Au Pair tips

11 Jul

You hear often of au pair horror stories (I hear them from other au pairs!) and I really have nothing to complain about. My family is super nice and respects my privacy.
I work longer days but have full days off to explore Paris. The momENCOURAGES me to get out and explore. Really, I can’t think of a better situation.
Léa and Constantin have their moments but for the most part are incredibly sweet and well-behaved children.
Seriously, living the au pair dream here.

For those of you who are looking into au pair-ing, my situation is NOT typical. You really need to talk to the family and see what you both are looking for in your au pair experience.
Here are some helpful tips that I’ve gathered from my experiences here. I’ll update this list as my trip continues on 🙂

1. Ask questions, loads of them.
You’re visiting a foreign country, there’s going to be LOADS of differences. I asked my Au Pair mom if the water was fine to drink, (she ended up being an engineer who tests the water in various places so she assured me it was fine) but I didn’t know! And she wasn’t upset to answer me. You may not get all the answers because hey, the family is busy too, but ask a bunch and reinforce the important questions if they don’t answer them the first time.

2. Be honest about why you want to au pair.
I told my families (many that I applied for and 2 accepted me as an au pair only to turn me down at the last minute) that I wanted to travel. That I’d like to have weekends off/days off to explore. Also, that I wish to better learn the French language. Some families wanted their au pair to be more of an on-call babysitter, and if you as an au pair would like that, fine! Others wanted me to speak only English in the house and no French. Just lay down all the expectations, feel free to remind the family that you will be flexible but stay firm. Remember, families are interviewing you, but you are also interviewing them to see if it’s a good match

3.Try to pick a family who lives near a city.
My family’s house is about a 5/10 min walk to the train which goes straight to Paris.
It’s so nice to just hop on and go to Paris for the day and come back. If I lived in the country or a small town I don’t know what I would do! I mean, I love the suburbs but it’s also nice to explore and meet new people as well as meet up with other au pairs.

4. Unmotivated, unresponsive family? Move on.
I personally had two different families tell me, yes we want you for sure and then change their mind 2 weeks later. Ask them about the contract, try to return emails in a timely matter. If they aren’t doing the same (and aren’t on vacation or something odd) it’s not gonna work out. To paraphrase the ever popular romance help novel in America a few years ago, THEY JUST AREN’T THAT INTO YOU. It’s not personal. They’re just being dumb. If they really want a nice, wonderful person to look after their kids, they’ll chase after them. Doesn’t mean YOU aren’t that person, they’re just not smart enough to realize that. Moral of the story? If the family does not seem to be helping you and takes forever to respond, move on. Look for new families.

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