Consistency, Change and Transition of Au Pairs – How Does This Affect Your Family?
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Today’s topic is a common area of concern that some families have when they are considering an Au Pair. These concerns surround the consistency, change and transition of Au Pairs and how it might affect their family. Some questions often asked are:
“I want consistency for my kids with their childcare – can I have this with an Au Pair? I’m afraid my kids will be upset when our Au Pair leaves – should I consider a longer-term option? Does changing Au Pairs negatively affect children?”
These are legitimate concerns and ones that I myself had when I was considering an Au Pair as a childcare option. Based on personal experience, here are some things to consider that will address some of these concerns.
First off you need to remember: 6 to 12+ months from the perspective of a child is a long, LONG time! There’s a common misconception that having an Au Pair means there’ll be a revolving door of childcare providers passing through your home. This is simply not the case. Sure, some girls want to Au Pair for a couple of months during the summer (and this may work for your family) but there is certainly no shortage of Au Pairs wanting to find a family to settle down with for several months or more. There are thousands of applicants on sites like Au Pair World – a quick search will reveal that many are looking for more than a short-term family placement. It only takes a few weeks for an Au Pair to comfortably settle within your family and establish a relationship and routine with you and your children.
Another point to consider: what’s more consistent than having your children based within the comfort of your home? This is a benefit that cannot be overstated! You dictate your children’s routine, schedules, activities and your Au Pair implements it on a daily basis. There’s no morning rush to get out the door to daycare, there’s the comfortable and secure environment of home and there’s a degree of flexibility in the day and it’s routine.
Are kids affected when Au Pairs leave? Of course they are! Au Pairs become members of the family and when the time comes to leave, there is a period of adjustment for everyone. Change and it’s effects will obviously depend on the children’s age and their ability to understand what is going on. That being said, kids are going to mirror how their parents react to the situation. We always make sure to maintain open communication with our children when it comes to an impending Au Pairs departure. There’s never been a question that we would keep in contact with our Au Pairs after they leave and we’ve continued on with these relationships. It’s a valuable lesson for kids to learn that change is inevitable and can be good in that it brings new experiences and relationships. There are feelings of sadness and loss when an Au Pair leaves – all normal and healthy emotions that we talk about with our children. There’s an excellent article with tips to ease the transition of caregivers titled: Introducing a New Nanny – Seven Steps for Ensuring a Smooth Transition.
Canadian Au Pair Solutions