To be a successful au pair, you must integrate into your host family. Also your integration process will help your language skills to improve.
Be open-minded! Ask as many questions as you need to. No one will expect you to speak the perfect language. The family accepted you with your English level, so not to worry, and do not be shy! Communicate as much as possible since it is the key to success in having a good, close relationship with your host family.
Your primary duties will revolve around the children. You will take responsibility for them and they will trust you and look up to you. If you love children you will have a great chance to make them love you as well. You can make a difference in children’s lives by acting as a role model and opening up new horizons for them. Teaching them about your home country and discovering the world together. The children will benefit greatly from the opportunity to learn about your culture and to see another culture through your eyes. Children love to be engaged in all sorts of activities. Don’t just watch them playing, play with them!
You may often be left in sole charge of the children, so make sure before you accept the job, that you will be comfortable with this situation. The Golden rule is never taking a risk. Small children have a habit of finding danger. If a child is out of sight and quiet, he/she is probably up to mischief.
A good au pair needs to have the patience for endless rounds of hide and seek, plus the willingness to mess up a pair of new jeans making mud pies. Managing kids can be a challenge. Au pairing is also about responsibility and good planning.
Au pairing can involve any number of duties besides caring for children. You will also be asked to do light household chores. Au pairs and host families should agree upon duties and expectations prior to the au pair's arrival at the host family's home. This helps to avoid problems and misunderstandings.
Read more here Au pair duties and benefits
Au pair schedule is to establish the au pair’s tasks and make clear family expectations. A schedule helps you organise your working hours, your free time and makes clear family expectations throughout your entire placement period. The benefit of that is you always know when you are needed by your host families. The schedule should include all your duties and appointments, for example, if you are expected to take the children to school or prepare their meals. We always encourage our families to set it up for the sake of both parties, and we provide them with a great sample which just needs to be customized.
During your stay you are entitled to earn pocket money in return for your assistance. This money should be paid at the end of the week, credited to your bank account or in cash. The weekly pocket money is usually between 70-130 pounds. The following factors play a part in the level of pocket money
You may consider this money quite a small amount, but do not forget you have food and accommodation which are really expensive. On top of that an au pair does not pay tax as their earnings do not reach the tax threshold.
The special thing about au pairing is not just boosting your language skills, discovering more about yourself, being independent but being able to live cheaply in another country.
There is no need to worry about organising or paying for food, transport to work, finding accommodation and all the other headaches normally associated with starting a job in a new place.
You are safe and you are surrounded by people who care about you. You have no more things to do but concentrate on your goals of learning English, and experiencing a foreign culture. You will receive full room and board from the family throughout the stay. You must have your own private room within the family home and varying in levels of comfort (own bathroom, TV, DVD player etc..) You should be given facilities to study and WiFi access.
Speak to your host family if you would like to earn more. They may be able to help you. If they have friends and neighbourhood who sometimes need a babysitter or cleaner you can earn a little extra. If they are pleased with you this can be a long term side job. The golden role is your host family comes first! They are your main responsibilities! Options for side jobs: