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Preparing for the arrival of a new au pair

Your new au pair will be arriving soon, and you need to get things prepared for his/her arrival. What kinds of things should you do to get ready and when should you start to do them?

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prepare your kids

One of the biggest unknowns about the arrival of a new au pair and probably the most worrisome thing for both au pairs and host families is how the children will react to having a new au pair. It doesn’t matter if it’s your first au pair or you’ve had many, the worry is always going to be there. What if the kids don’t like her/him?

There are some things that you as parents can do to help prepare your kids for the change. 

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if this is your first au pair

If you have never had an au pair before, you probably want to introduce the idea to the kids during the interview process. When you have already spoken to some au pairs and you have narrowed your choices down, you will want the potential au pair to “meet” the kids in a videocall. 


Before the videocall, you should sit down with the kids and explain that there is going to be someone coming to live with you and that you would like them to talk to him/her to see what they think. (If your kids are really young, obviously this step isn’t necessary.) You can coach them a bit and maybe prepare a few questions with them like asking the potential au pair if he/she likes painting or doing puzzles or something else that the kids really enjoy doing. 


After selecting an au pair, make sure to tell the kids about her/him and when they can expect him or her to come. 


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if this is not your first au pair

If you have an au pair or have had one in the past, your kids will be familiar with the idea, but it’s still important to talk to them about the new one. This may sound obvious, but I don’t mean mentioning it in passing. I mean sit down with them and explain that your current au pair has to leave soon and that someone new will be coming to be with them. Depending on their ages and their attachment level to the current/previous au pair, they may take this news well or with some difficulty. Here is where you have to be a bit of a salesperson. Tell them all the positive things about the new au pair and what they can do with her. Maybe you know she really loves sports or baking and you can use this as an aspect to sell her to the kids. 


You don’t want to do this too far in advance so that they get so excited about the new au pair that the current one feels overshadowed or left out. Be sensitive and think about how much time your kids actually need to process the information. Whether it’s a month and a half or three weeks before her arrival, just make sure the kids are well aware of the fact that she will be coming. 

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use visual aids

Something that has worked really well in our family is to print a picture of the future au pair and put it on the fridge about a month before her arrival date. 

We actually got this idea from our kids’ school. Before they start kindergarten, the school sends a picture of the teacher to all the families so that each family can show the kids who their teacher will be and they can talk about it before the big first day.


Another visual aid that you could use along with the picture is a countdown calendar. When the new au pair’s arrival date is a month or less away, you can start doing a countdown with your kids to help them get excited.

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get the kids involved

Another thing that helps the kids to get used to the idea of a new au pair (first time or not) is getting them involved in preparing the room. 

Before our first au pair came I refurbished an old dresser for the room and the kids had so much fun helping me paint and put the new hardware on. Then when the au pair came, they told her all about how we “made” the dresser just for her.


Getting them involved doesn’t necessarily mean you have to get them painting, but maybe let them pick out a candle for the room or a “pretty” box of Kleenex. I always like to change up the little details in the room so I might buy some new candles or a picture frame or some throw cushions for the bed.

Getting the kids involved in decorating and picking out the new things helps them get excited about someone new coming to stay at our house. 

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let the kids prepare a welcome gift

Before a new au pair arrives, we always make a little welcome basket to leave in the room. This can be anything you want that you think will help her/him to feel welcome.


My kids usually like to draw a picture to put in the welcome package, but you can can be creative and have them make something or write a note if they are older. 


Another thing that I always get the kids to help me with is picking out a pair of slippers for the new au pair. I don’t really know why they love it so much, but it has become a tradition for them to pick out a new pair of slippers every time we get a new au pair. 


I also usually let them pick out some snacks to put in the package. At that point I have likely talked to the au pair enough to know if there are any food allergies or what she doesn’t like to eat. We try to pick some snacks that might be different from things that the au pair would be able to find at home, but also some familiar things. 


One last little detail that I like to include in the welcome gift is a keychain. I try to find one that has something typical from our area as a keepsake for when she goes back home after her au pair stay. She can choose to use the keychain while she is here or not, but we always leave it with her house key in the basket.

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What do you think?

As always, I’d love to hear from you! 

As a host family is there anything that you do to help prepare your kids for a new au pair? 

Au pairs, what do you think parents can do to help get them ready for your arrival? What have been your experiences? 

Leave a comment below, write me a message here or get in contact through Instagram.

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