An Au Pair’s room in the host family home.

People frequently misspell  the word Au Pair  as “au par”, “au paire”, “opair”, “au per”,  “au paring” and confuse the meaning. The word “Au Pair” is a French term, which means “on par” or “equal to”, referring to living on an equal basis, so an Au Pair  lives as an equal member of a host family and should feel at home there.

How to make an Au Pair feel at home?  Please read more in the article How to welcome your new au pair.

It is very important to prepare a comfortable and welcoming room for the Au Pair. The adequately sized room is supposed to be clean and properly lighted, has a comfortable bed, a writing desk with a chair, a closet or a wardrobe,  and a cupboard with drawers or shelves. The Au Pair must have easy access to a bathroom or have her own.

A private room gives the Au Pair the perfect place to study for classes without interruption and have personal discussions with her family and friends without feeling as though everyone is listening or watching.

The Au Pair’s room must have a lock on her door because the Au Pair needs privacy.  In changing clothes, an Au Pair will feel more comfortable if she has a place to do these things in private with the door locked. No cameras are allowed in an Au Pair’s room.

To make the Au Pair feel like she is welcomed and loved, put in the Au Pair’s room a small welcome basket on her arrival. The gift basket may contain some bath gels/lotions for her bathroom, empty picture frames, sweets or chocolates, and flowers. The host family may give the Au Pair the freedom to customize her living space on her own, to decorate her room with some pictures and posters.

Host families often ask what additional they may provide to their Au Pairs, do they need to put a TV or a computer in the Au Pair’s room. It depends. I have asked Au Pairs from Go Au Pair cluster in the Philadelphia and NJ area to  name material things they can’t live without (doesn’t include family, friends, etc.)

Dear Au Pair,  

Please take your time and vote.

It is very important to help the Au Pair feel comfortable and happy in the host family house and her room. The Au Pair will appreciate the efforts and will return the favour with her loving and reliable service.

New year, New Host Mom and New Au Pair

A compromise is the art of dividing a cake in such a way that everyone believes he has the biggest piece.
– Ludwig Erhard (1897 – 1977)

One of the keys to a successful year for a host family and an Au Pair is good communication.

When new Au Pair come to Host families she will  need a lot of supervising at the beginning. The amount of time and training in the first month directly affects the type of relationship Host family has the entire year.

Here are some tips that will help the year with your au pair go smoothly.

  • Be welcoming, that means being warm, friendly, and reasonably attentive.
  • Model, model, model…set the example in our house of how you want to see your au pair fit into your family
  • Spend the first weekend reviewing Host family handbook for an au pair  together with your au pair.
  • Teach them to operate all appliances to make sure they know how to do it.
  • Show them how to cook basic things for your children
  • Teach your au pair what to do in case of power failure, tornado warning, etc.
  • Be sure to give your au pair a written schedule for the first week and every week thereafter.
  • Help them to get their Social Security card and bank account right away
  • Try to get them out driving as soon as possible (during the first week is best)
  • Bond with your au pair, as you want them to bond with your children
  • It is never acceptable to yell at your au pair, talk to them as an adult with respect.
  • Show appreciation. Say “thank you” all the time even if they do not.
  • Keep having regular chats and be willing to listen to your Au Pair.

Good communication is the key to a great year.

Having weekly meetings helps to prevent small problems from becoming big problems.

Good Luck!

An Au Pair means on par or equal to.

People are often confused about the word Au Pair. The Google search for the word “au pair” shows that people often misspell  this world  as “au par”, “au paire”, “opair”, “au per”

Many people think that au pair means a nanny.  An Au Pair doesn’t mean a nanny at all.

The word au pair is a French term, which means “on par” or “equal to, “ denoting living on an equal basis in a reciprocal, caring relationship between the host family and the children. An au pair will typically be a young woman and sometimes a young man from a foreign country who chooses to help look after the children of a host family and provide light housekeeping. The au pair is given room and board and is typically paid a weekly “pocket-money” salary. Au pairs generally stay with their host family for one year.
 Go Au Pair recruits Au Pairs from over 60 different countries, and very popular in the USA are Argentine,  Brazilian, Chinese, Colombian, French, South Korean, Mexican, Russian, Salvadorian, South African, Thai and Ukrainian Au Pairs.

According to Wikipedia , an au pair (plural: au pairs) is a domestic assistant from a foreign country working for, and living as part of, a host family. Typically, au pairs take on a share of the family’s responsibility for childcare as well as some housework, and receive a small monetary allowance for personal use. Au pair schemes are subject to government restrictions which specify an age range usually from late teens to mid to late twenties.

Every year thousands of young people from all over the world consider becoming au pairs.  These enthusiastic unique individuals come to the United States  leaving behind the familiarity of their homeland, their parents, siblings and close friends. They start a special journey in their young  years and become a part of a host family as an equal member of the family helping with childcare , studying and traveling. Usually it is very far away from their real home.

A Chinese Au Pair is a great childcare choice.

