One of the first things to do for an Au Pair as the future Host Family is to sign an Au Pair contract with your new Au Pair. This contract provides you and the Au Pair with some security because none of the parties can simply change their mind, even if another candidate or Host Family may sound more appealing.
As soon as you have signed the Au Pair contract, you can normally stop your efforts to look for an Au Pair. Do not forget to inform the other candidates you spoke to, that you have found your new Au Pair. If you really liked them as well you can offer them to stay in touch and ask other Host Families if they are looking or know someone who is looking for an Au Pair. We know from experience that Host Families often speak to each other and we have passed on the contact details of our second best candidates a few times already.
We found an Au Pair. What are the first things to do?
If you only have little time between signing of the Au Pair contract and the actual start date, you will have to start organising all the things and get ready for the Au Pair straight away. If you have more time (let’s say more than two months) you should have enough time to make all arrangements calmly. With a bigger gap between agreeing on an Au Pair arrangement and actual start date, we recommend to do regular “stay in touch”-catch-ups with the Au Pair.
We normally skype a few times during this period to get to know each other better and clarify all questions which come up during our and the Au Pair’s preparation. Sharing photos or videos via WhatsApp help to build a relationship before the Au Pair’s arrival.
How to get the room ready for the Au Pair?
We assume that you have a spare room for the Au Pair. Depending on the prior use of that room, you might have to clean out and potentially renovate it to make it look nice.
“The more effort you put into decorating the Au Pair’s room and the more comfortable it looks, the easier you can make the Au Pair feel at home.”
What the Au Pair room should have as a minimum:
- A single bed
- A wardrobe
- A table/desk, desk lamp and a chair for studying
That sounds like a really scantily furnished room. To make it look and feel nicer, additional furniture like a chest of drawers, a mirror, a bedside table, different lamps, plants, television + DVD player, music player to connect the mobile phone, a comfortable arm chair or sofa with cushions and a rug make a big difference. The Au Pair room will be the Au Pair’s little home in your house and the cosier it is, the happier your Au Pair will be.
One important thing of note: The Au Pair room should have a door! It doesn’t necessary need a lock, but the door should close properly so the Au Pair doesn’t feel uneasy and can have her/his privacy.
Which other things need to be done in the house to accommodate the new Au Pair?
There will be another adult moving into your house soon, not another child with “tiny everything”. The Au Pair will want to hang up her/his jacket(s) somewhere close to the entrance door as well as store her shoes and hand bag. On top of the additional food you will obviously start buying and storing, the Au Pair might like to have a shelve to store food she/he buys from her/his pocket money.
From our experience, it is especially the space in the kitchen that gets smaller with an Au Pair moving in, as we always ended up having a bigger variety of everything: Baking ingredients, teas, sweets, fruits and you name it. We rather have more variety to make the Au Pair happy and also offer to buy things that we don’t normally buy. You will end up with significantly more food at home.
How to prepare the bathroom in case the Au Pair will share it with the children?
It’s not unusual that the Au Pair shares a bathroom with the children. If this is the case you should install a few additional hooks for the Au Pair’s towels and start teaching your children that the Au Pair’s belongings are only for the Au Pair’s use.
It will also be nice for the Au Pair to get a dedicated space or shelve in the bathroom and shower for the toiletries she/he uses. If your children tend to leave the bathroom messy after using it, you might want to use the time before the Au Pair’s arrival to teach them the rules, which they should follow when the Au Pair lives with you.
Also, put yourself into the Au Pair’s position and look at the bathroom as an outside observer. Very often, we don’t realise how worn-out things are before we step back and specifically look at it. A new bathroom rug, shower curtain or soap dispenser can make a big difference.
Preparing the arrival of an Au Pair will help you to reflect on a few things in your house and also your habits. It is therefore also a good opportunity to change a few things which have crept in over time.