So you have decided to become an Au Pair. This is someone who lives with a host family while taking care of their children – usually in exchange for accommodation, meals and a weekly allowance. It can be a wonderful learning experience and an opportunity for cultural exchange, both for you and for your new host family.
Now that you have decided that this is the right career move for you, though, you might also be wondering how you can make sure that you do a great job. Juggle Street works with many new and experienced carers, connecting them with Australian host families.
So this article is especially designed to help make your transition into the new role as seamless as possible. Here, we share some of our top tips for being a successful Au Pair.
1. Write a list of your best assets
Preparing your Juggle Street profile and applying for Au Pair jobsshould be treated like any other job application. So it is important to start by making a list of what you believe are your best qualities. Then you can try and find a way to weave these into your profile and application, explaining what you could bring to the role and to your time living with the host family. Finally, make sure that you bring those same qualities with you to the new job, day to day.
2. Be up front about your skill set with your host family
It is always a good idea to have an open and honest conversation with your potential host during the interview process, to discuss up front what your skills are and what you are prepared to do (or not do) in your new role as Au Pair nanny. You might not have a driver’s license, for example, but would be happy to help out with some light duties around the house. Try not to make false promises, but instead be honest about what is within your means. This will ultimately result in a more positive outcome for all parties involved.
3. Be considerate of your new housemates
Once you move in with your new host family, remember to be considerate and treat the family members just as you would other housemates. You will all have to learn to share common spaces and to be respectful of one another’s privacy. So it is a good idea to make it a point to ease into your new space with a graceful attitude and a sharing spirit. This should help to make for a smooth transition into the household, both for you and for the whole family.
4. Look for ways to bond with the children
When you decide to become an Au Pair, you are signing up to work with children on a regular basis, so bonding with the kids is a really important first step when you move into your new home. It is a good idea to think about some ways that you can break the ice during those first meetings – either by taking an interest in their favourite hobbies, or by suggesting activities that you can do altogether. Bonding with the children early on could be as simple as playing their favourite games with them, or taking them on a trip to the local aquarium.
5. Take some initiative
One of the best ways to make a good impression with your new host family is by taking some initiative. Cleaning might not necessarily be part of your job description, for example, but you might take it upon yourself to tidy up the living room when you notice that the children’s toys are lying around the floor. Alternatively, you could offer to take the kids down to the park, or to cook dinner for your host family one night. These small, uncalled for gestures will go a long way to making a good first impression.
6. Immerse yourself in your new culture
A great way to start getting to know your host family and how they live is by immersing yourself in their culture and customs. Take an active interest in learning a little bit about their background and history or ask questions about the area in which they live and find out what some of their favourite weekend activities are. This kind of cultural exchange is all a part of what makes Au Pair Australia experiences so unique and appealing, as a time to remember. So make the most of it while you can.
7. And share your culture openly with the host family
As an Au Pair nanny, you aren’t the only one that has the opportunity to enjoy the positive effects of cultural exchange. In addition to you learning about your host’s culture, the family might also like to learn a little bit about the culture where you come from as well. This could be through language, cuisine, or popular customs, for instance. Be open and willing to share these sorts of details and experiences with your host family, to help facilitate a positive cultural exchange.
8. Be open minded and ready to learn
Finally, it is important to be open minded and ready to learn when you start your new role as a live in carer. It can be a lot to take in initially, especially as you get used to the new job and as you begin to adjust to the different dynamics within the household. But, if you approach the job with some humility and an eagerness to learn as you go, then you will most likely find the process of adjustment to be a whole lot easier. And your hosts will also appreciate your willingness to learn, as you adjust to your new family environment.
At Juggle Street, we specialise in matching Au Pairs with host families. When you are ready, you can search for Au Pair jobs Australia through the Juggle Street network.