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4 key points for families to manage corona risks during an au pair stay

What should your family be thinking about and communicating to your au pair during corona times? The coronavirus pandemic doesn't make anything simpler – and that's also true for au pairs and families getting ready for an au pair stay. But what we've all learned by this stage of the pandemic is that just because something is a little bit more difficult, it doesn't mean that it's impossible. To help families get off to a good start with a new au pair and to manage things successfully during the stay, we've identified 4 key points and practices to keep in mind:


1. Is everyone healthy?

No one wants to infect other people (or get infected themselves). To start on a clear and secure basis in the new situation of an au pair stay, it can be a good idea to have a coronavirus test right at the beginning of the shared time together. This way you as the host family know that your new temporary family member is not bringing an infection into the household. And the au pair has the same important knowledge. Testing possibilities vary significantly from country to country and even from city to city. That means you will need to talk about this point in detail with your au pair and make a plan:

2. What exactly is the corona situation in the new host country environment?

As we all know from hundreds of news reports over the past months, the pandemic situation varies extremely from place to place. There are different rules and practices and different levels of infection to cope with depending where you are..For this reason, it is very important for you as the host family to inform a new au pair in detail about what is happening in connection with corona in your locality:

It is easy to think that the everyday corona practices you have become used to in your own environment are the same as what your new au pair is accustomed to. In fact, this probably will not be the case. As the host family you need to remember that part of training your new au pair also involves explaining the specifics of proper pandemic behaviour where you live.

3. What is your family's personal risk management approach?

Different families and au pairs will each have their own ideas about what degree of risk is acceptable and how corona risks should be handled. These attitudes and practices need to be discussed and agreed on – preferably before the au pair stay begins. Au pairs need to recognise that as the host family you will be the ones who finally make the rules in this area and that as a temporary family member they will need to follow them. That said, these rules need to be clearly presented and openly discussed in a spirit of cooperation. A new au pair should not be suddenly surprised by your family's risk management approach. Here are points to think about:

These are not super fun topics to talk about, but we all have to deal with them at the current time – no matter where we live. Clear communication about these points will help everyone to develop trust with each other and to keep safe.  

4. Keep talking and sharing information

The coronavirus situation is changing from week to week in different ways in different places. This makes it important to share information and concerns before the au pair stay begins and also during the stay. More than ever, au pairs and families need to trust each other and to work together to get good results. Frequent and friendly communication about all the different aspects of daily life that are impacted by corona therefore needs to be an ongoing part of the cooperation between au pairs and families. As the host family you should see yourselves as the leading partner in this cooperative effort and keep the information flowing.