I laughed with recognition of the dynamics in this Host Mom’s comment– who hasn’t seen their Au Pair and their kid(s)-of-a-certain-age get into  squabbles just like 7th graders fighting over who gets to sit where in the cafeteria?

au pair problems

FubolHostMom writes:

… I’ve got a concern regarding the “attitude” issue. Over summer vacation, issues that were small annoyances during the school year are becoming more problematic. I know that I need a “reset conversation” but I am struggling with the “clarifying the specific behaviors that are missing” part.

We have middle school kids and they essentially think that the au pair is angry at them all the time. From my view it is a combination of a reserved personality with a disbelief that they cannot do everything for themselves at their age.

On the other side, if I ask the au pair to make sure they get a specific chore done he tells me that they won’t listen to him. He also thinks that one of my kids doesn’t like him. I feel like it is turning into some sort of middle school drama.

I tried to talk to kids and au pair together several months ago about some of these issues but it turned into a disaster when my son interpreted it that we were blaming him for everything.    [click to continue reading ...]


Four weeks in, and your Au Pair still isn’t doing what you’d expected. Worse, s/he’s not doing what you need.  

You’ve finished up her formal orientation and in-home training, but your Au Pair hasn’t stepped up to fill the role. Is there anything you can do?

5947460698_b35c698d8a_mThere are two kinds of early performance problems.

The first one is caused by a lack of skills or knowledge – where the Au Pair simply can’t figure out how to get the kids fed, clothed and off to school.  Or she can’t get from dance class to the YMCA, even though they are a block away from each other.

The other problem is caused by the Au Pair not having an attitude that fits the family’s situation. S/he might be too strict for a casual family, too lackadaisical for a safety conscious family whose kids need an eagle eye on them at all times, or too much of a couch potato for a family of high energy types.

An appropriate response to the first problem is to identify the skills that are missing, map out a training/learning plan, and work with the au pair to learn what s/h needs to learn by a certain set time. You should only give up after training someone and being there to coach them as they learn. You need to let them prove to you and to themselves whether they are or are not ‘capable’.

The second kind of performance problem, the kind cause by an attitude that doesn’t fit, is harder to address.   

[click to continue reading ...]


Would You Match With A “Returning” Au Pair?

by cv harquail on June 26, 2015

You can’t step into the same river twice.

So says Plato, quoting Heraclitus.

Ancient wisdom suggests that, even if that candidate loved being an Au Pair two years ago, the experience might not feel the same the second time around. 5223654744_b3507dcb69_m

We might hope that someone with previous experience as an Au Pair would have a realistic sense of what it takes.

The returning candidate could have thought long and hard about what worked well and what was challenging. S/he may be able to make better choices about where to match, and with which sort of family.

Then again, the two years between leaving the previous host family and looking for a new one might have diluted memories of the difficult adjustments, the chronic challenges, or the toughness of the work.

If you came across the profile of a returning Au Pair, assuming s/he met all your other criteria, what would you consider before choosing to interview him or her?

This returning Au Pair would like to know:

I was an Au Pair in 2010/2011 for 18 months.  

I am currently doing an internship at a European Au Pair Agency. I’ve thought about going back as an Au Pair before, and now during my internship these idea seems even more interesting. 

I now wanted to know if there are any families or au pairs out there who can give me some feedback of having an experience as or with return au pairs. Are returning au pairs popular? Would families choose them over younger, not-yet-experienced au pairs? 

Would You Consider a Returning Au Pair?

View Results

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Everything changes and nothing stands still.

Can you find a way to use this truth to your advantage?

Image by chemistri on Flickr


Things Your LCC Wish Host Families Knew (guest post)

by Julie Dye June 23, 2015

Many thanks to Julie Dye, an LCC with Cultural Care, for putting together this comprehensive overview from the Counselor’s point of view. We’re all in this together. When we understand the perspectives of folks who hold different roles in the AuPairing Community, we’re more able to learn from them and appreciate their wisdom. ~ cvh […]

37 comments Read the full article →

My Brother is Dating My Au Pair – Against My Wishes

by cv harquail June 15, 2015

Usually it helps to think about your Au Pair as ‘part of the family’. S/he lives with you, sees what’s behind the scenes, and knows some of your family drama.  Because we do integrate our Au Pairs into our family lives, situations come up that– were s/he a live-out nanny or part time babysitter — would […]

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What are a Host Family’s Responsibilities for Au Pair Medical Claims?

by cv harquail June 13, 2015

Seems like it’s the season for medical and health concerns. Here’s another recent wrinkle of the question– what are a Host Family’s responsibilities for an Au Pair’s medical expenses? I am writing because I find myself in a tough spot and our former au pair in an even tougher spot. Our Au Pair ended her […]

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Texas Host Mom’s 12 Step Au Pair Matching Process (guest post)

by Texas HM June 6, 2015

Here’s TexasHM’s step-by-step matching process: 1. Send email template #1 (open ended AP questions) Review email #1 answers and decide go/no go  Send email template #2 and area links/info email (our explanations and area)  Review email #2 answers and decide go/no go  Skype session #1, review AP application and ask Skype questions list, mutually decide […]

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What’s Fair Pay for Au Pairs Outside the USA?

by cv harquail June 5, 2015
beach houses au pair assist site

Host Mom 4thTimeLucky?!   shared a really interesting and comprehensive recommendation for assessing Fair Pay for Au Pairs in unregulated  countries (aka countries without fully-regulated Au Pair programs).   The document was originally written and shared by Anja Kapelski. Anja runs Au Pair-Assist, an Australian Au Pair placement agency.   As 4thTimeLucky?!  writes:   The document tries to convey a realistic picture of […]

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When Dental Drama Threatens Your Au Pair’s Extension

by cv harquail June 4, 2015

Dental insurance in the USA is pretty crummy.  Or at least the insurance we have is — I swear that there’s never a procedure that’s completely covered or enough coverage to make it through the year.  I supposed I should take this up with the HR department? But I guess I should be happy that we […]

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Have Au Pairs Come to Expect Too Much? (Poll)

by cv harquail May 29, 2015

A few weeks ago I raised the question:  How Have Au Pair Host Parents -As A Group- Changed Over Time?   BeachTown HostMom wrote to pose the other side of the question – (How) Have Au Pair expectations changed over time?   She writes: I’ve started to noticed some changes in the au pair community and […]

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