Sunday, 8 December 2019

Au Pair & craft tips to do with your host kids

Crafting is so much fun! But did you know it's important for development as well!! Crafting can help children with their small and gross motor skills and also teach multicultural holidays. Here are a few of my favourites for Halloween and Thanksgiving!

Spooky Spider! 
 Supplies needed:
 Black paper (or plain)
 Markers (or paint!)
 Scissors Googly eyes (optional)

For this craft, you will need to fold the paper in half and have the child trace their hand at the seam of the fold. Then have the child cut along the lines of their tracing. When opened up you will have a double handprint! If you used black paper all you now have to do is either draw your eyes on or glue googly eyes to the paper! Of you choose plain paper then have the child paint or colour the spider’s blacks then add eyes! For added add a silly or scary mouth to your spiders!! You can also make a spiderweb for your new spooky spiders to hang out in!

Floating Ghosts! 
 Supplies needed: 2 tissues (per child)
 Ok balled up the other flat.
 String markers

This craft is simple and very cheap to make! First ball up on tissue to be the head of the ghost, the cover the head with the second tissue and tie it off with the string. Decorate with faces and whatever your child would like! For added fun use a long string to hang the ghosts to make them fly!

Hand Turkeys! 
 Paper Paint Googly eyes (optional)

This is one of my absolute favourite crafts To do! It doesn't even have to be just a turkey, they can be turned into Santa faces as well for Christmas!! Help your child paint the palm of their hands and their thumbs brown and then allow them to pick colours for the other finger. The child should relax their hand and press it into the paper for maximum colouring. Once dry they can draw a face on their turkey (or Santa)! For added fun have the children use each "feather" to come up with something that they are thankful for!!

I hope that these crafts will bring so much fun and joy to you and yours as they have mine!

xoxo, Jenna 

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Packing to China: Au Pair edition

I have been here for 9 months already with 3 more to go. When it comes to packing I am a wizard. But that wasn't so for when I first moved here. So I want to help those of you who have no idea how to pack or what to bring!!

1) Clothes
This is obviously priority number one but doesn't get carried away. Bring only maybe 10 outfits that you can mix and match to make more combinations. I suggest not bringing dresses and skirts that you would never wear back home. You won't wear them here either. Also, you're working with kids … don't be stupid and bring only name brand super cute clothes. 

Let's talk about bras. Buy extra. Of every kind you can. It's China… if you're bigger than an A cup you're going to have a hell of a time finding your size. 

2) Shoes I brought three pairs. And it was the worst mistake. It takes up room in your limited space. Bring a pair of walking shoes and maybe a slip-on. But honestly, all you need is walking shoes. You can find any shoe here for super cheap. There's no point in wasting your space on it.

3) Medicine
Oh Chinese medicines… don't rely on them. I brought a whole person of "western medicine" because they think hot water is a cure-all. (I'm all for homoeopathic medicines but be smart… you need real medicine sometimes.) You can never be too safe when it comes to what medicine you bring. The OCT stuff you're used to isn't sold here. And bring big bottles. When if comes to prescriptions always talk to your Dr about what you need to do

4) Toiletries
Everything here is pretty cheap but if you have curly hair like I do then you'll need to stock up and bring it with you. If you can even find curly products here they are way expensive and take months to come in. Deodorant should also be stocked up on…. Just trust me on that. Bring several of your favourites because they don't have it here. Most don't even know what stick deodorant is. 

5) Pack all of your clothes into vacuum seal bags and you'll be amazed at how much room it can save!!! That's about all you need. Maybe a light jacket depending on your area you're in. But again. They are cheap here and you have limited space. A MINIMALIST lifestyle is a way to go here. A family could change their mind and you have only 2 days to leave or you could last a full year with 1 family and you need to use this to get back home.. trust me I know what I'm talking about. 

xoxo, Danielle

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Totally scared and really excited | Aurora

I’m Aurora from Italy and I’ve been living in China for two months.
So many people just talk about other countries knowing nothing but stereotypes. Actually, I kinda did the same when I talked about China before the experience I just had. I won’t ever forget the day I took my plane from Italy to Hangzhou and how I felt (a mix between totally scared and really excited) and I will always remember the culture shock I got right when I met my host family - I gave them my hand for a handshake and they just ignored me and went over.

