26 Ways to Reduce Homesickness Abroad

26 Ways to Reduce Homesickness Abroad

Here are some helpful tips to support your au pair if she or he become homesick in their au pair year! 


September 8, 2016

Helpful Homework Tips and Links

Here are some helpful Homework Tips and Links to support your au pair and your children to make it a successful school year for everyone! 

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August 24, 2016

Nicole’s Monthly Au Pair News!

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March 15, 2016

14th Annual San Ramon Valley Community Fair

SRV Comm Fair 3.15.16

Summer is 3 months away! Come check out the hundreds of summer and fall youth programs and activities available, for ages 0-18, at The FREE 14th Annual San Ramon Valley Community Fair. I’ll be there sharing the Au Pair Program with families looking for childcare – stop by and say hello!

The programs include: Sports, Music, Camps, Childcare, Free & Low Cost Activities for Families and Children, and more! Mark your calendars for: Tuesday, March 15th from 3:30-7:00 p.m. @ Dougherty Valley High School Commons – 10550 Albion Road, San Ramon! I hope to see you there!

January 20, 2016

New Host Family Newspaper!

I love our new Host Family Newspaper! What a great way to learn more about the heartbeat of our program – our amazing au pairs and our wonderful host families!

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November 30, 2015

Cultural Kids Craft: German Advent Calendar!

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Did you know that Advent calendars originated in Germany? Long ago, families started counting down the first 24 days of December by drawing a chalk line on the door each day. To make your own customized Advent calendar for someone in your family, check out the information below!


Families then began to adopt more elaborate ways to mark the days including lighting candles and hanging small religious pictures on the wall—later, printed advent calendars similar to the kind we use today were invented.

• Cultural Care German Advent calendar template 
• X-acto knife (for adult use only) or scissors
• Markers and/or scraps of magazines and photos
• Double sided tape

Print the advent calendar templates on the following two pages preferably on white card stock. Using the X-acto knife, cut the dotted ines on the three sides of the 24 boxes on the first page of the calendar to make openings. Decorate the inside of all the white boxes on the second page with magic markers or with pictures cut out from old magazines or photos. Tape the first page of the advent calendar to the second using double sided tape on the sides and top and bottom.

Have fun creating an advent calendar for someone special in your family!

November 3, 2015

Cultural Care Au Pair Runs the NYC Marathon!

Cultural Care au pair Dana Hirsch ran the NYC Marathon on Sunday, and her parents, who were visiting from Germany, were here to cheer her on and congratulate her after she finished. Dana shared, “I’m going to cross this off my bucket list as one of the biggest achievements in my life so far.” Visit our blog to find out if she was able to accomplish her goal of running the race in sub 6 hours, what she thought about the course and how she was able to raise over $2,000 for her charity, Team for Kids: https://aupairbuzz.culturalcare.com/?p=29474753117

October 27, 2015

The Adorable Things Host Kids Say!


German au pair Luisa cares for three little ones in CT and her 7-year-old host daughter Jane was asked to write a list of the things she is thankful for. Jane appreciates lots of things, including her “opare” Luisa!

October 10, 2015

Childcare – You Can Trust and LOVE – Like Family!

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Chinese au pair Xiaoteng, who had to say goodbye to her host family this week, wanted to leave her host child Lucy with something she would remember her by. She created chalk drawings for Lucy to pose in and took some beautiful photos of them. Amanda says: “Hey, sweet Lucy! I really want you to know I love you soooo much, not only for one year, but for my whole life. You asked me ‘Do you love me, Xiaoteng?’ and I say, ‘Yes, absolutely!’ I don’t know how to say goodbye, but I will see you again, I promise!”

September 22, 2015

Family Reunion!

Family reunion

Here’s a touching story about a wonderful host family and their “family reunion” with their amazing au pairs from the past 12 years! Bonding families and au pairs – for life – I love my job!

