House Rules – What are They & How to Make Them Fair

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Once you make the life-changing decision to become a Host Family and host an au pair, you will be faced with the challenge of how to welcome a new family member into your home, who is already an adult with certain expectations for his or her own cultural exchange experience. Keep in mind all au pairs are between 18-26 when they leave their native country to become international au pairs.

Go Au Pair has each family and matching au pair decide on a number of house rules, which are determined and put in writing for both parties to see and sign, if agreed-upon. The house rules include things like possible curfews, telephone and visitor restrictions, along with any other restrictions the family may have, such as no smoking or drinking. Both parties need to agree before the placement can be approved or continue. We also have a grievance policy in place for either party, in case of a change of circumstances or a poor match.

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House Rules are just one part of the written agreement between the Host Family and their chosen au pair. Also included in that agreement are days and times for the au pair’s work schedule, specific household responsibilities regarding children’s areas, au pair areas, other tasks such as homework help/tutoring and driving to/from school, events or appointments, compensation and vacation days, type of accommodations provided for bed and bath, use of car and insurance considerations, as well as any other benefits like joining the family on travel or vacations. Think about all of the ways your au pair can help your kids and your family in general!

Specific House Rules can be set for your au pair. First, consider a curfew for both weekday and weekend, as well as working/non-working days. Remember these are young adults who are becoming members of your household. Keep in mind if you may have different curfew times for an 18 year old and a 26 year old. Consider telephone restrictions for your au pair. Many families add their au pair to their cell plan for the duration of their stay with limits on long distance calls. Calling cards can be purchased by au pairs who need to make long distance or overseas calls. Most au pairs and their families back home use the internet and Skype or Facetime with each other for free. Finally, consider visitor restrictions for your au pair. Many families choose to restrict opposite gender visitors of any kind and allow some form of visitor when the au pair is not on duty. Caution should be used when allowing visitors while the au pair is supposed to be attending to the children!

When you consider restrictions for your au pair, feel free to discuss it with your Local Area Rep as well as the au pair and her parents, if you are able. My name is Joan Lowell; I am the LAR in Providence, RI and would love to answer any questions you have about the au pair program. Contact me at 401.309.1925 or jlowell@goaupair.com or visit our Providence page at http://www.goaupair.com/Providence .

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