Three Tips for the First time Au Pair

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You have decided to become an Au Pair in America.  This is a super exciting time, however, it can be a bit scary at the same time.  Au Pair in America programs are all over the place, however, how do you know what to do, who to trust and what is this crazy experience going to be? Au Pair programs allow people in the United States to host a person to help raise their children.  It can be a great way to learn about another person’s cultures and teach the children another language that they can speak throughout life.  The host family may even learn another language altogether and also teach the Au Pair their culture and language as well.

As an Au Pair in America, you will be a functioning member of the family.  You will be included in family events and asked to go with the family on vacations and things.  It is a very exciting time with the right family you can have a great experience.  And, this experience is like nothing you would ever experience any other way.  You will live with your host family and have your own room. However, some families will offer you a suit or even a small apartment on the property.

You will be a very important part of the family as you will be raising and caring for their children.  Many families take this responsibility very seriously.  Typically this is a year commitment. A year might seem like a long time if you are with the wrong family and seem like it goes by quickly for those perfect situations.

Becoming an Au Pair in America is exciting, but it can be a bit scary as well.  You are young and you are going away from family and friends, this can actually become quite dangerous and precautions should be in place.  Although, today there are many precautions put into place, unlike in the years without the internet.  Many people have phone plans that allow you to call home and your agency.

Kids jumping on castle

Find a suitable agency

An agency that is suitable for what you would expect them to be.  Look around and see what others are saying about the agency.  Is the agency there for you long after you have been placed?  Are they clear on what the expectations are of you and of the host family?  Are they willing to fully answer all of your questions with ease and not try to walk you around the question?  Be sure they are on your side as an Au Pair.  The Au Pair in America families need you more than you need them, so you need to protect yourself. There are a lot of Au Pair agencies out there, but find the one that is best for you.

Choose Wisely!

When you are searching for a host family, ask questions.  Ask lots of questions and be sure you understand the answers.  If you are not familiar with their language find another way of communication.  Be sure they are kind and patient with you as this is an experience that is going to be hard at times and you will need support.  This is meant to be a great experience for everyone.  Don’t be too quick to choose, there are many families out there that want to host an AuPair, so finding the right one is more important than just finding one.

Be sure you understand the rules of your particular agency.  Who is responsible for what costs and such.  This is different for different agencies.  The expectations are different for each agency. You should know what is expected from your research on agencies.  

Go online and take a look around the area where the family lives.  Will you be able to easily get around or will you need a car?  Is there public transportation?  Are you looking to live in the city or the countryside? The United States is huge and has vastly different climates, sites, and cultures within the country.  Do your research to find areas that interest you.  There are many families in the United States willing to take on an Au Pair, so finding the right family is important, but the location is as well.  The United States is not as easy to get around as it is in some other countries. There are not proper train systems that are inexpensive to take, so being somewhere that you can explore the local area for a year is important.

Get experience with kids

If you have little experience with children, you might want to try it out first here at home.  Taking care of kids is hard.  They have minds of their own and now you are adding other elements such as a language barrier.  Be sure you understand what you are getting into.  Many young people don’t realize that taking care of kids every day is a full-time job and it is exhausting.  You are teaching them valuable lessons that they would never experience otherwise, but don’t be alarmed if they are not too keen on the idea.  Many times kids are not as accepting of new foods and culture.  They may have to warm up to you as well.  

The best advice here is to always be their authority figure or on the same page as the parents and do not become their friend.  They need you to guide them and help them learn and grow properly.  This also means they are still sorting out their thoughts and feelings and trying to express them properly.  This can not only be frustrating to you, but it can be to them as well. They are not fully developed people.  This means that meltdowns and frustrations boiling over. Be prepared to help calm them and help them understand that it is okay.  

Kids, when hungry, can turn on you.  So be sure that you understand normal kid behavior.  Hungry kids are not going to listen, they are not going to wait one minute, they are going to get over the top angry.  So, before this happens, try to get a snack in them.  They are little people after all. Little people with great big imaginations!

Good luck and enjoy the exciting world of Au Pair in America! For more information check out

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