About six months ago, I did a post about the experience of another au pair in Aldershot, and I want to continue that. I am going to be interviewing au pairs in Aldershot and London (and in other places if I can find them) to show the different experiences people have as an au pair. Today’s interview is with Kaitlyn. She is twenty years old and has been living and working in England as an au pair for the past year and a half. She’s had several host families and has some solid advice for those already au pairing who want to change families!
What were your reasons to choose the UK as your destination for being an Au Pair?
I originally wanted to Au Pair in Italy, but I had people contacting me whose kids did not know any English at all, and I don’t know any Italian so that would’ve been hard for me. I decided England would be better for me since it’s my native language. It’s close to Europe, so it would be easy for me to travel and my mom’s family is from England, so I wanted to see how life is here.
How did you find out whether Au Pairing was for you?
Ever since I was fifteen, I was babysitting kids. Before I came here, I had loads of experience with children ages 1-10, so I knew it would be a good job for me since I knew the ins & outs of working with children.
What are the things that you know now, but would have liked to know before the Au Pair year?
I came to England thinking I was just babysitting a kid for a few hours a day. However, I quickly realised this wasn’t the case when I started the job. Being an au pair isn’t easy, there’s a lot of things to deal with, and it can sometimes be frustrating. So I wish I didn’t have the mindset of this being easy because it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. It was definitely a wake-up call for me!
What do you think is the most important trait an Au Pair should have?
You definitely need patience. There’s going to be days where you’re going to be exhausted and have to deal with a grumpy or stubborn child. So patience is definitely important because you have an impact on these kids’ lives and one bad mood can cause stress between you, the child and your host family.
What is the best thing about being an Au Pair?
I think the best thing about being an au pair is the impact you have and the bond you form with the kids. I’ve talked to a few adults who had an au pair when they were younger, and all they remember is how fun & close they were. And one day I hope one of the kids I’ve hosted will say the same thing!
What are your tips for finding the right family?
I’ve been with a few families, and the one I have right now is definitely the right family for me. I explained from the start how I like my own time and that I’m independent. I don’t think my host family before understood that and it caused tension between us. But now, my new family totally get it! So I think being honest about who you are and how you are is very important because if you don’t, it could be a bad match and things possibly end badly for both of you.
Why did you decide to leave your previous family?
There wasn’t a specific reason, but I think we both just knew we didn’t fit that well together. As I explained before, I enjoy my free time whether it’s going out with my friends or hanging out in my room and I think they wanted someone more hands-on and that’s totally understandable! We did leave things on good terms, though.
What are you looking for in your next family?
I’m looking for a nice family who is just as chill as I am. I would like a family who doesn’t see me as an employee and more of a friend or another family member. I haven’t really had that and have been jealous of my friends who do.
Do you have any tips for other au pairs that want to change their family?
Just be careful and if you see any red flags then don’t switch to them! If you have time, search and really talk to a family. Don’t just jump on the first one who accepts you as an au pair. Take your time!