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Here’s Why Your Family Should Consider Hosting a Male Au Pair:

Are you considering enriching your children’s lives by hosting an au pair in your home? Good for you AND your family! Take a moment to envision your expectations and concept of an au pair. You’re right, females are most commonly associated with the role of a childcare provider, but have you considered bringing a different perspective to your home by hosting a male au pair?

It’s possible that you don’t know anyone who’s hosted an au pair yet, so you can get “insider” information on the program, not to mention someone who has hosted a male au pair. Our friend and API host mom of a male au pair, Lynn P. can help with that! Here are some helpful insights she shared with API:

As a single mom with two sons, Lynn considered choosing a male au pair because “It was important for me to have a male au pair as they needed someone who could help them navigate the ins and outs of growing up and changing bodies. Plus, a male role model would be beneficial for them in navigating the social world. I also hoped he would play sports with them and engage in more outdoor activities […]”

She feels that a male au pair brings a different perspective to childcare in her home by talking “[…] to them in a no-nonsense way and discusses perspectives from both an identity and cultural bias.”

Other benefits Lynn sees to hosting a male au pair are “he pitches in to help bring in groceries and carrying heavy items. […] He likes to help out, plus my boys are helping out more simply by his example.”

Her advice to other families considering hosting a male au pair is to not be hesitant as “[…] he can be a great role model for your sons.”

Now you have some “insider” information to help you decide if a male au pair is a good fit for your family. All of our au pairs have hundreds of hours of experience, at minimum, and are well-prepared through our training program. Our au pairs are also approved through our multi-level screening process, for peace of mind. Visit our website (www.aupairint.com) today for more detailed information about our program and all available au pairs.

Available Male Au Pairs

Are you in need of affordable, live-in childcare? Au Pair International is fortunate to work with some amazing partners that help our host families introduce different cultures to their children! Together, we are currently featuring the following male au pairs who are seeking host families in the U.S. Upon clicking on their photos, you will be taken to their personal profile on our website. If you have any questions or would like more information on becoming a host family, please do not hesitate to contact us! Chat live with a knowledgeable Placement Coordinator today!

 

 

 

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The Wonders of Winter

Sometimes I envy those that live in states that boast warm weather all year ‘round, with not much change in seasons. Then, some of the first snowflakes start to fall and the landscape takes on a beautiful blanket of pure, quiet, calming white! Yes, it is cold and slippery and seals the fate of any fading foliage, but there is something serene about seeing the Rocky Mountains, pine trees and fields outlined in white. Kids can’t wait to create something from the phenomenon that’s fallen from the sky, and one of the first things that comes to my mind are the holidays that winter brings with it. Even though the retail stores have been reminding us of the holidays since Halloween ended, seeing the snow fall when winter arrives really reminds me of the spirit of the season.

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With winter brings time off from school for the kids. Of course it can be a challenge to keep them busy as they are now mostly inside where it is warmer. This is when our box of craft materials and board games come in handy! We also bake and decorate cookies, write letters and catch up on reading, not to mention a few Christmas movies here and there! Snowball fights, snowmen and snow forts are not abundant as of yet, but they are impending!

Here are some ideas to help keep the kids busy:

  • Reuse a jar to make snow globes
  • Make a hot chocolate bar with various fixings (marshmallows, sprinkles, whipped cream, etc.)
  • Various handprint crafts
  • Stuff an old sock with rice and shape into a snowman. Add various adornments (buttons, scarf, etc.)
  • Snowman bowling (make snowmen out of recycled materials)
  • Reuse pinecones and adorn with sparkles, etc. to make a decorated tree
  • Reuse items and string together for garland

Please visit our Pinterest page for more winter activity ideas.

Of course, my family’s most anticipated event of the entire year is coming on December 25th! We will celebrate Christmas by being around family (which always includes food), singing and listening to Christmas music, taking the “Polar Express” (our 4×4 truck) around to view how others have decorated their homes with lights and such, and generally trying to uphold the magic of the season. I was thrilled to hear what my kids have learned at school about a few other holidays celebrated in America, and I love that everything is turned into a learning experience!

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More information on some of the holidays coming up can be found here: Christmas     Hanukkah       Kwanzaa     New Year’s Eve

I know I am very fortunate to have a wonderful, healthy family, and the ability to live my piece of the American Dream, so every year, my family decides on how we will give back. Though we make similar choices throughout the year, we feel compelled to do more over the coming holidays. Although it never feels like it’s enough, we do what we can to help make Christmas special for others. It brings a smile to our faces knowing that we brought the same to others. I hope that during this busy season, others remember those that are not as fortunate.

