Yearly Archives: 2019

Holiday Party, Friends, Food & Fun!!

On Sunday, December 15th the Suffolk County Cluster of Au Pair in America celebrated the holidays at their Community Counselor Cindy Garruba’s home.

We had an international potluck with au pairs preparing food from their countries.  It was fun sharing the traditions and food from all over the world!

We played some games and exchanged gifts.

FRIENDS – FOOD – FUN

 

Au Pair in America & Stony Brook Holiday Festival

Au Pair in America Suffolk County Cluster enjoyed a great Host family day at the Stony Brook Holiday Festival.  APIA was a proud sponsor of the event again this year.

Lots of host families and au pairs visited.  

Children made ornaments, everyone decorated the APIA International Peace Tree.

Santa arrived on a firetruck to listen to the children’s wishes.

There were carolers, a petting zoo, and a Puppet Parade featuring local legends and spies from the Revolutionary time.

A fun filled day.  Over 60 trees are decorated and on display until January 2, 2020.  You can vote for your favorite.  APIA’s tree in number 111 to the left of the Post Office.  Happy Holidays!

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.

 

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

Top 5 Tips for Overcoming Homesickness

Almost everyone experiences culture shock when they come to a completely new environment. Everything is different: the language, the food, and the people.

When everything feels so unfamiliar, it is natural to long for the security of home. However, you don’t want to let that feeling of longing for home, make you too sad or prevent you from finding happiness in your new home.

Here are my Top 5 Tips for Dealing with Homesickness

1. Make Friends – Don’t wait for other au pairs to reach out to you, reach out to them. There are other lots of new au pairs who are feeling the same way you are right now. Set a goal to reach out to a few of them each day. Some will respond and some will not. Don’t let that discourage you. No one will ever be mad at you for sending them a message to say hello or ask if they want to do something together. Make friends from various countries and you will also get a chance to practice your English skills together.

2. Stay in touch with your home country, but not too much. Skyping or talking on the phone every day with your family and/or friends back home often makes homesickness worse. Try texting instead and reduce the Skype and phone calls to once a week, until you feel stronger. It’s much harder seeing the faces and hearing the voices of those you miss.

3. Get out of the house (or your room specifically) – Go to cluster meetings, have coffee or go to movies with other au pairs, join a gym, go to the library, go for a walk, visit the mall, get a manicure, visit a museum. If someone invites you out, say “yes.” Also, don’t be afraid to do the inviting. If your host family invites you to do things with them, say “yes.” This will help you get to know each other and contribute to your overall happiness.

4. Realize that it definitely gets better – All au pairs experience homesickness and nearly all of them stay and have a successful year (some stay for two years). So, it must get better, right? Once you get past the initial homesickness, most au pairs report how quickly the year goes by.

5. Make Plans – Create your own Au Pair Bucket List (places you want to go, new foods to try, new things to experience during your year in the U.S.) and start doing them now. Post on our cluster group to find others who may want to join you on your adventures.

Photo by: Hernán Piñera (Flickr)

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.

 

APIA Long Island Cluster Annual Canoe Trip

On a beautiful August afternoon, all 4 Long Island Au Pair in America Clusters canoed on the Nissequogue River.  The trip took about 2 hours, and we canoed in with the tide from Kings Park to the Smithtown Paul T. Givens Park.

16 canoes filled with au pairs and 4 Community Counselors paddled along the winding river.  Lots of other people were kayaking and canoeing along side us.  After the trip, au pairs relaxed waiting for their friends to all finish the route.

Fun day spent with friends!  Au Pair cluster activities provide au pairs with time with friends, opportunities to get to know each other and their counselors better.  It is an important part of the Au Pair in America experience!

GW4W and APIA

Cindy Garruba and Liza Galano

Au Pair in America was invited by GW4W (Global Women for Wellbeing) to their brunch meeting at CBS headquarters in NYC.  Liza Galano is a host mom in Suffolk County, Long Island and an organizer of the event.  Liza as Senior Director of Ad Sales, leads a team of global technologists in support of CBS’s Network Television division. She asked Cindy Garruba, Senior Community Counselor and Field Rep for APIA to bring materials for her group to learn about how hosting an au pair from APIA can help with working women’s wellbeing.

Viki Markle

Cindy was joined by Manhattan Community Counselor, Viki Markle at the event.  Both Counselors answered questions and gave out information about APIA.

The topic for the day was Women in Tech – Thriving as a Leader in Tech.  The panelists discussed their experiences as leaders and being resilient.  2 acronyms were a focus of the discussion;

Use your VOICE – Voice, Opportunity, Inspiration, Connection, Empowerment

Remember to be KIND to yourself and others – Keep Inspiring Nurturing & Developing

Nadine helping at an APIA event

Liza encourages other working parents to put in place a team to help them with childcare.  She considers her au pair to be so important to her peace of mind.  Currently Liza’s APIA is in her second year with her family.  Nadine is from South Africa and is providing 45 hours of childcare, sharing her culture with her host family and experiencing ours.

It was an inspiring event and APIA was happy to be part of it.

 

 

Au Pair in America & Wading River Duck Pond Day

Cindy Garruba Local Community Counselor 631-428-7052 cgarruba@aupairinamerica.com

Au Pair in America had a great day at Duck Pond Day in Wading River!  It was a beautiful day to spend with neighbors in this charming Suffolk County, Long Island village.  Music, food and lots of families had tons of fun.

3 Au Pairs helped out with kids coloring pictures of ducks on the pond and applying APIA tattoos.  The tattoos were a big hit with all the kids!

Nadine from South Africa applies APIA tattoos to a lot of kids

Former APIA Au Pair Jana stopped by with her husband and little girl to see her Community Counselor Cindy Garruba

Camilla from Colombia helps with the duck coloring pages

Marie from Germany and Camilla from Colombia helped out

Swan swimming on the Duck Pond