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Tag: taking care of children

How to Become an Au Pair?

An au pair is much like a nanny, except it involves rendering your childcare and some household services in another country. Quite often young women attend higher education and work at learning the new country’s language while they attend to the required domestic responsibilities. This is a live-in position, where the au pair is treated as an equal member of the family. This means that you would take your meals with the family, and attend activities with them, as well. You would be allowed your own room in the family house. However, you should read the contract, between the parents and yourself, carefully. Make sure that you agree with all the provisions and requirements.

Basic Requirements

The basic requirements to become an au pair may vary from country to country and between household to household. Many young women become au pairs in Australia, France, Germany, Finland, Italy, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Canada. Au pairs are also employed in the U.S., from outside countries. However, au pairs from the U.S. are often prized for their ability as English teachers for the children.

  • General age: 17 to 30 years
  • Minimal child care experience
  • No drug use, smoking is sometimes allowed
  • Conversational language abilities, in the country’s spoken language
  • Committed to certain period, usually 6 to 12 months

Education and Resume

If you are planning an au pair experience in your future, work at engaging in activities and education that will add to your resume, and so add to your choices of opportunities. Don’t discount the babysitting you have done as childcare experience. However, look for opportunities to volunteer, or work, for childcare at church, recreational facilities and day cares. Take classes in early childcare, ages newborn, toddlers, to age 10. Take a conversational language class of the countries primary language. There are short-term au pair preparedness trainings, which certainly would be of benefit.

A child can teach an adult three things: to be happy for no reason, to always be busy with something, and to know how to demand with all his might that which he desires.

Paulo Coelho

When putting together your resume, start with a list of your experiences, education and any special abilities or skills. Work at phrasing these items in a professional manner. Gather references and include copies with your resume. The more you can offer, the more au pair choices you will have. Remember, your resume is the first introduction you will have to a host family. It is true that you will be working with children, but your resume should not look childish. You are a professional and your resume should reflect that.

Host Family

Once you have narrowed your choices down for an au pair position, ask a lot of questions. Perhaps you have already read the contract over. Verbally confirm any areas of the contract that you are unsure of, or for which you just want verification. Before heading off to a new country, learn the customs and travel cautions. Get to know as much as you can about the country and area of the host family. It’s always nice to bring something very specific from your country, as a gift to the host family. Disney movies, in English, are great gifts for children.

A Mother and a Businesswoman: How Does It Fit Together?

Being both a mother and a businesswoman is no easy task. The priorities of parenthood and getting ahead in a career constantly vie for attention. The following are some keys to success in your dual roles as a parent and a breadwinner:

Have a backup plan for childcare

Make a list of all the contingencies that might create a childcare emergency. Your list might include working late, business meetings and a child home sick from school. Then make a list of possible solutions such as help from grandparents, a spouse or a childcare service.

If you are interviewing for a position and your prospective employer already knows that you have small children, it often helps to communicate your emergency childcare plan in advance. For example, you might specify what arrangements you have for days when you must work late or go on a business trip. If, however, your interviewer doesn’t know that you are a working mom and the position fits around your parenting schedule, you may encounter less prejudice if you simply don’t mention it.

If you need to leave the workforce following the birth or adoption of a child, use part-time or contract work to avoid gaps in your resume.

Even if you only work a couple of hours a week from home while your child naps, it looks better on a resume than no employment at all. How can you find this part-time or contract work? First look to past employers. Since you already know their systems and customers, perhaps you could take on a single project, contract or client, depending on the nature of your work. Second, look for opportunities in your community or freelance work. You might even consider teaching a college course in your field. Even some volunteer work looks better on a resume than a gap.

You can be a good mother and still follow your dreams. You totally can if you desire.

Keep your skills current

In today’s service-based economy, employee skills are a prime asset in business. Rather than simply logging time at work, look for ways to increase your skills. If your employer offers certification courses relevant to your career goals, such as Six Sigma training or certification in a new programming language, take the course. Even if you need to pay a babysitter for a few weeks, the investment will pay off handsomely.

Don’t let organization slide

If you’re a full-time homemaker, it’s not too difficult to schedule an all-day organizational marathon to get your household back under control. Working moms usually don’t have the luxury of big chunks of time. Instead, do a little at a time. To see a model of this concept, watch a local fast-food restaurant in action. First, all necessary items are in their proper place and handy. No fast food worker has to climb a step-stool to reach the paper cup for your milkshake. Second, workers use bits of downtime to take quick wipes at the tabletops, keeping things spotless. Third, everyone helps. Working moms cannot do it all, so children and husbands must have tasks for which they are responsible. Fourth, there is a close-down procedure at the end of the evening. Your nightly close-down procedure might include making sure that lunch bags are packed, permission slips are signed, clothes are laid out, and the house is tidy.

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