August 17, 2015

Host family and au pair reunion – then and now…


I love this story of a host daughter’s amazing trip to visit 12 of her former au pairs, dating all the way back to 1996! It’s amazing stories like this that make me feel so fortunate to be an au pair consultant – it sure brings our amazing au pair program to life!


July 18, 2015

Here’s a great – pull at your heartstrings – video that shows the rich and rewarding experience of hosting an au pair! 

AP and kids

April 30, 2015

How special to have coffee with Amanda – a truly amazing au pair in my group – and her lovely mum that is visiting from Sweden! It was so incredible to see where the awesome au pair that I work with comes from! I love my job!

Amanda and mum

Cultural Care Au Pair and Habitot Children’s Museum Partner on Poison Prevention Training for Local Au Pairs

         Habitot Logo Mailer 1

SAN RAMON, CA (April 16, 2015) — According to Safe Kids USA, for every 10 poison exposures in children, approximately nine occur in the home. These accidents are due, more often than not, to common household items that parents overlook when childproofing their home. In an effort to keep children safe this year, Cultural Care Au Pair will partner with Habitot Children’s Museum on April 16, 2015 to host a poisoning prevention meeting for local au pairs.

“Young children are especially at risk for poisonings because of their curiosity and their tendency to get into everything they shouldn’t,” said Local Childcare Consultant Nicole Biondi. “It’s important to parents that their childcare provider knows the proper safety procedures in case of a poisoning incident, so we teach our au pairs what household items could be toxic and what to do in the case of an emergency.”

The training is part of Cultural Care Au Pair’s ongoing Continuing Safety Education Program (CSEP), which requires local childcare consultants to review safety education with au pairs throughout their year-long stay in the United States. Au pairs also learn safety protocol during their 4-day stay at the Cultural Care Au Pair training school in New York before they arrive to their host families’ homes.

The San Ramon Valley au pairs together represent the countries of Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, China, Columbia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Poland, South Africa, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, and UK. Biondi, resident of San Ramon, supports local parents and au pairs, advising them of education opportunities, as well as organizing fun activities for the entire extended family to enjoy.

According to Toni Mikulka, Development and Marketing Manager for Habitot Children’s Museum, the training will focus on basic steps to prevent poisoning accidents. “Household cleaning agents, the medicine cabinet, cosmetics and other personal products, even poisonous plants, all provide a potential danger to children,” said Mikulka. The au pairs will also learn that:

  • Each year, approximately 45 children age 4 and under die from unintentional exposure to medicines and household products. And millions of unintentional poisonings among children ages 5 and under occur each year.
  • More than 90 percent of all poison exposures occur in homes.
  • Children are at a significantly greater risk from unintentional poisoning death and exposure than adults because they are smaller, have faster metabolic rates, and are less able to physically handle toxic chemicals. Their natural curiosity and desire to put everything in their mouths further increases this risk.
  • In general, children ages 5 and under are at greatest risk for nonfatal poisoning, accounting for the majority of poison exposures. Children ages 2 and under are especially vulnerable.
  • Children can be poisoned by medicines, vitamins, household products, lead and carbon monoxide (CO).
  • If they suspect a poisoning, they should call the Poison Control Help Line first!
  • When dispensing over-the-counter medications to their children, only 30 percent of caregivers are able to accurately measure a correct dosage.

Biondi provides these safety tips for local families:

  • Ensure that all medications and household products are locked out of sight and out of reach
  • Always read labels, follow directions and give medicines to children according to their weights and ages
  • Buy products in child-resistant packaging
  • Discard expired medicine on a regular basis
  • Never refer to medicine as “candy”
  • Keep potentially poisonous plants out of reach
  • Don’t guess – be sure! Call the California Poison Control and Help Line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-222-1222

About Cultural Care Au Pair
Cultural Care Au Pair is the leading provider of intercultural live-in childcare. Since 1989, Cultural Care Au Pair has placed more than 95,000 au pairs in welcoming American homes. A division of EF Education and a U.S. Department of State regulated program, Cultural Care Au Pair is headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., with an extensive network of recruitment, screening and orientation offices worldwide. For more information about hosting an au pair, visit www.nbiondi.aupairnews.com or call (925) 719-9767.

