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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.

Navigating the Gray Areas: Au Pair Cell Phones

Figuring out the logistics surrounding getting and paying for an Au Pair cell phone is just another gray area every Host Family must navigate through.  Not knowing anything of what other Host Families were doing or what we were “supposed to do”, we ignorantly assumed that our Au Pair’s iPhone 5 from Germany would easily translate somehow to seamless usage with Verizon’s or Sprint’s plans and coverage.  Unfortunately, such was NOT the case....Continue to Full Article
Posted: 7/15/2015 8:00:23 AM by Cyndi Frick

Au Pairs and the negative effects of Western food on their diet

Au Pairs often say food in the United States is different. Sometimes different in a bad way, often in a way that causes them gain weight. Based on a new study it sounds like food all over the world could eventually lead to these same results. A study done at the University of Minnesota recently cited that with urbanization on the rise, close to 70 percent of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050 – up from the 50% rate it is currently at. Historically, this shift is often accompanied with more people choosing to eat more processed foods, refined sugars and red meat because of the rise in their income.
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Posted: 7/9/2015 8:00:30 AM by Summer Blackhurst

Navigating the Gray Areas: Au Pair Sick Days

While doing some interviews with Local Area Reps (LARs) for Go Au Pair, I had one in particular ask me if I could poll other Host Families to see what their home-based policies were regarding Au Pair sick days.  Since the Department of State has no hard and fast rules around this specific topic, it falls within the void that I refer to as “the hosting gray area”… to which answers are often danced around… but not here, not with me (clearly, I couldn’t be a politician because I don’t appreciate answers that leave you scratching your head)....Continue to Full Article
Posted: 7/8/2015 8:00:34 AM by Cyndi Frick

10 Tips to Make Communicating with your Au Pair Easier

Tips to Make Communicating with your Au Pair Easier, an example is include positive feedback along with constructive criticism when you communicate with your Au Pair and pick the battles on the critiques you do share with the Au Pairs....Continue to Full Article
Posted: 7/1/2015 8:00:52 AM by Summer Blackhurst

How Can You Budget for Something You Don’t Have Data For?

When you’re a first time Host Family, there are a few “gray areas” you may find yourself immersed in, unprepared for and you have no idea what to do (much like when your child swears for the first time, and you panic because you don’t know how to react – well, that’s what happened to me).  For instance, how does a Host Family know how to manage or even budget for things like additional food costs or additional gas and transportation costs?  You can’t know because every Au Pair is different in the amount of travelling he or she will want to do, and each Au Pair is different in how much or what kinds of foods he or she wants to eat....Continue to Full Article
Posted: 6/30/2015 8:00:59 AM by Cyndi Frick

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
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