So, you’ve decided to embark on the fulfilling journey of hiring a bilingual helper. While the benefits are endless from the household support, to the bilingual environment for your child, you may be wondering exactly how you will communicate with an employee from a different culture or lingual background.
Thankfully, this process is often much easier than anticipated, and many parents find that the rewards of bilingual help greatly outweigh any initial anxiety they may feel in interacting with the new caregiver. While it can sometimes be a learning process for both you and your helper, there are certain things you can do to make the transition smoother.
Don’t Be Scared to Use Translation Services
In the beginning, you may be overwhelmed by the idea of communicating with someone who is less familiar with your native culture or language. However, what is really important is making sure that both you and your helper are on the same page about responsibilities and guidelines. In the beginning, some may find it helpful to hire a translator for the first meeting or may want to employ the use of one of the many free translation apps available on the market in case of a misunderstanding.
Furthermore, when going over tasks, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification any time there is confusion, and emphasize that you want your nanny to feel comfortable communicating with you.
Learn a Few Phrases
Many parents hire bilingual helpers in order to expose their child to a bilingual environment but overlook how it can benefit them too! A great way to communicate with your bilingual caregiver, and also show them that you value and respect their bilingual identity, is by learning a few key phrases in their native language.
This also shows your caregiver that you don’t expect them to do all of the work in adapting to your method of communication and can lead to more positive and trusting relationships. For example, if you hire a Spanish caregiver, learning a few phrases for tasks such as lavar la ropa (wash the clothes), or juegue con los niños (play with the children) can be a positive way to bond with your caregiver, and also improve your own skills at a second language.
Be Respectful, but Don’t Generalize
Hiring a caregiver from a different language background is a great opportunity for both you and your family to learn more about a different culture and customs. However, if at first you are confused by something your caregiver does, never be judgmental and instead kindly approach them about it. Encourage an open dialogue about any differences you both may feel, and how they are not negatives, but just areas to improve communication.
That being said, just because you are hiring a bilingual caregiver does not mean that they subscribe to all of the cultural stereotypes that are associated with their language. Try to be open in remembering that every caregiver comes from a bilingual environment that is unique to them and their family, and assuming that they will behave a certain way, or have certain customs, just based on their language may make your caregiver feel uncomfortable.
Be Patient, and Positive!
While there are many tips and tricks for making multilingual communication easier, the most important thing to remember is to be patient and be positive. Every family and caregiver are different and bilingual communication is not one-size-fits-all.
When there are misunderstandings, don’t immediately blame yourself or your caregiver, but instead look at it as a situation that you can work together to solve. Hiring a bilingual helper can be one of the most positive experiences for a family, and as time goes on communication will get easier as your caregiver acclimates to your family environment.
AyiConnect is a platform to connect families with helpers who have a language specialty in addition to care. You can engage with them directly through self service or concierge service. The concierge 1:1 service can provide another option to ensure success matches for busy families who don't have time to search or need language assist. Schedule a free consultation here for our concierge service, or check us out on ayiconnection.com