As au pair’s, when being placed with a family, many of us have fleeting worries about hospital visits caused by tightly wrapped karate belts and forced running, only to result in a cut open head and a very teary hospital visit with a terrified au pair trying to keep it together.
When you are trying to juggle phone calls with mom to find the medial aid card number while restraining one as he tries to stick his hand up the vending machine and holding the other up from fainting; the very brutal truth that you will come to know that day is that you are not prepared for this and you cannot do this by yourself.
Yes, you are by yourself. ” Yes, one child is semi-comatose and you do not know what to do.” No, you don’t have medical details, you cannot answer the nurses questions on what he ate and why. You aren’t sure of his allergies and what his height is, if he has been on any medication that they may need to know about and most importantly – where is mom?
Why? Because THIS was never meant to happen to you!
We are hired to make the lives of our families’ easier. We are there to be mom when mom is being a lawyer and cannot mom at that exact moment.” Imagine being a parent and receiving a panicked phone call from your au pair, hysterically telling you that your children have managed to break themselves and you don’t where the entrance to the hospital is.
There are steps to be taken, rules to be followed and precautions to learn to avoid these tiny mishaps.
At Au Pair Extraordinaire, we would like to equip you before you get yourself into this situation. There are a few suggestions on what you should find out from your family as well as important venues that you should visit before starting your new adventure with them.
You need to be proactive with what you ask families. Within your first few days when you get a chance to sit down with the parents and discuss the important topics; carry a notebook, write down everything in those first few weeks and read over it to familiarize yourself with the content. Will this be tedious? Of course. Could it help you in the future? Definitely! Below is some important information to gather from your au pair” family:
- Schools (generally you are provided with this information beforehand; if not, ask), grade teachers and contact numbers for the school. The name of the receptionist and how does the sick room and early collections system work incase of illness or an emergency.
- Before you start working for a family, you will know their suburb. Google the nearest hospital and confirm it with them. Make the effort to know how to get there and run a route from the house AND school / any other extra mural locations. Make a note of where the emergency room entrance is and how to access it from the parking lot.
- Get the children’s doctors / specialists contact numbers as well at their locations – run routes again to know how to get there.
- Extra mural coaches and therapists names, number and locations. Introduce yourself and provide your contact number directly to them as you will be with the children majority of the time while they are at these activities.
- Allergies, irritants and triggers for tantrums. Find out what medication is needed to assist with the allergies and how the family wants you to handle the tantrums and tears.
- Emergency contact numbers – family members, neighbours, neighbourhood watch groups. Make an effort to contact these people and make it known that you will be caring for the children.
- Friends and friend’s parents – you will be responsible for organizing play dates or supervising them. Play dates do not mean that you can catch a snooze on the couch while the children play. Be responsible, don’t interfere but be aware.
As much as you need to ask your families these questions, you need to be transparent with them from your side too.” Provide them with your emergency contacts number, your address, allergies as well as any illnesses that may need to be known at a later date.
Au Pairing is like becoming a first time parent over and over again. You may have the practical experience to get through this, but every family is different and every situation with each child will be dealt with uniquely.
There is noting wrong with being over prepared. For those of you that have had to wing this once or twice will understand the importance of finding out the crucial information and using it to your advantage.
If you are looking for family to au pair for, please do contact us! We have many wonderful families on our books looking for the perfect au pair.