Labor Day is the first Monday in September and was first celebrated in the United States on September 5, 1882 as a trade union holiday. Now Labor Day is seen as the end of summer and the beginning of school for many students. The day is often celebrated with picnics, sporting events and reunions.
With schools starting soon and many new au pairs who have recently arrived, we wanted to remind everyone about what to do in different situations with school buses. If you have questions, please ask us or your host parents.
The rules regarding stopping for school buses are:
It is against the law to pass a stopped school bus while its lights are flashing and its’ stop arm is extended.
On undivided roadways, with no physical barrier or median, vehicles must stop on both sides of the roadway.
Yellow flashing lights indicate that the bus is preparing to load or unload children. Motorists should slow down and prepare to stop their vehicles.
Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate that the bus has stopped, and children are getting on or off. Motorists approaching from either direction must wait until the red lights stop flashing before proceeding.
Police, who observe a motorist failing to stop and remained stopped for a school bus, can issue the violator a citation. Drivers failing to stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk and drivers failing to exercise due caution when encountering children can be issued a citation.
Au Pairs – Imagine for a moment that you went to the hospital and you were in the care of doctors and nurses. How would you feel if those doctors and nurses who were there to care for you were more interested in texting or using their personal computer than caring for you? How would that make you feel, about yourself and about them? Would you think that you were getting the treatment you deserved? Would you feel like paying the bill after your stay?
Life as an au pair, it is a fine balance between employee and family member. You live with your host family and participate with them as a member of the family, but you also have clear responsibilities as a childcare provider. Being a childcare provider is truly one of the most important jobs I can think of, because you are helping to shape our next generation. What message are you sending them when you would rather interact with a computer than with them? How will they feel about themselves and about you? Children feel as though everything is about them. They will see this as a rejection of them and they will be more likely to act out.
It also poses a safety concern when you are not paying enough attention to the children in your care. Accidents happen, but when an adult care giver is close by and appropriately supervising the chances of a major injury dramatically reduce.
During work hours, the following would not be considered acceptable: -Texting -Talking to friends on the phone -Chatting with friends online -Using Skype -IMing -Emailing -Updating your status on Facebook -Checking in on Orkut, Studivz, SiempreGente or any other social media site -Watching videos on YouTube (even my really fabulous ones) -Tweeting on your Twitter -Uploading photos -Anything else on the computer unless it is going to Nickjr.com together with your host children
Think about this — even if you work 45 hours a week, that leaves you 123 hours per week for all of that other stuff, or about 70 hours (if you are getting the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep per night.)
Host Parents – You need to be clear about what you consider acceptable during work hours to avoid misunderstandings. Also, please understand that you are dealing with a new generation of people who are very accustomed to being plugged in at all times. Their intention is not to be rude, they don’t necessarily realize how their actions will be perceived. Please use this information as an opportunity to begin a dialogue on the issue.
If you have a hard day, feel homesick or lonely, please listen to this wonderful song written by a German au pair who had a tough time but successfully completed her year. She recorded this song with the help of her host child.
Almost everyone experiences culture shock when they come to a completely new environment. Everything is different: the language, the food, and the people.
Here are some 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 normally makes homesickness worse. Try emailing 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 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 Facebook group to find others who may want to join you on your adventures. Try volunteering, there are so many opportunities in the area.
6. Tell your Host Family- they want to know how you are doing, and it helps to let them know.