Written by Nitanja @ Au Pair Buzz
Tuesday, 3 July 2018
To be an Au Pair most definitely has its fun parts regarding culture exchange & traveling! Meeting people from different countries and maybe even learning a new language. But being an au pair actually comes with huge responsibilities!
To embark as an au pair on your new journey requires a lot of preparation. A lot of admin work regarding your profile and your visa application. Your police clearance and your international drivers license. Your doctors appointment to obtain a health certificate. A lot of packing and maybe even going shopping for a big suitcase. The list continues. Something that most au pairs don’t think about and don’t receive the guidance in doing so is to do research on the age that you will be taking care of. Beside the training week that you receive in New York City when you become and au pair in the USA, I believe it’s a good idea to equip yourself with knowledge of the age of the children you will be taking care of. – No training week are available when becoming an au pair in Europe.
In the USA I matched with a family with twin boys. On my arrival they were only 4months old. To take care of children younger than 2years old you have to be infant qualified. Meaning I had some prior knowledge already. I knew I had a few weeks left before departing to the USA. During those weeks I borrowed baby books from friends and did research on babies. I wanted to be equipped with the right knowledge before I had to spend 45hours a week alone with two crying babies.
Parents normally prepare themselves during the months that the mom is pregnant. You as an au pair don’t have that time or instinct to do so.
Remember as an au pair you help raising and forming children to prepare them for the world. Being an au pair is not professional child care and no one expects you to be a professional, but why should that limit you to equip yourself with knowledge. It will certainly make your au pair duty easier. It will give you a better sense and understanding of children.
For me, taking care of twin babies, was exciting moments to know their milestones and to know what to look out for at a certain age. Throughout my au pair term I continued reading up on the certain ages as the boys got older. There were also times that were more scary, after all, it’s two tiny lives that depended on me. The research and the reading I’ve done gave me a sense of calmness. Having knowledge gives you a sense of confidence in what you’re doing, even in the tough days when it felt like I lost control.
For example, knowing how much stimulation children/babies can handle at different phases will prevent them from being overstimulated and cranky and they will feel content and cared for. Not only will you influence the life of the child positively but it will make your life with the children easier.
I equipped myself with knowledge for my au pair term, but furthermore I also gained everlasting knowledge. Knowledge that will be there for the day I embark on my own journey of motherhood and parenting.
Gaining knowledge on a certain topic could never be a waste. You can never gain to much information, so you might as well dive in and suck up knowledge like a sponge!
“When your goal is to gain experience, perspective, and knowledge, failure is no longer a possibility” – Sophia Amoruso