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First time of having an Au Pair - tips please(8 Posts)
We are getting a Spanish Au Pair starting in Sept.
I'm looking for advice on how I will I help her in the first few days and weeks. I have taken time off work over the summer holidays and really can't take more when she arrives, but feel rotten welcoming her, pointing out where the washing machine, school and children are and running off to work without helping her a bit. The first weekend in Sept we're already heading to an Auntie's 80th b'day party up north and don't think it would be fair to invite her along to that, but don't think it's nice to leave her either.
I want to help her make friends but am not too sure how you go about it.
Thanks in advance.
I'm not sure you can introduce a new ap without a week off? Surely you need to explain your routine, orientate her, make sure she's interacting well with the kids?
As for the birthday party.. I'm guessing you are taking time off for that? If it's a day out then no need to be concerned about taking ap. a week away and that may be different. Depends what you have agreed in advance about holidays.
I really can't take a week off, so much time off this year as my DD had an emergency appendectomy, proving why we need more reliable childcare. Party is up and down in a day but think my family would be overwhelming.
She won't want to go to the party but it would be kind and polite to email her ahead with a weekly outline schedule plus all unusual diary items (eg your family party) for her first month. She should find her feet after that but knowing exactly all your family's movements and having them written down will help her a lot initially.
Get her to sign up to the local au pair facebook page - hopefully it's an active one and she'll be able to meet lots of other au pairs on there.
Is she having language lessons? She can make friends that way too.
Try and get her to arrive on a Friday evening/Saturday morning - that way she'll at least have a weekend with you.
Email her now about the party, ask her if she wants to come or use the weekend to explore where you live. Let it be her choice.
When she arrives have a welcome pack ready for her - this should include a map of your town, house rules (e.g. no shoes to be worn inside, etc), list of emergency contacts, list of daily/weekly routine, WiFi passwords, bus timetables, etc.
Explain to your dc that they need to be super nice and welcoming to her too. If they understand that she's a stranger in a foreign country away from her family but looking to become their friend/fun older sister type person they will hopefully greet her with enthusiasm and kindness - this will go a long way to helping her feel settled and secure.
What great advice, thank you. Especially like the welcome pack.
Have a good think about what your "non negotiables" are - whether that be no guests after 6, no mobile use when minding DC, no long baths between 8-9 or whatever. Then make sure you make them clear at the outset. Nothing sours an AP/nanny relationship faster than misaligned expectations.
Most Au pairs have very little childcare experience so you really really can't expect her to go in blind. She will need you around for the first week at least to explain how everything works - you aren't getting a nanny. If you can take a week as parental leave things will go smoothly. At pairs can and have left with little or no notice if they aren't being supported.
A weekly schedule works very well. At first I list everything they need to do every day, especially things that you may take for granted like getting the children to brush teeth or make beds. You can reduce it as and when. We give ours out on a Sunday, babysitting nights are included.
As project said have some house rules as and when guest are allowed, phone use, when they eat with you, meals times and notice if they can't make it, what happens at weekends.
It's very easy for most au pairs to make friends, language school are a must and there will usually be a Facebook page for your area just for au pairs. Our first au pair was very shy and I actually took her to an au pair meet up (and then left very quickly as she started chatting!)
Good luck, it can work really well.
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