What do you need to provide for an au pair?
If you are considering hiring an au pair to provide care for your family…
It’s important to ensure that you provide your au pair with the necessary support and resources to be successful.
From providing a comfortable private bedroom to understanding cultural differences, here are 17 essential items you must provide your au pair.
Read on to learn more!
What Do You Need To Provide For An Au Pair
1. A Private Room With Comfy Furniture
When you’re considering getting an au pair, it’s important to remember that your new family member will need their own private space.
That means it’s a good idea to provide them with the basics like a chair, bed, and comfortable desk for their room.
Having comfortable furniture will help your au pair feel at home and provide them with a place to rest and study.
It’s also important to ensure that their workspace is conducive to productivity, so a comfortable desk is a must.
Investing in the right furniture is one way to make sure your au pair is comfortable and set up for success.
2. Access to Internet and Tech
Having an au pair is an amazing way to help your family, but it is important to ensure they have the necessary tools to do the job. This includes having internet and a cell phone; after all, your au pair needs to be able to stay connected to the world!
With a cell phone, your au pair can be in touch with family and friends. Providing your au pair with these two tools will ensure that they can communicate effectively, and help them to stay connected with their family and friends.
Most families offer this, so plan accordingly.
3. Orientation To Your City And Community
You’ll want to show your au pair around the community and introduce them to all the exciting things it has to offer!
From visiting local landmarks and museums to exploring local restaurants and cafes, it’s important to introduce your au pair to the community and help them start to feel at home.
4. A Way To Get Around Town
You need to ensure that they have reliable and safe transportation to and from work, and offer a way to get around when they’re not working.
This could be a car that they can use, public transportation, or even a bike; whatever you choose, make sure it is safe and secure.
As a host family, you should also help them learn how to navigate in the U.S. because the basics like traffic signs and street signs are likely very different from back home.
5. A Weekly Stipend
An au pair will be expected to provide his or her own spending money for things like food and entertainment; that’s why as a host family you must provide them with a weekly stipend.
This will help cover any out-of-pocket expenses incurred such as groceries, transportation, and incidentals.
A good rule of thumb is to provide at least $200-300 per week, depending on the cost of living in your area. This way, you’ll have enough to cover your basic needs, and you’ll still have something left over for having fun!
6. Time Off From Work
Host families must understand that their au pair needs time off for leisure activities; this is an important part of the cultural exchange experience and is key to ensuring a successful year for everyone.
Providing time off will help your au pair to explore the area and get to know the local culture, as well as allow them to participate in activities they enjoy and make friends.
It may not always be convenient, but it’s essential to give your au pair at least one full day off per week, preferably two; and don’t forget to allow them to take part in the occasional, special event, such as a music festival or a day trip.
Your au pair will thank you for it!
7. Regular Communication
Having an au pair can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it is important to ensure that expectations and progress are communicated clearly.
To do this, host families should be sure to have ongoing conversations with their au pair; this could include regular check-ins, as well as setting clear goals and boundaries from the beginning.
It is important to foster an environment where the au pair feels comfortable bringing up any issues or concerns.
Host families should also be open to feedback from the au pair to ensure that both parties are satisfied with the arrangement. This can all be accomplished with a mix of respect, understanding, and communication: after all, a successful au pair experience is built on a foundation of trust.
8. An Interest In Understanding Their Culture
It helps to be aware of cultural differences and the au pair’s native language; this will ensure a smooth transition as they adjust to living with you. Understanding cultural differences allows for an easier way to communicate with the au pair and ensure a successful exchange.
Having an understanding of the au pair’s native language is important as it allows for better communication, especially if English is not the au pair’s first language.
Ultimately, having an understanding of the au pair’s native language (even if you just learn a little) and cultural differences allows for a more successful and enjoyable exchange for both the au pair and host family.
9. Assistance With Organizing Cultural Activities
The host family experience is all about cultural exchange, even if it’s just done at home!
It’s important to provide an au pair with the opportunity to learn about their host country and share their culture with their host family.
There are so many fun and easy activities that you can do with your international student that don’t require you to leave the house. For example, you could plan a movie night where you watch a popular movie from the student’s home country; or you could plan a food night where you make a traditional dish from the student’s home country.
Cultural exchange and awareness don’t have to be complicated activities; they can be as simple as sharing stories and experiences with each other!
10. Clear Expectations, Duties, And Responsibilities
Setting clear expectations with an au pair is essential to ensuring a successful and productive experience for both the au pair and the host family. It’s important to communicate expectations before the au pair arrives, so there are no surprises.
