You have matched. Congratulations! Bringing an au pair into your home is an exciting time for everyone. The children are excited to get to know this new person, and the au pair is anxious about this new place and people.

The au pair-host family relationship is very interesting. In many ways, he or she is like a big brother or sister. My children definitely got along well with our au pairs. They can become very attached and have a close bond. When our au pair is about to leave the house for an evening out, for example, they will run up and give her a hug. When it comes time for the au pair to leave permanently, you definitely have to sit down with your kids and prep them so they are ready when it happens.

Here are some best practices for hosting an au pair in your home so you both can have the best experience possible.

Be Direct

If you want something, use simple English. Even though sometimes it doesn’t sound polite, it’s important to make things clear. This is especially important during the first three months as they are getting used to things.

Give feedback effectively by also being direct. I always recommend the sandwich feedback, which is compliment them, tell them things to work on, and then acknowledge the good things they’ve done for you, the children and the family. The key is to provide a feedback in between.

For example, if they are late for work or they forget the keys two or three times, or they forget to put away the children’stoys, take care in the timing of when you bring it up. First talk about what you like about the experience so far, what you recognized and thank them.