What’s Your System? Tips from Host Parents

by cv harquail on October 23, 2014

Some readers have teased me about my systems.

Labelers, dots on my fancy knives, saving my ice skates, stuff I tell myself so I calm down, the checkout task list 

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But any time I write about one of my systems, a few brave ones of you will mention systems of your own.

(Clearly I’m not the only one that codifies, checklists, and organizes her way into a semblance of sanity.)

We’ve even had some wonderful guest posts where you’ve shared how you’ve organized and systematized you way through some pretty classic host family challenges.

So, I’d like to introduce a new kind of semi-open thread:

What’s Your System?

 

Here’s the plan:  

  • Whenever I open up a What’s Your System page, you all can add a longish comment about one of your systems.
  • After about 5 different contributions, we’ll close the page.
  • Then, I’ll reblog the systems as individual posts from you. (That will make it easier to search and find the tips later.)
  • If you share a system, when it goes up you can revise what you commented and add pictures, to flesh it out into a fully-formed guest post.

Let’s see how this works?!

 

See also:

Calendar Advice from CalifMom
4 Household Rules to Protect Your Host Parent Sanity
Tip: Know When to Blame the System (part 1)

p.s.: I’ve stolen the What’s Your System idea from the Tue/night blog. There is some fun stuff on that blog, so check it out.

Image by Lenna Young Andrews 

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If the shoe were on the other foot, we wouldn’t hesitate to tell our au pairs that their early morning or late night behavior was so rowdy that it interrupted our sleep.

But when you’re the au pair, and it’s your host family just doing their thing in the kitchen, what can you do?

7049247419_287461c152_zAu Pair Nadia has the right general idea– the best solution is to ‘change the system’.

Fixing the problem by moving the au pair to a different spare bedroom would solve the problem once and for all, and might be less likely to put a damper on Sunday morning family fun.  But if the parents have plans for that other guest room (Home office? Grandpa space?) or if that extra bedroom is right above their own bedroom, a room-switch might not be possible.

What do you think Nadia should do?

The problem is that my bedroom is right next to (into) the kitchen. So every weekend I wake up from the talking and screaming from my HF. I understand that the kitchen is the most important part of the house and that they can’t ask the kids to be quiet but I’m awake now every weekend around 7:30. That is not fun after having a late evening the day before.

A lot of au pairs and one of the friends of the family (that I’m also close to) told me that I should ask if I can move to the guestroom in the attic that they are rebuilding. But I have the feeling that asking/claiming that room is wrong, because it’s not my house..

I dropped a lot of hints in the last few months when they asked me how I slept. I really don’t know what to do anymore..

 

Read more:  Know When to Blame The System

Image: dorm room, Amy Ashcraft on Flickr

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This Is The Open Thread You’ve Been Looking For

by cv harquail on October 18, 2014

I know it’s been a while– and questions are piling up. Time for an open thread!

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Keep in mind, it can take some time to clear the comment moderation gauntlet for first-time contributors. … This thread will be open until Monday. Got to it, readers!

 

 

Image: Evan Leeson on Flickr

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How to Switch Au Pair Agencies, Gracefully

by cv harquail October 16, 2014
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Host Families choose their particular Au Pair Agency for all sorts of reasons. They might choose the agency their neighbors use, the agency that has the best promotional deal, or even the agency that has a name they can spell correctly when they are googling in the middle of the night having been awakened again by […]

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How much can an Au Pair influence the positive climate of your home?

by cv harquail October 13, 2014
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Add one negative person, and the whole ‘psychic weather system’ of a family can become depressed. Having an au pair who is a grump, a complainer, a depressive, a wet noodle, or a ghost can really be a drag on the family’s energy. But is an au pair’s impact on the family climate as powerful the […]

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3 Easy Ways to Help Your Au Pair Use Your Home Appliances Correctly

by cv harquail October 10, 2014
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American appliances have too many options. Having endless options is great for getting just the right setting for a specific task, but it becomes quite a problem when you’re forever trying to remember which combinations of buttons and levers to press. Between our vacuum cleaner (5 attachments, 3 wands and 5 buttons), our washer (23 […]

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LGBT Au Pairs: Have Host Parents’ thoughts changed on whether sexual orientation matters?

by cv harquail October 5, 2014
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Given the pace of changes in the US around issues of marriage equality and the recognition of trans* people, an au pair writes to ask whether Host Parents views have changed: I found one post about the topic from 2010. I am curious if something has changed for HF’s? I am gay but none knows […]

83 comments Read the full article →

One Slight After Another: Can this au pair relationship be saved?

by cv harquail September 29, 2014
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It’s interesting to get emails from host parents — and au pairs– where it seems that the very act of writing to us is helping them gain some clarity about how untenable their situation actually is. This seems especially true when there isn’t one prominent issue but instead several smaller ones that, when all pulled […]

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Au Pairs Should Use Language that Host Kids Can Understand

by cv harquail September 23, 2014
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Many families look for au pairs who can help their children learn a language other than English. The idea is that the au pair can speak to the child in the au pair’s first language, and teach the child the second language through everyday interactions. Conceptually, this makes sense. We do, after all, learn our […]

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It’s the Parents’ Job to Teach Children Kind Behavior

by cv harquail September 18, 2014
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Au Pairs can reinforce discipline and expectations, but it’s Parents who remain responsible. Many parents who are either new to parenting at all or new to host parenting specifically struggle with this issue. We all want our children to be kind. Full stop. (I’m assuming this is true. It’s true, right? We want our kids […]

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