Great time at Peddler’s Village with Adriana’s host family.

Ophelia’s Diary.

I am glad that I have a lot of nice Au Pair friends near Philadelphia. One of them is the Au Pair Adriana, who lives in Bucks County, PA.

au pair at Lahaska

This Saturday, her host family invited me to Peddler’s Village with them.

Au Pair US

The first time I met Adriana’s host family was at a Family Day Conference. Thanks my Local Area Representative Polina so much, she organized a lot of interesting activities for us and gave us a lot of opportunities to know new friends.

Au pair at Peddler's Village.

At Friday night, Adriana’s host dad picked me up from the train station. The second day, I went to Peddler’s Village with Adriana’s host children and host mom. Her host kids are so cute and smart, they speak both English and Chinese! This is really a very loving host family.

We had a great time with the kids in the village. Many scarecrows that were created for Halloween did make us laugh a lot. Everyone is looking forward to the coming of Halloween.

Aupair  at Peddler's villageIn the afternoon, Adriana’s host mom drove us to the train station, then we go back to my home together. My host family invited Adriana to have dinner with us. My host parents always cook very delicious food. I am sure Adriana can tell you more about this now.

Read more stories from Ophelia’s Diary.

Keeping Your Child Safe Around Animals

Most animals are friendly, but some can be dangerous. Many Au Pairs like pets, 97% of  available Au Pairs from Go Au Pair say they are willing to place with a Host Family with pets. Being around animals, it is very important to know how to minimize the chances of being bitten or scratched by the pets.Au Pair from S. Africa Chant

I would like to introduce today our special guest blogger Paul Taylor who will share the tips on how to keep children safe around animals.

From dogs and cats to horses and lemurs, the world is full of a wide variety of animals that your child might encounter. Petting zoos, farms, or even the neighbor’s pet can be dangerous if you do not teach your children the skills they will need to stay safe around animals. Here are a few helpful tips on what safety issues to cover with your child:

  1. Never approach an animal without permission – Even the friendliest looking dog could be a baiter. That is why it is important to let your child know that you must ask permission before you approach someone walking their pet. Even in a petting zoo it is a good idea to ask how and where the animal likes to be touched. While some animals will tolerate children well, others are more unstable. It is wise to teach your child to ask before they touch.kids cat
  2. Always wash your hands after touching an animal – In particular I am thinking of pet turtles and lizards. There are many animals that carry illnesses that humans can catch. These are not always obvious to small children. They should be taught that it is better to be safe than sorry. By washing their hands well after touching any animal, they can prevent a variety of illnesses. Children should also be taught not to let animals lick their faces as this can also spread illness.
  3. Never pull on an animal – Many small children cannot resist the urge to yank on kitty’s tail. However that may get them a swipe from her claws if she is not a very considerate cat. No animal enjoys a child pulling their tail, ears or fur. That is why you should teach your children to be gentle around animals and avoid hurting them. A hurt animal may react in violence, even if the pet has no history of it. Avoid bites and scratches by teaching your children to respect the animal and not be rough with it.kids animals
  4. Never walk too close to an animal – Even if your child respects your wishes to not approach an animal without permission they may still want to get close to it to get a better look. A dog can lunge pretty far at the end of a leash, a cat has a long range for her claws, and cows or horses can kick, stomp or nip at a child that gets too close to their space. You should teach your child to give animals plenty of room and always stay far enough away so that they can stay out of the animal’s range.
  5. If an animal is not friendly then leave it alone – Many children have an issue in which they will pursue an obviously unfriendly animal trying to pet it. Ducks in the pond, pigeons on the sidewalk and wild rabbits are all examples of animals that will typically run away from children. If you teach your child not to pursue them they will be safer. A duck has strong wings and a beak that can hurt a small child. Even a rabbit can do some damage with its hind legs if picked up. A scared animal is a dangerous animal, so a child should not corner or attempt to catch them.
  6. If an animal looks sick then do not go near it – Sick animals are another sdogtory. A bird with a broken wing, a squirrel that has fallen out of a tree or an animal hurt on the side of the road all make our sympathies flare, and children are more sympathetic than some adults. However you should caution children against getting too close to a hurt or sick animal. A hurt animal is a scared and dangerous one that is unpredictable. If they are sick, with rabies for example, they could seriously hurt or even kill your child. Never let your child pick up or touch a hurt, sick or dead animal.
  7. Never give a child control of a pet they can’t handle – Many times I have seen a large dog’s leash held by a small child. This is just an unsafe practice that is foolish. If a child cannot control the animal then they should not be given responsibility for it. Even a nice big dog can jump on a small child and hurt or scare him. And what would happen if the dog decided to run out into traffic? Your child would be pulled along with him! It is not worth risking your child’s safety or the safety of others. Until your child is big enough to handle the pet, keep a firm hand on the leash.kid smile
  8. Stay away from animals with babies – Even though the babies might look cute, their mother will not be happy if you touch them. Many animals do not like strangers around their children. They become very protective and can hurt a child that approaches their litter. Teach children to give mother animals a lot of room and do not try to touch her or the babies.
  9. Do not feed an animal or touch its food – Taking away an animal’s food is the easiest way to get bitten. Even your own family dog can nip at someone trying to take his food. Teach children to leave animals that are eating alone and never try to take away their food, toys or treats. Children should also be taught not to try to feed animals unless told to do so. Wild animals especially can hurt a child that is attempting to feed them. If they want to give an animal food, such as ducks or birds, they should lie out or throw out the food in an open area. Never feed animals out of your hands.kids-animals
  10. Stay quiet, move slow – In danger or in safety it is important to be quiet and slow around animals. Almost all animals react to noise and fast movements negatively. They can become scared or overly excited. Teach your children to move slowly when picking up a pet and to stay calm. If a strange animal approaches them they should move away slowly and not run or make a lot of noise. By doing this they can stay safe around animals.kids-and-animals

