Our host families often ask what they can do to welcome their new au pair to their home. We asked our Local Coordinators for their expert advice. Here’s what they had to say!
Jill from New York
I always tell the family to get everyone vested in the arrival of their au pair. Everyone should have a job to do to welcome the au pair - even the littlest kids. Little ones feel important when they have a job, like showing the au pair around the house or how the remote controls work.
Host families usually take their au pair out the first weekend to do some shopping - food and toiletries so she, or he, has everything they want. A few will also go to a home decor store so their au pair can personalize their bedroom- shopping leaves everyone happy!
Mary Beth from North Carolina
One thing female au pairs always seem to buy is a hair dryer because of the voltage and outlet differences in the U.S.A. My most recent new host mom gift wrapped a hair dryer and had it waiting for the au pair. The au pair was thrilled!
Katie from New Jersey
Both myself, and my mother in-law, friended our current au pair’s mom on Facebook. I think it means a lot to my au pair’s mother that we are welcoming her daughter into our household. For Christmas, we coordinated surprising our au pair with her stocking and gifts from her family. So, I would say that there is a lot of value in connecting with the au pair’s family.
Cara from Georgia
I have a host family that adds personal touches to the room for each au pair. For this au pair (image above), they printed pictures from her Facebook page and added Star Wars posters because the au pair is a huge Star Wars fan. This is affordable and simple yet shows that they have taken the time and effort to know something about her and make her feel comfortable upon arrival.
Ellen from New York
When I was a host mom, I would send cupcakes to the hotel during their week of orientation, and I would print out a few of the pictures from their application and place them in frames in their room. I would also help my kids make a welcome poster which we would hang near the front door.
Suzanne from North Carolina
I often recommend they take them out the first weekend to a local grocery store or shop from their culture, if possible. It’s nice to see foods from home and a great chance for them to get something, like their favorite tea or candy, to share with the family as a connection point!
Karien from Texas
I like the idea of fresh flowers in the au pair's room and a set of new towels with some bubble bath or shower gel.
Meredith from Maryland
One of my new host moms sent a winter jacket to the hotel at training so her au pair from Brazil had something warm right away and didn't have to worry about shopping for one when she arrived.
Do any of these ideas stand out to you? We encourage you to put your own spin on it! Don’t hesitate to reach out to your Local Coordinator with any questions or for some more inspiration.
Joy is a huge advocate for cultural exchange. She's lived across the USA, then moved overseas to London and Sydney. She currently resides in Jakarta, Indonesia, giving her a unique perspective on working and thriving in a culture not her own. Joy graduated from the University of Sydney with a degree in Marketing and started her career in the au pair industry. She works on the blog and social media for the Au Pair USA program.