Are you considering to be an au pair? Or are you already an au pair and you are looking for ways to become better at it? This article has tips that can help you find the right host family for you.
Being an Au Pair is a fun job. Although it is always being compared to being a Nanny, there are a lot of difference from being an Au Pair to being a Nanny. You can start by looking at the meaning of “Au Pair” which is “living on equal terms”. Bringing that to mind, also remember these tips when you want to be an Aupair.
Look out for resources that you can use.
Before starting to be an Au-pair, the first thing you want to do is look at the possible resources where you can find AuPair listings. In our modern age today, you can find hundreds of resources. Before you do so, however, you have to decide which of the two most common ways of looking for Au Pair listings you are going to try first.
Through an AuPair agency.
The advantage of going through an agency is that you have a third party that will make sure that the terms of employment that you talked about in the beginning with your host family is upheld by both parties. If you want to learn more about au pair agencies, you can go to the International Au Pair Association.
The downside though is that you have to pay the agency a fee, and the au pair salary might be a little lower than what the host family is willing to pay for. This is because the agency will get their cut. But if you think about your safety and your security regarding the contract, then the fee may just be a little investment for you.
Through networking sites.
There are a lot of networking websites that you can find in the internet like NannyBest. These websites are not agencies, they don’t serve as a third party to your endeavor as an aupair. But they do however offer to post a listing of host families that are looking for aupairs as well as the profiles of au-pairs that are looking for host families.
Just like going for an agency, going for these portal networking websites has their own disadvantages too. The most notable disadvantage is that networking websites do not guarantee that your contract will be upheld by the family. They do not guarantee that you will be safe, it will be up to you to make sure you are safe and that your contract will be followed.
Determine what kind of relationship you want to have with the family.
Initially, aupairs are supposed to be a part of their host families lives. They are tagged along to every gathering they go to, even vacations and outdoor adventures. But of course just like everything else in our world today, you can’t get the best of everything. There will bound to be some families that will not treat their aupairs like families. This is just like being a nanny, you cannot be sure that you’ll get hired by a family that will be nice to you or not.
When you decide to use the services of an agency, you have to make sure that you become clear with what you want to gain from the experience even before they go look for a host family for you. Giving your guidelines and being clear on what you want will help them screen the families for you. If you want to be considered as a family and tag along every gathering, tell them. There will be bound to be host families that are willing to take their aupairs to everywhere they go. The chance of being paired up with a family that you’ll love is greater this way.
In the same way, when you choose to use the services of a networking portal, you have to be ready to be firm about your guidelines and not just say yes to the first family that answers your query.
Make sure you have a contract and you do a background check.
Talking to someone for the first time on Skype can be nerve-wrecking. More so, if you are talking to someone who you will be living with for the next couples of months. You will have to make sure to ask the right questions and make sure that you touch the basic topics like, religion, parenting style, career, or other beliefs.
Some of the mentioned topics may be hard and awkward to tackle in your Skype conversation, but you’ll have to muster your courage to do so. If you don’t you might end up being the only one in the family who disciplines their children, it might mean a bad reputation for you. Or you might accidentally feed the children something that they believe or their religion tell them that is wrong.
As a part of your background check, you may want to contact the previous au pairs that lived with them, ask them were they like or what difficulties they have encountered. If you are the first aupair that they are considering to host, check whether they had a babysitter before, or even a gardener. Just look for possible references before jumping in with them. Remember, it is easy to appear nice when you are talking to each other the first time.
Another thing you must not forget is the contract. Even if it is not a legal contract, you just have to have a written employment details that you can come back to in case of any dispute. The contract should have an overview of your weekly schedule, all the tasks that they are expecting from you, your room and board agreement, flight compensation (if any), over time, vacation time and language classes.
Making sure you have a contract will lessen the instances where you may be treated unjustly. If you have a contract, the moment that you feel violated by any mistreatment, consult your contract and make sure you let your host family know.
Do not aim to impress.
I know it is normal to want to impress your host family when you talk to them the first time. Getting them impressed may just be your ticket to becoming an aupair. But in wanting to impress them, you have to make sure that you only tell them the truth about yourself. Making up skills and stories just so they will choose you is not a very good idea.
A good example is telling them that you have experience in taking care of babies even if you didn’t. You though you would be safe because the youngest child that the family you are talking to has is nearly 10. But then, while you are already in their employment, the mom gets pregnant and you’ll be able to reach the baby’s birth before your contract ends. This is a really tight spot for you, what if you were asked to bathe the baby of take care of it for the whole day, would you know what to do?
If you really want to have a happy relationship with your host family, you have to be honest, even if it means you’ll lose the chance to impress them, who knows, your honesty may just be the one to impress them the most.
Learn to say no.
The first thing you have to trust after all these tips is of course your instincts. We have instincts for a reason. If you have an uneasy feeling while talking to a family on Skype. Gauge your instincts, maybe it is telling you that this family is not someone you can trust. In times like these you have to say no. Remember, in everything that you do, especially in thing like these where you will be away from home, your safety must always be first.