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What is an au pair and how do I become an au pair?
Considering becoming an au pair? Find out how to become an au pair and how everything works!
An au pair is a young person who travels to a different country and stays with a host family for a fixed amount of time and can offer childcare and help with housework in exchange. In the Netherlands, anyone aged 18 - 31 years old can apply for this exchange programme. Au pairs get to experience life in a different culture within a family unit, learn a language and grow as a person.
Why become an au pair
Many young women choose to become au pairs because:
They want to explore the world and make new friends. They can afford it using skills gained through their background as an older sibling or babysitter, sports coach or academic tutor. There are strict rules about the nature of the exchange, an agency like Nanny Nina monitors it. The agency takes care of all the paperwork and screening.
Why stay with a family
Au pairs find the option of staying with a family appealing because:
An agency like Nanny Nina screens them, it is safe, so their own family don't worry. They are not anonymous in a new place. It gives them a chance to share their culture. It avoids the hassle of renting or backpacking. It is cost-effective. kids can be a lot of fun!
What does the host family provide?
An au pair greatly reduces the stress of parents by ensuring the safety of kids in their own home while the parents work. In exchange for peace of mind, host parents in the Netherlands, for example, make sure that their au pair has at least:
A furnished bedroom with a window and access to a bathroom, up to €340 in 'pocket money' every month. €10 monthly mobile telephone allowance and Wi-Fi mandatory health insurance a public transport discount card for travel across the Netherlands all meals even on days off a course introducing the au pair to life in the Netherlands a warm and welcoming space to live in.
What are the duties of an au pair?
In exchange for full room and board, au pairs look after children and do light household tasks like:
getting kids ready for school, making meals for the kids, vacuum cleaning, tidying up after meals and craft activities, stacking and emptying the dishwasher. helping the kids with homework if needed, taking kids to after-school activities, ironing clothes, walking the dog.
What does an au pair NOT do?
'Au pair' is a French term which means 'equal to'. Au pairs are treated as an equal member of the family and not as an employee.
An au pair does NOT earn a wage. She is part of an exchange and gets spending money. An au pair is NOT a domestic worker on hand to clean up after the family at any time. She cleans like other members of the family because she lives there too. An au pair does NOT need to cook meals for the parents or iron their workwear. A mutually agreed weekly schedule of light household tasks can involve some cooking or ironing that is primarily for the kids. An au pair does NOT lose any portion of her 'pocket money' when sick and unable to fulfil her end of the exchange over a short period. An au pair does NOT need to get her own food because she eats with the family and can pack lunch for a day trip for example, just like a member of the family might. An au pair does NOT need special educational qualifications. She can be from any cultural, racial, religious and educational background. An au pair does NOT do anything someone else in the family cannot do. An au pair is a young adult who wants to experience a new culture in a safe and mutually beneficial way. An au pair does NOT get a paid job on the side. The exchange programme is for her to get to know the Netherlands by staying with a family, having time to follow a short course and of course exploring to her heart's content!
What are the working hours of an au pair?
In the Netherlands, au pairs are legally permitted to be available to serve the host family by looking after children and doing light household work for:
A maximum of 8 hours per day. a maximum of 30 hours per week.
What about au pair free time and holidays?
Au pairs are to be given:
Two full days off a week on mutually agreed days a minimum of one full weekend free every month, 2 - 4 weeks of holiday per year and still receive 'pocket money'. The choice to join the host family on vacation with clearly communicated expectations.
How should au pairs and host parents communicate?
- Fill in the mandatory weekly plan together on the same day each week.
- Be open and honest.
- Ask questions.
- Give compliments.
- Share challenges.
- Offer suggestions for improvement.
- Use the "Talk-Plan-Do" cycle to translate feedback into action.
How much money does an au pair get?
In the Netherlands, an au pair receives €300-€340 per month.
This can be paid into a local bank account that the au pair and host parent set up after registration with the local authority. The money is to enable her to experience more of what the Netherlands has to offer.
What if an au pair breaks something?
The host family are required to take out insurance in case of, for example, accidental damage to their property or gaps in childcare due to sickness during the au pair's stay.
The au pair is rarely required to pay the host family for anything. Clear communication can save a lot of hassle where it might be cheaper to buy a replacement rather than make an insurance claim. In unusual situations like this, contacting your au pair agency for advice is a good idea. We are happy to advise and help solve the problem!
How does an agency help an au pair?
● An IND-approved sponsor au pair agency like Nanny Nina takes care of every detail of an au pair's journey into a new culture by:
● Getting to know an au pair's personality and preferences screening families who request au pairs to ensure legal standards are met.
● Introducing the au pair to a host family that will be a good 'match'.
● Gathering all the documents necessary for an application to participate in the exchange programme offered by the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND). Being the point of contact for all official communication regarding the application.
● Communicating with both the au pair and host family about progress and timelines. Offering support in preparation for travel. Checking the arrangements made by the host family for the au pair's arrival.
● Organising a welcome event so the au pair can meet other au pairs and make friends.
● Offering courses to introduce the au pair to Dutch life and culture. mediating in conflict.
● Giving host parents free membership to our babysitting network so they are never without help at home when the au pair is sick or on holiday.
● Ensuring the safety and happiness of the au pair throughout her stay.
Interested? Subscribe at www.nannynina.nl and start your adventure as au pair!
Questions? Call or email us anytime!
Team Au pair Agency Nanny Nina.