Tag Archives: childcare

Camp Au Pair – Art Experiences

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pottery & Ceramics webcam
Glass Blowing webcam

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

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

Check YouTube for books on art being read aloud:

Image: teachkidsart.com

Camp Au Pair – Dinosaurs

This week’s Camp Au Pair theme is Dinosaurs.

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

Field Trips can be a great way for kids to learn and have new experiences. Get permission from your host parents before any outings and be sure to take all social distancing precautions.

Here are a few places to go that fit this theme:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: krojotak.com

Three Ways for Au Pairs to Stay Red Cross Ready

Being knowledgeable in basic first aid and CPR is important for au pairs (and anyone else caring for children). Au Pair in America’s commitment to infant/child safety begins before au pairs arrive to the U.S., with pre-arrival training and continue throughout the au pair year.

#1 Training At Orientation

Our orientation includes seminars by American Red Cross instructors who provide hands-on demonstrations in infant/child CPR and safety. Printed materials are provided that reinforce the safety information and can be used to review from time to time.

#2 Enroll in a Red Cross Certification Class

After settling into their host community, all au pairs are encouraged to complete an Infant/Child CPR and First Aid certification program. Au Pair in America will pay for this training through the American Red Cross.

Classes are available through the Red Cross. Au Pair in America will pay for the cost of a class providing an au pair has at least six months left on her visa and is taking one of several approved childcare/child safety-related classes, such as Adult and Pediatric First Aid/CPR/AED. Au pairs should check with their community counselor and host family before signing up. Au Pair in America will register the au pair directly.

To locate a class, visit www.redcross.org/takeaclass. For step-by-step instructions on how to locate a class and have Au Pair in America complete enrollment, click here.

#3 Stay Current on Safety Information

The Official American Red Cross First Aid app puts expert advice for everyday emergencies in your hand. Available for iPhone and Android devices, this app gives you instant access to the information you need to know to handle the most common first aid emergencies. With videos, interactive quizzes and simple step-by-step advice, it’s never been easier to know first aid. Download the app for free from the American Red Cross website or in your app store.

Photos: Robin Leon

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.


2018 Summer Day Camps

Does it seem like the days are getting longer, but the hours are getting shorter?

Too much to do and never enough time to do it all? Continue reading

Outdoor Safety Tips

As the days get longer, it’s finally time to head outside and enjoy the sunshine. Before dashing off to the playground, review these important tips to help you do your job safely and carefully. Remember, if you are on duty, the safety and well-being of the children is your job.


  • Whether you are at the park, in the backyard, or in the playroom, stay with the children at all times!   
  • If you have a middle-schooler, who is able to walk to and from school or play outside with friends, you still need to know where he/she is and whether an adult is present. Make plans for when he/she will call you, where you can find him/her, and what time you expect him/her home.
  • Children should never talk to strangers or go near a stranger’s car. They should not accept money, candy or gifts from strangers and never take a ride from a stranger.

Street Safety

  • Look both ways before crossing the street.
  • Discuss traffic lights – Green means go, Yellow means wait, Red means stop.
  • Never chase a ball into the street.
  • Streets are for cars – children should play in a yard, not the street.
  • Learn street signs and what they mean (STOP sign, CROSSWALK, etc.).
  • Never play behind cars that are parked in the driveway.
  • Watch carefully when walking behind parked cars.

Click here for more safety tips.

Keeping Our Kids Safe and Healthy This Summer (2017)

Illustration: MLARGE (clker.com)

If you ask my children what they think their parents’ most important job is, they’ll say “to keep us safe and healthy.” We use that phrase to explain everything from why our daughter can’t cross the street alone to why our son needs to go to sleep at night. While our children have been known to roll their eyes when they hear it, this all-purpose phrase is one that explains a lot of our decisions as parents. We encourage our au pairs to use it as well.

