A lot of parents have varied views on hiring someone who only speaks a foreign language when it comes to hiring an au pair. Some love the idea of hiring an au pair who is only fluent in their native tongue because it means that their children will be more likely to become fluent in a second language as well. Others, however, prefer employing an au pair who is able to speak in the same language that the child is being raised speaking. Hiring an au pair that speaks the same language as you is beneficial for the following ten reasons:
- Eliminates the need for English classes – Many au pairs who come over from another country and aren’t fluent in the host family’s native tongue require English classes so that they are able to interact with the family and society better. Whether you’re paying for the classes or they are, attending them is still going to take time out of the day, and is going to be a long process. Learning a new language isn’t easy.
- Usually more knowledgeable about your traditions – When someone has taken the time to learn your language it usually indicates that they’ve taken classes of some sort. In attending classes geared toward teaching a language you usually end up learning more about the country, the culture, and the common traditions as well. This can make the au pair’s transition into your home a smoother one.
- Communication with you is easier – Communicating with someone who doesn’t speak your language can be difficult and frustrating. It’s hard to know if things are going well or if there have been problems when you have a language barrier that is preventing you from effectively communicating with one another.
- Communication with the child is easier – Since the au pair is going to be spending their days watching your children it’s important that they be able to communicate with one another. If they are unable to communicate then both your child and the au pair can end up annoyed and unhappy.
- Able to help your children with schoolwork – Speaking the same language means that they are better able to sit down with your children and help them out if they’re having difficulty with schoolwork than if they are unable to understand what your child is struggling with.
- Eases tension a language barrier brings on – When people can’t understand each other at all there is an automatic tension that makes situations more uncomfortable and even volatile. Being able to communicate freely eliminates this unnecessary tension and makes for a lighter, happier environment.
- Easier for your au pair to interact with others – Your au pair is coming over larger to learn about your country and culture. If they don’t speak the same language as you they may find it difficult to assimilate and to learn, whereas if they do speak your language they will fit more seamlessly into society.
- Emergency situations are easier – Should some sort of emergency situation arise your au pair will be much better equipped to handle it and to interact with emergency personnel then if they are unable to explain what happened or are dependent on having a translator.
- Easier to pick up on social cues – Certain situations require people to be able to read social cues, and understanding the language is an essential part to correctly interpreting those circumstances.
- Can handle everyday tasks for you – When your au pair speaks your language they are able to go out and complete everyday tasks for you with little to no problem, such as going grocery shopping, picking up your child from school or play dates, or dropping off items at the post office. It’s much harder to accomplish these tasks if they don’t speak and understand your language.
Whether you decide to hire an au pair that speaks your language fluently or not, there are benefits to both sides. You just have to pick the one that is going to work best with your family and your goals for hosting an au pair.