The end of November is nigh, as is the 2014 holiday season. Perhaps you are an au pair or Host Family with Go Au Pair, your local au pair agency. I would like to offer some suggestions how to make the most of this holiday season.
First, keep in mind both Host Family and au pair are interested in cultural exchange as part of this cultural childcare experience. One way to enhance this aspect is to share a tradition from each of your cultures as a way to learn and discover about each other. Perhaps your au pair can share some special songs, pastimes or dances popular in his or her country during this time of year. Perhaps the American Host Family has a regular tradition, such as shopping on Black Friday (not my house!) or Yankee Swap. Be sure to explain the tradition to your au pair and include him or her in the annual tradition.
Second, keep in mind that your au pair may be feeling lonely, left-out, or even homesick during this time of year. Encourage him or her to call, Skype or write to family and friends and exchange pictures to make them feel better. Be sure to include him or her in the family celebration time, even formally inviting your au pair to attend Thanksgiving dinner can be a fun way to include him or her.
Even Host Children can help their au pair feel better during the holidays by teaching him or her American holiday songs and making fun holiday crafts with everyday household objects. Make a winter bird feeder with a pine cone, peanut butter and bird seed. Make paper decorations for the table such as napkin holders or place settings, or even find some new ideas at the local library.
Finally, whatever you do, as an au pair or Host Family, keep in mind that open and honest communication as well as patience can go a very long way during this ever-stressful time of year. Here is wishing you and your family a beautiful weekend to prepare for next week’s Thanksgiving holiday. Contact me, Joan Lowell, your Local Area Representative for Go Au Pair in the Providence area, with your questions about a cultural childcare experience. Smile and share the love you have with those around you!