What it takes to be a Host Family

For a family to qualify as a host family it must meet certain requirements. These are:

Enough living space to house an extra member: The family will need to have extra space to accommodate one more member; this might mean providing an extra room. They will also need to be prepared to feed the extra member with an understanding that the au pair will come from a completely different environment and culture which might be in collision with the host. There is a need to provide an enabling environment, make the au pair feel comfortable for the entire period she will be staying with the family.

Family members are ready to welcome an extra member in the house. The host family will get an additional member; the children need to be aware that they will get a big brother or a sister. Through such preparations, no member of the family will get surprised when the au pair arrives. Preparation should be in terms of getting her space ready and also in setting rules of engagement especially with the young members of the family.

The family must be tolerant; they can accommodate somebody from a different culture: The au pair will be somebody from a different culture, there is a need to exercise a great deal of tolerance, do not ridicule her culture or talk ill about how she looks or conducts herself. Show utmost respect and it will be reciprocated.

Culture shock’s understandings; knowledge that there are people who are different from them and ready to accommodate them in their house. Children need to be aware of this, this calls for prior preparation even before the au pair arrives.

Ready to offer protection to the au pair; the au pair need to be protected as a member of the family, she should feel safe while staying with the host family and also when in the neighbourhood.

Ready to treat the au pair humanely and fairly; there should be no mistreatment from any member of the family. It would be criminal to mistreat or harm the au pair, she is protected by the laws and an action will be taken to any family which physically or emotionally hurts the au pair.

Ready to form a positive relationship with the au pair; for the au pair to feel comfortable while in your house, there is a need to form a positive relationship. A situation where she is listened to and her opinion counts. She needs to feel valued as a member of the family.

Willing to familiarize the au pair with the environment around the resident as well as in the region. The au pair should be well oriented in the house and also within the neighbourhood; she needs to know her way in and out of the area. This will make it easy for her to carry out her duty without depending on assistance from others.