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  /  Au Pairs   /  Au Pair Responsibilities: What Can I Expect my Au Pair to Do?
Au Pair Responsibilities

Au Pair Responsibilities: What Can I Expect my Au Pair to Do?

Au Pair Responsibilities – Many families in South Africa require au pair’s to assist them with ensuring the well-being, safety and development of their children. While a parent or guardian is a child’s primary care giver, it is an au pair’s job to support parents by contributing to the families vital support network, assisting the family to ensure their kids become well-balanced, happy and confident members of society.

With this said, an au pairs job descriptions can differ considerably from family to family. Au pair responsibilities, hours and salary vary according to a family’s unique needs. As such, applicants looking forward to becoming an au pair for a family should discuss the duties and responsibilities required of them, prior to beginning their contact with the family. Additionally, this may differ as time passes, and should thus be regularly reviewed. This blog discusses what a family can expect from an au pair and vice versa. To begin however, it is important to understand what an au pair is.

What is an au pair?

Parents and families often find themselves struggling to manage looking after their children when they have work responsibilities and other commitments during the week. This is when an au pair is useful to assist families with day-to-day routines, obligations and responsibilities. An au pair is a professional, experienced and responsible individual who takes care of your children’s needs. They assist with the daily activities relating to your child’s needs. From dropping and fetching from school and helping with homework to preparing healthy lunch snacks and filling the children’s day with fun, age appropriate and stimulating activities and experiences. This leaves time for mom and dad to relax with their children and enjoy healthy positive relationships and still provides a safe and stable home and school environment for your children to grow and thrive in.

What are the General Duties of an Au Pair?

An au pair’s primary responsibility is to take care of your children. The various duties your family requires however, should be thoroughly discussed before the au pair begins working for your family. This will ensure each individual involved has a clear and concise understanding of the differing responsibilities/obligations of the parent, au pair and child. This will help manage expectations and provide your child with the best possible care. Here is a list of general au pair responsibilities in South Africa;

  • Engaging in stimulating play and activities with children
  • Supervising/assisting with homework
  • Preparing after-school lunch or snacks
  • Driving, fetching and carrying to school and other activities
  • Liaising with teachers, coaches and other individuals on parents’ behalf
  • Running errands for the parents – for example grocery shopping
  • Meal preparation for children
  • Babysitting and/or weekend work if discussed prior
  • Teaching personal hygiene
  • Providing emotional support and guidance

What not to expect from an Au Pair?

Au pairs should not be mistaken for a nanny or housekeeper. While au pair responsibilities revolve primarily around your children, it is not their responsibility to maintain or manage the household when you are not around. While preparing lunch for your child can be considered one of the duties of your au pair, you cannot expect them to take on other unrealistic responsibilities. Here is a list of duties an au pair should not be expected to do while working for your family;

  • Cleaning the house or completing general house work duties like laundry
  • Taking care of other’s children unless previously discussed
  • Taking care of pets
  • Working unrealistic hours or staying overnight to look after children unless previously discussed

Ultimately it comes down to good communication. It is important to maintain a transparent channel of communication where the parent, au pair and child can voice their opinion and discuss elements they are unhappy with, or what they wish to adjust. Clear communication will lead to a thorough understanding of responsibilities on both ends, resulting in a happier, healthier household and most importantly, a safe, structured and positive environment for your children. For information regarding how you can hire an au pair for your family, get in touch with one of our SA Cares counsellors today.