Category Archives: Au Pair Tips

Summer Safety

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-huZ8k4FZcS0/T7vRdgP7EXI/AAAAAAAAAes/94F7-hIFbLA/s1600/SummerSafe.gif

During the summer months we need to take some added precautions to keep children safe in the sun and by the water.  Here are some good tips:

  • Avoid long periods of sun exposure especially between 10.00am and 4.00pm
  • Apply sunscreen of at least  15 SPF that protects against both UVA and UVB rays should be worn on sunny and cloudy days.
  • Infants should be dressed in lightweight clothing covering as much skin as possible and brimmed hats to shade the face
  • Stay hydrated, drink water throughout the day
  • Intense activities and sports should be reduced whenever high heat and humidity reach critical levels

!!!!!!   Never leave children or animals in a car unattended   !!!!!!

Preventing Dehydration in Hot Weather

Dehydration means that the body lacks the necessary amount of fluid. Infants and small children are more likely to become dehydrated than older children or adults, because they can lose relatively more fluid quickly.

Here are some steps to take to make sure children remain hydrated in the summer months:

  • Encourage your child to drink plenty of water. On hot days, children should drink significantly more water than usual, as they are losing more due to the heat.
  • Do not wait until your child is thirsty to give him water. By the time they feel thirsty, they are already becoming dehydrated.
  • If your child is resistant to drinking enough water, have other liquids on hand for your child to drink throughout the day.
  • Be alert to changes in behavior. A child may act confused or more irritable when they are becoming dehydrated/overheated. Get them into cooler temperatures and drinking more fluids.
  • Dress your child in lightweight clothing in the summer months, particularly if she’ll be playing outdoors in warm weather. You may also consider clothes that are well ventilated as they do not trap heat close to the body.
  • When there are heat and/or air quality advisories because the weather is dangerously hot, you should avoid taking the children outdoors. Check with your host parents for further guidance on this topic.

Remember to follow these tips for yourself too, so you stay well hydrated.

Photo: Darwin Bell (Flickr)

How to Manage Longer Days with Children – When School is out and Camp isn’t On!

Summer -  Ryan HydeHere are some ideas to keep your kids busy this summer!

Top Ten – How to Manage Longer Days with Children – When School is out and Camp isn’t On!
Au pairs should always check with their host parents to seek approval for any childcare activities.

10. Start A Summer Scrapbook!
Include drawings, pictures, and journal entries of activities from the summer. It will be special because children and their au pair created it together. This could be a hard version, a computer generated one, a movie of daily clips set to music…..they could even make 2 copies – one for her and one for them to keep!

9. Have a picnic!
Spread the planning and preparation across a few days to get them excited!
First, decide on a location, and have a few choices from which the children can pick. For example, their backyard, a town park or near a pond. Include a rain plan – will they choose an alternate in door solution or go on another date? Create ballots and let them vote!
Make the picnic ‘basket’ —- use a plain box and let the children decorate it! Then, decide on a menu — look up recipes and shop for the ingredients together….prepare anything that can be done ahead of time — and then when it is “the day,” finish the picnic packing and go!

8. Switch It UP
Have dinner for breakfast and breakfast for dinner! Plan the menu and prepare together!
Who doesn’t like pancakes for dinner???? (If their host parents don’t, then ignore this one!)

7. Have a Pajama Day!
Plan an indoor PJ day. Choose books to read, cookies to make, a movie to watch, indoor tent with blankets and go! Think of it as a snow day (on a rainy day) in the summer!

6. Six websites with nifty ideas!

Create your own holiday www.educationworld.com/a_lesson/lesson018.shtml
Start a collection www.ehow.com/how_10563_start-collection.html
Scavenger Hunt http://www.lovetheoutdoors.com/camping/kids/scavengerhunt.htm
Build a sandcastle www.sandcastlecentral.com/toolpages/
Plant a garden www.geocities.com/mastergardener2k/
Make a bubble solution www.bubblemania.com/faq/solution.html

5. Park it!

Make a list of area parks. After each visit, have the children critique it….what was good, what did they like about it….what didn’t they like? Create a chart with applicable headings including a rating system. At the end of their comparison, their chart will show them where they like to go for what activities, etc. This is a great hand down tool as well for subsequent au pairs or the parents themselves!

4. Taste Test Day!
Buy several brands of vanilla – and try one bite of each and see what they like best! Or do flavors – let the children choose! Different versions….yogurt tasting, cheese/crackers, salsas or red vs. green grapes!

3. Make a Diorama!

Have children re-create a scene from their favorite book, zoo or outing. http://www.ehow.com/how_12761_make-diorama.html

2. Have a home book club!

Everyone read the same book – and compare your thoughts on it.
Here are some ideas: http://www.scholastic.com/ups/campaigns/src-2015

1. AP Day!

Once a week — have a Day dedicated to the au pair’s country! Eat some foods from her country…and have her share typical summer activities she did growing up. She can read the children a book in her native language as well as teach them how to sing and count! As the children get the hang of it – they can make a list of things they would like her to teach or tell them. Au pairs could even team up to share ‘days’ from their countries with each other’s children!

