Mealtimes are important family times.
Most of us hope that our Au Pairs will join us for dinner so that s/he can be part of this family time. But as we know, food and mealtimes can easily become places where individual differences, cultural differences, and just plain organization can get in the way of a smooth routine.
Imagine, though, what you’d really like if you could have any kind of dinnertime situation with your Au Pair —
- How often would you like your au pair to join you for dinner?
- Will he or she contribute to cooking? To setting up and cleaning up?
- What kinds of child-minding will your au pair do around dinnertime, if any at all?
- How will you choose menus, prepare portion sizes, and plan ahead (or not)?
- What if your au pair prefers to eat a main meal at lunchtime, or even late in the evening? How can you manage this kind of mealtime-shifting?
HM3Kids writes with her questions, as she plans ahead for a new au pair.
Hi AuPairMoms (and Dads),
We’ve decided to get an AP again, after having taken a break for a year. Looking back over our previous experiences, I’m pretty nervous with the dinner arrangement because we have had problems in the past.
We are both working full time and have 3 kids (7,5, 2). Usually, we come home, cook dinner and eat at the table together every night. We’ve had a lot of issues around dinner and meal sharing… For some reason, it didn’t work out very well for us.
These are the issues we had:
– After we came back from work, she went to her room and didn’t help to prepare dinner. She joined us when dinner is ready, ate with us, then cleaned up only her dishes and went back to her room. (Once a while, I’d like to get help from her to clean up after dinner or wash pot/dishes. Is it too much to ask?)
– She said she will not join the family dinner and will eat later. So, we saved some food for her and found out the next day that she didn’t eat it.
– AP didn’t like what we made for dinner. So, she woudn’t eat it.
We did ask our AP to tell us if she will not be eating with us so we don’t make extra food for her.
I would like to know more about what types of dinner arrangements other host families have with their APs. We don’t mind if she wants to eat separately from us, but we want to make sure that this works smoothly if/when this is what she chooses.
- Do you cook for your au pairs?
- Do you give them allowance to buy their own food?
- Something else?
I’d love to hear from other HFs. Thanks in advance, HM3kids
HM3Kids, be sure to look at these posts about Au Pairs, food, and mealtimes:
Families and Au Pairs- what would you advise to create a nice dinnertime routine with your au pair?
Image: Eat Your Colors on Portion Control… from cproppe on Flickr