7 Handbag essentials
for au pairs
Until children are close to their teens, it makes sense to carry around some essentials in your bag, to make sure you are equipped for all eventualities. These essentials go beyond the usual diapers bag you need when you still have a baby to push around in a pram.
Even though it seems unlikely to forget your phone, make sure you have it with you. Also remember to have it charged or carry a power bank with you! I always encourage my au pairs to have my husband’s and my phone number in her contacts, as well as the phone number of our neighbors (if they agree!), (pre-)school, doctor, emergency number of the fire department and police and a local cab company. I also have my au pair put 20€ behind her phone case for emergencies.
Another thing I would recommend is to install one or two age appropriate games on your phone. If you get stuck in traffic, or the train is late, or you have to wait in a looooong cue, having an easy to play game on your phone to keep the children entertained really does help.
Nothing seems more obvious than taking your keys when you go, but even I have forgotten on occasion.
Wipes and tissues
Children always get their hands dirty! They touch things, eat sticky food, spill their drink… you know what I mean! I encourage my au pairs to always have a pack of hand wipes with her, just in case.
Same goes for tissues. Three out of four seasons kids usually run around with a runny nose, at least when they are still in the toddler phase. Kids seem to hate the idea of using a tissue to wipe their nose, but it’s still a good idea to have a pack on your hands, in case it is needed.
A snack and something to drink
Children are always hungry or thirsty, even if they just ate a huge lunch. When packing foods and drinks, make sure to opt for healthy alternatives. Water is a good idea and it actually quenches your first and is okay to drink even when it gets a little warm. Juices usually start to taste yucky when they get warm and things like coke don’t actually quench your first. When opting for snacks, pack things which won’t melt (chocolate) and which can be re-sealed so that the content of the packaging doesn’t empty itself in your bag! I like to opt for small pretzels (a German favorite) or some cut up apples (with lemon, so that they don’t go brown).
First aid basics
You don’t need a full blown first aid kit, but especially when dealing with girls, remember to take some band-aids (those with cheerful pictures on them). An antiseptic spay is good to take along if you are doing something outdoors, like riding a bike or going for a walk in the forest.
Hairbands (girls only 😉 )
If you are taking care of girls ALWAYS have hairbands with you! My husband always has some stored in the car and also in his jean’s pockets. I usually have one of my hairbands around my wrist as a spare. I don’t know why, but girls tend to lose their hairbands all of the time, or they simply don’t want them in their hair. But when the time comes, you will be thankful to have one on your hands!
Body spray or perfume
I always have a small, fruity deodorant spray with me. Of course, this helps if I am getting warm and sweaty. But sometimes public toilets can really smell terribly and then you will be thankful for something sweet to cover that smell. Children usually need to go to the bathroom at exactly the wrong moment, so I got used to carrying around some kind of sweet spray to mask any other smells when needed.