Monthly Archives: June 2018

Top 10 Tips – Au Pair Guide to a Successful Working Vacation With Your Host Family.



Top 10 Tips – Au Pair Guide to a Successful Working Vacation with your Host Family
Prepared by Joan Barth, Orientation Leader, APIA

Traveling with your host family can be a wonderful adventure and significant part of your
cultural exchange experience. When it is a ‘working vacation’ (you do not have a choice about
participating) there are some things that you and your family can do to help the vacation go
smoothly for all.
10. Vacation Stages: Think about a working vacation as a three-part experience and that you
have a role in each stage. The parts are: Pre-Vacation Preparation, The Vacation, and Re-Entry.
Going on vacation is great, but there’s a lot of work on either end. You are part of the vacation
9. Pre-Vacation: Think about how you can help the host parents, how you can prepare the kids
and how you can prepare yourself.
8. Helping the parents: Can you pack for the children? Can you prepare snacks? Can you
entertain the children while the host parents pack? Can you do some errands for the parents?
7. Preparing the children: It’s more than packing. Can you be an educator and get books or go
online to research the area you will visit? Can you help the children to organize/collect their
media and entertainment for the trip? How about making a busy bag for smaller children?
Involve the children in deciding on and preparing snacks for the trip.
6. Preparing yourself: Ask your host parents for information about the trip. You will feel
better if you know the details. Those details might include: the exact dates of the trip, location
and contact information, will any other friends or family members be joining, is special clothing
or equipment needed? More questions: are there any special events (anniversary celebrations,
reunions), what about the work schedule, how can I plan for my free time? Take care of
business: International Travel? Check on visa and DS2019 requirements. Notify your counselor
of your travel plans and ask your counselor to connect you with a counselor in the area you will
visit so that you can meet other au pairs. Research the area so that you can fully enjoy your free
5. Good to know: Program rules for hours, free days, and pay are the same when you are on a
working vacation. However, it’s also important to recognize that a change in location and
schedules may require some flexibility on everyone’s part.
4. General Safety Issues: Everything is different when you are en route to your vacation
destination and at the destination. Therefore, everyone (host parents and au pairs) need to be
very clear about who is responsible for each child AT ALL TIMES. Do not make any
assumptions about this. Be sure to have a very clear discussion and system for assigning
responsibility at all times. Have a safety plan for amusement parks and other activities. If
everyone is in charge, then no one is in charge – and that’s when problems occur. When you
arrive at your destination be sure to conduct a safety review of the hotel room or cottage with
your host parents. That might include checking that doors, windows and electrical outlets are
safe for your little ones.
3. Water safety: You must always be with your child. Be certain that you, your host parents
and your older children have a clear understanding of water rules and expectations for them, too.
Don’t forget sunscreen for your kids and that it needs to be reapplied. And, of course, don’t
forget sunscreen for yourself!
2. Travel safety for you: Please remember that this is a new location for you, too, and it’s
important to follow basic safety rules. Ask your host parents for advice about areas you might
visit and how to safely get to them. What’s the best/safest transport? Let people know where you
are going – we care about you. A stranger is a stranger, even in an exotic location.
1. Re-Entry: Travel is fun and it’s exhausting for everyone – please remember to offer help
unloading the car, unpacking, putting in some laundry or keeping the children entertained while
your host parents attend to these tasks. And, of course, saying thank you goes a long way.

Sun Safety Tips from Macroni Kids



Macaroni Kids has some important safety tips. See full article at

Everyone loves summer, especially children.

But while you’re planning some family fun in the sun, be sure to make safety a top priority. Accidents are the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 4 in the United States, and the summer months bring with them a unique set of risks.

Keep reading for 5 tips to keep your kids safe this summer.


Sunburn, dehydration and sun or heat stroke are among the hot-weather risks parents need to be aware of when young children are playing outside.

  • Sunburn. Apply sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or above, at least 30 minutes before letting children go outside.
    • Reapply every 2 hours, or after swimming or sweating.
    • The sun’s UV rays can penetrate clouds, so you still need protection on overcast days.
    • Have kids wear protective gear, such as sunglasses with UV protection, a hat and tight-knit cotton clothing.
  • Dehydration. Provide plenty of water when kids are engaged in outdoor activities, and avoid sugary or caffeinated drinks.
  • Sun or heat stroke. Plan outdoor activities for earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon when possible. It’s safest to stay indoors between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are at their strongest.