I hope that all of our wonderful au pairs and host families are sharing their seasonal traditions, songs, recipes and games with each other. Moments like that are what makes this program so unique and life-altering! Enjoy each other over the holidays and find the wonders of winter! Wishing you the happiest of holidays and a joyous new year!

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Autumn Greetings!

Autumn is upon us! For most of the country, that means the end of flip-flops and tank tops. Who’s ready for comfy jeans and sweatshirts? That’s right, fall is my favorite season! Who can blame me when a trip to anywhere in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, boasts bold, fall colors on every mountainside? It is truly breathtaking!

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This is the time of year when Major League Baseball (MLB) is winding down, and the National Football League (NFL) is gearing up. Seasonal preparations start for the home, and subconscious thoughts of the holidays start with every suggestion from the media and retail marketing (seems like it is earlier every year). The kids are back in school, and the organized chaos has begun!

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So what’s an au pair and their host family to do with these shorter days and cooler, longer nights? Share your favorite fall activity ideas with us! Here are some of my ideas:

  • Scavenger Hunt with media device or item collection
  • Create an obstacle course
  • Map out the stars with an app like this: http://www.vitotechnology.com/star-walk.html
  • Outdoor game (kickball, whiffle ball, soccer, basketball, etc.)
  • Build a fort (recycled boxes, chairs and sheets/blankets)
  • Take a nature walk, pointing out seasonal changes
  • Traditional game from your childhood
  • Collect different fallen leaves for art projects
  • Act out a favorite poem or short story
  • Trace each other’s shadow in different poses with chalk
  • Traditional games with different rules
  • Four-square
  • Visit the API Pinterest page for more fall activity ideas http://www.pinterest.com/aupairsquare/

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Bring us along on your journey!

We’d love to hear about your au pair experience with API! 

Join the conversation FBicon

AU PAIR INTERNATIONAL REQUESTS THAT YOU DON’T POST PHOTOS OF YOUR HOST CHILDREN ON ANY SOCIAL MEDIA SITE.

 

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2014 Au Pair of the Year Winner!

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Congratulations to Svetlana K. – Au Pair of the Year!

 

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Svetlana was selected by Au Pair International among several contest entrants to be our next Au Pair of the Year!

After losing his wife to cancer 2 years ago, John decided that it would be beneficial to have additional support for his son Bryce in her absence. After contacting Au Pair International with his concerns, they both decided to welcome Svetlana into their home in May of 2012.

According to John, “Svetlana has become a mother, daughter, friend, sister and lifelong part of our lives. I can’t imagine her return to Russia in 6 months. At 22 years old, she has shown such maturity and compassion for Bryce and built a deep loving relationship with him. Bryce has truly benefited from her presence. With a huge hole in our home from the loss of Patty, Svetlana stepped in and helped Bryce feel loved and cared for during a situation that is difficult to imagine and understand.”

Svetlana is recognized as being an invaluable member of her host family and is the proud recipient of an Apple IPad!

To read more about Svetlana and read the nomination letters please Click Here!

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Congratulations to our Au Pair of the Year Contest Runner Up Winners

Colecia and Marina!

 

Colecia L. from Jamaica – Nominated by the Robertson Family!

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Colecia’s host mother writes “Collette has been a wonderful addition to our family. We have 5 young children and she came here with a joyful heart, eager to quickly bond with us, and a willingness to help. She went above and beyond to understand our children’s unique likes and dislikes, and became a “big sister” to them. Collette has also been a wonderful addition to our community. For example, a local family recently adopted several children from Haiti, some of which have a disability. One young girl in particular (the same age as my daughter) is a double-amputee and has only been in the United States for a few months. The little girl has learned English, gotten prosthetic legs, and is really enjoying her new life with her new family. One thing was missing though -her new family didn’t know how to properly care for her hair since she was from a different culture. Collette pitched in without being asked and helped their family know what to do, and has braided the little girls’ hair several times. This may seem like a small thing -but this was huge because it continued to give this little girl a more positive self-esteem and her smile now goes from ear-to-ear.

Click Here to read more about Colecia’s nomination!

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Marina N. from Germany – Nominated by the McNeil Family!

Marina2Marina3Marina1According to her host family, “Marina has incredible patience and continuously goes above and beyond in creating new ways to teach, guide and encourage positive behavior in a calm atmosphere. Marina has always honored us as parents and takes great pride in continuing the parenting and discipline methods throughout each day from potty training to bedtime routines. She believes it’s important for the three of us to be on the same page to create clear messages of consistency and uniformity. Our two children Toren, who is 3 years old, and Sophia, who is 4, have built a very special bond with Marina that is unexplainably perfect. People often tell us, “Marina is so amazing with your children”, and “you are so lucky to have her” or “I honestly thought she was their mother because of the way she cares for them.” We have the greatest trust and respect for Marina and know she will always make the best decisions regarding our family in any situation.”

