Sunday, May 10th is Mother’s Day! I want to take this opportunity to thank all the Host Moms for all they do for their Au Pairs. I hope the day is extra special and that you each have time to enjoy the day with your families!
“Of all the rights of women, the greatest is to be a mother.” Zora Neale Hurston
MOTHER’S DAY AROUND THE WORLD
A special day in the honor of mothers, Mothers Day is celebrated in several countries around the world though on different dates. In a large number of countries including US, Mothers Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in the month of May, but in many other countries Mothers Day is celebrated in an entirely different time of the year. But what ever may be the date of Mother’s Day around the world, the spirit is the same everywhere. Everywhere in the world mothers are respected for their extreme devotion towards their kids. And on Mother’s Day children pay their humblest tribute to their mothers and thank them for giving them birth and providing them with the best of care and upbringing.
We wish you a year full of Good Fortune, Good Luck & Good Health
Today starts the first day of the chinese new year, 2015 is the year of the goat/sheep! Chinese astrology says that each year is associated with an animal sign, occuring in a 12 year cycle. This is similar to the zodiac signs you may be familiar with that occur about every month or so, except these represent specific years.
How is the holiday celebrated? In brief, the Chinese New Year celebration or “Spring Festival” lasts for about a week long. Fireworks are set off, dragon dances, ancestor worship, and traditional performances. Red is the main color of the festival and all types of decorations in this color will be seen. A popular practice is the giving of red envelopes (usually containing money) to youth and retired seniors.
Family and Friends are very important during this time and generally China is extremely busy, as people are racing home to see their loved ones! There are so many cultures in the world that it’s always interested to find out what people are doing elsewhere.
Lucky Numbers- 2 & 7
Lucky Colors – Brown, Red, Purple
LuckyFlowers- Carnations & Primroses
Lucky Months- August & November
The first candle of the menorah is lit at nightfall of December 16th and each night until December 24th.
Hanukkah is the Jewish Feast of Lights or Feast of Dedication.The Hebrew word Hanukkah means dedication. Hanukkah is also written Hannuka or Chanukah. The holiday begins on the eve of the 25th day of the Hebrew Month of Kislev and lasts eight days. Hanukkah usually falls in the month of December, but occasionally can start in November.
The books of the Maccabees tell the story of Hanukkah which occurred in 165 B.C. After three years of struggle, the Jews in Judea defeated the Syrian tyrant Antiochus. The Jewish people held festivities in the Temple of Jerusalem, and rededicated it to God. After removing all Syrian idols from the Temple, the Jews found only one small cruse of oil which to light their holy lamps. Miraculously, the cruse provided oil for eight days. Judas Maccabaeus, the Jewish leader, then proclaimed a festival to be observed by Jews.
During Hanukkah, gifts are exchanged and contributions are made to the poor. Each evening, one additional candle is lit on the Hanukkah menorah (candelabra). By the last evening, eight lighted candles stand together.
Hanukkah begins at sundown this evening, which means Thankgiving and Hanukkah are celebrated together this year. A new term Thanksgivukkah is being used to honor both holidays!
The next time Thanksgivukkah will be celebrated is in 79,043 years from now, according to one estimate. Another suggests Thanksgivukkah will take place in 2070 and 2165.
For fun and educational activities for children go to http://www.apples4theteacher.com/holidays/hanukkah/
Directions to play the Dreidel game. Play for Hershey kisses, a great way to have fun with the kids when they are home from school! http://www.apples4theteacher.com/holidays/hanukkah/dreidel-game.html
Au Pair in America provides a comprehensive Orientation for all our au pairs before they go out to their host families. When each au pair arrives at the NY airport, she is welcomed and transported to the the Hilton Doubletree Hotel in Tarrytown, NY. There she is met by an Au Pair in America Orientation staff member, given some valuable information, room assignment and a chance to check into her room for rest. Three full days follow started each day with early wake up calls. The importance of being on time is emphasized so the meeting run smoothly and au pairs learn to understand the importance of time in America.
Noelle from Germany was welcomed to America by their Community Counselor, Cindy Garruba. She is going to a family in Pt. Jefferson, LI, NY and will be joining a cluster of about 30 au pairs.
At Orientation the agenda includes:
- An Introduction the United States and Au Pair in America
- “The Three No’s” – No drugs, no alcohol under 18 and never while driving or caring for children, no child abuse (Au Pairs are sent home if they abuse drugs, alcohol or children!!)
- The Role of the Community Counselor
- Living in America – Cultural adaptation and communication with their American families
- Childcare safety and media
- American Red Cross Child Safety Workshop
- The American Family
- Child Care in America – managing American Children – Communication and discipline
- Living in America – auto insurance and health insurance
Au Pairs during Red Cross training at Orientaion
3 meals a day, time to socialize with the other au pairs and the Orientation Staff. There is even an evening tour of NYC! Au Pairs submit questions anonymously all week and every question is answered by the staff to the group before they go home.
Au Pairs leave Orientation on Day 4 at 3 PM and head out to 35 states and hundreds of host families. Everyone is excited to depart and begin a year as an Au Pair in America!
What to do when your host kid says, “I’m bored” this summer!
Sometimes, especially with younger children, cries of boredom are really calls for companionship and attention—their friends may be away on vacation and without the structure of school they may find it difficult to keep occupied during long summer days. Prolonged intervals where the kids have nothing to do can be stressful . When bored, children often become whiny, cranky and demanding.
Here are a few easy tips to help au pairs and host parents combat summer boredom and help kids develop the internal resources that are important for developing creative, resource and time management skills:
- Put a weekly calendar together so as not to overwhelm yourself with planning entertainment for an entire summer, just take it one week at a time—day trips, arts and craft activities, play-dates, reading time, nature hikes, picnics, bike rides, a trip to the movie theater etc. This way kids will have something to look forward to during down time. A calendar also helps with getting kids prepared for what comes next.
- Ask: “If you could do anything, what would you like to do?” Try and encourage your children to generate their own ideas for activities—they are more apt to have fun when they thought it up on their own! Reinforcing that children use their imaginations will also help them develop a sense of resourcefulness and get them in the habit of making their own choices about how they will spend their time.
- Keep an “art box” handy full of supplies: scissors, fabric, felt, glue, paints and brushes, stickers, paper, markers, canvass, needle and thread, beads, yarn, picture magazines etc. Rummaging through a box of art supplies can ignite the imagination and occupy children for long periods of time. They could even begin an entrepreneurial enterprise and sell their wares at the end of the summer.
- Inspire them to play with water. Water is very calming and soothing for children and they can while away many hours playing and keeping cool. Get them to wash the car, hose off the deck, or run through a sprinkler. Spend time together at the beach or pool.
June is such a busy month for host families and au pairs here in Suffolk County, Long Island. School is still in session, but the kids are busy with lots of fun school activities like field day, school concerts and presentations. Sports are in full swing; lacrosse, Little League, swim team, tennis, horse back riding and so much more keep au pairs and host parents driving kids around and cheering from the sidelines!
Vacation is coming up, school is out on June 22nd! Schedules are changing for au pairs and their host children. Day and sleep away camps for the kids are being planned. Au pairs and host families are planning summer vacations together and separate. New au pairs are arriving every week, and former au pairs are heading home. There are welcome and good bye parties, family BBQs and lots of special days to enjoy!
But with all the excitement comes some stress and a need for au pairs and host families to sit down together, discuss the schedule changes, where and how to fit in vacations and how to manage all the activities for the children. It is very important to continue to have a weekly meeting! Please take time to discuss all the changes so we can all make sure summer here in Suffolk County, Long Island is the best it can be!