About Au Pair in America

Au Pair in America is the nation's first legal au pair program. Since 1986, we have provided the best child care opportunities to host families across the US and au pairs from around the world.

Local Fairs & MD Renaissance Festival

What is a Fair?

According to Wikipedia:
A fair (sometimes fayre) is a gathering of people to display or trade produce or other goods, to parade or display animals and often to enjoy associated carnival or funfair entertainment. Activities at fairs vary widely.

Fairs are also known by many different names around the world, such as agricultural show, carnival, fete or fête, county fair, exhibition or state fair, festival, market and show. Flea markets and auto shows are sometimes incorporated into a fair.

MD fairMaryland State Fair
August 22-September 1, 2014. Maryland State Fairgrounds, 2200 York Road Timonium, Maryland. (410)252-0200. The Maryland State Fair was named one of the top 50 fairs in North America. This year’s 11-day festival will feature swifty swine racing pigs, live thoroughbred horse racing, bull riding and barrell racing, concerts, agricultural fair tours, games, rides and more.

Prince George’s County Fair
September 4 – 7, 2014. Prince George’s County Equestrian Center and the Showplace Arena, Water St., Upper Marlboro, Maryland. (301) 442-7393. Carnival rides, live animals displays, family circus, fireworks, live entertainment, food.

Anne Arundel County Fair
September 10 – 14, 2014. Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds, Generals Highway, Crownsville, Maryland. (410) 923-3400. Monster truck rides, carnival rides and games, farm animals and exhibits, pig races, antique saw mill, pie eating contest, talent show and much more.

Renn FestMaryland Renaissance Festival
August 23-October 19, 2014. 1821 Crownsville Rd, Annapolis, MD 21401. Set in a fictional 16th-century English village named Revel Grove, the festival is spread over 25 acres (100,000 m2). The second largest renaissance fair in the United States. Features costumed staff,  food, performances, glass-blowing demonstrations, jousting, crafts and much more.

Stopping for School Buses

With some schools about to go back in session and many new au pairs who have recently arrived, I wanted to remind everyone about what to do in different situations with school buses. If you have questions, please ask myself or your host parents.

school-bus-stop

The rules regarding stopping for school buses are:

  • It is against the law to pass a stopped school bus while its lights are flashing and its’ stop arm is extended.
  • On undivided roadways, with no physical barrier or median, vehicles must stop on both sides of the roadway.
  • Yellow flashing lights indicate that the bus is preparing to load or unload children. Motorists should slow down and prepare to stop their vehicles.
  • Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate that the bus has stopped, and children are getting on or off. Motorists approaching from either direction must wait until the red lights stop flashing before proceeding.

Police, who observe a motorist failing to stop and remained stopped for a school bus, can issue the violator a citation which carries a $570.00 fine and 3 points. Drivers failing to stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk can be issued a citation for $80.00, and drivers failing to exercise due caution when encountering children can be issued a citation for $70.00.

Maryland Crab Feast Cluster Meeting

photo2We had a crab feast/pool party cluster meeting at Whitehall Pool in Bowie on August 10.  This was Lisa Maxwell’s first official cluster meeting as community counselor. We had au pairs in attendance from nine different countries: Germany, Bolivia, Brazil, South Africa, France, Thailand, Mexico, Panama & Costa Rica.  It was the first time any of these au pairs had ever tried eating crabs.

We also played a game called “Do you know Maryland?” I tried to stump them with questions about all things Maryland including: Annapolis, the Orioles, the Ravens, Edgar Allen Poe, the Chesapeake Bay and that Baltimore term of endearment, “‘hon.”

Their reviews on the crabs were mixed.  A few enjoyed them, but several were completely grossed out. We had a lot of fun!

Back to School Tips

Jens Rost backpacks

Kids in our cluster will be returning to school soon. This will mean changes to the au pair schedule and possibly to the duties.  It is very important to communicate these changes to avoid problems.

I suggest you discuss the following (if applicable):

  • Au pair’s work schedule
  • The children’s school and activity schedules
  • Where the children get dropped off and picked up and who will be doing this
  • What to do if a child is staying home sick, late to school, does not get off the bus (if they are supposed to)
  • How to tell if school has been cancelled or delayed for bad weather
  • Add the au pair to your list of people allowed to pick up the kids from school
  • What to pack for lunch
  • The routine after school (do they have free time before starting homework, what to give for snack, any chores, where do they put their backpacks & lunchboxes)
  • How to communicate about what’s going on at school. (Kids in Care Log Books are available upon request from APIA)

Here are some Printable Fill-in-the-Blank School Notes for parents. You may print these out and use them for times when the kids are absent, late, have early dismissal or you need to give permission for something.

If the au pair will be the one going through the children’s back pack and helping with homework, I suggest you designate an area for putting things that need to be read and/or signed by parents.

