Category Archives: Host Family Tips

Top 5 Tips for Overcoming Homesickness

Almost everyone experiences culture shock when they come to a completely new environment. Everything is different: the language, the food, and the people.

When everything feels so unfamiliar, it is natural to long for the security of home. However, you don’t want to let that feeling of longing for home, make you too sad or prevent you from finding happiness in your new home.

Here are my Top 5 Tips for Dealing with Homesickness

1. Make Friends – Don’t wait for other au pairs to reach out to you, reach out to them. There are other lots of new au pairs who are feeling the same way you are right now. Set a goal to reach out to a few of them each day. Some will respond and some will not. Don’t let that discourage you. No one will ever be mad at you for sending them a message to say hello or ask if they want to do something together. Make friends from various countries and you will also get a chance to practice your English skills together.

2. Stay in touch with your home country, but not too much. Skyping or talking on the phone every day with your family and/or friends back home often makes homesickness worse. Try texting instead and reduce the Skype and phone calls to once a week, until you feel stronger. It’s much harder seeing the faces and hearing the voices of those you miss.

3. Get out of the house (or your room specifically) – Go to cluster meetings, have coffee or go to movies with other au pairs, join a gym, go to the library, go for a walk, visit the mall, get a manicure, visit a museum. If someone invites you out, say “yes.” Also, don’t be afraid to do the inviting. If your host family invites you to do things with them, say “yes.” This will help you get to know each other and contribute to your overall happiness.

4. Realize that it definitely gets better – All au pairs experience homesickness and nearly all of them stay and have a successful year (some stay for two years). So, it must get better, right? Once you get past the initial homesickness, most au pairs report how quickly the year goes by.

5. Make Plans – Create your own Au Pair Bucket List (places you want to go, new foods to try, new things to experience during your year in the U.S.) and start doing them now. Post on our cluster group to find others who may want to join you on your adventures.

Photo by: Hernán Piñera (Flickr)

Back to School Planning

Back to school time is here. This can mean changes to the au pair schedule and possibly to the duties.  It is very important to communicate these changes to avoid problems.

Here is a list of topics to consider discussing:

  • Au pair’s work schedule
  • The children’s school and activity schedules
  • Where the children get dropped off and picked up and who will be doing this
  • What to do if a child is staying home sick, late to school, does not get off the bus (if they are supposed to)
  • Driving laws regarding stopping for school buses
  • How to tell if school has been canceled or delayed for bad weather
  • Add the au pair to your list of people allowed to pick up the kids from school and explain the process
  • What to pack for lunch
  • The routine after school (do they have free time before starting homework, what to give for a snack, any chores, where do they put their backpacks & lunchboxes)
  • How to communicate about what’s going on at school. Your Kids in Care logbook from Au Pair in America can be a great two-way communication tool for keeping track of schedules, afterschool activities and day to day info that needs to be transferred between host parents and au pair.
  • If your au pair will be the one going through the children’s backpack and helping with homework, consider designating an area for putting things that need to be read and/or signed by parents.

Here are some Printable Fill-in-the-Blank School Notes for parents. You can print these out and have them ready for times when the kids are absent, late, have an early dismissal or you need to give permission for something.

Check out Au Pair in America’s Pinterest School Tips and Ideas pinboard for things like organization ideas, back to school traditions, printable lunch box notes, and fun lunch recipes.

 

Making A Cardboard Box Car For Your Host Children.

Host Family and Au Pair 2019 EVENT
September 7th
On September 7th we will be meeting with all of the Atlanta APIA host families, children and Au pairs for a special event. Key leaders from APIA will be flying down to visit with us too! We will be attending the British Car Festival here in Norcross.
https://www.atlantabritishcarfayre.com/
The best part is going to be a car contest for all of the Au Pairs and children!
Over the summer, you and your host kids will be making a car out of a large cardboard box. On  SEPTEMBER 7th, Everyone will bring in their cars for a CONTEST!
There will be FIVE winning teams and PRIZES for Five categories
  • Most functional
  • Most cultural
  • Most funny
  • Most sporty
  • Most colorful

This is a wonderful way to entertain the kids this summer when it rains or everyone is tired of the sun!

