childcare, house rules, nanny contract

This post contains information about the US Department of State Au Pair Exchange Visitor Program.  There are many ways to participate in this program as a host family.  I recommend partnering with an independent agency to streamline the process and have hosted Au Pairs through both AuPairCare and Cultural Care since starting the Au Pair Program in 2014.

My opinions about hosting an Au Pair or working with an agency are all my own. I have not been compensated by AuPairCare or Cultural Care to write this post.  In addition, the guidance, tools and materials included in this post around navigating the Au Pair process are my own intellectual property based on my own experiences.  AuPairCare and/or Cultural Care does not officially endorse me or these materials.

Dear SooN Parents of the Internet,

In my post, How to Set Clear Expectations with your Au Pair, I outlined how STEP ONE to hiring an amazing Au Pair begins with DEFINING YOUR EXPECTATIONS. A process which starts with writing a solid Au Pair JOB DESCRIPTION.

If you missed that post, I recommend you first complete your own Au Pair job description before starting the process of defining your HOUSEHOLD TERMS & CONDITIONS (which I will cover in this post).

Now. In full transparency, I have had a few Au Pair relationships breakdown because I did not create clear expectations (step one) and I did not consistently communicate them (step two).  It is for this reason that I believe so firmly in completing these two steps before you begin searching for an Au Pair.

To making wise upfront investments!

Creating Your Household Terms & Conditions

I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to take the time and identify your specific Au Pair expectations BEFORE you hire your Au Pair.  Trust me, Jay and I didn’t know to do this (or how to do this) with our first Au Pair and that put everyone in a position where expectations had to be reset repeatedly.  Thankfully, our first Au Pair was so understanding and we were able to navigate through most of the challenges together.

The experience led me to develop pretty specific HOUSEHOLD TERMS & CONDITIONS (T&Cs). A process which begins with the obvious details such as the weekly schedule and your children’s daily routine and ends with all the granular details that come with inviting another person to join YOUR family and live in YOUR home.

I recommend your household T&Cs cover the following topics:

• Children Specific Expectations: A more detailed description of the Au Pair’s core responsibilities from the job description.

• Communication: Outline specifically how you prefer to communicate with your Au Pair.

• Scheduling: Specify how you will communicate the Au Pair’s work schedule and how the Au Pair should communicate their personal plans like vacation. Also set an expectation around the schedule’s flexibility and your policy for sick time.

• Stipend & Expenses: State clearly when and how the Au Pair will receive their weekly stipend. You’ll also want to think through how the Au Pair should handle other work-related expenses.

• Electronic Devices: If you plan to provide the Au Pair with a cell phone or other electronic devices, set clear expectations around their use.  Also think through who is responsible for damage to the device itself.

• Address: Set expectations around your home address and who the Au Pair can share these details with.

• Transportation & Car Safety: Outline specifically your policy for transportation during work and non-working hours.  Detail your expectations around the transportation costs you plan to cover, when and if the Au Pair can use the family car and what to do in the event of an accident.

• Food & Beverages: Be clear about what the Au Pair can and cannot consume in your home.

• Household Duties: State clearly what household duties you expect the Au Pair to participate in such as “garbage night”.

• Bedroom: Outline what items you will provide for the Au Pair as well as your expectations about the use of this space.

• Bathroom: Outline what items you will provide for the Au Pair as well as your expectations about the use of this space.

• Laundry: Outline what items you will provide for the Au Pair as well as your expectations about the use of this space.

• When Leaving the House: State clearly what the Au Pair is responsible for when they leave the house such as a house alarm.

• Curfew: Set an upfront expectation around the Au Pair’s free-time for work nights and non-work nights.

• Guests: Be clear about your policy for guests of both genders during the Au Pair’s working and non-working hours.

It’s ok to feel overwhelmed – creating ironclad household T&Cs is a considerable undertaking.  But fear not! You can download the Au Pair Terms & Conditions Builder to guide you through this final stage of STEP ONE: Defining Your Expectations.

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Finished with your Au Pair Terms & Conditions Builder worksheet?

Then congratulations!!! You have completed STEP ONE: Defining Your Expectations!!!

Ready to move on to the next step in the How to Hire an Amazing Au Pair process?  Click HERE to pull everything together in STEP TWO: Communicating Your Expectations.

Feedback? Input? Questions?

We cannot wait to hear from you!


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