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Vacation Information for Au Pairs

Vacation Information For Au Pairs

Planning a holiday while you are enjoying time in the USA as an Au Pair is exciting. There are a few things to keep in mind to allow your travel to happen smoothly.

Begin to think about your holiday astravels soon as you have settled in with your family. Every Au pair has 11 days of holiday, unless you were in rematch. An Au pair in her second family will have her vacation pro-rated between the two families. If she did not take any vacation with her first family, she will be paid for those earned days. The total 11 days will be lessened by this amount for the second family. It is usually best to take two smaller vacations instead of one long vacation. You can think of one holiday per every six months. You will plan to back up your five days off with your weekend off, giving you a longer holiday.

Start talking with other Au pairs about their travel plans. A group trip can be a great way to travel and save money. Trek America, and Cultural Highway have wonderful pre-planned trips.  You can also find great deals through the internet, especially on cruise lines. Try www. vacationstogo.com. As soon as you have an idea, you will want to talk it over with your host family. They will need time to arrange for alternate childcare or to arrange their vacation at the same time. It might not be possible for the family to accommodate a certain date. Often, a family will know in advance when they want you to take your vacation. This works well, if everyone knows in advance, at least three months.

There are special papers and in some cases visas that will be needed, if you plan to travel outside the United States. These can take up to four weeks, so plan ahead. Refer to the Au Pair In America website for more details about travel outside the USA. There is even a link to your country’s consulate if you have special questions. Canada and Mexico travel is discussed on the web site. You will also need to get your DS-2019 form signed by Au Pair In America for travel outside the USA. You can learn how to go about this on the web site. When mailing your DS-2019 form to Au Pair in America, you need to use UPS or Fed Ex. These mailing services can track a letter and find where it is, in case it gets lost. If you send it regular mail, you cannot “find” it if it gets lost. An Au Pair in the thirteenth month or in an extension term cannot travel outside the USA. For more information see https://www.aupairinamerica.com/resources/travel_and_flights/travel_visa.asp

It is not necessary to return home to renew your visa to extend your program year. You will be granted a new DS2019 form by the State Department, giving legal status to stay within the USA for up t0 12 months. Au Pairs are advised against saving up your vacation days to renew a visa. Many times the new visa is denied. The Au pair is not allowed to re-enter to finish the program when this happens. https://www.aupairinamerica.com/resources/travel_and_flights/travel_visa.asp

Sometimes vacationing can be confusing. If you go on your host family’s vacation with them, it is not your vacation. It should be thought of as a regular work week with a schedule. All travel and hotel expenses should be paid for by the family. If you have time off during the vacation, your personal expenses are your responsibility. Taking a separate vacation from your family is an important break for you. This allows everyone to benefit. A little fun time away should leave you refreshed and once again ready to give your best to the children in your charge.

The A B Cs of a Successful Au Pair Year!

ABC’s of a Successful Year as an Au Pair

Au Pairs at the Mall with CC


Alcohol – The drinking age in most states is 21. Yes, you used to be able to drink in your country – but you can’t drink here if you are under 21. If you are supposed to get a ride home with someone who has had too much to drink – find another way! If you get caught drinking and driving you have to go home!


Boyfriends – Some host families will not like the idea of you having a boyfriend – they will feel threatened by the time he takes away from them. It is best to be honest and find out about their rules regarding your boyfriend picking you up at their home (they may not want him to even have their home phone number – let alone their address). Don’t ever expect your host family to allow your boyfriend to spend the night.


Buddy – Be a buddy to the new au pairs that arrive! Please remember how it felt for you in those first days! Call new au pairs to say hello, take them out for coffee or to bring them to their first cluster meeting.


Car – The car is a privilege not a right. Please do not demand the car – there may be times when you do not have access to one (bad weather, other car not working, au pair car being repaired). Do not drive and use a cell phone at the same time! Never, ever – leave the children unattended in the car!!


Community Counselor – Your community counselor is here to help you to have a wonderful year. If you need advice about anything – call! Remember you can talk to your counselor on the phone. Many au pairs feel they need to discuss something – face to face – that is not necessary. Sometimes it is more important to talk immediately – than to wait for a convenient time for both of you to meet.


