5 Present Ideas to Give Your Host Kids as a New Au Pair

Hey Au Pairs,

How’s it going? This week, our blog post is for those who haven’t started their time as an au pair yet. We’ve received the question “what should I bring for my host kid” numerous times and even created a YouTube video on the topic a while back.

We’ve been chatting about this topic on the APOP Open Forum this week so thought we’d create a list of a few of the best ideas that aren’t expensive but are kind gestures.

Before we jump in, make sure to let us know where you’re going to be an au pair and we’ll help you meet friends in your new city or town!

1. English Language Children’s Books

Books make great presents. Not only do you look very generous and thoughtful handing over a bunch of your favourite books, you can you use them to help your host kids learn English. Better yet, you get to control the bedtime story - so choose the books you like wisely.

This is a great option for anyone who hates buying new products or is broke. You can either bring old books of your own or, if you’re not a hoarder and have thrown all of these out, buy cheap second hand books.

2. Your Favourite Sweet Things

If you have one candy that you LOVE, bring it with you and share it with your host kids. I am yet to meet a child that doesn’t adore sugar as much as I do.

Your host parents may not want your host kid eating candy all the time, but it’s a “culture sharing” present to bring and will teach you a lot about what your new host family thinks about sugar…

Another great reason for bringing candy is that you can buy a lot of it without breaking the bank. So, not only do you look super generous, you’ll also have stocked your host family’s cupboards for months (which means you won’t run out of your favourite sweet treats either…)

“Yum, an apple!” said no host kid ever.

“Yum, an apple!” said no host kid ever.

3. Games From Your Childhood

As a kid, I was a huge fan of the card game Top Trumps. This game would keep me occupied for hours and this is exactly what you want for your host kid.

Bring along a game that you yourself love (or loved) playing and entice your host child into playing it with you regularly. One of my host kids LOVED playing Uno which was actually much more enjoyable that I expected and he was pretty good at it, so I didn’t have to pretend to lose all the time.

By bringing games, not only are you helping your host kid improve their English, you’re also keeping them distracted from doing something destructive, AND you’re playing a game you like. Wins all around.

Again, don’t feel bad for bringing a second hand version of this game. Kids don’t care and parents simply think it’s nice that you’re sharing something cultural from your own life with their child. (If they aren’t nice about second hand games, no more presents for them).

4. Soft Toys

An au pair on the APOP Open Forum mentioned that her gift for her host kids was a soft toy of her university’s mascot. This is a cute idea as it’s cultural, something that your host kids will remember you by later on, and definitely something they’ll love.

Soft toys are perhaps age dependant, but if they’re small, they can make a great present for kids up to their teens.

A second hand soft toy is perhaps not the best present as they can look old pretty quickly. But, a small soft toy shouldn’t set you back by too much.

5. Colouring Pencils and Colouring Books

Again, this is another great present to bring if you are someone who enjoys getting crafty. You can share this love of art with your host kids. Better yet, this is a cheap present that still looks very thoughtful!

Colouring is a quiet activity that I’m still trying to teach Edwina.

Colouring is a quiet activity that I’m still trying to teach Edwina.

Exercise books in English that involve colouring are also a great idea too. Yet again, you’re pushing the English in a super fun way. Plus, they’re great for if you ever have to take a train with your host kids.

let us know your ideas!

When I was first an au pair, my host parents gave me a few really great ideas for presents to bring for the kids. So, don’t be afraid to ask them for some advice if you’re struggling!

Otherwise, don’t feel too much pressure to bring a present. You’re joining the family and, although a gift is nice, it’s certainly not expected and shouldn’t be a source of worry. But, if you do have any great ideas to add to this list, let us know!

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Hanna Watkin