Care Do Not Control – Your Au Pair’s Social Life

This post is also available in: Deutsch (German)

To invite an au pair to your home also means to trust them. This trust is not only about trusting them with your children but also with their free time and that they act responsible during it.

Some families ask too much of the au pair by wanting to know every little thing that they are doing or where they are going. They send text messages whenever the au pair leaves the house. And if the au pair has taken the family’s car it’s kind of reasonable that the parents wants to know if the car is at least in a safe neighborhood.

There are host families that tend to overdo it though. They use apps like “Find my Phone” or car-based geo-trackers. This is way too much control and takes a huge part of the au pair’s liberty and invades the their privacy.  Of course it is good for the host parents to know where the au pair that’s new to the country is going. But let’s be less invasive so the new family member doesn’t feel uncomfortable.

Non-invasive ways of caring for your au pair

  • Set a car curfew – you can ask the au pair to bring the car home by a certain hour, even if the au pair might not have to be home at this time. If it’s a weekend and there is only a curfew for the car but not for the au pair, the au pair can go with friends or take a cab.
  • Provide a list of neighborhoods that might not be safest ones in your city. Don’t forbid your au pair to go there but ask them to let you know once they are going to one of those.
  • Ask for cell phone numbers of the au pair’s friends, just in case something happens so you have people you can contact.

You can set rules as a host family, but if it’s about the au pair’s free time you should not be too controlling so the au pair feels like under big brother’s watch. Give your au pair some space.

How do you deal with those situations? Let us know in the comments.