Italy, take 2: Florence 

Florence oh Florence..

Upon walking out of the train station I install felt a different vibe than Milan. More welcoming, cultural and touristic and in my opinion better all around.

I started walking toward my hostel because my shoulders were killing from lugging my backpack around when I heard “Alexa?! Alexa?!” And I didn’t think anything of it because I mean, what were the chances that someone who knew was name was here.
Little did I realize my american au pair friend Katie was standing right in front of me.
I was literally in SHOCK. It goes to show how small the world really is.
I walked around with her for a while until I realized that I was extremely tired, hungry and had wandered an extra hour away from my hostel, so decided to say a quick goodbye and get on my way.

The Hostel I stayed at was Plus Florence which was conveniently located pretty close to everything actually on the same street as the train station!
I was skeptical because the reviews were extremely mixed but it was the cheapest and most central of all of the hostels I checked at a steep 20 euros a night without breakfast included. Check in was fast, and was told my room number and to choose any bed which was a bit different than what I’m used to , typically being assigned one. One I made it to my room I grabbed the bottom bunk which happened to be a double.. I haven’t slept in my own double bed since last April… It was like a dream come true or so I thought. I ended up being roommates with a group of Americans who were there simply to party. To each their own but I just wanted sleep to be honest. When I hit the sheets for bed, they were on their way out. Fast forward to 5 am they all came back.. Let’s just say I didn’t get a whole lot of sleep, but that’s what you get when staying in an 8 person mixed dorm.

Oh and did I mention, there was a pool, sauna and thermal bath!

They next morning I ended up leaving around 9am to set out for the day to try and see as much as I could before the rain came down.

First stop was Piazzale Michelangelo which as you can see below gave an amazing view of the city!

Then the bridge Ponte Vecchio which is the oldest bridge in Florence and is the only bridge that during WWII the germans didn`t destroy.

The next day my knee was killing me so I took a bit extra time to find the motivation to get up and going. I ended up staying at the hostel way past check out time. I mean 1 euro coffee and free wifi, why not.

Once my stomach got past the point of hungry I figured it was time to make a trip to the mercado centrale for some pastries and more coffee of course.

I don’t think I made it 5 minutes without being drawn into the market goodies that I walked pat everytime I went into the central square. I came across a black hat I wanted and started talking to the vendor and managed to get the price down to 18 euros so I made a little purchase. He asked where I was from and I said Canada , not thinking he would proceed further to what province.. But come to find out he knew every single province and had to show off his skills by naming them all in order across his imaginary map. To say I was impressed in an understatement, which made the fact that I bought my hat from him that much more satisfying.

After a long rainy end to Florence I hopped on the train to my next stop Venice!

Italy , take one : Milan 

This was my first time flying with easy jet and to be honest I didn’t even check before I bought the flight what company i would be flying with.

Note to self: don’t show up at the airport without a clue who you’re flying with.

My trip didn’t start out the best which seems to be the way the majority of my trips have been going. Upon checking in at the baggage drop I was told I didn’t have a seat on the plane even though I had booked my flight two months prior.

you must check in online in order to insure you have a seat. Oops silly me.

I was put on the stand by list and had to wait until everyone else was on board in hopes there would be someone that didn’t Tahoe up. Thankfully I was lucky and got the last seat!

I noted a couple things that were instantly different abroad this flight then the rest I was on:

  • Cabin crew didn’t check seat belts
  • Completely in English
  • The safety demonstration was only said over the announcements

Having no wifi and this being my first time at this airport I was a bit nervous on how to find the bus but it ended up being as easy as walking out the exit and finding the big sign with the “bus to Milan central station”.. And the fee of 16 euros for a return trip. This was by far the easiest transport to city I’ve ever experienced but more expensive.

