannot afford the minimum wage payment for a childminder?The Au Pairs are here on a cultural exchange programme. They are here to be part of the family. In this regard they are not an employee and not subject to minimum wage.They receive pocket money for the help they give the family like any older member of your family has to contribute to the running of the home.

You are nervous of having someone in your house as an employee and having employment contracts, health and safety legislation etc.? n Au Pair is on a cultural exchange. You agree your terms and conditions with Cara International when you complete your application. Cara International checks in with you all to ensure that the placement is working well for everyone.


Back to school

School year is coming and once school begins children ages 5 or 6 and up have homework. Some children complete their homework without any adult help while other children need lots of support.

Homework is important because it helps children practice and strengthen academic skills, teaches time management, initiative, self-reliance, and resourcefulness. Homework also teaches children responsibility, the sense of accountability for mistakes and successes, and a respect for authority outside the home.

Support, encouragement, patience and guidance are basic in helping children with their homework. Not every type of help will work with each child. Here are a few ideas:

  • Agree on a quiet place to do homework.
  • Check with Host Parents if the television, music or computer can be on while the child is doing homework.
  • Agree on a reasonable homework schedule. Should homework be done after school or after dinner or after a short break before dinner?
  • Should home privileges be taken away form a child that doesn’t complete homework or puts it off?
  • Can the child use the computer, talk on the phone or get together with friends before homework is done?
  • Try to determine how long the child can keep concentrating on work. It may be best to build breaks into the homework schedule.
  • Avoid getting into a power struggle over homework.
  • Ask your host parents for ideas if you are having a problem.
  • Helping with homework can be frustrating for everyone involved. Do not get angry, try to remain patient.
  • Let your host parents know if you think the amount of homework is overwhelming the child.
  • Never do the homework for the child.
  • Be enthusiastic and positive when the child makes a good effort.

Do you have a child with homework and a younger child who has none? Sometimes younger siblings wish for “homework.” If this is the case you can give the younger child an “assignment” while the older child does his homework. Colouring a picture or cutting pictures out of a magazine are activities that may help a younger child to feel like he or she is also doing homework.

What to do when a child doesn’t want to sleep at night?

Many two year old kids have problems with falling asleep at night . Today we will try to show you where the problem comes from and how to solve it.

There are many disturbing factors that keeps  your toddler out of bed in the evening . Most common ones are:

  • room decorations at child’s room,
  • unwillingness to stay alone in a dark room and the reluctance of separation from parents,
  • the fear of going to sleep because of the nightmares.

The child refuses  to lie down to sleep and starts  infinite number of requests for drinking, food, a goodnight kiss, reading books, telling stories, etc. The goal  of this is, of course,to make parents stay as long as possible. Not all of the requests are fake, but remember to fulfill them within reason and at some point end this avalanche of needs, leave the room and give the child time to fall asleep.

You can aslo give a good night hug, leave the child in the room to fall asleep, and ignore the constant cry from the room. If your child is tired or knows from previous experience that the mother will not come in any more that evening, this method may be effective. The only exception is the situation when the child is actually just afraid to be in the room and reacts with fear and tears. In this case, we should stay in the room until our toddler falls asleep.

Changing parent roles is also very effective in the evening. Let your husband take care of the child before going to sleep. Such exchange of roles usually influences the attitude of a toddler so that he or she gives up many of their requests. It also appears that he or she is more likely to fall asleep.

If the reason for the reluctance to sleep are nightmares, you must figure out what is their cause. Typically, nightmares are caused by too much experience and lessons learned during the day, nervous atmosphere at home, or a change that has occurred in the child’s life (eg going to the nursery, changing nannies, moving in or out). Another reason may associated with the imagination, your child can not yet explain the rational aspects of their ideas, and therefore it begins to be afraid.

Evening rituals two year old

 Introduce a number of habits that will have to be made before your child safely could go to bed. These are called rituals and you can not count on the fact that the child will give up or forget about them. It will be a long time integral point of the evening sleep.

Entering the child’s rituals is associated among other things with the reluctance to make any changes in its environment, and applies to the whole process of going to bed and falling asleep. Therefore, the daily activities will include for example:

  • arrangement of toys in the correct order,
  • appropriate arrangement of pillows and toys chosen by the child, which will fell asleep,
  • read fairy tales in the correct order,
  • listen to them, and not the other lullabies.

Rituals can begin to relate to the bath and related activities. Every child in this case has its own individual tastes, more or less surprising.

Do not fight the evening rituals for children, because it is a natural way for every child to sleep without stress and in a natural way. The only way by which you can help yourself and your child to go to sleep faster, is to simplify the operations associated with bathing, undressing for a bath, lying down to sleep.

