As an Au Pair I’ve learned how important the first 5 minutes with a child can be when you meet again after you’ve separated paths for a few hours. Meaning when the child went to school or for a host parent it would be when the parents come home and take over from the au pair.
Once a child can communicate the first 5 minutes are more important than we know. This is the time where you as a parent or Au pair have the opportunity to build or break. To form or to reform.
“How was your day?” You’d ask to the child who returned from school. In this moment the child will have the opportunity to share parts of his or her day with you. This is basically the only window you have to get a sense of life the child lived in these few hours. If the child tells you a story where he was rude with another child you have the opportunity to teach and guide the child. In this moment you can explain to the child what is wrong and what is right. The child might share other stories where you can guide or give praise to the child when he did something right or good. How you respond will also determine how much the child will share with you. The child needs to know that with you it’s a “safe zone.” When you correct, make sure you don’t criticize. Explain as much possible why some things are acceptable to do in life and why other things are not. When a person does a bad thing it does not make the person bad. What he does is bad. Make sure the child understands that his or her mistakes does not make him or her a mistake.
If your child lived a day, 8hours or 12hours without you, the first 5 minutes is basically the only opportunity you have to teach your child about the few hours he did things in life without you.
After all, raising children means we are preparing people to live in this world.
As an au pair you contribute directly to prepare people for the world.
Take time to listen to children. To get a sense of their day. To understand what happened in his or her life when you were not around. Take the time to guide and to teach. This is important.
Find different ways to communicate in this first five minutes. It does not necessarily have to be a sit down conversation. It could be while you have lunch or dinner. It could be while you are kicking the ball around or going for a short bike ride. Work it in somehow, but make sure to work it in and make it a priority.
To enter a child’s world by listening is important.
Written by Nitanja @ Au Pair Buzz
Thursday, July 5th