As with any new caregiver, one can expect the typical “getting-to-know-you” period where the parents, child or children and caretaker find what works best for everyone. With an au pair, who comes to live with your family for a year or more, the challenges can be more dynamic.
There are still those “honeymoon” weeks, or not, depending on your children and the personality combo with your au pair. Host Parents sometimes need to get more involved to ensure the happiness of their new family member, and that’s what an au pair really should be to a Host Family. Host Mom and blogger Cyndi Frick has discovered that with the arrival of her second au pair, who is much more shy and reserved than her first year au pair. When you finish registering with Go Au Pair, go read her funny-but-truthful take on being a Host Parent.
The first two months can be critical when an au pair arrives with a new Host Family. First, he or she should feel welcome, have clear expectations about the childcare and childcare-related tasks and be comfortable to speak his or her feelings to their new Host Family. If your au pair is outgoing and able to engage in family activities, begins to explore the community and makes new friends, you probably won’t have much trouble getting him or her to engage fully in the opportunities available for au pairs.
When your au pair is shy, though, or his or her English is not as good, you may find yourself performing some dental work to find out what they are feeling or why they are not engaging. When your au pair only speaks to you, your kids and her own family and friends back home, it is time to intervene. Make sure he or she attends the local cluster events and gets engaged in the community by visiting the local colleges or social areas of town. You might even go as far as our friend, Cyndi, and help arrange a secret “play date” for your au pair to meet others in her same position. Some local clusters even have a buddy system, where a new au pair arrival is assigned an au pair friend to guide her through the first few weeks and months when there are so many questions.
Your new au pair has come for cultural exchange, to improve his or her English, to attend American college or university classes and to provide your family with full or part-time flexible and affordable childcare. Your kids can learn a new language with each new au pair you host, perfect the language of your choice or become multi-lingual over the years! Au pairs are ages 18-26 and when you interview one of Go Au Pair’s available au pairs, they are prepared to match with you and join your American family as productive and contributing members!
Why not try a cultural childcare experience for your family in 2016? Contact me, Joan Lowell, your Providence, RI area representative, at 401.309.1925 or firstname.lastname@example.org, with your questions. I am actively recruiting new Host Families in the RI, CT and MA region, so contact me today!