Cluster Meetings – A successful au pair will come to the monthly cluster meetings and stay connected to her counselor and the other au pairs. If you don’t come to the meetings – I don’t get to know you and there may be a time during your year that it is critical to you that I do know you!!


Downloading – Do not download anything on to your host family’s computer without their permission.


Eating – Au Pairs complain about gaining weight during their year here – portions are much larger – and it’s easy to gain weight. Be careful, eat right and make sure you get enough exercise.


Friends – Unbelievable as it may sound friends can cause problems. Make sure that they are respectful of your host family’s rules, too.


Grooming – Silly as it may seem to you – Americans shower everyday and change their clothes everyday. You will be expected to do the same.


Homesickness- It is very normal to feel homesick! The first 2 weeks to a month can be very challenging for you! Give yourself time and understand that your feelings are very normal!


Internet – You should never be on the internet when you are taking care of the host children. They deserve your undivided attention. Ask your host family when it is convenient for you to be on the internet. For some families you will be tying up their phone line – please be respectful and don’t stay on for hours and hours. Never give out information about yourself or your host family in a CHAT ROOM – it is very dangerous!!


Jerks – You will meet a lot of jerks while you are here in the United States. Don’t trust everyone you meet – don’t give out your host family’s number until you truly know the person – and with your host family’s permission.


Listening – Listen to the needs of your host children and your host parents. Keep the lines of communication open.


Money – Don’t spend all of your money every week! It is not a good idea to live paycheck to paycheck, ever! Have money on hand for unexpected expenses – insurance deductibles (medical and car – in case of illness or a car accident), extra college costs, clothes, Starbucks, phone bills – the list can go on and on.


Negotiate – If you are unhappy with anything – you must communicate this to your host family. You many not want to do this when you have just arrived to their home – but after you have earned their trust and respect. Remember – if you want a rule to change – even after discussion it may not change. Some things are not negotiable!


Overwhelmed – If ever you are feeling overwhelmed – speak up immediately. Some times you just need to talk about it – and you will feel better.


Phone – You should never be on the phone during your work hours. Don’t monopolize your host family’s telephone line for hours at a time. If they have call waiting – answer it – if it is for your host family get off the phone and let them know they have a call. Take good messages if you answer the phone and your host family is not available.


Quiet – Be respectful of the hours that your host family is putting the children to bed and when they are going to bed, too. Noise should be kept to a minimum and no calls should come in after 9:00.


Responsible – Your host family has given you the responsibility for their children. Please take good care of them and always put their needs above yours during your working hours.


School – You are required to attend classes for six semester hours or its equivalent (80 hours) at an accredited U.S. post secondary institution.


Trustworthy – Be honest with your host family – if you feel you must lie to them – it is not a good match. Talk to your counselor about your feelings.


United States of America – May this year here be one of the best of your life. You are responsible for your destiny here. This year is what you make it. Don’t sit around and complain to other au pairs – and do nothing about your unhappiness. Sometimes it is just a change of attitude that is necessary.


Vacation – Vacations need to be mutually agreed upon. Talk to your host family about when a good time for you to vacation will be.


Work/Study/Play – The best au pairs find a balance between their work as an au pair, their school and their free time. Obviously, your host family’s primary concern is that their children are being cared for by a responsible adult.


X-Rated – Attitudes regarding sex may be very different in your country. Please be aware of what is appropriate viewing for children in America.


Yo Yo – This year will be filled with ups and downs. If you understand that – it will make things a lot easier.


ZZZZ – Make sure you get enough sleep! You need to be on top of your game everyday!!


Happy St. Patricks Day Au pairs !

