Thank you for returning to my second instalment of the Mary Poppins Diaries… my journey into finding an Au Pair… the next 5 steps.
If you read my first chapter it was my ground notes on finding an Au Pair – haven’t read it? Well catch up here
Ok, so I have firstly reworded my story the “Mary Poppins” Diaries. Why? Because followers carefully told me that Nannies vs Au Pairs are DIFFERENT.

Nannies vs Au Pairs

Technically they are not the same. The biggest difference between au pairs and nannies is the amount of childcare experience they have completed. Expect nannies to have completed a formal qualification in childcare vs au pair who may not have childcare formal training (some of course do) and so tend to fill the role more of a “helper” without a defined formal background.
Nannies are more expensive than au pairs and the reason au pairs are cheaper is because they are keen to “live in” which also means room and board and therefore their wage is lower vs a live-in nanny or live out nanny who will charge a higher rate.

Found someone you like …. then what?

I found a perfect match on a great FB site for an au pair. I have learnt that when you see an au pair advertise their profile be quick to respond and be friendly! DO not treat it like a recruitment drive with black and white responses – you are almost selling yourself to them too! Be genuine, friendly etc.

Via private message we started to exchange some details re the job and some essential “deal breakers” before we got to the next step. Deal Breakers include visas, length of stay, driving ability etc. Once that was cleared up the norm is to set up a Skype / FaceTime chat.

This is a crucial part of the process and in my opinion, must be done (closest thing to meeting them beforehand). I did three skype calls in one week to three different au pairs and within 10 minutes my gut told me if they were going to be a great fit.

Along with gut feel it is super important to be prepared for this chat so you do not waste their time. Some preparation points:

– List all your questions as a guide to running the chat
– Have prepared a run through of what a day would look like
– Discuss salary upfront with hours
– Run over any deal breakers with you and them – something as simple as having pets as they may be allergic could be all it takes to work out if they are not the right fit.
– If all is going swimmingly well (or even if there are a few sticky points) reschedule a follow up meeting within 24 hours or a little longer if you need some thinking time so you both can review notes. You may have other au pairs to consider (be honest with them) and they (likely) will have other families they are considering.

 

Checking references

I felt very fortunate to have found who I thought would be a great fit for our family. Naturally, my gut told me the stand out applicant however it is always best to check the paperwork! Things that are typical to ask for are as follows, and remember as I am doing this process myself, it is up to me to check not an agency so BE THOROUGH!
– Permission to contact current host family or previous host families for phone references
– Paperwork for background checks / driver’s license / copy of visas / return flights
– Childcare qualifications if necessary

Get on the same page with a manual / agreement

If references are glowing and then it is time to make a formal offer to your au pair – you can usually do this via skype / email / FB whatever is the norm however as suggested by my future au pair (which I loved) is a manual of our household. I am going to send her one outlining pretty much everything. This is pretty much a necessity for expectations for both parties and smooth running as they commence with you.

The manual should include:
– Day to day routines (even by hour if little ones are involved)
– Do’s and Don’ts (think sometimes food, allergies, time out rules)
– Outing suggestions
– Emergency contacts
– Pay Process
– Days off / weekends
If you do not know where to start there are so many examples of manuals on google!

So, this our journey so far…. Stay tuned for the next chapter !