Archive for the ‘Childcare’ Category

There is nothing more charming than a child asleep beside a beloved cat or dog.  Should, however, a pet sleep in the child’s bed? WebMD speaks to these questions:

Jambo looks up from a playful session with his...

(Jambo: Wikipedia, Public Domain)

Sleeping with pets isn’t unusual in this country. According to a recent survey of pet owners by the American Pet Products Association, nearly half of dogs sleep in their owner’s beds. The survey found that 62% of small dogs, 41% of medium-sized dogs and 32% of large dogs sleep with their owners.

A study released by the Mayo Clinic Sleep Disorders Center found that about half the patients in the study had a dog or cat, and 53% of those pet owners said their pets disturbed their sleep in some way nightly.(http://pets.webmd.com/features/pets-in-your-bed )

The main opinion from the docs was that, unless allergies are a problem—or unless pets prevent a good night’s sleep—there is no real reason why a cat or dog cannot sleep with a child. The animal’s presence may be soothing. However, an animal who causes health problems, or who has behavior problems, may have to be removed from the bed or from the room.

Au Pairs often live in Host Family settings with pets and children—and au pairs may be asked to be part of the “team” if rules for children and pets have to be set or changed. This article from WebMD gives the whole family a “heads up.”


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Students in traditional dress

Students in Kabul (Photo credit: Wikipedia, Public Domain)

Do you like European-style clothes for kids? Try the selection at http://www.olivejuicekids.com . Do you think overalls are the cat’s meow? How about www.oshkoshbgosh.com/ ?  Following popular brands? Try www.cwdkids.com/ .

The world of children’s clothing is exciting in 2013. Au Pairs will know many internet sites that can bring the “look” of their home country to share with host families.

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Taken in Megeve, France

Megeve, France (Photo credit: Wikipedia), , Public Domain)

What if you could teach your youngest Host Children to create moments of peace with names like as “knocking with mittens quiet” and “reading to the fire quiet”?

Ms. Underwood’s Christmas Quiet Book for children aged 4-7 is published by Houghton Mifflin, listing for $12.99. Au pairs who are savvy about online pricing may find discounts and additional titles at http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Quiet-Book-Deborah-Underwood/dp/0547558635 . A Kindle edition is available as well.

The Christmas Quiet Book is part of a series that also includes The Quiet Book (for all seasons) and The Loud Book. A related Amazon video charms children and adults alike.

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A page from Loughridge's Dictionary

A page from Loughridge’s Dictionary (Photo credit: Wikipedia, Public Domain)

au pair

[oh pair] noun

 1. a person, usually a young foreign visitor, employed to take care of children, do housework, etc., in exchange for room and board: We sent the children to the beach with the au pair.

After World War II the changing social and economic factors in Europe, especially women’s emancipation, led to a need for inexpensive live-in childcare, where the caregiver is treated like a member of the family.European au pairs are part-time caregivers, and usually part-time students. In the U.S., au pairs may work full-time in addition to their schooling. Au pair means “equal.”

Go Au Pair is a designated provider of au pairs from many countries around the world who come to live and study in the U.S.

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Boy toddler.

Boy toddler. (Photo: Wikipedia, Public Domain)

Here’s the crib sheet you’ve been waiting for! The one to make you look sooooo professional.

WhatToExpect.com is for anyone who loves babies and childcare. Topics  include Preconception, Pregnancy, First Year and Toddlers, and Family Life.

Articles are submitted by real moms and dads who are passionate about the young lives they care for. Articles are short, 300-500 words. The tone is “upbeat, lighthearted, helpful, relatable, and funny.”

WhatToExpect.com is a great resource for au pairs—and for Host Moms and Dads (who might also enjoy writing about their families). Articles are submitted online and paid through the Word of Mom News Writer Program or the Word of Mom Writer Program.

Want to do say it with video instead? Get the free ap.

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Ambersweet oranges, a new cold-resistant orang...

Ambersweet oranges (Photo credit: Wikipedia, Public Domain)

As part of the general movement toward a healthy and green lifestyle, there is an explosion in children’s nutrition.Cultural au pairs and host families may enjoy the process of learning about supplements for the youngest members of the family.

The following products, chosen from among many similar ones, are found in major health food stores. Be sure to consult the child’s pediatrician for any questions regarding suitability.

  • Rhino Gummy Calci-Bears by Nutrition Now are chewy bear-shaped “jelly candies” that contain extra calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D. This product won the Chef’s Award for “Best Taste” in 2011 and is gluten-free. The suggested serving size is 2 bears. Each serving provides 20-25% of the Daily Value of calcium, and 50% of the Daily Value of vitamin D for children 2-4 years/4+ years respectively. Grams of sugar per serving are 3, and calories are 15.
  • Animal Parade Kid Greenz by Nature’s Plus contain “broccoli, spinach, and other green foods” as a chewable vitamin. African animal shapes intrigue kids, and this product is gluten free and hypo-allergenic. Daily values of greens are not established for children under or over 4 years of age, and are therefore not reported. Each one animal serving contains 1 gram of sugar and 5 calories.
  • Kids Liquid Dolphin Pals by Country Life provide complete multivitamins and minerals, plus B vitamins, in a gentle liquid with a berry splash flavor. This product is not recommended for children under 2 years of age. 1 teaspoon provides about 50% of many nutritional guidelines for children under 4 years of age, or 25%-30% for children over 4 years of age. Each serving contains 2 grams of sugar and 15 calories.

As part of the research for this article, I felt compelled to taste-test the citrus fruit-flavored Rhino Gummy Calci-Bears and the tropical fruit-flavored Animal Parade Kid Greenz. I confess to an extra serving of each.

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Children are beautiful, but they have a LOT of energy. Sometimes we are busy and stressed. Sometimes we don’t feel well. How do we best handle these times?

Harvard Medical School Gordon Hall of Medicine...

(Harvard Medical School, Gordon Hall, Wikipedia, public domain)

Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D., graduated from Harvard Medical School and now practices in Arizona. One of his specialties is mind-body medicine, which offers a lot of help with “stress.” His web page on breathing offers free first aid to cultural au pairs and Host Families.

Dr. Weil’s “4-7-8” breath is the one that most results in relaxation. To begin, place your tongue behind your upper teeth and breathe out completely through your mouth to a count of 8. Close your mouth and breathe in through your nose to a count of 4. Hold to a count of 7, and breathe out again through your mouth. Repeat up to a total of four times, counting on the 8’s. Practice every day, so that relaxed breathing comes naturally when you need it.

You may also teach a child how to count his/her breath. Exaggerate the whoosh when you and your child breathe out together, to make it even more fun. Depending on your child’s age, s/he may not get it quite right, but laughter returns as tightness and tension leave.

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