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Everyday life with au pair

The daily routine with an au pair? What will your life be like? What do you have to keep in mind? What are the challenges of a life with an au pair? Read more about "Daily life with an au pair" here!

 

Information at a glance

  • After the au pair settles in, a new routine begins
  • You should feel the support of the au pair in your daily routine
  • A weekly plan keeps your life organized
  • Talk about working hours and free time with the au pair
  • Taking language classes is part of the au pair's routine

 

Off to a good start with your au pair

alltag aupairIt is impossible to say in advance what your life as a host family will be like once the au pair arrives at your house. Before you can figure out a routine that works for everybody, there are many factors to consider.  First and foremost, host family and au pair have to get along. This is why you should be so careful in choosing the au pair in the first place, whether you do it online or through an agency .

 

If you make sure that everything goes smoothly right from the start, you will probably end up having a very good relationship with your au pair.  A piece of advice: treat your au pair the same way you would want your own children to be treated abroad . Don't forget that au pairs are young and curious and may be away from home and trying to stand on their own feet for the very first time. Be patient and willing to talk openly about problems. You should always focus on improving the situation. Avoid discussions where you are only (repeatedly) criticizing your au pair. These won't help you or your au pair. Talk about your ideas and wishes so the au pair can make adjustments.

 

 

Why you should establish an excellent rapport from the beginning?

 

The time you invest in the beginning will be worth it in the end; it will make all the difference in your life together with the au pair. During the first few days, host families and au pairs usually find out that they have a lot of things in common. This is the base for a trusting relationship. If you like each other right away, you will soon notice that the au pair will be a great help.

 

Don't expect the au pair to manage your entire household. The au pair is probably not ready for this kind of responsibility yet. Be understanding! Nobody is perfect, and even you as parents have needed some time to get used to life with children. So, give your au pair the chance to get used to the new life.

 

A weekly plan is helpful

To avoid misunderstandings  in your everyday life with the au pair, we recommend creating a weekly plan and setting some basic rules. A weekly plan structures the au pair's routine and working hours. When does the au pair have to babysit  at night? What are some general tasks? What about free time? Ideally, you should sit down with the au pair when you create the weekly plan. The more specific you are and the clearer the tasks and rules, the less confusion there will be.

 

The first weekly plan that you come up with will probably not be perfect, as it usually takes some time to figure out the perfect routine. Make sure you don't “butcher” your au pair's day; try to keep the working hours compact. Give your au pair enough time off to recover. Keep in mind that you have to leave some room for the au pair's language classes as well.

 

 

FAQs: How can we organize our everyday life with an au pair?

 

When you are trying to come up with a weekly plan for the au pair, ask yourselves the following questions:  

  • What food do we want for the children and how should the au pair prepare it?
  • At what time should the au pair give the children the food?
  • Is there a meal where everybody in the family comes together?
  • What do we want the au pair to do about the children eating candy?
  • Do the children take a nap? If so, at what time?
  • When do the children have to be where?
  • What are your children's favorite games?
  • Do the children follow a certain routine in your house?  
  • What are the names of your children's friends? Where are their phone numbers? Where do they live and can the au pair organize a play date?
  • Which subjects at school come easy to your children, where do they need help?
  • Is your au pair allowed to punish the children and how?
  • How do the household appliances like the washing machine, drier, dish washer or stove work in your house?
  • Where do you store your cleaning products? Can your au pair find them easily?
  • Where do you keep the ironing board, vacuum cleaner, broom and the products for cleaning the floors?
  • Where is the closest supermarket, post office, bakery, butcher shop or market?
  • Do you have a place where you keep household money? Where can the au pair find the money for daily household expenses?
  • What are the tasks you want your au pair to perform?
  • What things can the au pair use  (computer, car, TV), and what are off-limits?

 

Regular working hours for the au pair

Don't forget that your au pair is not supposed to work for more than five hours a day. Anything beyond this has to be an exception and the au pair has to agree.

 

If the au pair works more hours on one day, these extra hours have to be subtracted from another day. You could also work out a 6-hour-day with your au pair, but this means that the au pair gets two days off per week.

 

Your children and the au pair

Once au pair and host family have gotten used to each other and a new routine has started, the children and the au pair are probably already getting along. When you trust your au pair to spend several hours per day alone with your children, you have reached the ideal state of life with an au pair. Always leave a phone number where the au pair can reach you. It also helps if the au pair can ask a neighbor for help.

 

Phone and Internet

A smartphone and Google make your life with an au pair easier! Host parents are usually very busy people. This is actually one of the main reasons why families take in au pairs. The idea is for the au pair to help you with your children. If your daily routine is very hectic and you have to work a lot, you might not always have the time to let your au pair know in advance when something changes in the weekly plan. This is where using Google Calendar comes in handy, ideally using it together with a smartphone. These tools can be a big help for you and the au pair, and make your lives easier. Things that cross your mind spontaneously won't be forgotten any more, and you will be surprised how many things the au pair will remember without you having to ask explicitly.

 

You can inform the au pair about tasks by sending an email invite to the au pair to join the task. With Google Calendar, your au pair can see all the important tasks and appointments online or on a smartphone. If your au pair doesn't have a smartphone, you can add a cell phone number to the Google Calendar you have created. It has as an automatic reminder function: daily tasks are sent to your au pair's cell phone via text message.  This is a free Google service. In order to use Google Calendar, the au pair needs a Google account. We think that using Google Calendar could be helpful for keeping your life with the au pair more organized.

 

 

More information for host family:

The First Days with Au Pair Paperwork as a Host Family Au Pair and Children
House Rules for Au Pair After Au Pair Arrival Living and Eating
Vacation with Au Pair Au Pair and car Au Pair sick