Tag Archives: childcare

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

Au pair In America Cultural Fair and Food'n Fun Festival


aupair logo

The Atlanta Clusters of Au Pair In America are delighted to join with the Dunwoody/ Sandy Springs Community Assistance Center on May 19th for their Food’ n Fun festival from 1:00pm to 4:00pm The festival is an effort to raise awareness, food and funds to combat hunger and homelessness in our community.

Au Pair in America will present our Au pair Cultural Fair during the festival. This is a wonderful opportunity to share the American spirit of volunteerism with our au pairs while they share their country pride! bth_world_flags_400

All Au pairs will be grouping together to showcase their countries in the Au pair In America Cultural Fair. Host families from all clusters are invited to participate. General admission is a donation of $5.00 or a bag of groceries per person.

Families and au pairs are encouraged to join the walk portion of the festival. This is a great way to support the efforts of the community action center.

Registration and information is below.

Food `n Fun Festival. http://www.ourcac.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=78&Itemid=151

Join us for CAC’s 1st Annual Food `n Fun Festival Sunday, May 19, 2013 from 1pm-4pm
at the
Morgan Falls Athletic Complex
in Sandy Springs! Event Location: Morgan Falls Athletic Complex, 450 Morgan Falls Rd, Sandy Springs GA

I Have a Dream by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

 MLK

Each year on the third Monday of January, schools, federal offices, post office and banks across America close as we celebrate the birth, the life and the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  It is an occasion for joy and celebration for his life and his work toward nonviolent social change in America and the world.

Take the day to visit the Martin Luther King JR Memorial in Atlanta and find out more  about Dr. King and his life. Below is his most famous speech titled I have a dream. This is a beautiful and moving speech.

I Have A Dream Speech:

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the “unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.

We cannot turn back.

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: “For Whites Only.” We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until “justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”¹

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest — quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”2

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day — this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.

Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride,

From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that:

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

                Free at last! Free at last!

                Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!3

Keep Healthy This Cold and Flu Season

Keep Healthy This Cold and Flu Season!

Here are a few tips that are helpful in keeping yourself and your host children healthy this winter season.

16251243-family-is-lying-on-a-bed-due-to-flu-in-winter

1. Wash your hands often and thoroughly with warm, soapy water. Say your abc song to make sure you are washing long enough!

2. Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth. Make a habit of never touching your face.

3. Don’t leave your used tissues lying around. Wash your hands after throwing them away. 14424787-woman-with-tissue-and-spray-feels-unwell-with-flu-isolated-on-white

4. Routinely disinfect shared objects at home. Don’t forget the keyboard of computers and the TV remote. Door knobs and stair rails are places to clean as well.

5. Consider getting a flu shot. It is a myth that the shot will make you sick.  The flu shot can prevent most flu infections.

6. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue on the inside of your arm when you sneeze or cough. Flu germs can travel up to 20 feet very quickly.  11369430-close-up-of-a-man-stifling-a-sneeze-in-his-elbow


7. If you are sick avoid going to crowded places and keep your distance from family members.

8. Get enough rest. Don’t be tempted to stay out late with friends. Let your body have a chance to heal.

9. If a fever last more than three days, see a doctor.

10. Keep cool air circulating and surfaces dry. Germs like moist, warm environments.

flu season

Taking An Education Course Is Important!

picture of teacherThe 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 an accredited USA college, university, or technical college. Only those schools approved by the State Department can be accepted. All of the schools and online resources listed on your Blog site are approved.  Please have your counselor approve any class before registering.

  •  Your counselor can clarify any questions about a school.
  • Volunteer hours do not count towards your educational credits
  • Weekend courses do count if the course is a part of a college or university.  Some places offering weekend courses are not accredited. Ask your counselor before signing up.
  • Online courses are being accepted as long as they meet all requirements and are registered before March 31, 2022. Ask your counselor to approve any online course before you start.
  • All colleges, universities and technical schools must be accredited and within the USA.
  • 72-80 hours of education are required for standard au pairs.
  • 144-160 hours for Educare au pairs.
  • For second and third-year au pairs, 36-40 hours is required for a six-month extension and 72-80 hours for a nine or twelve-month extension.
  •  Credits, hours and CEUs are different. Count the hours you are in a classroom this must be 72 hours.
  • 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, along with the name of the class you took. This proof should also have your name.  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.
  • All education must be achieved one month prior to the end of your Au Pair term.
  • Send all certificates or proof of your classes to your community counselor.
  • If you plan to extend, your education needs to be finished four months before the end of your term. This is the time that the information to extend is sent out to you.
  • 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.
  • Some locations will not be accessible to your host address. The host family must agree to the location of a class as some will be too far for the host car to be driven.
  • Once you have met the 72-hour requirement for the State Department, your host family is not obligated to pay out any remaining education monies not 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 four 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 completed one month prior to the end of your term, 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 and have not completed all of the hours, but you do intend to have them finished before at least two months prior to the end of your first term, you will need to do the following:

