Monthly Archives: October 2015

The A B Cs of a Successful Au Pair Year!

ABC’s of a Successful Year as an Au Pair

Au Pairs at the Mall with CC


Alcohol – The drinking age in most states is 21. Yes, you used to be able to drink in your country – but you can’t drink here if you are under 21. If you are supposed to get a ride home with someone who has had too much to drink – find another way! If you get caught drinking and driving you have to go home!


Boyfriends – Some host families will not like the idea of you having a boyfriend – they will feel threatened by the time he takes away from them. It is best to be honest and find out about their rules regarding your boyfriend picking you up at their home (they may not want him to even have their home phone number – let alone their address). Don’t ever expect your host family to allow your boyfriend to spend the night.


Buddy – Be a buddy to the new au pairs that arrive! Please remember how it felt for you in those first days! Call new au pairs to say hello, take them out for coffee or to bring them to their first cluster meeting.


Car – The car is a privilege not a right. Please do not demand the car – there may be times when you do not have access to one (bad weather, other car not working, au pair car being repaired). Do not drive and use a cell phone at the same time! Never, ever – leave the children unattended in the car!!


Community Counselor – Your community counselor is here to help you to have a wonderful year. If you need advice about anything – call! Remember you can talk to your counselor on the phone. Many au pairs feel they need to discuss something – face to face – that is not necessary. Sometimes it is more important to talk immediately – than to wait for a convenient time for both of you to meet.


Cluster Meetings – A successful au pair will come to the monthly cluster meetings and stay connected to her counselor and the other au pairs. If you don’t come to the meetings – I don’t get to know you and there may be a time during your year that it is critical to you that I do know you!!


Downloading – Do not download anything on to your host family’s computer without their permission.


Eating – Au Pairs complain about gaining weight during their year here – portions are much larger – and it’s easy to gain weight. Be careful, eat right and make sure you get enough exercise.


Friends – Unbelievable as it may sound friends can cause problems. Make sure that they are respectful of your host family’s rules, too.


Grooming – Silly as it may seem to you – Americans shower everyday and change their clothes everyday. You will be expected to do the same.


Homesickness- It is very normal to feel homesick! The first 2 weeks to a month can be very challenging for you! Give yourself time and understand that your feelings are very normal!


Internet – You should never be on the internet when you are taking care of the host children. They deserve your undivided attention. Ask your host family when it is convenient for you to be on the internet. For some families you will be tying up their phone line – please be respectful and don’t stay on for hours and hours. Never give out information about yourself or your host family in a CHAT ROOM – it is very dangerous!!


Jerks – You will meet a lot of jerks while you are here in the United States. Don’t trust everyone you meet – don’t give out your host family’s number until you truly know the person – and with your host family’s permission.


Listening – Listen to the needs of your host children and your host parents. Keep the lines of communication open.


Money – Don’t spend all of your money every week! It is not a good idea to live paycheck to paycheck, ever! Have money on hand for unexpected expenses – insurance deductibles (medical and car – in case of illness or a car accident), extra college costs, clothes, Starbucks, phone bills – the list can go on and on.


Negotiate – If you are unhappy with anything – you must communicate this to your host family. You many not want to do this when you have just arrived to their home – but after you have earned their trust and respect. Remember – if you want a rule to change – even after discussion it may not change. Some things are not negotiable!


Overwhelmed – If ever you are feeling overwhelmed – speak up immediately. Some times you just need to talk about it – and you will feel better.


Phone – You should never be on the phone during your work hours. Don’t monopolize your host family’s telephone line for hours at a time. If they have call waiting – answer it – if it is for your host family get off the phone and let them know they have a call. Take good messages if you answer the phone and your host family is not available.


Quiet – Be respectful of the hours that your host family is putting the children to bed and when they are going to bed, too. Noise should be kept to a minimum and no calls should come in after 9:00.


Responsible – Your host family has given you the responsibility for their children. Please take good care of them and always put their needs above yours during your working hours.


School – You are required to attend classes for six semester hours or its equivalent (80 hours) at an accredited U.S. post secondary institution.


