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What's the best way to handle my au pair's curfew?

How to handle the issue of your au pair’s curfew is just a question that a lots of parents wonder about, your au pair’s primary responsibility while she is here is to care for your children of course, but she is also here to experience life in Australia, while making new friends and become more independent.

One host mum I know actually brings up the topic of curfew during the interview process, she asks the au pair if she has a curfew and if at what time does she need to be home, if the au pair does not have a curfew this host mum asks to the au pair how does she feel to stick into one when she arrives to Australia, is always important to explain why a curfew exists, although it seems obvious your au pair needs to know that is important for her to feel well rested and prepared for childcare responsibilities, just like she would be for any other job.

When determining your au pairs curfew, you should always keep a few things in mind, first your au pair’s age, if your au pair is on the younger side an earlier curfew may make more sense, if she is older she might need a little more freedom, another thing to consider is when does she need to start the next day, many parents have a reverse curfew meaning that the au pair’s curfew was nice hours before they start the next morning so if she has to start working at 8 am her curfew would start at 11 pm that night. 

One little thing to consider is the area where you live, if you live in a city that is bussing with activity there may be more things your au pair wants to experience that don’t start until later in the evening, if you live in a very rural place there won’t be as much going on at night and for that reason it might make sense to have an earlier curfew.

One thing I wish I always knew when I was a new host mum is that is always easier to start with a stricter curfew and give more freedom as the au pair gains your trust, I also learned very quickly that the host parents need to be open to negotiation if their au pair feels that her curfew is unfair and you should consider making an exception for an event that might occur outside of her normal curfew.

If you are still unsure what is a fair curfew for your au pair talk to us, we can give you an advice based on our experience and what other parents are doing, most importantly you should feel confident that your au pair’s curfew will allow her to perform her childcare duties to the best of her ability as well as maximize her free time while here in Australia.