We often think of change as something scary; something to be avoided at all costs in some cases! Whether you are adjusting your child’s daily routine, testing a new childcare arrangement or dealing with a difficult situation – we often take a reactionary stance, resisting this fearsome threat to our day-to-day comforts (which, let’s admit, we’ve worked hard for!).
At Au Pair Link change is truly a daily occurrence. We’ve become pretty adept at having to think on our feet in a variety of situations. We work closely with our families, children and their Au Pairs to ensure that change is dealt with productively and positively. One particular example which springs to mind is the family’s transition between Au Pairs.
In our experience the best way to deal with these changes is ‘head on’, but with a healthy dose of empathy and understanding, especially when it comes to helping the kids through a transition period. We advise our families be open and supportive – it is not an easy time for anyone, but usually it is the children who are most affected!
Here’s a few ideas we suggest to families to help make the Au Pair transition period a little bit easier.
- Technology – services like Skype or Facebook are a great tool for kids to stay in touch with someone they love (whether it’s their Au Pair, their grandparents or an overseas friend). You can help them understand how it will work by connecting on Skype while their soon-to-be-missed is in a separate room. This is a great way to set a realistic and positive expectation for kids – their friend is only a click away (kids don’t understand international time zones yet do they?)!
- Talk about change – I like this idea because it gives the kids ‘one over’ their parents! As adults we are prone to becoming stuck in our ways. This could be a learnt behaviour, but reading to them about what they are experiencing will build strong habits for dealing with change later in life. One of my favourite stories is the story of old Mr Badger in the Wind in the Willows, it is a story about change amongst friends, set against a soft and warm backdrop – perfect!
- Role playing – work through different scenarios which involve change. It could be pretending to be a pilot flying to a new place – saying goodbye until they see their family again. It is also a great idea to reverse the roles, so that the children can begin to experience things from both perspectives and understand how and why change is important in our lives.
Managing and understanding change is one of the most important lessons in life. In essence, change is a very positive force in our lives. No matter how we might try to fight it, I think it always makes sense to accept change and understand how we can use it to improve our lives (even when it might not seem like it) and understanding of ourselves.
Have a great winter,