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Taking on an au pair (male or female) can be an interesting alternative to traditional childminding options. However, a haphazard approach is not recommended. With the help of our advice, you are going to discover how to choose the right au pair.

How to choose the right au pair: your requirements

To find out how to choose the right au pair for you, it is essential that you do some advance preparation, in particular making a list of your requirements and the tasks that you expect your future au pair to carry out. Depending on how many children you have and their ages, your choice may turn towards different profiles. If you have very young children you will want someone with experience in minding young children. And if you have boys, you may find it interesting to choose a male au pair.

It is also up to you to define exactly what you expect from your au pair. Will s/he look after your children on a full-time basis? Will s/he only look after your children at home, or will s/he have to take them to school or to extra-curricular activities. And if some of these arrangements require the use of a car, you need to be sure that the person you choose is in possession of a valid driving licence.

All of these elements will be part of a specific list that you will explain to the future candidate at the same time that you begin your search.

Is your family ready to host an au pair?

Even before you think about “choosing” your au pair, you must ask yourself about his or her inclusion in your family. The first thing is obviously to examine the practical side: do I have the means to house someone in the best conditions? Your home must have a spare room to offer (this is the law), so that each person can have their own private space.

Next, you must ask yourself if you are ready to welcome a young person who is just entering adult life into your home, someone who will occasionally need support in negotiating their own life. You must understand that an au pair is not a childminding professional. And even though clearly some household chores can be conferred upon the au pair, he or she cannot be considered a housekeeper.

Take some time to find the au pair that suits you

To choose your au pair, you must enter into contact with several people until you find the profile that is the best match for you. Take time to talk and to introduce your family, to discuss your children and the rules of the house.

Sometimes, you will have to allow your instincts to prevail and listen to your feelings. Often, it is better to choose a person about whom you have a good feeling, even if you have other candidates who appear to have more experience, but with whom you feel no rapport. We cannot overstress that your au pair will be sharing your home and your daily life. You will be living together for a long period, so getting along, and even a certain amount of closeness, are essential elements in your final decision!

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