As a parent, I’m always trying to find a way to encourage learning in my kids. My son is in kindergarten and he’s great at math and reading, but homework is a struggle. He just gets antsy and I totally understand, as I think we all can; after a long day of learning, who wants to do more school?
If you’re anything like me, you want your kids to learn and absorb as much knowledge as they can, but you sometimes hit the “homework conundrum” where concerted extra education is met with resistance.
Convincing your children to play a game, however, is a lot easier than doing homework. There are tons of apps you can download and many are great, but most have a subscription fee or at the very least have ads. I wanted to find something that would engage my son and reinforce the math he was already learning, but that he could play on his own.
Teach Kindergarten Math Online
Browser-based math games
I was an adult in the 2000s when Adobe Flash games were at their peak. The nice thing about browser-based games is that they usually don’t require anything more than a click to play them, and they’re usually pretty simple. Especially right now while home learning is at its peak, finding new ways to engage little minds has never been more critical. I found this site that had all the browser-based math games I could possibly want, without needing an email or even creating an account. Better yet, they’re free, and there aren’t even any ads, which is wonderful because little ones LOVE to click on banner ads.
As I went through the site, I found dozens of math games for all manner of skill levels, but since my kids are in preschool and kindergarten, I wanted to focus in on games for them in particular.
After trial-and-error, I found that 1 and 2-star games were probably just right for my children. Using this information, I endeavored to find the best ones that would both hold their attention and be playable (ideally without my interference).
Here are some of the best ones I found, based on ease of play, ability to reinforce good math fundamentals, and of course how fun they are.
Math Plus Puzzle
I personally, as a real life adult, found this game to be pretty fun. It’s a matching game of sorts, requiring you to do some addition to clear colored blocks, not unlike Collapse. As you progress the math gets slightly more difficult, but my son did a great job, and it’s very forgiving.
It’s colorful, interesting and because of the increasing difficulty yet simple design, it’s pretty addictive. The best of the ones I played for sure.
This is the one my son liked the best, mostly because we’ve been on a Last Kids On Earth kick and he wants to fight monsters all the time. It is a little more challenging, offering math equations that you have to complete before a monster gets you. When you complete the equation, Math Boy does a flourish with his sword and vanquishes the horrible creature attacking him.
It gets faster and the math problems get more complex, and you can choose between addition, subtraction, multiplication or a mix of all operations, so this game would be good for older kids as well. In fact, of the ones I played it seems that most of the Calculators.org games scale in difficulty while sticking with a simple premise, which I love.
While my son liked this one for the monster-vanquishing, I found it tedious after a while because though the math get more complex, the monsters and levels don’t seem to change much. And how many monsters did I destroy before I came to this conclusion?
Way too many, but on the plus side I’m better at math now.
Math For Kids
This one is probably the best if you have younger kids. It allows you to set limits, like if your child only knows 1-10, the math doesn’t get more difficult than that. You can start with simple counting, then move on to addition and so forth.
Math For Kids is simple but engaging enough to keep them learning while playing a game and again the increasing levels of complexity keep it relevant as they progress.
For preschoolers – Animal Memory Game
This isn’t a math game exactly, but it does help with memory and logic. It’s literally what it sounds like – a memory match game – but without tiny cards that get lost all over your house. It’s good for preschoolers and younger, since it’s an engaging way to teach them how to use their tablet or laptop.
Math games for learning
Overall, I found the website to be a good grouping of games for kids to learn math but not realize they’re learning math.
The downsides I found were minor, though they could be improved upon. For instance, the games should be evaluated and grouped better for age range. The star-rating for difficulty is deceptive, as some games are listed as a 1-star (easiest) and involved multiplication and division, and a few games are higher difficulty but could be customized for young children just learning math.
In general I would say that was my biggest complaint – the games are there but there’s no way to search or determine what would be best for your particular learner. It took me actually playing a dozen or so games before I could hone in on the ones that would be good for my kids, which isn’t awful but again, it could be improved upon.