About Habitot Children’s Museum

Habitot Children’s Museum was founded in 1992 to meet the unique needs of infants, toddlers and preschoolers. Habitot’s mission is to help the broad community of parents and caregivers raise curious, creative and confident children with dedicated programs for children with special needs, teen parents, formerly incarcerated mothers, and homeless families. Hands-on exhibits and programs focus exclusively on early childhood, ages 0-5.

Since opening 15 years ago in 1998, Habitot has welcomed almost 1,000,000 visitors, filling a niche for new parents and caregivers who seek safe and enriching experiences for young children, with parenting support, a toy lending library, affordable music and art classes, immersive learning exhibits, and a drop-in Art Studio.

Habitot Children’s Museum has been recognized as the “best museum for families” by Bay Area Parent Magazine readers. In addition, Habitot’s founder, Gina Moreland, has been honored with a Bay Area “Jefferson Award”, and was the City of Berkeley’s “Early Childhood Champion of the Year.” In 2011, 2012 and 2013, Parents’ Press readers voted Habitot “Best of the East Bay,” and in 2013 Habitot received the GuideStar Exchange Silver participation level, a leading symbol of transparency and accountability provided by GuideStar USA, Inc., the premier source of nonprofit information. In 2010, 2011 and in 2012, Habitot was designated a “Top-Rated Non-profit” by GreatNonprofits, a leading provider of reviews and ratings of nonprofit organizations. See all awards: www.habitot.org/museum/about_awards.html

For more information, contact:

Nicole Biondi
Local Childcare Consultant, Cultural Care Au Pair
(925) 719-9767

[email protected]


Toni Mikulka

Development and Marketing Manager, Habitot Children’s Museum

(201) 937-1552

[email protected]


April 14, 2015

Come to a Swim Clinic with 3-Time Olympian Matt Biondi (and my awesome brother-in-law)!

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Swim Families,

Come meet 3-Time Olympian, 11 Medal Winner, Matt Biondi (and my awesome brother-in-law!) for this Spring Clinic! This EPIC event will include a truly motivational talk – followed up by an in-water instruction & demonstration, and an autograph/photo-op signing opportunities for each attendee!

– Saturday April 18 at Crow Canyon Country Club in Danville, CA! (Click here for directions!)

– 11 & up swimmers @ 1:00 – 4:00 pm

– 10 and under swimmers @ 2:00 – 4:00 pm

– Clinic is open to active swimmers ages 6-18 only, will be divided by age group, and must have been enrolled in a recreational or competitive swim team to participate.

– Space is limited!  To register for this event, please sign up here:  Next Level Champion Series Spring 2015 Clinic

– Here are just a few of Matt’s amazing Gold Medal & World Record Swims from Seoul 1988 Olympics: 50 Free, his best relay leg ever in the 4×200 Free Relay, & 100 Free!

We can’t wait to spend the day with your swimmer!

March 23, 2015

Adventure Awaits!

Cultural Care Discovery Tours Available for Au Pairs and Their Friends!

Cultural Care Discovery Tours are for 18-28 year olds that want to explore all the USA has to offer! Travel with friends and explore CaliforniaFlorida or Hawaii! Review the full trip itineraries here – and to receive more information complete the online form and a member of our tour team will contact you directly to book!

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March 16, 2015

Announcing: Cultural Care Discovery Tours for Au Pairs and Their Friends!

Next week Cultural Care Au Pair will start promoting three new tours (1. Hawaii, 2. Florida, and 3. Los Angeles, Las Vegas & Grand Canyon) specifically designed for our au pairs and their friends.  These tours will be announced in the au pair quarterly newsletter.  If you receive any inquiries from your au pairs please encourage them to email [email protected] and a member of our tour team will be in touch to assist them through the booking process. Stay tuned for more info to come next week!

