Below is a compilation of advice from our blogs where you'll hear from Area Directors, host moms, and professional au pairs. Let's all combine our knowledge and learn from one another!
Area Director Emily in Northern California
Set-up a routine time each week for both parents and the professional au pair to have a family meeting. It doesn't have to be long- 20 minutes is sufficient. It sets an expectation of professionalism and provides a structured time for any issues to be brought up
Professional Au Pair Nina in Northern California
My advice for other professional au pairs is to stand in for your rights but also hear your host family out. Take advantage of your time here, meet people especially not from your country and travel as much as you can. Some days can be hard and it is important that you have someone to talk to. Don't give up too easily, I was in rematch and it was the best decision for me.
For the host families, speak in the beginning about rules so that we know what to expect. Your professional au pair works at the most 45 hours the week, so free time for the professional au pair without the family is also important for them to get new energy for the next day. If there are problems just speak right away about it, maybe it was even just a misunderstanding.
Area Director Debbie in New Jersey
Realize the girls would like a family environment - that it is not just a job - and try to help them integrate into the family.
Be sensitive to the fact that these girls are very bright and special in the sense that they have chosen to go far away from their families and friends to live in a different culture speaking a foreign language. It is not easy to do that - they really took a big leap - so be patient as they adjust.
Ask them a lot of questions about their schools, families and friends and life in Germany - note the differences and similarities! It is very cool and a wonderful cultural exchange for everyone. Also, a conversation is what creates relationships and these questions will spark the conversations!
Be aware that these au pairs are professionals and had professional jobs in Germany so they need their space as adults.
Area Director Eva in Southern California
In my personal experience and from what I see in my professional au pairs, welcoming your professional au pair into the family is very important. If she feels like she is a part of the family, the experience is not only better for her, but even more so for the host family and children.
Professional Au Pair Garoa in Washington State
When I first spoke to my host family, I realized that it is more important to fit perfectly with the host family than to come to a particular place in the US.
Communication is the key to happiness.
My host family always includes me in their plans. At the same time, however, they also give me the necessary freedom and privacy that I need. I have a separate area in the house, which belongs only to me.
Whether it's college courses, coffee at Starbucks, or sports - if you want to get to know people in the USA, there are plenty of opportunities.
Every single professional au pair makes a completely different experience in this program. Whether you have fun or not is not only the host family, or the organization with which you go abroad or the place where you live in the USA. It is mainly due to one's own attitude to the whole!
Be positive, courageous and execute your plans. Get out, rather than stay at your home and don't forget to communicate with your host family. Then you will have a wonderful experience and have unique stories to tell.
Host Mom and Area Director Claudia in Texas
Start your educational requirement quickly- you don’t want to go home and say you’ve only met other German au pairs.
Professional Au Pair Jenny in North Carolina
The main thing with working with kids that you have to respect them and they will respect you. You have to be honest with them and they will be honest with you. Don’t lie to them and they won’t lie to you. They look up to you – you are the adult. You have to act like you should act. Empathy is really important. You have to be their friend all the time but sometimes you also have to be the parent.