When I first was looking at coming to Milan I checked hostels to see the price and availability and didn’t come a crossed a lot to be honest. Instead of paying for a very expensive and crappy hostel I  put on my big girl panties and decided to couchsurf for the first time. I found my way to my hosts house with only the directions she had given me , and no gps signal. Let’s just say I was pretty proud of myself.

I was instantly Greeted by my host along with green tea and Belgium chocolate. You can’t go wrong with that

After chatting for a bit I decided to wander around why she finished some studying.

Later when I returned she took me out for a typical a Italian aperitif with her friends.

Apertivo is probably my favorite thing about Italy. Essentially it’s a happy hour where you buy any drink at the price of 7-10 euros on average and you get an all you can eat buffet along side it. There was pasta, pizza, meats, cheese, bread, chips, chicken wings, fruit and dessert! I will say that waiting 1 1/2 hours to be seated was a bit of a pain, especially when you’re starving.

The next morning I awoke to a table full of biscuits, bread, cereal, and hot coffee waiting for me. I can’t explain how grateful I was to have come across such a great host. Her and her friend even made a list of things I needed to see before I left and showed me the exact way to get there which was much appreciated.

After saying goodbye I made my way back to the center of Milan to check out what I had missed the day before.

It wasn’t the best day weather wise and with the tendinitis in my knee acting up I made a couple coffee breaks along the way, which allowed me to rest and grab some free wifi.

I was extremely early for my train but if you know me well enough that’s typical for me, after growing up with a mother that was always, and really emphasize ALWAYS late. Now looking back, maybe it was a good thing because it’s made me more aware of my own time.

20 minutes before the train was set to leave we were told the platform number and I followed the pack to my car. I paid the extra to be business class first class to get a free coffee… What can I say, priorities.

  

 

It’s not about having time, it’s about making time.

Every day on my way in and out of Paris I pass the many homeless people along the streets and I simply pass them by like the many others do. I bypass them all, as if they don’t exist not because they are any less important, but because I hate the realization that there are people out there living in such hard situations. The sad truth is that they’re are people in need and even if I want to pretend there isn’t, nothing will change unless I make the choice to do something about it.

I’ll admit, there’s been plenty of times when I could have given someone change and I didn’t, and I have no excuses as to why I chose not to.

Today I did something that I haven’t done in a long time; too long to be exact. I chose to make a change.

I woke up this morning without a plan for the day which is an uncommon feeling  for me as I`m a constant planner. I did my daily Facebook check and found a notification for an event that I has been invited to a month or so before, but had completely forgot about. I`m not one to make rash decisions, in fact it usually takes me a day or two to make a final choice but this was different. Within 30 minutes of waking I was on my way to the local grocery store to pick up supplies to make as many sandwiches as I could.

I got some pretty strange stares from the family because to them, the best help you can give is money. Money can do a heck of a lot don`t get me wrong but it almost seems like the easy way out.  Anyone can give a few bucks away but not everyone is willing to give time.

Not even a year ago I would have done things the easy way and donated and not thought twice about it. This is where its truly evident how much this year abroad has changed me as a person.

I showed up to the meeting place which ended up being a Swedish church in the north of Paris. I had no idea what to expect , only that I was giving my  Sunday to helping as much as I possibly could.

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I ended up chatting with a few other giilrls while creating sandwiches with baguettes and cheese. Then I heard an Americana accent so I turned around and said my go to phrase “you’re Canadian or american am I right?”

988474_10206255761856188_8985002146296347539_n Sure enough he was from Portland Oregon! We did our introductions and I found out he was on vacation for two weeks visiting the city, enjoying the couch surfing activities and apparently helping out the locals. I was shocked to say the least, that here was someone on vacation in Paris at that, and donating their free time to wander the streets of Paris for hours giving away as much as we could.

