Back to School – Easing the Transition

Can you believe it’s that time of year again?!  If you are anything like me, in spite of how awesome my kids are about this time every year I am counting the days back to school (and the routine it brings back into our household)!  So how can host parents and au pairs work together to ease this major transition back into the swing of things?

Host Parents:

Do the first few weeks schedule now.  Err on the side of overestimating working hours if you are not sure,  you can always tighten it up once you get into the routine but underestimating and then adding hours later can be painful and frustrating for your au pair.

Update/organize everything.  Your emergency call list, the list of approved people to pickup at daycare/school and/or take kids to the doctor, etc.  Consider using a free family organizer app like Cozi to keep track of everyone’s activities, locations and be sure and take advantage of the real-time shopping list.

Sit down and review your needs, your kids needs and activities and your APs job duties.  This is a perfect time to make changes!  If your AP is doing great assign some more responsibilities or give them the opportunity to use their special talents (teach kids piano 30 min twice a week, coach youngest in soccer on Tuesday nights, have your AP create the daily/weekly activity plans for the kids and review with you, etc) or if something is not working or not working well reset the expectation as a part of the new routine.  Create checklists for new routines or to make sure things are completed until new habits are formed.

Bring back the weekly meeting.  Meet with your au pair after the kids are in bed and review the draft schedule, explain any changes, review checklists, discuss backup plans (what happens if kids miss the bus?, forget homework at home?, get sick at school?) and take this opportunity to talk about what weekends they will have off once school starts back and discuss where they are and what their plans are around education requirements and vacation.

Assign childcare related tasks to your au pair to help ease the transition.  Buying school snacks to stock the pantry, driving the new routes the next couple of weeks to get familiarized, cleaning out the kids closets (donate, keep, trash), organizing rooms and kids areas and helping with homework are all normal au pair duties that can really help everyone get sorted before the big day.

Au Pairs:

Set alarms (mine use their AP phone) for the new schedule.  Wake up times, bedtimes, walk out the door for bus time, 15 min warning to get home to get kids off bus time, anything you would be worried about forgetting or being late for!

Help the kids finish summer homework (if older/assigned).  If ok with your host family assign some reading or start reading to the kids to get them back into learning mode before their first day of school.

Set new goals for yourself!  How far are you into your year?  Where are  you on education?  Vacation?  Do you have a bucket list?  If so, have you done everything on it?  Your year will FLY by – most au pairs want to wait and “get settled” but that ends up meaning 6 months go by and then they are shocked at how little they have done!  Set goals and start making plans – just be sure and communicate with your host family.

As a team:

Reset kids bedtimes, expectations and wake up times now. Much easier if kids are already adjusted and rested when school starts.  Any bad habits that have creeped in during the summer break start getting control back – screentime anyone?

Communicate!  Talk about what is working and not working, try new things and work together!

What other advice or life hacks do you have for getting back into the fall routine?  Au Pairs what can your host family do to help you prepare for schedule changes or what have they done in the past that helped you get comfortable/onboarded faster?

Wednesday, 8 August 2018 6:34 PM

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