Working as an Au-Pair

Hi everyone!

I would like to share my experience of working as an Au-Pair in England with you. I’ve been doing this job for about 9 months now so I have quite a lot to tell. I’m also planning on making this into a series in which I will focus on different aspects of living abroad in every article. As you can tell by the title, this article will focus on my work as an Au-Pair.
I hope you’ll enjoy reading and feel free to contact me whether you have questions or just want to share your own experience with me.
Here are a few facts about me before we get to the actual article:
• I’m female
• 19 years old (18 when I first came to England)
• I was born and raised in Germany
• I’m the au Pair of 3 boys

Let’s start at the very beginning:

I gratuaded last summer and during the last months of my school time I was stressing out about what to do after school. In Germany it is quite common that graduates spent some time travelling before they go to university. So I asked myself: Is this what I want to do? Back then I had no clue what to study ( I still have no plan tbh 🤷🏼‍♀️😅) so travelling for a year sounded very appealing to me.
I already had some experience working with children and I really love being with kids so after some research I decided being an Au-Pair would give me the great opportunity to work with children and to discover another country, it’s people and their culture. I then did some more research and talked to a few friends and classmates and soon found myself setting up a profile on Aupairworld.com. I had to answer a few personal questions and write a bit about myself but more importantly had to decide in which country I wanted my future hostfamiliy to live in.
Since I only speak English (and German of course) I thought it was best to choose a English-speaking country. I added Canada, USA, Ireland and England to my list and started looking for hostfamilies. On Aupairworld you can send the hostfamilies that you’re interested in a short message and if they’re interested as well they’ll respond to your message and you can get to know each other. I was in contact with a few families in England and Canada but ended up with a hostfamily in South England. We Skyped twice and I immediately knew that that was the family I wanted to spend a year with.

The first few weeks:

A few months later I found myself on the plane on my way to England. I arrived and was given a warm welcome. I remember arriving really late and I was quite exhausted. This has been only the second time that I’ve been on a plane and the first time that I was all by myself. It took me a few days to settle in more or less but I started working the morning after I had arrived. I had to start at 8 am, which was quite early considering that I had arrived so late…but I didn’t have to do much on my first day so it was okay.
Only a week later the boys’ summer holiday started and during that time I got to know them much better. I spent a lot of time with all 3 of them but especially with the youngest (5 years at that time).
I took him into my heart really quickly and he accepted me as his new Au Pair only a few days after meeting me. Looking back I think he was just happy to have someone he could play with all day long.

Duties and tasks:

However, being an Au Pair does not only mean that you have to keep the children busy but also do quite a lot of housework. I was definitely not expecting that! I knew that I would have to do some housework but I still sometimes wonder if the amount of housework I have to do is normal or more than usual. I don’t really mind doing housework but I just don’t think that I should spent more time cleaning and tidying up than taking care of and playing with the children.
My main tasks during the day are doing the school run (not every day), tidying up the kitchen and dining area after breakfast, washing and putting away the laundry, keeping the boys busy after school, cooking dinner and tidying up and cleaning the kitchen after dinner. Beside those everyday tasks I also have to tidy up the boys‘ rooms, change their beds once a week,mop the kitchen floor and hoover the boys‘ rooms, the living room, the stairs and corridors. My host parents also leave me a note with some extra housework every other day in addition to the above listed tasks.
The good thing is that in the morning I have some time in which I can focus on these tasks only as the children are at school and my host parents are out of the house as well on most days.

Working Hours:

Before I came here I had to sign a contract in which it says that I have to work 30 hours a week and babysit occasionally. I work from Monday to Friday and every other week on Saturday I therefore work 5 hours a day. That isn’t too much and definitely feasible! My day is split into two parts which means that I work 1 ½ hours in the morning and 3 ½ in the afternoon/evening.
I do work some extra hours every now and then depending on how long the list of housework tasks is, because if I didn’t work longer I wouldn’t be able to get everything done and I also try to do all the housework related tasks in the morning so I can focus on the children in the afternoon.

// This is it for now! I will write more articles focusing on topics like having to speak a foreign language, making new friends, main difficulties and homesickness. If there are any aspects that you would like me to write about please let me know! I hope this article gave you a good insight of what it’s like to be an Au Pair and I hope you’ll read my upcoming articles as well :)

I also have a collection of pictures I took during my time here in England so check that out as well :)

All the love,
Claire xx