“Host Family” is the term used for the family accommodating the Au Pair for a certain period of time. If the Host Family offers the Au Pair a place to live outside the family home, they may call it “live-out Au Pair”. However, this is not the primary purpose of an Au Pair arrangement.
The Host Family is the Au Pair´s employer, pays pocket money, provides a room and food and integrates the Au Pair as if she/he was part of the own family. This is how the ideal arrangement should look like. In return, the Au Pair helps with caring for the children and light household duties.
What do you need to know about being an Au Pair Host Family?
If your have decided, that an Au Pair is a good idea for your family and you want to become an Au Pair Host Family, you can either get all the information you need about Au Pair arrangements from the internet like on hostmum.com or you can contact an Au Pair agency who will send you information and help you hire an Au Pair. Please be aware that most Au Pair agencies in the UK charge a fee of around GBP 300 – 800 for a one year or nearly one year placement of an Au Pair.
If you want to hire an Au Pair, you probably have several good reasons for that. Besides the obvious reasons like childcare and help with light housework, there could be less obvious reasons as well. No matter which arguments you will find for hiring an Au-Pair, you will probably have certain expectations towards the new Au Pair and we highly recommend to discuss the expectations in detail in advance. The Au Pair surely has expectations towards you as the Host Family and should be specifically asked about it, if she/he does not voluntarily talk about her expectations.
The Au Pair arrangement works best when the expectations of both sides are openly discussed and are equal. It is really helpful to write down the expectations you have towards the Au Pair and also ask the Au Pair to write down her/his expectations towards you as the Au Pair´s temporary family.
Where can the Host Family start to look for an Au Pair?
There are several ways how you as a Host Family can get in contact with Au Pair candidates. The main differences between these are for instance, the time you want to invest in the Au Pair search and the amount of money you are willing to spend.
If you do not want to invest lots of time and prefer a more convenient way and do not mind to pay an Au Pair Agency you will find a huge number of Au Pair Agencies online. Asking around for personal recommendations for Au Pair agencies is a sensible idea as well.
In case you are happy to invest more of your own time in the Au Pair search you can start looking for an Au Pair by yourself. A good starting points are Websites like Au Pair World, where Host Parents and prospective Au Pairs register and create an online profile which enables both sides to check easily whether you might be a good match. After paying a membership fee the Host Family can directly contact the Au Pair candidates.
You could also advertise your Au Pair position on relevant Au Pair Facebook-Groups and classifieds websites like Gumtree or other forums. Our experience is, that Au Pair World and similar websites are highly competitive and all applications which we receive from other than the Au Pair Websites, are more serious.
What has the Host Family to do in preparation for the Au Pair’s arrival?
If you found a friendly Au Pair and ideally signed an Au Pair contract you should think about what to prepare for the arrival of the Au Pair.
Very often, the Au Pair has never lived away from her/his family for an extended period of time. The Host Family should keep this in mind and be prepared for this since the Au Pair might find it hard to adapt to the new situation or feel homesick especially in the first few weeks. In order to get off a successful start, we recommend the “Host Family to welcome the new Au Pair” in a special manner. Even if you had multiple Au Pairs before, it is the very first time for the new Au Pair and it is without doubt respectful to make it special for her/him.
Therefore, the Host Family should put some effort into welcoming day. A nicely prepared home with a clean, nicely furnished Au Pair room, a space for the Au Pairs belongings as well as a specifically chosen welcome present and a friendly welcome surely will get you off to a good start and will leave a positive first impression with the Au Pair. If the Host Family can not pick up the Au Pair personally from the airport, it could consider sending friends to pick her up or paying an airport pick up car for the Au Pair.
What are the major changes a Host Family will experience with an Au Pair in the house?
There are some anticipated changes once the Au Pair moved into your house and some more surprising you might not have thought about.
The obvious ones are, surprise, surprise:
- Higher costs for food, heating, electricity and water
- Less space
- Feeling a loss of privacy in a certain extend
The less obvious ones:
- You live with a young person who is 18 years or older. You are now responsible and you may be worried if the Au Pair runs late at night without letting you know
- The Au Pair may come from a completely different family than yours and no matter how hard you try, the transition can be difficult
- Only after the Au Pair moves in you may discover habits of your Au Pair which you did not expect. For example an unusual “at home dress-code”, unexpected “going-out-behaviour”, weird hobbies, complicated diet etc.
- Or characteristics which you did not expect like being spoiled, unhelpful, demanding, helpless, unable to cope, etc.
We hope this information is useful to you. You’ll find many more information on www.hostmum.com. Feel free to send us feedback, to write a comment below or to share the website with your Host Parents and friends.