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Posts Tagged ‘Home’

“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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brain parts

(Brain Parts, Public Domain,http://
http://www.molwick.com)

Many times the determining factor for bringing an au pair into the family can be the need for special support for a child’s education. Brain science offers a new direction to help these challenged children—a direction that au pairs and Host Families may pursue together.

LearningRX is one helping organization based in brain science that is spreading across the United States. Their mission is to help families find and fix the deeper reasons their children are struggling to learn.

Au pairs and Host Families have long been engaged in academically tutoring their children. However, brain training and cognitive skills training focus on helping children learn to learn, rather than on particular academic  areas.

Moms, dads, and au pairs learn about their children by watching and listening at home. Does the child see and hear well? Does he or she process well? Brain science is more specific. For example, does the child not just process visual and auditory information, but process it efficiently?

To learn about cognitive skills training, you may like to visit http://www.LearningRX.com . For information on how au pairs can provide unique supportive services, you may like to visit http://www.goaupair.com.

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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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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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English dialects

English dialects (Photo credit: Wikipedia, Public Domain)

The main page for Go Au Pair on December 6, 2012 contains the following paragraph in the featured blog article “Au Pairs: The childcare choice with no boundaries.”

Not only does Go Au Pair require all of their applicants to take personality tests to help Host Families determine who will be their best fit, but they also search for Au Pairs who have excellent English speaking abilities. In last year’s Au Pair ClearingHouse Awards, Go Au Pair was the only agency to receive an “Excellent” score in the area of “English Skills.”  Go Au Pair ranked in the 90th percentile, and as a result received the “Host Parent’s Blue Ribbon Pick.”

A major cause of breakdown in U.S. families with au pairs is a lack of English skills.

 

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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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Since 1997, there has been a bright and shining display of very special lights at the Botanical Gardens each Christmas. Known as the River of Lights, all kinds of local people have donated their time and workmanship to create a magical garden display of whimsy:

 “Nowhere is the spirit of the season more evident than at the River of Lights, where snowmen live in their own small world, and lights throughout the Botanic Gardens come to life as oversized bees, flies, butterflies and more. See yellow submarines, scuttling scorpions, and watch Pegasus take wing. It’s the 12th River of Lights, where every year brings new displays, which just keep getting better. “

 At a cost of $10 per adult and $5 per child, from the end of November through the end of December each year, this display ranks high on the agenda of au pairs and Host Families.

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