Child Related Housekeeping – what does that mean?

The question comes up regularly from au pairs and host parents on what is considered child related housekeeping.  Kids leave a trail wherever they go, so what is the limitations on what an au pair can do and keep within State Department rules as well as being reasonable within your home.  Keep in mind the first and foremost thing your au pair is here for is child care, but we all know that child care involves some clean up as well.  Here is a list of things that fall within light housekeeping, and also a list of things that are not child related and should not be a task that au pairs need to do.  There are a few grey area tasks as well.  When in doubt, check with your local childcare consultant prior to assigning a task to an au pair.

Au pairs can work up to 45 hours per week, 10 hours per day. If you would like your au pair to complete housekeeping duties, it must stay within the 45 hours per week. Each family is different, but here are some reasonable expectations:

What the State Department says: “While the primary responsibility of the au pair is to care for the children, au pairs can perform some household duties that are child related (meal preparation, light housekeeping, etc.)”

But what does that mean to you?

Au Pairs should expect to do any necessary cleaning associated with the children (assist children with cleaning these spaces, if age appropriate):

  • Children’s Laundry
  • Children’s Bathroom – only if exclusively used by the children and not the parents
  • Children’s Bedrooms & play spaces
  • Children’s Toys/Belongings
  • Preparation and Clean-up of Children’s Meals

Au Pairs should never do anything associated with the parents:

  • Parent’s Laundry
  • Parent’s Bathroom
  • Parent’s Bedroom
  • Parent’s Belongings

Au Pairs should clean up after themselves

  • Au Pair’s Laundry
  • Au Pair’s Bathroom
  • Au Pair’s Bedroom
  • Au Pair’s Belongings

Au Pairs should always leave a room as neat or neater than when you arrived

  • If you sleep on it, make it up
  • If you wear it, hang it up
  • If you drop it, pick it up
  • If you cook or eat from it, wash it up
  • If you make a mess, clean it up
  • If you open it, close it.
  • If you borrow it, put it back

Odds and Ends – Au Pair can help with these things occasionally, but should not be the only one that does them in the home

  • Sweep/Mop kitchen floor – mainly a task that should be done if a mess has been made for meal time.
  • Vacuum family room, where entire family may watch tv etc.
  • Family dinner prep/clean up and family dinner dishes
  • Empty/Load dishwasher
  • Take out garbage (with the exception of au pair garbage and kids room garbage)
  • Take the car that the au pair drives to get an oil change – the host family should pay for the oil change and the time that it takes to do this is counted as work time!

Things the au pair should not be doing as a requirement of their job (some of these might be of interest to the au pair to help with, and is optional but should not be expected or required)

  • Shoveling snow – driveway or walkway
  • vacuuming steps in the house that are used by entire family
  • Dusting the home
  • mopping floors/sweeping floors- unless fits in above odds and ends
  • cleaning common spaces used by the whole family
  • cleaning the garage
  • mowing the lawn
  • walking the dog or pet care
  • cleaning out cars

There are things that are not on this list, it is impossible to come up with a complete list of do/don’ts when it comes to housekeeping.  I hope this clarifies what “light housekeeping” is, when in doubt check with your LCC first.  We want to be respectful of the nature of the au pair program, and reasonable when it comes to being a part of the family.

Sunday, 17 September 2017 1:43 PM


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