We have created some frequently asked questions to help you find the information you need. Please do contact us with any other questions you may have.
For au pairs
Is becoming an au pair the right thing for me?
Do you feel ready to put yourself out of your comfort zone and move abroad, join in life with a new family and meet new people? Do you enjoy taking care of children? Do you want to improve your English? As an au pair you will have lots positive new experiences, however this will also come with many responsibilities. The family will rely on you to be the 'adult' in their absence and to take good care of their child/ren. It is really important that you feel ready to embark on this journey and are prepared for the challenges that you may encounter. Just as in life back home you will have ups and downs throughout your time as an au pair, so it is important you go into it with a positive, can-do attitude - that way you will get the most out of your au pair experience.
Does it cost anything to apply with Swedish Connection?
It is completely free for you to apply with us.
You are responsible for the cost of your own flights to and from London. We also recommend you obtain an au pair insurance, similar to travel insurance, to cover you whilst you are living in the UK.
When should I apply?
We have families searching year round. Our most popular arrival times for new au pairs is in September and January. The earlier you apply, the longer time period you will have to interview with families and find the right fit.
How long does it take to find a host family?
This all depends on you, your application and how you connect with the families during the interview. Once we have interviewed you we will begin matching you with suitable families. Then you will have the opportunity to speak with them. The family will be the ones to decide if they would like to offer you the job, then you have the final decision whether to accept or continue your search.
Can I apply with a friend?
Yes, absolutely. We have many families living in similar areas within London, so many au pairs who apply with a friend request to live nearby their friend.
What is the shortest length of time I can apply for?
The longer you apply for, the greater your chance of finding a host family. If you can stay for a school year, or calendar year that is perfect.
Some families need a summer au pair (June-August) so this is a popular time to apply for those who have less time to give.
It takes everyone time to settle into their new life in London. We say it takes at least a month to get to know your host family, meet friends and learn the new routine. The more you put in the more you'll get out!
How many hours will I work and how much free time will I have?
As an au pair you may work up to 35 hours per week, usually Monday to Friday, plus 1 to 2 evenings babysitting per week. Most au pairs work a split shift consisting of a morning shift, free time during the day and then an afternoon shift.You will have lots of free time to explore London (and beyond) during your free time. You will get 2 full days off per week, usually over the weekend. You are entitled to 4 weeks’ paid holiday for every 12 months spent with the family, with their agreement. You should also have all public holidays off.
How much pocket money can I expect to earn each week?
The amount of pocket money varies depending on the hours you work, and the host family. Generally pocket money starts at £100 per week. Some families will also offer monetary contributions towards travel, mobile phone bills, gym memberships and language courses.
Will I need to babysit for the family?
Families can ask you to babysit up to 2 times per week. This is usually split between a week day and weekend day. Many au pairs will have weekends free and come home on a Saturday evening to babysit.
Do I need any qualifications or previous experience to be an au pair?
You do not need any qualifications to be an au pair. It is beneficial if you have some prior experience caring for children, whether this be from babysitting, coaching, tutoring, volunteering. We will talk about your childcare experience during the interview and match you up with suitable families.
Can I study whilst I am an au pair?
Yes, there are many language schools across London and some au pairs choose to enrol on an English language course to further improve their English. Others spend their spare time studying anything and everything from photography, dance, creative writing, etc.
Do I have to drive a car?
This is not a requirement. We have some families who will need a driver, but the majority don't need this. If you choose a family where you will need to drive and are nervous about driving in the UK, you can let your host family know and they can spend some time with you driving, or provide some lessons to make sure you are able to drive confidently.
What happens if I'm not happy with my host family?
Sometimes things don't work out as planned. If this happens we are here to help you come to a resolution. We recommend speaking with your host family and communicate any issues you have. Sometimes just talking about the problem can lead to a solution. If you decide to leave the family and return home, or would like to change families we recommend you give each other 14 days notice. We are here to help guide and advise you.
How will Brexit affect our au pair search?
What is the difference between an au pair, returning au pair and a nanny?
A nanny is somebody who looks after the child or children in the family home. Nannies can have sole charge of babies and children, and take responsibility for all duties relating to the children, including cooking, washing and ironing for them, as well as cleaning the children’s bedrooms and playroom.
A nanny has a formal childcare qualification, for example NNEB, BTEC or ADCE, or is a former au pair with at least 2 years’ experience.
How can my au pair open a UK bank account?
We recommend all au pairs open a British bank account so you can pay your au pair weekly via direct debit. This year many au pairs have been opting for an online bank account over a high street bank as the application process is simpler. Monese, Monzo and Revolut have been recommended to us by both families and au pairs.
What happens if we are not happy with our au pair, or visa versa?
Sometimes things don't work out as planned. If this happens we are here to help you come to a resolution. We recommend speaking with your au pair and communicate any issues you have. Sometimes just talking about the problem can lead to a solution.
The welcome letter you will send to your au pair before s/he arrives states a 14 day notice period, giving both au pair and host family a chance to make alternative arrangements. We offer a free replacement within the first eight weeks.
How can I help my homesick au pair?
Homesickness is common, particularly in the first few weeks, but in most cases it passes quickly as they settle into family life, the new routine and finding friends.
We have a fantastic social network for our au pairs which we encourage them to get involved in. If you have friends/neighbours who also have an au pair, please put them in touch.