Family Handbooks should all cover a core set of topics including schedule, safety, child care rules, car rules, and family rules.
Beyond these topics, we each need to add specifically what’s important to OUR family. At my house, this means a section on “How to Adore Coco (our dog)” and another on “Traveling Safely in NYC”.
In some families, there are very specific rules that au pairs need to know and follow to keep the kids in that family safe. For example, Au Pairs who care for children with special needs will likely need specifics on childcare and helping manage people who are rude or daft when it comes to folks with special needs.
Handbooks should include Rules, Procedures and Education
Au Pairs in families where someone has food allergies also need a section about this in their handbook. The food allergy section needs more than the obvious list of rules (e.g., no peanut butter in the house ever, no pasta ever). These sections should also include procedures for how to evaluate situations for food allergy safety. And they should include information to educate the au pair so that s/he can understand why these rules need to be taken seriously.
Host Mom shares a copy of her family handbood (below).
(Oops. Host mom asked me take change plans and post only key sections. As soon as I ‘m able to edit it, I ‘ll put it back up — cv)
She explains that it’s “heavily adapted from an example I got by AuPairCare”. But, there is also some unique information about her child’s food allergies and also about their family’s use of unscented, largely ‘natural’ products in their house– partly out of preference but also out of precaution.
Check out host mom’s handbook for some good text to ‘cut, past and revise’ if you need to address allergens or other issues in your next handbook revision.
thanks so much for sharing this with us!!!!!!