December 10, 2018

What to look for in an au pair

Hint: It's not always about the childcare experience.

3 minutes
Advice for host families

When it comes to finding your perfect au pair, there are so many different factors to consider—after all, you want to ensure that this person you’re welcoming into your home and your heart will be a good fit. You’ll want to take a look at their lifestyle and their childcare experience in order to get a full, comprehensive look at the au pair. But, if you ask many of our host families and even some staff members who have seen successful matches time and again, there’s one factor that matters more than the other—and that’s the au pair’s personality.

In the case of many happy host family/au pair matches, it’s about finding a young woman or man that can be a big sister or brother to your kids, and a member of the family. It’s about choosing someone that you’ll feel comfortable spending holidays with; someone whose company you’ll enjoy on a Saturday night; someone who you can sing along to Disney tunes with in the car on your way to the supermarket.
Finding an au pair is not about finding someone with the exact right background in childcare that you think you’re looking for—it’s about finding someone who you trust with your little ones. And building trust means picking someone who you’ll love to have around.

More childcare hours does not necessarily equal a better childcare provider. Good childcare providers are those who feel bonded to your kids, and would do anything to keep them happy, healthy and safe. Good childcare providers are ones you can trust like family.

Take it from Cultural Care host parents who have successfully matched with au pairs—they’re experts on finding caregivers with the potential to change lives for the better:

“After reviewing Vivien’s profile, and meeting her over Skype, we knew she was the perfect match for our family. We were looking for someone who (a) loves children, (b) was reliable and responsible, and (c) was open-minded about new cultures and experiences—and Vivien fit the bill! Vivien was a pediatric nurse in Germany. She wanted to spend a year with a family in America before pursuing her master’s degree. She was the first and the last au pair that we interviewed.” —Kelly family in Maryland

“The decision to bring an au pair into our home was difficult in itself and the process of matching with the right au pair was no easier. We found ourselves being critical, closed-minded, skeptical, and emotional. In the end, it was purely instinct that led us to select Carla from among the many qualified potential au pairs. We couldn’t have known how perfectly she would fit into our hectic lives and family. From the day she arrived, Carla has been a member of our family in every way and it is hard to picture our lives without her.” —Soens family in Oregon

“We found that the personality of the au pair was 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