- Take care of your body. When your body is stressed, it cannot fight common germs. Be sure to dress warmly, eat well and get enough sleep ( If you stay out too much on the weekend and then show up sick on Monday, the host family may not be very compassionate).
- Don’t touch your face, especially your eyes, mouth, and nose. This is how germs enter our bodies.
- Wash your hands very often during the day and when out in public places. Use soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds. Rub your hands together for as long as it takes to say the alphabet and then you know you are good to go! When you cannot wash with water and soap, use a hand sanitizer.
- Get a Flu shot.
- Print your medical insurance info. Or, download the insurance app to your smart phone. You can search your email for the word ” CISI” and download the attachments to this emall. Print and carry this with you.
- KNOW where to go. Today, google where is the closest CVS minute clinic near me. You don’t need an appointment, but one can be made on line.
- Save some money. Even with insurance, being sick cost a lot of money. Save up at least two weeks pay to be sure you can take care of yourself, if you need to see a doctor. You can file a claim with your insurance to get a portion of your money back or to have it applied to your deductible. The instructions are on our blog in the resource section.
- READ the information on our blog about your medical care to understand more about taking care of yourself.
- Missing Home
- Discuss the change in routine and roles
- Only in America!
- New Year’s Eve in the USA
Thanksgiving is a public holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November every year in the United States. It started as a harvest festival and has been celebrated nationally on and off since 1789. The most important part of Thanksgiving for American families is to spend family time together.
“My favorite holiday was Thanksgiving. Firstly, it was my first holiday with the whole family in America. Secondly, the whole family came together. All aunts and uncles and their kids came to grandma’s. We played football with all of them, including grandma and grandpa. It was the first time I played it and it was so much fun for all. We had a great dinner with all the typical things you can imagine … it was deeeelicious! It was so great to be with such a big family and I really enjoyed that day. I will remember it my whole life, I hope.” – Swantje from Germany
Here are a few tips to help you have a terrific Thanksgiving experience.
Please plan to include your au pair in your Thanksgiving celebration, if at all possible. 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.
If you are invited to attend dinner, please let your family know within 5 days of the invitation, whether you are planning to attend, so they may make plans. If your host family is unable to include you in their Thanksgiving plans, please let me know if you have trouble making other plans, so I can assist.
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.
Bonus Tip for the Kids
If you are looking for a fun recipe to make with your au pair, check out these turkey cookies. Find more fun activities and recipes on the Au Pair in America Fall Holidays pinboard.
Safety is a very important issue for Halloween. This is the most popular holiday for children who are able to go from door to door showing off their choice of costume for this year, and collecting candy from the neighbors. For au pairs there are issues to consider that may not have been encountered before. Here are some reminders to help make this holiday fun and safe. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!
-Children should always be supervised by an adult when going “Trick or Treating”.
-Small children should not be allowed to run ahead or behind the Au pair. Talk to the host parents to find out if holding the child’s hand is necessary.
-Only go to those homes that are known in the neighborhood to be safe participants.
-Never let a child go inside the neighbor’s home unless you know the person.
-Always check the candy before letting the children eat it. Make sure that anything that has been unwrapped, homemade or just does not look safe is thrown away. Ask the parents about this.
–When driving please slow down, as there will be a lot of children out in the dark. They may not be visible.
-Talk to the children about safety during Halloween. (crossing the street, talking to strangers and waiting until their candy is checked before they eat it).
-Children may want to use a flashlight to see in the dark, this is also a good way for them to be seen by drivers.
Have a reflective pin, necklace or headpiece so that the children can be seen by drivers.
-If you have any safety concerns, talk to the parents.
-Ask the parents about rules for candy consumption for the children. Most parents will not want their children to gorge themselves with a lot of candy at one time. Usually, parents will let children have a couple of pieces a day.
-Enjoy yourself. Halloween is a fun holiday for adults too! You may want to dress up with the children.
Don’t forget to take lots of photos.
Written by ALowery ATE cluster GA.
Being knowledgeable in basic first aid and CPR is important for au pairs (and anyone else caring for children). Au Pair in America’s commitment to infant/child safety begins before au pairs arrive to the U.S., with pre-arrival training and continue throughout the au pair year.
#1 Training At Orientation
Our orientation includes seminars by American Red Cross instructors who provide hands-on demonstrations in infant/child CPR and safety. Printed materials are provided that reinforce the safety information and can be used to review from time to time.
#2 Enroll in a Red Cross Certification Class
After settling into their host community, all au pairs are encouraged to complete an Infant/Child CPR and First Aid certification program. Au Pair in America will pay for this training through the American Red Cross.