Ultimately these games are a good addition to your home-based learning. They’re engaging, somewhat addictive, bright and colorful and actually pretty fun. There’s really nothing to lose since they’re free and play right in your browser, so I do recommend giving them a try.
Kitchen cures for colds and the like are a dime a dozen, but that doesn’t mean they don’t work! With sickness season upon us and will soon ramp up into the absolute worst that tiny microbes can throw at us. If you have kids in school – literally any school, even home-school somehow – they’re going to turn into walking, talking petri dishes. You can load them up on medicine, give them three scarves and an overcoat, but they’re going to be sneezing regardless.
If you’re like me, you love science – I think medicine, vaccines, and pizza bagels are all wonderful advances for humankind. Sometimes, however, you might not want to give your kids (or self) 3 different medicines, all filled with items you can’t pronounce. Luckily there are some simple-to-use, cheap and easy home remedies that absolutely work to fight off colds and other nasties.
Some of these you will buy at the store, some you’ll make yourself, but all of them are things I personally do and I very, very rarely get sick. Even when my kids are little germ tornadoes, I weather the storm with these witchy kitchen hacks, and you can, too!
Kitchen Cures for Colds
When I know I’m going to get sick, I feel it at the back of my throat. It starts not as a sore throat but as a tickle, usually, maybe scratchiness, but I still know. That’s when I start taking raw, whole garlic.
Garlic has anti-microbial properties, but it’s especially good for when you’re getting sick in the sinuses. For most people, eating a whole clove at once might be…difficult. Dicing it up, however, makes it easier to take, and has the bonus of being incredibly spicy, which often clears out sinuses.
For colds or influenza, I will mix 1-2 cloves of chopped garlic with a tablespoon of raw honey and take that. It helps with sore throats, coughing, and it shortens the duration of my colds. If I get ahead of getting sick by taking this mixture, I can often completely avoid a full-blown cold entirely.
Kombucha is another thing I’ll start chugging at the first sign of a cold. The probiotics in kombucha bolster the gut microbiome, which in turn makes your immune system more robust. Opt for kombucha with less sugar, however – sugar itself can damage your gut biome and we want to avoid that.
Chicken soup is good for more than a light meal when you feel bad. Actual scientific research shows that hot drinks like soup or tea help thin out mucus, which makes it less gummy in your lungs and easier to get rid of. Chicken soup in particular (when made with bone broth) has anti-inflammatory effects which can reduce nasal swelling, helping you breathe. The collagen in chicken bone broth also boosts the health of your gut lining, which again makes your immune system stronger.
Get a whole chicken from the store and toss it in the crock pot on high for 3-4 hours with some veggies. Strip the meat off the bones and use it in whatever you’d like – we’re here for the skeleton (I told you this was witchy). Drop the crock to low, add 6 cups of water, some salt, 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar and let it cook for about 10 hours. This will draw out the collagen and give you a lovely bone broth. Just make sure you strain it before enjoying this kitchen cure.
Spice Kitchen Cures
Ginger is great for soothing a sore throat and it can suppress a cough as well. You take a few thin slices of fresh ginger and steep it like tea in hot water, adding actual tea bags if you like. The spicy ginger is soothing on your sore throat, and if you add some honey it can be a one-two punch against coughs. It definitely my go-to kitchen cure.
Echinacea root, taken as a tea (around 1-2 grams) a few times a day can help prevent the cold from getting a hold in your body. This is best done when I see my kids or husband’s eyes get that glassy, “I’m getting a cold” look. It’s like those over-the-counter cold preventatives but this actually works.
Turmeric mixed into your morning coffee – about a 1.5 tsps – has a potent anti-inflammatory effect. If coffee isn’t your thing, try turmeric tea instead, which you can make the same way as turmeric coffee with black tea bags, or you can buy turmeric tea bags already pre-made.
Especially in fall as mold grows in the damp weather and fields are harvested, allergies are rampant. If not treated, allergies quickly turn into upper respiratory infections and we don’t want that.
