Top 9 Au Pair Skills to be Best on the Job
In this article, you are going to learn the various skills and qualities an au pair should have to be best on the job.
But before then, let’s quickly explain what an au pair really is.
Who is an Au Pair?
An au pair is a person, typically a young woman, who takes care of kids in a foreign country.
They are hired by families to look after their kids, either at home or while they are away on holiday.
Au pairs usually register with agencies, which bring them in contact with suitable host families.
Host families supply au pairs with accommodation and food in exchange for childcare services.
Sometimes, they pay a little allowance to au pairs for performing different household chores in addition to their childcare responsibilities.
Au pairs are usually treated as part of the family, rather than as employees. They often take part in family activities and outings.
Their working hours are generally regulated by the government.
Now, here are major au pair skills and qualities you need to develop to succeed in your career.
Top 9 Skills to be a Highly Effective Au Pair
1. Being Responsible
As an au pair, you need to be able to take on responsibilities and you have to show your family how responsible you are.
They will be living their children in your care, trusting you to be responsible and able to take care of the children.
If you can play the role of a mature and responsible au-pair to keep kids safe and sound, parents will depend on you as a capable hand to carry out such a task successfully.
You should therefore endeavor to come to work early, carry out tasks energetically, and communicate with your employers on a daily basis to make sure things are going well.
You need to be clear and confident when you communicate with both kids and host parents.
By being open, approachable, and communicative, you can easily tell the host parents what you want them to do for you or about their kids.
The way you communicate with the children is extremely imperative to build up a good relationship with them, so you need to use your experience to communicate and understand kids on their level.
You may decide to sit down with your host family during the first week of your contract to discuss things the parents apply in teaching and disciplining their children, such as techniques, mealtimes, bedtimes, and household rules.
Should you have any doubt or concern about your work in caring for the children, you shouldn’t hesitate to ask the parents.
The chances of making a conscious effort to communicate will lead you to avoid further disagreement and confusion in the future.
It is important to follow the rules that are put in place in your organization, but there is also the need for some flexibility.
This flexibility could be in the form of changed schedules, ill or dead parents. If it happens to be an occasional bending or breaking of rules, then you can allow it to go or talk to your host family about it in a casual way, not being too serious or over-demanding.
If your host family repeatedly disregards the rules, then that is another issue completely and should be discussed with your agency.
The reason you should be flexible with your schedule, plan or whatever you have in your mind is that you cannot predict what will happens next on the job, especially with kids.
The solution is to adjust to changes in schedule whenever the need arises, and maximally utilize the remaining time that you’ll have to do the tasks needed to be done.
Being adaptable and open-minded to whatever situation you are confronted with will make you learn and understand new circumstances easier and faster.
If you are going to be a good au pair, being adaptable is critical to your career because you are going to be out of your comfort zone, and you need to adapt your life to a lot of new things.
You need to easily adapt to changes such as eating habit, lifestyle modes, cultural issues or just a different climate, so as to enjoy your au pair experience.
It’s your responsibility to fit in with the family’s usual patterns or routines – not the other way around.
If you feel uncomfortable with the family’s lifestyle, you may need to refuse to accept the opportunity to work with them, or rather adapt to it.
5. Being Proactive
Sometimes, kids can be shy, so be prepared to draw them out with games, stories, and an interest in their lives.
Make sure you’re self-confident and have plenty of fun ideas up your sleeve to keep the children entertained, particularly on rainy days.
During your working hours, it’s necessary that you take care of the children without the family having to ask you to. This includes changing the baby’s nappy, helping with the chores, etc.
Your host family has placed their trust in you to make the best decision for their children’s wellbeing in their absence.
The last thing they’ll want to do is tell you to do every little thing!
This is the more reason you have to think ahead of possible challenges that you might face in your work, take the initiative, and be proactive in your decision making.
If you make a decision that doesn’t work out, try a different technique next time or ask your host parents for suggestions. Asking for help is also part of being proactive.
You need to take action when necessary without calling your host parents at work or leaving duties undone.
Being punctual is not something you can impose on someone who is used to being late.
But if you want to become a good au pair, this is one quality that you should develop.
There may be time where you have to bring the kids to school. If you are not punctual they may end up being late every day.
You must keep yourself organized and prepared in order to meet up doing things at the most appropriate time.
7. Being Patient
As a good au pair, you must be patient with the children you are caring for as well as with yourself.
Being patient will help you when you make mistakes or mishandle things a few times, or when you are frustrated at either the bad behavior of the kids or their too demanding nature.
You should remember that it is your job to tend to them, so you need to be patient with them whatever the situation is.
You also need to be able to stay calm when babies cry and kids are sad. Take control, stay patient, and make sure you listen to what the problem is so you can try to fix it.
You need to provide discipline and routine for the kids and get prepared that most days will be pretty good, while some days will be very hard also.
It takes patience to work with children all day as there will be a lot of disturbances, such as crying, toys everywhere, messes, etc.
8. Taking Initiative
If your employer forgot to tell you to take the trash out and you saw that it is full, you should know that it is right to take it out quickly.
You don’t need to be reminded to do small things that you think your host family or the kids you are taking care of benefit from; your employer does not have the time to tell you to do little things.
If the baby needs changing, the families want you to go change him/her without wasting time or waiting for them to tell you to do so.
You should make sure the kids complete their homework and that it’s done on time.
As you take charge of the day, make sure the kids are well-cared for and engaged. And if you are off-duty, you can still be attentive to their needs, like you would do as a member of the family.
Being creative is one of the most important qualities you should have when you are an au pair.
Not only do you need to be creative with things related to games or free activities for the kids, but also you have to come up with original and feasible ideas to solve everyday problems.
You have to be able to use your imagination to create resourceful ways and objects to entertain kids.
Furthermore, it is crucial to resolve challenging situations in a short time, and your creativity is most needed to do so.
Au Pair Skills for Resume
If you are making a resume for a au pair job, you can boost its strength by applying the skills provided above in making the skills section of the resume (if you have them).
you will easily get recruiters interest in your resume if they see that you have the skills that they are looking for in the candidate they want to hire for the vacant au pair job.
If you are an au pair worker looking for ways to deliver the best performance to your host family, you will need to develop the skills and qualities provided in this post.