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AuPairClearinghouse Contributing Writers
We invite professionals from the au pair industry, journalists, psychologists, counselors, au pairs, authors, social workers, etc., to submit articles that are of interest to parents who choose au pairs as their childcare choice. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to submit a proposal for an article.
We will post your article with your professional bio and if appropriate, add a link to your blog or website.
Thank you in advance for your contributions. Edina Stone, Founder and CEO
Do Au Pairs Enrich Early Childhood Development?
By Summer Blackhurst
Hosting an au pair to leverage learning in early childhood may prove beneficial in school and later in your child’s profession. One overwhelming theme from my conversations with host families is that parents host foreign au pairs (instead of daycare or nannies) in order to teach their children about cultural diversity and to expose them to a second language.
Well-known child psychologist Jean Piaget’s work showed social interaction and environmental experience lends to the child’s ability to learn. Piaget’s concept, cognitive disequilibrium, categorized five stages of learning children move that ultimately contribute to their learning and development. The stages are: new situations, disequilibrium, accommodation, assimilation and equilibration. Hosting an au pair from a different culture introduces experiential learning that challenges a child’s way of thinking and promotes growth.
Choosing an au pair for your children is a process that should be organized and performed carefully, to ensure you find someone who can be trusted, will contribute significantly to the development of your child and integrate well into your family.
The step-by-step process described below will help you make an informed decision and choose the best possible au pair for your kids, ensuring their well being and safety.
1. Define Requirements and Expectations
The first part of the hosting process is to define your exact requirements and expectations. Ask yourself questions and build a list of all requirements, then narrow it down to the most important ones. Are you looking for an au pair in a full-time or part-time position? Does she need to be flexible with your unconventional work schedule? Are you looking for a young, outgoing and energetic nanny or do your kids require an older and more authoritative person? How important to you are tidiness and cleanliness? Is the au pair expected to cook for your kids? Is she expected to drive them around? Are there any additional duties she is expected to perform?
Why Can't an Au Pair be More Like an Adult?
by Dr. Lawrence Siman
Want a challenge? Try being a host parent and selecting an au pair from a foreign country and without ever meeting her! A correct decision, or "match" invariably results in a successful host family experience in the year that follows. A poor "match" can result in conflict and discord in your home. How can parents identify red flags? What can we expect from au pairs who are very young and inexperienced childcare givers? Dr. Siman, child psychologist, gives you insights into the young au pair's cognitive functioning and what can go right, and what can go wrong!
Children with ADHD
by Dr. Lawrence Siman
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Deficit Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common mental disorders that develop in children. The classic signs are a child who seems to be driven by an endless source of energy accompanied by impaired functioning at school, home and with his peers. ADHD affects three times more boys than girls. Can parents rely on au pairs to understand this childhood disorder? If so, what parents should look for in a Special Needs Au Pair.
Winning in the New World of Business
In the new world of globalization and technological change, the world of business is rapidly changing. The Information Age has forever changed our personal and economic lives. It has changed the environment in which businesses run their companies, and for those companies who have not kept up with the rapid and vast changes the Information Age has incurred, they have met with economic disaster.
Companies, like Ford, have fallen hopelessly behind. America's entire car industry is now in danger of becoming extinct! Our new economic age must keep pace with the way customers have changed. How au pair agencies retain and expand their customer base, while they invent new products and maintain their bottom line, is the subject of this article.
To understand the power customers have for businesses, it is important to understand what customers demand today in the Information Age. Today's customer is tech savvy, and because of the power of the internet, they are are well-informed and engaged by cyberspace. This makes customers very powerful and their wants and demands must be met by businesses, otherwise the companies will quickly fall behind their competitors and eventually, fail. We relate these concepts to the au pair industry and tell parents what to look for when contracting with an au pair agency.
An American Au Pair In Germany
by Talya Shoup
I absolutely loved my time as an au pair and would not trade that experience for anything. Although it was not necessarily the easiest “job” I have ever had, most of the time it was not all that difficult. I greatly enjoyed the chance to live life in a foreign country. I was placed in a small town not far from Stuttgart, Germany, working for a couple who were parents to one little girl (by the time I left, they had had a second child). I went there with the goal of learning to speak German fluently and was able to attain a good working knowledge of the language during my year and a half as an au pair. I learned German by speaking only German with my host parents, but I spoke English with the children. Delightful story of an American working in Germany as an au pair! Insightful and helpful insights for any parent thinking about hiring an au pair.