Honey has been proven to be as useful if not better than dextromethorphan (cough syrup) at treating, well, coughs. This study showed that 2.5ml of honey at bed time was better at suppressing coughs than over-the-counter cough syrups, and that’s great because cough syrup has a taste that is staggeringly awful. Do remember that you cannot give honey to kids under 1 year old, due to the chances of botulism spores being present.
Black licorice – whether you love it or hate it – can be a powerful medicine. Now, it’s not the candy that people who don’t love you give you as a treat – this is flavored with anise and has no medicinal properties. You want actual licorice root which contains glycyrrhizin, which reduces inflammation in the lungs. With all that said, you should avoid the root in excess of 1 gram a day (you can make a tea with it), as it really is potent and can cause problems in high doses. Best to stick with a lozenge that has licorice root as an active ingredient and stick strictly to the usage limits.
Eucalyptus oil and vaporubs are the smell we might have grown up with, but for a very good reason. These vaporubs can improve cold symptoms in just a few hours of application, opening airways, fighting inflammation and improving coughs. While I like essential oils, I don’t rely on them to fix my family’s sickness BUT eucalyptus oil in a humidifier is great when your family is coughing their lungs out at nighttime.
Nobody wants this but it’s there so let’s talk about it. Woof.
Ginger again, steeped in hot water with peppermint tea will do wonders for nausea. We often break up peppermints into hot water with a slice of ginger and give it to our kids, as sucking on a peppermint is great for tummy troubles but the choking risk of hard candy is a no-no.
While not a remedy exactly, if you’re nauseated, closing your fist around your thumb can suppress the urge to vomit. Massaging point where your thumb is anchored to your hand is another way to ease nausea.
Don’t believe me? Try closing your fist around your thumb (same hand, basically make a fist with your thumb tucked inside) and then test your gag reflex; pretty wild, eh?
Mint is an herb we grow quite a lot of around our house, especially since it’s perfect for gardening on a budget. Since it’s somewhat invasive, make sure you tend to it regularly or it will take over whatever bed it’s growing in. That said, a tea made with 4-5 bruised mint leaves helps reduce nausea and stomach pain when you’ve got gastroenteritis or food poisoning.
Chamomile is another herb we love, as it’s similar to turmeric with its anti-inflammatory benefits. If you don’t grow chamomile, you can buy dried flowers online (or if you have a holistic/health food store nearby, you can probably get them there). Steep 3 dried flowers in hot water for about 10 minutes and then add some honey. This mixture is good for cramping, diarrhea and nausea.
Home remedies for colds are legit
Again, I don’t want to suggest you be afraid of science, but there are traditional medicines that have real, absolute uses in the 21st century. Sometimes letting a fever run its course is better than taking ibuprofen unless it’s keeping you from sleeping. Inflammation is the cause of a lot of the nastiness with almost all illness, and dealing with that using medicine can sometimes hurt just as much as it helps.
For instance, if you’re dealing with stomach pain and cramps, taking aspirin or ibuprofen might make the pain much worse. Soothing herbal teas have scientific validity and real-world applications. Plus, you can grow the necessary herbs yourself!
Do you have any kitchen hacks for colds that you think are worth sharing?
We’d love to read about them in the comments – building up a repertoire of useful home remedies for sickness is essential for any kitchen witch (and even non-witchy moms or dads)!
When I had my first child in 2013, I had all sorts of delusional ideas about his childcare. Like many first time moms, I had serious plans to have it all – a small classroom, multiple teachers, video monitoring, organic meals, plenty of outdoor time…
Instead, despite over 50% of my paycheck going to said childcare, I got none of that.
Teacher to Parent Communication Failure
While there were many frustrating moments surrounding my son’s daycare, it all boiled down to a serious lack of communication between the teachers, the director, and the parents. Now I’m incredibly fortunate to no longer have to deal with such things, given that I now work from home as a blogger and business strategist, but the sting still remains.
The idea that there is such disconnect between families and those put in charge of watching their children just breaks my heart.
