Finding the perfect host family is hard, it can feel like it's impossible. But to find the perfect one easier there is a few things that you should ask them before you sign any contract. When I for the first time talked to my host family I was way to shy to ask all those question I might would have been brave enough to ask today, but lucky me, it went fine anyway. Although, I do know that some of my friends weren't that lucky. When they finally arrived it showed that their host families maybe wasn't as perfect as they first thought, and this you can be able to figure out before the move - just by asking the right questions.
I know and understand that asking the things you really want to know can be hard because you do not want to ask the most challenging ones, even if that might be the questions that most of the times determines wether it's a good host family for you or not. Because honestly, what kind of host family is it if they can not answer questions you want to ask them? No question is too stupid or too much to ask.
When I had my first interview with my host family I asked, for example, these questions:
- What kind of punishments do they use when their kids don't behave?
The reason why I asked about this is because here in France it is legal to hit their kids. And for me it was really important that I did not work for a family who use that as a punishment.
- How many kids and what are you expecting from me?
A pretty accurate question, right? Still do so many au pairs forget to ask the second part of this question - "what are you expecting from me?". Am I gonna clean the whole house? Only the kids room? Is it only the kids that is my responsibility? Should I cook for the whole family or just the kids?
- Do you have any animals?
Are they also my responsibility?
- What's the kids personality like?
You do want to know if you will have to deal with a kid with unexpected tantrums. If yes, it's also important for you to know how you are supposed to deal with that.
Nowadays, when I have been here for a while, I have realized that there is a few questions I wished I would have asked before I left. Like these ones:
- Is their any rules that apply on me only?
As in, is there a curfew? Can I have people over? Can I have activities in the weekday evenings?
- What relation do the au pair have to your family?
Do you want me to be a part of the family as much as possible or am I someone who only works for you?
- Will you be there helping me if there is a problem?
Will I be able to trust that you take care of the discipline when the kid have not been acting nicely towards me? Because one thing to remember when you are working as an au pair is, you are not their parent, so you can not discipline them more than that you tell them that what they are doing is wrong. The rest is up to their parents.