Host Family Guidelines

Follow these general guidelines and advice and give yourself a head start with hosting your au pair

  1. Take time to plan and prepare properly to find the right person
  2. Communicate clearly, don't be frightened to repeat yourself and write things down
  3. Respect your au pair's free time, personal space and property
  4. Acknowledge and reassure she's doing a good job regularly
  5. Allow your au pair some freedom of expression in activities like cooking
  6. Show respect for your au pair's background and culture - learn about her way of life
  7. Establish house rules and boundaries BEFORE she accepts the job
  8. Pay your au pair's pocket money on time and in full
  9. Include your au pair in some of the family activities - shopping trips and days out
  10. Only criticise what she has done - don't be critical about your au pair personally
Housewives Charter from 1968

32 years ago, readers of The Times sent in their tips for host families to follow. Some may seem slightly 'Enid Blyton' but in general the same principals apply today

  • Give her breakfast In bed on her birthday. Maybe she'll do the same for you
  • Write to the girl well in advance telling her exactly what you want her to do and her hours and times of work
  • Offer full return fare payable at the end of her year
  • allow her specific and inalienable free time, but do not alter your way of life to suit her ephemeral conveniences
  • Ask her parents at home what time she should be 'in, adjusting it for last buses, special parties, etc
  • Do back her up vis-a-vis the children and insist that they show her the respect due to any grown up
  • Be a trifle selfish, but grateful
  • In language difficulties use example-by-action. Don't tell her, show her
  • Respect her privacy and insist on her respecting yours
  • Be kind but firm in all your dealings
  • Don't treat your au pair as a "daughter of the house" because there is a danger she may behave like one
  • Try to be consistent, neither indulgent nor exacting
  • Agree on a precise daily time- table, written in duplicate and stick to it

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