Classes are available through the Red Cross. Au Pair in America will pay for the cost of a class providing an au pair has at least six months left on her visa and is taking one of several approved childcare/child safety-related classes, such as Adult and Pediatric First Aid/CPR/AED. Au pairs should check with their community counselor and host family before signing up. Au Pair in America will register the au pair directly.
#3 Stay Current on Safety Information
The Official American Red Cross First Aid app puts expert advice for everyday emergencies in your hand. Available for iPhone and Android devices, this app gives you instant access to the information you need to know to handle the most common first aid emergencies. With videos, interactive quizzes and simple step-by-step advice, it’s never been easier to know first aid. Download the app for free from the American Red Cross website or in your app store.
Photos: Robin Leon
Almost everyone experiences culture shock when they come to a completely new environment. Everything is different: the language, the food, and the people.
When everything feels so unfamiliar, it is natural to long for the security of home. However, you don’t want to let that feeling of longing for home, make you too sad or prevent you from finding happiness in your new home.
Here are my Top 5 Tips for Dealing with Homesickness
1. Make Friends – Don’t wait for other au pairs to reach out to you, reach out to them. There are other lots of new au pairs who are feeling the same way you are right now. Set a goal to reach out to a few of them each day. Some will respond and some will not. Don’t let that discourage you. No one will ever be mad at you for sending them a message to say hello or ask if they want to do something together. Make friends from various countries and you will also get a chance to practice your English skills together.
2. Stay in touch with your home country, but not too much. Skyping or talking on the phone every day with your family and/or friends back home often makes homesickness worse. Try texting instead and reduce the Skype and phone calls to once a week, until you feel stronger. It’s much harder seeing the faces and hearing the voices of those you miss.
3. Get out of the house (or your room specifically) – Go to cluster meetings, have coffee or go to movies with other au pairs, join a gym, go to the library, go for a walk, visit the mall, get a manicure, visit a museum. If someone invites you out, say “yes.” Also, don’t be afraid to do the inviting. If your host family invites you to do things with them, say “yes.” This will help you get to know each other and contribute to your overall happiness.
4. Realize that it definitely gets better – All au pairs experience homesickness and nearly all of them stay and have a successful year (some stay for two years). So, it must get better, right? Once you get past the initial homesickness, most au pairs report how quickly the year goes by.
5. Make Plans – Create your own Au Pair Bucket List (places you want to go, new foods to try, new things to experience during your year in the U.S.) and start doing them now. Post on our cluster group to find others who may want to join you on your adventures.
Photo by: Hernán Piñera (Flickr)
The summer vacation is over! Every Fall, nearly 55 million children across the United States return to school. Many children will be on foot or using their bikes to either get to the bus stop or school grounds.
School days bring heavy road congestion with buses stopping to pick up students, children on bikes that are rushing to get to school before the tardy bell rings, and stressed out parents dropping kids off on their way work. Drivers must slow down and pay attention when children are present. The afternoon hours are particularly the most dangerous. Over the last 10 years, nearly one in four child pedestrian fatalities occurred between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
As children head back to school, here are some helpful reminders to drivers:
Slow Down and Obey School Zone Speed Limits
Speed limits in school zones are reduced for a reason. A pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling at 25 mph is nearly two-thirds less likely to be killed compared to a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling just 10 mph faster. Fines for speeding in a school zone can be as high as $400.00
This is a standard law, noted clearly in school zones, yet drivers regularly ignore it. Passing is not permitted in the 15 mph zone, no matter how slow another vehicle may be traveling. Passing doesn’t mean going around the vehicle. No passing means that your bumper cannot pass any other car’s bumper going in the same direction. Another important reminder, never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians.
In a school zone when there are flashing lights, drivers must stop and yield to pedestrians crossing the crosswalk or intersection.
Watch for kids crossing the streets. Children are quick, often unpredictable, tend to ignore hazards and take risks. A student crossing the road unexpectedly or emerging suddenly between two parked cars could be tragic. Eliminating distractions such as talking on your cell phone, eating, etc. is also strongly encouraged. Never text and drive and follow all laws pertaining to school buses. Research shows that taking your eyes off the road for two seconds doubles your chances of crashing.
Come to a complete stop. Research shows that more than one-third of drivers roll through stop signs in neighborhoods and school zones. Check carefully for children on sidewalks and in crosswalks before proceeding. Always stop for a school crossing guard holding up a stop sign.
Never block the crosswalk when stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn. Pay special attention as you approach the intersection to avoid this as it forces pedestrians to go around you and this could place them in the path of moving traffic.
Every vehicle has blind spots and children are small and may dart unexpectantly. Double-check for children walking on the sidewalk. In your own driveway, look all around your vehicle before backing up. Always back up slowly and teach your children to never play in, under or around vehicles. Also, discuss with them where to stand when a vehicle is reversing.
