In this video interview with the Au Pair Sis, Host Dad Tom shares his thoughts on how to set yourself up for a successful year with your Au Pair.
Tom & his Au Pair, Jolin, have had a very successful year. So successful, in fact, Tom nominated Jolin as the #1 Au Pair in the USA. Jolin’s story moved thousands of people and she won the 2019 #LoveMyAuPair Contest!
Increase Your Chances for a Successful Year with Your Au Pair: Help Your Au Pair Feel At Home
Tom explains the importance of providing a space for your Au Pair that’s all her own. “I would really make it a point to make sure you provide a sort of home-away-from-home experience,” Tom says, “so that they have the ability to really not be disturbed during their personal downtime.”
Privacy can help your Au Pair feel more at home right from the start. It’s also important for your Au Pair to
“Cause you know, it’s a tough job to manage kids… if they’re watching kids 8-9 hours a day, that’s a long day, and I really think they deserve to have their own personal freedom and space.”
According to State Department regulations, Host Families must provide a bedroom with a door. Ideally, the Au Pair’s bedroom door should lock so the kids don’t’ come in and bother them during their off time.
The best guideline is to avoid entering your Au Pair’s room for any reason
Respecting your Au Pair’s private space is an important factor in having a successful year with your Au Pair.
Not only is it important to give your Au Pair her own bedroom, but making that room a “no-go” zone for yourself in the kids helps the Au Pair know they have your respect.
“I think that makes them happier knowing they have a place they can call their own.”
Tom also addresses an issue that Jolin has experienced in the past. Her prior Host Family stored items in her bedroom closet and routinely went into her room to access the closet.
“If you don’t have that ability, then you shouldn’t have an Au Pair,” Tom says, and he’s right.
The State Department and Go Au Pair are strict about this. Families who knowingly refuse to respect their Au Pair’s comfort and privacy can be discontinued from the program.
“Obviously, we have parameters and rules for what she can do in there,” Tom says. “You have every right to have an expectation that it’s maintained and clean. But at the same time, you should make sure that it’s her room.”
Including Your Au Pair as Part of the Family Promotes Bonding & Helps Ensure Success
“I know that sounds like a given,” Tom says. “But… I hear from some Au Pairs that’s not necessarily the case.”
Sometimes, including your Au Pair as part of the family is easier said than done. Most families start out with good intentions, but the fact is that life can be overwhelming.
“[Families] go on vacation or holidays and just leave the Au Pair there. And again, not everybody has the ability to take them along for whatever reason. But you know, to the extent you can, you really need to get them involved in holidays and vacations.”
Taking your Au Pair on family trips or vacations can help them feel like a member of the family.
Feeling left out of the family doesn’t bode well for a successful year with your Au Pair.
If you want to spend alone time with your kids, that’s completely reasonable. But communicate how you feel. Or set aside certain family trips your Au Pair can join in on. This will help your Au Pair understand that you aren’t purposely leaving him/ her out.
Even if you explain that you can’t pay for the vacation, but that your Au Pair is welcome to join and pay for herself, she’ll likely appreciate the fact that you thought of her.
Au Pairs come to the U.S. because they want to experience life in America. So not only does taking your Au Pair on family trips help them feel like part of the family, but it also helps them with cultural immersion.
Tom explains that these moments can be just as important for your Au Pair as they are for you and your kids. “I just think that’s an important thing with them being able to bond with you and your family.”
Even if you’re unable to take your Au Pair on vacation, there are many other ways you can help them feel like a member of the family.
“I think it’s also good that you try to support them… try to encourage them to go places… help them to see where they can go on their free time to enjoy themselves or get out of the house.”
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