If you have organised an au pair to come and stay with you in order to manage your childcare obligations, it's important that they feel comfortable in your home and looking after your children. Many au pairs do not have previous childcare experience, so giving them some childcare pointers can be a great idea. Here are some ways to help your au pair adjust to childcare as soon as possible.
Treat your au pair as a valued member of the family
Au pairs occupy a special role in the family, acting as a pseudo 'big sibling'. While suddenly getting a new carer can be an adjustment for the kids, they will take their lead from how you treat your au pair to see how they should behave. Treating your au pair with respect and letting them have some space and down time will give your children a good model of how to treat the au pair.
Remember that the cultural exchange goes both ways, so encourage your au pair to share the food and culture of their homeland as well. That can help to make it educational for both your family and the au pair.
Write a list of child friendly outings in your town for them
While you might have a few favourite parks and beaches, if your au pair is new to town, they might like some help in finding some other places to take your children so that they also get to experience some of the sites of the city. Include some natural landmarks, as well as cultural experiences that are unique to your home town. Local museums and art galleries often also have activities for children and might be equally interesting for your au pair.
Clearly explain and write down your discipline strategy
While your discipline for your strategy is no doubt always adapting to your children, it can be useful for your au pair to know if they should be putting your child into time outs, confiscating toys or using other techniques to encourage good behaviour and discouraging bad behaviour. This helps your au pair to feel more comfortable looking after your children, and your children will feel more comfortable with a consistent approach between you and the au pair, and you'll see more consistent behaviour from your children. Everyone wins!
Having an au pair living in with your family can be a great way to manage your childcare requirements while teaching your children about other cultures. If having an au pair sounds like something you're not quite ready for, you may want to contact a local childcare facility and try that for a while.Share