Reminder: It is illegal in the State of Maryland for a child under the age of 8 to be left alone in the home or car.  Please make sure that your drop off routine does not include leaving children under 8 at home or in the car while dropping off another child.  Even if a host parent gives permission to do this, it is not allowed, because it is against the law.

Photo: Jens Rost (Flickr)

August 6 is World Peace Day

Fuzzy Gerdes paper cranes

This day commemorates August 6, 1945 when the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. A young Japanese girl dreamed of creating 1000 paper cranes to release into the wind as a symbol of peace throughout the world. Each year at the Hiroshima Peace Park 1000 paper cranes are released into the wind in the hope that the death and destruction caused by war will never be repeated.

Check out the Au Pair in America Peace Pinterest Pinboard

Photo: Fuzzy Gerdes (Flickr)

Car Seat Safety is a Shared Responsibility

In MD, DC & VA the laws state that children under age 8 must be secured in a car seat or booster seat that is appropriate for their age, weight and height. Children over age 8 must be properly secured in a vehicle seat belt. (That is more lax than best practice recommendations which suggest children ride in a booster seat until they fit safely into a vehicle seat belt and their feet touch the vehicle floor. This will vary by child and vehicle more than age.)

Car seats and booster seats save lives, there is no doubt about it. But, just having the car seat in the car is not enough.  Car seats and booster seats can only save lives if they are properly installed and used.

Host Parents

  • It is your responsibility to show the au pair how to properly use your car seats and/or booster seats.
  • If you expect her to change seats to different vehicles, show her how to install them properly.
  • If you do not want her to remove and re-install car seats, make that expectation clear.
  • Even if the au pair has a separate car that she is the only one driving the kids in, please check the installation of the seats periodically.

Au Pairs

  • You are responsible for making sure that you understand how to buckle the children safely in their seats and be sure that they are safely buckled in every time you take them in the car with you.
  • The car should not move unless everyone is buckled.
  • Make it a habit to check the seats each time you put the children in to see that the seat is secure and not too loose.
  • If the seat is not working properly or you cannot figure out how to get it tight, ask your host parents as soon as possible.
  • If your host parents have asked you not to remove the car seat(s), please follow that rule.
  • If you need to remove the seat for some reason, ask them for help putting the seat back in.

If you need help installing car seats, find a car seat inspection station near you: http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cps/cpsfitting/index.cfm

Newseum KIDS FREE Summer Fun Deal

From the Newseum website:

Now through Sept. 1, 2014

The Newseum offers everything from the Berlin Wall and Pulitzer Prize-winning photos to interactive games. And this summer, there’s one more great reason to visit — kids get in free! July 1 through Labor Day, the Newseum waives admission for youth visitors age 18 and younger. Up to four kids visit for free with each paid adult or senior admission, or Press Pass membership.

Whether you have just a few hours or want to spend all day, you’ll find something for everyone in the Newseum’s 15 theaters and 15 galleries. Don’t miss “Anchorman: The Exhibit,” on display through Aug. 31, 2014, featuring props from the hit movies and a look at real 1970s news teams. Also see “One Nation with News for All,” opening May 16, 2014, a new exhibit that tells the dramatic story of how immigrants and minorities used the power of the press to fight for their rights and shape the American experience.

Time running short? Remember to save your admission ticket and come back the next day for free!

Free Slurpee Day at 7-11

Click here for full details on the 7-11 website

Click here for full details on the 7-11 website

Test FREE to 711711 to get daily updates for more free offers for the entire 7-11 Week.

July 4th Celebration in Washington, DC

Washington, DC is a spectacular place to celebrate July 4th! The National Mall is the center of all of the Independence Day Celebrations in DC. There are events all day, beginning with a parade along Constitution Avenue and ending with a fireworks display over the Washington Monument.

Sara, a host mom in our cluster has shared some links with information to help au pairs plan for the upcoming holiday.

Great list of local activities:
http://dc.about.com/od/specialevents/a/4thofJuly.htm

Getting to the National Mall & security info:
http://dc.about.com/od/4thofjuly/a/GettingtoMall.htm

The Capitol Fourth concert has a dress rehearsal on July 3, that while secure and crowded, is easier to attend than the concert on the 4th, as with July 4th, the gates open at 3:00:
http://thedistrict.com/sightseeing/events/a-capitol-fourth-4th-of-july/

A blog post that may be of interest:

http://blogs.rollcall.com/after-dark/washingtons-independence-day-patriotismpalooza/

Create Your Own “Summer Bucket List”

The term “bucket list” was popularized in the 2007 Jack Nicholson/Morgan Freeman movie. The idea is to make a list of things you want to do before you “kick the bucket” (which is an idiom referring to death.) Even though that sounds kind of morbid, the idea has taken off as something much more positive and people create bucket lists to log the things they want to do at some point in their life.

With that said, a Summer Bucket list is a list of things to do before this summer ends.

Click here to print your own summer bucket list

Click here to print your own summer bucket list

Get lots of ideas to put on your list on our APIA Summer Fun Pinterest Board.

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