Needless to say, if you have a very small child that is unable to understand the need to be careful around animals then you should either limit their exposure to animals or make sure you are closely supervising any encounters they might have. It is better to be safe than sorry, after all.

As children get older they will be exposed to other children’s pets, animals at the zoo and even wild animals. They will not always have an adult around to keep them safe. By teaching your children to respect the animals and stay calm and quiet your children can stay safe.

Author Bio:

Paul Taylor started www.babysittingjobs.com which offers an aggregated look at those sites to help families find sitters and to help sitters find families easier than ever. He loves writing, with the help of his wife. He has contributed quality articles for different blogs & websites.

Review of the Go Au Pair agency

Today, for the first time, I posted the review from a  relatively new host family from NJ, who has been with Go Au Pair for 6 months. It is always interesting to know what a family thinks and appreciates about the Au Pair program and Go Au Pair agency.

People are a lot more likely to write a review if something is wrong or if there are complains. Sometimes we make wrong choices as new consumers,  have different expectations, and have different personalities that may not go together well.

This  family had a rematch experience at the beginning and became a fan of the Au Pair program soon after matching with new Au Pair . With Go Au Pair’s help, the family was able to find another candidate that suited the family better. The whole family and Au Pair are happy, and 4-year-old boy feels like he has two moms already. :-)

Thank you to the host family from NJ, who kindly allowed me to share their review on citysearch.com with my readers.

Hello from New Jersey. My name is Alec. I have so many titles: Go Au Pair client, Host Family parent, Father and now Au-Pair fan. It is our first experience with the au-pair program and we already have a such rich experience. Why? We are lucky that my simple web search for the agency ended-up with Go  Au Pair, because a quality of the service is tested in challenging situations. Isn’t it? I have to say that our first choice of au-pair did not work for us very well. We saw that the young lady was not a good fit for our family and we decided to terminate our contract with her after 1 month.

Then Go Au Pair agency ( Amanda and team) worked out all details very professionally. After 10 days the girl has found a new family and we started our search again. In the beginning, we thought that information in the GoAupair databank is “too-much”, but eventually, psychological profiles of our two best candidates helped us to make a final choice and we do not regret at all. Go Au Pair Logo

Thank you Amanda and GoAupair!
Our local area representative Polina skillfully helps us in every aspect of au-pair business in real situations, providing us every detail about the specifics of the program. She simply consults us on how to “tune” for the best our cooperation and living together with the young person who comes to America. Polina is excellent mediator between host family and au-pair, she helps both to find a better understanding and resolve minor “inconveniences”.

Thank you Polina!

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Now, a little bit about our au-pair- Rae from South Africa. When we have been checking papers, interviewing and communicating over Skype, we thought about the saying “too good to be true” all the time. After four months of Rae’s arrival, we say “it is true”. Rae is a senior sister to our 4 years old son, she is personal driver, she is his personal tutor and most important – Friend. My wife could not believe, that our son said to somebody that he has two moms, embarrassing our 19 years old au-pair. ( lol)

Thank you Rae, very much! We are good team and family together!
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In conclusion, my wife and I are happy “campers” with the program in general and in details. Yes, there are difficulties and challenges, but close team work between family, agency, local representative and au-pair generates excellent synergy and fun. One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood. ( Seneca)family rules

Au Pairs meeting at African American Museum in Philadelphia.