Watch for Bicycles
Young children on bikes can be unsteady, inexperienced, and most definitely unpredictable. Slow down and allow at least three feet of passing distance between your vehicle and a bicyclist. If your child rides a bicycle to school, require that he or she wear a bicycle helmet on every ride and map out a safe route with details on what to avoid and how to navigate their route.
According to the National Safety Council, most of the children who lose their lives in bus-related incidents are between the ages 4 to 7 years old, and they’re walking. They are either hit by the bus, or a motorist illegally passing a stopped bus. When the school bus has initiated the stop sign, all drivers must stop in both directions. It is illegal in all 50 states to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children and sadly we see news stories regularly of impatient drivers who race by a bus unloading young children. Obeying all road rules is imperative for student safety. It is also costly for a ticket, costing as much as $1000.00 in Georgia for the first offense.
The information posted was obtained at https://theumphx.com/2019/08/05/back-to-school-safety-reminder-drivers-watch-out-for-the-kids/
Feeling homesick is a normal feeling when you first arrive as an Au pair. YOU CAN GET THROUGH IT! It just takes a little time and some effort on your part. Know that you can live with being uncomfortable for a short time. Trust yourself that you made the right decision. Trust me when I say it will get better and your whole year is ahead of you. Fun times and lifetime friends await you. GO GET THEM!
Here are some things to do if you are feeling a little blue:
- Be a tourist, get to know where you live, visit the local sights and explore just as you would if on vacation. Start a list of favorite places.
- Plan a trip with a friend, a day trip or a weekend, get excited about doing something new with a new friend and before you know it you will be excited and chatting about the trip instead of talking about what you are missing at home.
- Go to your cluster meeting, This will definitely help you.
- Not everything has to change. If you loved jogging at home, do it here. There are some habits you love that you can keep.
- Create a routine. Having a routine will help you feel at home and settle into life here.
- Do not stay home. Get out and about, go to the gym, the park, a coffee shop, a movie, staying home alone will not help homesickness.
- Ask your counselor to connect you with another au pair who was also homesick, there’s nothing better than talking to someone who has been in your shoes.
- Start planning a digital memory book. Collect pictures and mementos from your year in a special online folder. Online sites like Shutter Fly and Social Print Studios offer great deals on photo books.It will give you something to work on when you have quiet time alone and as your year progresses you will be able to see what an amazing experience you are having. You’ll have a wonderful keepsake to take home with you. You’ll feel so proud of your memory book!
- Most importantly, talk to someone, if you feel sad or homesick. Being part of a cluster enables us to help and support each other.
A little inspiration from a former au pair… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3IBmRWGnwA
Have a great year, this is your dream, make the most of it!
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.
Known 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 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 festivities ranging from fireworks, parades, family gatherings and barbecues.
This weekend you can count on enjoying traditional favorites such as hamburgers and hot dogs, chicken, ribs, potato salad, chips and watermelon.
No other holiday can provide such a uniquely American experience. Being in the USA on Fourth of July can be wonderful and exciting anywhere. Here in the south, be sure to experience The Fourth in our tradition! A couple of things you will want to accomplish to be sure!
Watch the Peachtree Road Race!
Hold a sparkler
Have a picnic with fried chicken
Sit on a porch decorated with red, white and blue bunting
Run in a potato sack race with your host children
Ask what the fourth of July means to Americans you have met in your Au pair year.
On this night with fireworks soaring and families gathered together, you will see in their eyes a sense of pride and respect. Pride in a country where being free is everything…… and respect for all those who give of themselves to protect that freedom.
A few facts about this Holiday!
- Fourth of July is the federal holiday marking the Colonies’ adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776,
- The Fourth of July was not declared a national holiday until 1941.
- The oldest, continuous Independence Day celebration in the United States is the 4th of July Parade in Bristol, Rhode Island; it began in 1785.
- The Pennsylvania Evening Post was the first newspaper to print the Declaration of Independence.
- Benjamin Franklin proposed the turkey as the national bird but was overruled by John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, who wanted the bald eagle.
- The “Star Spangled Banner” was written by Francis Scott Key during the War of 1812 and not decreed the official national anthem of the United States until 1931.
- In 1776, there were 2.5 million people living in the new nation. (Today there are over 311 million.)
- There are more than 30 towns nationwide that have the word “Liberty” in their names.
- Approximately 150 million hot dogs are consumed on this day. It’s the biggest hot dog holiday of the year.
Have fun with the children too, visit the link below for fun coloring pages, craft ideas, puzzles and games to celebrate the 4th of July holiday
Have a wonderful 4th of July Weekend!