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Summer Blackhurst - Au Pair ExpertAbout the Author

Summer Blackhurst is the Press Coordinator and Au Pair Expert for Go Au Pair. Summer has extensive experience in working with the Host Families and Au Pairs and has interviewed more than one hundred families and Au Pairs to find out what really matters.

She has been writing for newspapers, magazines, and blogs for more than 15 years and has worked in the childcare field for 20 years. Summer is a believer in the cultural immersion process and speaks Spanish fluently after having lived in Argentina for a year and a half. She specializes in Host Family / Au Pair Relationships, childcare, parenting and cultural exchange.

Is Hosting an Au Pair really a “Cultural Exchange” or a 1-Way Street?

When I told a co-worker that we were hosting an Au Pair from Germany and that were going to be hosting a second from the Ukraine, he said, “Your boys are going to be international men of mystery!” While his statement amused me, it also got me thinking to how the introduction of different cultures into their small worlds would affect them in their futures....Continue to Full Article
Posted: 6/26/2015 8:00:31 AM by Cyndi Frick

Au Pair Overlap: Being Sensitive in Your Search for the Next Au Pair While Still Hosting Your Current Au Pair

Obviously when a Host Family realizes how wonderful having an Au Pair is, there will need to be some overlap of hosting and searching for the next possible candidate.  What is the etiquette for the overlap?  Well, I’m not actually sure so in our household, we tried to play it as safe as possible while also communicating openly about our next Au Pair with our current Au Pair....Continue to Full Article
Posted: 6/16/2015 8:00:47 AM by Cyndi Frick

Don’t Forget to Tell Your Au Pair What She’s Doing Right

Don’t they always say that it takes ten positive comments to offset just one negative one?  As Host Families, when we are giving constructive criticism or re-direction to our Au Pairs, we tend to forget to accentuate the good things they are doing as well.  Criticism in any circumstance is necessary, but praise is equally as necessary but sometimes harder to remember. ...Continue to Full Article
Posted: 6/9/2015 8:00:04 AM by Cyndi Frick

A Little Separation Goes a Long Way

I’m sure you’ve all heard of the idiom “absence makes the heart grow fonder”, and there is truth in that saying it definitely applies to an Au Pair hosting relationship.  Just as I have come to realize in my marriage wherein we both work from home and barely get any time away from each other, too much time together without separation in any relationship can put a serious strain on it. ...Continue to Full Article
Posted: 6/4/2015 8:00:53 PM by Cyndi Frick

Au Pairs share Best Host Family Practices

If Au Pairs could have any one characteristic in a Host Family, what would it be? In our year-end survey, the Au Pairs who recommend their Host Families overwhelmingly mention that they are a good Host Family because they help their Au Pair feel like a part of the family and home.  Survey results seem to indicate being accepted as an extended member of the family is the difference between an OK experience and a great experience....Continue to Full Article
Posted: 6/2/2015 8:00:16 AM by Summer Blackhurst

How to Manage Being an Employer AND a Friend to your Au Pair

When I first entered into the Au Pair hosting program, I really had the mindset we would treat our Au Pair like as much of an equal in our family as possible.  However, the problem with that thinking is technically, she’s not an “equal” in the sense she is not one of the parents (ran into some issues in that department).  Ultimately, final decisions on discipline or anything related to the children and the house are up to the Host Parents, and becoming too chummy with your Au Pair can make confrontation or addressing issues more awkward.  I mean, you wouldn’t want to have to confront a close friend about something she was doing wrong with your children, right?...Continue to Full Article
Posted: 5/27/2015 8:00:56 AM by Cyndi Frick

Tipping in the U.S. versus in other places

What is your guess? Does your Au Pair tip in their home country?  Do they know how much to tip in the U.S.?  It is so interesting to see how different something as simple as tipping is so distinct throughout the world. GoBankingRates lists some of the tipping differences across continents....Continue to Full Article
Posted: 5/19/2015 8:00:38 AM by Summer Blackhurst

Host Mom Heart-to-Heart #2: Parenting Perspectives

Do you think that as a young adult, living in a foreign country for a year and taking care of someone else’s children may have had an effect on your perspectives and perceptions of parenting?  For me, I know it would have had some definite bearing on my future decisions, and so I asked my Au Pair to sit down and discuss her evolution with me....Continue to Full Article
Posted: 5/19/2015 8:00:16 AM by Cyndi Frick
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