Does anyone offer a reference to the Au Pair candidates they are interviewing?

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While every Au Pair candidate lists at least two references that Host Families can email or call, I’ve never heard of Host Parents offering references to Au Pair candidates.

This seems to be a vestige from the days when it was assumed that Host Families “chose” and Au Pairs “accepted”. 

Offering the candidate a chance to talk with a former au pair or even a babysitter is one way to put a little more information in the hands of the candidate. We do something similar to “offering a reference” when we give a candidate the contact information of a previous au pair or encourage them to talk with our current Au Pair.

But, does anyone offer a reference as a matter of course?

(True, a candidate can easily search the web for info about you, check you out on LinkedIn, and look up your address on Google’s street view to see if your house is pretty. But that’s not the same as hearing about you from a neighbor– even if the neighbor is your best friend.)

Offering a reference can be a nice gesture. Does anyone do it?

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Host Parents who have partners have lots of choices about when — and even whether — to involve both parents in the Au Pair Interviewing process.    9363030203_e47ef515c0_m

I’d love to know, among our readers, what the most common patterns are of getting each other involved.

How Do Host Parent Partners Coordinate During Au Pair Interviewing?

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Obviously, if you have a spouse or a parenting partner, you’re going to want to involve them in the au pair interviewing and matching process.

This can happen at many different steps in the process and at different levels of depth. Some parents prefer to have one parent be the “lead sled dog”, do most of the sorting & scheduling, and inviting the partner in to the second (or even later) conversation with the candidate.  Others prefer act jointly the whole time. Still others prefer to take turns or let whoever has a free moment take the next step.

Whatever process you choose, I recommend that at the very least you and your partner:    [click to continue reading …]

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What Are Au Pairs’ Favorite American Trips?

by cv harquail on September 18, 2016

Hi AuPairMom! I would love to hear from au pairs about their favorite places in the U.S. to take weekend trips.

Pile of suitcases from your au pairWe always seem to end up with au pairs planning weekend trips around our kitchen table, and I’m struck by the places au pairs really want to visit. Vegas and Niagara Falls seem to represent the epitome of American culture in the minds of au pairs, whereas many Americans would view them as inauthentic or the ultimate tourist trap.

For example, some au pairs seem to think of Texas as a place where they’ll get to see Old Western ghost towns and wide open vistas. We try to explain that in 3 days in Dallas or Houston without a car, you’re likely to be spending more time in shopping malls and chain restaurants than on a dude ranch.

We’d probably steer them towards somewhere like New Orleans, Memphis, Nashville or Charleston, where you could get a Southern experience on a budget with a side of history, music and nightlife in a compact, walkable city. But maybe I’m just projecting my own preferences, where a young person might have much different criteria for a good trip.

Since we’re often asked to give input, I’d love to hear from au pairs:

If you had 3-4 days to visit a new city, where would you go? Where have your favorite trips been?

I’m thinking less of places like San Francisco or the Grand Canyon that you might plan to hit on your travel month, but cities you would explore with a friend over a long weekend.

What makes a good trip in your experience?

Best to all — Massmom

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Ways to Take the Fury Out Of Infuriating When an Au Pair Does You Wrong

by cv harquail September 16, 2016
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There are some Host Parent – Au Pair situations where, once they happen, you can’t really do anything.  Except get steamed. Even when it’s more than just the Au Pair’s behavior, getting steamed at that other Host Family or even at the Au Pair Agency that let it all happen doesn’t actually help you. So, […]

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Post by Email– not working? Test…

by cv harquail September 16, 2016

Hi Folks- A mom reported that she did not get the most recent post via email. Mailchimp recently upgraded, so I’m wondering if this has created a problem for everyone or if it’s just this one subscriber… so this is a test post.   Soon, back to our regular programming.   cvh

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Your Home is Not an Airbnb – Say no to too many Au Pair guests

by cv harquail September 14, 2016
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Oh good lord, this Host Mom’s got a problem — Her au pair wants to have six people — Six people — SIX PEOPLE — come to visit and stay in the Host Family’s home.  For TWO WEEKS. The answer is obviously, “No, that’s simply not possible”. The Host Mom doesn’t even have to go […]

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Recommend Your Favorite Parenting Books

by cv harquail September 11, 2016
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My neighbor is having her first baby, and I wanted to give her my favorite parenting book — “Becoming The Parent You Want To Be”. But when I went to Amazon to order a copy I was shocked — shocked — to discover that the book is now ten years old. Not that the advice […]

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Visa Questions for Extension Au Pair Who Wants to Travel Home

by cv harquail September 8, 2016
au pair visa questions

Readers, here’s a topic where I’m in the dark. Have any of you experienced this issue and found a solution? We have a fabulous au pair and are looking to extend her for another year. Her visa expires in October. We are essentially getting no help from our agency about how to extend her.   

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Matching With An Au Pair: What Kinds Of Photos Really Help an Application?

by cv harquail September 7, 2016
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As I’ve been writing the forthcoming ebook of AuPairMom’s Secrets for Interviewing Au Pairs I’ve been thinking a lot about the many small details in applications that seem to make a big difference to Host Families. The CameraReadyAuPair, below, must have been reading my mind, because she’s asking some of the same questions I’ve been […]

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Alas, One Au Pair Can’t Cover Your “40 Hour” Work Week

by cv harquail September 5, 2016
au pair advice, au pair problems

It’s a horrible reality:  Even if you have your au pair work a full 45 hours a week, if you work 40 hours a week yourself, your au pair is not going to be able to cover all your childcare needs. Every one of us full time working parents knows– that job is supposedly “40 […]

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