If you google how to make a car out of a box, you will see some great ideas. The ones that are made to break down and pop back up are really neat. Remember you must transport the car to the event on September 7th with your host family.
Here is some inspiration below and you can google many more ideas with search words like:
bulid a cardboard car.
Here is a great colilapsible car made from a box.

 

Can’t wait to see your creativity!!!!!!!

Big Kids Need Interaction Too

Just because a child is old enough to occupy themselves, doesn’t mean that they should be expected to do so the majority of the time.  Host families have a certain expectation of activity and involvement for their children. Get the kids engaged and active. You can be more fun than the TV or a video game.

 

Problem:
But, my kids don’t want to do anything but watch TV or play video games.

Solution:
Instead of saying,  “Would you like to (fill in the blank with any activity)?  The answer will often be, “No.”

Try this, “Now we are going to (fill in the blank with any activity.) or “Would you rather do  _____ or ______?”  Make sure both the choices are good options.
Your chances of co-operation are greatly increased. Even kids who are reluctant to try new things will usually get in the spirit of things and have fun, if you pick a good activity.

Problem:
I don’t know what to do with school age kids.

Solution:
Look for ideas online. Google “activities school age kids” or “activities tweens”. Below is a list of some ideas to get you started.

  • Cooking
  • Making things (check craft stores like Michael’s for kits and models that are age appropriate)
  • Going fun places (pottery painting, jewelry making, farms, museums, mini-golf, go-karts)
  • Sports (soccer, tennis, swimming, bicycling, roller skating, ice skating)
  • Let them teach you to do something they enjoy. Kids this age love being the expert.
  • Get outdoors and visit local parks.  You can even make a project of reviewing all the local parks (what kind of equipment they have, is there shade, water fountain?)  They can write this up and keep, so they remember which ones they want to go to again and which ones to skip in the future.
  • Let them help you search and plan some activities.
  • Check on the APIA Pinterest page and here on our cluster blog for ideas.
  • If you have a GPS, try taking them geocaching. Here is a website with all the details.

Note: Always get permission from your host parents before taking the kids places.

Photo: Killian77

Tornado Safety For Au pairs and Host Children

Tornado Safety For Au pairs and Host Children

Use the guide below to discuss tornado safety with your host family. Request a meeting to discuss where you would go inside their home and what they expect from you when a warning or a watch is given in your area.

What you need to know about Tornadoes:

What is a Tornado?

tornadoes-5306

A tornado is a violently rotating column of air extending between, and in contact with, a cloud and the surface of the earth. Tornadoes are generally spawned by thunderstorms, though they have been known to occur without the presence of lightning. The stronger tornadoes attain an awe-inspiring intensity, with wind speeds that exceed 200 mph and in extreme cases may approach 300 mph.

The United States has the highest incidence of tornadoes worldwide, with about 1,000 occurring every year. Tornadoes touch down in the Atlanta area each year.

According to Stu Ostro, a Senior Weather Specialist at The Weather Channel, this is due to the unique geography that brings together polar air from Canada, tropical air from the Gulf of Mexico, and dry air from the Southwest to clash in the middle of the country, producing thunderstorms and the tornadoes they spawn.

Tornadoes can come one at a time, or in clusters, and they can vary greatly in length, width, direction of travel, and speed. They can leave a path 50 yards wide or over a mile wide. They may touch down for only a matter of seconds, or remain in contact with the ground for over an hour.

How do I know if a tornado will touch down where I live?

The National Weather Service broadcasts severe weather conditions on radio, TV, or on NOAA Weather Radio.  Every host family should have a NOAA weather radio in the home or a weather alert app on their phone. The radio or phone app makes a loud alert sound, letting you know there is an emergency.  Ask your host parents to make sure your have this app. Some areas of Atlanta have outside warning sirens. This is a very loud alert sound outside. The siren is activated when a tornado has been sighted in the specific area.

iWit_FtWorthClouds_980x551

How does an au pair in your home know there is a watch or warning?

