Author Archives: Andrea McMains

Do You Need Sports Insurance?

Do You Need Sports Insurance?

Trying out or participating in various sports can be very exciting, especially if this is your first time experiencing certain activities. However, you should also know the risks and be prepared.

Is it risky to do sports without the sports insurance?                                               

Yes. If you have to pay your own hospital bills for a broken bone, you might be shocked at how much that would cost. This website has some cost estimates.

Here are a couple examples:

  • Without medical coverage, to treat a broken arm or leg (that does not require surgery) it could cost up to $2,500.
  • Without medical coverage, to treat a broken arm or leg (requiring surgery) it could cost $16,000 or more.
  • Everyone needs to understand how the medical coverage works for sports related injuries. There is a list of “high-risk sports/activities” that are not covered with the basic or upgrade medical insurance plans. Those activities are ONLY covered with the Sports Insurance Package.

The Sports Insurance was available pre-departure and may also be purchased at any time during your year. It takes effect within 48 hours of your enrollment and it is good for 12 months. The cost will be the same ($90) whether you have a month left or your whole year ahead of you. I recommend you pay for it early on, if you didn’t already purchase it. You never know when an opportunity might present itself and you don’t want to miss out on an adventure. You also don’t want to take a risk on getting injured and being responsible for the bill on your own.

Below is a partial list of sports that are only covered with the sports insurance package:
Football, Rugby, Scuba diving, Ski-doo,  Wakeboarding, Skydiving, Parachuting, Rock climbing, Zip line, Skate boarding, Rollerblading, Roller skating,  Ice Skating, Skiing, Snowboarding, Snowmobiles & Snowshoeing.  View the full list on your insurance brochure.

Note: Injuries sustained while partaking in these sports are covered with purchase of the Sports Insurance ONLY.

How to register for the Sports Insurance
Contact your CC, if you are unsure which insurance package you have. To sign up, submit a completed copy of the Sports Insurance Enrollment Form along with payment to Au Pair in America. It takes three days for your coverage to begin. If you think you will be doing any of these sports, you should get it now.

First appeared in Cynthia Chan’s Maryland Blog. Written by Cynthia Chan

It is officially cold and flu season. What can an Au pair do to be prepared?

Help, I feel sick! It is officially cold and flu season. What can you do to be prepared, if you wake up sick? What can you do to prevent getting sick?
    • 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.

Tips for understanding how holiday time can affect an Au pair.

Holiday Season in the USA will be a very special time for your family and Au pair.  It can also be a time when the Au Pair may need a little extra support. Consider these tips: 

 

  • Missing Home
Certain people and places are missed and our traditions and activities seem “different” right at a time when an Au Pair would welcome something familiar. My observation has been that an Au
Pair’s emotions are close to the surface during the holidays. The enormity of this year away from
home hits her and sometimes throws her into a self-protective mode. You can help her through
this unfamiliar territory by talking to her about what your specific family activities will be (when
the candles will be lit, the stockings hung, the gifts exchanged, the meals prepared and eaten, the
relatives arriving, etc.) An especially thoughtful touch is to ask her if she has any favorite holiday foods or
traditions that could be incorporated into your celebration.
  • What are your expectations?       
Talk to your Au Pair specifically about what has to be accomplished. This will help to get her involved and interested. Remember her mother has probably taken this responsibility in previous years so don’t expect her to just “know” what needs to be done. Give her some clear, agreed-upon assignments, make her feel a part of things and let her know her contribution is needed and appreciated.
  • Discuss the change in routine and roles 
The parents are home and this is unsettling to the children as well as to the Au Pair. Some different work expectations may be needed since the kids may prefer to hover around the parents. This can make an Au Pair feel unwanted and unsure of what is expected of her. If she is thrown off balance she may not see other things she can do instead of the usual. The high emotions and energy of the kids at this time of year seem like craziness to her. Assure her that things are temporary and will be back to normal soon! Suggest things she can
do to help and encourage her to roll with the punches and just enjoy the general fuss. And host parents need to remember that no matter how stressful those long holiday days are, the rules of how many hours an Au pair can work are mandated by the State Department. No Au pair is allowed to work more than 10 hours each day or left in sole charge of the children for more than 10 hours.
  • Only in America!
The number of gifts given to the children and the excesses we enjoy with gifts, food, and decorations are overwhelming to most Au Pairs. This often causes them to withdraw as they attempt to catch their breath and to evaluate the differences.
  • New Year’s Eve in the USA
Socially you should remember the holidays are a time when Au Pairs want, and need, to be with their friends. This helps their survival mechanism when they are missing old friends back home. New Year’s Eve, especially in America, is a special occasion to an Au Pair so open communication is very important as you decide on New Year’s Eve plans. If possible, use a different babysitter on this important night for her.