Me and my 2 host girls. Did I tell you we had our private driver?

This experience in China made me much richer: I literally discovered a new world.

This experience in China made me much richer: I literally discovered a new world! I must say that China is a two faces country: one shows you the roots of this country proud of his own ancient culture and history, the other totally open mind and willing to develop. During these months I experienced so many things that not even a book would be enough to tell them all but I would really recommend everyone to live it!

My host family took me to eat Italian food. Chinese people love it.

Now my experience is over but the bond I made with my friends (they have been more than “just” a host family) and my “two little sisters” will last forever, thank you all.


Sunday, 27 October 2019

My First Time Meeting My Host Family

Hey Guys! Answering a few questions today about meeting my host family and sharing my experience! If you have more questions or want to hear more about China leave a comment!!

xoxo, HAM

Sunday, 20 October 2019

20 steps of packing | Danielle

Ready, steady, go!
2 weeks ago my Aupair life changed I was six months into my year-long contract. Then school started for my 2nd-grade host kid and her schedule got busy. So out of the blue, I was told I needed to find a new family. I was obviously very upset, I loved my host kid. But all good things must come to an end and in just a few days I will be moving to a new city with a new family!!

Ready for a new start, oh yeah!
I am very excited for a fresh start and look forward to blogging all about my new life! But for today I want to discuss packing. I had 2 weeks to pack 6 months of my life into 3 bags. It was no easy task that's for sure! So here is a quick checklist of you are in the same boat!

  1. Put your room back how it was when you arrived. Be kind to your family, help them as much as possible with your room. 
  2. Get rid of the clothes. You don't wear all the clothes in your closet. Get rid of them. Extra points if you can part with knick-knacks and other things!
  3. Invest in vacuum seal bags for your clothes. It takes out all the air and compresses your clothes making it a lot easier to pack in. 
  4. Check out travel options before you pack. If you want a quick trip on a plane you're going to have to get creative if you're on a budget! I opted to keep all my bags and take a train instead.
  5. Realize that you still have to much junk and freak out that you'll have nowhere to keep it. 
  6. Throw out more clothes and stuff.
  7. Repack.
  8. Realize you forgot something and unpack.
  9. Repack.
  10. Repack again after doing laundry.
  11. Sit in bed eating instead of packing. 
  12. …..
  13. Someone help…..
  14. .. I have no clue what I'm doing….
  15. For real…
  16. Pack bags inside of bags inside of bags. I currently have a purse inside a backpack inside a suitcase. 
  17. Be sure you can carry everything yourself.
  18. Give your host kid things you couldn't fit, they will love it.
  19. Resist the urge to unpack and repack again… 
  20. Have a wonderful trip because you packed early and it was SO easy😍


Sunday, 6 October 2019

Jenna's summer of 2019 in China

Summer in China

It’s me Jenna from Michigan again, it was a great but fast summer! It was and is so hot, temperatures are still climbing, and AC is blasting. As an au pair, it’s hard to think of ideas to do with kids when you just want to sit in a cool room with a cold drink. Well, this post will be all about how to have fun and stay safe in this Chinese heat.

One year ago…
Let’s take it back to Hangzhou for a minute. I was always involved with the kids and their summers in Hangzhou were almost as hot as Shenzhen. It's a dry heat. Shenzhen is more humid. A little information for my Hangzhou friends!  

