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Au Pair House Rules You May Want to Consider and Tips on Setting Them

Date: 02/11/2022
Author: Nanny Nina
About the Author: Hi! This has been published by one of our content queens. Do you have any questions or remarks about the blog? Please let us know!

While your au pair’s main job is taking care of your children, she/he will be living in your house, so making sure you’re on the same page with house rules is especially important. Every home is different — especially for someone coming from a different culture — so you should establish ground rules as soon as your au pair arrives to avoid any confusion and set clear expectations. You might think it is more welcoming to provide freedom, but your au pair needs a framework so providing this clearly is part of your responsibility as a host. Here are a few au pair house rules you should address to encourage harmony at home.

Please do not forget to ask what house rules your au pair would like to add to make it a balanced document! 

Family with kids playing in their home. Establishing au pair house rules can help keep the harmony in your house.

1. Set Guidelines for Car Use

As a visitor in The Netherlands, your au pair won’t have a Dutch driving license, this means in most cases (non European au pairs) that they will only be allowed to drive for 6 months from the moment they’re registered. If your au pair will be driving in The Netherlands, decide whether you’ll use separate cars or share one, whether she can drive to take the children places, who will be responsible for paying for gas, and whether she can use the car for personal excursions. Consider taking extra car insurance or including your au pair in yours if she will be driving your car.

Visit this website if you have any questions about getting a driving license in The Netherlands: https://www.iamexpat.nl/expat-info/official-issues/driving-licence-netherlands

2. Household Rules: TV and Computer Use

Just like you, your au pair will want to keep in touch with her family and relax in some of her free time each day — and she may or may not have her own laptop to use personally for emails, Skype, checking favorite websites, and watching movies. If your au pair doesn’t bring her own computer, make sure to decide whether you can lend her some time on your own home computer or laptop and tell her when she can use it. You should also set aside some TV time for your au pair and let her know when and where she can watch. Offering these little luxuries will make your au pair feel more comfortable and more at home with your family.

3. Phone Use

To keep in contact with your au pair and make sure she has a means of getting in touch with you, it’s a good idea to provide your au pair with a cell phone. Whether you purchase a pay-as-you-go phone or add another line to your family plan is up to you — just make sure you communicate with your au pair about when she can be on the phone and what her calling and texting limits are, if any, regarding international calls for family updates.

4. House Guests

While some families might be comfortable with their au pairs bringing friends over during their free time or inviting visiting family to stay, others may not want strangers coming in and out of their house. Make sure you set your own rules regarding house guests and be clear with your au pair about your preferences. If you do allow guests, how late are they allowed to stay? Are overnight guests allowed? Be specific with your rules and make sure your au pair knows where you stand when she starts.

5. Use of Appliances

Whether for herself or your children, your au pair will probably need to cook and use appliances like the dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer. Do you have specific rules regarding your appliances, when you use them, and how? Make sure to communicate them to your au pair. If you want to keep your washing days to once or twice a week to save water, for example, or you don’t want the stove on when you’re not home, tell your au pair what you expect. If it’s important to you, don’t forget to clarify details about shower usage, adjusting the air conditioning or central heating, and other home concerns.

Source: https://www.euraupair.com/blog/for-host-families/ground-rules-au-pair/

Au Pair House Rule Questionnaire

Copy and paste this questionnaire to help create your own set of au pair house rules so you and your au pair are confident and comfortable with your new situation.

HOUSE VISITORS AND GUESTS POLICY

Rules on hosting friends and family:

(Can they stay in your home? For how long? How many people at a time?)

Rules on visits from a boyfriend/girlfriend:

(Can they stay in your home? If so, where will they stay in your home? For how long?)

Rules on overnight guests:

Additional information regarding visitors and guests:

PHONE AND TV POLICY

Au pair cell phone rules:

(Suggestions: international dialing, data plan specifics, is talking/texting allowed while on duty?)

General phone etiquette:

(Suggestions: phone calls/texts during dinner time, length of phone calls, etc.)

Acceptable programs/channels for child(ren):

Unacceptable programs/channels for child(ren):

Additional Log-in Credentials:

(Suggestions: Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV, Wireless Printer, etc.)

COMPUTER AND INTERNET USAGE POLICY

Wifi Network name:

Wifi Network password:

Rules for computer and internet:

(Suggestions: when is your au pair allowed to use the home computer? How long? How often?)

Are there any restrictions on using the home computer?

(Suggestions: no adult websites, violent games, downloading photos, etc.) 

SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY

Please adhere to the following guidelines:

(Permission to post if the post contains the following: yes/no/ask)

Child(ren):

Child(ren)’s name(s):

Child(ren)’s school(s):

Family name:

Family photo(s):

House:

Car: 

Additional information regarding social media:

HEALTH AND SAFETY

Fire extinguisher location:

Fire evacuation plan:

(Include all exit options, if/where fire ladder exists, meeting place outside the home)

In case of a medical emergency, you should call 911 and then:

(Suggestions: call host parents, call local neighbor, etc.)

Child(ren)’s allergies:

(List allergies for each child and what to do if an allergic reaction occurs)

Home entry policy:

(Suggestions: who is allowed in when parents are not home, when to answer door, is there a home entry code or does anyone else have keys to the house? )

Additional information about health and safety:

OUR CHILD(REN)

Activities our child(ren) enjoy, and that we encourage:

(Suggestions: reading, watching movies, arts and crafts, outside play)

Our child(ren) enjoy eating these snacks and meals:

We encourage good behavior by rewarding our child(ren) with:

(Suggestions: encouraging words, extra time to play outside, a gold star chart)

When our child(ren) misbehave, you may discipline them by:

(Suggestions: assigning time-out, restricting access to TV/computer)

When our child(ren) are upset, this is what works best to calm them down:

(Suggestions: reading a book, putting them down for a nap, taking a walk)

Our child(ren) are allowed to play at the homes of these families:

(Suggestion: Include their phone numbers/addresses to help set up playdates)

Additional information about our child(ren):

(Suggestions: temperament, sleep schedules, etc.)

SCHEDULE

Sick day policy:

(What to do if au pair is sick and cannot care for children)

Rules for after hours:

(Suggestions: Are there quiet hours? Weeknights vs. weekends? What time?)

Additional information regarding the childcare schedule:

HOUSEHOLD RESPONSIBILITIES AND THEIR FREQUENCY

Make child(ren)’s bed(s):

Do child(ren)’s laundry:

Vacuum child(ren)’s rooms/areas:

Make child(ren)’s meals:

Pick up after child(ren):

Areas to pay particular attention to:

(Suggestions: children’s bedrooms, playroom, laundry, etc.) 

Expectations for your bedroom and/or bathroom:

(While the bedroom is their private space, set expectations in terms of cleanliness and usage, such as changing sheets, bringing food in, hanging decorations on the wall, etc.)

VACATION 

Upcoming family vacations:

(Will the au pair be invited? What responsibilities will they have?)

Good times for you to take vacation:

(When do you suggest or prefer your au pair to take their vacation?)

FAMILY CAR POLICY AND INSURANCE INFORMATION

 Is your au pair allowed to drive with the car? And is she / he insured if she does?

Car insurance company name:

Car insurance company phone number:

Car insurance policy name:

Car insurance policy number:

Your on- and off-duty car usage:

(Include any rules that apply, if or when the au pair can use the car)

Additional information regarding our car policy:

(Is there a maximum mileage for off-duty car usage?)