Posts Tagged ‘Childcare’

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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English: A glass bottle of Clicquot Club Ginge...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia, Public Domain)

Early fall is one of the most beautiful times of the year. Golden trees and Canada geese flying south fill the heart with joy. But, nasty contagious “bugs” also abound. A simple home remedy to soothe sniffles and tummy aches is Ginger Lemon Ale.

The recipe is simple:

  • 1-2 scoops lemon-flavored electrolyte mix (be sure to check for any recommendations by age)
  • 10 oz bottled ginger ale

Place the scoop(s) in the bottom of a glass or tumbler. Pour in the ginger ale, slowly to allow the extra fizz to settle. Enjoy, and take credit for being a thoughtful cultural au pair.

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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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English: Whole Foods Headquarters. Austin, TX ...

English: Whole Foods Headquarters. Austin, TX March 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia, public domain)

GoAuPair is all about children.

There is a helpful series of pamphlets from Whole Foods Market that focuses on children’s health, and that are free in print from the Whole Body department or online. The most recent booklet is titled “Children’s Health.” It focuses on health concerns for kids, tweens and teens and related nutrition (e.g., DHA).

Whole Foods Market employs a store-wide policy for the products they sell. In particular, they prefer “plant-based and naturally-derived ingredients, pure essential oil fragrances, gentle preservatives, and non-petroleum ingredients.”

Raising a child today is not as easy as it was before modern chemicals became so prevalent. This series of pamphlets from Whole Foods offers Host Families and au pairs a chance to learn and decide for themselves how best to nurture the children in their care. Supporting podcasts are also available online, in the Whole Body category.

Albuquerque has two Whole Foods Markets, as well as a variety of other naturally-based stores.

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"Peace Path". The caption advocates ...

“Peace Path”. The caption advocates for reconciliation and reparation rather than punishment. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Culture shock usually comes in 4 phases:

  • Phase I is a honeymoon. The new culture is fun and exciting.
  • Phase II brings a crisis of adjustment, including feelings of anxiety. The au pair and Host Family may increasingly need to negotiate a variety of differences. Homesickness may also occur, and negative attitudes predominate. “Culture shock” is recognized as a cause.
  • Phase III is a return to a more confident outlook. Major adjustments have been negotiated, and feelings change to “we can do this.”
  • Phase IV is acceptance and ongoing adaptation. New routines and relationships have become status quo. A new working family unit has been achieved.

When culture shock is in process, it can be difficult to recognize the different phases. However, this is a normal process that sometimes proceeds linearly, and that sometimes loops around and repeats a phase. Most families and au pairs resolve culture shock successfully and go on to deepen their relationship.

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English: Robert Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions

English: Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An au pair may love his/her new Host Family and the children s/he cares for—and an au pair may be homesick and sad at the same time. What is best to do?

GoAuPair takes special precautions to help Host Families and au pairs prevent homesickness. A high percentage of au pairs (69% or more) have lived away from home before coming to this country. Such experiences lessen the chance of homesickness. GoAuPair recommends that Host Families ask the au pair about   independent living during the interview process.

Local Area Representatives next provide immediate support. When a new au pair arrives, s/he is welcomed within 48 hours by the LAR, and immediate needs are met. An initial activity is scheduled soon thereafter. Meeting other au pairs, and becoming quickly familiar with the local area, further smooth the transition.

In the event these  normal precautions still leave a feeling of homesickness to be handled, it is important for the au pair to remember to stay busy, to stay positive, to remember that his/her working visit to this country is really quite short—and to talk about his/her feelings as part of family/LAR sharing times.

New Mexico, Florida, and Arizona are the three states in the U.S.  with the most sunshine. NM blue skies lift moods, and an active and increasingly cosmopolitan NM lifestyle provides real interest. Understanding Host Families and LARs listen. All these things help make au pair homesickness very manageable.

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Shiny and colored objects usually attract Infa...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Au pairs are “children people.” They come to love the children in their Host Families, even as they themselves are loved. One practical outworking of that love is the desire to care for their children in as healthy a manner as possible.

HealthyChild.org is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping parents raise healthy children—through awareness of nutrition, environmental toxins, and household dangers. A partnership with HealthyChild.org has been formed through WebMD.

The online resource titled Health eHome empowers parents and caregivers in their efforts to truly keep children healthy and safe. Health eHome is a virtual world that not only talks about this process, but also shows it in 3D.

This year HealthyChild.org celebrates its 20th birthday. Special participation kits are available for the cost of a donation to cover mailing. A variety of experiential activities are also available online to test awareness.

While an official endorsement of any outside organization is beyond the appropriate business boundaries of GoAuPair per se, it nonetheless is apparent that the content and links of HealthyChild.org have the potential to become an ongoing private resource of interest for many au pairs, Host Families, and the children they love.

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(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

China is Go Au Pair’s featured country for August 2012. Go Au Pair has the distinction of being the first designated agency to place a Chinese au pair in the U.S.

China is a very old country, with thousands of years of cultural heritage that can enrich your family’s life. There is also a special incentive to accept a China au pair this month. Each match receives a $100 discount on total program costs.

We at Go Au Pair feel sure you will agree this is a special, win-win proposition.

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Louis Sergent, 16, who is in his first year at...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Back-to-School is a flurry of activity, and questions abound. How can I arrange homework help for my children, right from the beginning of their classes? Do my children need special tutoring? Back-to-School becomes much easier for families with an au pair.

Au pairs can give homework help and tutoring. Take time to sync the family schedule with your au pair this month, to make sure that s/he is prepared to meet these extra needs for you.

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