A tornado WATCH means conditions are right for a tornado to occur.  A tornado WARNING means a tornado has been sighted in the posted area or is visible on radar.  A location of the sighting is normally given along with its projected movement.

Become familiar with your specific area. What part of Atlanta do you live? What is the county that you live in? What is the closest major highway or street?  Become familiar with the television channel that will give you details of where a tornado is touching down. During a tornado warning, listen out for info about your area on television.

A Tornado watch has been issued. What Do I do?

723586main1_GOES-20130130-1825UTC-6_980x551satellite picture of a tornado

FOR TORNADO WATCHES:

Stay tuned to a local radio or television station or your NOAA Weather Radio. Your phone app can also be helpful.  Local news stations on CBS, ABC and NBC all have very sophisticated technology used by the weather person to give information about the potential for a tornado in a specific area.  Call your host parents for advice about picking up children who are not at home.

Bring all children inside.

DO NOT SEEK SHELTER UNDER A TREE OUTSIDE.

Bring Pets to their safe place.

Secure any loose objects outdoors, or move them inside

Survey local structures for the most suitable shelter

Stay in communication with the host parents to help you decide if the warning will become more serious.    Be alert to changing weather conditions. Look for approaching storms. Look for the following danger signs:

Dark, often greenish sky

Large hail

A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating)

Loud roar, similar to a freight train.

A Warning Is Issued What Do I need to do?

When a tornado warning has been issued, you may have very little time to prepare. How you respond now is critical. OBEY ADVISORIES PROMPTLY! ACT QUICKLY!

In A Frame Home

Seek shelter in the lowest level of your home (basement or storm cellar). If there is no basement, go to an inner hallway, a smaller inner room, or a closet. Keep away from all windows.

Make sure you have a portable radio for information while you are in the safe room. Cover your head and eyes with a blanket or jacket to protect against flying debris and broken glass. Instruct the children to do the same. If you have a bicycle helmet this is ideal!  You can cover yourself with a mattress, but don’t waste time moving mattresses around.

Keep your pet on a leash or in a carrier.

Multiple tornadoes can emerge from the same storm.

If a tornado has hit your area,  do not go out until officials say it is safe. Most injuries from tornadoes occur due to flying debris or down gas or electric connections.

Keep yourself and the children calm. Sing or talk to keep young children distracted. The storm will pass by soon!

If you are outside:

Try to get inside and seek out a small protected space with no windows.

Avoid large-span roof areas such as school gymnasiums, arenas, or shopping malls.

If no inside protection is available, get into a vehicle, buckle your seat belt and try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter.

Stay in the car with the seat belt on. Put your head down below the windows; cover your head with your hands and a blanket, coat or other cushion if possible.

If you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway, leave your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands

If you cannot get inside a car, crouch for protection beside a strong structure, or lie flat in a ditch or low-lying area and cover your head and neck with your arms or a piece of clothing.

Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.

Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car or truck. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter.

Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.

If you are in a car:

Ideally, you should avoid driving when tornadoes or other kinds of dangerous weather threaten, as a vehicle is a very unsafe place to be. If, however, this is not possible, stay as calm as possible, and assess the situation.

The best choice is to take shelter immediately in a nearby building.

If your vehicle is hit by flying debris while you are driving, pull over and park.

If no building is near, one option might be to get out of the car and lie flat in a ditch or other low-lying area that is of sufficient depth to provide protection from the wind If you do so, beware of water runoff from heavy rain that could pose a hazard, get as far away from the vehicle as possible, and shield your head from flying debris.

Do not leave a building to attempt to “escape” a tornado.

If you are already in a sturdy building, do not get in a vehicle to try to outrun a tornado.

