Being an au pair is an important role in a child’s life. When you are caring for a young child up to 45 hours per week, there are lots of opportunities to help them learn language. Many host parents are eager for their children to be exposed to foreign language. If this is true of your host parents, you can try the suggestions below, in both English and your native language.
Below are a few tips to start with, for more ideas, check out Ready at Five.
- Read – Read to them daily, point out pictures and ask questions. Even if they can’t answer the questions, this is still modeling conversation.
- Talk – Point out objects around them, names of their body parts, explain what you are doing and places you are going. Long before babies can speak, they benefit greatly from being spoken to.
- Sing – You can sing childhood classics or make up your own silly songs. If you are looking for song ideas, HERE is a great website with lists of songs, lyrics and links to YouTube videos* of the songs. Children’s music is also available at the public library and even on iTunes.
- Words – As children move from toddlers to preschoolers begin to point out written language.
- Writing – Toddlers and preschoolers can begin to learn pre-writing skills by drawing with crayons or doing finger paints.
*The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for babies under 18 months of age. For children 18 months to 5 years they recommend no more than 1 hour of high quality content. You can play the songs on youtube for the audio and not necessarily show the screen to the child.
Photo: Quinn Dombrowski (Flickr)
How to Say Goodbye
The English word “goodbye” is derived from the pharse “God be with you.” Parting words in other languages are similar. In Spanish, it’s adios (ah-dee-ohs), in French adieu (ah-dyur). Both words literally mean “to God”.
There are other ways to “goodbye”, however. English children shout “Cheerio” when parting and in Switzerland. Germany and Italy they say ciao (chow) which is the informal way of saying “goodbye” in Italian.
A wave of the hand accompanies most goodbyes, at least in the West. In Japan, people bow when they part, and Hindus press their hands together and say “Namaste”, just as they do when greeting one another.
In some households, in India, it’s considered a bad omen to say “goodbye”. Instead people say, “go and come back”. If you are the one leaving , you announce, “I’m going and I will be back.”
How many languages can you teach your host kids to say “goodbye”. Amaze your host parents at by having the kids say goodbye from around the world at the dinner table.
This week (March 1-5) many schools throughout the United States are celebrating the birthday of Dr. Seuss. To honor Dr. Seuss’ love of reading and his inspiration for kids and adults alike, March 3 is Read Across America Day. The National Education Association sponsors events to inspire reading in children throughout our schools and communities.
Dr. Seuss wrote many childrens books – Cat in the Hats, Green Eggs and Ham, Hop on Pop to name a few. In the cluster monthly Kids Activity Kit for March, there is a Dr.Seuss Reading Rewards Card for each host child. Punch out the colored dots for each book the children read. After 15 books, complete the Dr. Seuss Reading Certificate and reward the children with a Dr. Seuss pencil (included in the kit).
My son’s school developed a week of celebrations based on the themes of the Dr. Seuss books. This is a fun activity to do with your host kids at home. Dig out the Dr. Seuss books – you will be surprised how much fun the books are to read and the rhyming will help improve your english.
Monday – “Red and White Day” – wear red and white to show Seuss Pride.
Tuesday – “Cat in the Hat Day” – wear your favorite hat to school.
Wednesday – “Grinch Green Day” – wear green, but don’t be as grumpy as the Grinch
Thursday- “Fox in Socks Day” – Roll up your pant legs and show off your cool socks.
Friday – “Sneak Up on Reading Day” – Wear your favorite sneakers and participate in “Drop Everything and Read.”
Check out the Dr. Seuss website
for more ideas, printables and on line games to play with the kids. Enjoy!