The host family needs to make the au pair feel at home at all times through the following:
Providing separate bedroom for the au pair; this will give the au pair the privacy she needs. She will also feel safe.
Make internet connection or Wifi available; this will allow her to communicate with her friends and family members; it will be a channel which she can use to communicate with the outside world. While you may want to control internet usage , you may inform her in advance or provide the facility at a charge so that you do not limit her freedom , especially when she wants to interact with her family and friends back home.
At least one member of the family must be able to speak in English or any other language of interest spoken by the au pair. This will make communication easier especially in the first days of interaction.
At all times, respect the au pair; this should be made clear to all the family members. Children need to be prepared rightfully, the family should not take in an au pair until every member of the family agrees to such an idea. We may have a situation where one of the members feel uneasy allowing a stranger in the house , this can lead to problems later as the au pair may be disrespected or harmed by such an individual. This means that all the family members should be involved in the whole process.
Treat au pair like a temporary family member; she should be treated well, this will motivate her to work hard. She should not be sidelined on the basis of being an employee. If she is comfortable she should take the same food as any member of the family, she should use the same equipment, it is advisable for the host family to show the au pair that she has been accepted in the family and also ensure that she is not treated differently.
Give kids with au pair their own separate space; children at times can be difficult, they might feel that their space is invaded when they are made to share a room with an au pair. It is advisable to give them a separate room. They should also be taught to respect the au pair privacy as well as showing respect at all times.
Respect their space and culture; privacy, respect for au pair culture is necessary for her to feel free and comfortable. If she does practice religion which is different from the host family she should be allowed; she should not be forced to join a group or a sect against her will. Her rights should be respected at all times. Her rights must not be denied on the basis of punishment.
Ready to listen to the au pair; get her point of view also as opposed to a situation where you are giving orders all the time. An au pair is a professional in her own right; therefore she should not be dismissed or unheard on various issues touching on her job. Give her space to perform her duties, avoid patronising, deal with her professionally at all times especially when touching on the matters involving her job.
Ready to treat the au pair humanely and fairly; there should be no mistreatment from any member of the family. It would be criminal to mistreat or harm the au pair, she is protected by the laws and an action will be taken to any family which physically or emotionally hurts the au pair.
Understand that the au pair will only live with your family for a short time. Do not involve her in your future plans; clearly understand she will only be with you for sometime. Do not get too much attached so that it will be difficult to let her go. The same applies to the children , although they need to respect her as their senior family member, they should clearly understand that she is only with them for a limited period , soon she will be gone and probably another au pair will come, therefore although it might be hard to control , they should not get too much attached to her.
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