There is no doubting the fact that being an au pair is definitely an exciting experience. You will get the opportunity to come to the UK and live with a new family. You will get to experience all that England has to offer, you will be able to pick up the language, and you will get to know some great new people too.
However, this is not to ignore the fact that it can be a daunting prospect either. All sorts of things are likely to run through your mind. Will you like the family? Will they like you? Will you be able to carry out your childcare and household duties to the family’s liking?
Most of the time, it turns out that the majority of au pairs were panicking for no reason, as most au pair placements turn out to go really, really well. Nevertheless, in order to put your mind at ease, read on to discover the top six tips for au pairs when it comes to carrying out your household duties.
- Obtain a written agreement
You should never begin life as an au pair without a written agreement between yourself and the host family. This is especially important if you are doing your studies while undertaking this role. A lot of people au pair while coming to the UK to do a relevant degree, for example, an online masters in education. The host family should state everything they expect you to do and it is up to you whether to sign it or not. This ensures you cannot be taken advantage of.
- Don’t be afraid to ask
If you don’t quite understand the way in which the family wants a task done or you don’t understand their instructions, then don’t be afraid to ask.
- Ask for your tasks to be written down every day
It is always a good idea to ask the host family to provide you with a list of your daily tasks. This will only take a mere minute of their time and it ensures that you do not forget to carry out any of your requested duties.
- Always put childcare first
Childcare and household duties are obviously your two main tasks whilst being an au pair. However, childcare should always come first. If the family has left you a list of things you have to do yet you could not complete them because the children required your attention then the family will more than understand. They wouldn’t be happy if you neglected the children to complete the household chores.
- Don’t feel obliged to work over the hours set
When you agree to be an au pair for a family your weekly working hours will be set out and you will be given days off too. However, there are some families who will try and ask you to work longer as a ‘favour’. If you want to help then great but don’t feel obliged to all of the time.
- Take initiative
You may not have been asked to empty the dishwasher, but if you notice that it needs emptying, then why not going ahead and remove the dishes. The family will appreciate that you will have carried out a household task without having to be asked. This creates a good bond and means they are much more likely to be flexible with you as they see how hard you work.