Category Archives: Host Family Tips

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!

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?
    The DS-2019 form must be signed for any international travel ( if to the Au pair’s home country). This process takes 3-4 weeks. See the Travel Validation form on our blog for how to do this. PLan ahead! It is the Aupair and Host family responsibility to research what visa will be needed to enter into the country you will be traveling to. Any cost related to a  delayed return to the USA are not paid by APIA.
  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 have a private bed).
  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!

 

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.

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.

 

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.
  • 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.

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

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

Camp Au Pair – Dinosaurs

This week’s Camp Au Pair theme is Dinosaurs.

Crafts, recipes, activities, and games related to dinosaurs can all be found here on the Camp Au Pair – Dinosaurs 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:

    • Children’s museum with dinosaur exhibit
    • Natural history museum
    • Nature center with fossils

Toys – Many kids have dinosaur toys already. See what your kids have and think of fun, new ways you can play with these toys with them. Imagine taking a plastic dinosaur and making footprints in play dough to form your own fossils.

Webcam – This NPS Paleontology Lab offers a webcam where you can watch paleontologists remove rock from around fossils. The cam is normally working 9 am-5 pm PST, so 12-8 pm our time.

Videos – Look for fun videos on YouTube about dinosaurs and fossils. Here are a few to get you started.

Movies – The Good Dinosaur, Land Before Time, and Ice Age are all great family movies that fit with this theme. For older kids, consider movies like Journey to the Center of the Earth and Jurassic Park (which is rated PG-13).

Books – Check your kids’ bookshelf for books on dinosaurs.

Photo: krojotak.com

Camp Au Pair – Under the Sea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In honor of Shark Week (see below), next week’s Camp Au Pair theme is Under the Sea.

Crafts, recipes, activities, and games related to creatures who live under the sea can all be found here on the Camp Au Pair – Under the Sea pinboard.

Webcams – You can do a google search for aquariums and zoos across the country (and the world) with webcams that allow you to observe sea creatures. Here is one to get you started.

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. Search online to see if your area has any of the following:

  • Any pet store with fish tanks
  • Aquarium
  • Zoo
  • Nature Center

Television – The Discovery Channel has an annual Shark Week. This year it will be July 11-18, 2021. Much of the programming will be too scary for younger kids, but for nature-loving tweens and teens, it could be a great way to get them interested in sharks and other ocean animals. Check out 15 JAW-some Activities for Shark Week with lots of fun ideas for kids in grades 5 and up, but a few for younger kids too.

Online Games – NOAA has fun interactive games that help kids learn about sea turtle survival.

Videos – Look for fun videos on YouTube about sea creatures. There’s more to see than Baby Shark. Movies like Finding Nemo, Dolphin Tale, and the Little Mermaid also go well with this theme.

Books – Stop by your local library and look for books on sea creatures. The Rainbow Fish is a classic children’s book, your kids may already own. If not, you can find videos like this of it being read aloud.

Photo: mimisdollhouse.com