While stay-at-home orders may have been lifted across the United States, states have reopened at different rates and schedules. COVID-19 cases have continued to rise, so a number of those states have rolled back some of these steps. Staying healthy and practicing precautions is the best way to prevent transmission of the virus. That’s true when an au pair is working with children, and socializing on his/her own time.
The best au pair/host family relationships are built on open and frequent communication. Weekly meetings have never been more critical, and if you’re not having meetings, now is a great time to start. Make sure you discuss the coming week and children’s activities. Discuss safety precautions from the CDC that include face-coverings (though not for Under-2’s) and hand sanitizer. Discuss safe activities and play areas. Be aware of local rules and regulations and talk through them with your host family and local coordinator.
For au pairs on their time off, it’s essential to follow your host family’s guidelines. You’re protecting yourself and everyone you come in contact with, and everyone has a responsibility to practice distancing and wear face coverings. You will find that other au pairs and their host families have their own guidelines. Just as we all have our own opinions, we should respect what others decide is best for them; as they should respect the guidelines you follow for you and your host family.
In addition to all the things we carry in normal times, make sure you have an excellent COVID-19 hygiene process, both with children and on your own.
- A dedicated bag in the car stocked with spare, clean masks, hand sanitizer, and wipes is a good start.
- Have fresh masks for each person when out and always carry personal hand sanitizer with you.
- Have clean masks and hand sanitizer by the door of the house. Model for children and be aware of social distancing everywhere you go.
If you begin to experience symptoms of illness, speak with your host parents immediately and self-isolate if necessary. Working as a team with your host family, taking extra precautions and practicing smart hygiene will not only keep everyone safe in the home, it will help get all of us back to our normal activities sooner! Stay safe, stay well and look for positive ways to socialize safely with friends and extended family!