This information was obtained in Weather Channel web site. For more information go to:  http://www.ready.gov/tornadoes

 

Privacy & Personal Information Online

We live in a time of constant sharing through social media. We often share pictures, plans of somewhere we are going or rants about problems, without thinking much about who will see it and what could be the consequences.

Before clicking “post”, stop to think:

  • Am I violating someone’s privacy?
  • Am I sharing personal info. that could put me in danger?
  • Would I want my current or a future employer to see this?

This will help protect your privacy and safety as well as that of your host family. It is important to respect your host family’s privacy and not share personal details and information.  This applies to all kinds of situations, including: personal conversations, email and social websites.

For your own safety, it is a good idea to be careful what personal information you share about yourself as well. You should not give out information like your telephone number and address to people you don’t know. Safer to meet a new friend in a public place, than to give them your address before knowing them.

Once you post something on the internet (even if you later delete it), it can show up elsewhere.  Unless you have specific permission from your host family, you should never post pictures of them, their children or their home on the internet.

If you have a blog or website where you post in your native language, remember there is translation software. So, even if you say it in your native language, be sure it is not something that might be misinterpreted in translation or something you will regret saying.

Holiday Tips for Host Parents

Holiday Season in the USA will be a very special time for your family and Au pair.  It can also be a time when the Au Pair may need a little extra support. Consider these tips: 

 

  • Missing Home
Certain people and places are missed and our traditions and activities seem “different” right at a
time when an Au Pair would welcome something familiar. My observation has been that an Au
Pair’s emotions are close to the surface during the holidays. The enormity of this year away from
home hits her and sometimes throws her into a self-protective mode. You can help her through
this unfamiliar territory by talking to her about what your specific family activities will be (when
the candles will be lit, the stockings hung, the gifts exchanged, the meals prepared and eaten, the
relatives arriving, etc.) An especially thoughtful touch is to ask her if she has any favorite holiday foods or
traditions that could be incorporated into your celebration.
  • What are your expectations?        
Talk to your Au Pair specifically about what has to be accomplished and get her involvement and
interest. Remember her mother has probably taken this responsibility in previous years so don’t expect her to
just “know” what needs to be done. Give her some clear, agreed-upon assignments, make her feel a part of
things and let her know her contribution is needed and appreciated. Try to cut a little slack and then be pleased with progress!
  • Discuss the change in routine and roles 
The parents are home and this is unsettling to the children as well as to the Au Pair. Some different work
expectations may be needed since the kids may prefer to hover around the parents. This can make an Au Pair
feel unwanted and unsure of what is expected of her. If she is thrown off balance she may not see other things
she can do instead of the usual. The high emotions and energy of the kids at this time of year seem like
craziness to her. Assure her that things are temporary and will be back to normal soon! Suggest things she can
do to help and encourage her to roll with the punches and just enjoy the general fuss. And host parents need to
 remember that no matter how stressful those long holiday days are, the rules of how many hours an Au pair
 can work are mandated by the State department. No Au pair is allowed to work more than 10 hours each day
or left in sole charge of the children for more than 10 hours.
  • Only in America!
The quantity of gifts given to the children and the excesses we enjoy of gifts, food and decorations are
overwhelming to most Au Pairs. This often causes them to withdraw as they attempt to catch their breath and
to evaluate the differences.
  • New Year’s Eve in the USA
Socially you should remember the holidays are a time when Au Pairs want, and need, to be with their
friends. This helps their survival mechanism when they are missing old friends back home. New Year’s
Eve, especially in America, is a special occasion to an Au Pair so open communication is very important as you
decide on New Year’s Eve plans. If possible, use a different babysitter on this important night for her.

Thanksgiving in the USA

Thanksgiving Day, is a holiday celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday in November. It has officially been an annual tradition since 1863, when, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”  Thanksgiving, a uniquely American holiday, dates back to the first European settlers in North America.  After much hardship, illness and hard work, the Pilgrims were finally able to celebrate a successful harvest which they shared with their Native American friends who had helped them through their difficult beginning in America.  Today this day is set aside to feast and to give thanks. This is something we can all share, as we too celebrate our cross-cultural friendships. Enjoy the turkey and all the trimmings!

