Yearly Archives: 2021

Camp Au Pair In America

 

Keeping kids busy and active is the key to success for those long summer days!

When kids are out of school for the summer, it doesn’t take long for them to become bored. Boredom leads to sibling squabbles and mischief! Children don’t realize how much they miss the routine and predictability in their daily schedule. One solution is to make fun plans to keep them busy! Make Camp Au Pair!

Have a ready list of easy, fun activities that you can do with your host children. Get prepared for the upcoming week by getting a list of what is needed and asking the host parents for help in purchasing your supplies.
Use your Au Pair In America resources to find activities and ideas. Check your Au Pair portal  for “150 Things to Do with Children”. This is jammed with super ideas.

My favorite outside activity is making super planet size bubbles, using a homemade bubble recipe. Ask your host dad to bend wire coat hangers into large circles with a handle. Outside on the driveway, pour the bubble mix into a shallow dish large enough for the circular coat hanger. A clean trash can lid works great. See how large you get can your bubbles to float!

Create your own bubble solution by gently combining 1 cup dish soap, 1 tbsp glycerine and 4 cups water in a large bucket.

Check out Au Pair in America’s Pinterest pages; Summer Fun & Summer Holidays pin boards for even more ideas.

10 fun ideas:
1.Dance-Put on classical music and move like trees or animals!
2.Cook-Freeze juice and make yummy popsicles!
3.Craft-Make a craft out of leftover Popsicle sticks or shells from the beach trip.
4.Make a tent-Use the Kitchen table and a sheet to make a cool place to get out of the sun on a hot day!
5.Dress up-Be Super man or a princess! Have fun pretending.
6. Chalk on the driveway-Endless fun with drawing pictures and hopscotch!
7.Balls-Make up a new  game outside with the ball or just toss or kick
8.Read out loud and use funny voices to make all the characters come alive!
9.Bird watch-See how many kinds of birds you can find in your back yard. Look them up on Google to identify what kind of bird it is. Have a bird watch every day to keep track of them    10. Plant a sunflower– Plant seeds in a super, sunny place and water it every day!

Camp Au Pair – Cars & Trucks

Next week’s Camp Au Pair theme is Cars & Trucks.

Crafts, recipes, activities, and games related to all kinds of vehicles can all be found here on the Camp Au Pair – Cars & Trucks pinboard.

Field Trips can be a great way for kids to learn and have new experiences. If your host parents are okay with you taking the kids to any outdoor, socially distanced activities, here are a few places to go, that fit this theme:

  • Look for construction areas where the kids can observe big machines in action. Kids should observe from the car or a safe area.
  • Keep an eye out for the trash truck and let them watch the truck in action.
  • Go to a drive-through car wash or let the kids make their own car wash at home.
  • Look for a go kart track in your area. Before you go, check the website to find out what the age and/or height requirements are for children.

VideosMighty MachinesAmazing Big Trucks are kid-friendly video channels showing machinery and big trucks in action. Look for fun videos on YouTube about cars and trucks.

Movies – Cars, Cars 2 & 3, Turbo, Bumble Bee, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang & Bob the Builder Mega Machines movies all fit this theme.

Books – Check your kids’ bookshelf for books on cars & trucks. You can also find many read aloud book videos on YouTube. Little Blue Truck, Trash Trucks, Cool Cars and Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus are a few fun ones to get you started.

Image: funlearningforkids.com

Tips For Communicating About Problems  With Your Host Family.

Tips For Communicating About Problems  With Your Host Family.

How you approach an issue of concern with your host family will often determine the outcome. A thoughtful, respectful approach will prompt success, but an aggressive, demanding conversation is likely to harm your relationship. American culture is supportive of positive solution-focused communication. Talking about concerns is hard, but well worth the effort.

