There are many things to remember when looking for a host family au pair. You may have heard of families unhappy with their Au Pair, so it is important to ask questions via Skype or telephone during the interview.
They Have Kids
One of the main concerns for au pairs is if they will have children to care for. This is a big responsibility, and many au pairs worry they won’t be able to handle it. Finding a family with kids, you feel comfortable with and who will treat you as a family member is important. When you interview a family, ask about the ages of their children and if they have any special needs. Also, ask them about their schedules and activities they like to do with the children. This will help you to get to know them and understand how the family operates. In addition, it’s a good idea to ensure you are comfortable with the family’s rules and routines. It is also helpful to find out if the children are well-behaved and if they follow a particular diet. This will be important to consider when planning your schedule for the week.
They Have Experience
One of the biggest complaints au pairs have is that they feel shut out of family life. When a family doesn’t invite the au pair to meals or weekend outings, it can make them feel lonely and resentful. If a host family isn’t inviting the au pair to these events, it might be worth asking them why. Of course, don’t take what they say as the gospel truth – maybe they had a bad experience that left them feeling sour, or perhaps they just had different expectations of the au pair role. If the family has hosted an au pair before, they’ll know how important it is for the au pair to feel involved in family life. It’s worth discussing this during the interview to ensure both parties are on the same page. For example, if the au pair has a dietary restriction or allergy, discussing this beforehand is good to avoid misunderstandings.
They Are Flexible
A major aspect of being an au pair is balancing work and life responsibilities. The family you choose must understand that being an au pair isn’t like a regular job and that there will be times when your responsibilities may take priority over family time. It’s a good idea to ask the family about their expectations of you during your interview and ensure they align with yours. For example, if the family wants you to spend every weekend with them, you must decide whether to do this. It’s also a good idea to ask the family if they have hosted an au pair before and to request that you be given the phone number or email address of one so that you can speak to them about their experience. This will help ensure you get a true sense of what it’s like to live with this host family.
They Are Honest
When it comes to hosting an au pair, trust is essential. Au pairs need to know that their hosts can be trusted and that they will respect their privacy and time off. Some of the biggest complaints from au pairs are curfews or unnecessary restrictions that make their lives harder.
Host families need to be honest with their au pairs about how much they work, what their expectations are, and the family’s overall lifestyle. This is important to avoid miscommunication or misunderstandings, especially in the beginning. It is also a good idea for host families to ask the au pair what they expect of them regarding off-duty activities because the line between work and not work can get blurry when living with children. Some families like for their au pair to join them for meals, outings, and holidays, while others prefer that they live a more independent life. Having these conversations upfront will help avoid any issues down the road.
They Are Flexible With Payment
Au pairs are expected to do much more than care for the host kids. They are also expected to help around the house and do additional duties, like cooking or driving. It is important for au pairs to know what their non-negotiables are and to find a family that meets them. For example, if an au pair is uncomfortable driving, don’t interview families who require this. Likewise, if an au pair wants to only work with teens, it’s best to communicate with families open to this.
When interviewing with a potential host family, it is always a good idea to make sure that you are both on the same page about how much driving they need, what the expectations of their au pair are, and how often they will take time off. This ensures that both parties have a positive experience. It is also important to discuss dietary requirements early on, especially if there are any food allergies. This will ensure understanding and frustrations are understood.