A truly successful Au Pair working relationship comes from investing in the working relationship from Day 1. During the first few days of having your Au Pair in your home, give lots of instructions as to how the household works and why you do things a certain way, so he/she can understand the nuances behind behaviours.
You must always start as you wish to continue, so have the routine ready to go.
Those first few days will be hard for everyone, getting to know each other’s quirks, starting to bond with the children and so on.
You must take charge. Always remember that the “buck stops with you”. This is your family, and if you don’t communicate what it is that you expect
It is unpleasant to talk about, but children can have dire consequences if not properly supervised. I always like to make sure the Au Pairs are reminded of risks to children–frequently. The more you impart your concerns, the more they will know what to look out for, remember most of these Au Pairs are young, with limited life experience, on a travelling holiday. I would remind my Au Pairs regularly:
Check-in with your Au Pair and check-in with your kids. It is so important your Au Pair is happy. If they are happy, they will be inclined to do the right things. Ask them how they are finding the
And finally, be kind and patient. Little things like getting a coffee for your Au Pair, if you are getting one, goes a long way to help the Au Pair feel comfortable and valued. Remember they are away from their home and little acts of kindness here and there
Good luck with your Au Pair search. There are a few horror stories in here, but with these tips, I am sure you will be finding your next “Tara” too!
Vanessa Douglas is a stay at home mum with three beautiful children. She and her family live in Brisbane. Before children, Vanessa worked as a lawyer at a top-tier Family Law firm in Brisbane. When she and her husband relocated to London, Vanessa changed career paths and began working in Legal recruitment, specialising in the Corporate and Banking & Finance sector of Private Practice. She was one of the top billing recruiters in the UK during her time with her recruitment firm. She has placed many many successful clients, overseen hundreds of resumes and has a knack for picking the right person for the right job. Her professional experience combined with her practical experience of navigating the world of ‘au pairs’ makes her article a 'must’ read.