Helpful Hints for a Successful Placement with Au pairs/Mothers Helps arriving from overseas
When you have decided to have an Au pair/ mother’s help you should keep in touch by email or whatsapp until they arrive, it will help make them feel part of your family and motivate them to stay with you.
Your Au pair should book their flight (which they normally pay for), if they are coming from abroad, as soon as possible. This is a good commitment from their side.
Start planning for your Au pair or mothers help’s arrival so that their bedroom is fully ready for them when they come to your home. They will want all the usual things – a good quality single bed, suitable bedroom furniture and lighting. They will need to have some study space in their room, and, of course, wi fi access. You will want to make sure that the rest of your home is set up for having an extra person living as part of the family. It’s always good to know what kind of food they like and have a well stocked fridge.
Your Au pair or mother’s help will appreciate you having information about language courses and local transport and amenities.
Make sure that they have your mobile and contact numbers as well as other numbers that they might need, such as the school and nursery.
Write down broadly what they are expected to do, when should they start work, when they can stop, what they should be doing during those hours. Emphasise which part of that is anything is flexible. Be clear also on what food/drink they can help themselves to. Normally snacks like chocolate and crisps they would pay for themselves, whilst normal breakfast, lunch, dinner and a normal amount of fruit should be on you. But they might not realise that…
Write a list of house ‘guidelines or do’s and don’ts’ This could include details of what happens on Mondays to Fridays in your house. You might need to add details of how to work the dishwasher/washing machine, shower, tv etc. How to lock the front door properly, setting the alarm etc. Explain all the things that are important to the running of your house and how they can help, like unloading the dishwasher or hanging out the washing without being asked.
You should also give them a written guide regarding their duties and how you want these to be carried out. Crucially, allow them a bit of time to settle into the routine and be open to explaining or demonstrating how you want things to be done. If you are not happy with anything that they are doing, always sit down and talk with them about it, and, again, be patient.
You do not need to tell them everything in the 1st day – take your time, otherwise it will be too much for them to remember. The first days are also key to making a good impression (you need to make a good impression on them too – so that they don’t want to run away!) There will be plenty of time to turn them into someone you cannot do without!
Always remember to give and take. From their side they are here to have an enjoyable time, learn English, see how it is to live in another country/family. Not slave away at all the tasks you don’t want to do (tempting as it might be!) On the other hand they are here to support you in all the normal tasks you do, or do them for you.
You will want to get on well with your Au pair or mothers help and this can develop over time and with mutual patience and understanding. This can work really well and often Au pairs and mother’s helps stay in touch with host families for years after they have left!
They do want to be part of the family, but this does not mean they want to be with you 24/7. They should enjoy being with the family, then they should enjoy having time to themselves or going out making friends.