1. Register for a class that will complete 72 hours of education at least two months before the end of your first term. All proof of education must be given to your counselor before your deadline to extend. As soon as your counselor can check off for the education requirement, your request to extend can be approved. All requests to extend must be submitted to the State department NO later than 30 days from the end of your year.  Without the education requirement finished, you will not be able to start the interviewing process for your extension.  

2. Send documents showing proof of your registration to your community counselor as soon as possible.  This allows the office to submit your request to the State Department and upon the approval, you can begin to interview with families.  You must have a match before your year ends. 

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

More Tips for Fire Safety and Prevention: Basic Home Fire Escape Planning.

October 7-13 is Fire Safety and prevention week!


Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, the tragic 1871 conflagration that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres. http://www.firepreventionweek.org):

Basic fire escape planning:

Your ability to get out depends on advance warning from smoke alarms and advance planning.

  • Pull together everyone in your household and make a plan. Include the Au pair in your home in this discussion. Walk through your home and inspect all possible exits and escape routes. Households with children should consider drawing a floor plan of your home, marking two ways out of each room, including windows and doors. Also, mark the location of each smoke alarm. For easy planning, download NFPA’s escape planning grid (PDF, 634 KB). This is a great way to get children involved in fire safety in a non-threatening way.
  • Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm Code® requires interconnected smoke alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.
  • Everyone in the household must understand the escape plan. When you walk through your plan, check to make sure the escape routes are clear and doors and windows can be opened easily.
  • Choose an outside meeting place (i.e. neighbor’s house, a light post, mailbox, or stop sign) a safe distance in front of your home where everyone can meet after they’ve escaped. Make sure to mark the location of the meeting place on your escape plan.
  • Go outside to see if your street number is clearly visible from the road. If not, paint it on the curb or install house numbers to ensure that responding emergency personnel can find your home.
  • Have everyone memorize the emergency phone number of the fire department. That way any member of the household can call from a neighbor’s home or a cellular phone once safely outside.
  • If there are infants, older adults, or family members with mobility limitations, make sure that someone is assigned to assist them in the fire drill and in the event of an emergency. Assign a backup person too, in case the designee is not home during the emergency.
  • If windows or doors in your home have security bars, make sure that the bars have emergency release devices inside so that they can be opened immediately in an emergency. Emergency release devices won’t compromise your security – but they will increase your chances of safely escaping a home fire.
  • Tell guests or visitors to your home about your family’s fire escape plan. When staying overnight at other people’s homes, ask about their escape plan. If they don’t have a plan in place, offer to help them make one. This is especially important when children are permitted to attend “sleepovers” at friends’ homes. See NFPA’s “Sleepover fire safety for kids” fact sheet.
  • Be fully prepared for a real fire: when a smoke alarm sounds, get out immediately. Residents of high-rise and apartment buildings may be safer “defending in place.”
  • Once you’re out, stay out! Under no circumstances should you ever go back into a burning building. If someone is missing, inform the fire department dispatcher when you call. Firefighters have the skills and equipment to perform rescues.

