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)
photo by craftycars
There are many safety tips on the Au Pair in America website http://aupairinamerica.com/. In honor of Baby Safety Month, here are some more specific baby tips:
- Check condition and sturdiness of toys. Discard any with sharp edges or are broken or falling apart.
- Check children’s clothing for loose buttons and strings.
- Is baby’s pacifier still in good condition? If not, toss it. Never use strings to attach the pacifier to baby’s clothes or crib.
- Where do you set baby’s carrier when she’s in it? Not on the counter, or any high surface. Babies can wiggle and tip themselves over.
- Walkers can be dangerous (especially old ones that don’t meet today’s safety standards), they allow baby to move very quickly and reach things they normally can’t. Never use around stairs.
- Stroller check. If your stroller is collapsible, be sure latches are secure before putting baby in. Always check that your child’s arms are out of the way when reversing handle directions so they won’t get pinched. Be sure to use that safety strap. Don’t hang overloaded or heavy bags on the handle of the stroller; this may cause it to tip over.
- Can you name the 12 most common choking foods for kids under five? Popcorn, hot dogs, chunks of meat, raisins, ice cubes, chunky peanut butter, nuts of any kind, hard candy, grapes, raw carrots, potato chips and corn chips. Don’t leave toddlers alone while eating; if they begin to choke you need to be nearby to assist.
- Get a piggy bank: this is a great place to put coins so they don’t end up on the floor, in the couch cushions and then baby’s mouth.
- Never leave your child unattended in the bathtub. If the phone rings, let the machine get it.