When you choose to hire an au pair to live in your home, your family dynamic will change. Most au pairs come to you from other countries and they don't know anyone. They will spend a lot of time in your home, so it is important to make things run smoothly for everyone. If you do things right, things will be great for everyone involved, and your au pair will become a valued part of your family while he or she is with you.
- An au pair should have her own living space. At the very least, she should have her own private bedroom. What you put in the room for your au pair is up to you. At the very least you should provide her with a good bed, dresser, linens, and a desk. You want to make her feel at home. Some families choose to provide entertainment options such as television, CD player, and DVD player.
- Do everything you can to make your au pair feel at home with your family. Remember that she is far away from home, and everything that she knows. Offer to show her around the neighborhood and answer any questions she may have about your family, or where you live. Also show her around your home, and introduce her to neighbors you are close to, as well as family members that stop by often.
- After your au pair has settled into your home, you should go over what is expected of her, and what you will do in return. Give her an idea of what her weekly schedule will be, and when she can expect to have some free time for herself. Discuss matters like food allergies and other related things you need to know.
- The salary your au pair earns should already have been settled before she arrived. You will have to discuss things like who will pay for long distance phone calls, personal hygiene items, what you will provide for her at your expense, and what she needs to provide for herself. You should be responsible for room and board, as well as a car and insurance for driving the children around. Everything else is up to your discretion.
- Give your au pair time to adjust to living with your family, and remember that she is facing the unknown. Use kindness and patience when dealing with problems, and always give her the benefit of the doubt. If there is a problem, in most cases, a discussion between the parents and the au pair will clear things up quickly and easily.
- Treat your au pair as if she were part of the family, and remember to give her space when she has free time. It is important that she is free to make friends, and leave the house to pursue her own interests. Don't expect your au pair to remain home with your children every weekend while you go out. Decide upon a reasonable schedule for weekends that you can all live with.
- When it comes to family vacations or excursions, always invite your au pair to accompany as if she were part of the family. Don't make your vacations all work and no play for her; let her feel like she is enjoying a vacation as well. For the time she lives in your home, she is part of your family, and you should make an extra effort to make sure she feels like she is at home.