Claudia and her family live in Vancouver, Canada, and have welcomed as many as six au pairs through AuPairWorld so far.
When was the first time you hosted an au pair and why?
Originally, I am from Germany, which makes it so important to me to allow my son and daughter to learn German, as well. In England, where we lived until about seven years ago, we always had German speaking nannies around to ensure that there was another adult at home who would help our kids get acquainted with the language.
Here in Canada, it is rather difficult to find German speaking nannies, as most of them are from Asia. Thus, we stumbled upon the idea of hosting an au pair. Ever since then, we have been having a new family member from Germany every year.
What are the pros and cons of hosting an au pair?
I don't really see any cons. Otherwise, we wouldn't be hosting our seventh au pair right now! You definitely need to be flexible and to accept each person as they are. This also includes accepting the fact that they may be running things slightly differently from what you personally may be used to. To me, this seems like a fair compromise, given that we have a flexible, German-speaking person at home who takes care of our kids and with whom they identify better in terms of age, compared to a nanny. Maybe even somebody who is prepared to bounce along on the trampoline or play soccer. And I think that it's particularly valuable for my teenage daughter to have someone around to turn to who still has a close connection to her own teenage years.
What kind of impact do au pairs have on your family life?
They certainly have a lasting impact! Both of my children still maintain contact to several of our former au pairs. And I have compiled quite an impressive collection of mouthwatering recipes and clever household tricks which my au pairs have shared with me. Some of the girls have even come to see us afterwards and spent their holidays here in Canada. In return, we've also met up with them when travelling to Germany. It is, without a doubt, a very special relationship you establish.
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