Preparing for a new Au Pair.

The more host parents prepare for hosting their new Au Pair, the less miscommunication and misunderstanding happens. Here are some suggestions.

Set aside the first few days after the Au Pair arrives to let her get acclimated and recover from jet lag. Once the Au Pair is rested and ready, spend at least one week walking the Au Pair through your routine, as well as your local neighborhood. Be patient, communicate constantly, and give lots of feedback. Let the Au Pair spend some relaxed time with the children. The first few weeks will be an adjustment for everyone.

It is important right from the start to avoid misunderstandings. Clearly explain your “philosophy” and practices on childcare. Example: how to handle a temper tantrum, trips or daily schedules. The good idea  to obtain some kind of notebook where you can jot all of this information down. WRITE IT ALL DOWN! (The daily schedule, allergies, household rules, etc.) This way the Au Pair has something to refer to if she encounters a problem during the day and you are unavailable. The more you write down, the better off you are.

In this notebook, you may also want to keep track of the hours your Au Pair works. Working too many hours is a common complaint of Au Pairs.

Make sure you have written clearly all emergency numbers that the au pair will need. Make sure that these numbers are updated and legible. You should go over all of these numbers with the Au Pair. Also, explain how you would like the telephone answered and how you would like your messages to be taken..

Label all medicines if the children take them. Go through how appliances and machinery in your home work, especially washing machines and child safety gadgets. Many countries have different machines and the Au Pair will not know how to use them. Discuss household products and different foods as well.   Go over with your Au Pair how to get the children out of the house in case of a fire or other emergency.

Communicate constantly, especially in the beginning. Act as if your Au Pair knows nothing. Being specific will eliminate miscommunication.

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