Category Archives: Au Pair Tips

10 tips for getting your host child to listen to you!!

My Host child is driving me Crazy! He won’t listen to me and doesn’t do what I ask him to do. 

Have you ever said this sentence? Chances are that if you are caring for a host child, you have!! Caring for children can be difficult and challenging for most adults. If we add the cultural difference and language barrier to this situation- wow! Getting your host child to listen can seem overwhelming at times.

First Cry Parenting has a great video to teach you 10 tips that will greatly improve your ability to get your host children to do what you ask. This will make your role as an Au pair easier and help you to feel less stressed.  Let your host parents know that you watched the video and then ask your host family for tips on how they manage the kids.

 

Avoid Falling Victim to Scammers

There are always people out there who are looking for ways to trick people out of their money and personal information. There have been several new scams recently, so we are going to explain ways to identify scams and how to protect yourself.

SCAM #1 – A caller says they are a contact tracer and you may have been exposed to COVID-19 and asks you to pay for a test kit.

  • Contact tracers will not ask you for payment.

What to do? Do not give any payment information to someone who calls you on the phone.

SCAM #2 – Calls asking for your PIN, password, personal information or a payment. 

  • Your bank will not call you and ask you for your PIN number or password. If the caller states that they are the fraud department of your bank- hang up and call the number for your bank directly. They can trick you by already having your social security number or bank account number. HANG UP!
  • IRS and Social Security Administration will not ask you for payment or personal info over the phone. Government agencies usually handle issues like this by sending a letter.
  • The number shown on caller ID can be manipulated, don’t take that as a sign that a call is legitimate. It can be exactly the number that the agency has. It isn’t- it’s the scammer using that number to scam you.

What to do? Whenever you are in doubt, hang up and call the bank (or company) directly using a number you already have for them.

SCAM #3 – Email asking you to click a link to verify your personal information or share your password or PIN.

  • Be very suspicious of emails asking you to click links.
  • Scammers are very good at creating official-looking emails and webpages.

What to do? Whenever you are in doubt, go directly to the website (not using the link in the email).

SCAM #4 – You see an offer online telling you to send them some money and they will double it or a pop-up ad says that you have won a great prize and just need to give them your information.

  • When something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

What to do? Do not give your personal information or any money to people you don’t know.

SCAM #5 – You receive a call and you are told to stay on the phone while you go transfer or withdraw money from the bank and if you don’t you will be arrested or your bank account seized.

  • They are using the idea that this is an urgent situation to make you act quickly without thinking to avoid the consequence they have told you.

What to do? Do not follow their instructions.

 

Whenever you are in doubt, do not do as the caller or email asks. Check with your host parents or community counselor.

One other note: It is very important to keep your social security number private. There are very few situations where you will need to share this (bank, IRS, motor vehicles). Those are times you are taking an action and need to provide it. There is not a legitimate time where someone would be calling you on the phone or emailing you asking for that number.

Image: Canva.com

Southern Traditions for Fourth of July Celebrations!

 

Happy Fourth of July!

No other holiday can provide such a uniquely American experience. Being in the USA on Fourth of July can be wonderful and exciting anywhere in the USA. I hope that you enjoy this day with your host family. Here in the south, experience The Fourth with our southern traditions!!

Here are a couple of things you will want to accomplish:

Follow the Peachtree Road Racepeachtree race

 

Eat Watermelon outside and don’t worry if it drips down your arm!eating watermelon

See fireworks. Google closest Fourth of July fireworks to me. There will be HUGE fireworks at NewTown Park in John’s creek, Will’s Park in Alpharetta, Search your city to find the nearest “Fourth of July fireworks” to you!

 

 

fireworks

Hold a sparkler.

sparkler

Have a picnic with lots of friends.

picnic

Sit on a porch decorated with red, white and blue bunting and drink lemonade.

house with bunting

Run in a potato sack race with your host children.

http://www.ehow.com/how_12554_hold-potato-sack.html

Ask an American Friend what the fourth of July means to them.

natiospridethankyousoldiers2

On this night with fireworks soaring and families gathering checkered blankets, you will see a sense of pride and respect in their eyes. Pride in a country where being free is everything…… and respect for all those who give themselves to protect that freedom. I hope you enjoy our Fourth of July!

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?
Two steps must be accomplished before you travel out of the USA.  1.You must determine if you need a visitor’s visa to enter the country that you want to visit. 2. And, your DS2019 form must be signed. Even, if you are going with your host family, your DS2019 form must be signed for travel.  The original form must be mailed back to the office and signed. Then, it is mailed back to you. This process takes 3-4 weeks!  If you are in your second year, the rules are different. Please make sure you are knowledgeable about the restrictions for year-year travel.

*Au Pairs who will be away from the host family’s primary address for more than three weeks should contact your community counselor to discuss this. 

Travel Validation Form

Year 1 International Travel Checklist

Year 2 International Travel Checklist

Automatic Revalidation Checklist

9. Roomies? Vacations are expensive. It may not be possible to have your own private room, but you should have your own private bed.  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. You should feel comfortable with your ability to have private time. If you do not feel comfortable with their plan, 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!

