Communication between Host Parents and Au Pair.

The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. ~Thich Nhat Han.

One of the keys to a successful year for a host family and an Au Pair is good communication.  The host parents may not feel that they have the time to explain every little detail to the Au Pair.  They may love their Au Pair as if she was a member of your family, and not always feel comfortable to direct the Au Pair, but she deserves of the same courtesies that a nanny or any employee. Those courtesies include a lot of communication and directions. Here are some advises:

Host Parents:

  • Provide Au Pair with a written schedule and job description .
  • If performing the job task is mandatory, don’t make it sound optional. For example, if you want your Au Pair to do the children’s laundry today, don’t tell them to do it “if you have time”.
  • Provide details. For example, if you want the clothes handled in a certain way, specify what that way is.
  • It is never acceptable to yell at your Au Pair, talk to them as an adult with respect
  • Help your Au Pair feel truly part of your family.

Host Parents and Au Pair:

  • Communicate in writing where possible. For example, many families use a daily book in which parents and Au Pair record information (parental instructions and Au Pair observations)
  • Meet once weekly to review the past week’s activities and discuss the coming week’s activities.  Weekly meetings are wonderful ways for both parties to follow-up, ask questions, or share concerns.
  • Show appreciation to each other. Say “thank you” all the time.

Au Pair:

  • If you are unclear about what is expected of you, ask. You may think that you will appear unintelligent, that you may annoy your Host Parents, or they may concern about your limited English. Your questions will be appreciated because they will prevent problems in the future.

Good communication is the key to a great year! Sometimes host parents may feel awkward about redirecting the behavior of someone who they feel is more a member of the family than an employee, but communication between host parents and Au Pair is essential.

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