Babies are at greater risk from excessive sun exposure. Protect your infant with lightweight clothes with long sleeves and legs, a wide-brimmed hat, and a lightweight blanket. Apply baby sunscreen, and choose a stroller with a large canopy to shield those harmful rays.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the leading cause of injury death for children ages 1 to 4 in the U.S., and over half of all drownings occur in the summer.

Adult supervision and other water safety habits are essential, whether you’re planning a trip to the beach, a day at the lake or just an afternoon splash in the neighborhood pool.

  • We really cannot emphasize this enough: there is no substitute for adult supervision. Never let children swim without an adult or lifeguard on duty.
    • Inflatable swimming aids such as “floaties” provide a false sense of security. Keep babies and toddlers within an arm’s reach at all times while in or near water.
    • Never leave children unattended at the pool for any reason — that includes turning your head to answer the phone, read a book or converse with other adults.
    • Likewise, never leave children unattended in a hot tub.
  • Obey all posted rules at public pools or other swimming areas — especially those pertaining to running and horseplay. Keep wheeled toys away from the water’s edge. Observe all diving rules.
  • If you have a pool at home, keep it securely covered when not in use, and protect it with a childproof fence and locking gate. Don’t allow diving from the side of the pool. A hot tub should have a locking lid.
  • Learn CPR and other First Aid so you’re prepared in the event of an accident.
  • Children must wear a properly-fitting life jacket at all times while riding on a boat, and adults must never consume alcohol while operating a boat.


Summertime brings with it road trips and lots of outdoor adventures. Don’t let all those fun outings end in tragedy or a trip to the hospital.

  • Car safety for kids. Never let kids ride in the cargo areas of pickup trucks or vans. Children under 12 should ride in the back seat, and properly restrained in an appropriate child safety seat for their height and weight.
  • Bike safety. Bicyclists of all ages, including kids, must wear a properly fitting helmet while riding a bike. Make sure your child’s bike is the right size, and teach him or her to obey all traffic rules while riding.
  • Playground safety. As with other summertime activities, kids should always have adult supervision when having fun on the playground.
    • Equipment should be firmly anchored and well-maintained. There should be shock-absorbing material such as rubber, gravel or wood chips, and equipment should be installed at least 6” from fences or sidewalks.
    • Avoid clothing or accessories that could cause strangulation. These include drawstrings, necklaces or loose-fitting garments.


Poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac all contain urushiol, a rash-causing substance that produces an allergic reaction in 60-80% of all people.

You don’t even have to touch the plant to be affected. Urushiol can be transferred by touching another person or an article of clothing that has been in contact with an offending plant. If can also be inhaled if a poison ivy plant is burned.

You can reduce the risk to you and your kids by:

Learning to identify poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac leaves

  • Avoiding outdoor areas where you know poison ivy is present
  • Wearing long sleeves and pants in areas where poison ivy may be present
  • Washing skin as quickly as possible if exposure occurs
  • Bathing and washing clothes after time outdoors
  • Bathing pets who may have been exposed

Symptoms of poison ivy exposure include red, itchy, swollen skin and blisters.

  • Call a doctor if your child develops a fever or any type of rash.
  • The rash typically takes 1-2 weeks to heal.
  • Treatment includes cool showers and soothing lotion to calm the skin.
  • If your child has a severe reaction, your doctor may prescribe pills or creams to promote healing.


Always check for ticks after you or your kids have been outdoors during the summertime. Removing the tick as quickly as possible reduces the risk of tick-borne illness such as Lyme disease.

  • Don’t use petroleum jelly or a hot match. These don’t work and may cause the tick to burrow even deeper into the skin.
  • Remove the tick using the following steps:
    • Use tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible.
    • Pull firmly and steadily until the tick is removed.
    • Don’t twist or rotate the tick.
    • If part of the tick stays in, it will eventually come out on its own.
    • Gently wash the affected area with soap and water.
  • Call your pediatrician. He or she may prescribe antibiotics if your child is at risk of Lyme disease.
  • Pay attention for symptoms of Lyme disease. Early treatment is crucial for long-term recovery.
    • Red ringed rash around the affected area
    • Red or irritated skin
    • Flu-like symptoms
    • Painful or swollen joints
    • Facial paralysis