The latest child care related news, views and reviews May 29, 2013
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Au pairs have been around since World War II but with the increasing cost and scarcity of child care, many families are choosing to look at more flexible and home based help. This week we look at the advantages of having an au pair. Au pairs can be especially helpful to parents without nearby family support or for single parents, who are the subject of our second article. Happy reading.

Au pairs
A very economical child care option for families needing part time child care

Au PairAu Pairs have been around since World War II, when changes in social attitudes and increases in wages and taxes after the war, made traditional domestic help inaccessible to most middle class parents.

At the same time, social change increased the number of middle class girls who needed to earn their own living, and rising educational aspirations for girls made experiencing foreign cultures and learning foreign languages more common aspirations.

Au pairs became commonplace in families in the seventies, along with all the Swedish au pair jokes. It was quite de rigueur to have a "live-in girl" from another country, who performed light household chores and child care for board and lodging in a family's house, while she (it was and still is mainly females) learned the English language.

Many language students and GAP year students from the UK and other English speaking countries started answering ads in The Lady for au pair posts in other European countries.

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Single parenting… it's not all bad news
Sometimes singledom equals domestic freedom

Single parentIf parenting wasn’t hard enough to begin with, finding yourself separated from your partner with young children can be hugely stressful. The emotional turmoil of the situation notwithstanding, practical day-to-day activities can suddenly seem a lot harder when you’re on your own.

Added to that is also the stress of having to communicate everything you’re doing with the kids with your ex-partner which can be fraught for any number of reasons, even if it’s a relatively amicable split.

According to, arguing about things like parenting time, discipline, and parenting styles is common. In fact, expecting to never argue with your ex would be unrealistic.

The trick is to learn how to keep your fighting to an absolute minimum and how to pick your battles or just don’t have any at all. It takes time and effort to develop a healthy co-parenting relationship where there is no conflict involved. If you can stop arguing with your ex, your kids will also be a lot happier and less stressed and so, therefore, will you.

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