I almost felt guilty questioning why this man was spending his time doing what we all should do. Why is it that being a good citizen has become something so uncommon? I’m not going to lie, I feel amazing after once again stepping outside of my comfort zone but it’s almost pathetic that it’s taken me this long of being in Paris to volunteer my time. 10989125_10206254892794462_5182212868713125330_n (1)

This whole experience today was life changing, to be honest. It opened my eyes to a global crisis that I bypass every single day. It’s impossible to help everyone in need, but even just by donating a couple hours of your week, you can make a small change in someones life.

A quick trip to Bruges & the acceptance of living in the moment

I’m a futuristic person and am always thinking about what next. I can tell you more about what I plan on doing in the summer than in the next five minutes. Lately, my thoughts are constantly drawn to the two words: Five months. The amount of time I have left on this beautiful continent.

There’s so many places I want to see; so many things I want to do, and unfortunately only so much time to do so.

As per usual I’ve brought upon myself unneeded stress over contemplating what I want to do with my remaining time, trying to plan out the best possible path. With that being said I won’t get there if I don’t accept that no matter how much I plan or how much money I save, the future is unpredictable to a certain degree. Planning and organizing is great, I mean it’s gotten me quite far in life so far, but I feel like it’s time to let loose a little, and just live. I don’t want to look back on these next 5 months and regret that I didn’t take opportunities and enjoy my life here.

How many times have you heard your parents say “It seems like it was just yesterday that you were a baby”. 

I never understood why it was such a reoccurring statement until I grew up which what seemed like, in a blink of an eye. Life is short, theres no doubt about it, which is why I need to live for now; not yesterday, not tomorrow but where I am today.

I’m slowly starting to learn and feel comfortable with living in the moment, but I must admit it’s taken longer than I thought. When most people may find things such as TV, sports or video games to fill their free time … I think; often over think.

Last Thursday I saw an event for a trip to Bruges for the low price of 80 euros. At first I bypassed it and kept scrolling down my page. I knew that that 80 euros I could save and use for my summer trip I’ve been planning which seemed quite logical. Then I thought to myself, why wouldn’t I take an opportunity that’s put in front of me? I didn’t have any plans for the weekend and would have sat home and complained of boredom. Secondly I knew I had the funds to do so and the desire.

I proceeded to message Courtney to see if she’d be up for the trip, which honestly I already knew the answer to. 20 minutes later Courtney and I were booked for a weekend trip to Bruges alongside a group of other youth in Paris.

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After our bus trip to Amsterdam we had said that we would never take a bus again but when opportunities present themselves, you take them. The bus was small and cramped but for the price we couldn’t go wrong.

We stopped in Lille for a few hours which didn’t seem to have much to see or really do, but it gave us a chance to stretch our feet. Oh, and to warm up… the heat on the bus seemed to be nonexistent.

The next stop was Ghent which was gorgeous! I can only imagine what it would be like in summer with the canals and cobblestone streets. We met a Irish lad on the bus who ended up spending the rest of the trip with us. I’m not sure if it’s just the Irish people that I have met or not, but they have all been beyond friendly. I can see why my aunt fell in love with one.

We ended our trip in the quant city of Bruges. I had read that it was one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, and truth be told it didn’t disappoint. Yes, it was ridiculously cold, but the architecture was gorgeous!

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As far as trying to live in the moment, this life change has been by far what I needed. The past no longer is a worry and I’ve finally accepted that what’s in the past, is just that, in the past and can’t be changed. Slowly I’m seeing that by living in the moment, I’m living life to the fullest. My view on the future is simply an illusion as life hardly ever goes as planned. Of course I have dreams and goals that I wish to attain but I won’t get there unless I live for now and allow life to create it’s own path.

Reasons I love being an au pair; take three

There’s definitely days when i just want to get up and leave, like any job. Last week, it seemed like every struggling day would drag onto the next day and so on. Fortunately yesterday——>

out came the sun, and dried up all the rain

and the itsy bitsy au pair found the end of the pain

I’m lame I know, but honestly it was like I woke up in a new world this morning. The sun was shining, the mother was smiling, the kid wasn’t crying… it seemed almost too good to be true. OH! and it was Wednesday, and if you don’t already know, in France the kids either have half days or no school, which makes it by far the most dreaded day by au pairs everywhere.

