Questions and answers
Do you have questions about the au pair stay or about your search? Would you like to know more about Bigsibs and find out how our website works? You’ll find an answer to most of your questions here. For information on specific topics such as pocket money, working hours, travel expenses, etc., you can also consult our Au Pair Wiki.
Frequently asked questions
- You’d like to get to know a different culture and explore a foreign country?
- You want to improve your language skills in your host country and gain important new experience for your personal and professional future?
- You enjoy taking care of children?
If you have answered these questions with “Yes”, then au pairing could be just the thing for you. In the course of an au pair stay, you’ll learn the language of your host country and get to know its culture with a unique intensity and depth of experience. At the same time, you’ll be living with your host family as a new big sister or brother for the time of your stay, giving you a secure position in the new foreign environment.
Au pairing involves lots of fun and good times, however, it also entails significant responsibilities, especially when it comes to childcare. Therefore, it is very important that you feel ready to assume responsibility and are not afraid of new challenges. Indeed, it is meeting these challenges that many au pairs find to be most enriching part of the experience. You can get a more detailed overview of the au pair experience by reading our Au pair stories and testimonials from au pairs and host families around the world.
As an au pair, you will be living with your host family like a regular family member and taking on daily tasks as a regular part of your stay with them. As a “big sister or brother” for the duration of your stay, your main responsibility is for childcare, which is a highly responsible role to have in the host family. Furthermore, you will help with light housework related to childcare.
As an au pair, you should not only be aware of your tasks but also be clear what your rights are. An au pair is not a nanny or a maid or a carer for the elderly, nor is an au pair a regular employee. An au pair is rather a fully entitled member of the host family for the duration of her or his stay.
The borderline between working hours and free time can sometimes be unclear for an au pair. In this connection it can be helpful, for example, when the host family states clearly in advance what the au pair’s role is for a given activity such as family excursion. Is the au pair on the excursion to relax, as part of the cultural program of the au pair stay, or with the task of looking after the kids? Au pairs and host families should simply talk with each other in advance about such questions and make an arrangement with each other that everyone finds acceptable.
When the borderline between the au pair’s working hours and free time is somehow unclear, it helps to ask the question: “Why is the au pair joining the family group for the holiday?” Is the au pair there to take care of the kids or just for her own enjoyment with the possibility of spending time on her own? When that is clear for the host parents, then they should talk to their au pair and find an arrangement that is acceptable for everyone.
Read the following articles on this topic:
- Family holidays and your au pair – What works best?
- Going on family holidays without the au pair – How to handle?
Your profile texts should contain a short description of yourself and your motivation for becoming an au pair. Do not forget to include information about your hobbies and interests. In writing your texts, try to answer the following questions:
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- What is the age range of the children you would like to care for?
- How long do you want your au pair stay to be?
- How do you envisage life with your host family?
- Would you like to be fully integrated into your host family or would you prefer to spend your free time more independently?
- What are the tasks you are prepared to take on?
- Do you have a special diet (vegetarian, allergies)?
- Do you already have childcare experience?
If possible, write your texts in the official language of your chosen host country, even if you consider yourself to only have a basic knowledge of this language. We recommend writing with simple and short sentences. You can also write your texts in different languages if you wish. The golden rule is: always be honest and authentic in what you say!The golden rule is: Always be honest and authentic in what you say!
Pictures are worth a thousand words, so upload some of you, with your family, taking care of children, or travelling, performing a hobby, etc.
Add references from a previous host family or from other sources. You can also include certificates for language training or for a first-aide course, for example. You will find this option under “edit texts” in your profile.
Upload a video to introduce yourself in a more direct and lively way and also to demonstrate your language skills in the language of your preferred host country.
Here again it is the case that sometimes one finds an au pair or host family very quickly and sometimes it takes longer. A look at our statistics shows that most host families register at AuPairWorld between 1-4 months prior to the desired start date of the au pair stay. As an au pair, you should not only orient yourself on the basis of your own wishes for a particular start date but also adjust to the needs of your host family. If you begin the process six months prior to the desired start date, you have the best chances of finding a suitable host family or au pair.
In your family profile texts you should describe the general family situation, family interests and hobbies. Keep the texts simple and straight forward. This will help au pairs understand the texts better, particularly if their language skills are not so well developed. Writing your texts in more than one language to help au pairs from different countries understand them can also be advantageous.
Describe your expectations and requirements to your future au pair:
- What are the main tasks that the au pair will need to perform, how long should the au pair stay be, what can an au pair expect in general in your family?
- What will you be offering your au pair? What sort of a room will she or he have in your home?
- Where can the au pair participate in a language course? What sort of shops or cinemas or other types of activities can an au pair reach from where you live?
- What kind of a working schedule will the au pair have?
- How do you envisage the cooperation and shared family life with the au pair?
- Do you wish to have a close, family-like relationship with your au pair or should they spend their free time more independently?
- Is there anything about your children that the au pair should know? (allergies, special needs, etc.)
Pictures of the whole family, your daily routines, hobbies, your house or the au pair bedroom will help au pairs get to know you better.
As a Premium member you can also upload references from your previous au pairs. This can be done from the heading “Profile texts” in your profile.
With a Premium Membership you can also upload a video to present your family to prospective au pairs in a more lively and direct way.