Is Au Pair Option Right for You?
We will always discuss your needs in more detail during our consultation call - however as a brief questionnaire before you finalise your registration with the family letter, we would kindly ask to consider the following.
For any family considering an au pair as childcare – it is important to recognise and embrace the true meaning cultural exchange – au pairing is therefore not just about affordability, but about a mutually beneficial cultural experience. It is important to welcome the au pair as a member of the family, to provide guidance and to include them in the typical family activities.
It is also important to be realistic and recognise that au pairs are young adults (typically 18 - 19 years of age) living away from home for the first time.
They are immensely excited yet often also daunted by the prospect of living in another country with a new family, while taking responsibility for children. It is therefore not realistic to expect an au pair to arrive and to understand everything required from them immediately, it can take a couple of weeks for everything to fall into place. Your training and time investment is crucial in helping the au pair to settle. At Smartaupairs we do also provide lots of support material for both parties to make the transition as easy as possible!
We rarely receive mother's help applicants, and are therefore not generally in the position to help with roles which require more than 35h/week of care or sole care for under 2 year old children or extensive care for pre-school aged children.
All au pairs should also have two full free days off each week, normally the weekends. We advise against overnight care and would also note that au pairs should only take limited responsibility for light household duties.
For more information about the program - please visit our what is an au pair page or call our team on 03301119266.
Next Step - Family Letter
Your letter provides an overview of your family life to prospective au pairs. It is an important step in helping our team at smartaupairs to select & introduce the right candidates for you.
Below is an outline on what to include in your family letter. We recommend you write the letter in a word document and then send it over to us via e-mail to email@example.com along with your family photos (our website has a security time out every 20 minutes).
If you prefer to fill in our pre-prepared word form, you can download it here
Parent(s) names and brief introduction (profession & working hours, hobbies and interests).
Child(ren) including name, gender, age, personalities, likes and dislikes, hobbies & information including school and nursery hours. The schedule is particularly important if one of the children is not yet in full time school/nursery and/or when routine varies from day to day.
Do either parents or the children have any special needs/behavioural difficulties?
We work with many international families - if you speak more than one language in your family, please confirm the main language(s) spoken in your home and the language in which you would speak to your au pair.
Do you require the au pair to speak any language other than English to your children?
We would kindly note that au pairs are not qualified in childcare and as such they would not be the right form of childcare for roles which require full/continuous sole care for pre-school aged children (we advise to limit sole care to max. 3/4h at a time) or overnight care. We advise against any sole care for children under the age of two. If you need further guidance on this - please do give our office a call and we can assess whether an au pair could be an option for you.
Your Home and Location
Please describe your home location and the transport connections to nearest town/city.
Maybe include a link to local tourist information. If your location is rural, you are likely to need an au pair who drives.
Briefly describe your family home (size, garden) and the accommodation you have set aside for the au pair (room, bathroom, wifi).
Please specify if there are any other adults living in your home apart from parent(s)
Au Pair Hours & Duties
It would be helpful if you could provide us with a breakdown of a proposed sample day so we can discuss this further in our consultation. Here, we would like you to consider the key times during which you would need au pair assistance (e.g. 7-9.30 am in the morning and again 3pm - 7.30pm in the evening).
If you already know the school holiday time requirements - you can highlight these separately.
Do you also have a cleaner? If yes, for how many hours each week?
For more information of suitable/unsuitable au pair duties and general program guidelines please see:
An au pair would not take sole charge of all household duties but helps as a member of your family. We'll give you an extensive handbook guide when you confirm an au pair from us, which helps you to clarify the duties/house rules etc in much more detail for the au pair.
Do you require your au pair to drive?
If a driver is required, would you provide a manual or an automatic car?
Find more information about au pairs & driving here: http://www.smartaupairs.com/news-read.aspx?news=119
We always advise providing the au pair driving lessons at the start of the placement to allow her/him to get used to driving on the left side of the road. We also advise to look into car insurance cost early on, as the cost of insuring a young driver can be high. Most au pairs who apply for the programme are aged 18-20.
Au Pair Pocket Money & Free Time
The minimum pocket money starts from £75 for 25h, £90 for 30h and £105 for 35h. Higher pocket money applies for more experienced/native English speaking applicants.
Which two days of the week would be au pair's free time?
How many evenings would you like the au pair to babysit for you? Babysitting should not be allocated on au pair free days unless mutually agreed.
Are the weekends free for the au pair?
Extras for a Successful Au Pair?
Some of the ideas for perks are: PAYG phone contribution, contribution towards local travel card (recommended in the London area), use of car, language classes, gym membership.
Au Pair & Your Family Life
Most au pairs highlight "being part of the family" as one of the key factors in their happiness. Equally many au pairs enjoy a higher degree of independence. It is important to establish how you are looking to help the au pair integrate in the family life early on - so expectations of both parties are aligned.
Would the au pair join in at the family mealtimes? Would the au pair eat with the children or independently?
Would the au pair be welcome to join in the family weekend activities?
Would they be included in family holidays?
Experienced or New Au Pair Host?
Have you hosted au pairs before?
We would kindly ask to provide two references for your family from non-relatives. Kindly include name, contact e-mail or telephone number. If you have had au pairs before we would kindly ask to include contact details for your recent au pair.
Reference 1: Previous au pair/nanny/child carer or someone who has looked after your child(ren) before.
Reference 2: Someone who knows your family well, such as a family friend, another parent whose children go to the same school etc (non - relative)
Contact details are sufficient (unless you happen to have a written reference handy)
Please e-mail your “letter to au pair” and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org
Questions? Our friendly team is a phone call away - 0330 111 9266