Recently Go Au Pair cluster in the Philadelphia and NJ area had the meeting at African American Museum in Philadelphia. 

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The reason of our visit was not only exploring the African American museum, but also attending the event “Modern Soul Food: Lecture and Tasting with Chef Wheeler Del Toro”. It was an amazing cultural experience for Au Pairs and we really enjoyed it.

Wheeler del Torro is a Nutritional Anthropologist, culinary Guru and author of the book The Vegan Scoop.vegan-scoop-cover

His assistant Rayna explained to us why we eat what we eat, the history and traditions of soul food.

According to Wikipedia  Soul food is a variety of cuisine traditionally popular in African American culture. It is closely related to the cuisine of the Southern United States. The descriptive terminology may have originated in the mid-1960s, when soul was a common definer used to describe African-American culture (for example, soul music).

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During the lecture Rayna discussed the African heritage of this American cuisine,  and its new interpretations – modern soul food. We tried some unusual, but very testy dishes,  like watermelon in a vegetable salad with a cheese substitute.  It was very delicious and healthy salad. It became my favorite dish that I tried.100_1360After testing many delicious dishes,  Wheeler del Torro shared his inspiring stories, told us about his unique experience, and answered many questions with his humoring approach.

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We liked all the dishes  that we tasted, the informative lecture, and the most, we like the conversation with a culinary expert Dr.Wheeler Del Toro. We had a lot of fun, learned new culinary ideas, explored healthy eating approaches. We learned about “modern soul food” “a healthy soul food” created by culinary enthusiastic and expert.

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Wheeler del Torro discussed modern approaches to food and taught how to add a healthy vegetable twist to soul food like macaroni and cheese. He encouraged us to live a healthier lifestyle and discussed the options for creating healthier interpretations of familiar dishes.

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We took many photos, exchanged emails and he promised to send us the recipes. It was an amazing educational and cultural event.

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We took many photos, exchanged emails and he promised to send us the recipes. It was an amazing educational and cultural event.

Au Pairs winter projects.

International Thank You Day is coming.  An Au Pair can do some projects together with the kids for the Host Family!

Here are several projects to create. Have fun with the kids during the cold winter time!

au pair new xmasThe Au Pair Sis has many craft ideas on Pinterest. If you need any fresh ideas, please check Go Au Pair blog or follow the Au Pair Sis on Pinterest. You can view many crafts on the  Crafts for Kids Board.

Au Pair new project
You can master a candy box.

The Au Pair Sis invites Au Pairs and Host Families to join her for a craft challenge. Au Pair sis

Related articles

2011 Photo Contest “Au Pairs Having Fun”

Please help us choose the winners!

2011 Go Au Pair Amateur Photo Competition “Au Pairs Having Fun” has begun!

The participants of the contest are Au Pairs from Go Au Pair Philadelphia, Bucks & Montgomery Counties and parts of NJ cluster.

Please vote and help us find the FINALISTS!

The top 3 winners will receive prizes at our Holiday Party!

All votes must be submitted by December 15, 2011 at midnight.

If you are selected as a finalist, feel free to announce it on facebook, twitter, email your friends and family and get your friends to vote for you!  Good Luck!

How to welcome your new Au Pair.

Here are several tips for the  Host Family  on how to welcome a new Au Pair when she arrives.

  • Have their room ready and clean with a waste paper basket and laundry basket .
  • Prepare a welcome sign made by the children and a small arrival gift or basket
  • Ask about their room (do they have everything they need).
  • Help them call home to let their parents know they are now with their host family
  • Ask them how you can make them feel welcome in regards to cultural differences, food, customs, etc.
  • Spend the entire first week showing them everything in your home and in the neighborhood.
  • Introduce your au pair to your neighbors and friends.
  • Ask your au pair questions about their home, their country, their family, and ask to see the pictures they brought with them.
  • Give her a few days to unpack, rest and become acclimated to the host family’s home.

Help your au pair feel welcome and that they are truly part of your family.

                             

You can find more information about  how to welcome your new Au Pair here

Au Pairs traveling outside of the USA

One of the fantastic opportunities the Au Pair program offers to Au pairs is the chance to travel with their host family or friends outside the USA.