Click Here to read more about Marina’s nomination!
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Au Pair International Heads to New York!

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Join us in New York from April 23-25!

Invite your friends and enjoy the company of other au pairs from around the country as we explore famous tourist attractions such as the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building and Central Park! Other exciting attractions include the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Rockefeller Center. Don’t miss a chance to eat at the Hard Rock, see a show on Broadway, or pay your respects at the September 11th Memorial Site!

Cost To Attend: (Hotel and Subway expenses only)
– 2 star hotel/hostel: $400
– 2 star w/o Broadway Show: $300
– 3 star hotel/hostel: $550
– 3 star w/o Broadway Show: $450
** A $50 Early Registration discount will be applied if paid in full by March 1st!

Attend University in New York for the Weekend!

Complete part of your Au Pair Program educational requirement in style! After visiting the sites of New York City you will have the option of staying for an additional 3 days from 4/25-4/27 to accomplish 3 credit hours of post secondary education at LIU Post University! The cost to attend will be an additional $350 and includes the following:
– Accommodations and 5 meals
– Transportation from the train station
– 3 Credit hour course of your choosing to include:
– Cultural Dynamics and American Society
– Marketing and Social Media
– History of American Music
** Classes fill up quickly so act FAST!

Contact Lisa Kempton for more information!
LKempton@aupairint.com

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Cultural Journey – Jamaica visit

jamaica_stream_water_221749Last month I had the amazing opportunity to visit our offices in the country of Jamaica. This was the first time that I had been to Jamaica, so I took everything in as I arrived. After a layover in Miami, I was on my way and landed on the ground in pitch black. I headed through immigration, customs and then waiting for my ride to my hotel, I confirmed with our offices our meeting for the next day. I was so excited to see the island and to meet with all of our prospective au pairs at the office in Mandeville.

The next morning, I had a driver pick me up to drive me from Montego Bay to Mandeville. The drive was beautiful and I feel as though I was able to see the real Jamaica as I rode in the passenger seat (on the left side of the car) through the windy, hilly roads which were not always paved. Jamaica is very tropical and when the big storms surge through, they raise havoc on the road, creating very large potholes. As the country is full of poverty, you often see individuals filling in the holes in the road in hopes of making some extra money for doing the hard labor. This was my first introduction into how hard working the Jamaican jamaicapeople are and how much pride they have for their country and culture. The drive was beautiful and I couldn’t help but marvel at everything I saw. So many fruit and vegetable stands on the side of the road, people walking to school with their kids, dogs and sheep running around and people just enjoying their lives. I had all of the various trees pointed out to me and also the beautiful birds. We were in a hurry to get to the meeting and it took over two hours to actually arrive to the center of the island for the meetings.

When I arrived at the offices of our partner, I was introduced to all of the staff and had a tour of the facilities. The most impressive feature being the classroom where they offer various development courses for all of the individuals. The office helps the residents, from 18 to 80, in professional development in order to assist them in finding employment. They have a partnership with the Katrinauniversity, as well as the government, to provide these options to encourage all to continue to improve themselves. Every single person I encountered was courteous and kind, even given the fact that they are not used to seeing someone like me (a tall, very American woman) walking around their town.

Our wonderful partner meets with all prospective au pair candidates one on one and advises them on their opportunities, how to improve their background to make them a better candidate and screening them thoroughly for accuracy in their application. All applicants are advised on what it means to be an au pair in the USA, how to work with a host family and also go through a complete First Aid/CPR training program before they leave. Now, after discussions with the offices, they will even be educating the drivers on driving in the USA to better prepare them for what it is like to drive in our country once matched with a family.

After seeing the offices, meeting the crew and seeing how the operations works, the next thing on the itinerary was to meet some of the applicants, both current and prospective, in the classroom in order to talk more about the program, what to expect, what American families are looking for and what our agency represents. All I can say about this is WOW! I was so impressed with each and every one of the applicants. They were kind and courteous and had wonderful questions for me about the program. I actually made some notes for girls that I thought would be fabulous applicants for my own family in a few months, if they are still available! The biggest questions seemed to be what the families were like, what types of things they could do with the kids, how they could be classthe best au pair, etc. Now, normally when I meet a group of prospective au pairs, the questions are “where does the family live”, “how much time will I get off”, in addition to the normal questions about the families, but I didn’t get these questions at all from this wonderful group of ladies! They really were most concerned with having the opportunity to come to the USA, take care of children and experience the life. The energy that they gave off with their excitement and smiles was contagious! I walked away from the meeting truly feeling positive that we decided to start offering candidates from Jamaica.

