How to be a fantastic host family

family-picture au pair blog

So … ages ago we talked a bit about characteristics needed to be a great au pair in a guest post by Lisa Kempton from Au Pair International. Getting back on task, now we’re going to take a look at what makes a great host family.

For this I’m digging back into my own experience as an au pair in Germany  (way … back … when!). The family I worked for was not perfect – just as I was not the picture perfect au pair. But they were a great family to work for, and here are the traits they had that made them that way.

A great host family is …

  1. Flexible – Flexibility is a must, both for au pairs and host families. Although au pairs generally are the ones having to be the most flexible during their stay, host families also need to remain flexible and good ones will do so occasionally.
  2. Fun – No one wants to be a part of a boring family. You don’t have to be circus acrobats or the most exciting ever, but a good host family knows how to have fun with each other and include their au pairs in on the fun.
  3. Forgiving – Fact: your au pair is human and will make mistakes. Even the most dedicated, hardworking au pairs will screw up occasionally, so be ready to overlook a few things and be forgiving.
  4. Generous (no, they couldn’t all start with ‘f’s!) – My host family could have won an award for generosity. They always included me in family activities and trips, gave me awesome Christmas and birthday presents as though I were part of the family, and occasionally surprised me with gifts and random nice little things. Generosity makes one feel welcome, and au pairs are no exception.
  5. Loving – Au pairs thrive when being welcomed into a warm, loving family environment. Of course, no family is perfect, so don’t feel you have to be 1960s- American-tv-show perfect, but if a family loves each other and is happy it’s going to be much easier for good au pairs to want to live with them as part of their family.

So there you have it! What are your thoughts on what makes a good host family? Anything I missed that should definitely be on this list?



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