10 Great Tips for a First Time Au Pair
- Get a written agreement that details exactly what your responsibilities, schedule, and payment will be. Au pairs are usually expected to assist with childcare and some household chores, but leaving this wide open may lead to misunderstandings later.
- Have a pleasant attitude. A stressful situation doesn’t always bring out the best in people, so it’s important to be aware of the way you interact with the host family.
- Pay attention to instructions and the details of how the family expects you to perform your appointed tasks. Things that may seem unimportant to you, such as what the kids are allowed to watch on television or when snacks are offered, are often a big deal to parents.
- Never attempt to discipline the children. Take the necessary steps to keep them safe, but bring all behavioral issues to the parents.
- Take initiative and do things without being asked. Offer to pitch in and help with simple tasks, such as loading the dishwasher or sweeping the floor, if it seems like someone in your host family could use a hand.
- Be responsible. Pay close attention to the children when they are in your care. Accidents happen quickly and it’s crucial that you not allow yourself to be distracted by phone calls or the internet when you are in charge of the children.
- Pursue outside interests and connect with other people your age. Enjoy yourself and don’t let this opportunity to explore a new place pass you by.
- Communicate with your host family about your interests and the things you do in your scheduled free time. There’s no need to share every detail of your private life, but be willing to give them an idea of what you’re up to.
- Respect the family’s boundaries. While you are a welcome addition to the home, it’s important to allow them space to function as a family unit while you pursue other interests.
- Talk to your host family about any concerns that you may have. Conflict can often be avoided by discussing issues before they turn into major problems.
Respect for the host family, an awareness of your responsibilities and finding ways to enjoy the new country you find yourself in are key factors in becoming a successful first time au pair. Take full advantage of all of the opportunities presented by the arrangement and you will be left with fun memories that last a life time.