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW about traveling outside the USA in 2022
Traveling outside of the USA is risky.
The USA has in the past closed the borders between some countries and the USA when a new variant is discovered. If you travel home or to another country and then the USA closes that border, you will not be able to return to the USA to finish out your year. This happened with South Africa over Thanksgiving. The border was closed in one day. There was no time for anyone to return back to the USA. Many Au Pairs could not arrive to start their year and others who had returned home could not come back to their host families. A lot of matches broke.
If you go home and have the virus, you must meet your country’s quarantine requirements before returning. Your host family may not be able to wait for this and might need to enter a rematch to find a new Au Pair. Because a family is required to pay the weekly stipend for these weeks, very few families can hire a temporary nanny while also paying the weekly stipend. 
Think carefully about leaving the USA. You could jeopardize your ability to be an Au Pair. If you are going to travel internationally, inform your CC. Your CC will be required to make sure  your host family is aware of the risks associated with traveling outside the USA. 
No one should return home with less than 4 weeks left on your first-year visa.
No one can travel outside the USA in the second year except those adjacent islands that have an automatic revalidation agreement with the USA, Canada and Mexico.
If are traveling against the advice of APIA- getting your DS2019 form signed takes 3-4 weeks.
Even if you are returning to your home country the rules still apply. You will need your DS signed for travel. 
You should have this form filled out and your DS2019 form sent to the office 4-5weeks ahead of any travel. If you need it faster, you will need to pay for expedited postage through UPS to get it to the office and to receive it back.
You must send the original and you cannot re-enter the USA without the DS2019.
 You must research if a visitor’s visa is needed to enter the country that you are going into.
Please check the travel checklist for year 1 or 2 for more steps that need to be completed BEFORE you travel outside the USA.
These can be found always be found on our blog site. Here are the links for year 1.

How do you talk about something that is concerning you with your host family?

Tips for Communication During Conflict 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 another family relative.
  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 too: 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 a lot of different instances for example” 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 an 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, feeling. This can make them angry or offended.  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! Yes, it might feel awkward today, but soon your relationship with the host family will be better than ever!

Making Thanksgiving Memories Together

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 since 1789.  The most important part of Thanksgiving for American families is to spend time together with the special people in their lives. A part of the tradition is to focus as a family and individual on the gifts in our lives and relationships. What are you THANKFUL for?

Martin Cathrae

 “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.

Host Parents
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.

Au Pairs
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.

Thanksgiving is a very special time to gather with friends and family. It is also very hectic for your host family who has to prepare food or travel with children. This is a great time to ACT like a part of the family. If you see a way to be helpful- do it! Your participation in this stressful time will be appreciated.

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.

 

Camp Au Pair – Art Experiences

This week’s Camp Au Pair theme is Art Experiences.

Crafts, recipes, activities, and games related to art can all be found here on the Camp Au Pair – Art Experiences pinboard.

Field Trips can be a great way for kids to learn and have new experiences. Get permission from your host parents before any outings and be sure to take all social distancing precautions. Some museums are requiring advanced tickets or have reduced hours due to the pandemic.

  • Art Museums
  • Paint Your Own Pottery Studio
  • Clay and Ceramics Studio

Online Art FunHere is a great website with lots of art activities including ones for older kids.

Webcams – You can do a google search for art websites with webcams. Here are a few to get you started:

Pottery & Ceramics webcam
Glass Blowing webcam

Videos – Look for fun videos on YouTube about drawing and all kinds of art.

Books – Stop by your local library and look for books on famous artists and art.

Check YouTube for books on art being read aloud:

Image: teachkidsart.com

Camp Au Pair – Summer Olympics

This week’s Camp Au Pair theme Summer Olympics. The 2021 Summer Olympics are taking place in Tokyo, Japan, July 23-Aug 8.

Crafts, recipes, activities, and games related to the Summer Olympics can be found here on the Camp Au Pair Summer Olympics pinboard.

Videos – On YouTube you can find many great videos of about the Olympics.

Books – Stop by your local library and look for books about the Olympics.

Some good ones include: Olympig!, G is for Gold Medal: An Olympic Alphabet, How to Train with a T-Rex and Win 8 Gold Medals, Wilma Unlimited, America’s Champion Swimmer: Gertrude Ederle, Way to Go Alex!, Touch the Sky, Pele: King of Soccer, A Picture Book of Jesse Owens & Babar’s Celestville Games.

You may also find some of these books read aloud on YouTube.

Fun Fact: The Olympic symbol consists of five interlaced rings of equal dimensions, used alone, in one or in five different colors, which are, from left to right, blue, yellow, black, green and red. The Olympic symbol (the Olympic rings) expresses the activity of the Olympic Movement and represents the union of the five continents and the meeting of athletes from throughout the world at the Olympic Games.

Image: Project Nursery

Camp Au Pair – Science (STEM)

This week’s Camp Au Pair theme is Science (STEM). This includes science, technology, engineering and math.

Crafts, recipes, activities, and games related to all things science, technology, engineering and math can be found here on the Camp Au Pair – Science (STEM) pinboard.

Field Trips can be a great way for kids to learn and have new experiences. Get permission from your host parents before any outings and be sure to take all social distancing precautions. Here are a few places to go, that fit this theme:

  • Nature Walk
  • Science Centers
  • Pick Your Own Farms
  • Nature Centers
  • Botanical Gardens or Garden Store
  • Television/Radio Museum
  • Into the City to See Skyscrapers
  • Building or Technology Museum

Virtual Field Trips

Videos – On YouTube you can find many great videos of with science experiments to do with kids.

The Magic School Bus is a cartoon series with episodes on lots of great science topics. You can find some episodes on YouTube and the full series on Paramount Plus.

Movies – The Lego Movie, Big Hero 6, Wall-E and Hidden Figures all fit the STEM theme.

Webcams – You can do a google search for science websites with webcams. Here is a collection of 22 science webcams from around the world.

Books – Stop by your local library and look for books on science, technology, engineering and math.

Image: sweetpaulmag.com