So when a lifelong friend of mine mentioned to me that he had created an app meant to bridge said disconnect, I couldn’t wait to hear more!
David is the founder of Lite Injen Labs and a father of three, so he knows a thing or two when it comes to creating a brilliant app that meets the needs of parent and daycare alike. There are certainly quite a few apps now on the market that allow for streamlined communication between childcare center and parent, but David wanted to take things a step further.
Thus Wundertots was born.
Unlike the “one stop shop” apps that many childcare centers may use these days, Wundertots is a custom built solution that allows the user to craft a tool specific to their needs (and the needs/desires of the parents!)
For example, should a childcare center or preschool be special needs oriented, Lite Injen Labs can customize the app to allow for additional features that similar apps fall short on.
Just imagine how nice it would be to remove the fear that your child is still crying an hour after drop-off! Instead of spending the day filled with dread, you could open up an app and see in real time just how your child thrives, even when you’re not around.
While I’m obviously all about the parent-focused features, there’s also a number of great behind-the-scenes that are greatly beneficial to those working at our childcare institutions. Not only do you get 3 months of back-end support, but there’s a backoffice feature that instructors can use to build a profile on each student.
I love the idea of being able to quickly and easily look back on my child’s growth and milestone achievements with just a few swipes of the finger!
Another personal favorite feature of mine is that Wundertots includes a fingerprint scanner function that does away with needing to remember what forms are due to be signed and when. No more worrying about forgetting to turn in a field trip permission slip or crossing your fingers that it makes it from your child’s bag to the teacher!
Invest in Wundertots
This app is perfect for any childcare institution – preschools, daycares, Sunday schools, camps, the list could go on and on. Basically any institution that wants analytical monitoring plus a way to better communicate with their parents should be looking to Wundertots. Not only will it make lives easier all around, but it’ll provide parents with serious confidence in knowing their children have been left in the best of hands.
If you want to be the best, you have to have the best – and that’s Wundertots.
Should you be interested in learning more about Wundertots (or being part of a case study for it) I definitely encourage you to contact Lite Injen Labs at 855-464-6536 or shoot them an e-mail at Support@liteinjenlabs.com.
Do you have experience with similar apps introduced to you via your childcare institution?
I’d love for you to comment below and share with me!
Every time you step on a minefield of Legos, you probably think “these kids have too many toys”. You’re also probably right, but telling a kid that they have too many toys is…well just try it. Our kids are the first to talk about what they’re going to get for Christmas while the birthday wrapping is still on the floor.
The point is, it’s hard to convince kids that they should maybe get rid of some of their stuff. Their frame of reference is far shorter than ours as adults, so to them, this is ALL their stuff. But as they get new toys and games, there’s got to be some compromise lest your entire house explode like a cartoon.
Going into the conversation in the right mindset, with the right tools and a solid plan will help you immensely. Your kids might be resistant at first, but if you follow these steps you should be victorious in the long run.
How to Get Kids to Help You Declutter
Ask them how they feel about the idea
If you approach it with a “it’s time we give your toys away” attitude, they’re going to balk. Talk to your kids about how they would feel about giving some of their toys away. They’ll still probably be quite resistant, but a discussion is better than an ultimatum.
Address each of their concerns thoroughly and don’t dismiss them. Again, these are their things, and when you’re 5, ownership is a weird concept. Explain that there are some toys that they simply don’t play with anymore, that giving anything away would be their choice and that you’re not forcing anything. This will allow them to consider and come to their own conclusion at first, making it more likely they’ll be receptive to the idea.
Appeal to their sense of being “grown up”, and that letting go of old toys is a symbol of that.
Explain to them that if they DO give away toys, you will donate them to kids who don’t have any. Especially around the holidays when there are kids who won’t get much of any presents, your kids will feel good about helping other children.
Reiterate that it will still be their choice and that you won’t get rid of anything unless they say it’s okay.
