You’ve decided you want to au pair! How exciting.
Family hunting is really exciting. When in your life have you ever decided to so drastically change your lifestyle? Savour the experience, be picky and communicate with a lot of families, and frequently. Real communication too. Don’t just email; you need to make telephone calls or Skype at least twice before departing.
But before you even start liaising with host parents take ten minutes to seriously consider the following. Trust me, once you know your parameters you can better search for compatible families.
12 Things to Consider Before Picking an Au Pair Host Family
Kids |Too many, too young, too close in age to you?
Timing | How long do they want you there for and does this mesh with your commitment? When do they want you to start? Is this possible?
Visas | Some families prefer EU citizens for visa purposes.
Nationality | Some families actively seek au pairs from a certain nation or region so that their children learn a certain language (which you are expected to speak with them).
Parents |Are you comfortable with working in a single-parent family?
Driving |Are you required to drive in the host nation? Is your current license adequate for driving in the host nation? Can you drive a manual car? Are you willing to learn?
Expectations |What are the work demands from the family? Are you willing to iron, mow the lawn or change diapers?
Salary | Is it adequate (in terms of work demand or your salary expectations?)
Infants | Realize that you will be spending the entire day with your ward.
Language Barrier | Can you communicate with the children? How will you address conflict resolution between sisters, give directions or tell a child that he can not play with the neighbor until his homework is done?
Pets | Does the family have any and a) are you comfortable with pets; and b) do you have any allergies?
Cooking | Can you cook? Are you willing to learn? Are you required to cook for the children?
Where to Find Families
The two leading au pair websites are aupair-world.net and greataupair.com. You can also find jobs on the Facebook pages of au pairs in certain cities. For example, the group Au Pairs in Milan not only brings au pairs together for social purposes but it often has job postings. This is especially the case when the current au pair is trying to help the family line up the incoming caretaker.
Lastly, Kijiji and Gum Tree type local-online-markets often feature child care positions. I think it goes without saying that I would avoid using Craigslist to find a nanny job. Unless you’re into that kind of thing?