Orienting your au pair to your home

Orienting your au pair to your home
Your au pair’s arrival to your home is an exciting time! It is important to remember, however, that your au pair is far from home and will probably feel a bit of nervousness. Your au pair might be quiet or reserved at first. She probably feels fatigued, a bit confused and overwhelmed from all of the new people and places to which she has been introduced. Just getting used to hearing and speaking English 24-hours a day can be tiring! To ensure the best possible transition for your au pair, the U.S. Department of State requires that either a parent or another responsible adult be at home with the new au pair for the first three days after her arrival.
We suggest you avoid planning anything too ambitious in the first few days while your au pair begins the adjustment to your home and routine. Instead of a welcome party or big outing, show your au pair around your home and community. Since everything is new to your au pair, even simple errands can be an interesting way to get to know the area. Expect to hear from your LCC within 48 hours of your au pairs arrival, during which time you can discuss any concerns or ask questions. (Your LCC will also visit your home within two weeks of your au pair’s arrival for an orientation meeting).
Do not assume that your au pair will arrive knowing exactly how to behave around your family. We encourage you to use both the Daily Communication Log and the Household Handbook as a means of communicating your childcare philosophies and methods of discipline, as well as general information about each of your children. Explain thoroughly each of her/his responsibilities. The Household Handbook includes a section for you to describe simple things like turning on the shower or washing machine, which can be different from what your au pair is used to. Your au pair might feel uncomfortable asking how to accomplish these tasks, so it is a good idea to demonstrate their proper operation right away, being as specific as possible.
Here is a list of reminders to make the first few days smooth and productive.
Does the au pair have what she needs in her room?
Adequate storage space for her clothes and personal items
Enough light to read and work by
An alarm clock so that she will be on time for work
Privacy
A way to personalize the room
Make time to review your household rules with your au pair, including:
The children’s favorite toys
The children’s favorite foods and activities
Your preferred method of discipline
Other important things to remember:
Lay the groundwork for mutual respect and clear communication.
Take time to get to know your au pair and ask her about her country.
Discuss family customs, traditions and unwritten rules.
Remember that you are a role model for how she relates to and supervises the children.
Give the au pair emergency contact information and a signed emergency medical authorization.
Review important safety measures.
Give the au pair a thorough tour of the house with instructions on how to use all appliances.
Provide a clear description of what you expect in terms of child-related household chores.
Show the au pair around the neighborhood.
Establish a day that you will pay her and times when you can sit down and talk.
Take the au pair out for a test drive and point out local traffic control signage.
Discuss your expectations regarding long distance calling and computer use.
Express support for the au pair’s participation in Cultural Care Au Pair events and activities.
Discuss convenient times for the au pair to attend classes.
Establish your expectations regarding visitors and overnight guests to your home.

Sunday, 31 May 2015 2:19 PM

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