How do you want your au pair to interact with your children?
We spend a lot of time in our handbooks and meeting going over the house rules and general family principles, but often we leave implicit our our expectations for day-to-day kid – au pair interaction. Sure, we want each au pair-kid combo to work things out themselves (it’s their relationship, after all). But not every au pair has the perspective, the experience, and the vision to know just how to manage your lovely child(ren).
Our au pairs need us to teach them how we want them to interact with our kids.
— Are you clear about how they should be guided? Taught? Held responsible? Disciplined?
— Are you clear about what kid behavior is okay, and what’s out of line?
— Are you up-to-date and realistic in your own assessment of ‘who’ your kid is, and what s/he needs from a caregiving adult?
We get a lot of emails, like the one below, from au pairs seeking advice about a specific child, a specific behavior, or a specific situation. We can’t (and don’t) address each one here on the blog.
But, we should be sure to coach our au pairs on how to work with our kids and help them connect with our kids.
- What do you do, to teach your au pair how to interact with your kids?
- What do you do, to help to shape the relationship between your kid(s) and your au pair?
- What do you do, to point your au pair to resources that might help her/him connect with your kid(s)?
Dear Au Pair mom,
I’ve been an au pair for 6 months and have just rematched. I’ve been with the new family for 10 days. They have three girls.
I spend a lot of time with the 3 year old girl. I never took care of a child this age and I don’t know how to deal with the crazy mood swings. She goes from the loveliest little girl in the world to this bossy monster crying and making scenes on the street.
Is that normal for that age? Do you think it’s gonna get better once she gets used to me? Is there anything I can do so she’ll trust/like me more?Also, they are a Dutch family and I speak really poor Dutch, so the language barrier exists.
I feel really helpless. I think I’m a great match for both parents and older girls, but I really wanna get past this.
Image: swing set from Dave McLean (aka damclean) on Flickr