In Summary - Au Pair
Au Pairs typically work in the following Career Sectors:
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The Work - Au Pair
The duties of an Au Pair vary depending on the age and number of children they care for. They may assist in dressing and feeding babies and very young children, and for comforting them when they are upset.
It is strongly recommended that they work under the direct supervision of the parent if the children are under five years of age. They should not be expected to take the place of a professional childminder/nanny. They generally do not have any childcare experience or understanding of child development, safety, health and hygiene (especially related to babies and infants) or understanding and managing behaviour in small children. They may not have good communication skills.
An Au Pair may plan and supervise play activities with older children. If the children are old enough to go to school, the parents' help may take them there and bring them back each day.
Domestic tasks such as cleaning, washing up, cooking, and washing and ironing clothes take up a large part of the day.
It is essential that childcare workers employed as nannies/parent's help/au pairs have a contract of employment and job description in place describing the work and responsibilities expected by each party, the employer and the employee. Domestic workers of all kinds are now within the remit of employment equality legislation.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Maintain a safe play environment.
- Dress children and change diapers.
- Observe and monitor children's play activities.
- Communicate with children's parents or guardians about daily activities, behaviors, and related issues.
- Sanitize toys and play equipment.
- Keep records on individual children, including daily observations and information about activities, meals served, and medications administered.
- Support children's emotional and social development, encouraging understanding of others and positive self-concepts.
- Identify signs of emotional or developmental problems in children and bring them to parents' or guardians' attention.
- Assist in preparing food and serving meals and refreshments to children.
- Instruct children in health and personal habits, such as eating, resting, and toilet habits.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Assisting and Caring for Others Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Training and Teaching Others Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Performing General Physical Activities Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Thinking Creatively Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
- Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Interests - Au Pair
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
The Social person's interests focus on interacting with the people in their environment. In all cases, the Social person enjoys the personal contact with other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.
Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.
Creative people are drawn to careers and activities that enable them to take responsibility for the design, layout or sensory impact of something (visual, auditory etc). They may be atrracted to the traditional artistic pursuits such as painting, sculpture, singing, or music. Or they may show more interest in design activities, such as architecture, animation, or craft areas, such as pottery and ceramics.
Creative people use their personal understanding of people and the world they live in to guide their work. Creative people like to work in unstructured workplaces, enjoy taking risks and prefer a minimum of routine.
As an Au Pair, you must enjoy looking after babies and children. A sense of fun, stamina and lots of energy are useful qualities. You must be flexible, and able to work under the close supervision of the parent.
You must be able to use initiative, and stay calm under pressure and in emergencies. You must be constantly aware of safety and hygiene in the home, and let a parent know if you notice any change in a child's habits or behaviour.