Bust out the totes
Once your child agrees, the best thing to do is to get a handful of big storage totes and sit down in their room with them. You can go through their toys with them, sorting them into a “keep” and a “donate” tote. Once you’ve gone through everything, take the “donate” tote and put it up somewhere; your garage, attic or a closet are best. Leave it there for a few months just in case your child changes their mind about something. If they haven’t said anything about the toys after a few months, you can safely donate them.
Embrace sentimentality (to a point)
If you have a stuffed animal that was yours and you gave it to your child, then obviously that can stay. Their first blocks, or their favorite pacifier can still be used for any other kids you might have, so keep them, too.
If your kids are getting into the trenches about a Ninja Turtle they found in the back of the closet they haven’t seen in 3 years, that’s a different story. Additionally if they have a lot of baby toys that hold a lot of emotional weight but that won’t get used, store them in a safe place until your kids have kids of their own. I personally have multiple books that were owned by my mom when she was a kid that she read to me, that I now read to my babies.
Storing – not donating – of sentimental objects functions similarly to decluttering, but without the emotional loss of donating.
Make them into little entrepreneurs
If you are planning on having a garage sale, explain that they could make money on their old toys by selling them. Make sure they know that by selling a lot of old stuff they don’t use, they can pick up new stuff. While the ultimate goal of decluttering is to get rid of extra stuff, selling old toys to buy new ones has a distilling effect. Rather, the volume of stuff they get rid of will be much larger than any new stuff they buy. This also gives them some control over their domain which is always new and exciting.
Establish a “too big bin”
My daughter loves clothes – she changes outfits more than a Superbowl halftime singer. The problem comes when we go to dress her and every outfit I pull from her dresser is too small. The solution for us was a “too big bin”.
Essentially as your child goes to get dressed and finds that the clothes they’re putting on are too small, they take them off and into the bin they go. This can be a clothes hamper, box or (if you’re like me) a tote. The clothes can then be donated or sold. It keeps clothes that don’t fit from popping up when you’re 15 minutes late to dance.
The blanket concept of “donating” your old stuff is pretty broad, and it’s especially broad when you’re 5. Sit down and explain the many different places and people that can use their toys and clothes and why. For instance:
– Family shelters
– Homeless shelters
– Resale stores that employ the homeless, disabled or other at-risk individuals
– Churches that have programs to serve the less financially stable in your community
You can also suggest they sell their stuff like we talked about above, but then show them charities to which they can donate the money. Programs for animals and kids are the ones our children are drawn to, but there are as many charities out there as there are causes to champion. You’ll find one that appeals to your kids.
Your kids are little blank slates; if you show them that hoarding wealth and possessions is good, they’re going to grow up believing that. The same thing goes with showing them that they can help other people by donating their time, money and stuff.
Most children look at their possessions as simply what they are, and they interact with them accordingly. If you show them that they can help other people, make money or contribute to the housework by donating or selling their stuff, suddenly they gain a new level of autonomy over their lives. You’d be surprised at how motivating a feeling of control and efficacy can be, especially for kids.
Have you decluttered your kids’ room? Did they help, were they resistant or did everything go better than expected? Let us know in the comments what worked for you!
Natural ways to fight eczema aren’t easy to find – at least not ones that actually work. My daughter and husband both suffer from eczema, so we’re always on the lookout for something that can help with the itching and rashes. We’d picked up various skin calming lotions from Walgreens or other pharmacies and it always worked just okay to relieve itching. My husband has shampoo specifically for flare-ups that again does an okay job at relieving his symptoms.
I’m not a fan of “just okay” though, so when a family member recommended Euzema Confidence Revival Cream as a better solution, I decided to check it out. Right off the bat I noticed that they’re really pushing that it’s all natural and traditional ingredients that they use. I’m not suggesting this is good or bad, but it is their focus.
I picked some up and decided to do some experiments to see if it really was worth using compared to the stuff we already had.
