Who is Elegible?
The greatest attraction of looking after children for many au pairs in Australia is that it is one of the easiest ways to fix up work abroad, since the demand for au pairs in Australia is so great. It has been estimated that about half of all women with children in Australia work full or part time. Most families prefer au pair candidates to have had some practical experience of looking after children, but most are prepared to consider anyone with a genuine liking for children, a positive attitude towards domestic chores and a reasonably mature character. We require at least one reference which simply testifies to your reliability and common sense.
An experienced au pair claimed that to do the job well you need a ‘sense of humour, the patience of a saint, a liking for children and the ability to leap over toy buildings in a single bound’. A love of children is an obvious prerequisite, and will cover up a multitude of sins. But other qualities which parents are looking for include a mature attitude to assuming responsibility. All parents want to feel confident about leaving their children in the care of another person, so they are looking for someone who is sensible, trustworthy, able to assume control, and who will report major mishaps as appropriate.
Australian Families want somebody reliable who will drive carefully, remember to lock up and who will not invite guests indiscriminately into the home. they also expect to be able to trust you, not only with their valuables but with money for shopping, children’s treats, etc. Any accidental damage in the home should immediately be admitted and an offer to replace it tendered. Most agencies have encouraged families to take out liability insurance on their au pair or nanny ‘s behalf which should cover major problems.
A cheerful disposition is greatly valued in family situations. All parents want a warm, healthy atmosphere in their homes, and are disconcerted by girls who are moody or volatile. A calm approach to life in general and little disasters in particular is what is called for. Live-in helpers who are reduced to hysteria by the sight of a spider or the squeak of a mouse won ‘t do their charges any good.
Personal hygiene is just as important as making sure the children are kept clean and tidy. Parents resent it if you don’t clean up after yourself, even if it is in your own room or on your day off, though none is likely to go as far as the wife of the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who was reputed to make her nanny wash her hands up to 300 times a day.
A large number of agencies including our agency, and families absolutely prohibit smoking among their staff. Read more about the requirements to be an Au pair with our agency. If you are a smoker but serious about nannying, you might want to consider giving up. It is no good pretending that you never touch cigarettes when you obviously do. Even if you manage to bluff your way into a job, you will be climbing the walls once you start and are not able to smoke freely. If you try to do so secretly, there’ll be all sorts of tell-tale signs. Non-smokers have very sensitive noses.
All children have a tendency to be early risers so it helps if you are too.If you are a night hawk by nature, you will have to exercise self-discipline and resign yourself to reorganising your habits and your social life.