An Au Pair’s room in the host family home.

People frequently misspell  the word Au Pair  as “au par”, “au paire”, “opair”, “au per”,  “au paring” and confuse the meaning. The word “Au Pair” is a French term, which means “on par” or “equal to”, referring to living on an equal basis, so an Au Pair  lives as an equal member of a host family and should feel at home there.

How to make an Au Pair feel at home?  Please read more in the article How to welcome your new au pair.

It is very important to prepare a comfortable and welcoming room for the Au Pair. The adequately sized room is supposed to be clean and properly lighted, has a comfortable bed, a writing desk with a chair, a closet or a wardrobe,  and a cupboard with drawers or shelves. The Au Pair must have easy access to a bathroom or have her own.

A private room gives the Au Pair the perfect place to study for classes without interruption and have personal discussions with her family and friends without feeling as though everyone is listening or watching.

The Au Pair’s room must have a lock on her door because the Au Pair needs privacy.  In changing clothes, an Au Pair will feel more comfortable if she has a place to do these things in private with the door locked. No cameras are allowed in an Au Pair’s room.

To make the Au Pair feel like she is welcomed and loved, put in the Au Pair’s room a small welcome basket on her arrival. The gift basket may contain some bath gels/lotions for her bathroom, empty picture frames, sweets or chocolates, and flowers. The host family may give the Au Pair the freedom to customize her living space on her own, to decorate her room with some pictures and posters.

Host families often ask what additional they may provide to their Au Pairs, do they need to put a TV or a computer in the Au Pair’s room. It depends. I have asked Au Pairs from Go Au Pair cluster in the Philadelphia and NJ area to  name material things they can’t live without (doesn’t include family, friends, etc.)

Dear Au Pair,  

Please take your time and vote.

It is very important to help the Au Pair feel comfortable and happy in the host family house and her room. The Au Pair will appreciate the efforts and will return the favour with her loving and reliable service.

Go Au Pair at the FRUA picnic

Au Pairs from Go Au Pair cluster from Philadelphia, Bucks County and close NJ recently volunteered for adoptive families at the FRUA picnic, at Limerick Community Park,  PA. 

The adopted children of FRUA‘s families come from all former Soviet bloc countries and republics, including Russia, Ukraine and many more.  FRUA believes that every child deserves a forever family and celebrates the rich heritage of our children’s birth countries.

Several Au Pairs were from Russia and Ukraine. Au Pairs  entertained the children, played games, taught them words in Russian, made crafts and had fun together.  We brought Russian toys and a lot of Russian food. Everyone asked questions about Russian culture and heritage. Although many children forgot their native Russian language, they were thrill to learn several words again,  like “Thank you” – “Spasibo”, or “See you later “- ” Poka”.

Go Au Pair helped make this picnic very special. The agency sent Au Pairs very  pretty T-shirts with their logo. All the Au Pairs were thrilled to wear this  fancy T-shirt and they looked amazing in it. The Agency also gave a huge $1000 discount off  the program fees for any family who had attended this picnic.

Volunteering is a great way to help the community around us. It also has many positive benefits for Au Pairs! They got a chance to meet new people, made friends and got to know American life better through volunteering.

This picnic was a great success, Au Pairs made many children and parents very happy at FRUA picnic!  The FRUA families were so glad to have us. They said to us again and again:” Thank you very much for coming,  you made this day very special. Please, come again, we are looking forward to seeing you at our Christmas party!”

“Thank you.”  “See you later”.  

SPASIBO! POKA!

When preparing to host an Au Pair

From an Au Pair mom.

(Anna T., a host mother and an author of articles about hosting an au pair: How to hire an au pairHow to save money on an au pair programHow to welcome your new au pair.)

 

It is important to talk about boundaries and how you see the relationship with your future au pair with your partner.

Will a wife be comfortable if a husband casually watches movies with an au pair after kids are asleep? Will a husband be comfortable if his wife gives a male au pair a hug as a greeting?

There is no one answer – every family has a different culture, different levels of comfort with physical contact with others, and different standards of what a casual conversation is and how long it should take. In my family, we don’t casually touch any stranger of opposite sex, and my husband is not a chatty type who is likely to stay up talking for hours to an au pair. My comfort boundaries have never been crossed in my husband’s relationship with our au pairs.

When preparing to host an Au Pair, it is important to discuss those boundaries, and write down the rules of the relationship with an au pair, that will make both spouses comfortable.   And if an issue arises after the au pair arrives, it is important to revisit those rules.

In summary, in order to make both host parents comfortable hosting an adult of an opposite sex in the house, there are three things to consider:

1. Be confident in the stability of the marital relationship.

2. Involve both spouses in the selection of an au pair, to ensure that the spouse of the opposite sex doesn’t find the au pair extremely attractive to the point of discomfort.

3. Discuss the boundaries of the relationship with an aupair, that will make the host mother of a female au pair, or a host father of a male au pair, comfortable.

If you are getting ready to welcome a new au pair into your home, see more advice at How to welcome your new au pair

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