Tag Archives: tips

Back to School Planning

Back to school time is here. This can mean changes to the au pair schedule and possibly to the duties.  It is very important to communicate these changes to avoid problems.

Here is a list of topics to consider discussing:

  • 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)
  • Driving laws regarding stopping for school buses
  • How to tell if school has been canceled or delayed for bad weather
  • Add the au pair to your list of people allowed to pick up the kids from school and explain the process
  • What to pack for lunch
  • The routine after school (do they have free time before starting homework, what to give for a snack, any chores, where do they put their backpacks & lunchboxes)
  • How to communicate about what’s going on at school. Your Kids in Care logbook from Au Pair in America can be a great two-way communication tool for keeping track of schedules, afterschool activities and day to day info that needs to be transferred between host parents and au pair.
  • If your au pair will be the one going through the children’s backpack and helping with homework, consider designating an area for putting things that need to be read and/or signed by parents.

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

Check out Au Pair in America’s Pinterest School Tips and Ideas pinboard for things like organization ideas, back to school traditions, printable lunch box notes, and fun lunch recipes.


Healthy Eating


  • Eat breakfast – it’s the best way to start the day.
  • Drink water – 4 glasses or more a day, more when it is hot or when you are active.
  • Downsize your portions – how much you eat is as important as what you eat.
  • Snacking – most packaged snacks are high in calories and low in nutrition. Skip the cookies and the chips and snack instead on whole fruits, nuts, popcorn (without the butter), carrots or non-fat yoghurt.
  • Fiber – foods rich in fiber are filling and give you energy. These foods include bran cereal, fresh and dried fruit, broccoli, asparagus, peas, corn, cabbage, brussels sprouts, whole grain breads, brown rice and lentils.
  • Lean protein – whether or not you eat meat, you need protein. Best sources include skinless chicken or turkey breast, fish and shellfish, egg whites, lowfat milk and cheese, kidney beans, chick peas, tofu and other soy products.
  • Variety – try to eat fruits and vegetables of many different colors. This will help you get many vitamins and other nutrients important to your health.
  • Stop eating before you are full – you’ll feel better.

If you want to lose weight, here are some ideas to help you do that:

Crash diets or quick weight-loss schemes are not a good long-term solution.
Have patience in losing a half-pound to one pound per week.
Always drink plenty of water or other fluids.
Never skip meals in an effort to lose weight.
Get up and go, increase your physical activity.
Eat a variety of foods.

Helpful Tips for Au Pairs

1. Stay in touch with your Community Counselor –it is the only way he/she will get to know you!

2. Attend cluster meetings

  • Call or email if you cannot come to a monthly meeting
  • Let your counselor know if you will be out of town
  • Call when you need help or advice-your counselor is an impartial listener and will always consider both sides of the situation. Your counselor will  give you an honest opinion.

3. Be a good buddy

Remember what it is like to be a new au pair. Welcome new arrivals. Arrange to meet a new au pair. Take her out. Accompany her to the next cluster meeting.

4. Take responsibility for your actions

No one is perfect. If you make a mistake, take responsibility and try to correct the situation. Speak openly and honestly with your host family when a mistake has been made.

5. Respect the privacy of others

Gossiping about other au pairs and host families can be very harmful. If your friends confide in you, honor the confidence. Do not tell others about what goes on in other host families. Use discretion when posting on Facebook. Remember, host families read it too!

6. Communicate

  • Share your ideas, discuss cultural differences, ask questions when you don’t understand
  • If you have a problem, present it to your host parents clearly and calmly. Suggest a solution to the situation. Listen to what they say and try to reach a compromise.
  • Let your host family know if language is a problem. Admit if you do not understand a word or instructions. Ask questions.
  • Keep in mind that everyone has good intentions. We may just not know what they are. When there is a disagreement with your host family, remember to listen to their point-of-view.  You may not agree with it, but it’s important to listen and hear it.

7. Follow house rules.

The only way you will establish trust is by following rules – even those with which you may not agree.  If you are not sure of the house rule, ask..

8. Be considerate of your host parents.

  • Keep them informed of where you are going.
  • Let them know if you are staying out over night.
  • If you plan on traveling, discuss the details with them and do not interfere with their schedules.
  • Remember that your host parents are tired when they get home from work.

9. Show appreciation – return the favors your family does for you with kindness and generosity.

10. Take initiative – don’t wait to be asked, anticipate children’s needs, offer to help when you are sharing “family time”

11. Let a good example.

  • The children you care for look up to you. Don’t do things in front of the children that their parents would not want them doing.

12.Take care of yourself

  • Have reasonable expectations of yourself – be patient as you learn to adjust to life in America
  • Try to understand and accept cultural differences – that is part of why you came here; learn from the experience
  • If you are feeling homesick or house bound call someone and give yourself something to look forward to
  • Keep reasonable evening hours if you are expected to get up early to work the next day

Talk, Talk, Talk! Communication and an open mind are key to a successful year!