Experienced Host Parents know that when your au pair arrives, you get him or her in action right away. Right Away!
Even though it’s tempting to let him/her sleep in, or to show her around your wonderful town, or to wait until his English is better before you start giving instructions on ‘how to do things’, your best strategy is always to get them working.
We don’t want to get them to work right away so that we can maximize the amount of work we ‘get’ out of an au pair.
We put au pairs to work right away because:
- People learn better when they are trying.
- People are less homesick when they are busy. People get more connected to kids when they interact. And,
- People feel happier when they have something meaningful to do.
The sooner you get your au pair doing the things you need her to do, even as she’s still learning, the better off you’ll be.
But New Host Parents? It’s easy to start off wrong, and very quickly to get to a place where nothing is working. Nothing.
Such is the case with this HostMomInTysons. Don’t say anything about the Mercedes (!!) — just go straight to advice. Here’s her story.
Dear Au Pair Mom,
Our au pair from Sweden arrived a few weeks ago. She is nice, shy and very inexperienced.
The first two days she was here we took her out to see Washington DC. She had dinner with me and my husband at a steakhouse in Georgetown the first night. The second night she went out with me and some girlfriends. We’ve given her our old car (a 2007 Mercedes) and an iPhone 5s– we want her to be able to get around and talk to friends and family.
I slowly started to introduce her to work the first week in our home by being home the first week.
In my effort to make her feel at home, I was cooking all her favorite foods for breakfast, lunch and dinner, buying her all snacks and candy she could ever wish for.
Still she is super depressed and homesick, too depressed to work. She is crying all the time and texting with her boyfriend 24-7. We are talking about her depression until 11 pm every night.
She can’t be alone with the kids for more than 50 minutes unless they are asleep.
I have 3 kids under the age of 4 and I just wonder when this will stop, my husband is traveling and hasn’t been home for 10 days. In the meantime, I’m not sleeping, I’m just cooking for the au pair (she can’t eat any vegetables), trying to take care of the kids, bringing some positive energy to the household.
I hired her to help me but right now it feels like I have 4 kids to take care of instead of 3.
Will this turn around? Is this how the year will be? I feel bad about telling the agency because I feel like I failed as an host mom. What should I do?
What should this Host Mom try, to set things to right?
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