It is that time of year where we all scramble to tie up loose ends and finalize all outstanding obligations to ensure that we have a peaceful and relaxing holiday. When it comes to au pairs, many of you will be experiencing sad goodbyes as they move on to new opportunities and experiences- this is often a very difficult time for you and your kids and we at Au Pair Extraordinaire would like to offer some guidance on making this as smooth a transition as possible. Here are some important tips if you have come to the end of the road with your current au pair.
1) Prepare your children
Very often children can feel a sense of abandonment and rejection when the au pair leaves, they have formed bonds and connections with the au pair and can blame themselves for him/her leaving. You may feel this as well! The key to a successful transition is to ensure that you are honest with your children about what is going on. It is very important that you sit down and explain to your kids that their au pair is leaving, and that she will not be there every day anymore. It is essential that you communicate with your children that it is not their fault that their au pair is leaving, that they didn’t do anything wrong. Allow your children to communicate their feelings, and let them know that it is ok to miss their au pair, but that it is ok to have fun with their new au pair as well.
2) Should I maintain a relationship with the au pair once she has left?
This is going depend very strongly on whether or not there was an amicable parting, but most au pairs pride themselves on maintaining a relationship with your children after they stop working for you. It is important that you set boundaries around visits or communication with your children, so have a conversation with your au pair about ways that they can keep in touch. You can invite them to your children’s birthday parties, or set up one-on-one dates, none are by any means obligatory and will depend solely on whether or not you can gauge if it will be good for your children.
3) Old au pair to new au pair transition
It is a very good idea for you to start the search for a new au pair as soon as possible, as the best case scenario would be to initiate a handover from your old au pair to your new au pair- before your old au pair leaves. This should ideally be for about a week, where the old au pair can show the new au pair the intricate details of the role, like what works for Johnny when he gets too tired, or asks for mommy; how Mary likes baking pink frosting brownies, but only with Jelly Babies, she doesn’t like Jelly Tots; how Mom likes to use a start chart system for rewards (Mary has fairy stickers and Johnny has airplane stickers) etc. Although the new au pair will have experience working with children and families before, every family has their own unique way of doing things which can take time to adjust too. Having a handover period allows for a smooth transition into family routines and preferences. Most importantly, it allows your children to see that their new au pair is accepted by mom, dad and their old au pair, which will ultimately help them to dissolve any potential resentment towards her.
It is never easy to lose an au pair- they have become a part of the family and the feeling of loss can be tough. The new au pair, however, will be there to pick up where the old au pair left off, and will create his/her own bonds and memories with your family. It is an exciting fresh start, and your children will adapt in no time.
Why not get a head start on finding your au pair for 2016? We have some highly competent candidates eager to get a jump start on finding a new family for the new year. Let’s get an au pair in place before you go away on holiday this year, so that you can fully relax with the knowledge that everything is ready for you when you return.
We also have this exciting kids holiday adventure camp to show you! It is presented by celebrity Warrior Ric from The Warrior Race and Phil Keye from KeyeCoaching for all kids aged 8-17, from 5-8 December 2015.