Halloween Safety Tips For Au Pairs.

HALLOWEEN SAFETYHalloween

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.

 

Facts about Flu Vaccination! What Every Au Pair Should Know.

Facts about Flu Vaccination! What Every Au Pair Should Know.

The information contained in this article was obtained from The Centers for Disease Control And Prevention. For more information, please go to https://www.cdc.gov/flu/

The best way to protect yourself and your host family against influenza (flu) is to get a flu vaccine. Flu is a contagious respiratory disease that can lead to serious illness, hospitalization, or even death. CDC recommends everyone six months and older get an annual flu vaccine.

Au pairs can get a flu vaccination at many locations( urgent care centers, Pharmacies, Doctor’s office, Public health centers.) Costco and your county health clinic may offer the best cost.

The average cost is 20 to 40 dollars. Au Pair insurance will not cover the cost of flu vaccination. Most host families will gladly pay for your flu shot.

 

What are some key reasons to get a flu vaccine?

  • The flu vaccine has been shown to reduce flu illnesses, hospitalization, and even death in children and young adults.
  • While some people who get vaccinated still get sick, flu vaccination has been shown in several studies to reduce the severity of illness.
  • A vaccine is cheaper than the illness. The average cost for a patient with flu is minimal $1000.00
  • 3.7 days to 5.7 days is the average length of time someone is not able to work due to being sick with the Flu.
  • Having a complicated Flu illness could end your Au Pair term early.

Misconceptions about the Flu Vaccine:

Can a flu vaccine give you the flu?

No, flu vaccines cannot cause flu illness. Flu vaccines given with a needle (i.e., flu shots) are currently made in two ways: the vaccine is made either with a) flu viruses that have been ‘inactivated’ (killed) and that therefore are not infectious, or b) using only a single gene from a flu virus (as opposed to the full virus) in order to produce an immune response without causing infection.

Is it better to get the flu than the flu vaccine?

No. Flu can be a serious disease, particularly among young children, older adults, and people with certain chronic health conditions, such as asthma, heart disease or diabetes. Any flu infection can carry a risk of serious complications, hospitalization or death, even among otherwise healthy children and adults.  Most people suffering from flu illness miss 4 to 7 days of work and will spend $250.00 to 1000.00 dollars in health care costs (http://theweek.com/articles/471450/cost-getting-flu-by-numbers.) Therefore, getting vaccinated is a safer and less costly choice than risking illness to obtain immune protection.

Is the flu vaccine safe?                                               
Flu vaccines have a good safety record. Hundreds of millions of
Americans have safely received flu vaccines over the past 50 years.
Extensive research supports the safety of seasonal flu vaccines.
Each year, CDC works with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) and other partners to ensure the highest safety standards for
flu vaccines. More information about the safety of flu vaccines is
available at www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine/vaccinesafety.htm.

What are the side effects of flu vaccines?
Flu shots: Flu shots are made using killed flu viruses (for inactivated
vaccines), or without flu virus at all (for the recombinant vaccine). So,
you cannot get flu from a flu shot. Some minor side effects that may
occur include soreness, redness and/or swelling where the shot was
given, low-grade fever, and aches. If these problems occur, they are usually mild and go away on their own, but serious reactions are also possible. Almost all people who receive flu vaccine have no serious problems from it.
When and Where to get vaccinated?       
You should get a flu vaccine by the end of October. However, as long
as flu viruses are circulating, vaccination should continue throughout
flu season, even in January or later.

Communication with your Community Counselor

It is very important to stay in communication with your counselor. Without at least monthly conversations, it is impossible for your counselor to know what is going well for you or what you need help with. The State Department of our Government sets the rules for which APIA must follow. One of those rules is that you must have at least one communication with your counselor per month. Most of our communication will take place at our monthly meetings. If you do not attend a cluster meeting, it is important that you talk with your counselor that month and discuss how your year is going.

Cluster meetings are mandatory. This is part of your contract with APIA. You will not always be able to attend. The following are reasons that you might not attend a cluster meeting:

  • You are sick.
  • You have an education class.
  • Your host family has a conflict in the schedule.
  • You are concerned about the cost of the meeting.

