1300 889 067 firstname.lastname@example.org
Kate* and Kieran live in Melbourne with their three lovely daughters aged 10, 14 and 16.
...Almost 5 years ago, we approached AIFS and enquired about the Au
Pair in Australia program. Back then AIFS only placed Au Pairs in and around
Sydney. We were the first Melbourne based family to utilise the fantastic Au
Pair program that AIFS offers. Over the last 5 years the team at AIFS have
become an extension of our family and we have developed great relationships
with Stephanie and the team in the Sydney office, as well as with Theresa in
the German AIFS office.
When we initially started out with AIFS, our 3 daughters were
aged 5, 9 and 11. My husband and I both worked full-time and at times my
husband was deployed with the defence force for 6 months at a time. Having Au
Pairs in our home meant our daughters did not have to get up early to be
dropped off at before school care and have long days at the other end, in after
school care. It also meant that, as parents, we did not have to rush from work
to be at school before after school care closed. The girls had regular school
days and were able to have friends over for play dates, attend basketball
training, dance classes etc, leaving our weekends less rushed and free for more
family time. As parents, after work was no longer about having to play catch up
with kids washing, ironing, changing bed linen and so on; it instead became
more about having a relaxed meal together, enjoying quality time and assisting
with homework before bedtime.
As our daughters have grown to young ladies aged 10, 14 and 16, having an Au Pair assists in many similar and some different ways. Our Au Pairs still drop and pick the girls up from school, play “mum’s taxi” at times, they still do their washing etc, but now spend time baking with the girls and generally being a ‘big sister’ to the girls. Another wonderful benefit is that our girls can speak a little German too!
When you start out with the program, integrating an Au Pair can be a daunting concept. Our advice is to allow your Au Pair the weekend to settle into the family dynamics, have a weekly routine mapped out on paper for your Au Pair to read through over the weekend and once Monday starts, begin as you mean to continue. We have always invested the first week doubling up with our Au Pairs. Either my husband or I spend the week home with the Au Pair and do everything with them from driving to/from schools, dance lessons etc, to showing them where the local shops are, how to get to the train station and look up train timetables online, how to use the washing machine, where to find things in the house etc. We have found that by investing this week with our new Au Pair sets us up for 6 months of trouble free placement. I know that you might think 1 week is a long time, but it’s only twice per year and then you will have 50 weeks of ease.
When it was time to say goodbye to our first Au Pair, there was tears all round. Then with each subsequent Au Pair, there are less tears and our girls have become used to the sadness of the departure and also grew to become excited by the arrival of a new Au Pair. We, as a family, always take our outbound Au Pair out for dinner on the Friday night before the new Au Pair arrives the next day. This allows the girls the chance to give a small gift to our Au Pair to say “Thanks” and say their final goodbyes. Over the last 5 years, we have has 9 amazing Au Pairs as part of our family, with our 10th Au Pair who arrived this month. From our first Au Pair Sabine, there has then been Verena, Lisa, Josy, Katharina, Lisa (whom we call ‘Lisa the 2nd ‘), Jenny, Ann-Katrin, Janina and now Thelma – all of which are still part of our extended family. We continue to exchange small gifts and cards on birthdays, Christmas etc with our previous Au Pairs and catch up a couple of times per year on Skype, as well as via email (I must admit, we do cheat and have an Au Pair email group!). Another small tradition we have is to take a picture with each Au Pair and the 3 girls which gets added to our ‘Au Pair Wall of Fame’ – it’s a small tradition that has helped the girls except the departure of each Au Pair and has allowed them to remember them all fondly over the years.
To any potential Host Families reading this, what you can expect from this program is really dependant on what you put into it. If you are expecting ‘hired help’ this is not the program for you. Alternatively, if you are looking for someone who is caring and responsible who will integrate into your family, then the AIFS Au Pair program may well be for you. We have always maintained that our Au Pairs are like big sisters for the girls who have certain responsibilities. We encourage our Au Pairs to join into family activities if they wish, but also encourage them to catch up with other Au Pairs in their free time. If you adapt these same principles, you can expect to have Au Pairs who are engaged throughout their placement and who stay in contact long after the return back home.
If you are considering an AIFS Au Pair, after 9 successful placements the best advice we can offer you is – read all the profiles of all the Au Pairs available that match your timelines. Select 2-3 Au Pairs to receive the extended profile, interview notes, host letters etc on, then interview the Au Pair that ‘speaks to you’ – in other words, ‘act on your gut instinct’. If you do this, and your interview with the potential Au Pair is comfortable, then do not second guess your choice. After 9 placements, this has worked out wonderfully for our family and we have had 9 very successful Au Pair placements.
People often ask me why AIFS? The honest answer is, we stumbled across the agency when they were unknown in Melbourne many years ago. Now, after many years of dealing with AIFS, I can honestly say that AIFS are a very supportive organisation who support both your family and your Au Pair throughout the entire process. They screen potential Au Pairs extremely well, support you through the application and subsequent placement process, and are always just a phone call away throughout the integration period and the remainder of the each Au Pairs placement. I would, have and do recommend AIFS to anyone considering having an Au Pair join their family.
To all potential Host Families, we wish you well. It’s a great program. Enjoy!
Jake* and Anna* live on a sheep and cattle property in the Walcha district with their two children, Laura* 7 and half and Aidan* 6.
...We have thoroughly enjoyed the past 6 years when we have had a multitude of predominately German Au Pairs who stay with us and help with the children. As a result, Laura and Aidan have learnt some songs and count as quickly in German as in English.
Sometimes my work takes me away so they are responsible for the kid's routine which involves preparing meals, getting them ready for school, driving them out to meet the school bus and then collecting them again that afternoon.
Our Au Pairs are welcomed into our family and many have been on holidays to the beach, the Northern Territory or the snow with us. We find many of them return to say goodbye before they leave Australia and we are regularly in touch with so many by email when they arrive back home. Some have sent siblings to stay when they come to Australia and we tell them, Laura and Aidan will be over to look after their kids when they head off to explore the world...
WE LOVE OUR AU PAIRS!
For the past few years I was thinking about returning to work but our local school did not offer after school care. I heard about AIFS through a friend who had hosted 2 Au Pairs and thought I'd give them a try.
It was one of the best decisions I made. The Au Pairs we've had over the past 2 years have been wonderful. I cannot imagine how we would have coped without them.
Thanks AIFS for the great Au Pair you sent us. My daughter and Stella* clicked immediately. It has been a relief to know that I can go to work and know that my kids are being cared for by someone I like and can trust. Thank you!
Since having an Au Pair, our family has changed from being chaotic and frustrating to being more calm and fun. The children have commented that I am not a 'shouting mummy' anymore!!I have more time for my children.
We are able to spend indivdual time with each of them now. I can enjoy the things I do now. Having an Au Pair has been an extra pair of hands to 'lighten the load' I actually feel like I am living life now, not just trying to surviving it!"
* Names have been changed.