“This is so much more than I thought it would be” is a frequent lament of au pairs!
Do we ever stop to think about the enormity of being an au pair?
No matter how much childcare experience, an au pair has, she’s most probably never worked where she lives, lived with strangers, been “part-of-a family” that isn’t really her family, communicated full time in another language, learned and adapted to another culture, all while she’s caring for children for 45 hours a week!
‘How do they do it,’ I often wonder. What I’ve learned is that not only are au pairs the bravest bunch of young adults I’ve ever met, but also, the most resourceful! Most manage to do all of the above, perhaps with a few blips along the way, successfully!
Counselors and host families need to remember that most au pairs have not been professional childcare providers and need guidance, patience and support. In addition, we need to remember what a huge task (and responsibility) these young women have undertaken, and express our appreciation.
Acknowledgment goes a long way in helping the au pair adjust to life with a host family in the U.S.!
Feel free to comment as an au pair, host family, or counselor! What works, what doesn’t work?