Tag Archives: host family

Making Thanksgiving Memories Together

Thanksgiving is a public holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November every year in the United States. It started as a harvest festival and has been celebrated nationally on and off since 1789.  The most important part of Thanksgiving for American families is to spend family time together.

Martin Cathrae

 “My favorite holiday was Thanksgiving. Firstly, it was my first holiday with the whole family in America. Secondly, the whole family came together. All aunts and uncles and their kids came to grandma’s. We played football with all of them, including grandma and grandpa. It was the first time I played it and it was so much fun for all. We had a great dinner with all the typical things you can imagine … it was deeeelicious! It was so great to be with such a big family and I really enjoyed that day. I will remember it my whole life, I hope.” – Swantje from Germany

Here are a few tips to help you have a terrific Thanksgiving experience.

Host Parents
Please plan to include your au pair in your Thanksgiving celebration, if at all possible. If you are traveling or will not be able to invite your au pair to join you for Thanksgiving, give her plenty of notice and help her make alternate plans. You don’t want to leave your au pair alone over the holiday.

Au Pairs
If you are invited to attend dinner, please let your family know within 5 days of the invitation, whether you are planning to attend, so they may make plans. If your host family is unable to include you in their Thanksgiving plans, please let me know if you have trouble making other plans, so I can assist.

Make sure to discuss time off during this holiday weekend. Many host families work the Friday after Thanksgiving so do not assume you have this day off or the entire weekend. Talk to your host family, BEFORE you make any plans.

Bonus Tip for the Kids
If you are looking for a fun recipe to make with your au pair, check out these turkey cookies. Find more fun activities and recipes on the Au Pair in America Fall Holidays pinboard.

 

Five Thanksgiving Tips for Host Parents and Au Pairs

Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November each year. Based on the Pilgrims’ harvest meal in 1621, Thanksgiving was proclaimed a national holiday by President Abraham Lincoln during the 1860s. You can learn more about the holiday here.

Even though a few other countries also celebrate Thanksgiving, it’s still considered a uniquely American holiday ~ one that the au pairs look forward to experiencing.

I really enjoyed Thanksgiving with my host family. It was as I imagined! So much food to try. Everyone got dressed up and shared what they were thankful for. It was so warm and special. The next day we began to prepare for Christmas. It was magical.” – Selina from Germany

Here are some tips to help you have a terrific Thanksgiving experience: 

Host Parents

1.  Please plan to include your au pair in your Thanksgiving celebration, if at all possible. Thanksgiving with an au pair offers an opportunity to consider the relevance of the history and meaning of Thanksgiving as you compare the hospitality offered by the Native Americans to the recently arrived Pilgrims and the hospitality you offer your au pair.

2.  If you are traveling or will not be able to invite your au pair to join you for Thanksgiving, give her plenty of notice and help her make alternate plans. You don’t want to leave your au pair alone over the holiday.

Au Pairs

3.  If you are invited to attend dinner, please let your family know within 5 days of the invitation, whether you are planning to attend. It is considered rude in America to accept the invitation for dinner and then change your mind later in the month. Please be thoughtful.

4.  Make sure to discuss time off during this holiday weekend. Many host families work the Friday after Thanksgiving so do not assume you have this day off or the entire weekend. Talk to your host family BEFORE you make any plans.

5.  If your host family is unable to include you in their Thanksgiving plans, please let me know if you have trouble making other plans. You may be able to join a friend and their host family for the holiday dinner.

Bonus Tip for the Kids

Click on this infographic to see a larger version.

If you are looking for a fun recipe to make with your au pair, check out these turkey cupcakes.

Find more fun activities and recipes on the Au Pair in America Fall Holidays pinboard.

5 Thanksgiving Tips for Au Pairs and Host Parents

Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November each year. Even though a few other countries also celebrate Thanksgiving, it’s still considered a uniquely American holiday, one that the au pairs look forward to experiencing. You can learn more about it hereContinue reading

May Host Family Tips

Illustration: www.onewaystock.com (Flickr)

Illustration: www.onewaystock.com (Flickr)

Several host families have asked me to share more about our experience as host parents. Of course every day is different and no two host families or au pairs are alike, but here are some ways we have found to successfully communicate with our au pairs.

1. Weekly meetings: We meet every Sunday evening with our AP to discuss schedules, the children’s behavior, and other issues. This helps my husband and me communicate as well, so we think it’s important for both host parents to attend these meetings. (We’ve also had meetings during the work week with my husband using Facetime from his office.) 

2. Schedule: We use the weekly meeting to go over the upcoming week’s schedule and discuss future changes (vacations, etc.). An online calendar is critical for our planning purposes. Cozi works for us, but Google Calendar is great too. We schedule everything online for the kids- school drop-off and pick-up, playdates, haircuts, doctors’ appointments, etc. All 3 of us can access the calendar and know who is responsible for each event.

3. Texting: I work from home, and it’s easier if my kids don’t see me during the day, so my AP and I text a lot with each other. For example, if I need a snack, I’ll send our AP a text and give her time to take the kids to the basement or outside before heading to the kitchen.

4. Compliments: We use our meetings to compliment our au pair on areas we’ve found her to be particularly successful (even the smallest thing). This is really helpful when we need to address an issue that isn’t as positive. 

5. Rewards: We look for ways to surprise our AP. Has she been great about entertaining the kids during a snow day? Did she soldier through a bad round of strep throat? Do we know she’s excited to see an upcoming movie? Starbucks gift cards, pedicure gift certificates, and movie gift cards go a long way to helping an AP feel appreciated and loved. (You can find discounted movie and restaurant gift cards at Costco.)

For more ideas, check out the Tips for Current Host Families on the APIA website.