How much flexibility can I expect from an au pair?

A great deal of care must be taken when choosing the right au pair for your family. While being an au pair is a job, the chosen candidate should be willing to become part of the family. An au pair that treats the position as though it is purely a source of income, will probably not be a good fit for a family looking for someone to love, care for and nurture their children while taking life’s unexpected happenings in their stride.

The job of an au pair isn’t easily defined. While they are required to care for the children, there are other tasks that can be incorporated into their daily schedule. If you find that you are often away or busy and you want your au pair to be comfortable with a few extra tasks, make sure that you choose an au pair who is flexible. Light cleaning and housework is commonly expected of au pairs, but you shouldn’t expect your au pair to clean the whole house or have to deal with daily chores that would be better suited to a domestic worker.

The question of just how flexible you can expect your au pair to be is really one for the au pair. While at Au Pair Extraordinaire we do everything possible to ensure that we match up host family needs with au pair candidates, a lot can be negotiated by communicating your needs, requirements and expectations with your au pair candidates, before you begin the selection process.

We always recommend that you provide a sample of the expected daily / weekly schedule for the au pair to consider – just so that they know what they will be involved in, giving them an opportunity to make an informed decision about the viability of the position. When it comes to successful placements of au pairs, flexibility is a key aspect. Your au pair should understand that the schedule can change as time goes on and they should be willing to handle additional tasks such as occasional babysitting, caring for sick children at home or getting involved in an emergency or if something unexpected comes up. There are ways in which you can incentivise such flexibility, such as with time off or a little extra “pocket money”.

If you are looking for an au pair who can be flexible and jump in when needed, make sure that you state this on your application. At Au Pair Extraordinaire we will do our utmost to locate the ideal candidates for you – selecting the one that’s a best fit for your family is a decision left up to you. Want to learn more about our services or meet some of our au pairs? Fill in our family registration questionnaire today.