Category Archives: Au Pair Tips

Winter Sports And Sports Insurance

From Christine Connally, Community Counselor with Au Pair in America (MD)

Is it risky to do winter sports without the sports insurance?

Yes. If you have to pay your own hospital bills for a broken bone, you might be shocked at how much that would cost. Christine checked this website for some cost estimates.

ice-skate-224x300Here are a couple examples:

  • Without medical coverage, to treat a broken arm or leg (that does not require surgery) it could cost up to $2,500.
  • Without medical coverage, to treat a broken arm or leg (requiring surgery) it could cost $16,000 or more.
  • We wanted to make sure everyone understands how the medical coverage works for sports related injuries. There is a list of “high-risk sports/activities” that are not covered with the basic or upgrade medical insurance plans. Those activities are only covered with the Sports Insurance Package (also known as Option A.)

    The Sports Insurance Package was available pre-departure and may also be purchased at any time during your year. It takes effect within 48 hours of your enrollment and it is good for 12 months. The cost will be the same ($75) whether you have a month left or your whole year ahead of you. We recommend you pay for it early on, if you didn’t already purchase it. You never know when an opportunity might present itself and you don’t want to miss out on an adventure. You also don’t want to take a risk on getting injured and being responsible for the bill on your own.

    Below is a partial list of sports that are only covered with the sports insurance package:
    Football, Rugby, Scuba diving, Ski-doo,  Wakeboarding, Skydiving, Parachuting, Rock climbing, Zip line, Skate boarding, Rollerblading, Roller skating, Ice Skating, Skiing, Snowboarding, Snowmobiles & Snowshoeing.  View the full list on page 3 of the insurance brochure HERE (2013 arrival au pairs) & HERE for (2014 arrival au pairs)
    Note: Injuries sustained while partaking in these sports are covered with purchase of the Sports Insurance ONLY.

    How to register for the Sports Insurance
    Download the form HERE and follow the instructions. It takes a few days for your coverage to begin. If you think you will be doing any of these sports, you should get it now

    Handling Expenses

    Host parents often ask for suggestions on how best to handle common expenses that occur as au pairs are caring for the children.

    Miscellaneous Expenses

    There are different ways to handle the little day to day expenses that 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 these types of expenses. Others give their au pair a prepaid debit card for this purpose. Below are some suggestions for avoiding problems with expenses.

    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, cluster meetings and when 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.

    Photo: Andrea Travillian

    TrekAmerica Travel

    Southern Sun

    Click here to find out more about TrekAmerica

    About Trek America

    Established in 1972, TrekAmerica has over 40 years’ experience exploring the big cities and back roads of America. From their 3-day mini-adventures to the 21-day Southern Sun road-trip from New York to LA, TrekAmerica is one of the most fun, safe and affordable ways to travel the States!

    Au Pair in America DISCOUNT – Save 20% off!

    Au Pair in America

    TrekAmerica’s small group adventures are specifically designed for young international travelers who want to experience the best of America’s vibrant cities, sleepy towns, amazing national parks and Native American lands, all in a friendly, fun and safe environment.

    Why travel with TrekAmerica?

    Las Vegas Group

    • An 18-30’s program, ensuring travel with like-minded individuals
    • The safety, security and costs savings of small group travel
    • 65% of travelers join alone but leave with life-long friends
    • 40 years as the North American small group adventure specialist
    • Food kitty of just $10 per day covers all meals while camping
    • Extensive range of over 50 camping and budget lodging tours
    • Loads of included & optional activities to suit interest and budget
    • The coolest and most diverse groups in the business, with a maximum of
      13 passengers and an average of 5 different nationalities on every trip!

    How to receive your discount

    20% Discount for Au Pairs

    • To receive your discount, please have your Counselor’s details to hand as you will need to provide their name, address, email and phone number.
      To book online simply take the following steps:
    • 1) Go to the relevant tour page and click on the Dates and Prices tab.
    • 2) Wait for the dates and prices to load and click on the Book Now button next to your preferred date.
    • 3) Complete your personal details in the booking form and make sure to enter 222011 in the Discount Code field. Once this code has been entered, boxes will appear asking you to enter your local Counselor’s details.
    • If you would prefer to book your tour over the phone or if you have any questions please contact the sales office on 1-800-TREK USA (873-5872) or by e-mail at

    Claim your Discount:

    You can get 20% off any TrekAmerica tour, just for being an Au Pair. Find out how you can claim your discount here.

