Au pair means “equal to” in French. Most often, an au pair is a young person who may or may not have any formal training when it comes to childcare. An au pair usually travels from a foreign country and takes up residence in the host’s house in exchange for food, lodging, and some money. The au pair is expected to become a part of the family and take care of the children. The remuneration paid to an au pair is often lesser than what a nanny receives because the au pair partakes in meals and stays at the same residence as the person who is hiring their services. Some parents describe it as adopting an additional child because expenses go up, groceries get over faster, and the prices of utilities increase. However, families save a considerable amount of money on childcare services when they hire an au pair.
Following are some dos and don’ts that au pairs should follow when it comes to childcare.
- Open channels of communication
Given the delicate nature of each household, it is vital for the au pair to seamlessly integrate within this new system rather than disrupt it entirely. As an au pair, you are looking to communicate with your new family, but at the same time, you do not want to become a burden. As each family is different, you must learn to read the room and decide whether it is a decent time to talk. If you want an extra holiday or are staying out late at night, it is essential that you figure out the best time to ask for permission and schedule some time off beforehand.
- Participation and bonding
The host family will often invite you to dinners and other events so that you integrate into the family. You should try to have a good time with your new family as this will help you bond better and stay in their good books. It is also crucial to have your own social life. This way, you are not in the house all the time, and you can give the family some privacy when needed. Try not to depend on the host entirely. You could attempt to find new ways to keep yourself entertained.
- Subordination of individual needs over family interests
It is important to stay flexible and work as per the host’s time. If they need childcare services, the au pair should accommodate them and their requests. To ensure that things move smoothly, try to move your plans around if there is a clash. Always try to help your host family. At the same time, this does not mean that you let them walk all over you. You must stay firm and request prior notice in all situations except for unexpected events.