After your first days as an au pair in the host country and after settling in, your daily routine as an au pair starts. This means that your host parents will go back to their daily lives and you will take care of the children of the host family by yourself. How a day as an au pair and your work plan will look like exactly depends on the individual needs of your host family. You probably already know roughly what is expected from you from former phone calls and from exchanging emails with your host family before your trip. Now, with a weekly plan and your work hours, you will get the details.
If the children of the family go to kindergarten or to school you usually have the mornings off and your au pair work time starts around noon when the children get back home.
These examples are just meant to give you an idea about your work as an au pair . Of course, the structure of your work time could also be completely different.
Your au pair work time of 30 hours per week (at the most) should be spent meaningfully. 30 hours are a long time and as an au pair you should think about how to organize and structure the time you spend with the children. Plan exactly what you want to do with them. It is not the purpose of your au pair job to put the children in front of the TV for hours. If you don’t get creative you and the children will be bored pretty fast and it would create bad vibes.
Look online for instructions to make handicrafts; plan bike trips or other excursions; ask where the closest library is. There are so many options and you can plan so many things with the children, you just have to take the initiative. Talk about this with your host parents, too, and ask them for their opinion.
Also, you should create your weekly plan together with your host family. Every member of the family writes down his or her appointments. You should also include your weekly plans (such as your language classes, dates, planned trips). In the weekly plan you should also write down the times when you have to pick up the children from kindergarten or from school. As an au pair you will also have to do little chores around the house, add these to your weekly plan, too so you won’t forget them. This way, your weekly plan is also your work plan.
By the way, you don’t have to do all the tasks in the house by yourself. Think about some chores where the children could help you. Obviously, when dividing the work you should also consider the age of the children. But children usually love to help and they are eager to help with chores that are normally only done by adults.
A weekly plan also gives you and your host family more stability. You know exactly what your work hours are and also when you have free time to do whatever you want.
But it also should be mentioned that creating a weekly plan requires time and some thinking. It is possible that your host parents are too busy or too tired to create a weekly plan for you or to organize your work schedule. If that’s the case help them because the weekly plan has many advantages for you as well and it will keep things running smoothly in the family. Just start creating a weekly plan, writing down all the appointments that you know – that way your host parents just have to add what’s missing.
Here you can download an example of a weekly plan for au pairs for free.
If your host parents have to travel a lot for their jobs they probably won’t always have the time to call and inform you about some last minute change in your weekly schedule. In this case we suggest using Google Calendar in addition to your weekly plan.
The Google Calendar is free and you can enter appointments online or with a smartphone. You can also invite other users (for example the parents can invite you) to view the schedule. That way your weekly plan is more interactive and can be updated constantly. If you don’t have a smartphone you can set Google Calendar to send you a free text message to your phone automatically if there are any changes in the working schedule. If you want to use Google Calendar you need to have a Google account (meaning: every family member needs Google Calendar). As email address you could use for example: au-pair-fam-(the family’s last name)@gmail.com.
If you think that using Google Calendar would be helpful to organize your weekly plan and your work schedule you should suggest it to your host parents. Most host parents welcome suggestions that make their complicated lives easier.