Webcams – You can do a google search for aquariums and zoos across the country (and the world) with webcams that allow you to observe sea creatures. Here is one to get you started.
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. Search online to see if your area has any of the following:
Any pet store with fish tanks
Television – The Discovery Channel has an annual Shark Week. This year it will be July 11-18, 2021. Much of the programming will be too scary for younger kids, but for nature-loving tweens and teens, it could be a great way to get them interested in sharks and other ocean animals. Check out 15 JAW-some Activities for Shark Week with lots of fun ideas for kids in grades 5 and up, but a few for younger kids too.
If your kids are a little older, check out 10 Crazy Facts About Sea Turtles (below).
Books – Stop by your local library and look for books on sea creatures. The Rainbow Fish is a classic children’s book, your kids may already own. If not, you can find videos like this of it being read aloud.
Libraries may be closed due to COVID-19, but many librarians are coming up with creative ideas to keep people entertained and promote literacy. One of those creative ideas is free virtual escape rooms. With a variety of themes, some may be fun to do on your own, others as activities with the kids.
Sydney Krawiec, Youth Services Librarian at Peters Township Public Library in McMurray, PA created this Hogwarts Virtual Escape Room. She shared this tutorial on how to create your own virtual escape room, which seemed to spark the creativity of many other librarians.
Some amazing librarians all over the country have been busy creating virtual escape rooms with a variety of themes.
Special thanks to the Humboldt County Library in Winnemucca, Nevada for gathering info on many of these escape rooms. Follow them on Facebook for their storytimes and weekly Facebook Live Science Time on Fridays.
Thanksgiving is a public holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November every year in the United States. It started as a harvest festival and has been celebrated nationally on and off since 1789. The most important part of Thanksgiving for American families is to spend family time together.
“My favorite holiday was Thanksgiving. Firstly, it was my first holiday with the whole family in America. Secondly, the whole family came together. All aunts and uncles and their kids came to grandma’s. We played football with all of them, including grandma and grandpa. It was the first time I played it and it was so much fun for all. We had a great dinner with all the typical things you can imagine … it was deeeelicious! It was so great to be with such a big family and I really enjoyed that day. I will remember it my whole life, I hope.” – Swantje from Germany
Here are a few tips to help you have a terrific Thanksgiving experience.
Please plan to include your au pair in your Thanksgiving celebration, if at all possible. If you are traveling or will not be able to invite your au pair to join you for Thanksgiving, give her plenty of notice and help her make alternate plans. You don’t want to leave your au pair alone over the holiday.
If you are invited to attend dinner, please let your family know within 5 days of the invitation, whether you are planning to attend, so they may make plans. If your host family is unable to include you in their Thanksgiving plans, please let me know if you have trouble making other plans, so I can assist.
Make sure to discuss time off during this holiday weekend. Many host families work the Friday after Thanksgiving so do not assume you have this day off or the entire weekend. Talk to your host family, BEFORE you make any plans.
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.
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.
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.
To celebrate the holidays each au pair brought a dish that reminded them of home. Food always helps bring people together and often helps with homesickness too. After sharing some wonderful dish we all played a really fun game: everyone had to hold a plate on their head and draw specific items blindly (a tree, a fireplace next to the tree, stockings on the fireplace, ornaments, gifts, etc). See a picture of the 3 winners.
This year for our Thanksgiving cluster meeting we had our annual pie tasting. Everyone got to taste the different pies they may see during Thanksgiving (Pumpkin, Apple, Pecan) and vote for their favorite one. Many au pairs had never tried pumpkin pie before. Apple Pie was the winner this year.
For the holidays this year we also decided to write letters to the troops. Au Pairs can relate to being away from home for the holidays and therefore we all sent letters of encouragement for others who wouldn’t be home.
This morning we all got to enjoy a nice breakfast to start celebrating Halloween (might as well start the sugar rush early). Many au pairs were able to bring their host children, some were dressed up and all had fun. Diane’s house is always decorated for Halloween (see pictures below). We had so much fun!