  1. Talk in person/ face to face: texts and chats can be misunderstood. Our body language helps us to succeed in communication. Respect the family’s privacy. AVOID talking/texting negatively about the family with a neighbor, family friend, or other family relatives.
  2. Choose a good time to talk: Ask for a time to talk when the other person can hear you and you will have enough time to get to the resolution. AVOID catching the host parents on their way out of the door or after a long day at work. Wait until you are calm.
  3. Are you doing your best? Before bringing a concern into a conversation with your host parents, think through your role in their family. It may pay off to build your relationship first. Ask yourself: have I demonstrated my value to the family dynamic? Being able to demonstrate through your behavior that you are… trustworthy, safe, use good judgment, prioritize your Au pair schedule, dependable…. will serve to help you in the discussion about your concern.
  4. Plan: Think about what you want to say ahead of time. State clearly about one problem and how it affects you. Do some research with your CC. Ask for information about program rules and norms. Be realistic.
  5. Listen: Give the other person a chance to tell their side of the concern completely. AVOID interrupting to defend yourself. Really try to hear from their perspective. Let the other person know you want to understand from their side, and you would be happy if they could see your perspective too.
  6. Role model that YOU are listening: You may not agree with the other perspective. Tell the other person you see that your behavior affected them or the importance of what you are now asking for. For example: “I see that when I was 30 minutes late, it made my host child feel scared and it lead you to think that I did not prioritize my au pair role.” State that you are glad that this information is being discussed together and that you are happy that it will make your relationship with the family better. You really want to find a solution and appreciate the feedback.
  7. Give Information but stay on track: AVOID letting the conversation move to a general discussion of your unhappiness. Be specific. If you are saying” when you were late last week …and when you said I cannot take the car… and when the children yelled at me…. and I had to take the dog out too… and then you didn’t ask me to go with you all to get ice cream.” it will be hard to single out a solution!
  8. Talk about your perspective: Avoid telling the other person how they are or are not, making them angry is not an effective way to find a solution together. It is ok to talk about how the behavior made you feel. Talk about the most difficult things. If you are not able to get them out in the open during this conversation, no solution can be made. For example: “When you don’t involve me in your plans outside my work schedule, it makes me feel like an employee not really an important part of your family.”
  9. What is the solution? Americans have a saying: “don’t be a part of the problem, be a part of the solution.” How do you see a solution for the concern? Be specific:” I would feel better about my relationship with the family if you did ask me sometimes to go with you. I understand you are not able to ask me every time. I would appreciate occasionally being asked to join in the family fun times”.
  10. Follow-through: The hardest work is over! You have successfully talked through a concern and made it to the end with a solution in place. Agree to set up regular talks that both parties can express a concern and move through the steps you have taken today to make your relationship the best that it can be!

Welcome to Camp Au Pair in America!

When kids are out of school for the summer, it doesn’t take long for them to become bored and  sometimes that leads to sibling squabbles and mischief. Even though they don’t realize it, they are usually missing routine and predictability in their daily schedule. One solution is to make fun plans to keep them busy! 

Each week this summer we will share a different Camp Au Pair theme. These weekly themes are designed to give you ideas to keep your host kids occupied and engaged all summer long. They will also be learning. (But shhhh, don’t tell them that part.) Check back each Friday, for the next week’s theme. This gives you a chance to make plans and gather materials for the next week. For each theme there will be crafts, games, snacks and activities. You can just use these ideas or add your own and customize the themes to fit the ages and interests of your host children.

Here are the themes you can look forward to:

  • Art Experiences
  • Backyard Safari
  • Bugs & Butterflies
  • Cars and Trucks
  • Dinosaurs
  • Explore the World
  • Nature Explorations
  • Outer Space
  • Pirate Adventures
  • Princesses & Knights
  • Science (STEM)
  • Under the Sea

Check out Summer Fun & Summer Holidays pin boards for even more ideas.

If you get some great pictures doing these activities with your host kids, please send those to your counselor. We love to share your accomplishments and inspire other au pairs!

Let’s make this an amazing summer!