http://www.happyholidays2014.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/stamford-st-patrick39s-day.png. https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSBSF2vrXREDpVZIZZfbbf2ItKsDQRIR81PxNbLDXCDeHuYv0J2403WeQSS4g
So what is it and who was St. Patrick? Saint Patrick is the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland. He is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland. Most of what is known about him comes from his two works; the Confessio, a spiritual autobiography, and his Epistola, a denunciation of British mistreatment of Irish Christians. Many people ask the question ‘Why is the Shamrock the National Flower of Ireland ?’ According to folklore the reason is that St. Patrick used it to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagans. St. Patrick’s Day was first publicly celebrated in Boston in 1737 where a large population of Irish immigrants resided. Nearly 200 years later, the first St. Patrick’s Day parade in Ireland was held in Dublin in 1931. During the mid 90’s, the Irish government also began a campaign to promote tourism in Ireland on March 17th.
While many Catholics still quietly celebrate this day of religious observance by going to mass, St. Patrick’s Day has slowly evolved to become a celebration of Irish heritage. Through the years, along with legendary shamrocks, many symbols were included in festivities that are reflective of Ireland’s folklore, culture, and national identity (think leprechauns, ethnic cuisine, and wearing green). Other places that join in on this celebration include Japan, New Zealand, Argentina, and Canada.
New York City hosts the largest St. Patrick’s Day in the world with around 150,000 marchers.  In Chicago they turn the river green and other cities and towns all over America celebrate the day. Savannah Georgia has quite a celebration!  You’ll find many restaurants serving traditional Irish cuisine next week with corned beef and cabbage being the most popular,
You can find some fun games and activities including coloring pages, word puzzles and recipes for  children here:  http://www.apples4theteacher.com/holidays/st-patricks-day/
My Favorite Irish Blessing. To all my lovely Au pairs past and present!

Join in for ongoing training on a wide range of au pair topics!

Join in for ongoing training on a wide range of  au pair topics!

We are very proud of the ongoing training we offer our au pairs which provides further educational on a wide range of topics.. Our orientation trainers take great care to research and prepare the topics presented and we get great feedback from au pairs who attend.   

 Au pairs are sent emails monthly  with the webinar details and reminders on the day of training and can register through the webinar link in the email.


Webinar Schedule  (All times Eastern time zone)


October 15

8 pm               Nutrition. Good eating for you and your kids

9 pm               It’s Up to You. Making the most of your Au Pair year

10 pm             Activities to do with Preschoolers


October 29

11 am             Language Development: Birth and beyond

12 noon         Tantrums are no fun for anyone. Help, my kids are fighting again!            

1 pm               American holidays: what they are, activities and getting through

                       the holiday blues


November  11

8 pm               Managing play with more than one child

9 pm               Repatriation

10 pm             Feeling Sad or Stressed: Tips for gaining balance in your life


November 26

11 am             Help! My kids are fighting again

12 noon         Activities for School Age Kids

1 pm               Homesickness. Making it through


December 5

8 pm               Activities to do with Preschoolers


December 6

9 pm               Successfully communicating with your host family


December 9

10 am             Homework: Finding the right strategy for your child


December 15

9 pm               Homesickness. Making it through

10 pm             Toilet Training 101


December 17

8 pm               Tantrums are no fun for anyone

Going Unplugged During Work Hours?

Going Unplugged During Work Hours

Posted by Heike on Sep 25, 2013 No Comments
Thanks to Heike, community counselor in Boston, for a thought provoking article!
Au Pairs – Imagine for a moment that you went to the hospital and you were in the care of doctors and nurses.  How would you feel if those doctors and nurses who were there to care for you were more interested in texting or using their personal computer than caring for you?  How would that make you feel, about yourself and about them?  Would you think that you were getting the treatment you deserved?  Would you feel like paying the bill after your stay?

Life as an au pair, it is a fine balance between employee and family member. You live with your host family and participate with them as a member of the family, but you also have clear responsibilities as a childcare provider. Being a childcare provider is truly one of the most important jobs I can think of, because you are helping to shape our next generation.  What message are you sending them when you would rather interact with a computer than with them? How will they feel about themselves and about you? Children feel as though everything is about them. They will see this as a rejection of them and they will be more likely to act out.

It also poses a safety concern when you are not paying enough attention to the children in your care.  Accidents happen, but when an adult care giver is close by and appropriately supervising the chances of a major injury dramatically reduce.

During work hours, the following would not be considered acceptable:
-Talking to friends on the phone
-Chatting with friends online
-Using Skype or Facetime
-Updating your status on Facebook
-Using Orkut, Google+, Studivz, SiempreGente or any other social media site
-Watching videos on YouTube (even my really fabulous ones)
-Tweeting on your Twitter
-Uploading photos on Instragram or Vine
-Anything else on the computer unless it is going to Nickjr.com together with your host children

Think about this — even if you work 45 hours a week, that leaves you 123 hours per week for all of that other stuff, or about 70 hours (if you are getting the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep per night.)

