Hey there beautiful people!
Are you considering becoming an Au Pair? As you guys (should 😉 ) know I’m doing this job now for a while and I thought it maybe might be helpful for some of you to write down my experiences and give you some advice regarding this topic. As I experienced myself being an Au Pair is not always what you think it is. Here’s some honest advice from a person who’s made both good and bad expericences within this job.
- Obviously the first step you have to do is choosing the family you wanna be an Au Pair in. But not only because of that this is on top of my list – it’s just really the most important step of all because you have to be clear about that this family and its home is gonna be your comfort zone for the next couple of weeks, months or years. And if you feel uncomfortable there at any time it sucks more than you probably think. Trust me, I’m speaking from experience. Of course it’s going to be weird for you the first couple of days to live with strangers but so it will for your host family. But I think after meeting or talking to your future family for the very first time you can tell if there is any positive connection between you guys
- I’d recommend spending some time with the family BEFORE you commit to being their Au Pair. I know that for most people that’s not really possible because you and the family are probably in a different country when the deal is made. In this case: try to think about what’s gonna be most important to you when you’re there? Your future family should definitely have the same or similiar interests or attitudes. If you love to be independent, having privacy and party a lot (you’re probably guessing right: like I do) – don’t go into a family that isn’t like that or doesn’t support that. Trust me, it’s gonna be hell ;). Address topics in particular e.g. when it’s gonna be your free time and stress how important it is to you. Everyone should know what they’re gonna get.
- Don’t lie when a family interviews you just to get the job . You don’t wanna have the job if you have to be someone you’re actually not.
- You acutally should get along with kids and know how to handle them. Kids are kids and they can be stupid, annoying and rude. Be aware of that and don’t take it personally. (Btw I’m not talking about my current kids, they’re awesome 😉 ). The best method for me is trying to find the right path between being the cool older friend and being authoritative. Try to have as much fun as possible with them but also let them know who’s the boss. What works for me: being this cool older friend and if you want them to do anything you can play the „please do it for me/do me the favour”- card. If they love you they won’t let you down. If they still do let you down – don’t worry, they are just kids being kids ;). You then unfortunately must be strict. Don’t ever let them think they can do whatever they want without any consequences (Still not talking about my kids, they are SO well behaved). If you struggle to push through your requests try to turn it into a game like “Who do you think is quicker in getting changed into pyjamas”?
- Be organised. Sometimes there are so many things you have to think of, especially when you look after more than one child. Do they have everything for school what they need? Are their clothes washed and ready for the next day? Which subjects do they have the next day? What do you want to make for dinner the next day? Do you have all the ingredients for that? When will you have time to take care of your own things like studying etc.? Always make a list the day before and let yourself enough time to get things done because a lot of times you might have to be flexible and things are not going the way they supposed to be (e.g. a kid gets ill, you have to stay at home the whole day etc.). Be prepared for that. In my case for example the grandma loves to come in (not complaining – she’s great 😉 ) and give me jobs that haven’t been on your “to-do-list” before so make sure to have some extra time left for these kind of things. I’m not good at this at all so that’s why some blog posts come out later than they’re supposed to do 😉
- Don’t let the family take advantage of you. Some families may think you’re a cheap worker who can take over any tasks that the mum or the dad just don’t feel like doing. Whatever you have to do in the family – talk about it BEFORE you start the job and have a think if the amount of work is going to be valued appropriately. If you barely have free time during the day and for example work 8 hours a day (it doesn’t matter what you do, every work counts e.g. walking the dog etc) – make sure you get paid for that. The problem about that is that you probably agreed about a certain amount of money you get paid per week or month. So some families might let you work way more than you thought you had to by paying the same amount of money. This is not acceptable and don’t hesitate mentioning it to your family. 85 £ per week for looking after three kids, doing all the housework with barely any free time and silly rules concering your private life is way too little. Only because the guidelines for looking after three kids say 85£ per week is fine – it’s not. You’re worth more than that. Yes, you eat and live there for free but still you’re working and the family should be thankful to have you. I am so lucky with my family because they always let me know that.
- Don’t let anyone judge you. Being an Au Pair is not „JUST“ being an Au Pair. It’s a normal job that can be just as exhausting as other jobs. Good days and bad days. You do have a lot of responsibility and you’re taking care of children who’s language is not yours. You move in another country to do so. Sometimes you’re not only there for the children but also take care of different tasks in the family’s household (if you have agreed to that beforehand and are okay with that). You sometimes won’t be able to meet friends because you have to work longer ( if you have agreed to that beforehand and are okay with that) . You can be good or bad at it. You get paid for it. It’s a normal job like any other. So don’t be ashamed of being an Au Pair.
- Be good at your job and be grateful. I am so lucky I can say that I found the perfect family for me. As some guys of you probably know I changed my family a few months ago and am now in the best you can possibly imagine. I’m being appreciated, respected and trusted. Which in turn leads to me always trying to do my best because I want to see them happy and keep this relationship exactly like that. Because I know how it can be the total different case (like in my previous family), I am now so super grateful for my caring family. But not only when you’ve made a bad experience you should be thankful when your family treats you well and you are happy with them. That’s amazing – let them know that you appreciate it as well and your relationship will be even better.
Alright guys, these are my tips if you consider becoming an Au Pair. If you have any questions just leave a comment below and I’m more than happy to answer them.
Have a great day cutiepies!