 

Understanding your Au Pair Insurance 2020 and 2021 arrivals

Understanding your Au Pair Insurance for 2020 and 2021 arrivals 
* Depending on your country of origin, you may have some differences in your benefits. This is a summary of the basic plan. Go to your Au pair portal to confirm which insurance plan you have. 
  • Before it becomes an emergency, google where is the closest CVS minute clinic to me! If you do not have a medical condition that is life-threatening, CVS minute clinics and Walgreens stores are great choices for medical care.  These clinics do not require an appointment and are open early and late.
  • Little symptoms can become big emergencies. Don’t risk your Au Pair experience by waiting until you are extremely ill before seeking medical advice.
  • If you have more than a small medical issue, call your insurance company to discuss your benefits and options before incurring a large medical bill that you will have to pay.  (800) 303-8120,  prompt 5 or 203-399-5130 or email claimhelp@culturalinsurance.com
  • Hospital Emergency rooms are for life-threatening conditions only. An additional 500.00 deductible will be charged to you if you do not have a life-threatening emergency. When in doubt go to a CVS minute clinic. You will not have to pay the additional ER deductible if you are directed by a medical professional to go to an ER.
  • Download your insurance card. Keep your insurance card with you at all times Or, have the mobile app on your phone with myCISI phone app for iphone or android.
  • You can go into your Au Pair Insurance portal to print out a new card with your host family’s address on it. Make an account and save your password. Or, you can use the mobile app on your phone to do this.
  • https://www.mycisi.com/CISIPortalWeb/pub/login.aspx?PT=GENr
  • The basic plan of insurance will have a 50.00 deductible for each sickness or injury. There will be a co-pay amount you will pay for your care and a percentage of the cost of the service.  The insurance will determine what is the usual and customary charge for the service you received.
  • Be prepared by saving up two weeks’ stipend to cover any medical cost.
  • If you pay for medical care or prescription medicine, you can fill out a claim form and mail it in to get CISI to pay you their portion (once you have met your deductible). A claim form can be found on the mycisi portal.
  • Use Well RX to lower your prescription cost. https://www.wellrx.com/prescription-discount-card/
  • Au Pairs do not have dental insurance (with exception of the upgraded medical policy which does have a 500.00 pain relief benefit).  Avoid crunching on hard food or candy!!
  • Read about sports insurance upgrade to determine if this will help you. If you are injured during a sporty activity- the insurance may not cover it. This can be found on your MyCISI portal.
  • Routine wellness checks and vaccinations are not covered under CISI. Before getting a vaccine, ask if there is a charge to administer the shot and what your cost will be.
  • Birth Control pills and routine GYN visits are not covered by CISi. Consider your local health department or Planned Parenthood as a good option for these services.

10 Tips for Vacationing with your Host Family

As an Au Pair, it is great to go along on a host family vacation.  However, being in a different environment does not change your role as an Au Pair. Sometimes it does get confusing and one of the biggest issues is the danger that can be involved when no-one is clear about whose job it is to oversee the kids.

Here are 10 Tips for Vacationing with your Host Family so that everyone has a great time, and the kids are safe!

1.
Tag, your it!
I had a host family with 3 small children tell me that when it was the au pair’s turn to be
responsible for the children (and vice versa) they would tap hands so that there was no
misunderstanding who was in charge. What a great idea!

2.
Yes, a schedule is needed! A few summers ago, I received 2 calls on the same day. One was from a host mother saying that they just returned from vacation and their Au Pair did not work at all and one was from the Au Pair in this family saying she worked all day every day! How interesting is that? Be sure to discuss your Au Pair schedule so that you know when you are off – just like at home.

3.
Travel time/Work time?
You must get there, right?  Getting kids to relax on a long car ride or helping to get boarded on the plane, on time, can be stressful for all the adults! Travel time is not considered work time (unless you are the only person in charge of the children), however, being a kind Au Pair will mean that you cannot wear your earbuds and take a nap the whole trip. Look for ways to be helpful. This will make the travel time better for everyone.

4.
Lazy days! Vacation can bring different behaviors from children – especially children that
will not do well when there is no routine. Ask about any special routine that you will need to be aware of. Be prepared to be patient. Young children will not be themselves and older children who get to stay awake later may get cranky.

