January 31, 2017
Host family best practices: finding the best au pair match

Choosing an au pair can be a tough decision, but there are ways to help ensure an au pair is a good fit for your family and community. We asked some of our successful host families for their best advice on the matching process and below are some great tips to consider!

DeSaintDidier

Elise, host mom in CA, says choosing an au pair can be a “tough choice” but it comes down to their answers to tough questions on how they would react in certain situations.

Dedicate time to the process

“It is important to dedicate time to the search and okay to Skype a few potential au pairs before you make your final choice.”
—Elise, host mom in CA

“Have multiple interviews and look for an au pair who really enjoys being with children.”
—Liz, host mom in IL

“Ask tons of questions! When we interviewed, we asked about everything from driving experience, child experience, and what he or she hoped gain from the experience.”
—Jessica, host mom in WI

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Howard, host dad in NJ, recommends to parents: “trust your instincts” during the matching process.

Be honest about your needs and your family

“Make a list of the things that are most important to you, and find someone who naturally possesses those traits. It is also important to understand your shortcomings and make sure that your potential au pair would be comfortable with them. Be honest—it serves nobody any good to not be brutally honest. And lastly, remember that nobody is perfect!”
—Maryanne, host mom in NY

“Be honest about how your family is, not how you wish they were. If your kids are high energy, look for someone who can handle high energy. If they are television kids, look for someone who won’t get bored watching them in this environment.”
—Angela, host mom in CT

“Honest communication with prospective au pairs is so important. Let them know what life is really like and what expectations you have. Paint a realistic picture and you will be much more successful.”
—Jason, host dad in OH

Focus on personality

“We find that the personality of the au pair is far more important than her/his experience. You can teach someone how to change a diaper or make a grilled cheese sandwich but you can’t change their personality. You want to find someone that can have fun with your kids and who you will enjoy talking to over dinner each night.”
—Stacy, host mom in PA

“We did focus on the au pair childcare skills, but also just spent time chatting with them during the interview process, because personality and how they interact with you as parents is a main factor in your and their happiness.”
—Nicholas, host dad in MA

Involve your family—and theirs

“Our best advice is to get the whole family involved. Our current au pair helps us interview the next au pair and we really value our children’s opinions as well. I also always start by sending an email with 3-4 questions and I look at how they answer. Our best au pairs have ended up being the ones who took the time to give thoughtful answers to those early questions. Au pairs who gave one or two word answers showed me they weren’t serious about this role.”
—Jennifer, host mom in CT

“Be sure to also meet their family via Skype. It will help provide comfort to the host and the au pair family at home.”
—Maria, host mom in NY

Meaders

Adrianne, host mom in UT, knew from the first interview that their au pair was the right one from their family.

There is no perfect au pair, rather one that is perfect for your family

“Pick 3-4 things that are very important to you and that you are not willing to compromise on. We knew the chances of finding someone with every attribute we desired was unlikely. If that person seems open-minded and easygoing, it makes all the difference if the basic criteria is meet.”
—Adrianne, host mom in UT

We wish families luck finding the best match possible and welcome more host parents to share their own advice and best practices. Share your story here!

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