Welcoming an au pair to your family means you will experience a cultural exchange experience like no other while getting assistance with flexible, reliable child care. But you may be wondering… “What exactly does an au pair do?”
An au pair’s job description is multi-faceted and will vary depending on a family’s needs. Typically, au pair responsibilities may include:
- waking the children
- bathing and dressing infants and toddlers
- playing with the children
- preparing meals for the children
- cleaning up the kitchen after the children eat
- making the children’s beds and straightening their rooms
- doing the children’s laundry
- straightening up the playroom once playtime is over
- driving children to and from school, appointments, or outings as requested by the host family
- staying at home with the children when the children are sick or on holidays (as hours/scheduling permits)
And don’t forget one of the most important au pair responsibilities – cultural exchange! Be sure to let your au pair know that you’d love for your family to share their language, food, and culture throughout their time with you. Au pairs can also act as a “big sister” figure in the family. In fact, our host families, especially those with older children, tell us they appreciate having an additional role model in their home.
Now that you know what an au pair can do, let’s take a moment to cover a few tasks that an au pair can’t do.
A good rule of thumb is that your au pair can only be responsible for caring for your children and within program guidelines. This means, your au pair cannot:
- receive extra pay for caring for your children over program hours
- care for children outside of your family
- be responsible for pet care.
When it comes to cleaning, au pairs can be asked to tidy up areas of the home used by the children but cannot be expected to clean the entire house.
Our best advice? Our veteran host families tell us that open and honest communication with candidates during the au pair interview process is one of the keys to a successful match. Be sure to dedicate some time to talking about expectations – both for you and for your future au pair – so that everyone is on the same page about responsibilities.