Please remember that an au pair is an extra pair of hands living in your home – not an employee or servant.
Au pairs are coming to England to learn English and their English may seem poor when they first arrive.
Explain things as clearly as possible (not louder!) and if s/he still does not understand it will be necessary to write down what you are saying so they can consult a dictionary. Watching television can also be a good way to help them improve their English quickly, so a television in his/her room is recommended as well as free wifi access.
Communication and mutual respect is the key to a happy relationship.
Be prepared to invest plenty of time in the first few weeks whilst your au pair adjusts to a new culture and language differences.
A happy au pair can be a huge benefit but it can take a degree of time and effort from both sides. As long as the au pair does not think she is on holiday and you do not think you have a full time cleaner or childminder, it will work out well!
If you treat the au pair as you would the daughter of a friend then she should feel welcome and at home with you.
Take care to show your au pair what you require and to carefully explain how you like things to be done. Write down any instructions so s/he can consult with a dictionary.
Do not assume that they are used to doing things the same way that we are. It is advisable to write a schedule of duties out so that you both know what is expected.
Bear in mind that everything may be strange to him/her; from the way we bring up our children and their behaviour, to the food we eat.
Talk, include and be patient with him/her.
Although the early stages can be difficult, you will be amazed at the speed of improvement.
To help your au pair build confidence, try to introduce them to au pairs in the area and help them to register with a local college. This is where they will meet friends and find a social life outside the family home. We will also provide free membership to our ‘friends’ website.
During her free time the au pair must be allowed to go out and socialise, stay in her room, or spend free time with the family. All our au pairs will have been asked to respect that you need time alone with your partner as well.
They may want to go out at night and should be allowed to do this so long as it does not regularly affect their work and you are comfortable with it.
You can call us for advice or information at any stage and we hope to provide the necessary support to ensure that the relationship with the au pair remains a good one.
We can arrange for the agencies abroad to speak to the au pair should you feel that there is an area in which they may need further guidance but you are having difficulty communicating due to language barriers or sensitivity issues.
It is important to be patient with your au pair who may find the adjustment difficult at first. Sit down with him/her as often as you can to discuss how s/he is coping, being open and as specific as you can. Ensuring she is treated as a member of the family and not an employee will help.
In the unlikely situation that the relationship does not prove successful, we will work as quickly as we can to find a suitable replacement for the family and to find an alternative family for the au pair. (See Terms & conditions).