5 tips for choosing the perfect au pair
Your children are the most precious part of your life so you want to hire the best au pair to take care of them and make sure that you can totally trust her. It’s natural to ask yourself – “How can I choose the right au pair?” You want someone you can trust and who, above all, will be a friend to your children.
The first step is to decide where to look for such a person. You can call a specialised agency, check on au pair websites or find an au pair with the help of your family and friends.
With the au pair websites you can look through thousands of profiles and contact as many as you want before you make your final choice. They have special search fields so you can look for a certain quality that you want in your au pair. You can find out if they have a drivers licence, if they’ve worked as an au pair before, if they smoke – in fact you can find out anything you want about your potential au pair.
An Agency can only offer suggestions but nobody knows you and your family better than you do yourself, so your best option is an au pair website.
You just have to follow some tips.
1. What her words tell you – read between the lines.
All au pairs write a letter to their potential host family. Read it very carefully because it can reveal a lot of things. If it has positive statements about herself and her family, it probably indicates that she has plenty of self-esteem and positive relationships with her parents and friends. Look out for any possible “red flags”. An au pair who starts her letter with “My name is Maria and I’ve just split up with my boyfriend” may be telling you she just wants to get away from problems in her life.
2. Google is your friend
It is very useful to Google her name, address and email address. Her blog, Facebook or other social network accounts can offer a lot of extra information about her such as if she is an outgoing or introverted person, what kind of language she uses etc.
3. Make use of technology’s advantages
We recommend that you interview her with the help of Skype or Google+ Hangouts instead of just talking on the phone. This way you can see how she behaves with your children or how well she speaks and understands your language. Remember though that’s it’s not always easy to conduct an interview in a foreign so she might be nervous – so don’t make your questions too hard.
4. Personality beats experience
Your au pair’s personality can be more important than her childcare experience. Of course she should have enough experience to know how to take care of your children, but pay more attention to her personality. You’re going to be living together so choose someone you know both you and your children can get on with. Someone with a nice “smiling face” and someone who will be friend to the children. au pairs are young people and sometimes you might struggle with their lack of years, but an Au-pair who has a good attitude and acts maturely is better than one who has more experience.
5. Trust your intuition
Above all else, trust your intuition. As parents we can all feel instinctively what is best for our family. Even if everything about a particular au pair appears to be good but you still have a negative feeling, you should pass on to the next person.
Follow these tips and you’ll be able to find the perfect au pair for your family.
Do you have other tips? Share them with us!