                                                                                                                                               The early settlers at Thanksgiving:Thanksgiving

 

The most recognized American Thanksgiving by Norman Rockwell

Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving

 

 

 

 

A modern day Thanksgiving. Modern Day Thanksgiving

 

Some activities to share with the children :

Maple-Nut-Berry Popcorn Balls ( for children ages 3 and older): Add some chopped walnuts and raspberries, blueberries or blackberries. Add enough melted butter to lightly coat popcorn. Stir. Pour maple syrup over the warm popcorn and stir until all the corn, nuts and berries are covered. Shape the sticky corn into balls and place on a plate to refrigerate until the syrup hardens

Halloween in the USA!

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!”   halloween buckets        

Information obtained: http://usa.usembassy.de/holidays-halloween.htm

Why do I lose an hour on November 4th? Interesting facts about Daylight Savings Time

 

Daylight Saving Time ends on 4 November 2018.   

Clocks will go back one hour on Sunday 4 November at 02:00. This means your devices will automatically reverse an hour at the strike of 2:00 a.m.,making it 1:00 a.m.

This information was obtained in an article entitled Daylight Saving Time 2018: A Guide to the When, Why, What and How (https://www.livescience.com/56048-daylight-saving-time-guide.html)

On Sunday, Nov. 4, most Americans will set their clocks back an hour, as daylight saving time (sometimes erroneously called daylight savings time) comes to a close, and most of the United States will “lose” an hour of daylight. These spring and fall clock changes continue a long tradition started by Benjamin Franklin to conserve energy. (This year, however, the Sunshine State is aiming to stop the change and remain in DST year-round, according to a Senate bill and news reports.)

Below is a look at when daylight saving time starts and ends during the year, its history, why we have it now and some myths and interesting facts about the time change.

How Did It Start?          

Benjamin Franklin takes the honor (or the blame, depending on your view of the time changes) for coming up with the idea to reset clocks in the summer months as a way to conserve energy, according to David Prerau, author of “Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time” (Thunder’s Mouth Press, 2005). By moving clocks forward, people could take advantage of the extra evening daylight rather than wasting energy on lighting. At the time, Franklin was ambassador to Paris and so wrote a witty letter to the Journal of Paris in 1784, rejoicing over his “discovery” that the sun provides light as soon as it rises.

Even so, DST didn’t officially begin until more than a century later. Germany established DST in May 1916 as a way to conserve fuel during World War I. The rest of Europe came onboard shortly thereafter. And in 1918, the United States adopted daylight saving time.

Though President Woodrow Wilson wanted to keep daylight saving time after WWI ended, the country was mostly rural at the time and farmers objected, partly because it would mean they lost an hour of morning light. (It’s a myth that DST was instituted to help farmers.) And so daylight daylight saving time was abolished until the next war brought it back into vogue. At the start of WWII, on Feb. 9, 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt re-established daylight saving time year-round, calling it “War Time.” [Learn more about the crazy history of Daylight Saving Time]

After the war, a free-for-all system in which U.S. states and towns were given the choice of whether or not to observe DST led to chaos. And in 1966, to tame such “Wild West” mayhem, Congress enacted the Uniform Time Act. That federal law meant that any state observing DST — and they didn’t have to jump on the DST bandwagon — had to follow a uniform protocol throughout the state in which daylight saving time would begin on the first Sunday of April and end on the last Sunday of October.

Then, in 2007, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 went into effect, expanding the length of daylight saving time to the present timing.

Why do we still have daylight saving time?

Fewer than 40 percent of the world’s countries observe daylight saving time, according to timeanddate.com. However, those who do take advantage of the natural daylight in the evenings. That’s because the days start to get longer as Earth moves from the winter season to spring and summer, with the longest day of the year on the summer solstice. During the summer, Earth, which revolves around its axis at an angle, is tilted directly toward the sun (at least its top half).

