A host family’s household handbook is the most important communication tool for their au pair year. It’s a document created and customized by the host family that sets out childcare and household rules, including the children’s schedules, curfews, house guest policies, car and cell phone rules, etc. It’s a guide that au pairs and families can reference throughout the year, especially as new situations or issues arise.
Not only does this document provide necessary guidelines for the au pair, it also provides host parents an opportunity to consider what sort of rules they want in place in their home. Many host families have never experienced what it is like to live with a young adult in their home and haven’t given thought to issues such as car rules or curfews. With the help of the Cultural Care template (included below), you can consider what rules and guidelines will make you feel comfortable and set the groundwork for a successful year. When drafting sections of your household handbook, ask yourself questions like, “How would I feel if my au pair drove the car into Washington, D.C.?” or “What if my au pair’s friend dropped by the house unexpectedly? Would that bother me?” When in doubt, start with stricter rules which can loosen up over time as trust builds between you and your au pair.
The household handbook should set reasonable, realistic boundaries in a generous, welcoming way. It should reflect your family rules and values as well as the age and developmental needs of your children.
Attached is the clean Host Family Handbook template from Cultural Care’s website and also a copy of the handbook we use in my home (although the formatting…and grammar…have gotten a little messy over the years!) So feel free to use my handbook as a guide/reference, but if a rule seems too lax (or too strict), replace it with a rule that feels right for your family.
Wednesday, 17 June 2015 6:54 PM