5.
Pool Safety!  If vacationing at the beach or around a pool be sure to talk to your host family about
how long the kids can stay at the pool, how often should sunscreen be reapplied? What is the host parent’s expectation of your role at the pool or beach? Do you need to be in the water or is it okay to sit on the side of the pool? Please do not assume your role, get clear directions.

6.
Who is the Boss?
Often summer vacation includes extended family. Can Grandma and Grandpa change the
schedule for the day? If you are uncertain about a change made by someone else, reach out to the host parents to get clarification.

7.
Where did all these kids come from?!
Are you vacationing with the host family’s family and their children too? It is fun to be surrounded by family and fun times. However, you can speak up if you are asked to care for more children than you feel comfortable with.

8.
 Traveling internationally?
Au Pair in America is advising against any international travels for the Au Pair during 2021 even if you are going with your host family. If you arrived on an NIE visa, you will not be able to return to the USA once you leave. Call your community counselor to discuss any plans for international travel during 2021.

9.
Roomies? Vacations are expensive. It may not be possible to have your own private room. Many times, an Au Pair will share space with the host children. Plans can be made so that you have the privacy to change clothes or rest by yourself. If you do not feel comfortable with this, discuss your concerns with the host family before you leave.

  1. Safety First!
    Little kids LOVE exploring a new environment, and everyone is excited and off guard. This makes an accident more likely to happen. An accident can only take a second to happen. Do what you can to prevent accidents; walk with the host parents around your vacation surroundings to discover issues that might be safety concerns. Stairsteps, upstairs windows, sliding doors, patios, and backyard pools all need special attention. Remember the safety of the children is always a priority even when you are off duty.

Working with your host family during vacation time can be tricky, and might require an extra dose of patience, but you will make memories of this experience that you are sure to treasure. You will be able to experience a new place within the USA and learn more about your host family during a relaxed time. Be thankful and express your appreciation to your host family that they chose to include you!

Top 10 Tips – Host Family Guide to a Successful Vacation with your Au Pair.

Top 10 Tips – Host Family Guide to a Successful Working Vacation with your Au Pair.

As a host family, it is great to have your Au Pair along on a vacation. However, there are pitfalls that can happen One of the biggest issues is the danger that can be involved when no-one is clear about whose job it is to oversee the kids.

Here are 10 Tips for Vacationing with your Au Pair so that everyone has a great time, and the kids are safe!

  1.  Tag, your it!                                                                                                                                             I had a host family with 3 small children tell me that when it was the au pair’s turn to be
    responsible for the children (and vice versa) they would tap hands so that there was no
    misunderstanding who was in charge. What a great idea!
  2. Yes, a schedule is needed!                                                                                                                   A few summers ago, I received 2 calls on the same day. One was from a host mother saying that they just returned from vacation and their Au Pair did not work at all and one was from the Au Pair in this family saying she worked all day every day! How interesting is that? Be sure to give your Au Pair a schedule of when she is working so that she knows when she is off – just like home. It is important for her to know when she can go relax at the beach – without having to ask if she is free. Make a tentative schedule and discuss your expectations ahead of the vacation. It is always possible to readjust when you are there.
  3. Travel time/Work time?
    Do you consider travel time to be your au pair’s work time, or can she put her earbuds in and take a nap? This is something you want to define ahead of time.
  4. Lazy days!                                                                                                                                                  Vacation can bring different behaviors from children – especially children that
    will not do well when there is no routine. Talk to your Au Pair about your children and the things you found have worked on past vacations. If you like to have a routine on vacation let her know that, too.
  5. Pool Safety!                                                                                                                                              If vacationing at the beach or around a pool be sure to talk to your Au Pair about
    how long they can stay at the pool, how often should sunscreen be reapplied, do you want your Au Pair in the water or is it okay to sit on the side of the pool? Please do not assume your au pair knows your expectations.
  6. Who is the Boss?
    Often summer vacation includes extended family. Can Grandma and Grandpa change the
    schedule for the day? Make sure your Au Pair knows who gives her responsibilities for the day and communicate that to all parties involved.
  7. Where did all these kids come from?!
    Are you vacationing with your kids, your brother’s kids, your sister’s kids and do they expect
    your Au Pair to watch them, too? If this is the case – this needs to be spelled out ahead of time so that the Au Pair can let you know whether she is comfortable. Also, is it safe for her to be watching more than your children in an unfamiliar location?
  8. Traveling internationally?
    Au Pair in America is advising against any international travels for the Au Pair during 2021. If your Au Pair arrived on an NIE visa, she will not be able to return to the USA once she leaves. Call your community counselor to discuss any plans for international travel with your Au Pair during 2021.
  9. Roomies?
    Will your Au Pair have to share a hotel room while on vacation? Make sure you discuss ahead of
    time what the accommodations will be on the trip so that you eliminate any surprises (your au
    pair should not be expected to share a room with her host parents).
  10. Safety First!
    Communication with your Au Pair is paramount on vacation. When you are all in unfamiliar
    surroundings with different schedules and different expectations – things can go wrong. Be sure that the safety of your children is number one in everyone’s mind. Take a tour of your surroundings and discuss any concerning issues. Making sure everyone knows whose turn it is to watch for the kids and what they are watching out for. These tips can ensure a  successful vacation with memories to last!

