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.

Happy Fourth of July!

NOLflagKnown as the Fourth of July and Independence Day, July 4th has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1941, but the tradition of Independence Day celebrations goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution (1775-83). In June 1776, representatives of the 13 colonies then fighting in the revolutionary struggle weighed a resolution that would declare their independence from Great Britain. On July 2nd, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later its delegates adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson. From 1776 until the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with typical festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues.

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Welcoming New Friends

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Summer months are the busiest arrival times for au pairs. Hundreds of APIA au pairs from many different countries arrive in Tarrytown, NY for a three-day orientation (and an introductory tour of NYC!!) before fanning out across the USA to join their host families for a fun and exciting year together.

For our Louisiana cluster it’s a busy time too – welcoming new friends, getting to know host families, sharing au pair advice, planning great times together.

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NOLSarahMelisaOld friends, Sarah from France and Melisa from Costa Rica.

NOLAliciaDorisNew arrivals, Alicia and Doris, both from France.

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Seasoned au pair, Kasia from Poland and a newbie, Anali from Peru.

Ana from Colombia Shares Her APIA Advantage Experience

All au pairs participating in the State Department approved au pair programs are required to complete 6 credits hours of academic work during a year-long match.

Au pairs who participate in Au Pair in America program can satisfy this educational requirement by taking APIA Advantage course offered online by UCLA. https://www.uclaextension.edu/aupairs/Pages/default.aspx

Part of the UCLA course consists of Community Involvement segment. Many au pairs find it especially interesting and enjoyable. Here Ana from Colombia shares her experience with APIA Advantage – American Studies Online.

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Global Awareness and Volunteer work

I had the opportunity to share my culture and Language with a great class of children at The Chapel Church in Baton Rouge, LA.  The kids belong to 3rd to 5th grade. They learned about my country, geographic information, customs, food and interesting facts. Also they learned some Spanish words and greetings. They had a lot of questions for me and I answered gladly. It is great to know that the kids in USA are very interested in different cultures.

I have been volunteering with this class since the beginning of May and I will stay with them for the summer term and maybe more time. This opportunity has gave me to me the chance to get involve with The Chapel community, other teachers and leaders who have supported my staying here in USA.

Cultural and Historical activities

Reef Bay Trail: This is one of the best hiking trails in the world, located in St. John USVI, it contains a great historical richness. The trail goes crossing the Reef Bay Valley in the island and during the way you can find ruins and old buildings from the colonization age. Sugar plantains, old houses, workers houses and Petroglyphs made by the ancients natives in the island, time before the colonizers arrived to the Americas.

Cemetery Tour New Orleans: New Orleans cemeteries have a great history and architecture, the thumbs belongs to very important and historically recognized families in the state.

Mardi Gras 2014: The famous festival in New Orleans and Baton Rouge shows in a fun way the history of the kings in Louisiana. Music, customs and food all at the same time at the same place.

St. Patrick’s Day: This is not an American date but they celebrate as own. All the Irish culture celebrate and shows to the world their culture.

5 de mayo: this is a Mexican day but USA has adopted it it. Mexican music and food is the celebration theme for this day.

Summer Safety Tips

During the summer months we need to take some added precautions to keep children safe in the sun and by the water.

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Sun Safety

Avoid long periods of sun exposure especially between 10.00am and 4.00pm

Apply sunscreen of at least 15 SPF that protects against both UVA and UVB rays should be worn on sunny and cloudy days.

Infants should be dressed in lightweight clothing covering as much skin as possible and brimmed hats to shade the face.

Stay hydrated, drink water throughout the day.

Intense activities and sports should be reduced whenever high heat and humidity reach critical levels.

Never leave children or animals in a car unattended.

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Water Safety

Actively supervise children in and around the water, giving them your undivided attention. Appoint a designated “water watcher,” taking turns with other adults. Be very clear who is in charge.

When in the water there should be an adult at arms length from young children at all times

Children who cannot swim or who are not strong swimmers should wear water wings or life jackets when in the water

Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.

Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone. Even at a public pool or a lifeguarded beach, use the buddy system!

If you go boating, wear a life jacket! Most boating fatalities occur from drowning.

Avoid alcohol use. Alcohol impairs judgment, balance and coordination; affects swimming and diving skills; and reduces the body’s ability to stay warm.

Memorial Day

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Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.
The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states then others followed.
It is now celebrated on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971 to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays).
Americans honor those who have lost their lives for their country by visiting cemeteries, placing flags and flowers on graves, flying the U.S. flag at half-staff until noon and attending parades.

Children can be a part of Memorial Day too.  Here are some links to children’s activities:

Au Pairs Enjoy Bayou Boogaloo

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One of the more popular spring festivals is Bayou Boogaloo on the banks of Bayou St. John in mid-city. Au pairs enjoyed zydeco music, food and the art market where they spied many beautiful items to admire and a few to purchase (on au pair’s budget).

Zydeco is a musical genre evolved in southwest Louisiana by French Creole speakers which blends Cajun music, blues and rhythm and blues.

