Not many know me, but let me introduce myself. I'm new to the EYA ambassador team and I'm happy to write my first piece. I'm Natasha, a South African au pair that lives in the beautiful Horse Derby city, Louisville, Kentucky.
Almost all the friends I've met along my journey have told me about their difficult host kids and I have some stories too. I've been an au pair for 2 years and I've had three host families. Every host kid that I've had, has been difficult in their own way, and numerous times I've ended up crying, asking myself why I'm doing what I'm doing. I've wanted to pack my bags many times before and run for the hills.
The most difficult host kid I've ever had, is one of the 13 year old girls. Having ADHD and OCD, she constantly gets distracted or ends up fighting with me when she needs to do stuff, and like every person reaching a certain edge after fighting with someone for 30 minutes to go do something, we all get angry sometimes, but I just try to keep my cool and go. In about 2 minutes I'll try again. It's just better trying to contain your anger than doing something you'll regret, because in the end, they are just kids and they were put in this earth to test our limits, just as we were put on earth to test our parents limits. And believe me, after hearing "I hate you Natasha" a 100 times a day, nothing makes me happier then hearing "I love you Natasha, I'm sorry I was mean to you, you're the best Au pair ever" a few minutes after. Keeping your cool is the most important thing we as childcare givers can do. Even though my host kids have made me lose my mind and still do, there's quirky little things about them that makes me love them.
Here are some tips on how to deal with difficult host kids :
1. The first thing I normally start doing is, I start swearing in my home language. They are American, they are not going to understand what you're saying and if they ask what it means just make up a word. I promise, it will help a lot!
2. You can also tell yourself that after work you'll get some grown-ups treats, because hard working independent men/women deserves an adult reward, or if you're underaged, you can treat yourself with some ice cream (in moderation). I promise it will help you stay focused and not express your anger.
3. Calmly take them in your arms and speak to them in a low level voice, usually what helps is if you get on their level and look them in the eye, or giving them a hug while you're talking to them. I promise, I've won most of my battles by doing this.
4. Try convincing your kids that you'll take them for ice cream or a fun activity the next day (even though bribing is not the best way to go), it helps them cool down and start listening to you.
5. If you're in the car and your kids start being difficult, make sure to have their favorite toy or thing to do in the car, and put on their favorite music, they will calm down and feel better.
6.MOST IMPORTANT! If you ever had to deal with a host kid kicking and screaming and being difficult and you honestly can't take it anymore, just take a physical distance from them, take a few breaths and try again. Your host kid will be fine on their own for a few minutes, it's better than doing something that you'll forever regret in the end.
Don't let difficult host kids mess up your year. We all have been there, done that, got the tshirt. Believe me. They are just kids trying to be understood. Today they will hate you, tomorrow they will love you! But in the end, it's what you make of your year. You're the author of your story! Take breaths, count to ten and you'll be fine.
Feel free to share your stories and tips on how you deal with difficult host kids in the comment section or on our Snapchat account (EYA_aupair).
I will be available on Snapchat this weekend to give you more tips.