Tag Archives: childcare

Camp Au Pair – Art Experiences

This week’s Camp Au Pair theme is Art Experiences.

Crafts, recipes, activities, and games related to art can all be found here on the Camp Au Pair – Art Experiences pinboard.

Field Trips can be a great way for kids to learn and have new experiences. Get permission from your host parents before any outings and be sure to take all social distancing precautions. Some museums are requiring advanced tickets or have reduced hours due to the pandemic.

  • Art Museums
  • Paint Your Own Pottery Studio
  • Clay and Ceramics Studio

Online Art FunHere is a great website with lots of art activities including ones for older kids.

Webcams – You can do a google search for art websites with webcams. Here are a few to get you started:

Pottery & Ceramics webcam
Glass Blowing webcam

Videos – Look for fun videos on YouTube about drawing and all kinds of art.

Books – Stop by your local library and look for books on famous artists and art.

Check YouTube for books on art being read aloud:

Image: teachkidsart.com

Camp Au Pair – Dinosaurs

This week’s Camp Au Pair theme is Dinosaurs.

Crafts, recipes, activities, and games related to dinosaurs can all be found here on the Camp Au Pair – Dinosaurs pinboard.

Field Trips can be a great way for kids to learn and have new experiences. Get permission from your host parents before any outings and be sure to take all social distancing precautions.

Here are a few places to go that fit this theme:

    • Children’s museum with dinosaur exhibit
    • Natural history museum
    • Nature center with fossils

Toys – Many kids have dinosaur toys already. See what your kids have and think of fun, new ways you can play with these toys with them. Imagine taking a plastic dinosaur and making footprints in play dough to form your own fossils.

Webcam – This NPS Paleontology Lab offers a webcam where you can watch paleontologists remove rock from around fossils. The cam is normally working 9 am-5 pm PST, so 12-8 pm our time.

Videos – Look for fun videos on YouTube about dinosaurs and fossils. Here are a few to get you started.

Movies – The Good Dinosaur, Land Before Time, and Ice Age are all great family movies that fit with this theme. For older kids, consider movies like Journey to the Center of the Earth and Jurassic Park (which is rated PG-13).

Books – Check your kids’ bookshelf for books on dinosaurs.

Photo: krojotak.com

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

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.

 

Child Proofing

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With shorter days and colder weather, you and the children are probably spending more time inside the house. Please be sure that the house is “childproof” with these simple tips:

  • Children are curious; many small children put everything into their mouths. Be sure no small objects are within the child’s reach.
  • Plastic bags, long cords and very soft pillows can be dangerous to children.
  • If a toy gets broken and has sharp edges, keep it away from children!
  • Be sure that laundry soap and other cleaners are out of reach of the children.
  • Don’t leave any medicines in reach of children, not even vitamins.
  • Keep scissors and knives out of reach.
  • Store the toys that belong to older children out of reach of babies and toddlers.
  • Many cosmetic items and toiletries, such as mouthwash, perfume, nail polish, and hair spray, are poisonous. Keep them out of children’s reach.

National Peanut Butter Day

Today is National Peanut Butter Day.  Who would have guessed you can make Peanut Butter Lover’s Day a Craft Day!

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Other Things To Do:

  • Find out more about where peanuts come from.
  • Make home-made peanut butter.
  • Talk about the color brown/tan.
  • Try one of these Open-Faced Peanut Butter Sandwiches.
  • Go on a peanut hunt (hide peanuts all around the room for someone to search for).

How to Say Goodbye Around the World

 

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.

 

Happy Birthday Au Pair In America

Happy Birthday Au Pair in America!

25 years

Au Pair in America Celebrates 25 Years!

Au Pair in America was established in 1986 as the first federally approved au pair program in the United States.  We have established high standards of excellence, partnering with the U.S. government, international partners, our U.S. field network, AIFS staff and orientation team to provide a quality cross-cultural experience for over 87,000 au pairs from around the world and thousands of American families.  Join us in celebration.

Miscellaneous Expenses

There are different ways to handle the little expenses that may come up.  Things like when an au pair takes the kids out for ice cream or picks up a gallon of milk.  Some families keep a cookie jar fund, a little cash that they set aside weekly or monthly for this kind of expenses.  Here are some suggestions for avoiding problems with that.

Host Families

  • It’s important to be clear about how long this money should last and what types of expenses are approved.
  • Let the au pair know whether or not you expect receipts.

Au Pairs

  • Only spend the money on approved expenses.
  • If it is something you are not sure about, ask first.
  • Put your receipts in the cookie jar in place of the money to avoid any confusion.

Gas and Fare Cards

Host families are responsible for the au pair’s transportation costs:

  • to and from classes and cluster meetings
  • driving the kids

It is a good idea to figure out how much gas an au pair will use for these trips and either put gas in the car or give a gas allowance.   If your au pair is riding to classes or cluster meetings with another au pair, you should offer to share the cost of gas.

Au pairs are responsible for their own transportation at all other times.  You should replace the amount of gas used for personal use.

Who’s in charge?

Au pairs and host parents are most often together with the children at the most stressful times of the day – the morning and at the end of the day.  Getting through the stressful times of the day is best done with a consistent approach.  Planning ahead about division of labor and delegation of responsibility, as well as developing routines that both the au pair and the parents will adhere to, is essential.

Another particularly challenging time of day is when the transition is made from parent to au pair or from au pair to parent.  Focusing the transition on a particular activity and consistently following that procedure may ease the confusion for the children. for example, Mommy will help you get dressed; then you will go downstairs and the au pair will give you breakfast while Mommy gets ready for her day; or the au pair will give you a bath, and when you are done, she will say goodnight and Daddy will read you a story.

The children will benefit when the au pair and the parents remember to work cooperativley, keep communication open and exercise authority when necessary.