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Thinking about Getting an Au Pair?

Before you employ an Au Pair:

Try and interview your Au Pair by both email and phone ask as many questions as you can that are relevant to the role. Take up at least 2 references, ideally from a previous Host Family, if the au pair has held this role before.

Role and Reward:

Make sure that you have agreed up front what the role entails and how much you will be paying the Au Pair. It is advisable to pay your Au Pair a week in advance, so that they have some money for personal purchases. It is advisable to write out a schedule for the Au Pair showing them what happens on a daily basis. Send this to them prior to their arrival so they have a chance to digest what their role is! Always double check the Au Pairs understanding or comprehension of your request. They will be keen to keep you happy and may be too afraid to ask you to repeat yourself!


If the Au Pair is required to drive, ensure that they are insured adequately. Book your au pair 2/3 driving lessons before you allow them to drive alone or with your children. Make sure that it is understood who is paying for private mileage. It is quite usual for the Host Family to pay a monthly allowance towards petrol.


Most Au Pairs are keen to study. Make sure that you allow time for them to go to college at least once or twice per week. Find out details of the local college, class times, entrance exams as well as how to get there and back. College fees normally have to be paid in advance so you could offer to pay these on behalf of the Au Pair, as it might be more than they have on arrival. They can then pay you back through their earnings each week.


Don’t treat the Au Pair like a servant or housekeeper – treat and respect them like a valued member of your family. Don’t send any money to the Au Pair prior to their arrival. Last, your au pair will also expose your children to new culture, language and ways of living. It is a beneficial cross-cultural learning experience for both Au Pair and Host Family!

Responsibilities of a Family

Meet the Au Pair at the airport/port of their arrival. They should not be expected to find their way to your house. An Au Pair should have his/her own room. If this is not possible, you must make this clear to the au pair before their arrival. There should be a desk and a TV in their room. It is advisable that you supply your Au Pair with a ‘pay as you go’ mobile. They are in a foreign country and if they get lost or have a problem, they need to be able to contact you, especially if they have your children. Phone calls home can double your phone bill. Giving an Au Pair access to the internet, will help reduce this. Also there are cheap phone cards that can cut long distance call charges significantly. Being able to communicate with family and friends is important, as they can get homesick. A monthly allowance for the Au Pair should be agreed up front.

You should provide all food and drink that the Au Pair requires. Remember, they might have different tastes to you, so it is advisable to take them shopping so that they can pick out the foods that they like. If you have very young children, it may be advisable to ensure that the Au Pair has basic first aid skills or that you have explained the basic first aid principles. You should treat an Au Pair like one of your family. They should have enough time to relax as well as have their own privacy at times.

It is not advised that an Au Pair is left alone with small children for long periods of time; however, this is ultimately at the discretion of the family.

Ali Kittermaster, Co-Founder The Au Pair Company Ltd Click on the logo to visit the website:

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