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Posts Tagged ‘children’

“How long have you been in the United States?” “Six months” “And you?” “What do you miss most?” “

fractal

(The Julia Set, Public Domain)

I miss my family.” “I miss the bakery down the street.” “ The music is so different here!!!”

The dialog above describes “culture shock.” Culture shock comes with separation from one’s own family and country, and with living in the midst of a very different culture. Culture shock doesn’t mean it isn’t a good experience to live abroad, but it does mean things are very different. How can au pairs cope gracefully?

One simple way to keep in touch with “home,” while remaining open to new cultural experiences, is to create a “home space,” a place that contains colors, sounds, smells, books, and other things from “home.” This little space becomes a retreat, especially in the evening when activity has quieted in the Host Family home.

There is a psychological principle involved in spending “home time” just before bedtime. We remember best what we learn first (e.g., early in the day) and last (e.g., just before bed)—and we remember less about what happens in-between.  The former increased memory and learning is called the principle of primacy; the latter is called the principle of recency.

Culture shock means that old and the new cultures needs to be clarified and integrated. Au pairs are busy all day, and modern American culture (which they came to the United States to experience) fills the beginning and the middle of the day. Making a little time for “home meditation” at the end of the day helps keep the whole picture in focus.

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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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First Berlitz Language School in Providence, R...

First Berlitz Language School in Providence, Rhode Island 1878  (Photo credit: Wikipedia, Public Domain)

Go Au Pair’s presence in Austin, TX is exciting—and linked to growth opportunities for both Host Families and au pairs.

One educational opportunity for au pairs is the Berlitz Language Center. Berlitz specializes in Global Leadership Training, to allow individuals from multiple cultures to prepare for international career  assignments—and fit in like a native. A variety of instructional methods–private, group, and web-based–are available. Remember that for au pairs to receive education credits, instruction must be in-person.

Berlitz adult programs may be appropriate for au pairs who wish to increase their English language skills. The Berlitz Kids and Teens program may become an adventure for the entire family.

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English: Au Pair

English: Au Pair (Photo credit: Wikipedia, Public Domain)

In the 2010 statistics from the United States Census Bureau, 10-15% of total family income may be comfortably spent on childcare, and up to 25% may be spent from the income of a working mom (http://www.census.gov/hhes/childcare/data/sipp/2010/tables.html , Table 6). Some cultures spend a little more, and moms with a higher educational level may spend a little more. In dollars this often works out between $120 and $200 per week spent for 12-20 hours of childcare outside the home. Parents fit travel time and errands around that schedule.

A cultural au pair costs less than $10 per hour, works 45 hours a week, and provides live-in care. An ongoing estimate for weekly au pair costs is $340. Using the percentages from the Census Bureau, a working mom who hires an au pair may make about $4000 per month, if her income alone comfortably pays au pair costs (about 25%). Alternatively, the husband and wife  may both work and reduce the percentage of monthly childcare costs to 10-15% of their total income.

For a family in this demographic, what are the advantages of au pair care? There are many advantages—improved schedule, help with homework (tutors not required), help with a special needs child, childcare when they travel, driving support to children’s events, and the security of a federally supervised program that broadens the cultural experiences of the whole family. Additional children do not increase au pair fees.

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Creamy guacamole

(Creamy Guacamole, Wikipedia: Public Domain)

What is harder than thinking up delicious (and nutritious) meals for Host Children—and doing it every day?

There is hope. Au Pair Sis has gathered an awesome collection of easy and fresh meals on her Pinterest page.

Southwestern soils grow good vegetables: kale, asparagus, avocado, and others. Avocadoes caught my eye, as they are favored in New Mexico cuisine. The featured link to yummly.com offers  awesome alternatives for avocadoes in guacamole. Is anything missing here? Only a local emphasis on green chile added to the guacamole. Yum!

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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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Svenska: En smoothie år 2009

(Bluebery smoothie, Wikipedia, Public Domain)

It can be a challenge to make fresh fruits and vegetables a regular and well-loved part of a young child’s diet, but fruit smoothies are a favorite for children of all ages. Below is a “generic” smoothie recipe that allows a cultural au pair to make quick and flexible smoothies for home lunches and snacks. Be sure to supervise young children carefully, if they help make their own smoothies.

First you need a blender.

  • For each smoothie serving, peel and slice one banana and place it in the blender. (Tip: If the banana has been frozen, it will chill and thicken the smoothie).
  • To the banana add a handful of seasonal or frozen berries (e.g., blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries, singly or as a mixture).
  • Add liquid to cover the fruit. Fruit juices of various kinds (e.g., apple, orange, grape) work well. Soy, almond, or rice milks are another possibility. Experiment with less liquid to make a thick smoothie, or more liquid to make a thin smoothie.

Extra nutritional supplements may be added as desired, to personalize a smoothie. Young children may prefer the plain ingredients above. Older children, who need extra energy for school athletics or other activities, may develop a taste for added ingredients below.

  • Wheat germ increases available B vitamins
  • Bee pollen (watch carefully for allergies with young children) is favored by some to increase general nutritional content
  • Protein powder (e.g., soy, rice, or whey protein depending on desire or sensitivity) adds amino acids that support protein synthesis
  • Spirulina or other greens powders add minerals
  • Juice blends (e.g. ginger and Echinacea) provide gentle levels of herbal ingredients

Blend all ingredients until well mixed. For further information and ideas, you may also enjoy visiting Smoothieweb.

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