The first thing I noticed is that it’s got an interesting smell. It’s not bad, but it’s very potent. There’s frankincense as an ingredient, but it doesn’t come across as strongly once applied. The consistency of the cream is something like paste, but it goes on silky smooth without an oily residue. A little goes a long way on rashes, as my husband used what he thought was a conservative estimate and found that it was almost too much.
The jar we got is small, but realizing it doesn’t take much made me feel better about the product size.
Is Euzema only for eczema?
The package claims to be useful for psoriasis, rashes, bug bites and allergic reactions, including just dry, flaky skin. While I wouldn’t want to use it just as a lotion for dry skin, it does appear to be useful if you’ve got an eczema-similar skin condition and need something. We wanted something without steroids, especially for our daughter and Euzema’s all-natural formula was a big selling point.
The fact that it’s supposedly useful for things other than clinical skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis is great. We have terrible mosquitoes around our neighborhood and we’re not without bug bites every evening during the summer. Having another tool to in our arsenal to combat the mind-numbing itching from summer bugs is always welcome.
But DOES it work?
Euzema Confidence Revival Cream Review
Does Euzema actually work?
We did a couple of experiments to make sure it was:
1 – not going to cause a reaction itself and
2 – would actually work for rashes, bug bites, eczema, etc.
First my husband and I both tried it on our normal, non-itchy skin. We rubbed in a pea-sized amount on our arms and waited and had no adverse reaction.
Next, my husband put some on an eczema flare on his face, and this was where he started with too much. It wipes off easily without a gross residue, though, so we finally dialed in the perfect amount. He said the itching calmed down almost immediately and within a few hours the redness had subsided significantly. The next morning it was starting to clear up, which put a smile on his face because flares are unbelievably itchy and obnoxious.
We tried it on my daughter’s itchy, dry eczema patches next and again, it quickly stopped the itching. The areas were significantly less red within a few hours. We also tried it on various bug bites we all had and it seemed to help calm the itching down.
Unfortunately (or fortunately?) we didn’t have any other rashes or bites to try it on, but the small sample size we do have seemed to indicate it works!
What’s in Euzema?
There are many natural herbs used within Euzema. First, there’s licorice root – famously known for its use in traditional Chinese medicine. Licorice root is great as an antiviral and really helps moisturize the skin.
Next there’s something called Aquilara Agallocha. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure how to say that, let alone what it was before using Euzema. A bit of research, though, shows me that it’s another name for Agarwood. Agarwood is often used in incense and it’s bark is turned into a paste for many skin conditions, including eczema.
Another one I had to look up was Trichosanthes Kirilowii Fruit. As expected, this fruit is another one common in Chinese medicine. It has many anti-inflammatory properties and is known for treating ailments both outside and within the body.
Lastly there’s the bamboo extract (yay one I didn’t have to look up!) Bamboo extract has natural anti-inflammatory properties and contains minerals such as: iron, Vitamin C, and calcium. Euzema even utilizes the natural wax of the bamboo to create the base of this ointment!
Is Euzema worth the cost?
My husband said it was much more pleasant than the calming creams we have. He said they typically almost hurt when first applied to itchy, inflamed skin but the Euzema didn’t and worked almost immediately. My daughter’s itching stopped almost immediately, too, so she had no complaints.
It’s somewhat expensive, around $50/bottle, but the effective dose is small enough that the bottle should last you a while. It does seem to be more effective than over-the-counter creams, it’s all-natural. Given that it definitely does work, there’s plenty of “pros” to account for the cost.
As for cons, I’m not a big fan of the scent and again, the price is a bit steep, at least at face value. If it works for you as well as it appears to have worked for us, though, it’s well worth it. In particular if it works for psoriasis or for stubborn rashes, it’s definitely worth not having to use steroidal creams.
Euzema skincare claims that it also works on small cuts and pimples, and also on freckles by diminishing their appearance. The most useful aspects do seem to be on rashes, allergic reactions and chronic skin problems.
Have you been dealing with chronic, itchy skin problems and do you have a go-to product that helps?
