Hiring an au pair can be the best solution for your family but it is a decision that requires time and finding the right au pair for your family is difficult too. Au pairs are traditionally students who come to Ireland to learn English while living with a host family. An Au pair is expected to help care for your children and do light housework/cooking for up to 30 hours per week.
Hiring an au pair can be the best solution for your family but it is a decision that requires time and finding the right au pair for your family is difficult too. Au pairs are traditionally students who come to Ireland to learn English while living with a host family. An Au pair is expected to help care for your children and do light housework/cooking for up to 30 hours per week. Host families (like yourselves) will offer the Au Pair a warm bed, food and board along with some weekly pocket money to give them opportunities to experience traditions in Ireland. It can be a winning solution for busy families and Au Pairs.
What do Au Pairs do?
Au Pairs should play with your kids and care for them in the same way you would expect any caregiver to do so. They should be able to provide snacks, meals for the kids and do some light housework. Au Pairs (dependent on each family’s needs) are required to provide lifts to school/activities or supervise while the kids are at matches or playdates. Au Pairs are usually expected to do some shopping if required and look after the washing/laundry. However, it is vital that once an Au Pair enters the home that they are welcomed but also told of their duties as expected by the family to avoid any mix-ups.
This is what you need to have an Au Pair:
- You will need a spare bedroom and it should be well-maintained, clean and homely for the Au Pair. They should be allowed to spend time in their room alone if they wish to do so and be respected as anyone else in the home.
- Au Pairs usually attend classes to help with their English and they should be encouraged to do so. However, you need to ensure it is possible with language schools nearby or offer a form of transport to get your Au Pair there.
- Weekly pay of €85-€140 is required for an Au Pair and it is dependent on hours, location and how many children are in the family. This should be given weekly without any holdups or grievances.
- You need to be able to feed your Au Pair – even on their days off and be happy to share your home with the Au Pair for a significant amount of time.
- You need to be able to give your Au Pair two days off per week – one on the weekend, with one full weekend off per month as a rule. Of course, this can be discussed further. During the Au Pairs days off they should be given time to rest or do their own thing while being welcome to food at your home too.
- Some Au Pairs will require a car especially if they are staying in an area that requires transport. This will mean an added expense of car fuel and insurance/tax.
How to find an Au Pair
It is vital that you choose a good agency with a great reputation to find your Au Pair. If you can get recommendations from other friends or family that is great too.
Questions for your Au Pair
- How much care have they given to children in the past?
- Why do they want to come to Ireland and are they content to share some of their knowledge with your kids if they offer the same?
- How long are they willing to stay? Note: It is best to hire an Au Pair for a good amount of time to avoid the children changing every few months.
- Is this their first time away from home and are they happy to travel so far from home?
- Can they drive? And do they want to drive or expect a car? Perhaps if your family lives in an urban area there is no need for a car/transport.
- Are they experienced in First Aid?
- Can they provide references from previous employers? Do they have character references from unbiased sources?
Don’t forget to chat about their expected duties, hours, pocket money so they have a clear understanding of what is ahead in their position as Au Pair to your family. Listen to your children to ensure they are happy with their Au Pair and encourage them to treat the Au Pair respectfully. Don’t pick the first Au Pair but instead, take time to consider your options. It is important to get it right for you, your children and the Au Pair.
Written by Emma Hayes staff writer at FFHQ who also blogs at www.emmamadjotters.com.