Top 10 Tips for Welcoming Your Au Pair

I just welcomed my 11th au pair just over a week ago and spent the weekend helping to orient her to our home, family and community. It is an exciting time for everyone but can also be exhausting so here are 10 tips I have for other families going through a similar process. 

Keep in mind, it is important to be realistic with yourself, your family and your au pair about expectations for the first couple of days and recognize that you are all just starting the orienting process.  You won’t be able to cram it all in and expect the best results.  The more items you can put in writing as a support to ongoing conversations the better.

#1 Get to know her and allow her to get to know your family. Don’t plan big events the first weekend where she will have to get to know a lot of people but do spend time together learning about one another.

#2 Help make her feel welcome and show her how she can get involved with your family. When in doubt at the beginning, we include our au pair as much as possible in family activities until she makes friends and/or you or she decides she doesn’t wish to participate.

#3 Share critical information your au pair needs in the first week – where the children will go (activities, school, camp etc), her schedule as well as the kids for the week (in writing), things the kids like to eat, and strategies for being successful with the kids (i.e. the kids have a hard time leaving without any notice and will put up a fight. A good way to avoid this is to give them a 10 minute warning and then 5 minute warning. At 2 minutes, say lets get our shoes on it is time to leave.)

#4 Get a map of your community and mark the important place she will go. Show her/drive her around your community on day one and have her bring her map with her. After day one, talk about where you are going and have her drive there. It’s good practice for her driving and learning the community and will help give you confidence in her ability to get around after the first few days.

#5 Connect her to other au pairs. If she doesn’t know anyone yet in your community, reach out to your LCC and help get her connected. Going for coffee is empowering and an important step in connecting with others.

#6 Show her what you want her to do – don’t just tell her. Do a dry run on a typical day from soup to nuts so she sees how you want her to do it and can take it from there.

#7 Share with her some of the reasons why you chose her as your au pair. This helps her to feel more confident and connected to you and your family.

#8 Ask her what kinds of foods she likes to eat. If it is something outside of what your family might normally eat, see if you can incorporate something from her culture/home to make her feel at home even far from home.

#9 Personalizing her room. Ask her if there is anything needed – blankets, pillows, etc. I also put a welcome basket or flowers and a picture drawn by the kids to make her feel welcome.

#10 Talk about things she wishes to accomplish or see in her year and then help her plan how and when to do them.

What tips do you have welcoming someone new into your home?



About samanthajanney

My name is Sam and I am a working mom who lives life on the run. Whether it is work related (I travel for business a lot), child related (two active school aged children with plenty of after school interests), au pair related (host mom to our 11th au pair), husband related (married for 11 years), sister, friend etc, there isn’t a moment that I don’t find myself running around trying to do it all. Some weeks are more successful than others (sorry friends and family if you have been on the receiving end of a bad week) but I believe in the 80%-20% rule! 80% of our lives are full of the good stuff, but it's the 20% of life's challenges that make me interesting because I'm the conflict resolution artist. Join me on the journey of self discovery, problem solving and attempts to get it right more often than not!
This entry was posted in Activities for kids, Cultural Exchange Experiences, Parenting Advice and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Top 10 Tips for Welcoming Your Au Pair

  1. nancy mullally says:

    So having my son’s 4th birthday party on my new au pair’s second full day is a bad idea? Oh well….we’ll figure it out! Thanks for the tips Sam!

    • samantha janney says:

      Nancy – it’s no problem to have your son’s party when your new au pair arrives you just may need to adjust everyone’s expectations about how easily your au pair will assimilate into the mix and remind her to introduce herself to everyone. Have a good time!

  2. One of my host families have a tip that I loved and I have shared it with others. Before their new au pair arrives they ask them to email a photo of themselves with their family. The family then print it out, put it in a cute frame and place it in her room. The au pairs say that they feel instantly at home and that it is an inexpensive but thoughtful gesture.

  3. Lee Robertson says:

    Hey Sam,
    Nice list!
    I posted a link on my website!

  4. samantha janney says:

    Sabina – love the suggestion. I have done that as well in the past but this time around only had some black and white photocopies to work with. I agree that it is a lovely touch and would highly recommend that others include this tip too! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Pingback: Top 10 Tips for Welcoming Your Au Pair | Childcare And So Much More!!!

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