Falling asleep children aged 3-5 years

The older the child, the more you easily falls asleep. As time begins, read  stories in a quie voice, play he soothing music. The only thing good to avoid, is allowing your child to play loud just before bedtime, it can disrupt a quiet position in bed and make troubles in falling asleep. Sometimes the child is just willing to talk to mom and dad about their experiences, dreams and problems. It is a very good time for quiet conversation.

The toddlers

When we are small kids, we want to be as mom, dad, grandpa,grandma, a teacher at kindergarten or Mrs. doctor.We tried  to copy behaviour of someone. We copied the activities, words and movements. Like parrots!  But it is natural…


That means learning and developing through play.

Don’t forget:

1. Give your toddler time to play every day

2. Have interesting and safe things to play with. You can use- boxes, clothes, spoons or empty containers. Sometimes it can be more fun for small children then toys. And it costs less!

3. Join in the play- play together!

4. Make space for play

5. If you are Au Pair or nanny – ask parents what are favourite games,activities, rhymes and books of children.


Tips – pretend play:

  • follow your toddler’s lead and pretend to feed the dolls, to be a dog, to make a dinner, or to drive a train
  • let your toddler help you to do things around the house, for example give him/her a brush to sweep or pegs to help you hang clothes or food to help a pet animal
  • play with toys like cars, train set, animals, dinosaurus, dolls. Tell what is happening – The farmer is milking the cows. The dragon is breathing fire.
  • Use a pretend phone to call granny or to order pizza
  • use empty food cartons, old clothes, or shoes to make a shop -play together!
  • make a shopping list- let toddler paint the pictures- then he/she can tell you what you need in shop


  • Play games like Simon says, I spy, follow the leader, Row, row row your boat, Musical cushions, Hide and seek
  • Agree rules when pretending to be someone else. Example – you are the shopkeeper and you ask me what I ‘d like o buy.
  • Play lots of games that involve throwing, kicking and cathing balls


  • Have a fun saying and acting out nursery rhymes together.
  • Read stories with your toddler. Invite him/her to tell the next part of a story especially of a favourite or well known one. Ask questions.
  • Match sound to pictures- cows says moo, the clock does tick-tock, car does vroom.
  • Make a puppet theatre out of a box. Use stories which are known for toddler.


  • Provide chunky crayons, papers, cards, old magazines, chalks, paint brushes, play-dough and safety scissors.
  • Paint pictures together- make pasta neckleces, stick cuts- outs from magazines onto card to make a collage.
  • Make a sand or water tray
  • Make musicial objects. You cna use the buscuits as cymbals.


  • play outdoors as much as possible. Put on a coat and Wellingtons and splash in puddles or through snowballs. Walk in the woods and play with fallen leaves.
  • Give your toddler items to explore and built with- large and small blocks, stacking toys, shoe boxes, hard hats, trucks, play tools, diggers, bucktes. Build and demolish things together.
  • Help your toddler to go up steps and slopes, or to go on a climbing frame or fire-pole in the par
  • Build ramps together for toy cars and tractors
  • chase your toddler around the garden and when you catch up a tickle him/her.
  • make jigsaws, do simple puzzles, thread large beads

Don’t forget  “Play is more for me, and it is important for my learning and development”

The Au-Pair is not employee! Welcome a new member of family!

I met during my stay in Ireland many people, who asked me “where do you work?” . I simply answered in the Au Pair agency. For my suprise they didn´t know what the role of Au Pair is. The typical reaction was “Oh, Nanny!”. And it is, my dear friends, wrong!

So the first important thing. The Au-Pair is NOT a nanny. The nanny is a normal type of job, that you pay someone as employee for the work. You have to keep contract  rules. You have to keep minimal wage, holidays etc.

The Au Pair is NOT an employee. Usually the girl is part of a family as a big sister.The Au Pair is in your family as a member of family. So she lives with family. The Au Pair usually comes to your country (in our case Ireland) to learn a new culture, language and gain a new experience. The Au Pair wants to work with children and help family with light housework. For this help the Au Pair is paid weekly. She hasn´t got a salary but pocket money. It is not say how much pocket must be, but it should be in Ireland around 85-100 euro a week.  Ordinarily the Au Pair works around 35 hours and have two days off- usually weekends. But this is an individual issue.

The Au Pair as a new member of family has own bedroom, a bathroom can be shared. The cost of living and food  is providing for free.

What is the main task ?

•- Help the family with light household duties’;
•- Share your own culture with the host family;
•- Help to play with the children;
•- Help with cooking;
•- Driving children if requested;
•- Safety of the children;
– collect children from school
Take part in family activities.

The Au Pairs usually travel,  attend language courses,  meet other Au Pair in their free time.

Sounds interesting for you? Want to get a new member of family?  Cara International helps you find good one! Just ring 00353 94 9289802.