Kayaking on Bayou St. John

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After meeting at NOMA, some au pairs decided to continue to Bayou Kayaks launch pad on bayou St. John. Paddling along they didn’t spot any local alligators, but saw plenty of fish, ducks, ducklings, geese, goslings, kayakers and yolo boarders.

Kayaking was so much fun it will definitely be a repeat experience.

http://www.bayoukayaks.com/

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Kirsty Completes Two-Year Match with Her Host Family

After two years with her host family, Kirsty will be going back home to England in the middle of April. Here she reflects on her “amazing” experience.

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What made you decide to join Au Pair in America?

I have always loved to work with children, and wanted to travel! Joining Au Pair in America was my best opportunity to do both of the things I love to do!

You obviously enjoyed being with your host family because you extended for another year. What was the biggest difference between year 1 and year 2?

When I first became an au pair for my host family I worked every day taking care of my 2 year old boy whilst my older 4 year old boy was at school. Where as in my second year both boys were in school and so this was the biggest change! Having both boys in school in the mornings! I also went to the gym in my second year and not in my first year!!

What are some of the favorite activities your host children and you have enjoyed?

There have been so many activities we have enjoyed together! Some of the favorites are baking (cookies, cupcakes and decorating a gingerbread house) colouring and making Christmas decorations out of salt dough for their special tree :)

What’s your favorite American food?

My favorite American food would have to be the Cheese Braid Bread that my host mom has made for Christmas morning the last 2 years! It is delicious!!!
But also I tried Sushi for the first time when I got to Louisiana, and this has also become a favorite food of mine!

You traveled quite a bit in the States. Which city or area impressed you the most?

I have seen some beautiful places whilst traveling! The most breath taking sight I’ve seen so far would have to be Niagara Falls! It was amazing to see such a beautiful place! I still have a lot more places to see with my last 2 weeks traveling the West Coast which I’m very much looking forward too :)

What will you remember ‘forever’ about your au pair experience?

I will remember all the amazing people I’ve met on my journey! Especially my host family, my cluster counselor, and my friends from all over the world!

Also all of the beautiful places I’ve visited and all the special occasions that I have celebrated whilst being here for 2 years! :) I’ve had the time of my life being an au pair in America and I am so glad that I had this amazing opportunity!

St. Patrick’s Day

The person who was to become St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was born in Wales about AD 385. He died on March 17 in AD 461. That day has been commemorated as St. Patrick’s Day ever since. St. Patrick is said to have given a sermon from a hilltop that drove all the snakes from Ireland. Of course, no snakes were ever native to Ireland. Though originally a Catholic holy day, St. Patrick’s Day has evolved into more of a secular holiday. It has been celebrated in the US since 1737. One traditional icon of the day is the shamrock. And this stems from a more bona fide Irish tale that tells how Patrick used the three-leafed shamrock to explain the Trinity. He used it in his sermons to represent how the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit could all exist as separate elements of the same entity. His followers adopted the custom of wearing a shamrock on his feast day.

St. Patrick’s Blessing

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand

For fun ideas for celebrating with children see http://spoonful.com/st-patricks-day

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with this easy after-school snack.

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What you’ll need

  • Green pepper
  • English muffin
  • Cheddar cheese

How to make it

  1. To make one, slice a green pepper crosswise near the pointed end to get a small, three-lobed shamrock shape. (If your pepper has four lobes, you’ve got a lucky clover instead.) Cut a small slice for a stem.
  2. Toast half an English muffin, then top it with a slice of Cheddar and the pepper shamrock. Place the muffin on a tray, then broil it in a toaster oven until the cheese is melted.

Enjoy!

Spring Is Coming!

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Au pairs joined the crowds in City Park to enjoy a delightfully warm and sunny day heralding the arrival of spring.

March and April are great months to enjoy the outdoors in New Orleans. They are also the perfect time to engage kids in garden activities. Planting veggies, building a snail farm, digging for worms, or painting a rainbow trellis are just a few of many fun projects that will keep them busy and entertained. For inspiration and instructions you can visit:

http://spoonful.com/crafts/gardening-crafts-gallery

http://www.thecraftycrow.net/garden/

Also, for those of you who are not squeamish (kids seldom are) here is another activity: Building a snail farm.

http://www.kidspot.com.au/kids-activities-and-games/gardening-for-kids+31.htm

Build a Snail Farm

Get the kids outside and into the garden during the holidays and weekends with this fun kids activity. Building a snail farm is easy as you most likely already have everything you need sitting around the house. So get the kids ready for some slimy fun as you establish your farm today.

What you need:

  • clear plastic bottle
  • scissors
  • clear tape
  • soil
  • lettuce or weeds

Activity:

Seal the bottle top onto the bottle.

Carefully cut a 10cm long and 5cm wide opening in the side of the plastic bottle.

Lie the bottle on its side with the opening at the top.

Place moistened soil and some lettuce or weeds inside the bottle.

Find some snails in your garden and place them in the bottle.

Tape over the opening with tape, but make sure to punch holes in the tape to allow for air.

Enjoy watching your snail farm for a few days before releasing your snails and replacing them with new ones.

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