Being an au pair is a wonderful opportunity to spend time in another country and learn about new cultures. However, the experience can also be challenging, so before you step foot on the plane, it’s important that you’re prepared for life as an au pair.
If you’re caring for children with additional needs such as ADHD or autism, then it might be even more difficult than caring for typical kids – but at the same time, it could be very rewarding!
What Being An Au Pair Is
An au pair, or an ‘au pair,’ are usually young adults that have come from another country to spend time with a host family as help around the house.
They’re given free room and board in exchange for childcare services, which can include picking up/dropping off children at school, playing with them after dinner, bedtime routine, anything you’d normally do if someone asked you to look after their kids.
Here Are 5 Tips On How To Be A Great Au Pair For Children With Mental Health Challenges
Make Sure You And The Family Are On The Same Page
Before committing to anything, be sure you know what’s expected of you as an au pair. This also means knowing how often they want/need your help with the children. A good idea is to have a contract drawn out by your agency or your host family – this ensures everybody knows their responsibilities and reduces the risk of misunderstandings later on.
Get Some Room Time
In addition to all this childcare responsibility, being an au pair still means you’re expected to have some ‘free time’ too. It’s okay, don’t feel bad for asking. However, being out and about can be dangerous at times. Therefore, it is always a good idea to have a car accident lawyer number saved on your phone.
You can agree with your host family on a good day of the week – Friday, maybe? – where you can relax and/or go out with friends. That way, they’ll know when not to bother calling you up to babysit at the last minute.
Along the same lines as tip 2, having flexibility in your schedule is very important if you want to be an au pair (and stay one). Saying that you work 9-5 every day isn’t going to fly with most host families, especially those with children who might need more attention at different times throughout the day.
If it means sacrificing some sleep, then it’s worth it because you don’t want to lose your job.
Don’t Be Afraid To Say No
It might not always be easy saying ‘no,’ especially when you’re asked to do something at the last minute/on a day off because the family desperately needs someone ASAP. But, you absolutely have the right to refuse.
You know what would happen if your usual au pair said ‘yes’ every time, so why should they expect anything different from you? This also means that if there’s something about their children or household that makes you feel uneasy, then it’s okay to speak up about it! Remember: nobody will think less of you for wanting out of an uncomfortable situation.
Be Firm But Fair
Being a responsible young adult, you might think it’s best to take all the responsibility on your shoulders and be the responsible one in this au pairing relationship. However, it’s actually important that you make sure both parents are equally involved in their children’s lives.
The worst thing would be if the kids start mistaking you for their parents or, even worse: grow attached to you and then get confused when they’re not spending as much time with them anymore.
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