As Earth orbits the sun, it also spins around its own imaginary axis. Because it revolves around this axis at an angle, different parts of our planet experience the sun’s direct rays at different times of the year, leading to the seasons.

Credit: BlueRingMedia / Shutterstock.com

Regions farthest away from the equator and closer to the poles get the most benefit from the DST clock change, because there is a more dramatic change in sunlight throughout the seasons.

Research has also suggested that with more daylight in the evenings, there are fewer traffic accidents, as there are fewer cars on the road when it’s dark outside. More daylight also could mean more outdoor exercise (or exercise at all) for full-time workers.

Energy savings

The nominal reason for daylight saving time has long been to save energy. The time change was first instituted in the United States during World War I, and then reinstituted again during World War II, as a part of the war effort. During the Arab oil embargo, when Arab members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) stopped selling petroleum to the United States, Congress even enacted a trial period of year-round daylight saving time in an attempt to save energy.

But the evidence for energy savings is slim. Brighter evenings may save on electric lighting, said Stanton Hadley, a senior researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory who helped prepare a report to Congress on extended daylight saving time in 2007. But lights have become increasingly efficient, Hadley said, so lighting is responsible for a smaller chunk of total energy consumption than it was a few decades ago. Heating and cooling probably matter more, and some places may need air-conditioning for the longer, hotter evenings of summer daylight saving time.

Hadley and his colleagues found that the four weeks of extra daylight saving time that went into effect in the United States in 2007 did save some energy, about half of a percent of what would have otherwise been used on each of those days. However, Hadley said, the effect of the entire months-long stretch of daylight saving could very well have the opposite effect. A 1998 study in Indiana before and after implementation of daylight saving time in some counties found a small increase in residential energy usage. Temporary changes in Australia’s daylight saving timing for the summer Olympics of 2000 also failed to save any energy, a 2007 study found.

Part of the trouble with estimating the effect of daylight saving time on energy consumption is that there are so few changes to the policy, making before-and-after comparisons tricky, Hadley told Live Science. The 2007 extension of daylight saving time allowed for a before-and-after comparison of only a few weeks’ time. The changes in Indiana and Australia were geographically limited.

Ultimately, Hadley said, the energy question probably isn’t the real reason the United States sticks with daylight saving time, anyway.

“In the vast scheme of things, the energy saving is not the big driver,” he said. “It’s people wanting to take advantage of that light time in the evening.”

Who observes daylight saving time? (and who doesn’t)

Most of the United States and Canada observe DST on the same dates. But of course, there are exceptions. Hawaii and Arizona are the two U.S. states that don’t observe daylight saving time, though Navajo Nation, in northeastern Arizona, does follow DST, according to NASA.

And, every year there are bills put forth to get rid of DST in various states, as not everyone is keen on turning their clocks forward an hour. This year, Florida’s Senate and House passed legislation called the Sunshine Protection Act that would ask the U.S. Congress to exempt the state from the federal 1966 Uniform Time Act. If approved, Florida would remain in DST year-round. In order to allow Florida’s year-round DST, however, the U.S. Congress would have to amend the Uniform Time Act (15 U.S.C. s. 260a) to authorize states this allowance, according to The New York Times.

And in California, voters may get to decide: In this fall’s statewide ballot, voters can vote for or against Proposition 7 that would attempt to repeal the annual clock changes. If the Prop gets approved, that would mean the Legislature can act to eliminate the time changes, possibly leading to year-round DST, according to Land Line magazine.

Other states have also proposed exemptions from the federal time act. For instance, Sen. Ryan Osmundson, R-Buffalo, introduced Senate Bill 206 into the Senate State Administration Committee in February 2017, which would exempt Montana from daylight saving time, keeping the state on standard time year-round, according to the bill. Three bills put forth last year in Texas aimed to abolish DST for good: House Bill 2400, Senate Bill 238 and House Bill 95, according to the broadcast company kxan. Nebraskans may be off the hook for clock changes as well. In January 2017, state Sen. Lydia Brasch, a Republican of Bancroft, proposed a bill called LB309 to eliminate daylight saving time in the state, according to the bill.

