Navigating Expectations: Understanding the Role of an Au Pair

Au pair expectations

When families welcome an au pair into their home, they are inviting a cultural exchange experience like no other. An au pair is a young person from a different country who lives with a host family and helps care for their children in exchange for room and board and a stipend. However, it’s important for both the au pair and the host family to navigate expectations and understand the role each will play in this unique living arrangement.

Clear Communication

One key aspect of ensuring a successful experience for both parties is clear communication. Before the au pair arrives, it’s essential for the host family to clearly outline their expectations regarding the au pair’s duties, schedule, and house rules. Similarly, the au pair should communicate their own expectations and any concerns they may have about living with a new family in a new country.

Childcare Responsibilities

The primary role of an au pair is to provide childcare for the host family’s children. This may include helping with homework, preparing meals, and engaging in fun activities. However, it’s important to remember that an au pair is not a live-in nanny or housekeeper. They are there to be a positive role model and companion for the children, not to take on all of the household chores.

Cultural Exchange

One of the most valuable aspects of hosting an au pair is the opportunity for cultural exchange. Host families can learn about the au pair’s country and language, while the au pair can immerse themselves in the host family’s culture and customs. It’s important for both parties to embrace this exchange and be open to learning from one another.

Building Relationships

Finally, building strong relationships is key to a successful au pair placement. Host families and au pairs should take the time to get to know each other and establish trust and mutual respect. Regular check-ins and open communication can help address any issues that may arise and ensure a positive experience for everyone involved.


By understanding the role of an au pair and navigating expectations, host families can create a welcoming and enriching experience for their au pair. Clear communication, respect for cultural differences, and a focus on building relationships can help ensure a successful placement for both parties.