Knowing what you want is a big part of finding the right Au Pair. It will help narrow the search and make it more likely that you find someone that fits your family well. For example, you only want someone to care for younger children. Be clear about this and other expectations.
Search the Internet
Many are curious about how to get an au pair without an agency. For instance, many websites offer au pairs and families a way to connect directly, offering more options and control over the process for a lower price than traditional agencies. These sites allow both parties to browse profiles for free but may require one or both to pay a fee once they are ready to begin making matches.
When reviewing an au pair’s online profile, look for a description of their work experience and interests to help you determine whether they are a good fit for your family. You can also learn a lot about candidates during video interviews when you can talk openly with them and see how they interact with your children. It is also essential to understand what a potential au pair wants from the program, including what age range they are comfortable caring for and how much housework they want to be responsible for.
A good au pair is going to make a positive impact on the family she works with. That is not to say the au pair should have total freedom to do things their way, but there needs to be a set of rules and expectations that are followed. This is why it’s so important to communicate from the start about what is expected of the au pair and how she should interact with the kids.
There will be bad apples in any group of people, and au pairs are not immune from this. Use your interview opportunities and gut instinct to determine whether you think the au pair will be committed to their role with your family. If you are working with a matching agency, they will have done some research and vetting, but it’s up to you to make the final decision. Be sure to list what you feel are your non-negotiables in choosing the right au pair for your family. Then, take your time and talk to several families before making a choice.
Talk to Your Friends
The best au pairs aren’t just looking for money and to form a loving bond with their host family. Au pairs have left their families, friends, careers, homes, and even their native language behind to take this huge opportunity of a lifetime, so they will be picky about who they accept into their lives for one to two years. Asking the host family about their previous au pairs is a great way to learn more about their personalities, communication styles, and how well they fit in with the kids. But remember to remember that just because an au pair has been with a different host family doesn’t mean she had a bad experience.
Also, talk to the host family about how they feel about their au pair having friends over in her free time and if they have any concerns regarding house guests. Some au pairs prefer to be homebody-types while others enjoy being social. Helping them find ways to make new friends is an important part of the au pair experience.
Visit the Host Family
Many families recognize the benefits of having an au pair. They provide a competitive alternative to daycare or hiring a professional nanny, saving the family money and providing quality time with their children. In addition, an au pair may be less likely to get sick, resulting in fewer days off from work for the entire family. When interviewing an au pair, ensuring they are committed to their host family is essential. If they are not, it is likely that they will be homesick and may leave early. By talking to the family, asking questions, and getting a feel for their personality, you can tell whether or not they are a good fit for your family.
It is also important to show the au pair how you run your home and treat them like a member of the family rather than a babysitter or employee. Showing your au pair the house rules, your kids’ schedules, what to expect at bedtime, and other things will make them more comfortable in their new role and have a better experience overall.
Ask for References
It takes time to find the right au pair, whether you’re searching independently or using an agency. The process includes reviewing profiles, emailing, video chatting, and filling out various forms. But in the end, it’s worth the effort if you find an au pair that makes your family happy and you feel comfortable welcoming her into your home.
When choosing an au pair, you can always go right with asking for references. Talking to former au pairs will give you a better idea of what it’s like working with the family and their children. Ask about how well the au pair communicated, if she took on extra duties, and how the family treated her overall. A good agency will also provide you with references for each au pair. These can help identify potential problems before they arise. However, don’t take what a former au pair says as the only truth – she may have had issues that could affect how she interacted with the host family’s kids.