Some regions of British Columbia and Saskatchewan don’t change their clocks. These include the following areas in British Columbia: Charlie Lake, Creston (East Kootenays), Dawson Creek, Fort St. John, and Taylor; In Saskatchewan, only Creighton and Denare Beach observe DST, according to NASA.

Most of Europe currently observes daylight saving time, called “summer time,” which begins at 1 a.m. GMT on the last Sunday in March and ends (winter time) at 1 a.m. GMT on the last Sunday in October. However, even the European Union may propose an end to clock changes, as a recent poll found that 84 percent of 4.6 million people surveyed said they wanted to nix them, the Wall Street Journal reported.

If the lawmakers and member states agree, the EU members could decide to keep the EU in summer time or winter time, according to the WSJ.

The United Kingdom moved their clocks forward on March 26, 2017, and back again to standard time on Oct. 29, 2017, according to the U.K. government. They performed this same ritual on March 25, and will again on Oct. 28, 2018.

The DST-observing countries in the Southern Hemisphere — in Australia, New Zealand, South America and southern Africa — set their clocks an hour forward sometime during September through November and move them back to standard time during the March-April timeframe.

Australia, being such a big country (the sixth-largest in the world), doesn’t follow DST uniformly: New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory follow daylight saving, while Queensland, the Northern Territory (Western Australia) do not, according to the Australian government. Clocks in the observing areas spring forward an hour at 2 a.m. local time on the first Sunday in October and push back an hour at 3 a.m. local daylight time on the first Sunday in April.

Russia instituted year-round daylight saving time in 2011, or permanent “summer time,” which seemed dandy at first. But in the depths of winter, sunrise occurred at 10 a.m. in Moscow and 11 a.m. in St. Petersburg, Prerau, author of “Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time,” said. This meant Russians had to start their days in the cold, pitch-dark. The permanent summer is coming to an end, however, as now Russian president Vladimir Putin abolished DST in 2014, according to BBC News. As such, the country will remain in “winter time” forever, or until another law is passed.

Myths and Interesting Facts

  • Turns out, people tend to have more heart attackson the Monday following the “spring forward” switch to daylight saving time. Researchers reporting in 2014 in the journal Open Heart, found that heart attacks increased 24 percent on that Monday, compared with the daily average number for the weeks surrounding the start of DST.
  • Before the Uniform Time Act was passed in the United States, there was a period in which anyplace could or could not observe DST, leading to chaos. For instance, if one took a 35-mile bus ride from Moundsville, West Virginia, to Steubenville, Ohio, he or she would pass through no fewer than seven time changes, according to Prerau. At some point, Minneapolis and St. Paul were on different clocks.
  • A study published in 2009 in the Journal of Applied Psychologyshowed that during the week following the “spring forward” into DST, mine workers got 40 minutes less sleepand had 5.7 percent more workplace injuries than they did during any other days of the year.
  • Pets notice the time change, as well. Since humans set the routines for their fluffy loved ones, dogs and cats living indoors and even cows are disrupted when, say, you bring their food an hour late or come to milk them later than usual, according to Alison Holdhus-Small, a research assistant at CSIRO Livestock Industries, an Australia-based research and development organization.
  • The fact that the time changes at 2 a.m. at least in the U.S., may have to do with practicality. For instance, it’s late enough that most people are home from outings and setting the clock back an hour won’t switch the date to “yesterday.” In addition, it’s early enough not to affect early shift workers and early churchgoers.

Editor’s Note: This article was first published on Sept. 9, 2016, and then updated by Stephanie Pappas with information about energy use during daylight saving time. It was also updated in March 2017 to include bills put forth in the United States to eliminate DST in certain states, and again in 2018.