Right after arrival, the au pair will try to spend some time with your children. Ideally, the au pair will start slowly by playing games with your children, reading books to them and by helping you around the house. During these first days, hold back as parents and let the au pair spend some quality time with your children.
Let the au pair help your children get dressed or have the au pair prepare some snacks for them. Give your children some time and space to get used to the au pair and the new situation.
If there is something about the au pair’s approach that you don’t like or if you would like the au pair to handle certain situations differently, you have to speak up! Make sure you talk to your au pair when the children are not around. Your conversation should end with clear instructions so your au pair will know exactly what you want. This will also reassure your au pair.
It is not helpful if you are secretly upset with the au pair. Your au pair is still young and can’t possibly know exactly what you expect. Therefore, it is important for you and the au pair to be open and honest when talking to each other.
We recommend that you give your au pair some useful advice right from the start. Talk to the au pair about your children’s personalities and explain how you think the au pair should treat them. Make sure your children know that the au pair will be in charge from now on when you are not at home.
Get everybody together and explain the new situation, so your children will know that they will have to respect the new au pair . Also, make it very clear that there will be consequences if your children disobey the au pair. Explain to the au pair in front of your children when and for how long they are allowed to watch TV, play at the computer and how much candy they are allowed to eat.
You are not the au pair’s competition ! Sometimes parents act jealous when they see that their children like the au pair. Even if it might look as if your children like the au pair better than you, it is usually just a phase. The love your children have for you is unconditional and the trust they have in you is difficult to shake.
Don’t forget that you and your au pair are a team , and try to keep your negative feelings in check. If your children feel left alone by you as parents, try to organize special trips so you will spend more time together, or maintain important rituals such as tucking them in at night.
On the other hand, if your children and the au pair get off to a rough start, this will pass. In a couple of weeks they will probably get along wonderfully, so don’t worry and give your children time to get used to the au pair.