Homesickness for Live-in Nannies and Au Pairs

There’s No Place Like Home

Psychologists consider moving to be one of the major stresses in life. Leaving behind friends, familiar places, and activities creates anxiety for everyone. It is helpful for nannies and au pairs that are moving to another town to work as a live-in nanny or au pair to remember that the problems involved in moving are temporary.

 

Relocating nannies usually feel better once they’ve had time to settle-in. Moving to become a nanny or au pair in a different town means learning new streets, new faces, and new ways of doing things. People may dress or speak a little bit differently. The slang and accents may sound different in the new community. It’s natural for people to feel out of place in a new situation where they don’t know the customs and rules.

If the caregiver has experienced homesickness before, such as when they were a child attending summer camp, they are more likely to be homesick when they move as an adult. If the caregiver thinks that homesickness will be a problem, coupled with negative first impressions and low expectations for a new home and city they have moved to, it is likely they will feel homesick. In other words, if the caregiver thinks they will be homesick, they will be homesick.

But, secure individuals with high self-esteem, that enjoy their independence, have the personality to explore, and solid social skills, will adjust well to a new environment. Although there is no way to completely eliminate the anxiety of moving, there are many ways to make the move easier. Nannies should make a list of positives and negatives about moving before moving so their expectations are realistic. It is easy for caregivers get caught up in the whirlwind and excitement of moving, forgetting that they are moving to do a job and most of the work week will be spent working with children in the house, rather than sight seeing around the metropolitan area.

Before moving, nannies can get to know more about their new home. The Internet and library should contain information about the new community. Caregivers should make a list of their interests and hobbies, and then find the locations and phone numbers of places where those activities take place.

Once in the new environment a great way to cope with feelings of homesickness is to keep busy. Nannies should get out of the house on days off. They should travel to the closest metropolitan city and visit museums, landmarks, ethnic restaurants, and any tourist attractions they would regret not experiencing during their stay. They can attend religious activities at houses of worship and volunteer as ways to keep busy with people who share similar interests.

The best way to prevent homesickness is to make new friends. Find friendships among other staff members. If there is a chef, housekeeper, driver, or dog walker that you like, make plans to socialize after work. Be careful not to spend too much time chatting when you’re working though.

Nannies and au pairs should ask the nanny referral agency or au pair agency that placed them, for a volunteer list of names and phone numbers of the other childcare providers they have placed in the area.

Nannies and au pairs can also contact local nanny groups. Just “google” the phrase “Nanny Support Groups” on the Internet to find contact names and numbers of nannies to meet.

Keep in touch with family and friends from home. The quickest and cheapest way to stay in contact with family and friends far away is by email. Nannies and au pairs can download Skpe for free and stay in contact using a web cam. But, employees must remember that they are living and working in someone else’s home. In-homc childcare providers must use the Internet in a professional manner.

Although it may be inevitable that live-in nannies moving across country and au pairs moving to a new country will feel a little homesick, knowing that missing familiar places, faces, and activities is only temporary. Most live-in nannies adjust to the new location just fine. For those that love kids and to travel, being a live-in nanny is a wonderful opportunity.

Do you have any advice for caregivers about to relocate to be a live-in, in-home childcare provider?

Comments

  1. I do not understand why nanny agencies don’t provide this information for their nannies about to move. This is great info. I wish I had read this and understood that homesickness is normal. I think au pair agencies probably do a better job at this since I remember reading my friend au pair’s info and it was very complete including a list of clothing she would need once she came to america. Could you imagine moving from South Africa (hot) to Boston (cold)? She was FREEZING even with the clothes she brought on the list. But she didn’t even have heavy socks she only brought panty hose and peds never experiencing snow before. The mother had to buy her new clothes because she didn’t arrive with enough money to purchase her own.Sara, Live-In, Darien CT

  2. I think that most live-in nannies that hate their jobs are most likely homesick. I think that being homesick may be why they hate their jobs. 99% of the nannies I know that leave during the first year of nannying or at the end just one year are inexperienced, live in nannies that are homesick.

  3. I think a lot of nannies and au pairs unfairly blame the parents and children they care and work for instead of realizing the problem is that they are homesick.

  4. I read a great little article about how to help your au pair feel comfortable and part of the family right off the bat, to try and prevent homesickness. Worth a read:http://www.goarticles.com/cgi-bin/showa.cgi?C=1562493

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