Bakeries are popular place to visit during the weekends ( and not only during the summer break, haha)
Me & my host girl :)

Parks, SPF and sunsets
Anyway, something an au pair can do with a lot of kids in the summertime is finding a nice park. Whether that be close to the water, or in a shaded area covered by trees so the kids don’t get sunburnt! (Always remember SPF). Going to the park is a fun, easy way to burn some energy, and they can have fun with their friends, all while getting outside and enjoying the nice sunny day. If it is too hot, you could always go in the evening before or after dinner, right around sunset, everything is nice and cool, but don’t forget the bug spray! I did that a lot with the kids in Hangzhou…

Time to read "Leaf Hunt"
Another fun thing (educational of course) find a comfortable spot and take your reading time outside with the kids! It’s a different change of scenery and the kids love it! A good book to read outside with your kids is “Leaf Hunt” then go on a leaf hunt yourself. When you collect the leaves and acorns you paint with them and glue them on paper. It’s a great cognitive activity and fun too!

My tip? Do water balloon fights- for those really hot days!

We have had so much fun!
Smile, please :)
My mini-vacation - surprise from my host mum
Being an au pair each day brings a new surprise! Over the summer,  my host mom (Lea) surprised my boyfriend and me to an overnight stay at one of the most expensive hotels in Shenzhen! (Sometimes, in life you have to brag). Then following that day, I would meet the kids down at the luxurious pool and we would spend the day there.

It was my mini-vacation! 
Ice cream, anyone?
When my boyfriend and I arrived, Lea continued to surprise us. She said: “come have dinner with me, I’m buying!” She wanted to tell me thanks for the first couple of months of being with her family. I love working with kids because we as au pairs are caregivers, and teachers. We are changing their little lives one step at a time!  After an amazing dinner, my boyfriend-Jake and I explored the gorgeous hotel, got some dessert and headed back to the huge room for some room service and movies! 


Sunday, 29 September 2019

6 things to ask your future host family

Food is my #1 question I would suggest you ask about..

When it comes to interviewing for your host family there are certain questions you should always ask. The answers that you get can tell you all you need to know about your family and whether you should sign that contract or not! Trust me I've had two families in my time here! 

1. What foods does your family eat? 
This seems silly but trust me. If you think you're okay with any food just know your not. Most families have the same 5 meals and if they only eat bland foods and you like spicy, you're in for a long stay. 

 2. When travelling how far in advance will I be notified?
 This question is important for 2 reasons. Number one because you need to know how quickly you can throw a bag together. Number two. It will show if the family is going to take into consideration your cultural norms. It's just Chinese custom to plan very last minute trips and if you get 1 or 2 days notice it's amazing.

3. What does your average day look like both for the family and for the child you will be with. 

Obviously this needs to be asked. Because that is your life from now on. It also shows that you do in fact have an interest in the family and their life. It just looks better to your potential family. 

4. What exactly are my duties?
ASK THIS NO MATTER WHAT. Aupair means many different things. My first family used me as a teacher and that's what I did. Some au pairs do pick up and drop-offs from school help feed and shower the kids and are more of a caregiver role. Do not go into a job expecting it to be a certain way. Always ask.

Ask about your free time and whether or not are you allowed to go out. 

5. If any (behaviour) problems arise with the child what should I do? 
This is probably the most important question but most difficult to ask. You are not going to have a perfect job. It doesn't matter how good your kid is, they will have an attitude. Some kids can get physical and some just cry yell and scream. You have to know the appropriate ways to handle them. This also will show you how the family views their child and will view you. I'd the parents say oh absolutely nothing my child never acts up! Don't sign. They don't care.  If they give you an answer that you think is fair and that you are comfortable with going through with then great!! 

6. Religion. 
This obviously only goes to some. For me, religion is a deal-breaker. If a family does not have religion then that is okay, I'm not one of those types. But if the family says you're not allowed to practice your religion then you need to find someone who is okay with it. You're agreeing to change your entire life for a family and so you need to be honest about your needs. 

As you can see, there is no "wrong" question to ask. Quite the opposite - the more you ask, the better for you and your future host family :) Let me know how you interview went,


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