New Article for Au Pairs on eHow.com
Below is part of a new article found on eHow.com. To see the entire article click here.
Study English. If you will be living with a family in the United States you will need to be able to understand and speak basic English. Most American families do not speak a second language. Even if the parents do speak another language, it is likely that the children you will be caring for do not. Take a class, listen to English language tapes or CDs, and practice speaking English with your friends. Your English does not need to be perfect. It will improve dramatically during your au pair year.
Obtain childcare experience. You will need to document at least 200 hours of childcare experience. The childcare experience cannot be for family members. You can obtain childcare experience by working or volunteering at an orphanage, a preschool, a camp, or some other program that works with children. Make sure to obtain a letter of recommendation from the adults that supervise your work. The agency that you work with also will have forms that they will ask you to have your supervisors complete.
Gain childcare experience with younger children. If you want to work with infants then your childcare experience must be experience working with children under the age of two.
Care for children independently. Try to get childcare experience where you are the person responsible for a child without the assistance of another adult. Caring for children with the assistance of other people is easier than being the sole person in charge. Childcare is hard work.
Get a drivers license. Americans expect their au pairs to drive the children.
Learn how to cook simple meals. Many families expect their au pair to be able to prepare meals for the children. Children tend to like simple foods. You do not need elaborate cooking skills. You should, however, know the basics of cooking and learn how to make a variety of simple foods that children may eat. You also should have a willingness to learn how to cook new foods.
Learn basics of caring for children. You should read up on some basics of childcare, such as how to give a bath to a child, how to trim nails, how to discipline a child without hitting or yelling, and how to entertain a child.
Apply to an approved au pair agency. Because the program is considered a cultural exchange program it is regulated by the United States Department of State. There are currently 12 agencies approved by the State Department to bring au pairs to the United States: Agent Au Pair, American Cultural Exchange doing business as ("dba") goAuPair, American Institute For Foreign Study dba Au Pair in America, Au Pair Foundation, Au Pair International, AuPairCare, Cultural Care, EurAu Pair Intercultural Child Care, Expert Group International dba Expert Au Pair, InterExchange Au Pair, and USAuPair. If you are dealing with a different agency then you are not dealing with a legitimate agency and your stay in the United States will likely be illegal. The current list of designated au pair sponsors (agencies) can be found on the U.S. Department of State web site at: http://eca.state.gov/jexchanges/index.cfm
Finish your secondary school education. You will need to have your studies complete before you leave for the United States. You can apply to be an au pair before your studies are complete, but you cannot leave for the United States until you have earned your degree.
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Do you have more tips or advice for young adults hoping to work as au pairs in America?