Being an Au Pair can be a fun and rewarding experience. For many Au Pairs it is a great opportunity to discover the UK, improve your English, and a chance to enjoy life with an English family.
But it is also true that not all Au Pairs settle into their life as quickly as they would like. Coming to a new country, particularly, if it is your first time away from home can be challenging. Its also worth remembering that the experience can be difficult for families too - after all, they too have to be flexible and willing to invite a stranger into their house and family.
We recommend you read our tips on rules for an Au Pair to remember. We also have some suggestions to help you settle in with a new family.
There is no simple way to deal with this, although we find most Au Pairs become less homesick after a few weeks. Rainbow can put you in touch with other Au Pairs we have placed so you can make new friends. Many Au Pairs quickly become accustomed to living with their new family, enjoy spending time with them, and find they no longer miss home! But don't forget you can always call home, email, or use Skype to stay in touch.
We strongly suggest you accept the pocket money agreed with the family. Over time, if your family like you and you settle in well, it may be possible to earn more or increase your hours. There is often plenty of demand for extra cleaning or babysitting with other friends or families which can generate extra money, if necessary.
Of course, if your English is very basic this can be a problem. But families will know in advance how good your English is, and will make allowances. It is a good idea to register with a local college to undertake an English language course. This can also be a good way to meet new friends.
Not Bonding with the Children
It can take time for children to get used to a new Au Pair, particularly if they really liked a previous Au Pair. But most children are relatively easy to win over. Be patient, play with them and learn to laugh with them, and in most cases both they and you will soon bond!
Can’t Control the Children
Some children are more boisterous than others. Knowing how and when to discipline children, and subtler techniques of gentle persuasion isn't always easy. Never be afraid to ask for advice but always remember to discuss your challenges with your family.
How am I Doing?
If you are trying hard, making an effort to fit in with the family, and managing to smile, the chances are your family are happy! Give it a few weeks before deciding whether you are liking your new life.