I have said it before and I will say it again: the key to success in the Au Pair Program is open and honest communication! Host Family expert and fellow-blogger Summer Blackhurst has 10 tips for Host Families – go read them! She has great advice to boost the Host Family and Au Pair relationship from day one.
First, communication, communication, communication! Then make sure it is open and honest. Remember, this au pair has left his or her home in another country and come to live with yours! You are in a unique position, but it is not always that easy. You are the employer (as the Host Family) but you are also obligated to be a parent and friend to your au pair.
Many Host Family – Au Pair relationships break down when communication does. Make sure to consider the other person’s position when you communicate, whether it be constructive criticism or a complement or an area needing improvement. As in any employer-employee relationship, there will come a time when you need to speak to your au pair about something that didn’t go well. How have you handled situations like this in the past?
Although most Host Families provide their au pair a cell phone for use during work, many do not go the extra step of programming the phone with a series of helpful numbers, even a few same-age peers (if you happen to know any). Also, car availability can become an issue if the family lives in a very rural area and doesn’t provide the au pair with full access. It is not that the Host Family needs to spoil their au pair, but when they consider his or her limited access and knowledge in a foreign country and provide options, the possibilities are endless.
Americans may be familiar with the phrase, “A happy wife makes a happy life.” In the Au Pair world, a happy au pair gives you time to spare! If your family could use 45 hours of flexible childcare and you have a spare room, consider hosting an au pair. Contact me, Joan Lowell, your LAR (Local Area Representative) in the RI area, at 401.309.1925 or firstname.lastname@example.org or just register online for free. You can get started interviewing any of our 300 available au pairs at your leisure. I look forward to helping you have an incredible cultural childcare experience with Go Au Pair Providence!