As a parent, you know that caring for kids can feel like a thankless job. Sometimes, your au pair may feel the same way. As your year with your au pair goes by, be sure to recognize the special contributions they add to your family. This will let your au pair know that you’re paying attention to all of their hard work, as well as motivate them to keep doing a great job.
Here are a few suggestions for showing gratitude towards your au pair to reward a job well done.
If you see something, say something.
When you see your au pair doing something really great, you might think to yourself, “She's a lifesaver!” But don't assume that your au pair realizes that you've noticed.
Be intentional with your language. Telling your au pair, "I noticed that you cut the kids' sandwiches into cute shapes. That was really awesome!" or "Thanks so much for offering to drive Emma to her party. You didn't have to do that, but we're glad you did," can mean a lot. It shows that you are seeing and appreciating the little things.
Remember to keep the praise genuine and specific. When you point out exactly what you're thanking your au pair for, it's more effective and makes a greater impression than simply saying, "Nice work."
Give the gift of experiences.
Studies show that experiences are more meaningful and create more happiness than things. It's highly likely that your au pair values unforgettable experiences; after all, they've come to a new country to experience a new way of life! A gift card to a great restaurant, an ice skating rink, or another activity that your au pair might enjoy with friends is a great way to say thank you. It can also help your au pair get involved in the community, making it a win-win.
Personalize your presents.
Would your au pair rather receive a framed picture of her family, a gift card to Starbucks, or an invitation to go to the movies with you? You'll know the answer to this as you get to know them better. A thank you gift that shows that you understand your au pair’s personality and preferences will be very meaningful and will help make them feel like a part of the family.
If you're giving a gift at the end of your au pair’s time in the USA, think of what can fit in a suitcase and be transported easily. Bonus points for coming up with something unique to the United States or to your area. While a glass figurine or large stuffed animal might not fit the bill, the jersey of your local sports team definitely would!
Host a meal that your au pair loves.
A great way to thank your au pair is to have one of their favorite meals for dinner. Whether you make it, order it, or take your au pair out to eat, let them know in advance that you're doing this to thank them for their great work. It might be a dish from your au pair’s home country or maybe something local that they’ve learned to love!
If you're looking for unique thank you ideas that your au pair would appreciate, just ask them! Your au pair will have thoughts on what they'd like to learn, foods they'd like to eat, and experiences they'd enjoy. We hope you'll add your own creativity to these tips to help reward your au pair.
Joy is a huge advocate for cultural exchange. She's lived across the USA, then moved overseas to London and Sydney. She currently resides in Jakarta, Indonesia, giving her a unique perspective on working and thriving in a culture not her own. Joy graduated from the University of Sydney with a degree in Marketing and started her career in the au pair industry. She works on the blog and social media for the Au Pair USA program.