Trustworthy – Be honest with your host family – if you feel you must lie to them – it is not a good match. Talk to your counselor about your feelings.


United States of America – May this year here be one of the best of your life. You are responsible for your destiny here. This year is what you make it. Don’t sit around and complain to other au pairs – and do nothing about your unhappiness. Sometimes it is just a change of attitude that is necessary.


Vacation – Vacations need to be mutually agreed upon. Talk to your host family about when a good time for you to vacation will be.


Work/Study/Play – The best au pairs find a balance between their work as an au pair, their school and their free time. Obviously, your host family’s primary concern is that their children are being cared for by a responsible adult.


X-Rated – Attitudes regarding sex may be very different in your country. Please be aware of what is appropriate viewing for children in America.


Yo Yo – This year will be filled with ups and downs. If you understand that – it will make things a lot easier.


ZZZZ – Make sure you get enough sleep! You need to be on top of your game everyday!!


Halloween in the USA ( information and safety tips)

Halloween in the USA!            Happy_halloween_design_background

Halloween, the last day of October, has a special significance for children, who dress in funny or ghostly costumes and knock on neighborhood doors shouting “Trick or Treat!” Pirates and princesses, ghosts and witches all hold bags open to catch the candy or other goodies that the neighbors drop in.

Since the 800’s November 1st is a religious holiday known as All Saints’ Day. The Mass that was said on this day was called Allhallowmas. The evening before became known as All Hallow e’en, or Halloween. Like some other American celebrations, its origins lie in both pre-Christian and Christian customs.

Today school dances and neighborhood parties called “block parties” are popular among young and old alike. More and more adults celebrate Halloween. They dress up as historical or political figures and go to masquerade parties. In larger cities, costumed children and their parents gather at shopping malls early in the evening. Stores and businesses give parties with games and treats for the children. Teenagers enjoy costume dances at their schools and the more outrageous the costume the better! Certain pranks such as soaping car windows and tipping over garbage cans are expected. But partying and pranks are not the only things that Halloweeners enjoy doing. Some collect money to buy food and medicine for needy children around the world.

Symbols of Halloween

Halloween originated as a celebration connected with evil spirits. Witches flying on broomsticks with black cats, ghosts, goblins and skeletons have all evolved as symbols of Halloween. They are popular trick-or-treat costumes and decorations for greeting cards and windows. Black is one of the traditional Halloween colors, probably because Halloween festivals and traditions took place at night. In the weeks before October 31, Americans decorate windows of houses and schools with silhouettes of witches and black cats.

Pumpkins are also a symbol of Halloween. The pumpkin is an orange-colored squash, and orange has become the other traditional Halloween color. Carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns is a Halloween custom also dating back to Ireland. A legend grew up about a man named Jack who was so stingy that he was not allowed into heaven when he died, because he was a miser. He couldn’t enter hell either because he had played jokes on the devil. As a result, Jack had to walk the earth with his lantern until Judgment Day. The Irish people carved scary faces out of turnips, beets or potatoes representing “Jack of the Lantern,” or jack-o’-lantern. When the Irish brought their customs to the United States, they carved faces on pumpkins because in the autumn they were more plentiful than turnips. Today jack-o’-lanterns in the windows of a house on Halloween night let costumed children know that there are

goodies waiting if they knock and say “Trick or Treat!”   HallHallow halloween buckets

Information obtained:

Halloween Safety Tips:

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, collecting candy from the neighbors. For au pairs there are issues to consider that may not have been encountered before. I have put together 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”.

-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 children eat it. Make sure that anything that has been unwrapped, home made 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.

-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.

Fun Halloween Snacks!

Monster Mouths

Youngsters will go batty over these apple-and-peanut butter treats, perfect for Halloween parties.

Big mouth recipe

What you will need:

  • 2 medium green or red apples
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup candy corn


Core apples; cut each into 8 thick slices. Make each mouth by spreading about 1 teaspoon of the peanut butter on an apple slice. Add about 5 pieces candy corn for teeth.

Spread another apple slice with about 1 teaspoon peanut butter; press on top of first apple slice. Makes 4 servings.