Putting your plan to the test

  • Practice your home fire escape plan twice a year, making the drill as realistic as possible.
  • Make arrangements in your plan for anyone in your home who has a disability.
  • Allow children to master fire escape planning and practice before holding a fire drill at night when they are sleeping. The objective is to practice, not to frighten, so telling children there will be a drill before they go to bed can be as effective as a surprise drill.
  • It’s important to determine during the drill whether children and others can readily waken to the sound of the smoke alarm. If they fail to awaken, make sure that someone is assigned to wake them up as part of the drill and in a real emergency situation.
  • If your home has two floors, every family member (including children) must be able to escape from the second floor rooms. Escape ladders can be placed in or near windows to provide an additional escape route. Review the manufacturer’s instructions carefully so you’ll be able to use a safety ladder in an emergency. Practice setting up the ladder from a first floor window to make sure you can do it correctly and quickly. Children should only practice with a grown-up, and only from a first-story window. Store the ladder near the window, in an easily accessible location. You don’t want to have to search for it during a fire.
  • Always choose the escape route that is safest – the one with the least amount of smoke and heat – but be prepared to escape under toxic smoke if necessary. When you do your fire drill, everyone in the family should practice getting low and going under the smoke to your exit.
  • Closing doors on your way out slows the spread of fire, giving you more time to safely escape.
  • In some cases, smoke or fire may prevent you from exiting your home or apartment building. To prepare for an emergency like this, practice “sealing yourself in for safety” as part of your home fire escape plan. Close all doors between you and the fire. Use duct tape or towels to seal the door cracks and cover air vents to keep smoke from coming in. If possible, open your windows at the top and bottom so fresh air can get in. Call the fire department to report your exact location. Wave a flashlight or light-colored cloth at the window to let the fire department know where you are located.

URL: http://www.nfpa.org/itemDetail.asp?categoryID=406&itemID=17735&URL=Safety%20Information/For%20consumers/Escape%20planning/Basic%20fire%20escape%20planning

October 7-13 is Fire Safety and Prevention Week!

October 7-13 is Fire Safety and prevention week.

Two of the most common causes of accidental fires are related to cooking and the use of candles. Consider these tips and stay safe!


Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, the tragic 1871 conflagration that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres. http://www.firepreventionweek.org:

Cooking safety tips

Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries. The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking. It’s important to be alert to prevent cooking fires.

  • Be on alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol don’t use the stove or stovetop.
  • Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  • If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire — oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains — away from your stovetop.

If you have a cooking fire

  • Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
  • Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number after you leave.
  • If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear way out.
  • Keep a lid nearby when you’re cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
  • For an oven fire turn off the heat and keep the door closed.

URL: http://www.nfpa.org/itemDetail.asp?categoryID=1695&itemID=41075&URL=Safety%20Information/For%20consumers/Causes/Cooking/Cooking%20safety%20tips

Candle safety tips

Candles may be pretty to look at but they are a cause of home fires — and home fire deaths. Remember, a candle is an open flame, which means that it can easily ignite anything that can burn.

  • Blow out all candles when you leave the room or go to bed. Avoid the use of candles in the bedroom and other areas where people may fall asleep.
  • Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn.
  • Think about using flameless candles in your home. They look and smell like real candles.

If you do burn candles, make sure that you…

  • Use candle holders that are sturdy, and won’t tip over easily.
  • Put candle holders on a sturdy, uncluttered surface.
  • Light candles carefully. Keep your hair and any loose clothing away from the flame.
  • Don’t burn a candle all the way down — put it out before it gets too close to the holder or container.
  • Never use a candle if oxygen is used in the home.
  • Have flashlights and battery-powered lighting ready to use during a power outage. Never use candles.

URL: http://www.nfpa.org/itemDetail.asp?categoryID=1710&itemID=41182&URL=Safety%20Information/For%20consumers/Causes/Candles/Candle%20safety%20tips

Be Ready! September is National Preparedness Month

Be Ready! September is National Preparedness Month

Families should be prepared for all types of emergencies; this includes a fire, winter storm, tornado, hurricane, etc. Developing a national disaster plan is extremely important for every family to have. Having an emergency kit for the home and car is a great way to get started.

  • Discuss where to meet  if a disaster happens (be prepared to lose cell service)
  • An emergency kit prepared for the home and car

If you are at work, will your au pair be prepared? Take some time this month to discuss what you would like her to do in the event of an emergency. To find more detailed information provided by FEMA click here! We will be discussing fire safety and prevention at our cluster meeting this month.

Your emergency kit could include:

  • Identification for all family members (Social Security card, passport, license, etc.)
  • First aid kit
  • Water
  • Food
  • Flashlight
  • Batteries
  • Local Maps
  • Manual can opener
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Cell phone with chargers for car and basic outlet
  • Dust mask

Supplies for your vehicle or the Au pair car  could include:

  • Bottled water and non-perishable foods such as granola bars.
  • Seasonal supplies: Winter – blanket, hat, mittens, shovel, sand, tire chains, windshield scraper, florescent distress flag; summer – sunscreen lotion (SPF 15 or greater), shade item (umbrella, wide brimmed hat, etc.).
  • Flashlight, extra batteries, and maps.
  • First aid kit and manual.
  • White distress flag.
  • Tire repair kit, booster/jumper cables, pump, and flares.

http://www.cdc.gov/features/beready/

Fast Ways to Stop Temper Tantrums, Tips for aupairs!

