Navigating childcare in the time of COVID
February is a short month but packs in quite a punch. In the United States it is Black History Month while around the world Valentine’s Day is especially celebrated. It has been three months since our au pair joined us from Brazil and the time has just flown by! Winter is especially harsh in the northern hemisphere but our au pai handled it like a pro. We even had our older one stay home from school a whole week as his classroom was closed due a covid positive case. It was Sean’s best week at home and he was super happy to have Big Brother give him all the attention while mommy and daddy worked. Antonio, aka Big Brother, created cardboard masterpieces as educational activities, making tropical motifs such as a coconut tree and even a functional volcano. I am amazed at how he came up with new activities for Sean all week long.
At first, as any new host would be, I was worried about Antonio adjusting to the cold and completely new lifestyle than what he knew. But from day one, it has been like welcoming a family member home. There have of course been bouts of home sickness, and even days where we have all not been at our best, but not once did it feel like we had a stranger in our home. I think it especially helped that I already had a pretty set routine for the family before his arrival, his main job was to take over the parts that would free up my work hours and give my husband and I some time to rest. We have a standard 9-5 , 5 days a week, allowing us to give Antonio time off on the weekends so he is fully recharged for his duties for the week. He takes care of morning routines to get the kids out the door and afterschool routines of dinner, play/story time, bath and bedtime.
What has helped us avoid any major conflict has been to maintain open communication and have our weekly check in without fail. I also make it a point to include Antonio when I am making the weekly schedule, so he knows what to expect and gives me feedback to make a task easier.
While we have enjoyed our snow days, we are taking a trip to Puerto Rico at the end of the month. Stay tuned for next months blog post about how to travel with your au pair!