It’s no secret the holidays are a magical time for most of us, filled with festivities and surrounded by loved ones. Long-standing family traditions take center stage during family celebrations and the frenetic holiday pace is a welcome distraction to the cold winter weather outside.
But how is your au pair feeling as you drag out the Christmas tree, send out holiday cards and prepare to spend time with those you most cherish? Chances are he or she is feeling extremely homesick and is missing the same things from home!
So what can host families do to ease the homesickness their au pairs are feeling this time of year? Consider these 5 tips for ensuring your au pair feels like a valued, loved family member this holiday season:
Include Them In The Festivities
Sometimes host families get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday madness, they fail to see that their au pair is left on the sidelines. This is obviously a special time for you and your family with lots of fun activities unique to this time of the year. But don’t forget that your au pair would love a diversion from his or her everyday life too! Take your au pair holiday shopping with you or ask for his or her assistance in hanging Christmas decorations. If your au pair is busy with holiday activities, he or she is a lot less likely to miss what’s going on at home.
Invite Them To Share Their Traditions
Oftentimes we are so focused on getting the Christmas cookies exactly like grandma made hers or intent on booking family ice skating the first Saturday of December like you do every year that we don’t stop to ask the au pair what his or her holiday traditions are. A simple “What do you do on Christmas Eve that we can incorporate into our holiday?” will go a long way. The kids will definitely appreciate learning new traditions and making new memories and your au pair will feel even more at home.
Be Extra Sensitive To Calls Home
This time of year your au pair will be longing to Facetime and Skype with loved ones more than usual. This is normal and should not be discouraged! Sometimes a few brief words of wisdom from grandpa back home or a check-in with mom as she prepares Christmas dinner can go a long way to ease an au pair’s homesickness. It’s the reminder that their traditions are continuing, not the fact that they are going on without them, that is a comfort to many au pairs. You may even overhear your au pair gushing to their own family about your family’s holiday happenings!
Don’t Make It All About Work
Sure, you may be depending on your au pair this time of year more than any other, what with all the kids’ activities and extra excitement. But resist the urge to make the work burden seem even greater for your au pair than normal. Nothing is sure to give your au pair the blues more than a host family that is reveling in holiday festivities while he or she is cleaning up extra messes. This doesn’t mean easing up on your au pair’s day-to-day responsibilities, just being sensitive to the fact that the holidays are likely adding to your au pair’s normal workload in ways you hadn’t thought of.
An Extra Helping Of Communication
By this point in the year, you have likely forged a strong bond with your au pair. Continue to build on it by opening up the lines of communication even more so during the holidays than usual. Be a shoulder to cry on or an outlet to vent about how homesick he or she is. Check in with your au pair more often during the holidays. Invite him or her out for a Peppermint Mocha and ask “How are you feeling?” or “What do you miss most about home this time of year?”. This will go a long way to lighten the load and make your au pair feel special during this hectic time.
This time of year, more than any other, your au pair is likely homesick and missing his or her holiday traditions. Host families should strive to be sensitive to this and help any way they can. By following the 5 tips above, your family will have all the tools to help ease your au pair’s longing and allow them to feel even more a part of the family!
Sunday, 22 January 2017 4:54 PM