Do you know what your Au Pair *needs* from you?

by cv harquail on September 15, 2017

e76008ff943c141a0539dbc33d121bd3A former babysitter and family friend got engaged last week, and to help her celebrate I bought her a few books on how to have a great marriage.

(I know, kindof weird, but I am a BIG BELIEVER in trying to learn intentionally, especially when you can anticipate how your life will be changing.)

Flipping through one of the books as I prepared to wrap them, I noted this concept of:


The Positive Need

You’re supposed to ask your partner —

“What do you need to feel loved?”

It’s important to say / ask for what you DO need, not what you don’t need.

For example, “I need you to support me” instead of, “I don’t need you to question me.”

This question “takes (some of) the guesswork out of marriage”.

It made me wonder —

do we know what our Au Pairs need from us, so that they feel appreciated? Or seen? Or understood?

What would it be like to ask your Au Pair —

What do you need from me, as a Host Parent, to help you feel appreciated? 

I wonder if we’d be surprised …..


When Au Pair Host Parents Are Too Harsh With Their Kids

by cv harquail on September 13, 2017

It can be truly disheartening to see how some people treat their children.

There have been times (in the grocery store especially) when I’ve heard people say such mean things to their kids that I almost want to speak up and correct them myself.

It’s hard to stay out of the fray when I see parents being really awful.

Little boy crying

So, I think it would profoundly upset me if I were living in a home where the parents were not strict, but actually mean.

What can you do?

As an au pair, it’s possible to try to mitigate the meanness by being more gentle when you are in charge of the kids yourself. But it’s quite hard to intervene in a way that’s effective.

(Unless, of course, the kids are in danger.)

How would you advise this Tenderhearted Au Pair?

Hello Aupairmom!

I recently started at au pair placement in France which has been amazing and everything like a dream.

But…. I noticed that the parents are awfully strict on the kids. I mean really strict, like the children (2 and 5) get yelled at/smacked /manhandled, etc. The kids every five minutes and its incredibly disheartening to see a little girl and boy cry because her father wants her to learn 3 languages at the same time and he doesn’t understand why she gets confused and upset.

For example one time I was sat with her and the dad while they did french homework and the father couldn’t stop yelling because she didn’t get the alphabet in the right order! and along with other things my host family don’t have a contract with me so basically I have no foot to stand on so on Monday night after the parents were screaming at the kids for how long and me walking out and sobbing out controllable on a street corner, I told them that I can’t stay with them anymore because it’s too upsetting to see the kids under so much pressure.

Now did I do the right thing? or am I a massive spoiled brat? I feel terrible because they are lovely to me and so encouraging of me exploring paris but I can’t bear to know that I have to witness that for the next 8 months.

Sorry that is it just childish nonsense!
Thank you so much for reading and for any advice!


Digital Tools for Scheduling Au Pairs: Share your faves

by cv harquail on September 12, 2017

It’s rather pitiful, but I’m still (and perhaps always) a fan of the paper calendar.  calendar old

While I *do* use the Tiny Calendar app on my iPhone, I always was printing out — and adding up by hand — on duty hours.

Surely, someone else has a better way? Because Calendaring Host Mom has asked for your suggestions:

Dear AuPairMoms — 

 I’m wondering if anyone has any scheduling app recommendations that also track hours worked.

I see that a lot of people use google calendar, which is lovely for sharing purposes, but I don’t think that tracks hours.

thanks in advance –  Calendaring Host Mom


Act NOW to Defend the Au Pair Program!

by cv harquail August 30, 2017

We knew it was coming.   Trump campaigned on promises to “crack down” on “illegals” and to restrict all forms of entry into the US by persons who are not current citizens. We knew that the J-1 visas were in trouble — programs supporting summer camp counselors, summer hotel staff, and — yes — au […]

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Taking Your Au Pair “On Vacation”: How can you make sure you’re fair to your Au Pair?

by cv harquail August 8, 2017

Today I got emails from two different au pairs, both asking for advice about going on vacations with their Host Families. In both situations, it seems that the Host Parents aren’t really following the rules around the 10 hours per day/ 45 hrs per week limits. Scanning back through the archives, I realized that nearly […]

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New Au Pair Has A Rash: Could it be the water?

by cv harquail August 1, 2017

Has this ever happened to you or your au pair? Our au pair has been with us for a little over 2 weeks. She has a rash that has spread over her arms, trunk, and neck.  She’s certain this is from our water. This is our 8th au pair in as many years, and we’ve […]

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How Long Must We House Our Au Pair Once Her Contract Ends?

by cv harquail July 29, 2017

Dear AuPairMoms — We have an au pair who is done with her year.  She decided she wanted to do another year, but not with us.  (redacted/ edited at request of OP, on Aug 4) She found a match, but the new family doesn’t want her to arrive immediately after her contract with us ends.  So, […]

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Different Defaults for Deciding When an Au Pair is “Part of the Family”

by cv harquail July 27, 2017

Who decides, and how do you decide, when an Au Pair should be included in (off duty) family events? Nearly all of the time, my default has been to invite the au pair, unless its a private event (e.g., friend’s kid’s birthday) or a boring-to-an-au pair event (e.g., company picnic where family is invited). As […]

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Step-By-Step Guide to Au Pair Matching, by TexasHostMom (update)

by cv harquail July 24, 2017

TexasHost Mom’s post, sharing her step-by-step process for contacting Au Pair Candidates, is one of our most read (and most appreciated) posts on AuPairMom. We love her clarity, and not just because sometimes we really just want to execute a good routine rather than obsess about what to do next. Long time readers know that […]

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Religious Au Pair Doesn’t Celebrate Holidays. Would you still consider her?

by cv harquail July 22, 2017

Celebrating American holidays with your au pair or host family is one of the biggest (and most fun) elements of cultural exchange. Holidays are a unique window into culture. The traditions, the food, the festive spirit all invite us to talk about the values behind the celebration. On the more personal, less ‘cultural’ level, holidays […]

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