1.Give the kids some time to get used to you
I get that it’s a new environment and that you’re trying to adapt but don’t forget that from the children’s point of view they have this entirely new person taking care of them. Take your time and try to get to know them. I’ve learned that kids are really smart and if you ask questions, most of the time, their take on the world is instructive and interesting. Treat them as equals, you’re all on the same boat.
2. Ask questions
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Enter this new experience with an open relationship with your host family and new friends. If you don’t feel comfortable asking questions about chores, payments or house rules before getting to their home, you’ll never truly feel at home. I know how stupid you can feel by emailing the family about their children schedule or meal plan but looking back on it, I’m glad I did. It calmed me down and I knew exactly what I was in for.
3. Befriend the current/old Au Pair
This is your main ticket to know how the family treats their Au Pair, if you’re a good fit and to get tips on the kids. For example, I had emailed my host family’s previous Au Pair and got there already knowing a bit about the kids and what they were into. Breaking the ice is much easier when you know what subjects to tackle, for me I knew that one of them was really into puppies and the other one into spiderman. I scored some points on the first day when I magically had the same interests as them.
4. Go play outside
Hakuna Matata. Going to the park, for a walk or even having a picnic in your backyard is the easy solution for everything. Grumpy toddler? Go play outside. Don’t have an activity idea? Go play outside. They entertain themselves and you’ll have more fun than you think.
5. It’s okay to watch the kids play
Sometimes, it’s a hundred pourcent okay to sit down and just supervise over the kids without playing with them. I wish someone told me this when I first started.