 

Everything you need to know about HOW TO GET A GEORGIA DRIVER”S LICENSE

HOW TO GET A GEORGIA DRIVER’S LICENSE

There are two tests that must be completed to receive a Georgia driver’s license. The first is the written or knowledge exam and the second is the skills test or road’s test. All non-US citizens who are residing in the state for more than thirty days are considered residents and are required to obtain a Class C Driver’s License in order to drive in Georgia.  https://dds.georgia.gov/information-non-us-citizens

Beginning April 12, 2021- No appointment is needed for the first written test. The first written exam can be accomplished at soon as the Au pair has received the SS card.  This is offered in multiple locations including Cumming, Alpharetta, Canton, Norcross, Marietta, Kennesaw, and BlueRidge which are closest to our cluster. Check business hours for the location of your choice. All customer centers are closed on Monday and close at lunchtime at 12pm on Saturday. All will be closed on Federal and State holidays.
The Road’s Test or Skills Test is taken after the learner’s permit is issued. The Au pair does not have to hold the learner’s permit for any length of time. The Road’s Test can be taken immediately. The Road’s test requires an appointment. The appointments are in high demand and appointment times can be scarce.  The appointment can be made ahead.
It is possible to make the Road’s test appointment before the learner’s permit is obtained. This is accomplished by not making an online account first and simply setting the road’s test appointment. Speak with your community counselor to learn more about setting this up.
Please note: A licensed GA driver will need to drive the Au pair to the ROADS test. The registration and current car insurance must be provided. The licensed driver will stay in the car with the Au pair during the test.

What to expect during the Road’s Test:

Learn what skills will be tested during the Road’s test.
*Many driving instruction agencies are licensed to provide the Georgia Road’s/skills test after completing their driver’s training classes. This may be easier than setting up the road test through the Georgia driver’s service for the State of Georgia.  For more information, please see the blog.
To be prepared for the written test and road test, study sections 5 and 7 about Georgia driving laws and road signage.
Practice taking the written exam:

Documents Required                                                                                         

Documentation showing your identity and legal presence in the USA:

  1. DS2019 form ( Verify that the form is signed at the bottom by Au pair and shows current host family address)
  2. Passport
  3. I-94 card  (print out from the cbp website).
  4. Social Security Card
  5. Participation letter can be printed directly from the Au pair portal.
  6. International driver’s permit
  7. Original country license ( this should be returned to you).
  8. Two forms of proof of Georgia residence: 1. Au Pair Participation letter ( print from the Au Pair portal) AND 2. choose one of the following ways to prove your residency:
  • Bank statement with Au pair name and host family address dated within 6 months of the appointment date.
  • Save Social Social Security card information when it arrives through the mail showing Au pair name and host family address- this must be dated within 6 months of the appointment time.
  • Print your insurance card from the CISI website with your name and host family address on the card https://www.mycisi.com/CISIPortalWeb/pub/login.aspx?PT=GEN

For more information regarding the Georgia Driver’s License refer to our Blog under life in the USA

Where to take your Georgia driver’s written and roads tests?