We finalized the meeting and then I was treated to a delicious lunch with the staff of the office who could break away from helping their candidates and chatted more about how we could continue to improve. The staff of the Mandeville office is really interested in continuing to build the program, support the candidates and make sure that they are well prepared to offer the best to our host families. Again, making me more sure that we made a great choice by chosing Jamaica as one of our source countries for applicants.

20131003_144703Well, lunch was finished and a quick pop-in the offices to say good-bye to the crew and I was back in the car for my long journey back to Montego Bay. Again, I cannot even express in words how magnificent this drive was for me. I love to travel and getting to see the country from the road was a real treat. I did not have the opportunity for any photos, as the driver was keeping time, so no side trips or pulling over to the side of the road! Back at the hotel and I couldn’t stop thinking about everyone I met and saw on my one-day trip to Mandeville and back. I feel so fortunate that I consistently get to visit new places and meet the wonderful participants of our program and partner offices and this was a trip that I would always remember. I spent the next day on the beautiful beach, snorkeling and really getting to know some of the locals who worked at and around the hotel. I loved learning more about the cultural and the people of Jamaica, what a determined and hardworking nation of people!

This posting was written by Katrina Vanderhulst, Director of International Programs for Au Pair International.

API has some amazing applicants from Jamaica currently. Please take a moment to review their profiles and consider interviewing a candidate to be your next au pair so that you can also share in the learning of the Jamaican culture, teach them about American culture AND have a reason to visit Jamaica after their program year is complete! Ya mon!

Bonus: Match with an au pair from Jamaica by the end of 2013 and save an additional $100 off of your program fees!

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Stacey-Ann H.

“I am 24, have 7300 childcare hours, and love to make people smile!”

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Sammijoe H.

“I have nearly 15,000 childcare hours and know First Aid!”

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Ava-Gaye J.

“I have 3500 childcare hours and want to be a nurse!”

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“I am a teacher with 60,000 childcare hours and First Aid certifications!”

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“I have 6000 childcare hours and plan to become a Pastor!”

Or check out our other au pairs from Jamaica on our website.

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Simple Tips For Dealing With A Tantrum

Almost every parent has had to deal with a tantrum at some time or another. Although not all children throw tantrums, many use such episodes to exhibit anger and frustration occasionally. While these episodes generally do not have lasting physical or emotional effects, they can be used by children to manipulate other people and to draw attention to themselves when dealt with improperly.

Checklist for tantrum management

Here are some of the most important things to remember when dealing with a tantrum:

  • Do not use the tantrum as an opportunity to punish your child
  • Do not offer a reward in order to control the tantrum
  • Maintain your calm and try to ignore the tantrum
  • Make sure your child is safe
  • Try to isolate your child if possible.
  • Do not let other people’s reactions affect your actions

Maintaining control

As a parent and an adult, it is your responsibility to stay in control all throughout the tantrum. By punishing your child, giving in to his demands, or worse, losing control yourself, you will not only prolong the episode but almost certainly ensure its reoccurrence. If you instead strive to maintain control over the situation, you will be sending a clear message that this type of behavior is unacceptable.

Dealing with tantrums at home

It is generally easier and safer to deal with a tantrum at home, since your child is in what is essentially a controlled environment. When faced with a tantrum at home, the first thing you should do is to carry your child calmly where he can be alone safely. You should then leave your child by himself and return only when he has calmed down.

Of course, this is easier said than done, but it is absolutely necessary in order to drive home the point that tantrums will not be tolerated. If you have to stay within sight of your child for safety reasons, do not respond to the tantrum at all, and only initiate communication when he has calmed down.

Dealing with tantrums in public

Dealing with tantrums in public is a lot more challenging, although maintaining control is still your primary concern (after ensuring your child’s safety, of course). If possible, you should calmly lead or carry your child to a less busy place, or even to your car. The same principle will then apply as when dealing with a tantrum at home: leave your child alone until he has managed to calm down.

Discussing the tantrum with your child

Once your child has managed to calm down, it is important to discuss the episode as soon as possible. Instead of focusing on the issue that caused the tantrum, it would be best to deal with the behavior itself. It might also be helpful to present alternatives to throwing a tantrum; you might be surprised to find how readily your child will consider them when presented with options.

Dealing with tantrums is never easy, although there are ways to do so without causing any more harm to your child. What methods have you found most effective in dealing with tantrums?

Guest Post by Kole for ivf Burlington isis