Being an au pair can be an incredibly fun job to have. However with all the fun comes a lot of responsibility and required personality traits. Its important that you have the personality and skills needed to be an au pair. Here is a list of our top skills needed to be a successful au pair abroad.
The number one skill of being an au pair is patience. Both patience with the children you are caring for as well as patience for yourself. You are going to make mistakes and fumble a few times and its important to be patient with yourself and learn from your mistakes. You also need patience to look after the kids. You may find yourself frustrated at either their bad behavior or demanding natures – remember that it is your job to tend to them and practicing patience is key.
Often you will be required to problem solve throughout the day – whether it be helping with school homework or a more serious child-related crisis. As an au pair you need to be level headed and be able to quickly ascertain a solution for any problems that might be thrown your way. More often than not you may need to find solutions to problems rather than rely on solutions from the parents. Problem solving pertains to new and exciting activities to engage the kids too.
Travelling abroad by yourself requires a bit of independence and confidence. As an au pair you might find yourself in situations that require you to step outside of your comfort zone or experience some things for the first time, e.g. driving on the opposite side of the road or grocery shopping with a toddler in tow. Rise up to all occasions and face them head on. When you’re not with the family you’ll venture out to explore the foreign country, sometimes on your own. This requires great confidence and independence.
Change a nappy
While this may seem menial, changing a nappy is foreign to many. Its important that you know how to change a nappy on both a boy and girl. Hand in hand with this is potty training which can be a challenge in both the adult and child’s lives. Practice before setting off to be an au pair overseas and read up on potty training to ensure you can handle any difficulties that you or the child may experience.
Often times, au pairs are required to cook for the family or at least lunchtime meals for the children. Make sure you have a wide repertoire of healthy meals to serve up. Know the basics in your kitchen and familiarize yourself with different cooking styles to ensure you don’t find yourself making macaroni for the third time in a week. Also make sure you are comfortable cooking the traditional foods of the country you are au pairing in. Do your research beforehand and practice a few of the meals on family and friends.