In order to be well-prepared, you should get in touch with your future au pair frequently before he or she arrives. This can easily be done via Skype, telephone or e-mail. In this way you can start to get to know each other and get an impression of how your favourite candidate will get along with your children and the rest of the family. Does your preferred au pair live in a neighbouring country? Why not invite him or her over to get to know each other personally.
Talk about your mutual expectations, the au pair duties and other important things. This also helps you to get a better idea of your au pair's language skills. Note down beforehand all the most important points in a contract. This helps you to avoid future misunderstandings and problems. It also provides security for you and your au pair.
Another possibility to learn more about your future temporary family member is to ask the au pair to provide you with some references. Receiving some external feedback about the au pair can be useful.
„We believe that the best thing to do is to spend a few weeks at home helping the au pair settle in with the children. It can be difficult to set a routine. Therefore, we have established a time table. Some au pairs like to share our meals. Maria, for example, preferred to go to classes or to exercise and then eat later. That was fine because we would sit and chat when I came home from work or at the weekends."
(Ciara, host mother from Ireland)
Drafting a schedule can prove very helpful for you and your au pair. Duties, working time, appointments, times of babysitting and free time should be written down. This helps your au pair to know precisely when you need him or her and when he or she may take some time off or attend a language course.
In addition, you should talk to your au pair about what is important to you when it comes to the education of your children. For instance, you should tell your au pair if you do not want your children to be watching too much TV. You might also need to explain some things to your au pair which you take for granted, such as the use of certain household appliances. Before you ask your au pair to take your children to school, show him or her your neighbourhood and all the ways that he or she will have to walk or drive during the stay.
Talking to each other helps! Let your au pair know that he or she can always talk to you. In case you have any questions or would like to clarify something, do not hesitate to approach your au pair. This will help you to get to know each other better and make it possible to avoid problems or to solve them quickly.
In case of emergency, your au pair should be able to reach you when you are away. Therefore, make sure that he or she has all important telephone numbers (mobile number, office number) readily at hand. You could hang a list of phone numbers near the telephone. Do not forget to include all emergency numbers.
Do you have any more questions or need further advice? Contact us!