Au Pair Talk – What skills do I need?

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Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA

I recently wrote a post about how to become Au Pair and everything you need to know about the whole process (if you haven’t read it yet and you’re interested, click here). I thought it would be helpful to know what skills or interests you should have if you want to become an Au Pair. Since I was an Au Pair for a whole entire year and talked to other Au Pairs as well so I think I do have quite an understanding of what it takes to become a good Au Pair.

1. I know this might be surprising to some of you guys, but… you should like kids! πŸ˜›

I know it should be pretty obvious why it would probably be good to like and enjoy being around kids, but I did meet some Au Pairs that either told me or just seemed like they do not like children at all. I’m not saying you have to love them to death but you at least shouldn’t think of 10 things that youhate about them when just mentioning the word ”child”. Trust me, even though being an Au Pair has lots of advantages and you might just be interested in traveling, you will not be a happy person if you just think ”alright, I’ll just suck it up” because you will be spending most of your time with the kids. And if you’re not happy, the kids and the host parents won’t be happy either, and that’s not really the point of the whole program. So make sure you think about that before you decide to become an Au Pair.

2. You’re okay with having lots of responsibilities.

Taking care of children means having lots of responsibilities. Especially if your host kids are very young you always have to watch them, make sure they’re safe, you have to dress them, comfort them when they cry, feed them, maybe even change their diapers, etc. If your host kids are older of course you don’t have to watch themΒ all the time, but you still have to make sure they’re safe, you have to drive them everywhere, depending on what your host parents need you to do and how old they are you might still have to make food for them, you have to give them advice, help them with their homework, etc. If you’re only 18 yourself like I was, that’s a lot of things you have to take care of and you might not be ready for that yet. If you feel like that’s too much for you, don’t do it. You’ll just be overwhelmed and you won’t be happy. If you’re already more experienced and you take it as a challenge, go for it! It will definitely help you grow and mature as a person.

3. You’re comfortable with speaking a foreign language all the time.

Of course, some Au Pairs go to a foreign country in order to improve their language skills. And I am not saying in any way that you have to sound like a native speaker. But I do think you should at least be an advanced speaker because you have to be able to communicate with the kids, you have to understand what they need and you also have to guide them and teach them what’s right and what’s wrong.

4. You know the household basics – doing the laundry, cooking, doing the dishes, etc.

You do not have to be Gordon Ramsay but you should know cooking basics (pasta, rice, vegetables, etc.). Trust me, I was and am not extremely good at cooking but I did improve a lot and hey: my kids didn’t starve or get poisoned, soooo… πŸ˜› Other chores like doing the laundry or the dishes shouldn’t be something completely new to you either and you should also be okay with those things. However, if your host family asks you to clean the whole house every week, you should NOT be okay with that!

5. You can deal with homesickness.

Let’s be real: Every single Au Pair was homesick at least once. I mean you don’t see your friends and family for a whole entire year (or more), so that’s a very long time. And it’s okay to be sad sometimes. But if it happens every single day and if it upsets you so much you can’t even enjoy your time there, this is probably not the right thing for you. And that’s okay. My sister, for example, says she couldn’t stand being away from everyone she loves, and that’s totally fine! Some people just aren’t made for this. However, if you’re not sure you could at least try and who knows, maybe it’ll all work out and you will learn from and grow with it!

 

Of course there are many other skills that would make your Au Pair life a lot easier but I thought that these basics would be enough for now. I’d say if you are fine with all five of them, you’re good to go and you’ll figure out the rest! Every family is different, every family has its good and bad parts so you’re all gonna face different issues BUT you will also learn to deal and live with them. You will have your ups and downs but I promise you when you come home after that year you will be more mature, more independent and more confident.

Let me know if you liked this post and if you have any questions! I will be posting some more Au Pair related posts simply because I wish I would have known all these things before I went to America, so I hope I’ll be able to help some of you!

Thank you for reading and have a great day!

Love, Esther

 

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