Safety precautions for host families

Safety precautions for host families

Inviting an au pair into your family brings lots of benefits but it also requires readjustments for all concerned. Take time particularly at the beginning of the au pair stay to make sure that everyone is getting used to the new situation in a safe and positive way.

Au pair and host family together

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Take some days off at the beginning and accompany your au pair through the daily routine he or she will soon be following alone. This gives you the chance to clearly communicate your wishes and help the au pair to understand how to handle different situations (e.g. the way to school, addresses for shopping or sports or music lessons, etc.)
  • Try to think about the situation in your home and in your country and culture from the perspective of a young person from a foreign country. Point out possible difficulties, give tips about local customs and practices. Without being alarmist, think about what could go wrong and help your au pair to avoid risks during his or her duties in your home and during leisure time.
  • Tell your au pair clearly what is important for you regarding your children. What are your rules for television and computer? What activities should the au pair promote and what should be avoided? Give clear guidelines and the au pair can be integrated into your family more effectively, happily and safely, too.
  • Prepare a weekly schedule and discuss it at a weekly “planning meeting”. It's a good way to avoid inconvenient surprises.
  • Give your au pair a list of any important telephone numbers that could be useful for everyday activities or for emergencies – mobile phone numbers for both parents or other important caregivers for the children, fire and police numbers, family doctor and emergency medical numbers. Talk about what should be done if an emergency occurs.
  • Talk regularly and extensively with your au pair. Make it clear that you are always ready to hear concerns and questions. Remember that young people sometimes need help communicating their concerns. Be ready to take the initiative.

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