I’m going to give credit to the big sun in the sky for making this day a heck of a lot better. It’s crazy what a little vitamin D can do for people.

As many of you know something else that makes me happier than the birds is cooking so I whipped up this yummy breakfast pizza before starting my day.

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Upon picking P up from school yesterday I was instantly shocked by how talkative she was. Once again, BLESS YOU SUNSHINE.

This girl is smart let me tell you. She can whip out facts about literally anything, that will blow your mind. Today I was told that women will live longer than men because apparently they are healthier. This somehow leaded to her correcting my pronunciation of words that I consistently have trouble with. I was becoming frustrated, as always, because at 21 years old I have trouble communicating with a 6 year old. Unlike how she normally reacts when I’m wrong by saying “I don’t understand” or completely ignoring me, she corrected my sentence. I must admit it felt a little odd but I enjoyed her being my little teacher.

There was something that she said that really stuck with me at the end of our conversation; a life lesson in fact. “You know you don’t have to be perfect at something the first time, and it’s okay to admit that you are having trouble. You just have to keep trying and you’ll succeed”. Following this I got a hug but it didn’t feel like any forced hug that I had received in the past weeks. It was a genuine sisterly hug which I graciously returned back with a bisous of course.

Oh and might I point out how obsessed I am with this families toilet paper. It truly is the little things in life that bring us joy.
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We often take for granted the things that most deserve our gratitude

We as humans complain, its natural.

Au pairs, myself included complain a lot. Once again natural, especially in our circumstances. It could be the smallest thing but yet we still have to let the world know that it’s bothering us. I don’t know if it’s the cold weather bringing me down but lately I’ve noticed a higher level of negativity towards not only my job but life in general. When I sit down and actually lay out exactly what I do have in my life, not only physically but emotionally as well, i’m beyond blessed.

I’ve decided to create a list of the things I take for granted to really show how fortunate I am to be in the situation I am in currently.

1. I have a safe roof over my head which I actually look forward to coming home to.

2. There is always more than enough food to eat and a variety at that.

3. A job that may not be what I want to be doing for the rest of my life but for now this is what I have chosen.

4. A beyond kind and caring host family. I may be 21 but it’s still nice to come home to a family that considers you their daughter and treats you as one of their own.

5. I get paid always on time or in advance which is something that the majority of my fellow Au pairs are having issues with.

6. I wake up in the morning and I’m alive and breathing.

7. Technology. t’s crazy how much I rely on it for the majority of the things I do throughout the day. I can call my family in Canada in the matter of a minute, or message my friends with a few swipes of my finger.

8. I have an abundance of clothes to wear and to keep myself warm. If you’re friends with me you’ll constantly hear me complain that I have too many clothes and I’m not going to be able to take them all back with me to Canada or I will have to take another suitcase. I’ve decided that the clothes that I don’t absolutely need I will donate before I leave instead of creating more stress than I need.

9. I’m not cheap, I’m just frugal. I’m fortunate that this was something that I acquired from my grandmother Cress, who can make a dollar last longer than anyone I know.

10. I have a voice. If you know me well enough I’m not the type that let’s things pass me by and always speak up when I am not happy with something. I know for a fact that my other grandmother Chute gave me this attribute and couldn’t be prouder.

Hearing the stories of my friends and their current situations within their families really makes me appreciate what I have. I’ll admit, there isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t want to pack my bags and head home but what I’ve learned in the past is that running away from a problem never solves anything. I’m fortunate enough to have a close enough bond with my family here where we can openly discuss issues that come about no matter what problems arise. I’ve come to the conclusion that living a life of perfect happiness may be acquirable but unrealistic, for me anyways.

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I’m in France, essentially living the dream and how many people can say they’ve done that?

