Monthly Archives: September 2013

Homesick? Tips to feel better!

Feeling Homesick? Top 10 Tips to feeling better…

  1. Do not stay in your room, go out with a friend for coffee or a movie
  2. If you have not met anyone yet, call your counselor and ask her to connect you with another au pair
  3. Talk to an au pair who has been here for a while and understands what the first few weeks are like
  4. Talk to your host family about how you feel, join in family activities and focus on getting to know your new family
  5. Go to the gym or work out, exercise is a natural stimulant and will make you feel better
  6. Remind yourself that it is normal to feel homesick on and off throughout the year
  7. Being homesick shows your love for your own family and country but learning to love your new life is okay too
  8. Check in with people at home who will support you, make you laugh and remind you why you wanted to do this
  9. Go to the next cluster meeting and meet other au pairs
  10. Make a list of all the things you dreamed of doing during your year as an au pair…and get started doing them!

Scarecrow Contest in Stony Brook Village

DSCN0111The Suffolk County Cluster of Au Pair in America has entered the Scarecrow Contest in Stony Brook Village.  The au pair scarecrow and her host baby scarecrow are dressed all in pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

You can see all the Scarecrows now through Halloween in Stony Brook Village!  To learn more about the contest and events on Halloween in Stony Brook, on the link below:

Keila from Brazil and Community Counselor Cindy Garruba

Keila from Brazil and Community Counselor Cindy Garruba

Visit the APIA Scarecrow and please vote for us.  Scarecrow #105 in front of Mint, near the Brook House and Post Office in the Harbor Crescent Section of Stony Brook Village. Boutique in Market Square section.

The Backpack Links Home & School


The back pack is very important to review every day.  This is one of the links between school and home for the student.  Backpacks quickly become disorganized and notices missed if you do not empty it every day!

Here is what I suggest you do every day:

  1. After the student arrives home, empty the backpack on a table.
  2. Find the homework. Set it out in the homework area with all the supplies needed to complete the homework.
  3. Put the lunch box in the kitchen.  Empty it, discard the garbage, and see if the child actually ate the lunch that was packed.  Wipe out the lunch box. Let the parents know what was not eaten!
  4. Find all notices sent home with the child. Find anything that needs to be filled out by the parents. If it is your responsibility to keep track of activities, put them on the calendar now. If not, make sure the parents see them.
  5. Make sure permission slips, fundraisers, book orders, photo notices and anything else that must be signed is done on time.  Make sure these items get back in the backpack and the child turns them in on time. If the signed form and money is in the back pack at the end of the day, the child forgot to give it to the teacher.  Remind the child, tell the parent!!
  6. All completed homework must be put in the homework folder in the backpack as soon as the homework is completed. Make sure there is a sturdy folder to put the homework in; the child knows where it is when he or she arrives at school.  The homework will stay neater this way!!
  7. In the morning, recheck for homework. Is it in the folder?  Are all permission slips and notices requiring money in the folder in the backpack?
  8. Make lunch and put the lunch box in the backpack. If the lunch box is in the backpack there is less chance it will be left on the bus!!
  9. Does the child need to bring anything else to school that day? Maybe he or she needs gym clothes, or something for show and tell.  Put it in the backpack!
  10. At the end of the week, make sure all work sent home is placed out for the parents to see.  Any dirty gym clothes are taken out of the backpack and put in the laundry.  The back pack and the lunch box should be wiped out and kept clean!!

September Cluster Meeting Prepares Au Pairs for their Year Ahead


On Sunday, September 15th the Suffolk County Cluster of Au Pair in America gathered at their Community Counselor’s home for a very important meeting.  September is the month Americans start their school and work year, au pairs get back to routine schedules with their host children.    The largest arrival months for Au Pairs are the summer months, so the September meeting is the first cluster meeting for many of them.

As the au pairs arrived, they heading out to the patio for an art project.  Each au pair decorated a peace ornament that will be displayed in December on a holiday tree in Stony Brook Village’s Promenade of trees.  It was a fun, bonding, creative activity the au pairs enjoyed.

DSCN0073Cindy Garruba, Suffolk County APIA Community Counselor, then led the au pairs in a discussion of important “Back to School & Routine” information.   The discussion then moved on to distracted driving and safe driving tips for the au pairs, most of whom drive their host children to activities.

DSCN0074DSCN0076Every au pair shared where they are from, where they live now, how long they have been in the USA, the ages of their host children and something special about themselves. We said hello to newly arrived au pairs and bid farewell to those leaving the cluster.  It is a important that each young woman in the cluster has a peer group to share the year with in America.  Cluster meetings introduces the young women to each other and builds the bond between them.