Host Parents – You need to be clear about what you consider acceptable during work hours to avoid misunderstandings.  Also, please understand that you are dealing with a new generation of people who are very accustomed to being plugged in at all times.  Their intention is not to be rude, they don’t necessarily realize how their actions will be perceived.  Please use this information as an opportunity to begin a dialogue on the issue.

Thanks for your work as an au pair!

Dear Au Pairs,   I wanted to take a second today to thank you for working so hard. I do know that you have a very hard job.   Your job, although hard, is really one of the most valuable I know.   You have an impact on the little people you care for. They are learning from you, even when you are not teaching. They learn to smile when days are hard. They learn to speak softly even when you are angry. They learn to take the news of a mistake graciously and make it better next time. They learn that the telling the truth is always the best thing to do. They learn about you!   They also learn that our country is not the only country. We may be different , but we  are all alike in the most important of ways.   You are so important to your host family and your host children. Sometimes we may forget to tell you!   If you are having a hard day, I hope you will know the next one will be better!   Thanks for all that you do! Your counselor, Andrea

Taking an education course is important!

Taking an education course is important!

The education component of the au pair program is a requirement of the State Department of the United States. The State department gives authorization for all au pair programs to exist.  When an au pair does not achieve her requirement, this puts all au pair agencies at risk. Completing your education hours is an important part of being an au pair and is required by your contract with Au Pair In America. Taking a course will provide yet another level of experience during your year and yields many skills that you can use to further your personal goals. You may also make new friends and professional contacts! I hope you enjoy your educational courses. If you need assistance finding a course or have questions, please call or email your counselor.

 Some Important Tips:

  • Any course can be taken as long as it is taught from a college, university or technical college. Only those schools approved by the State department can be accepted. All of the schools listed on your resource page on the au pair web-site are accepted http://www.aupairinamerica.com/state/georgia.asp
  •  Your counselor can clarify any questions about a school.
  • The only online course currently being accepted by the State department is the UCLA au pair advantage online course. NO other on line course can be accepted.
  • No courses that require long distance travel are accepted by the State Separtment. This would be a course offered in a different state that requires a flight to travel.
  • 72-80 hours of education is required for standard au pairs.
  • 144-160 hours for Educare au pairs.
  • For a second year au pair, 36-40 hours is required for a six month extension and 72-80 hours for a nine or twelve month extension.
  •  Credits and hours are different. Count the hours you are in a classroom.
  • At the end of your course, send your community counselor your documents showing the name of the school and the hours that you have achieved. Check your certificate. Some certificates do not show the number of hours. If the hours are not present on the certificate, you will need a letter from the school stating how many hours you have achieved. This information is needed by your counselor to insure your end of year completion bonus and flight home.
  • Host families reimburse tuition costs and costs of related materials (books and supplies) up to $500 for the first year. EduCare companions are reimbursed up to $1000 for the first year. If it will cost you more than $500 (or $1000 for EduCare) to meet the requirement, you must pay the additional expense, so plan carefully.
  • Your host family is required to provide transportation, including gasoline, parking, or public transportation costs (if applicable) to and from classes in your community. The cost of transportation is in addition to the $500/$1000 allocated to tuition and related fees. It is your host family’s responsibility to provide transportation or cover the transportation costs until you complete your educational requirement, even if the $500 education allowance has already been spent.
  • To extend your first au pair term, you will need to have proof of 72 hours. Send the documentation to your community counselor as soon as possible. You should plan to have your education requirement finished at the time you request an extension. This happens approximately three months before the end of your first term. Au pair In America requires 72 hours to be able to extend your au pair term. Without 72 hours, Au Pair In America will not accept your application to extend and you must go home at the end of your first year.

 If you want to extend,   All proof of education must be given to your counselor before your deadline to extend. Approximatley three months before the end of your year.


 Your counselor is the best person to ask questions about your education requirement. Courses and colleges are constantly changing. Your counselor is always researching new and exciting courses that are appropriate for you.  If you are aware of a new resource, please let your counselor know!

 For more information about your education requirement visit http://www.aupairinamerica.com/resources/life_in_the_us/education.asp#1

Summer Fun For Au pairs and Host kids!

fun ahead

Are you ready for those long, lazy days of summer. Having school age kids at home during the day can be challenge for an au pair or a mom!