Go Au Pair recruits Au Pairs from over 60 different countries,  and recently  Chinese Au Pairs have become very common choice among host families from Philadelphia, Bucks County and close NJ.

A Brazilian, Chinese, Colombian, French, Mexican or Russian Au Pair?  Which country is the best au pair from?

The best au pair for one family can be a bad fit for another family. A lot depends on the personality and experience of the individual au pair. Please read the post From an Au Pair mom.

Besides a cultural differences there is also a language preference. Many parents understand that having the ability to speak a second language gives their children an advantage in the global marketplace. Mandarin is now the most popular languages in the world.

As my host mom explained to me, Mandarin language was her reason to match with a Chinese Au Pair who will provide child care and at the same time can introduce a new language to her son.

If the family matched with an Au Pair from China, parents don’t have to pay for an expensive lessons. Chinese Au Pair can help children learn Mandarin through study and play.

Many  Chinese Au Pairs have strong English skills and teaching experience. Working as a teacher is a very typical career choice in China before becoming an Au Pair. They love playing with kids, making origami or crafts, having fun and giving piano lessons.

Chinese Au Pairs are family oriented and willing to help with house chores and to cook a delicious and healthy meals. Read the top ten reasons to consider an Au Pair from China

Since Mandarin is becoming the fastest growing languages being learned in schools in the United States, more and more host families now considering a Chinese Au Pair.

Go Au Pair at the FRUA picnic

Au Pairs from Go Au Pair cluster from Philadelphia, Bucks County and close NJ recently volunteered for adoptive families at the FRUA picnic, at Limerick Community Park,  PA. 

The adopted children of FRUA‘s families come from all former Soviet bloc countries and republics, including Russia, Ukraine and many more.  FRUA believes that every child deserves a forever family and celebrates the rich heritage of our children’s birth countries.

Several Au Pairs were from Russia and Ukraine. Au Pairs  entertained the children, played games, taught them words in Russian, made crafts and had fun together.  We brought Russian toys and a lot of Russian food. Everyone asked questions about Russian culture and heritage. Although many children forgot their native Russian language, they were thrill to learn several words again,  like “Thank you” – “Spasibo”, or “See you later “- ” Poka”.

Go Au Pair helped make this picnic very special. The agency sent Au Pairs very  pretty T-shirts with their logo. All the Au Pairs were thrilled to wear this  fancy T-shirt and they looked amazing in it. The Agency also gave a huge $1000 discount off  the program fees for any family who had attended this picnic.

Volunteering is a great way to help the community around us. It also has many positive benefits for Au Pairs! They got a chance to meet new people, made friends and got to know American life better through volunteering.

This picnic was a great success, Au Pairs made many children and parents very happy at FRUA picnic!  The FRUA families were so glad to have us. They said to us again and again:” Thank you very much for coming,  you made this day very special. Please, come again, we are looking forward to seeing you at our Christmas party!”

“Thank you.”  “See you later”.  

SPASIBO! POKA!

Adoptive parents or considering international adoption?

Just like there is Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, there is also a day dedicated to children: “International Children’s Day”. International Children’s Day is observed on June 1st to celebrate children.

Children’s Day is celebrated by children all over the world. In many places, kids’ parties and other events for children and their families take place. Often, parents also give their children a present for Children’s Day.

According to the United Nations, every child should have a right to

Pearl Buck

Image via Wikipedia

education, good health, a fair standard of living. Unfortunately, not all children in the world live comfortably. Many live in poverty, many are being treated unfairly, and many are orphans. That is why Children’s Day also serves to raise awareness for children and their rights.

American citizens represent the majority of international adoptive parents, followed by Europeans and those from other more developed nations. Today China is the leading country for international adoptions by Americans.

In 1949, outraged that existing adoption services considered Asian and mixed-race children unadoptable, Pearl S. Buck, a famous American writer, established Welcome House, Inc., located in Bucks County, PA,  the first international, interracial adoption agency. Buck not only pioneered foreign adoption in the United States, but also personally raised a dozen children. Her years of courageous philanthropy led to an entirely new community of Amerasian children adopted into the United States. In nearly five decades of work, Welcome House has placed over five thousand children in loving families.

Today,  Pearl S. Buck International, the author’s foundation, provides children around the world with the opportunity to grow in a loving permanent family. They provide not only the highest standard of adoption services, but also ongoing support for adopted children and their families, community education, advocacy, and humanitarian assistance.

In my cluster I have several families with  adoptive children who love our Au Pair program because they are able to take advantage of hiring an Au Pair from their children’s birth country, who besides being an excellent caregiver and friend to them is able to also teach the kids their native language and culture.

If you have adoptive children or are thinking about international adoption Go Au Pair would love to offer a substantial discount to adoptive families of $1,000. It is Go Au Pair‘s  way to land a hand to the families.  To celebrate the International Children’s day , our cluster of Au Pairs  from Go Au Pairs agency are going to volunteer in  Pearl S. Buck International  picnic on June 12t, 2011.

We can’t change the world around, but we may change the world around  live of the one child or even many together.

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