These are the only acceptable excuses. If you must miss a meeting for one of the above reasons, please call and let me know. If you miss more than three meetings during your year, I will not be able to give you a good recommendation in reference to your participation with APIA.

There are other times you MUST call and talk with your counselor:

  • When you go on vacation with your family or on your own.
  • To report any accidents: car, personal, in the home, with host children
  • If you are involved in an incident in which the police or firemen are present: fire, accident, robbery, etc.
  • If there are any concerns with the host family which harm you in any physical or emotional way.
  • If any incident occurs with you which may compromise your completion of the year.

Many common questions can be answered without calling your counselor.

The official web site for Au Pair in America ( www.aupairinamerica.com then scroll to the bottom and click ” current Au pair”) is a great place to search for interesting facts or important information. Our cluster blog site is also a great place to find the answer you are looking for. The following are examples of questions you can answer on the web site or on our blog.

  • Where can I go to the doctor?
  • What do I need to get my driver’s license?
  • What do I need to travel to another country?
  • How do I pay my USA taxes?
  • What activity can I do with my host children?                                                                              Your counselor is always glad to communicate with you. You are always welcome to contact your counselor. Here are some things to remember:
  • It might not be possible for her to speak to you or to respond to your text at the exact time you want.
  • If your counselor does not answer the phone, she may be in a meeting or talking with someone else. If this is the case, you will reach her voice mail. Voice mail in the USA is an important way businesses operate.
  • Your Counselor will not know that you called if you do not leave a message. Please call once and leave a message.
  • Do not call or text multiple times. It is only necessary to leave one voice mail or text message within a 24 hour time.
  • Please don’t feel shy about your English skills. Your counselor is in the habit of listening to au pair messages and she will be able to understand you.
  •  If you have an emergency, your counselor will call you back as soon as she receives your message. If you cannot wait on your counselor with an immediate emergency, call the after-hours emergency number for Au pair In America and follow the prompts for emergency assistance.
  • If you are calling to say hi or with a question, she will return your call within 24 hours.
  • Most counselors have set office hours. If you call or text outside of these hours, and you do not have an emergency, she will call you back on the next business day.
  • Resist texting after hours or on the weekend. Send an email and your counselor will answer this when she returns to work on the next business day.     

 

 

Counselors love talking with au pairs and look forward to hearing how your year is going!  Counselors also love hearing about ideas for cluster meetings. So, call soon!!

Back to school driving tips for Au Pairs!

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

“No Passing”
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.

Flashing Lights
In a school zone when there are flashing lights, drivers must stop and yield to pedestrians crossing the crosswalk or intersection.

Be Diligent
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.

Stop
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.

Crosswalks
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.

Reversing Concerns
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.

Bus Safety
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/

Are you feeling a little homesick?

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! 

Happy Fourth Of July!

fireworks

 

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.peachtree race

This weekend you can count on enjoying traditional favorites such as hamburgers and hot dogs, chicken, ribs, potato salad, chips and watermelon.  

eating 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!

Eat Watermelon

See fireworks

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

http://www.apples4theteacher.com/holidays/fourth-of-july/

house with bunting

Have a wonderful 4th of July Weekend!

Making A Cardboard Box Car For Your Host Children.

Host Family and Au Pair 2019 EVENT
September 7th
On September 7th we will be meeting with all of the Atlanta APIA host families, children and Au pairs for a special event. Key leaders from APIA will be flying down to visit with us too! We will be attending the British Car Festival here in Norcross.
https://www.atlantabritishcarfayre.com/
The best part is going to be a car contest for all of the Au Pairs and children!
Over the summer, you and your host kids will be making a car out of a large cardboard box. On  SEPTEMBER 7th, Everyone will bring in their cars for a CONTEST!
There will be FIVE winning teams and PRIZES for Five categories
  • Most functional
  • Most cultural
  • Most funny
  • Most sporty
  • Most colorful

This is a wonderful way to entertain the kids this summer when it rains or everyone is tired of the sun!

If you google how to make a car out of a box, you will see some great ideas. The ones that are made to break down and pop back up are really neat. Remember you must transport the car to the event on September 7th with your host family.
Here is some inspiration below and you can google many more ideas with search words like:
bulid a cardboard car.
Here is a great colilapsible car made from a box.

 

Can’t wait to see your creativity!!!!!!!