The Folklife Festival will take place June 27-July 1 and July 4-8.
The annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival is an international exhibition of living cultural heritage. Attracting more than one million visitors yearly, the two-week long celebration is the largest annual cultural event in the United States.
The Festival is held outdoors on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., between the Smithsonian museums. There is no admission charge. Visitors should dress for hot and humid weather. Parking around the Mall is extremely limited, so visitors are advised to use public transportation. L’Enfant Plaza is the closest Metro station to the Festival site. National Archives, Smithsonian, and Federal Center stations are within a half-mile. For assistance planning how to get around, visit www.goDCgo.com. For general Smithsonian visitor information, http://www.si.edu/Visit or call 202.633.1000 (voice).
Festival hours are 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., with special events taking place most evenings beginning at 6:30 p.m. View the schedule here.
I highly recommend that you visit their website to plan your visit http://www.festival.si.edu/
What is Daylight Saving Time?
During Daylight Saving Time, clocks are turned forward one hour, effectively moving an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening. Today, approximately 70 countries worldwide utilize Daylight Saving Time, in at least some portion of the country. The U.S. started observing it in 1918, so it celebrates it’s 100th birthday, this year.
In March, we move the clock forward one hour, losing an hour of sleep. In November, we move the clock back one hour, regaining that extra hour of sleep.
An easy way to remember it is: Spring forward, Fall back.
Before you go to bed on March 10, be sure to set the clocks forward one hour!
Photo: Mark Lee
Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November each year. Even though a few other countries also celebrate Thanksgiving, it’s still considered a uniquely American holiday, one that the au pairs look forward to experiencing. You can learn more about it here.
“I really enjoyed Thanksgiving with my host family. It was as I imagined! So much food to try. Everyone got dressed up and shared what they were thankful for. It was so warm and special. The next day we began to prepare for Christmas. It was magical.” Selina from Germany
Below you will find some tips to help you have a terrific Thanksgiving experience.
1. Please plan to include your au pair in your Thanksgiving celebration, if at all possible. Thanksgiving with an au pair offers an opportunity to consider the relevance of the history and meaning of Thanksgiving as you compare the hospitality offered by the Native Americans to the recently arrived Pilgrims and the hospitality you offer your au pair.
2. If you are traveling or will not be able to invite your au pair to join you for Thanksgiving, give her plenty of notice and help her make alternate plans. You don’t want to leave your au pair alone over the holiday.
3. If you are invited to attend dinner, please let your family know within 5 days of the invitation, whether you are planning to attend. It is considered rude in America to accept the invitation for dinner and then change your mind later in the month. Please be thoughtful.
4. Make sure to discuss time off during this holiday weekend. Many host families work the Friday after Thanksgiving so do not assume you have this day off or the entire weekend. Talk to your host family, BEFORE you make any plans.
5. If your host family is unable to include you in their Thanksgiving plans, please let me know if you have trouble making other plans. You may be able to join a friend and their host family for the holiday dinner.
Bonus Tip for the Kids
If you are looking for a fun recipe to make with your au pair, check out these turkey cupcakes. Find more fun activities and recipes on the Au Pair in America Fall Holidays pinboard.
Photo: Tim Sackton (Flickr)
Dehydration means that the body lacks the necessary amount of fluid. Infants and small children are more likely to become dehydrated than older children or adults, because they can lose relatively more fluid quickly.
Here are some steps to take to make sure children remain hydrated in the summer months:
- Encourage your child to drink plenty of water. On hot days, children should drink significantly more water than usual, as they are losing more due to the heat.
- Do not wait until your child is thirsty to give him water. By the time they feel thirsty, they are already becoming dehydrated.
- If your child is resistant to drinking enough water, have other liquids on hand for your child to drink throughout the day.
- Be alert to changes in behavior. A child may act confused or more irritable when they are becoming dehydrated/overheated. Get them into cooler temperatures and drinking more fluids.
- Dress your child in lightweight clothing in the summer months, particularly if she’ll be playing outdoors in warm weather. You may also consider clothes that are well ventilated as they do not trap heat close to the body.
- When there are heat and/or air quality advisories because the weather is dangerously hot, you should avoid taking the children outdoors. Check with your host parents for further guidance on this topic.
Remember to follow these tips for yourself too, so you stay well hydrated.
Photo: Darwin Bell (Flickr)
Being an au pair is an important role in a child’s life. When you are caring for a young child up to 45 hours per week, there are lots of opportunities to help them learn language. Many host parents are eager for their children to be exposed to foreign language. If this is true of your host parents, you can try the suggestions below, in both English and your native language.
Below are a few tips to start with, for more ideas, check out Ready at Five.
- Read – Read to them daily, point out pictures and ask questions. Even if they can’t answer the questions, this is still modeling conversation.
- Talk – Point out objects around them, names of their body parts, explain what you are doing and places you are going. Long before babies can speak, they benefit greatly from being spoken to.
- Sing – You can sing childhood classics or make up your own silly songs. If you are looking for song ideas, HERE is a great website with lists of songs, lyrics and links to YouTube videos* of the songs. Children’s music is also available at the public library and even on iTunes.
- Words – As children move from toddlers to preschoolers begin to point out written language.
- Writing – Toddlers and preschoolers can begin to learn pre-writing skills by drawing with crayons or doing finger paints.
*The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for babies under 18 months of age. For children 18 months to 5 years they recommend no more than 1 hour of high quality content. You can play the songs on youtube for the audio and not necessarily show the screen to the child.
Photo: Quinn Dombrowski (Flickr)
Baltimore and Annapolis Counselors with Corporate Liaison Kristin Woolston at the JHH Work Life Fair on October 7
Exciting news for employees of the Johns Hopkins Health Care System and University! Au Pair in America has recently developed a relationship with their Work, Life and Engagement department. Now, any new or reapplying host family who has a parent working in either the health care system or the university will receive a 5% discount off the annual program fee, plus no application fee. The link below will open to a page explaining more and it will allow you to contact the Work, Life and Engagement office.
Last Sunday a few members of the Baltimore APIA cluster met up at the NCR Trail in Hunt Valley to enjoy a bike ride from the Ashland Road starting point. We rode 6 miles and enjoyed a light picnic and some conversation. It was the first time for everyone there to discover this great trail which is part of the Rails to Trails project. Now they know where they can go to enjoy the beauty of nature and get a little exercise. Bikes can be rented just across the street from the Ashland starting point at Hunt Valley Village, www.HuntValleyVillage.com.
The Baltimore Cluster has attended a couple baseball games at Camden Yards this summer. We went on “free t-shirt” nights! To brush up on the rules of the game, the following video helped. It’s narrated by a Scottish man who went to his first American baseball game when invited by his new American friends. Apropos for our au pairs to watch!
Sandy Point State Park beach
August in Baltimore can get pretty HOT so take a look at this article in the Baltimore Sunpaper for some ideas on how to get the feel of the beach without having to drive 3 hours to Ocean City.