As an au pair coming to America, most expect to be able to travel and see the country. Most imagine days off spent riding the open road or the open sea, in search of adventure. Most envision life in America like living in a movie, but reality is a hard wall. Many au pairs find themselves looking for friends in the area on their days off, or learning the roads in their local town or city, or even attending class or studying. This can come as a disappointment, but the joy comes when you do discover what life in America is all about.
Americans tend to fill their lives with too many things to do. We have too many responsibilities and not enough hours in the day to fulfill them. One way we do accomplish so much is by multi-tasking. That is my advice for you today. Plan your day or week, in advance, so that you get as much done as possible each day, while allowing yourself some “down-time” each day to call or write to family and friends, or just to rest and watch some tv or check your email or FB page. When you know what your day or week looks like, it is easier to squeeze in something else.
But, don’t over plan. “Keep it simple, stupid”, is another American expression, sometimes called the K.I.S.S. principal. Get involved and meet your responsibilities, but don’t forget to have fun with the kids. Here are a couple of fun ways to practice your English skills and have fun with the kids.
Just talking with the kids can turn into a fun game. Ask one of your host family children their favorite color; depending on the child’s age, you could ask them or tell them what letter comes first in their favorite color. For example, Nadine loves blue. Blue starts with B. Then ask your child to help you find and name everything in the room that starts with B. Next, share your favorite color with the child, pink, for example. Pink starts with P. Then find everything you can that starts with pink.
I love to sing and most kids do too. Here is a fun song to sing with the kids. It can help them practice their alphabet and all of you will practice using your imaginations. You can just sing this song, or sing it while playing a hand-clapping game, while jumping rope, or while playing catch. Here is how it goes: “A” my name is Alice (or fill in any girl name starting with A), and my husband’s name is Alan (or other boy name starting with A). We live in Alaska (or other location starting with A) and we sell ants (or anything starting with A). “B” my name is Betty and my husband’s name is Billy. We we live in Baltimore and we sell baseballs. Continue this for each letter of the alphabet; it’s great practice and a fun game to play in the car, too.
I would love to hear other ways you practice your English while entertaining the kids. Contact me at 401.309.1925 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about becoming a host family. RI area families are eligible for great savings!