Host Family Requirements

I have used 'Smartaupairs' for the past 4 years and had 5 au-pairs live with our family. As a result, we now have 5 good friends from all over Europe. It’s sad when our au-pairs leave us but they always come back to visit and we always look forward to welcoming a new family member when another comes to join us. I recommend the whole experience to all my friends. Jenny, Host Mum

What is Expected from a Host Family?

Inclusion in Family Life - it is SO important to treat the childcarer as a family member and to ensure that he/she is offered the chance to be included within family life and typical family activities (e.g. dinner time, watching tv with the family in the evening, weekend trips away). This sets the ethos and basis for our program.

Of course, not every family has the chance to sit down for dinner every night, many parents lead a busy work life too - so simply be open about your usual routine when speaking to candidates.

Full Board - 3 daily meals – you are not required to cook for the au pair, but to simply have all basic ingredients readily available for the childcarer's use.

Weekly pay 

2 full free days/week (typically Saturday, Sunday) - if any additional help is required during the two free days, this needs to be by mutual agreement and to be paid extra (at the agreed hourly rate).

Weekly rates follow the National Minimum Wage rates applicable for the age range. 

Own private bedroom within your family home - the room should have a window and storage for clothing and facilities to study (desk). The room must include a proper bed with a normal mattress (a fold out, temporary/sofa bed is not sufficient).

Airport collection & drop off at the end of the placement.

Guidance, training and support with clear written guidance on what is expected in line with role agreed with agency (At Smartaupairs, we provide you with an extensive family information & handbook guide to help you in preparation). We ask each host family to prepare a manual for their au pair based on our template to ensure the rules and expectations of the role are clear. 

Driving Assessment + Lessons if au pair is required to drive; access to insured and safe vehicle. 

Paid Holiday – 28 days holiday per 12 month period, including Public Holidays. As a pro-rata calculation, this would equate to 1.66 days/month + bank holidays.

A Written Contract signed by both parties prior to start date in line with role agreed with agency (At Smartaupairs, we will provide you with an easy to fill form which allows you to confirm all the important details in writing)

End of stay bonus (equal to one week pay) to the au pair upon full completion of his/her agreed term (applicable for placements which are 6 months or longer only).

Two Week Paid Notice Period (Live in) in case of placement termination - may be longer depending on your preference. 

Smartaupairs asks each host family for two references as part of their registration - if you have had au pairs before, we kindly ask to speak to your most recent one (s). We always verify the references before we start the au pair search.

Is the Live-In Childcare Program Right for Your Family?

Aside of the basic host family requirements, we have noted a couple of other factors which are important to consider when deciding whether an au pair is the right solution for your family.

Your Expectations v. Reality

We often jokingly say that au pairs are not fairies! It is therefore important to be realistic and recognize that traditional au pairs are young adults, typically aged 18-19, often 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 not realistic to expect an au pair to arrive and to know/understand everything required from them upon arrival. Start from the basics and remember that as a parent, you have developed into a skilled multitasker over time - however for the au pair, it is all new, and your guidance, written rules & expectations are therefore very important in ensuring the au pair placement gets off to a good start. It can often take a few weeks for everything to fall into place. 

If you require more substantial help, we generally recommend a qualified/experienced childcarer (EXPERIENCE+ category).

We have nearly 20 years of experience in supporting au pair placements, so you are in good hands, and we are available for help throughout the placement should any hiccups occur.

Your Childcare Needs

We offer two experience levels depending on the role requirements. 


An au pair can be a wonderful help with all age groups. There are however important limitations in the level of responsibility the traditional au pairs can have, simply due to the fact that they are not often qualified in childcare. As an example, an au pair would not be the right form of childcare for roles which require full/continuous sole care for pre-school aged children (for whom we ask to limit sole care to max. 3/4h at a time).

No sole care should be required for children under the age of two by applicants who do not have prior extensive experience and/or qualifications. By sole care, we refer to help without parental presence. An au pair can therefore absolutely help with a baby/young child alongside mum/dad by providing an extra pair of hands - however they should not be left in sole charge. 

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.

Most traditional au pairs prefer roles which are 25-30 hours.


At Smartaupairs we also place experienced & qualified childcarers who are fantastic for more demanding roles. These candidates are much like junior nannies. 

Experienced candidates are often looking to work more hours / to have added responsibility and can therefore help with up to full time hours where necessary. Individual candidates have varied preferences. 

Sharing Your Family Home

Are you really comfortable with a new person living with you and taking part in your family life/activities such as joining in to watch tv in the evening?

The program is really is all about welcoming someone to join you as a family.

Your Domestic Needs

The au pair programme is based on childcare – we can therefore only supply au pairs for positions in which childcare is the real priority.

Au pairs will be able to help with light household duties for up to an hour a day, but would not replace a cleaner or take charge of all household duties or heavy household tasks.

Time to Guide Au Pair

The first days/weeks of the placement are particularly important and worth the time investment. Many families take a few days off to help guide and introduce the new childcarer to the role. At Smartaupairs, we provide a substantial amount of support material both for our families and candidates – however, it is important to consider whether you will be able to take the time in the beginning of the placement, to ensure your childcarer is fully supported and trained before taking independent responsibility over the requested tasks.


It is of course also important to consider the additional cost of another person living with you (food, potential increase in utility costs, car insurance if au pair is required to drive).


All our au pairs are live-in.

It is important to set aside appropriate accommodation for the childcarer (private bedroom with a a proper bed & mattress, window + storage such as a wardrobe/chest of drawers, table). They can share the bathroom with the family.

Would you be comfortable staying in the room yourself on a longer term basis?

Telephone/Zoom/WhatsApp Based Interview Process

Our candidates are nearly always in their home countries when they are looking for a position. Are you happy to conduct interviews over video call instead of meeting in person? 

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Why Choose Smartaupairs?

How Do We Match Au Pairs to Your Family?