DSCN0065DSCN0071Cluster meetings are an important part of the Au Pair in America experience.  Every quarter a meeting features childcare and safety information.  They give the au pairs an opportunity to form friendships and spend time together. Every month there is a cluster meeting or activity.   In October the Au Pairs will meet for pizza and discussion of upcoming American holiday season and then go to a local farm for a Spooky Maze experience, in November they will be going to the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City!  December the Suffolk County Cluster will decorate a holiday tree in Stony Brook Village’s Promenade of Trees and also have an International Holiday Party.


Contest for Peace Day!

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What’s New? International Day of Peace!

Saturday, September 21 is International Day of Peace! Au Pair in America, in celebration of “Peace Day” will sponsor its Third Annual Peace Day Contest.  Au Pairs are invited to submit their vision of “peace,” whether it’s a painting, photograph, poem, essay, song or dance-any art form is acceptable.

Entries are due by Thursday, September  19.  They should be sent to:

Prizes will be awarded in all categores and winners will be announce on “Peace Day” on this website. All entries will be posted on this site for friends and family to enjoy!

Look here to see entries and winners from previous years.

Remembering 9/11

9-11-01candleangellargeMost Americans remember where they were the moment the planes hit the twin towers, the pentagon and went down in the field in Pennsylvania.  I remember the au pairs who were in my cluster at that time.

I was proud of every au pair in my cluster on that day and the days following.  They were just as stunned as every American, their families and friends at home were worried that they were in harm’s way and the children in their care were scared.  Not one of young woman in my cluster in Suffolk County was too scared to stay, too scared to comfort their host children or continue with their duties.  They responded with compassion, bravery and were an inspiration to me.  Young women from all over the world stepped up at that difficult time, they spread cultural understanding and world peace through their example.   Thank you.

Today we remember that tragic day with acts of kindness.  We hold each other closer, care more deeply and do for others.  Remember to live in the moment, care about your fellow human beings and give to each other!

Rosh Hashanah


Rosh Hashanah is a Jewish Holiday commonly referred to as the Jewish New Year.  It is observed on the first day of Tishrei, the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar. Rosh Hashanah is the first of the high Holidays specifically set aside to focus on repentance that concludes with the holiday of Yom Kippur.  Rosh Hashanah is the start of the civil year in the Hebrew calendar.  It is the New Year for people, animals, and legal contracts. Jewish people believe Rosh Hashanah represents either analogically or literally the creation of the World, or Universe.

On Rosh Hashanah, Jewish people all over the world gather in synagogues to celebrate the day.  The holiday is celebrated with sweet foods, like apples dipped in honey and honey cake and round Challot made with honey and raisins as a wish for a sweet year.

Here is a link to children’s games and activities to celebrate the holiday.  It includes information, art projects, crafts, stories and recipes:

Rosh Hashanah will is celebrated for starting sundown on Wednesday, September 4th and continues Thursday and Friday.  We wish all of our Jewish counselors, staff, host families, au pairs, and friends a very Happy Holiday.

The Au Pair in America Team.

September is Baby Safety Month

  • Check condition and sturdiness of toys. Discard any with sharp edges or are broken or falling apart.
  • Check children’s clothing for loose buttons and strings.
  • Is baby’s pacifier still in good condition? If not, toss it. Never use strings to attach the pacifier to baby’s clothes or crib.
  • Where do you set baby’s carrier when she’s in it? Not on the counter, or any high surface. Babies can wiggle and tip themselves over.
  • Walkers can be dangerous (especially old ones that don’t meet today’s safety standards), they allow baby to move very quickly and reach things they normally can’t. Never use around stairs.
  • Stroller check. If your stroller is collapsible, be sure latches are secure before putting baby in. Always check that your child’s arms are out of the way when reversing handle directions so they won’t get pinched. Be sure to use that safety strap. Don’t hang overloaded or heavy bags on the handle of the stroller; this may cause it to tip over.
  • Can you name the 12 most common choking foods for kids under five? Popcorn, hot dogs, chunks of meat, raisins, ice cubes, chunky peanut butter, nuts of any kind, hard candy, grapes, raw carrots, potato chips and corn chips. Don’t leave toddlers alone while eating; if they begin to choke you need to be nearby to assist.
  • Get a piggy bank: this is a great place to put coins so they don’t end up on the floor, in the couch cushions and then baby’s mouth.
  • Never leave your child unattended in the bathtub. If the phone rings, let the machine get it.