An Au Pair (AP) comes to Canada to live-in because they have an interest in childcare AND they want to learn the Canadian way of living. In order to do that, they have certain expectations of their host family to make their experience in Canada special and rewarding. Here are some of those expectations:
Show them around the community.
In order to integrate into their new life, it’s important that an AP feels at home in their community. A Host Family (HF) should take them around the community to show them where they can go for a cup of coffee, attend yoga classes or even know how to get from the school to home. They can introduce them to Mrs. Labron, the neighbourhood piano teacher, the children’s teachers and a friend’s 20 year old who is home for the summer from school.
Invite them to outings.
An Au Pair expects to be invited to family outings including family BBQ’s, birthday celebrations or beach days. They won’t always go but knowing they have an invite will make them feel included and special. This will help to create a relationship that is more than an employer/employee one and can help them to engage with the extended family!
Make them feel at home.
A part of the qualifications of having an AP is providing a reasonable sized room with a lock on the door. A HF can take the extra step to prepare this room for their AP with some decorations, an empty cork board with pushpins that the AP can put pictures on or a fresh coat of paint. Giving a welcome gift of a Tim Horton’s gift card or movie tickets with a homemade card shows appreciation.
HF’s should also go over the household rules with their AP so they understand their expectations as well. They can also explain to their AP that they can access the fridge anytime they are hungry or come and go from the house when they feel appropriate. Making them feel at home will allow them to integrate with the HF and have a more enjoyable stay in Canada.
Have an organized schedule.
Since the intention of coming to Canada is to work, the AP expects a schedule so they know the hours they are needed for work. This schedule can change week to week but they should know in advance the schedule and, on average, how many hours they will work per week. This allows them to make plans around their schedule to meet with friends, go to rock climbing, or take language classes.
HF’s should sit down with their AP every Sunday to discuss the week ahead.
Engage with them on a daily basis.
In order to build a relationship of trust and understanding, a HF must engage with their AP on a daily basis. Engaging can look like asking how the AP how their day was, being interested in their life before coming to Canada or inviting them to join the conversation about Justin Trudeau’s hair.
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