10 bits of advice to make being a Granny Aupair easier
- compiled by Granny Anke, who was in France for four months as a Granny Aupair in 2015
- You are basically keen on occupying yourself with (young) children.
- You discuss mutual expectations with the family.
- You are curious (in the sense of positive-open minded) to get to know other family structures and integrate yourself into the new surroundings.
- You can work in a structured and forward-looking manner and see your main job as backing up the parents and taking over some of the child care from them, so that everyday life works better. You can discover the country and its people in your spare time.
- You are reliable and resilient.
- You let yourself in for the family and its way of life. There is a reason why it is like it is.
- You should sort out if suggestions for improvements are desired. You are only accompanying the family for a short time and principally should not question established rules, even if you yourself would do things differently.
- Bring a time consuming occupation with you from home, which you like doing to bridge waiting time and spare hours contentedly.
- Try making social contacts outside the family. This helps against homesickness, brings some diversion and broadens the horizon in your new surroundings. In addition you can receive valuable insider information this way.
- If necessary you should try to learn the language.
Tips for the preparation of your Granny Aupair trip
Define your own ideas, wishes and goals: City or country, which countries, size of the family, integration as a family member, which tasks are acceptable? IMPORTANT: Be aware that the family relies on your help and is entrusting you with their children
- Duration of the stay - if necessary ask the respective embassy about the correct visa
- Learn to use online banking
- Organize mail: Have your mailbox emptied by a trusted person, place a redirection order, poste restante service or post-scan
- Maybe book monthly subscriptions with Skype for a few cents, so you can make cheap calls to landline numbers at home
- Find out the cheapest option for a stay abroad from your mobile phone provider
- Buy one of the country's SIM cards locally (is usually cheaper)
- Review insurance policies, especially health insurance and liability insurance
- Out-of-country insurance coverage card when driving your own car
- Check whether your driving license is valid abroad, if necessary apply for an international driving license
- If necessary, apply for a visa
- Check if your passport or identity card is still valid for the duration of your trip
- Take copies of your passport and/or identity card with you or save them in the cloud
- Ideally take two credit cards with you, in case one gets lost or does not work
- Take along current passport photos and if you have one, pensioner's identity card for potential monthly public transport tickets
- If necessary have your vaccinations renewed, take your vaccination card /certificate with you
- As required take with you: Camera with spare battery and charger, international plugs, flashlight. earplugs, medication, spare glasses
Preparing with the family
- make visual contact with the family - via Skype or even at a personal meeting
- Go over the daily routine
- Talk about the preferred style of upbringing
- Go through the household tasks - what is expected, what is acceptable?
- Talk about personal allergies, ask about family allergies
- Clarify the cost of driving the children in your own car (petrol money)
- festlegen, ob es ein Taschengeld gibt
- Determine whether there will be an allowance
- Clarify who will take over the travel costs
- Speak about the living situation (room, room size, bathroom)
- Ask about pets and any tasks connected with them
- If you are interested, find out about the possibility of a language course
- Talk about your time off
True to the philosophy of Granny Aupair, where the main focus is on cultural exchange. Away from the normal tourist program, our temporary Grannies have intensive experiences in a foreign country, which they can experience in a completely new way through the family connection.
Our families are also enthusiastic about the concept. However, irritations still arise from time to time, for example concerning pocket money and the tasks. There are exaggerated expectations on both sides every now and then. We would therefore explicitly like to point out once again: Granny Aupair is not a job agency. The word "au-pair" comes from the French and means "mutual". We see our initiative in this original sense of the word.
As a Granny Aupair you live in a family like a temporary grandmother or help in a social project and are integrated into the everyday life of another culture. Language barriers, unknown customs and differences in mentality have to be mastered by both sides. But the challenge also offers the chance for personal development and to experience oneself in a completely new way!
Naturally, board and lodging with the families is free of charge - and if you calculate only 50 Euros per day for this, that would be the equivalent of 1,500 Euros per month. Most of the families also contribute to the travel costs or show their gratitude in other ways. Some grannies deliberately do not want pocket money, as they then feel like an employee and not like a granny who is actively helping a family. And what you receive is priceless anyway.
Tips from a Granny experienced Family from Abu Dhabi
Living with a Granny Aupair
Living with a Granny has been a very pleasant experience so far, however the main challenge could be in making sure that everyone is enjoying their privacy. On our first Granny experience, the Granny used to come to our private spaces like bedrooms and study rooms. Her intentions were good and it was her first Granny experience so we didn’t take it personally. But we noticed some cultural inconveniences and personal space discomfort on our side.
On the following Grannies’ visits, we started to explain - from the beginning- that the family needs its privacy to manage their personal interests and affairs. In return the Granny has free access to all the ground floor but not to our bedrooms and work areas. The ground floor includes the kitchen, the living room, TV, and access to patio and house yard. This proved to be a good organization of space and made everyone comfortable.
Cultural differences are not a myth , especially when it comes to cultural uniqueness related to women status for example across societies. The Grannies usually come with certain views of how women are treated in Arab and Muslim culture and it is very difficult to convince them that not all these views are real. With time our family realized that it is not easy to change their perspectives. Now we overlook negative views / comments and leave it to the Grannies to see the realities by themselves.
There are many happy experiences with our Grannies to be honest. An example is when we took one of our lovely Grannies to meet our great grandmother, and our grandmother gave her Burga (Battoulah) and asked her to try it . We took photos of the two as they were communicating with signs and laughs, it was really a happy moment and a warm human interaction.
We really appreciate our lovelyGgrannies and their help to improve our kids’ German language. We stay in touch with almost all of them. Some of them are so kind and generous that they post gifts for the kids. The Granny experience is not only a cultural encounter but a unique human encounter that is warm and full courageous exploration. We admire the courage in every lady who made the decision to be a Granny Aupair in a totally new culture from her own. Their courage keeps on impressing us!