Work Responsibilities

Learning about daily tasks will help you and your host kids adjust quickly.
Learning about daily tasks will help you and your host kids adjust quickly.
Photo courtesy of Jennifer S.

There are many different ways your host family can begin to introduce work-related tasks to you. Here are a few suggestions for ways you can take initiative to learn about these tasks:

  • Follow your host parents around and learn from example: This way requires the least amount of advanced planning.
  • Ask about the most common daily tasks first: Will you be making the children breakfast and driving them to school? Put that lesson ahead of tackling laundry.
  • Start with the easier tasks first. This will help build confidence in the ability to handle the job.

Logistics of Your Working Relationship

  • Stipend: What day of the week will you receive your stipend? How will this be paid?
  • Vacation: Does your host family already have a family vacation in mind or planned out? Will you be traveling with them? Is there a specific time period that your host family would like you to use your vacation time?
  • Traveling: Does your host family plan on taking you with them on their travels? Ask your host family to be specific about your responsibilities while traveling with the family.
  • Time Off: Ask if your host family has any suggestions about your use of time off.

Caring for Your Host Children

Au pair Grace enjoys a close relationship with her host children.
Au pair Grace enjoys a close relationship with her host children.
Photo courtesy of Grace O.

Learning all there is to know about caring for your host children will take time. Things such as knowing your host daughter will only drink her milk if it is in her green cup or that your host son will only eat sandwiches if they are cut on the diagonal will become second nature to you eventually. Covering important personal topics like the following will help everyone adjust much faster:

  • What activities are permitted, encouraged, or forbidden?
  • Where are your host children allowed to play? Whose homes are they allowed to play in? Ask your host family to introduce you to these parents.
  • How does your host family encourage or reward good behavior?
  • How is discipline handled in the household? What should you do or never do?
  • What is a good way to calm down the children if they become upset?
  • What meals and snacks are appropriate and when?
  • How do your host parents handle tasks related to the children? Make sure you are aware of and know how to perform them: children’s laundry, packing their backpacks, organizing rooms, helping with homework, and other tasks.
  • Ask your host parents to describe the temperament and personality traits of their children.
  • Do your host parents have any additional advice for you as a caregiver?

Next: Cultural Exchange and Being an Au Pair »

U.S. Department of State-Designated J-1 Visa Sponsor
Alliance for International Exchange
The International Coalition for Global Education and Exchange
European-American Chamber of Commerce New York
Global Ties U.S.
International Au Pair Association
WYSE Travel Confederation