Two test must be taken: A knowledge test and a skills test.  No appointment is necessary for the knowledge exam, but wait times can be long.  An appointment must be made to take the roads test. Test can be made 120 days ahead. Save confirmation emails and appointment numbers. The written exam can be made as soon as the social security card is obtained. 

 The Roads test does not have to be taken in the same location. Please research all available appointments close enough to drive from the host family home. A licensed driver will need to drive the Au pair to the Road’s Test, if she has been issued a temporary permit. 

Class C Driver’s License

 

Search for driving distance from your host family’s home using this link. Ask your host family which location is closest to your home.       https://dds.georgia.gov/locations/customer-service-center

 These are the locations most often used. Some may be too far from your location.

All are open Tuesday to Friday. Some are open on Saturdays 8am-12pm. The offices will be closed on holidays. CHECK the hours of operation for the specific office BEFORE you go.

Alpharetta Does not offer the Roads Test, Written test only- 1575 Maxwell Road   Alpharetta, GA 30009 Saturday 7:30am 12pm

Canton right off 575 behind library- Brown Industrial Parkway, Suite 200 Canton GA. 30114 

Cumming 400 Aquatic Circle Cumming GA. 30040 Saturday 8am-12pm

Marietta  1605 County Services Pkwy  Marietta, GA 30008  Saturday 7:30am

Gainsville 1010 Aviation Blvd  Gainesville, GA 30501  Saturday 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Cartersville  1304 Joe Frank Harris Pkwy  Cartersville, GA 30121 Saturday 8:00am-12:00pm

Kennesaw-Saturday7:30-12pm  3690 Old 41 Hwy NW  Kennesaw, GA 30144

Norcross/Peachtree Corners- Saturday 7:30 to 12pm 2211 Beaver Ruin Rd Norcross, Georgia 30071

Blue Ridge This office is not open on Saturday211 Industrial Blvd, Blue Ridge, GA 30513

[Directions]

Information obtained at www.dds.ga.gov

APIA program outcomes Study-How the Au pair program affected Adult Children from Former Host Families.

 

 

 

How the Au pair program affected Adult Children from Former Host Families.

(Excerpted from Au Pair in America Program Outcomes- Perspectives of Host Children 1999-2017)

 

Cassie Heine and Catie Steidl, AIFS program Researchers stated:

“The host children love and learned from their Au pairs. As a result, their eyes were open to the world beyond the doorsteps of their home.”

 Catie “When children are raised to think of cross-cultural understanding, interaction and the embrace of difference and diversity as the norm, they are guaranteed to grow into similarly tolerant young people and adults who are interested in and enthusiastic about the positive aspects of cultural understanding.”

The impact Statistics gained from surveying 4000 former host children now age 21 or older:

An ability to accept differences in other people- 88%

An appreciation for global cuisine- 81%

A desire for more diverse friendships and social networks-71%

A better understanding of myself and my values- 71%

The Au pair affected their lives in a positive way- 99%

Would you have an Au pair care for your children- 94%

I consider the Au pair who lived with us to be like family-92%

 62% of adult children of APIA can comfortably hold a conversation in a different language. Only 26% of American-born citizens can do this.

College-age children of APIA were 7x more likely to study abroad.

 Quotes from former host children:

Caitlin Age 25 New Jersey:

“They broadened my horizons and showed me that people everywhere live different and interesting, but equally beautiful lives. Through them I learned about different languages, food, architecture, and displays of friendship. I wanted to know more about people, and I wanted to go on adventures because of them.”

Madeleine, age 26 Massachusetts

“I attended my former Au pairs weddings. I’ve met their parents, and their children. To me, to everyone in my family, they are Family. I feel like they will stay that way for the rest of my life.”