An Au Pair stay is a special time in your life. In order for you to remember it as an unforgettable experience, it depends on whether you and your future Host Family fit together. To find out if a family is a good match for you, on the one hand you can use measurable factors such as the age and number of children, the area where the family lives and their diet. On the other hand, you should also pay attention to non-measurable factors, such as the characters of the family members, their humor and their values.
Read the following article to perfectly prepare yourself for the selection process of your Host Family!
Are you wondering which criteria you need to consider in order to find the perfect Host Family and which families you can exclude directly from the selection process?
Don't worry, we have summarized all the answers for you! At the beginning of their search, Au Pairs are often overwhelmed by the choice of families. We advise candidates not only to consider their own perspective, but also to put themselves in the position of the potential future Host Family. Do you meet their wishes and expectations? Do you think you can cooperate with them on a human and intellectual level? It is important that you can communicate with the host parents and that you find common topics that interest you in order to create a pleasant interaction.
First of all, it is important to clarify a few general questions, e.g. what age group the children are in or what kind of diet the family has chosen for themselves.
In which area did you grow up and where does the family live? If you are from a big city and the Host Family lives in a more rural area, you should think carefully about whether you are open to living in a different area than the one you are used to.
Age group of the children
On our platform you can specify what the age group the Host Kids you are willing to take care of will be. If the children of the potential Host Family are older or younger, this should not be an obstacle. However, you must be aware before your stay that it is something completely different to supervise teenagers or infants.
Number of children
How many children do you feel comfortable taking responsibility for? Some Au Pairs see it as an advantage to take care of several children, as they can then keep each other busy. Single children may need more attention. However, it might be more relaxing to attend to the needs of only one child than to the needs of several.
Also keep this in mind as you create your profile and during interviews with potential Host Families. Chances are that if there are Host Kids of different ages in the family, you will have to take care exclusively of the younger ones and the teenagers will be totally independent.
On our platform Host Parents have the possibility to indicate whether they’re single or not. This is important since not all Au Pairs feel comfortable with living with a single parent or expect too much responsibility. If your potential Host Family has a single parent, you should consider in advance if this is an option for you.
If you’re not the first Au Pair this family has hosted so far, you could ask for their former Au Pair’s social media or phone number. That way you could ask your questions about the family's lifestyle and the workload they had while living with a single parent.
Children with disabilities
Do you have previous experience in working with children with physical or mental disabilities? Not all Au Pairs are confident with this responsibility. Before your stay, you should clarify with the Host Family in personal messages what special assistance their child needs, so you know what you can expect.
Do not underestimate this situation, but do not let it discourage you either. If you have no experience with children with disabilities, but the family is considering you as a possible Au Pair perhaps the workload you imagine is greater than what is actually required.
Talk openly about your fears with the family and ask them to explain in detail what your responsibilities will be.
How well do you speak the language of your destination country? In most countries, at least a basic knowledge of the language is a requirement for your Au Pair stay. In addition, you should pay attention to the language skills required by the Host Family and check in the video conversation whether an understanding between you is possible. At the same time remember that the Host Family should not hire you as a language teacher, as this is not one of the tasks of an Au Pair. They may want to host an Au Pair who speaks a specific language to bring their child into contact with that, but if they want their children to study a foreign language they should hire a foreign language tutor.
Driving a car
If the Host Family requires an Au Pair who has a driver's license, you should honestly assess your driving experience. Additionally, you need to consider whether you are confident driving in the host country, especially if different traffic rules apply than in your home country. Before entering the country, be sure to contact the appropriate authorities to find out if your driver's license will be recognized in your host country.
Riding a Bicycle
As with driving a car, it is important to clarify before your stay whether your future Host Family expects you to be able to ride a bicycle. If this is not the case, it may be possible to learn how to ride a bike relatively quickly on site.
Does your own family have pets or have you had experience with animals in the past? If your Host Family owns pets, this could be an advantage! If you have never had any contact with animals or even if you are allergic to animal hair, you should definitely discuss with the Host Family beforehand if there are animals living in the household and to what extent you have to take care of them.
Even if the Host Family has pets, they should not be your responsibility unless previously discussed and agreed in the contract. Be sure to clarify all your additional duties and the expected compensation for this. These details should be discussed and included in the contract prior to your arrival.
If your future Host Family has a different diet than you, it is important to clarify before your stay whether your diets are compatible. For example, if your Host Kids eat animal products and you follow a vegan diet, you should ask yourself before your stay if you are still willing to prepare dishes with animal products and discuss the topic with the Host Family during the interview.
Once the general questions mentioned above have been answered, you can focus on the details. Now you have to find out if the Host Family is a good match for you! To ensure this, it is important that you have several video conversations. If possible, the Host Family should also involve the children so that you can get to know them as well.
Ask yourself the following questions:
Do I fit in with the family in terms of character?
Do the family and I share a similar sense of humor?
Do we have similar interests (sports activities, hiking, cultural activities)?
Do we share similar basic values? (e.g. authenticity, tolerance, honesty, creativity).
Can I imagine that I will get along well with the children?
We recommend that you broaden your choice of country and also consider the culture and education level of the Host Family. There is no country with particularly "good" or particularly "bad" Host Families. Pay attention to the response rate and the activity of the family to save yourself extra time.
We hope that this article will help you in the process of choosing your future Host Family!