Without struggle there is no progress.

Not only is it the phrase that gave me strength to be the woman I am today but it will be on me until the day I die.IMG_1017

We often reflect on the hard times in the past and see them as negative, which is the obvious response when we experience things we’re not particularly happy or fond of. What about if those experiences shaped who we are today and are the reason for the current lifestyle we live. I know that would change my thoughts on my past completely.
Would I be living this life in Paris today if I hadn’t of gone through what I have in the past few years of my life? Probably not, actually no there’s no probably about it.

I’m here in this city because of those times but now I no longer see them as being bad or unfortunate for happening. At the time yes, when things wouldn’t go as planned and life seemed to change directions every single day, I felt a sense of failure almost. Failure in the sense that I didn’t know what was next; unprepared even.

I’m 21.

I’m not perfect.

I’ll never be perfect,

but i’m me.

I need to continue to remind myself this each and everyday. Being a perfectionist I always feared doing the wrong, but what truly defines the wrong when you are the only one who can decide where your life goes. I definitely am not eager to come across failures in my life but I do believe that with every negative comes an ever larger positive. Of course as anything it all takes time. Did I wake up the next morning after deciding that I needed a fresh start and know exactly what I wanted to do? Nope, but sooner than I thought life worked it’s way out and lead me here.

As my mother tried to instill into me when I was young girl, and still to this day reminds me of, “life is not perfect”. Of course I took the hard way and didn’t listen but I learnt from it and I truly believe that much stronger from the struggles I’ve faced. As much as we want our plans in life to pan out the way we foresee them, sometimes obstacles may open more opportunities that wouldn’t have had.

The importance of siblings, in my eyes

She’s only 6. I need to keep telling myself this.

Tonight I explained what student loans were to Perrine and the fact that I had just made my first payment today. She responded with “Why aren’t your parents paying for your school?” I was taken off guard considering that’s not something that i would have even considered being a possibility. I then clarified that 1. I don’t expect my parents to have the obligation to pay for something that I choose to do with my life 2. The fact that I have three other siblings that will too someday be going to university. You wanna know what reaction prevailed from my reasoning?

A big old “sucks to be you”

This is when I became a bit infuriated, okay a lot. I tried to stay calm because she’s 6, only 6 but still! My response probably could have been a bit nicer put but it went a little something like this:

I could care less if I have to pay back my student loans for the rest of my life, work three jobs, or sacrifice my hobbies I will NEVER, and I mean NEVER regret those children coming into my life. I’m a proud big sister and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Yeah maybe things would be different if I was an only child, but in my eyes different being worse off.

Growing up for the first seven years of my life I was an only child and not until now do I realize how lucky I truly am that my 3 siblings came along. Of course having everything to yourself if great but never having those sibling rivalries, sisterly fights or constant arguments. I mean who wouldn’t want those right? Actually, the answer is right; more than right to be exact. Siblings are a blessing at least I know that mine have been. Yes we argue, a lot, but that’s part of the fun.

I often sit here and watch Perrine and think of myself when I was in her situation and her age. I played alone, she plays alone. She’s competitive with everything whereas competition was what I lived for. She strives for perfection; that might as well be my middle name.

Then comes the difficulty for me as I constantly have to come up with things to occupy her because she’s alone. That being said she is extremely independent as I was and still am today so she is able find things to do but playing alone is only fun for so long. She never complains about having to occupy herself or independently find things to keep herself busy but I know that she wonder what it would be like to have another sibling.

When I get annoyed at her, there usually a good reason, but then I have to think about the reason of why she acted out. Maybe she’s bored, annoyed, hurt, who knows. What I do know is that she didn’t ask to be an only child and it’s not her fault she’s spoiled beyond belief. Her parents longed for a child and they were blessed with one and only one, making her their miracle child. Logically speaking this could be a great reason why she is so fortunate but that’s how she’s been and no matter what I want to do about it I can’t. I too was once her too.
What I can do is to be there for her as not only an au pair but a big sister, a friend and a role model. I can’t change the facts or the situation but I can make this year one for her to remember.