March 14, 2015

Cultural Care’s Regional Meeting for Northern California’s LCC-Force!

It was a great turn out – for the close to 75 – awesome Local Childcare Consultants (LCC) throughout the Bay Area! Here’s a photo of the LCC-Force in the San Ramon Valley and our amazing Program Director, Kelli Rose!

3.14 Reg Mtg SF


February 12, 2015 – Christy Waller

How to Celebrate the Chinese New Year

Happy New Year! January 1st doesn’t have to be your only New Year celebration. This February, celebrate the Lunar New Year with fun activities for the whole family inspired by ideas from our Chinese au pairs!


7 New Year’s Resolutions Every Family Should Make in 2015

Give up carbs? Go gluten-free? Nah, these resolutions are far more entertaining — and will have a huge impact on your family’s media lives.


October 27, 2014 Jeff Haynes

10 Most Violent Video Games of 2014 (and What to Play Instead)

Common Sense Media identifies some of the most violent video games of 2014 and provides alternatives the whole family can enjoy.


Au pair vs nanny and daycare

As parents, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of all childcare options and choose what will work best for our schedule, budget and lifestyle. Families who choose daycare are often discouraged by the toll it takes on their work/life balance and finances. Many families like the idea of the one-on-one care a nanny can provide, but the high cost is a big deterrent. In most communities in the U.S., nannies are cost-prohibitive for middle class families.

Disadvantages of daycare

  • High cost and “per child” rates
  • Hassle of transporting children to and from the daycare facility
  • Inflexible hours and expensive late fees
  • High staff turnover and staff inexperience
  • High child-to-staff ratio
  • Long wait lists
  • Lack of coverage when children are sick
  • Tendency to expose children to colds and other illnesses

Disadvantages of hiring a nanny

  • High cost and need for salary negotiations
  • Lack of quality candidates
  • Lack of a qualified agency in the area
  • Lack of night or weekend coverage
  • The hassle of verifying her legal work eligibility
  • Absence of a back-up plan if she falls ill or quits
  • No regulation or support from a third-party agency or staff member

Hosting an au pair can give you the one-on-one attention and in-home convenience that you want but without the high cost and other disadvantages of hiring a nanny. Compare what you get with au pair childcare to what you would get from a nanny or daycare:

Read more…

5 Steps to a Cooler Halloween Costume That Saves You Money, Too!

Ready to escape the Halloween marketing madness? Take back control with a little DIY — it might be easier than you think!

Steer clear of marketing mania and gender stereotypes and still have fun.

Community Service with Cultural Care Staff

Cultural Care Au Pair staff from all over the world participated in an in-office community service project for Kids First to help children in need […]

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October 01, 2014 Ashley Matusiak

The Secret to a Successful Host Family Experience

While you may consider a nanny to be your employee, an au pair by definition is “on par” or “equal to”, indicating that your au pair […]

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September 19, 2014 Sylvia Kim

Download Our Numbers Language Cards for Bilingual Benefits

No one doubts the power of language. With the help of your au pair, make learning a new language fun with our numbers vocabulary cards and learn […]

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September 09, 2014 Stephanie Vandale

6 Steps to Hassle-free Homework

It’s no secret that getting your kids to finish their homework every night without a struggle can be a challenge. Though ensuring your kids are […]Read more…

August 05, 2014 Stephanie Vandale

7 Tips for Creating a Great Host Family Profile

When we asked our au pairs on Facebook: “What do you look for in a host family’s profile while matching?” they had lots to say. […]

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July 16, 2014 Stephanie Vandale

The Truth About Au Pair Childcare

“Only rich people can afford au pairs.” “An au pair is the same thing as a nanny.” “Au pairs are all women, and they’re all Swedish.” If you’ve […]

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Thursday, 17 November 2016 4:33 PM


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