 Photo: Flickr Ryan Hyde

 

Holiday and Vacation Reminders

suitcase - Kristen TaylorWith summer break around the corner, we wanted to remind everyone about program rules on holidays and vacations.

Holidays

  • Host families are NOT REQUIRED to give au pairs any specific holidays.
  • Each host family will make different arrangements on holidays, some au pairs will be off and others will be required to work.
  • Au pairs should NOT make plans for holidays without checking with your host family FIRST.

Vacation

  • Au pair earns 2 weeks of paid vacation during the course of her year.
  • The host family can pick a week and the au pair can pick a week, if an agreement is not reached.
  • All vacation should be preplanned (at least 4 weeks in advance.)
  • All au pair’s friends and/or family visits/vacations should be pre-approved prior to purchasing a ticket.
  • If an au pair travels with their host family, it should be discussed UP FRONT whether this is the au pair’s vacation or if she is working.
  • If an au pair travels with the host family to work, the host family is required to pay for her transportation, lodging and meals.

Important: An au pair MUST have her DS2019 signed PRIOR to her departure from the US.

Photo: Kristen Taylor – flickr

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day in the U.S. this year is May 14th.

It would be a nice gesture to do something for your host mom. You could help the children make a surprise for her or give her a card yourself.  Don’t forget to send a special message to your own mother, back home.

Looking for some great Mother’s Day ideas?

Check out the Au Pair in America Mother’s Day Pinboard on Pinterest.

National Cherry Blossom Festival 2018

The National Cherry Blossom Festival is an annual event which celebrates springtime in Washington, DC as well as the 1912 gift of the cherry blossom trees and the enduring friendship between the people of the United States and Japan. This year’s festival will be MARCH 17-APRIL 15!

The predicted peak blooming period of the cherry blossoms for this year is APRIL 8-12.

Here are some of the highlights:

Smithsonian Kite Festival – Saturday, March 31, 2018
Washington Monument Grounds
10 am-4:30 pm

Petalpalooza Fireworks Festival – Saturday, April 7, 2018
Waterfront Park – 600-900 Water Street, SW
1-9:30 pm
Fireworks at 8:30-9:30 pm

Cherry Blossom Parade – Saturday, April 14, 2018
Constitution Avenue from 7th to 17th Streets, NW
10 am- 12 pm

There are many more great events, visit the festival website for more information.

Helpful links:
Cherry Blossom Festival Website
National Park Service Bloom Watch
Metro Website (use the trip planner feature on this website to find the metro options, taking metro is much better than driving for the festival events)

Photo & Video: National Cherry Blossom Festival 

How to Write a Check or Money Order

By Christine Connally, APIA Community Counselor in MD

This question comes up from time to time and with the tax deadline approaching, I thought I would post a link with a great step by step tutorial.  Click on the image of a check below to go to the tutorial on About.com.

write_a_check_step5_sign_memo

Remember: Use pen and don’t leave extra blank space where someone can make changes.

If you don’t have a checking account and need to make a payment by check, you have two other options: money order or cashier’s check (bank check.) Money orders are available for purchase at your bank, the post office or the customer service desk of some retail stores (CVS, Safeway, WalMart.) You will be charged a small fee, $1.50-$5.  Money orders need to be paid for with cash (not credit cards.) You will fill out the money order similarly to a check and keep your receipt portion for your records.

If you are paying your taxes:

  • Make check or money order payable to “United States Treasury.”
  • Write this info somewhere on the check:
    • Your full name
    • Your address and phone number
    • Your Social Security Number
    • 2013 Form 1040 NR-EZ
  • Mail your tax forms (keep copies for your records) and payment to: Internal Revenue Service
    P.O. Box 1303
    Charlotte, NC 28201–1303
    U.S.A.

St. Patrick’s Day Shenanigans

St. Patrick’s Day is March 17.St Patricks day

click here to access APIA St. Patrick's Day Shenanigans board on Pinterest

St. Patrick’s day is coming up already.  Check out APIA’s St. Patrick’s Day Shenanigans’ board on Pinterest for lots of great ideas to celebrate!

Helping Young Children Learn Language

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)

Daylight Saving Time Begins March 11

What is Daylight Saving Time?

During Daylight Saving Time, clocks are turned forward one hour, effectively moving an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening. Today, approximately 70 countries worldwide utilize Daylight Saving Time, in at least some portion of the country. The U.S. started observing it in 1918, so it celebrates it’s 100th birthday, this year.

In March, we move the clock forward one hour, losing an hour of sleep. In November, we move the clock back one hour, regaining that extra hour of sleep.

An easy way to remember it is: Spring forward, Fall back.

Before you go to bed on March 10, be sure to set the clocks forward one hour!

Photo: Mark Lee