The Host Family Handbook – Get Started on the Right Foot

One thing I highly recommend to all of my host families is to prepare a Host Family Handbook before your au pair arrives, so you can be ready to give it to her (or him) upon arrival.  When your new au pair arrives, she will be overwhelmed by all of the new information coming at her all at once – and you’ll think of a million different things you want her to know about your home, family, and expectations for the year.  Taking time – ahead of time – to write things down will help you remember to cover everything; and having a written document to read at her leisure and refer back to later will help ensure that your au pair is able to absorb all of the information.

Some of the things you might want to include in your Handbook are:

  • Information about your family, including the kids’ personalities and favorite activities, your philosophy regarding discipline, and when/how the au pair can contact you during the day.
  • Information about your home, including locations of fire extinguishers and first aid kits and guidance regarding use of household appliances.
  • Safety guidelines, such as reminders about seat belt and carseat use and information about when (and how) to call 911.
  • Expectations regarding the au pair’s typical schedule and duties, including child-related household chores.
  • Information regarding when and/how you will pay your au pair’s weekly stipend, and expectations regarding her vacation days.
  • “House rules” including any curfew, restrictions on phone, computer, and/or vehicle use, and guidelines regarding visitors or overnight guests.

Cultural Care has a terrific Handbook Template, available in your Host Family online account, which will provide a good starting point.  Even if you choose not to use the same format, the template will help jog your memory as to the kinds of things you may want to cover.  I am also happy to answer any questions or provide suggestions as you put together your handbook!

For more information, here’s another helpful blog post on the subject.

Friday, 4 September 2015 9:51 PM

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