Our Au Pair is home sick - what should we do?

For an Au Pair, the idea of coming to another country to live, work and explore is a very exciting opportunity.  Whilst an Au Pair has made the choice to travel, sometimes to the other side of the world, it can still be very overwhelming upon arrival.  Majority of Au Pairs that join us in the Pilbara Region are about to face the following:

·         Living in a town where English may be their second language;

·         Living out of home for the first time;

·         Living with a family they just met face to face for the first time;

·         Living in a house with a child/children for the first time;

·         Missing special occasions back home like birthday’s, Mother’s/Father’s Day, Christmas, Easter or family weddings;

·         Living away from their parents, friends and support network for the first time;

·         Moving to a climate with a very unique temperature of HOT 24/7;

·         Moving to a town that has a completely different culture to what they are used to;

·         Moving away from their creature comforts!

In light of this, it can basically be expected that at some stage during an Au Pair’s placement, they may experience feeling home sick.  Firstly, to all Au Pair’s – this is completely normal!  I still feel home sick and miss my parents from time to time and I’m a 31-year-old married woman with a child of my own!

As a Host Family, what can you do to support your Au Pair through this period?

·         Firstly, look out for signs – has there been changes in behaviour or mood?  Has your Au Pair withdrawn, become emotional?  Are they eating less?

·         Have you created an environment where your Au Pair is comfortable to come and talk to you?  This is really important.  Admittedly not everyone is a talker, however it is important to make your Au Pair feel comfortable to approach you if they are feeling home sick or to be comfortable enough for you to approach them and ask if they are ok;

·         Be understanding during this period – some people need some space as well to work through things.  Just let them know you are there if needed and don’t put too much pressure on them regarding their work;

·         Make sure you are including them in your family events and activities so they feel part of something, especially around celebratory events;

·         Encourage them to Skype, call and email their family members or even suggest sending them a surprise Australian themed gift pack!

·         Encourage them to engage with other Au Pair’s in the community.  Speak to your friends that have Au Pairs and arrange a BBQ for them to meet and connect.  Also suggest they like and interact on Au Pair groups on Facebook;

·         Remind them it is completely normal to feel this way!

·         Remind them that I am also here for any support as the owner/operator of Pilbara Au Pair Service.

Sometimes all people need is an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on.

If you have any questions or comments relating to this blog, feel free to send me an email on hayley@pilbaraaupairservices.com.au