I’d love to hear about it in the comments, especially if you have experience with Euzema yourself.
As much joy as parenthood brings, it also requires parents to shell out big bucks for childcare. In the United States, the average cost of Monday-through-Friday daycare adds up to a staggering $11,666 per year, or about $972 each month. Remember, that’s the average price tag — some parents will pay even more to have someone look after their child while they work.
Surprisingly, there’s another option, and it’s one that’s just as reputable as the local daycare center or a well-reviewed nanny. On top of that, it doesn’t cost nearly as much as traditional avenues — and your family might get a bit of a cultural experience out of it to boot.
What Is It?
Since World War II, Europeans have been enlisting the help of au pairs to help raise their children. The program started as women began coming into their own and seeking ways to make a living. At the same time, middle-class families struggled to find help because the number of available domestic workers decreased at the time. As such, the idea of an au pair came to be, and it helped both groups to get on their feet.
Nowadays, the idea of the au pair has made its way from Europe to the United States and beyond. Typically, families hire a childminder from another country who can provide great care while teaching the little ones another language or the culture of another country.
Saving Money with An Au Pair
What Does an Au Pair Do?
An au pair might, at first, seem comparable to a nanny, but they’ll come to your home through a government-regulated agency to ensure both you and the au pair are well taken care of throughout their stay.
For starters, an au pair is tasked with sharing his or her culture and language with the family with whom they stay. Let’s say you want your children to learn Spanish — hiring an au pair from Spain would be a great way to make sure. These assets are the most valuable that an au pair provides, and they separate them from a typical nanny. Of course, you can hire a nanny who speaks another language, but an au pair makes it part of their mission to enlighten little ones about other parts of the world while providing care.
To that end, the rest of an au pair’s to-dos look a lot like a traditional nanny’s. In most agreements, the au pair will work for 45 hours a week, during which they can helm the childcare services you need — everything from infant care to cooking to light cleaning can be included. Don’t expect your au pair to do full-on house cleaning, however, as their contract will ensure that they’re only handling child-related cleaning. This duty list can include laundry and toy pick-up, for example, but they won’t be deep-cleaning any of the spaces in your home.
Au pairs are great resources for families on the go too. Since they’ll live with you — more on that later — they can come with you on trips to help you take care of your brood. All of these services come with a longer commitment than what you can get from some nannies. Your au pair will likely sign a one-year contract, so you can rest easy knowing that your employee won’t just quit and leave you in the lurch.
How Do I Get an Au Pair?
As previously mentioned, the state department regulates au pair programs to ensure that both families and hired childcare providers are safe. You’ll have to make sure your home has the potential to accommodate an in-house childcare provider. Au pairs will move in with your family for the duration of their contract, so they should have their own bedroom with a window and closet as well as access to a bathroom.
You’ll also have to provide him or her with a weekly stipend of about $200, full board and at least 1.5 days off per week. Some au pairs will come to America to learn English while they provide childcare — if your contract requires it, you might have to drive your au pair to and from such lessons as well.
Meet with an Agency
A slew of agencies exist to connect families with the right au pair. Most of the time, you’ll post online and share a bit about you and your family. Then, you can peruse available childcare providers — and they can search for your profile too. Once you find one with whom you connect, you can suss out the details of your contract with the agency. Usually, they charge application fees, and you’ll have to pay a bit more once you find the right person for the job.
Even with the agency costs, application fees and weekly stipend, hiring an au pair can be a much more cost-effective option than nannies or daycare centers. Plus, you and your children will benefit from the cultural experience — and you might just make a lifelong connection with the young man or woman who comes to care for your children. It’s a wonder that au pairs are so often overlooked as a way to care for children — now that you know the secret, you might just be ready to find a foreign caretaker to look after your little ones.
Jennifer Landis is the Mindful Mama behind the blog of (almost) the same name – Mindfulness Mama. She hopes to help other mamas make more out of mom life by sharing her expertise in parenting, budgeting basics, and healthy living. Follow her on Twitter @JenniferELandis.