    Options for those Last Few Education Hours

    From Christine Connally, CC with APIA

    3324251659_c5b4e7da64How many total classroom hours do you need?

    • Standard au pairs must complete 72 hours or 6 credits or 7.2 CEUs.

    Certain combinations of classes can leave you just a few hours short of the requirement.

    Here are several options for completing those last few hours. Prices listed are correct as of February 10, 2017 and are subject to change. Consult the university websites for full information.

    Virginia International University Saturday Museum Classes
    5 hours (.5 CEUs) for $40 (+$20 reg. fee)
    Held almost every Saturday morning (10:30am) in DC. Metro accessible locations.
    Students will spend a day at a different museum each week and participate in an interactive, themed museum tour facilitated by an ESL instructors.

    University of Virgin Islands Experience America through Art Galleries & Museums
    5 hours (.5 CEUs) for $40
    Held once per month on a Saturday (10 am or 1:30pm) in DC. Metro accessible locations.
    Students self guide through a local museum over a 3 hour period and complete an outside assignment. The assignment is creating a detailed pictorial report of the visit, due within 7 days of the course.

    University of Virgin Islands Fitness Fridays
    2 hours (.2 CEUs) for $20
    Held once per month on a Friday evening (8 pm) in DC. Metro accessible location.
    A fitness class where students will stretch, move and exercise. Register early, space is limited.

    Local Community Colleges
    Check on our Resource Page under Education Options for links to local community colleges. In the Non-Credit or Continuing Education Catalogs, they will have a variety of small courses in a variety of subjects.

    Photo: Ian Lee (Flickr)

    Healthy eating

    Healthy eating-Your orientation trainer probably spoke of the 5 kilos au pairs typically gain during the year.  If you feel your jeans getting too tight, try these simple tips

    • Eat breakfast – it’s the best way to start the day.
    • Drink water – 4 glasses or more a day, more when it is hot or when you are active.
    • Downsize your portions – how much you eat is as important as what you eat.

    Photo: Muammerokumus (Flickr)

    Winter Fun

    Check out the APIA Winter Fun Pinboard on Pinterest for some fun ideas on these cold snowy days

    Snowman Slam {Game for Kids}

    Posted by Crystal Underwood

    snowman slam game

    This game is fun for the whole family, and you likely have most of the materials to make it already on hand.

    Snowman Slam Materials

    • White cups
    • Black & orange craft foam or construction paper
    • White socks
    • Glue
    • Scissors

    To make the snowmen: decorate six white cups using black and orange craft foam.  To make the snowballs: tightly ball up three white socks.  That’s it!

    This game is so easy to make, and kids have so much fun with it.  The idea is simple; toss the snowballs to knock down the snowmen

    snowman slam 3

    Such a simple concept and yet so much FUN!

    Snowman slam 6

    Snowman slam 88

    Childcare focus

    At some point this winter your host child will probably develop a fever, i.e. a body temperature that is higher than the normal 98.6 F.  It is very important to realize that fever itself is not an illness-only a symptom of one.  When your host child has a fever, his/her heart rate and breathing will speed up slightly in addition to feeling slightly warm. She/he may appear flushed and perspiration may be present as well.  Do not give medicine to your host child with out the permission of your host family.  There are strict guidelines for dosages and they MUST be followed.

    Hints for success

    stay in touch with your community counselor, RSVP* and attend cluster meetings, or if you can not, call her back or reply to her email.

    * *RSVP is an abbreviation for the French phrase “Répondez s’il vous plaît”.  It translates to “please respond”. In the US, failure to reply to an RSVP request with a confirmation of one’s attendance or absence is considered rude.

    New Year’s Eve

    December 31 – New Year’s Eve

    Chances are you have to work tonight, so after the kids go to bed, sit down and watch Dick Clark’s Rockin’ Eve and think about how to make 2014 better.  Before they go to bed, you and the children can choose simple “New Year Resolutions.” Or create a keepsake of the year that is ending by making a time capsule or a scrapbook of memories. Include what are cool, slang words, popular activities, clothes, games, names of popular songs or games, and a picture of the hottest toy. If you are making a time capsule, put a date on it and decide when they will open it – in a year, 5 or even 10. Don’t forget to include a photo of you and the children! Tomorrow, the first day of the New Year, is a federal holiday.