how to help your au pair deal with homesickness in Canada

Helping Your Au Pair Overcome Homesickness in Canada



The au pair program, an enriching cultural exchange involving a live-in domestic assistant from a foreign country, can be a tremendous experience for both the host family and the au pair. However, homesickness can often overshadow this wonderful adventure, making it challenging for the au pair to fully immerse in the experience. This article will provide tips on how to help your au pair overcome homesickness in Canada and ensure a fulfilling journey for everyone involved.

Understanding Homesickness

Homesickness can be an emotional state stemming from the absence of familiar surroundings, people, culture, and routine. In the context of an au pair, homesickness can also be driven by the challenges of settling into a new role and family dynamics, language barriers, or dealing with a vastly different climate, such as Canada’s harsh winter.



  1. Fostering a Welcoming Environment

Creating a warm, welcoming, and inclusive atmosphere can do wonders in helping your au pair feel at home. Include them in family meals, activities, and traditions to help them feel like part of the family. Additionally, provide them with a comfortable and private space of their own where they can retreat and relax.


  1. Encouraging Connection with Home

Encourage your au pair to maintain contact with their friends and family back home. Facilitate regular video calls and allow them the privacy and time to communicate with their loved ones. It’s also nice to celebrate important dates from their home country or cook traditional meals together, keeping them connected with their roots.


  1. Assisting in Language Acquisition

If English or French is not their first language, offer assistance in language acquisition. You could provide resources like language learning apps, connect them with language classes, or simply engage in regular conversations.


  1. Introducing them to Local Communities

Help your au pair find local communities where they can meet people from their home country or other au pairs. This can help them build their social network, learn from others’ experiences, and feel less alone in their journey.


  1. Promoting Exploration and Canadian Culture

Encourage your au pair to explore the local area and familiarize themselves with Canadian culture. This could include visits to local museums, landmarks, festivals, or sporting events. Also, explain Canadian traditions, holidays, and social norms to help them better understand and appreciate their new environment.


  1. Taking Care of Their Mental Health

Maintain open and honest communication with your au pair regarding their mental health. Offer reassurance and empathy, and if necessary, help them seek professional support.


  1. Providing Adequate Time Off

Ensure your au pair gets sufficient time off. This allows them to relax, explore, or just have some alone time, which can contribute significantly to their overall well-being.


  1. Encouraging Physical Activities

Encourage regular exercise or participation in physical activities. Not only does it help keep them healthy, but it also promotes mental well-being and can be a great way for them to meet new people.


Homesickness can be a tough hurdle for au pairs, but with understanding, patience, and the right approach, host families can help their au pairs navigate these feelings. Remember, it is important to continually encourage open dialogue, respect their feelings, and provide a support system to help them adjust to their new life in Canada. By doing so, you can ensure a fulfilling experience for your au pair, contributing to the overall success of this cultural exchange.

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