The key to success is having lots of activities lined up to keep those kids busy. Don’t forget about the booklet entitled “150 things to do with your kids”. This was given to you at orientation. The booklet is jammed packed with fun ideas.

Many movie theaters will also have free morning movies. Check the theater closest to you for free shows and times.

Our Pinterest site will also have weekly camp au pair activities beginning next week http://pinterest.com/aupairinamerica/summer-fun/

water balloons in wagon

How about Water Piñatas! This idea is featured on our pinterest site. This looks like a cool way to spend a hot day!

hanging waterbaoolons

Why do Au pairs gain weight in the USA?

Why does an au pair gain weight during her year?

Did you know that during your au pair year, most au pairs will gain an average of 15 to 20 pounds! That is enough for most people to change two sizes bigger. The added sugar and other sweeteners in our American food is one reason for the gain. Au Pair’s also eat more restaurant, take out and drive through foods. These are higher in calorie and fat. Your change in schedule and less time to exercise all combine to make an au pair gain weight. Add that to getting a little older and the scene is set for gaining weight! The good news is you can prevent this and even start a healthy lifestyle that will continue well beyond this one au pair year.

Just 30 minutes of walking, five times a week is enough to improve your overall health from decreasing the symptoms of diabetes and depression to increasing bone density to preventing cancer. And, you will not gain weight!

Walking gives you more muscle tone, which is what we all want for swimsuit season!  One of the easiest ways to help you keep extra weight off and to stimulate an energetic youthful appearance is walking. Not only will you look good but you will help to prevent many diseases. While there’s truth to the saying, if you don’t look good, you don’t feel good, the reverse is also true. Feeling good may be the best way to have that healthy glow.

Did you know that walking can help reduce or prevent diabetes, heart disease, depression–and even some forms of cancer? Everybody has what it takes to stay happy, healthy and strong. You just need your feet and the motivation to get moving. Just taking a few small steps each day can help strengthen your heart and lungs, greatly reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, improve your chances of survival of breast cancer and more.

A University of Duke research team showed the results of an eighth month study. Their findings show that walking thirty minutes per day will help to lose weight! http://www.dukehealth.org/health_library/news/7325


The minimum daily requirement of exercise to prevent weight gain is 30 minutes a day of walking, or 12 miles a week of walking or running. A study of sedentary, overweight men and women showed they lost body fat and weight when they walked or ran 12 miles a week during an 8-month study, without changing their diet. A control group of non-exercisers all gained weight and fat during the 8-month study. http://www.dukehealth.org/health_library/news/7325

Get Your Minimum Daily Requirement of Walking

“From the perspective of prevention, it appears that the 30 minutes per day will keep most people from gaining the additional weight associated with inactivity,” said Cris Slentz, Ph.D of the Duke University research team in a news release. http://www.dukehealth.org/health_library/news/7325

walking get walking


Walking 30 minutes a day or 12 miles a week at 40-55% maximum heart rate: Lost 1% of body weight, lost 1.6% of waist measurement, lost 2% of body fat and gained 0.7% lean muscle.

Jogging at 65-80% of maximum heart rate for 12 miles a week: lost 1% of body weight, lost 1.4% of waist measurement, lost 2.6% of body fat, and gained 1.4% lean muscle.

Jogging at 65-80% of maximum heart rate for 20 miles a week: lost 3.5% of body weight, lost 3.4% of waist measurement, lost 4.9% of body fat, and gained 1.4% lean muscle.

Non-exercise control group: Gained 1.1% weight, gained 0.8% waist measurement, gained 0.5% body fat.

Exercise Without Dieting Reduces Health Risks

The study shows the effects of exercise without dieting in maintaining body weight and reducing risk of major illness. “This study revealed a clear dose-response effect between the amount of exercise and decreases in measurements of central obesity and total body fat mass, reversing the effects seen in the inactive group,” Slentz said. “The close relationship between central body fat and cardiovascular disease, diabetes and hypertension lends further importance to this finding.”

The trial, dubbed STRRIDE (Studies of Targeted Risk Reduction Interventions through Defined Exercise), was led by Duke cardiologist William Kraus, M.D.