Learning is Fun

Happy Koninginnedag – April 30th

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Koninginnedag, also know as Queen’s Day, is celebrated in the Netherlands on April 30th.  It pays tribute to their Queen Beatrix who has been serving as Queen since April 30, 1980, when her mother abdicated the throne to her.  She is carrying on that tradition and plans to abdicate her throne to her son Willem-Alexander.  Once he is king, the Dutch will celebrate Koningsdag, or King’s day, on April 27th (which is his birthday).  Willem-Alexander will be the first male monarch since 1890.

Want to send well-wishes the Royal Couple? You can do that here.

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Photo from Holland.com

People celebrating Queen’s Day often wear orange or dye their hair orange to “represent the House of Orange-Nassau, which rules over the Netherlands.”

Celebrate Queen’s Day with these fun activities:

Learn to speak in Dutch at Digital Dialects.

Learn to play the traditional children’s game of Hul Gul.

Learn about a Kid’s Life in the Netherlands.

Make a windmill craft.

Color a map, flag or tulip at DLTK.

Want a Dutch au pair?  Check out a few of our great candidates from the Netherlands.

Stephanie M.

Maya H. 

Are you interested in being an au pair and traveling to The Netherlands? Au Pair International place au pairs all over the world, including The Netherlands.  Find out more!

Fun Stuff

Go Take a Hike – Free Entrance into National Parks April 22-26

Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton National Park

Spring is in the air.  What would be a better way to celebrate than to get out and enjoy the beauties of springtime in our National Parks.  There are 401 National Parks and all of them are not charging an entrance fee April 22 – 26.  You can find the one closest to you at the U.S. National Parks website.  Here are some ideas of things to do.

 

Kruger National Park
Kruger National Park

Take a Hike: Nothing compares to the beauty of walking though a National Park where you can see and hear all the wonders of nature.  You might see a moose or deer and even if the biggest thing you spot is a chipmunk, you will still come away being rejuvenated and refreshed.

 

 

Take a Picnic:  If you don’t have a lot of time available, you can still talk a little time and enjoy a picnic at a National Park.  Picnics are also a great alternative for parents with small children who wouldn’t be up for a long hike.

Arches National Park
Arches National Park

 

 

Take a Drive:  Even if the weather isn’t warm enough to get out of the car, there is a lot of beauty to be seen by just driving through a National Park.  Many National Parks will also have visitor centers with the history of the area and information about the animals you can find in the park.

 

What is your favorite National Park to visit?

Au Pair Advice, Host Family Questions

HF Q’s: My new au pair is about to arrive. What should I expect?

Congratulations on getting your new au pair!  What an exciting time.  It is a good idea to have realistic expectations so your match can get started off on the right track.

Arrival – As excited as your au pair is going to be chances are she is also going to be wiped out.  The regulations state that au pairs cannot be responsible for the children during the first 3 days after arrival so that they can have time to acclimate to your home and the US.  It is a good idea to use this time to help her to get to know your home and family.  Don’t plan anything too big during the first few days and give her a chance to settle in.

Driving – Even the best of drivers can be intimidated by driving in the US.  Our roads and vehicles are bigger than they are used to and many countries don’t have the same standards of driving.  We recommend all au pairs get a US drivers license but many can drive on their country’s license.  Be prepared to ease your au pair into driving and don’t get frustrated if she doesn’t pick it up right away.

Homesickness – As you can imagine being away from friends and family isn’t easy for anyone.  Add to that being in a different country and speaking a different language and it can get quite difficult.  Encourage your au pair to get out and meet people.  Starting on her education is a good start, but there are a lot of other possibilities.  Churches, international student organizations, meet up groups, rec leagues and ethnic restaurants are good places to meet new people.  Your Area Director will have some ideas for your area.

A good piece of advice is to treat your au pair how you would want someone to treat your son or daughter if they were staying with them.  If you always keep that in mind, then you won’t go wrong.

 

*** ADVICE TO AU PAIRS***

Remember that while your host family, Area Director and agency are here to help you, ultimately your happiness is up to you.  You have an amazing opportunity to gain so many new and beneficial experiences.  Take advantage of every chance you get to learn and grow.  Remember that you are here to 1) help make your host family’s lives easier, and 2) learn about the US.   Don’t be surprised if families in the US raise their children differently than you are used to.  Find out how they want you to assist them in raising their children and then follow their lead.  Finally, although it will be an adjustment at first, if you give it your best you will have one of the greatest experiences of your life.

Fun Stuff

Au Pair Adventures – Caren’s cute kids!

Caren, an au pair in New York, takes care of 5 year old twins: C and S.  This is Caren’s story:

“My host family has two boys.  They are twin 5 year olds. C is 1 minute older than S. The boys need to go to the potty before going to school in the morning or going out with their parents. C takes a very long time to make a poop poop, and he always refuses to sit on the potty after a few minutes. He comes out and said in a very sad voice, “I can’t make a poop poop, Caren.  I don’t want to make a poop poop.”  At that time, S will go the toilet and check the poop poop and speak like an adult. “C, that’s not enough. Try again. You need to believe in yourself and then you can make a big big poop poop.”  They make us all burst into laughter.”

Caren has another story that shows why she loves being an au pair.

“S once said to his grandmother, “Grandma, I fall in love with someone.”  His grandma was so surprised and asked,”Who?”  He said “Caren.”  And grandma asked him how much he loves Caren, he said, “I love Caren from the earth to the moon and come back to the earth – that much.”