How to handle homesickness

Is your Au Pair showing any signs of being homesick? Do you know what the signs? Please be considerate of your Au Pair, especially if you have ever spent an extended period of time away from your family and friends in a totally foreign environment and culture. Imagine?!

For more information about Go Au Pair and a cultural child care experience for your family, visit www.goaupair.com or contact LAR Joan Lowell in the Providence, RI and surrounding areas at jlowell@goaupair.com or 401.309.1925.

Psychologists consider moving to be one of the major stresses in life. Leaving behind friends, familiar places, and activities creates anxiety for everyone. It is helpful for nannies and au pairs that are moving to another town to work as a live-in nanny or au pair to remember that the problems involved in moving are temporary.

Relocating nannies usually feel better once they’ve had time to settle-in. Moving to become a nanny or au pair in a different town means learning new streets, new faces, and new ways of doing things. People may dress or speak a little bit differently. The slang and accents may sound different in the new community. It’s natural for people to feel out of place in a new situation where they don’t know the customs and rules.

Before moving, nannies can get to know more about their new home. The Internet and library should contain information about the new community. Caregivers should make a list of their interests and hobbies, and then find the locations and phone numbers of places where those activities take place.

Once in the new environment a great way to cope with feelings of homesickness is to keep busy. Nannies should get out of the house on days off. They should travel to the closest metropolitan city and visit museums, landmarks, ethnic restaurants, and any tourist attractions they would regret not experiencing during their stay. They can attend religious activities at houses of worship and volunteer as ways to keep busy with people who share similar interests.

The best way to prevent homesickness is to make new friends. Find friendships among other staff members. If there is a chef, housekeeper, driver, or dog walker that you like, make plans to socialize after work. Be careful not to spend too much time chatting when you’re working though.

Nannies and au pairs should ask the nanny referral agency or au pair agency that placed them, for a volunteer list of names and phone numbers of the other childcare providers they have placed in the area.

Nannies and au pairs can also contact local nanny groups.

Keep in touch with family and friends from home. The quickest and cheapest way to stay in contact with family and friends far away is by email. Nannies and au pairs can download Skype for free and stay in contact using a web cam. But, employees must remember that they are living and working in someone else’s home. In-home childcare providers must use the Internet in a professional manner.

Although it may be inevitable that live-in nannies moving across country and au pairs moving to a new country will feel a little homesick, knowing that missing familiar places, faces, and activities is only temporary. Most live-in nannies adjust to the new location just fine. For those that love kids and to travel, being a live-in nanny is a wonderful opportunity.

Do you have any advice for caregivers about to relocate to be an au pair of live-in nanny?

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