Au pairs are allowed to travel outside of the USA during their 12 month stay. Go Au Pair does not recommend traveling outside of the US during the last 2 months of the year. Even though the Au Pair has a valid visa, sometimes immigration officers question why the au pair traveled outside of the country so close to the expiration date of her visa.

Also the dates on the Au Pair’s visa often are different from the au pair’s actual arrival into the country. If you want to know what an Au Pair needs to do in order to travel outside of the United States read this post.

Travel outside of the U.S. during the au pair’s 13th month is not permitted by the J-1 visa. If an Au Pair leaves the  USA during this month, she will not be allowed to re-enter the USA.  Au Pair may travel to Hawaii in their 13th month.

It is the responsibility of the Au Pair to check to see if a tourist visa is required for the country she is visiting.

Travel to Canada: please follow this link to find out if the Au Pair needs a tourist visa: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/index.asp. Travel to Mexico: please follow this link to find out if the Au Pair needs a tourist visa: National Institute of Immigration Mexico
For all other countries, please visit www.embassyworld.com for a listing of embassies for various countries. If the au pair travels without the appropriate documents, such as a tourist visa, she may be prohibited from boarding the plane and/or denied entry into the country.

There are a few travel restrictions for Au Pairs while they are in the US on a J-1 visa. For more information please read Where can an Au Pair travel?

Go Au Pair agency asks Au Pairs and Host Families to contact the agency several weeks before traveling outside the country so that all appropriate documentation may be done in time.

Au Pairs traveling in the USA.

Au Pairs have a terrific opportunity traveling throughout the U.S. during their program year or a 30-day grace period after their year in the program. There are many sites and places that aupairs would like to visit. Many Au Pairs keep a list of all the things they would like to see.

Philadelphia is one of  the top destination for tourists, the city is full of history, culture and arts.

Au Pairs can plan a short trip during their two and a half days off or even one day trip. They can enjoy visiting a lot of places  in Philadelphia. Au Pairs also can go to New York, Washington DC or interesting places in New Jersey or Delaware  which are not very far driving or using train or bus even for one day trip.

Here are a lot of place to visit which need at least several days and additional housing accommodation.

Go Au Pair has a Bed and Breakfast program and our Au Pairs can travel and stay with host families around the U.S. for free. Go Au Pair’s exclusive Bed and Breakfast program allows you to travel to various states and stay in former Host Families’ homes, rather than paying for a hotel. Contact Go Au Pair for more details about this great program.

As Au Pairs successfully completes their year in the Au Pair program, they are given 30 days to travel throughout the United States before having to return home.

Au pairs may consider traveling together with  friends. Traveling together Au Pairs will be able to save money on hotels, food, and rental cars, to have a lot of fun together and to make unforgettable memory with friends.

A Chinese Au Pair, “I am proud of being born in China.”

Chinese Au Pairs have become very common choice among host families. There are four Au Pairs from China in PhiladelphiaBucks County and close NJ cluster.

Alice,  the Au Pair from China, who is now living in Newtown, Bucks County near Philadelphia and is taking care of three small kids, is very proud to be a Chinese. Alice kindly shared her feelings and her love to China. Please read it.

As is well known to us all, China is one of  four ancient and civilizational countries in the world.

In fact, it has a more long history than we have ever known. Because of this, many ancient architectures and all sorts of historical books are often found in different places in China. In China, it’s not  easy for you to find a person than you can in any countries. That is, China has the largest number of population on the Earth, which, however, also puts great burden on our country.

There are fifty-six ethnic groups in our country. We get along well with each other and  often disasters can draw us more together. Besides, chinese food is very famous for its good taste and nutrition; many people in other countries are fond of it and try their best to cook it.

Every year, plenty of foreigners from different countries come China to have a sightseeing; here you can look around lots of places of interest.

I really hope our country will become more and more flourishing and people will  live a  happier and happier life.

I’m a Chinese and I am proud of being born in China.

by Alice Xiang

Every month Go Au Pair features Au Pairs from a select country. China is the featured country at Go Au Pair for the month of October.  Families who match with an Au Pair from China in October are eligible for $100 discount.

Many Chinese Au Pairs have strong English skills and teaching experience. They love playing with kids, making origami or crafts, and having fun. Au Pairs give the whole family the opportunity to be immersed in the language and Chinese culture. Here are the top ten reasons to consider an Au Pair from China.

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