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"AuPairMom" - 5 new articles

  1. Male Au Pairs: Not just for male host kids, by ReturningHM
  2. Traditions with a Twist: A Holiday Game with your Au Pair, guest post by Cristina Sierra
  3. Create a Holiday Tradition– Just for your Au Pair
  4. How Should Au Pair Candidates Choose An Au Pair Agency?
  5. Help Your Au Pair Learn When to “Pick Her Battles” with Kids
  6. More Recent Articles
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Male Au Pairs: Not just for male host kids, by ReturningHM

When ReturningHM offered to write a post about her experiences with male au pairs, I was delighted. Many new readers find AuPairMom by searching the term  ‘male au pair’. There simply isn’t that much information out there about the benefits and challenges of male au pairs vs female ones.

Folks are curious about what it might be like not just to have a male childcare giver, but to have a young adult male in the host family home.

Au pairs of any gender can do the ‘work’ of an au pair, even though it may challenge some people’s expectations.  Where the current questions lie are around how male au pairs develop connections with host children of both genders. There’s an assumption that male au pairs are great caregivers for boys, but when it comes to hiring them to care for girls, some folks get a little nervous.

just peekingReturningHM has both a daughter and a son– and has found that their family’s male au pairs have connected wonderfully with both kids.  Here’s her story:


For a long time we thought that we could not host a male au pair because we have a daughter. 

Several years ago, one of our lovely female au pairs had her boyfriend from home visit with us for two weeks, and we watched our son absolutely glow while playing with this guy: jumping for hours on the trampoline, racing remote-controlled cars around the living room, and spending long...

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Traditions with a Twist: A Holiday Game with your Au Pair, guest post by Cristina Sierra

Long time contributor-under-a-nom-de-mom, Cristina Sierra shares this holiday idea:

A “Mad” Twist on ‘T’was The Night Before Christmas’

jack lailHere’s a creative way to introduce your Au Pair to a US holiday tradition, namely the poem  “T’was the night before Christmas” – by making it his / her own.

How? Easy – just add Mad Libs.

By interchanging a few of the original words with their own words, your Au Pair and kids can work as a team to create a new “Au Pair’d” version of this holiday tradition.

We tried this our Au Pair and here’s what I recommend: 

  1. Don’t share anything about the original poem, just go through the poem below and ask for words using listed in all caps and underlined.
  2. The Au Pair comes up with his / her own words and a child can write them down or the Au Pair and children work together and mom / dad is the scribe.
  3. Before reading the new version, read the original version aloud, explaining it along the way, then compare the difference. 

We did it and it was great – not only did our Au Pair learn a lot of new words, we also had a fun cultural exchange “moment” (you can never have too many!) discussing how some Americans experience Christmas.  

Fun facts that add to the cultural exchange – 

  • Did you know this poem was published anonymously in 1823? Later Clement Clark Moore took credit for it in 1837.
  • According to the book Gotham: A History of New York City to...

Read the whole entry »


Create a Holiday Tradition– Just for your Au Pair

You were wondering when I’d start the holiday posts … and here’s the first one!

When new people enter our families, a great way to welcome them is to include them explicitly in our family holiday celebrations.

pugEfforts like:

  • Creating a Christmas stocking for your au pair to hang along with the kids’,
  • Getting an additional “au pair menorah” so that s/he has one of her own to light,
  • Buying that extra ticket to The Nutcracker, or
  • Hunting down another headband with reindeer antlers that she can wear while you decorate the tree–

—  all of these are important ways to include your au pair as ‘part of the family”.

There’s another opportunity, too, for your family to

Create a tradition that is just for you and your au pair.  

What’s a tradition that you wouldn’t do of you didn’t have an au pair, or maybe a tradition that your au pair can take back home at the end of the year?

“Daring To Live Fully” , by Marelisa, is a blog I stumbled upon years ago. I love to get her posts vie email because she often has great suggestions for… daring to live life fully.  Marelisa just published a great list of  25 Christmas Activities Filled with Holiday Cheer.

Several of these ideas can be modified to fit the specific holiday(s) that your family celebrates this time of year, and some of them can help you enjoy the holidays being celebrated around you.   ...

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How Should Au Pair Candidates Choose An Au Pair Agency?

Here’s something we’ve never talked about:

o hai pierre catHow Should Au Pairs who want to come to the USA choose the agencies to represent them?  

(note: let’s only do US Agencies in this post– I’ll do another one for ‘international’ agencies)

We Host Parents know that there are a few differences in Au Pair Agencies that might shift us towards one or the other.

Criteria like:

can all add up to make one Au Pair Agency more attractive than another to a host family.

But what about for Au Pairs? How should they choose among the legal agencies in the USA?   

I’ve always assumed that it was a random process for au pairs, more about word-of-mouth or the energy of a particular local recruiting agent. But of course it makes sense to consider what might make one agency a better option than another for an au pair candidate.

Here’s the email from Famke that prompted the question:

I´m a 24 years old university student from Germany and planning on going abroad on a gap year as an Au Pair. The problem I´m facing is, which agency to pick?

I´m taking this extremely seriously and have learnt through my research that picking the right agency is crucial in order for this year to become a...

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Help Your Au Pair Learn When to “Pick Her Battles” with Kids

How do you teach the art of knowing when to let things slide?

So much of good parenting and good caregiving is about being consistent.

on the slideKids thrive on routine. They need consistent explanations, consistent expectations, and consistent consequences so that they learn how to make good choices with their own behavior.

Yet, so much of good parenting and good caregiving comes from knowing when to make exceptions, to ‘let things go’ or to ‘pick your battles’.

Personally, I’m only occasionally aware that I’m ‘picking my battles’ or letting something go.

I wish I were more deliberate about (1) recognizing when a day or event is particularly challenging, (2) deciding to let something go, (3) *really* letting it go, (4) explaining to the kids (or not) that I’m choosing to let it go, and (5) feeling fine about it.

It gets even more complicated when I’m not the only adult in the house. There have been times (many times, actually) when I’ve chosen to let something slide (e.g., wet boots and coats left in the middle of the entryway because dinner was ready and we were starving) and my DH has come home, seen what I’ve permitted, misinterpreted what’s going on, and then insisted that the girls ‘get in here right now’ to ‘clean up their mess‘.

Even when I want to let something slide, I have to get the other adult to go along with me. And when that other adult isn’t the one who...

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