In today’s fast-paced life, being a parent and pursuing a career can be very difficult. Having enough time to handle all our responsibilities feels overwhelming, and most of us could use some help from time to time. Hosting an au pair at your home can be the solution as they can become your kid’s older sisters or brothers who can take care of them when you are feeling overworked. Let’s see what it’s like to be an au pair host family.
Starting with the requirements, there are not that many criteria that you have to meet. You need to have at least one child under the age of 18 as the main responsibility of an au pair is taking care of a child. Apart from that, you will have to provide a room for the au pair as well as pocket money and a full board. Regarding the details, you have to agree on and write an au pair contract. One last important aspect is the language. As the main purpose of becoming an au pair is to learn the language and the foreign culture, as a host family you have to speak the official language of the country.
First and foremost, having an au pair is a great help when it comes to taking care of your children. As nowadays a lot of mothers choose to pursue a career next to having a family, it can be hard to manage all those responsibilities. Having a babysitter can help in some cases, but that solution is rather for date nights and can cover a few hours per week. Sending your child to nursery can be difficult and sometimes feels like a bad choice for many parents. So if those ideas are not ideal for you, then you might want to consider having an au pair.
As an au pair lives with your family, she can take care of your children all day long which gives you great flexibility with your job and other responsibilities. They can help your kid with homework, preparing lunch and taking the children to school. Apart from childcare, an au pair can help you with certain household chores which is another huge help. Altogether, it can help you maintain a healthy work-life balance without sacrificing any of your own needs or hobbies. With this option, your kids can also take up private classes or join a sport club as these arrangements can be easily handled with the help of an au pair. So, it’s a win for your whole family.
Secondly, it can give you the option of experiencing another culture. Not only it is a great experience for you, but your children can also benefit from this arrangement. They can learn about different cultures, become more open to cultural differences and maybe even learn new languages. It is like going on a year-long vacation experiencing the local habits and ways of living. Only, this way your children can experience this in the familiar surrounding of your own home.
Thirdly, it is a great option for you to help someone. As an au pair also has great benefits from this experience, you are helping her to achieve this goal. And helping is always a great feeling. Also, you can share your cultural differences as well and teach her about your lifestyle. Interestingly, many host families have mentioned, that after the one-year experience, they have built a lifelong relationship with whom they keep in touch regularly.
Lastly, if we take into consideration that an au pair is almost like a full-time help, it is a lot more cost-efficient than hiring a nanny for the whole week. Furthermore, it is a more secure and steady arrangement for your family.
How to solve problems
Apart from the advantages, there certainly can be problems or minor issues during your au pair’s stay. Let’s see how you can solve these problems to keep the positive experience for everybody!
An au pair can start feeling homesick, missing her family or familiar lifestyle. Also, the cultural difference might be more difficult to handle than expected previously. It is really important to be able to talk about these issues as you have to help your au pair handle these personal problems. It can be a good solution to arrange certain family programs, which can help help feel better such as going to the movies or having a fun family picnic.
Some people are afraid that they won’t get along with their au pair or that constant disputes and conflicts will arise. The fact that your au pair might not going to take care of her responsibilities, or will be on the phone constantly is a valid problem. There can be several issues, from not cleaning the room, going out too much or being generally ignorant. Well, this can be easily avoided by well-planned processes. You have to keep several video meetings with your au pair before signing the contract. That way you will be able to get to know each other and explore the differences between your lifestyles and everyday habits. During these meetings, you should talk through both of your expectations as well as your concerns. It might be difficult to address all the possible problems, but it is going to ensure a smooth stay for all of you.
Au pairs can sometimes be afraid of the difficulty of the language in the chosen country. Therefore, it is advised to look after the certain language, read about how difficult it is to learn it. Also, it can be useful to watch some videos or movies in the chosen language to experience it. Furthermore, reading about the experience of other au pairs or international students might also be a good way of preparing. This can help you choose the right destination for you to avoid problems during your stay.
Altogether, it can be stated that hosting an au pair is a wonderful experience for the parents and the kids as well. With detailed planning and preparations, you will be able to have a fun and exciting time as an au pair host family.