When my son was worried about his upcoming swimming lesson, I heard our au pair tell him that he was going to be safe because that was her job. Immediately, he smiled and relaxed a bit, and while he was still worried, he knew that he was safe because his au pair was there to keep him out of harm’s way.

Summer can be a wonderful time of year full of adventure and fun, but it can also be a time when routines are unsettled and rules are relaxed. I encourage you to think about ways that you can keep your children safe and healthy. The American Academy of Pediatrics’ Healthy Children website has many excellent articles on how you can help your family have a wonderful and healthy summer. Below are some highlights with links to the full articles.

Summer Safety*

Sun Safety

  • Keep infants 6 months or younger out of direct sun.
  • Cover up with protective clothing and hat and dress in cool layers. Wear protective sunglasses.
  • Play outdoors in the early morning and limit your exposure to sun between 10 am and 4 pm.
  • Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen and apply it often.

Heat Safety*

  • Reduce the intensity of outdoor activities during times of high heat & humidity.
  • In Washington, DC smog can also cause days when the air is unsafe for young children to be outdoors. You can check the daily index here.
  • Children and adults should be allowed to drink water liberally and freely. When outdoors take a break for water every 20 minutes.
  • NEVER leave a child in a car. Heatstroke and death can occur quickly. Always check the backseat to make sure all children are out of the car. Leave your purse or wallet on the back seat when you are driving to remind you to check when you arrive at your destination.


Summertime brings an onslaught of bugs- some of which can cause diseases like West Nile Virus, Lyme Disease, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Stay up-to-date on your region and how to prevent these diseases spread by insects.

Prepare a summer first-aid kit for bug bites and more:

  • Be prepared for allergic reactions from bug bites. Benadryl is probably the most important over-the-counter medication to have in your first aid kit to treat insect bites, hives, and other allergic reactions.
  • Hydrocortisone ointment can help the itches that come from bites.
  • Use bug spray containing DEET or picaridin.

 Swimming Safety

  • Review swimming rules with your children.
  • Always make sure an adult who is able to swim is watching children when they are in the water.
  • Take steps to prevent drowning*.

*These articles have been updated by the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Healthy Children website for 2017.

2017 Summer Day Camps

Illustration: www.hikingArtist.com (Flickr)

Illustration: www.hikingArtist.com (Flickr)

Does it seem like the days are getting longer, but the hours are getting shorter?

Too much to do and never enough time to do it all? Continue reading

Back-to-School Tips for Au Pairs

It may still feel like summer outside, but back-to-school season has arrived. Here are a few things to think about as we turn our attention to September.

  1. Weekly meetings:  These are a perfect time for you to sit down with your host parents and review the weekly schedule, the children’s behavior, and other issues. APIA strongly encourages these meetings. If they’re not happening at your house, let me know and I’ll speak with your host parents.
  2.  Schedule:  September is almost here. What does that mean for you? Now is the perfect time to review your work schedule and family agreements and think about how life might change this autumn. Bring up questions you have about these changes in your weekly meetings.
  3. School: Can you answer all of these questions? If not, ask your host parents, so you will know what to do.
    • What are the children’s school and activity schedules  (including school holidays, teacher work days)
    • How does school drop-off and pick-up work?  Have you been added to the list of people allowed to pick up the kids from school>
    • What do you do if a child is staying home sick, is late to school, or is dismissed early?
    • How do you know if school has been cancelled or delayed for bad weather?
    • What should you pack for the children’s lunches?
    • What is the after-school routine (do they have free time before starting homework, what to give for snack, any chores, where do they put their backpacks & lunchboxes)?
    • How should you communicate with your host parents about what’s going on at school?
    • Are there any other changes in routines, bedtimes, and meals?
  4. Technology:  Smart phones are great tools for staying in touch with your host family, finding directions, scheduling playdates, keeping track of your schedule, and taking pictures of your host kids to share with their parents. However, remember that you should never use your phone for anything else during work hours. Don’t do it. For more technology tips, read this blog post.