How to enjoy your job no matter what is it you choose

My job may not be something desirable for many, I mean, before coming here I really didn’t even have an interest in even being around children but as you probably can tell, that’s changed a bit. I must admit at the beginning it was harder than I had imagined it to be but frankly I believe that it had to do with my general attitude and outlook on the situation. Even though i’m only 21 I too have had jobs which I dreaded going to each and every day, but I learned to make the best of the situation. In the world we live in today, I feel we should be lucky to have a job and that it shouldn’t be taken for granted.

Wouldn’t it be amazing to love your job as much as her? wishful thinking in most cases. Photo from: Dumb Little Man

1. Find the things you enjoy in a job atmosphere.

Try and put yourself in a place where you are completely happy at work and visualize what you are doing. For me I saw being organized, traveling often, baking up a storm, and most of all having a connection with my fellow peers.

I can honestly say the hardest task in my current job was finding a comfortable relationship with the family; especially their child. It took almost 2 months to finally feel like I was doing the right thing with my life and had chosen the right family for me.

2. Figure out how to incorporate those into your current situation.

Of course this is not always possible. Imagine having chose to work at a bank but have the desire to be playing soccer on the field. Instead you could think of how you’re feeling when doing those activities. For example, if you’re the captain of leader on the team than put those skills and abilities into action at the workplace.

Baking was something that I really missed as it’s not just a hobby for me but psychology relaxing. It’s where I’m able to use my creativity and independent skills to come up with a successful end product. Oh course there’s no such thing as always being successful but that’s life; we live and we learn. Once I found that sense of comfort in my “workplace” I started slowly organizing time specifically for baking or spending time blogging. It’s like anything in life, you have to make time for the things that are important to you.

3. Don’t give up because it didn’t work the first time.

Two weeks into my contract with my family here I had it set in my mind that I had made a terrible decision and that I was going to have to find another place to work. Why? that brings me back to finding that sense of comfort, which as I’ve learned takes time. Nothing ever comes easy in the beginning and sometimes, well most of the time, we feel uncomfortable with change. Change is scary, but without it you’ll never be able to make any progress in life, therefore it’s essential.

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If Charlie brown can do it, you can too. Photo: Career Rocketeer

4. Speak up

If you’re not happy with the way that thing are going don’t wait for things to change because they probably won’t no matter how many stars you wish upon. Thankfully I’ve been blessed with my grandmothers genes and have no problem expressing my thoughts, this can at times be counter productive. I truly believe that communication is the key to any sort of success in life. Imagine having a relationship with someone where you didn’t communicate with one another and how many challenges you would face. It works the same its you’re relationships in the workplace.

5. Make yourself noticeable.

As humans we naturally thrive with having recognition for our accomplishments. Recognition comes when we differentiate yourself from others and make an impact in the lives of someone else. This can be difficult especially in my situation where I am the only employee but let me reassure you that it is possible. I’ve realized you’ve got to give a little to get a little and that little you receive i return may just end up being a lot.

I do the dishes, clean the house and do the laundry not because I’m required to as it’s not on my contract but because I want to help out. I want to show this family that I appreciate being a member of their family and am not just another employee, yet more a sister to their daughter. When the dog went missing I took it upon myself to search their town and guess who ended up being the big hero? Yep, it was me. Showing your employer those small things will show that you have higher and more a creditable qualities than they may have thought

6. Forget Perfectionism

I am a huge perfectionist so I’ve defiantly had my quite a few rough patches when of course life, wasn’t perfect. Growing up my mother would constantly say “nothing is perfect, you need to realize that”. I guess our mothers are always right, because it’s true. Nothing is every going to be “perfect”, whatever that word means anyways, because everyone has their own idea of what it means to them. As I’ve learned, we can’t all get what we want in life, but we can make do with what we do have and what is offered to us.