For example, clearly discuss the hours and duties expected of the au pair, such as what times they need to be available to provide care, as well as any housekeeping duties they may need to complete.
You’ll also want to set expectations for how much involvement you and your au pair will want to have in the family. Will they attend social events on the weekends with your family? Will they eat dinner with you every night? Do you want them to? Do they even want to? It’s important to consider these types of questions and make sure you are on the same page.
11. A Safe and Healthy Working Environment
Creating a safe and healthy work environment for your au pair is essential; not only will it ensure that they feel secure and empowered in their role, but it will also help to create a positive and productive relationship with your family.
A positive work environment means that your au pair will feel respected and valued and that they can focus on their job without feeling uncomfortable or threatened.
There are many things you can do to ensure that your au pair has a safe and healthy work environment: provide clear expectations of their role and duties, ensure that they have access to all the resources they need to do their job, and provide a space for them to take breaks and have time to themselves.
Taking these steps will make your au pair feel more confident and comfortable in their role, and will help to create a positive and successful relationship with your family.
12. Opportunities for Professional Development and Growth
As a host family, you can be a fantastic source of support for an au pair in figuring out their long-term goals.
Providing a safe, comfortable environment to talk and brainstorm, the host family can help the au pair explore their passions and interests.
You help provide insight into the different paths available to the au pair and give advice on the steps needed to reach their goals.
With the right support, an au pair can gain the clarity and confidence to take their next steps towards achieving their goals.
13. Respectful And Appropriate Boundaries
Setting boundaries and expectations with your au pair is essential for a successful experience. Have a clear conversation with your au pair early on about your expectations for their duties and the hours they will be expected to work.
You can also discuss the rules of the household and any other expectations you have.
Be sure to discuss any cultural norms in your household that may be different from the au pair’s home country. This will help your au pair feel comfortable and will help you have an awesome year together.
Setting expectations and boundaries from the start will help ensure a smooth transition from the beginning.
14. Assistance With Figuring Out Health and Dental Services (When They Need It)
As a potential au pair host family, you will need to help your au pair navigate local American healthcare which can be very different from other countries.
You will want to create a checklist of things to do to ensure that your au pair is comfortable with the medical system. For instance, you may want to research or even accompany your au pair to the nearest walk-in clinic, arrange for an appointment with a primary care physician, or find out if the au pair’s home country’s insurance applies to them in the U.S.
You should help your au pair understand the nuances of American health insurance, including deductibles, copays, and coinsurance. Finally, you can explain the importance of preventative care and remind your au pair to get regular check-ups and screenings.
By helping your au pair understand the local American healthcare system, you can ensure they stay healthy and safe while they are in the U.S.
15. Support In Keeping Contact With Family and Friends Back Home
As an au pair host family, you’ll need to support your au pair by keeping in touch with family and friends back home.
This can be done in many ways, from providing access to free calling apps to giving them time off to make regular video calls. You could also help them with postage costs for sending cards and letters.
Your au pair is likely to be quite homesick at times, so it’s important to help them stay connected with those they love. Consider making a plan with them so they have regular contact with their family and friends.
Show your support, and you’ll both benefit from a stronger bond.
16. A Clear Plan When The Au Pair’s Assignment Ends
A host family can be an invaluable support system during the au pair’s transition.
They help with the practicalities of preparing to leave and go back home, such as making sure the au pair has the necessary paperwork and everything they need for their journey.
You can also help the au pair to mentally and emotionally prepare for the life transition.
Having an open discussion about the cultural differences the au pair can expect to encounter returning home, and the challenges they may face can help the au pair face the transition.
17. Flexible Hours For Cultural and Religious Holidays
As an au pair host, you must provide some flexibility with scheduling; this is especially important when it comes to sick days and vacation time.
Your au pair is a human too, and they may need time off for their own personal health and wellness!
Allow for some leeway when it comes to scheduling so that your au pair can take the time they need when they need it. This could mean allowing for some extra time off or juggling schedules if needed.
By being flexible with scheduling, you’re showing your au pair that you care about their well-being and are committed to making sure they have the support they need.
Before You Go…
Making the decision to get an au pair is a BIG decision.
There’s so many things to think about – even if you’re just figuring out what do you need to provide for an au pair – it can feel overwhelming…
But we’ve got you. Check out these articles all about au pairs and how and what you should know about getting one:
Au Pair vs Nanny: 18 Differences Between An Au Pair and A Nanny
What Is An Au Pair? 15 Au Pair Myths Debunked For 2023
What Are The Pros And Cons Of An Au Pair? (20 Total Pros And Cons –Some Might Surprise You)