Getting to know our partner agencies

We are often asked how we find, screen and prepare our candidates for the Au Pair in Australia program.

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We do this with help from our trusted partner agencies in the country where the au pair comes from.

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This means that the au pair gets guidance and preparation for the au pair experience in her own language and with a thorough understanding of her culture and of the destination she is travelling to. It is thanks to their dedication to the Au Pair in Australia program that we have such great au pairs and that we can continue to grow the program whilst maintaining our high quality.

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Last week, the World Youth & Student Travel Conference took place in Sydney and many of our partner agencies visited Sydney for this conference. The team at Smartaupairs wanted to make them feel very welcome as these agencies had travelled such a long way to get here.  We invited our agencies to visit our office, mingle with our team and see a bit of Sydney on the way.

Thank you to Anna, Patricia, Stephanie and Matthias from Germany, Joan from Denmark, James from the USA and Simona from the Netherlands for taking time out, hope you enjoyed your visit!

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Au pairs and cooking with kids

Cooking with kids for au pairs
Cooking with kids for au pairs

With most of our host families asking us about au pairs who can help with meal preparation or simple cooking; we explored ways to make this easier for the au pair. 

In looking for simple recipes that are relevant to Australia, I was most impressed by the 4 ingredients range. In plain English and without too much fuss the lovely recipes are explained. Rachel, the author, who is a mum herself, believes in simply healthy food and even created 4 ingredients for kids!

In your next welcome pack, you will find one of her 4 ingredients cookbooks. We hope you will encourage your au pair and your children to ‘get cooking’.

Here are 7 reasons why we encourage au pairs to cook with kids:

1) In most households, the kitchen is where the action is. Sharing the kitchen with children encourages their interest in cooking.

2) Cooking is a great way to bond, chat and learn from each other. 

3) It’s a fun way to encourage lifelong healthy eating habits.

4) Cooking makes you creative and confident about food.

5) Children learn other skills such as planning, maths (as weighing, measuring and timing) in a playful manner

6) Food is a great way to share your culture.

7) Your entire family gets to eat lovely food! (and its cheaper than buying ready-made)

Please also share our safety tips for cooking with kids with your au pair

Part of cooking with kids is teaching them kitchen safety. Here are some basic safety rules to get started:

1. An adult should always supervise cooking until you are certain that the child is old enough to handle the responsibility.

2. Always wash your hands before starting.

3. Keep a safe distance from a hot stove top and oven. Turn pot and pan handles towards the back of the stove to prevent accidents.

4. Avoid sampling raw eggs or meat.

5. Let the child practice cutting with a butter knife and graduate to a sharper blade only when you both feel comfortable.

What every host mum needs to know!

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10 top tips to au pair success

With so many people discovering the benefits of hosting an au pair, we thought we would help with our simple Top 10 tips for au pair success.

1 Be realistic; she is not supernanny…

Your au pair will try her best but it she is not a childcare expert. Don’t expect perfection from day one. Prepare a handbook and guide her with your know-how.

2 Saving time makes sense

The number one benefit of having an extra paid of hands in your home is saving time; enjoy gaining more quality time with your family and maybe even with your partner.

3 Why mums love the au pair program

Hosting an au pair generally costs at least 50% less than any other help with childcare or light housework. In exchange, she may need some extra time to get familiar with her duties.

4 Don’t make assumptions

Give clear and specific instructions; use to-do lists, timetables and ‘how-to’ guides for more complex tasks. Why not take pictures of the full school uniform and the perfect lunch box?

5 Invest time in training & developing

Prepare a handbook. Talk her through it page by page, then show her task by task. Talk about safety with the help of our Child Safety Guide.

6 Split and share your tasks = teamwork

Treat your au pair as a member of the family. Split and share light housework & cooking to avoid au pair overload (and maybe get a cleaner for the ‘heavy duty’ stuff)

7 Build trust & show interest

Build up trust and try not to micro-manage. Build a relationship through regular communication. Ask about her day with the kids, the friends she has made and her plans for the weekend.

8 Give praise for a job well done

Receiving praise will make your au pair feel valued and help her gain confidence. It will strengthen your relationship and make her want to go the extra mile…

9 Always pay on time

Paying your au pair on time every week will help her budget for her personal time, away fro the family. Free time is critical to re-charge her batteries to start the next week with a smile J

10 Have fun and learn from each other

Have fun and enjoy time with your au pair. Ask about her family, home, hobbies, studies and her future plans. Most au pairs have inspiring ambitions and a gap year is only the beginning!

Are you thinking of getting an au pair to help in your family?

UK families can register here for au au pair

Australian families can register here for an au pair

How to Find, Train and Keep the Best Au Pair for Your Family by Nicole Kofkin

Au Pair success
Pocket Guide to Au Pair Success

Our book is nearly finished, the editor has finished the first 2 parts and part 3 and 4 have been promised by tomorrow 🙂

Is this au pair book right for me??

This introductory guide is written with first-time host families in mind. If you are new to au pair hosting or what you know is only from “a friend of a friend,” this guide is for you. It includes step-by-step instructions on how to get started and get it right. After reading it, you will know if au pair hosting is the right childcare solution for your family and how to go about finding the right au pair.

 The book will be an e-book in an easy to print A5 format. It has been designed to be easy to read ‘on-the-go’ on your phone or ipad. Cant wait to hear your feedback. As soon as we have the book, we will let you know how you can get your free copy.

Are you thinking of getting an au pair to help in your family?

UK families can register here for au au pair

Australian families can register here for an au pair

Webinar for first time host families in Australia

Jan will tell you 'all you need to know and more' about au pair hosting in Australia during our informative webinar.
Jan will tell you ‘all you need to know and more’ about au pair hosting in Australia during our informative webinar.

Our first Australian webinar about au pair hosting was a great success and we feel confident this offers real value for first time families.

There’s no need to have your letter & pictures ready yet, just ‘come along’ to learn how you can benefit from au pair care.

No more juggling lunch boxes, school run, daycare and uniforms! What other childcare can claim all that!

Register today for the best 30 minute time investment:

Finding an au pair – Made Easy

At the end of the webinar we have a couple of special offers, exclusive to attendees to give you the opportunity to save money as well as time 🙂

Getting organised now means that you can relax, safe in the knowledge that help is on the way and you get to pick from the widest selection of au pairs.