Have you had jobs where you’ve absolutely hated them but stuck it out? 

How to successfully teach children a second language

Learning another language doesn’t come easy, for a grown adult that is, so imagine trying to instill it into a child with the attention span of Sid from Ice age.

Children learn differently than adults and grasp concepts when they enjoy what they are doing. Think about when you were young and the ways that you enjoyed learning, whether it be in the classroom or in your everyday life. For me, that would have been playing games, singing songs, making arts and crafts, and cooking. Once you figure out what it is that your “student” enjoys doing than it will be 100 times more effective for both you and them.

The number one thing that you have to remember is to be patient with them. Put yourself in their position and remember that you too were once a child and your mentality was not where it is today. Start slow and focus on the little things before jumping into more complicated subjects.

For example: Don’t expect the child to understand a sentence before reviewing individual words or the alphabet for that matter.

Applications

Kids like technology especially Computers, phones and tablets. Thankfully we have been blessed to have access to applications and software’s that provide aide in learning languages.

Duolinogo was the first application that I found when actually learning the French language myself and then was able to use it in reverse to teach English. It is a great tool in order to learn the basics of the language but may require more support from the teacher as it can become complicated as the levels increase. I find that the children enjoy the satisfication of completing a level giving them a desire to continue “playing the game”.

Pilo Pop is another application made especially for younger children who may not have the interest or attention span for Duolingo, for example. It challenges the learner to use the correct pronunciation when saying the words indicated in order to pass to the next level. For my host child the accomplishment factor is a huge asset, as I’m sure it is among many children.

Music

In my own situation I know that as soon as I include any sort of song into our lesson, my “student” is 100% interested in what I’m attempting to teach her. She loves music so I know how important it is to make sure she is actually attentive to what I’m explaining.

Try and find songs that are both educational but also of interest to the child. A great way to start is with the alphabet and then nursery rhymes which are typically spoken slow and easy for the child to understand. During seasonal holidays I like to include traditional songs into our lessons but in English. I’m been very fortunate to have been supplied with my books that include CD’s pertaining to the activities as well as traditional children songs in English.

Games

If you’re able to get your child away from an electronic game then bring out the old school board games and try and introduce vocabulary in English throughout the game. A great one that I have found is Guess Who or Qui Est-Ce. When playing this game, be sure to ask questions in English which are repeated helping the brain to memorize certain phrases and words pertaining to the game. Bingo is also a great choice when learning vocabulary and can be fun as well. The great thing about the world we live in today is that all of these resources are readily available online typically free of charge or are simple enough to create yourself.

Books

Try and find bilingual books where you are able to read the same story in both your native language and theirs. Another good option would be to find activity books where the children are able to essentially have fun while doing activities throughout the story they are reading. Make sure the stories are not too difficult when beginning or the child may become frustrated and disinterested in what you are trying to accomplish.

From personal experience I’ve noticed that kids are uninterested in listening to a book where they aren’t able to understand frankly anything that is being told. Don’t be discouraged if the child has no interest in listening to you read them a picture book even if you may think that it’s simple. Grasping a language takes time and starting off with a story isn’t typically the most effective way to grab their interest in learning.

You can find the book I find most effective by clicking here. 

Crafts

Try incorporating activities where the child is able to be involved in the creation of something where you can point out objects in English. For instance painting is a great activity where you can use the different colors as a way to incorporate vocabulary while having fun at the same time. If you aren’t already on Pinterest I suggest you create an account because you will be able to find endless, and I mean ENDLESS ideas and activities to do with just about anyone. Be aware though, it’s addicting!

So there you have the most successful methods I’ve been able to use in order to teach french to my host child. Being an au pair is one thing and having the responsibility to also teach a second language to someone can be a difficult taste. Be patient, be aware of how the child leans best and most of all have fun!