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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
While it still feels like summer outside, store shelves are stocked with notebooks and pens, school crossing guards are directing traffic, and Facebook feeds are full of grinning kids happily headed off to school. Yes, Back-to-School Season has arrived!
Along with the scramble to find missing backpacks, use this time of year to review your family routines, tweaking them for your children’s new schedules. Also, consider how your children have matured since last year, and how they can show their increased maturity with new responsibilities.
It’s very important to communicate with your au pair any changes to her routine schedule and duties. Consider the following discussion topics for your weekly meeting:
- Au pair’s work schedule
- The children’s school and activity schedules (school holidays, teacher work days)
- School drop-off and pick-up (how does this work and who does it). Be sure to add your au pair to your list of people allowed to pick up the kids from school
- What to do if a child is staying home sick, late to school, dismissed early
- How to tell if school has been cancelled or delayed for bad weather
- What to pack for lunch
- 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 to communicate about what’s going on at school (Kids in Care Log Books are available upon request from APIA)
- Any other changes in routines, bedtimes, meals, and job duties.
You may find the following articles helpful in considering your plan for the school year:
- The American Academy of Pediatric’s Healthy Children
- Positive Parenting Solutions Blog
Sara Segundo Lazaro shared how Catalonians celebrate Sant Jordi Day at National Presbyterian School in Washington, DC
Volunteering is an important part of American life. Au Pair in America encourages all of our au pairs to volunteer as a way to share your culture and learn more about American culture through the experience.
APIA’s Global Awareness program provides the opportunity for you to share your culture, customs, and language in DC-area classrooms through the “Meet Your Global Neighbor” project. Recently, Sara Segundo Lazaro taught a group of kindergartners at National Presbyterian School about Sant Jordi, a festival celebrating the patron saint of Catalonia. See the Global Awareness website for more details on volunteering through this program.
Xareny Segura Muniz is enrolled in the UCLA APIA Advantage Course, which requires au pairs to do a Global Awareness presentation, volunteer at a local organization, and participate in historical and cultural activities. Last month, Xareny visited a first grade class at Lee Montessori PCS, where she taught them about Mexican foods, holidays, and animals. The children also learned a few words in Spanish. Next week, Xareny will volunteer at the DC Central Kitchen to help fulfill the Community Involvement portion of her class.
There are many volunteer opportunities in the DC area. You are welcome to contribute your time wherever you like, as long as it does not interfere with your work or school schedule. Our DCC Cluster Facebook Group has a list of current volunteer opportunities under the files tab. Also, ask your Host Family for community service ideas with their children’s schools, their church, synagogue, or other house of worship, or neighborhood organizations.