German Guilt and the German Au Pair
by Edina Stone
When we worked to match Jewish families with an au pair, most of them were quite clear about one thing - "No German au pairs." They didn’t care if they drove well or had good English. Some young Jewish parents admitted they were "okay" with hosting a German au pair, but their parents and grandparents would "never forgive them." So, we usually matched Jewish families with au pairs from any other country, except Germany. And, we didn't talk about it.
We all know someone Jewish who refuses to buy anything "German" from Mercedes Benz cars to Braun coffee-machines. Not buying German goods was just one way that Jews in America dealt with their anguish and anger over the Holocaust.
How do Germany au pairs deal with this when they come to America? Do they wonder why Jewish families do not match with them? How well will German au pairs work with Jewish families here in the United States? You may be surprised to find out...
Parenting Tips for Tough Financial Times
by Karen Sell
Parenting is tough in the best of times but today the signs of economic crisis are everywhere. A crashing stock market, failing companies, huge layoffs and lost homes. How can families cope? Survive?
Dr. Kelley Brigman, author of Marriage: A Simple Guide to Success (MarriageAGuide.com), says we can learn important lessons from families that beat the odds during the Great Depression of the 1930s. He makes useful recommendations for parents as they work together to find the best childcare option for their children.
Nanny Cams - Right or Wrong?
by Edina Stone
Do you have the right to install a nanny cam and record her during the day? What are your rights, as parents? What privacy rights does your au pair have not to be recorded without her knowledge and approval? Find out what you can do and what you cannot when setting up a nanny cam in your home.
Louise Woodward Innocent?
by Edina Stone
Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) is a medical theory that explains a form of child abuse when an infant is shaken violently by their caretaker, creating a whip-lash motion that results in severe brain injury, lifelong disability or death. The concept of SBS was described in the early 1970's by a neurosurgeon, Dr. Guthkelch. His medical theory has sent dozens of women to jail and was used in the trial of the now infamous au pair, Louise Woodward. She was prosecuted and found guilty of manslaughter for shaking an infant in her care while she was an au pair for Cultural Care.
Breaking scientific research published sheds new light on this syndrome and the findings are lending evidence that perhaps childcare givers were not responsible for abuse or even death of the babies in their care.
How does this new research impact your search for the perfect au pair?
Are We Raising Entitled Children?
by Elena Neitlich
The conversation around child rearing has turned to overindulgence, self-absorption, and entitlement. Is the generation just now hitting adulthood, overly entitled? Do young people feel that they can lay claim to whatever they fancy? Are parents raising children who feel that they need not earn what they want; be it good grades, possessions, skills or jobs? Do children respect authority?
Jeffrey Zaslow wrote an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal titled, “The Entitlement Epidemic: Who’s Really to Blame,” in which he discusses this topic and cites some speculative reasons why children feel so entitled.
He notes three possible causes for the twenty-something generation’s overly inflated sense of self: indulgent parenting, consumer culture and the self-esteem movement. Au pairs often complain that American children are spoiled and demanding. How can we change our parenting methods to give our children a sense of responsibility?
Au Pair Industry Changes You Need to Know About
by Edina Stone
The au pair industry is making changes in the way they market their businesses and how they allow consumers to access information online. Au pair agencies are being forced to share more information with their customers as the competition grows more fierce and the recession deepens.
For example, we are seeing au pair agencies, like goAUPAIR, roll out innovative features, like their new Au Pair Review, that allows the consumer to view their au pair data base. Parents can view hundreds of available au pairs, waiting to match, without paying an application fee, signing a contract or completing a long, ardous host family application.
For the first time, au pair agencies are allowing unregistered parents access to information that was previously considered "confidential" and only privy to paying customers (host parents who applied and were accepted into their program).
goAUPAIR is only one of several agencies now offering increased access to their au pairs data base. Find out which agencies are updating the way they manage customer access to the information parents need to make educated childcare choices.
My American Life As A German Au Pair
by Anna Sophie Steffen
I am from Germany and was an au pair in Northern Virginia in 2001-2002. I would like to tell you about my experiences as an au pair in the US to give prospective host families an inside view from an au pair’s perspective. I want to say that I had a great year with a great family, so I cannot report on a rematch or other major problems that other au pairs may experience. Of course, I had some adjustment issues in the beginning, but my family was very understanding and...