Toddlers are famous for tantrums, so when fits erupt, it’s wise to have some tried-and-true tricks to tame toddler tantrums.

http://www.whattoexpect.com

Yuk It Up

Method: See a toddler tantrum coming on? Quick, Mom, tame that tantrum with fun by doing something silly! Your darling won’t stand still for a diaper change? Put the (clean) diaper on your head. He refuses to drink his milk? Pick up a banana and make a phone call. He’s losing it for no apparent reason? Climb under the table with a book. Whoever heard of Mommy reading under the table?

Why it works: Laughter releases all sorts of feel-good chemicals in the brain and stifles the stress-causing ones. The best thing about getting a toddler to giggle is that it’s not all that hard. Tots find the unexpected especially funny, so doing something outside the usual routine will more often than not distract yours long enough to diffuse his tantrum.

Shhh…

Method: Your toddler is screaming at the top of his lungs. Instead of trying to out-yell him, start whispering. (Tip: This will work only if he’s looking at you.)

Why it works: As soon as your toddler realizes you’re talking, he’ll probably quiet down to try to figure out why you’re using your library voice. Just make sure to be saying something soothing: “As soon as you calm down, Mommy will help you find the missing puzzle piece,” or “I’m sorry you’re so mad. Why don’t we go for a walk?” Don’t rely on this trick too often though. Your child will eventually be on to your wily, whispery ways.

Give Him the Cold Shoulder

Method: The next time you’re face-to-face with a toddler tantrum, try ignoring the frantic antics and carry on with what you’re doing — you can even hum or sing loudly so he really gets the message. As long as he isn’t doing anything that could be harmful to his surroundings (throwing toys) or himself (running toward the street), this can be a highly effective way to stop temper tantrums.

Why it works: Much of the drama may be a bit of an act. Yes, your toddler is legitimately frustrated, but at the same time, he also knows that when he cries or fusses he’ll be tended to: So he may use that knowledge as an attention-getting device. By now you know your child like the back of your hand, so don’t ignore him if he’s feeling especially sensitive or is going through a stressful time (his new baby sib is taking up most of your attention).

Go on Autopilot

Method: It’s T-minus ten ’til dinnertime, but your toddler has his eye on the cookie jar. When you say no, he pitches a fit. Your response should be to repeat the rule, over, and over, and over: “We don’t eat cookies before dinner. We don’t eat cookies before dinner.”

Why it works: Basically, saying the same words over and over will bore the tantrum out of him. The trick is to be as consistent (don’t change any of the words) and as calm as possible. Keep your voice even and your face neutral. He’ll understand that you mean business, and see that he can’t get a rise — or a cookie — out of you before dinner.

Get Your Game On

Method: As soon as you see that temper start to rise, try to engage your wee whiner in a toddler game. That doesn’t have to mean dragging out Candy Land, but rather distracting him with a simple activity like I Spy, which works great in places like the DMV, airport, or any other place where waiting is involved.

Why it works: Playing a game works on two levels. First of all, it’s a fun distraction. Whatever is bugging your babe will likely take a backseat to the chance to have some fun with Mommy. Which is the second point: Often a tantrum is as much a cry for attention as it is a response to being frustrated or bored or angry or tired. Just be warned — timing is everything: This method works best to put the brake on a toddler tantrum if you use it just as your cutie starts to lose composure. If you wait until he’s having a full-blown screaming fit, it’ll be too tough to calm him down to play.

Hold On

Method: Pick him up and hug him firmly but gently.

Why it works: When a tantrum morphs from a minor meltdown to a full-blown screaming fit, no amount of silliness or reasoning or even non-reaction on your part is going to do the trick. If he’s that upset, he won’t be able to see you or hear you, so relying on the power of your touch can be soothing, especially since losing control can be scary for a little kid. That’s why being wrapped in your loving arms can calm down a crazed critter. (Sometimes a little hug therapy is the best way of all to tame a toddler tantrum — it’ll melt any anger or frustration you have, too.)