Back to school time has arrived and your household routine is bound to look a little different this month! Your au pair is an amazing resource during this hectic season and will gladly step in to be that extra set of hands you so desperately need.
Haven’t ironed out the details of your au pair’s new responsibilities? Check out five ways your au pair can help with back to school.
1. Provide an extra set of hands.
Our host families tell us time and time again how much they love having another adult in the home to assist with the little ones, even if the specific tasks change day by day! Tag team with your au pair to get it all done in the morning - your au pair can prepare lunches while you comb bedroom hairdos or can zip up backpacks while you tie shoes. As the days go by, your au pair will become even more accustomed to your family’s routine and will soon be stepping in before a word is spoken.
2. Work a split shift.
A unique benefit of hosting an au pair is that they can work split shifts. For example, your au pair can get the kids to school drop off, take a break during midday, and then be back on the clock for school pick up and after-school activities. When scheduling a split shift, be sure to be respectful of your au pair’s time. We recommend a break of at least two hours and do not recommend more than one split shift per day, equalling two shifts total. Not only will this scheduling help you organize your time, it’ll also give your au pair space to hit the gym, run errands, or meet a fellow au pair for coffee.
3. Share stories from back home.
School structures and traditions can be surprisingly different in each country. For example, in Japan teachers travel from room to room while the children stay put. In the US, it’s the opposite! There are so many questions you can ask your au pair about school in their hometown. Start with “What was your school lunch like?” and see where the conversation takes you! You might even get to see some old photos from your au pair’s elementary days.
4. Give after school cuddles.
A new school year can be met with mixed emotions and is overwhelming for children at times. It’s not uncommon for your little one to have a day at school that they may not feel so good about. Your au pair is more than just a babysitter, they’re a member of the family and will be ready and waiting to cheer up your kids when they get home. Whether its extra cuddles, a backyard game of tag, or chocolate chip cookies, your children will feel better in no time!
5. Volunteer at school.
While not compulsory, our au pairs frequently love to volunteer at their host kid’s school. Many of our au pairs have a teaching background and enjoy maintaining that during their time in the USA. Your au pair may want to read a story to the class or volunteer in the classroom on a more regular basis. Whatever their involvement is, be sure to let your au pair know that volunteering is an option that is available during their spare time.
Joy is a huge advocate for cultural exchange. She's lived across the USA, then moved overseas to London and Sydney. She currently resides in Jakarta, Indonesia, giving her a unique perspective on working and thriving in a culture not her own. Joy graduated from the University of Sydney with a degree in Marketing and started her career in the au pair industry. She works on the blog and social media for the Au Pair USA program.