Over the past two weeks, I’ve seen a lot of au pair friends leave England to go home to their families because of Coronavirus. Some of them because they don’t want to get stuck in England, with many countries closing their borders. Others because their parents asked them to come home.
Talk to your host parents.
If you’re concerned about anything, let your host family know. They will (hopefully) be understanding and try to change some things around so that you’re more comfortable working with the kids.
It’s especially important to talk to them if you’re thinking about leaving early. Try to do this as early as possible – even if you haven’t decided yet, you should let them know it’s a possibility. Schools in the UK close today for an undetermined period of time. But that doesn’t mean parents won’t need your help anymore. If anything, they’ll need more help than before. So be aware of that and try to help them out as much as you can.
Turn on the tv, look at the news, learn what’s going on in both your home country and the country that you’re an au pair in. Keep track of the situation and stay in touch with family and friends – not only so you know if they’re okay but also to let them know that you’re still alive!
Pay extra attention to washing your hands
Looking after kids can be a very messy job, especially if they’re still young. Take hand gel or wipes with you whenever you’re out with the kids to keep their hands (and your own) clean. Help them wash their hands when you get home if they’re too young to do it themselves and try to turn it into a fun activity by singing different songs while doing it!
Stop hanging out in groups
The government has been talking about social distancing since the first cases of Coronavirus were confirmed in England. But for some reason, a lot of au pairs that I know don’t seem to understand that hanging out together can spread the virus. This past week, they’ve still gone out to cafes and other public places nearly every day. Which is not the best thing to do.
It might be isolating to be in a strange country, in the house of a family that’s not your own, without being able to go outside and meet your friends. But that’s just the way things are at the moment. And just imagine how terrible you’ll feel if someone else falls ill because you were a carrier of the virus!
Stay safe! And let’s hope things get better soon!