Advice wanted: My AuPair prefers the infant, won’t interact with the 6 yr old

by cv harquail on April 30, 2009

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Our Aupair pretty much ignores my 6 year old daughter. She takes care of my 7 month old son but hardly interacts with my daughter. Her interaction is limited to telling her what to do [like brush her teeth] and what she should not be doing [no talking since the baby is sleeping].

When my son is asleep, the aupair goes into her room and works on her computer. Meanwhile, my daughter [who is fairly independent ] plays on her own in her own room.

I have addressed this issue with the AuPair and she says my daughter doesn’t listen to her. I have tried involving her in my daughter’s activities such as art and craft etc. but she takes little or no interest.

Our Aupair has been with us for almost 5 months now. How should I make her interact with my daughter?
– Marav

{ 29 comments }

Anna April 30, 2009 at 5:42 pm

Marav,

your au pair is not capable of taking care of two kids at a time. She is not doing her job, and whether she can’t or doesn’t want to – doesn’t really matter.

Before we got our first au pair we had a string of horrible nannies, most of whom took care of my baby son OK, but couldn’t pay adequate attention to my three-year-old daughter. Because she was younger than your daughter and required more attention, the disaster was more urgent, but nevetherless. Our first au pair immediately clicked with BOTH of my kids and both my daughter and son were very happy.
Your au pair is not supposed to take care of personal business while she is on duty and your daughter is awake. This is unacceptable. I am suprized you let it go on for 5 months!

Anonymous April 30, 2009 at 6:03 pm

I have very strict rules – no computer or cell phone usage during work hours so I find this unacceptable as well. I wold suggest a rematch. Now is a good time to find candidates too.

Gwen April 30, 2009 at 6:12 pm

Marav

I feel your pain and have a question for the group. How do you get your kids to listen to your au pair? I have family meeting after family meeting, but nothing seems to change. The kids say the au pair is mean, doesn’t help them with homework, doesn’t play with them, etc. etc. The au pair tells me they won’t listen and does absolutely nothing. I come home to homework not being done, kids not fed, laundry not done, etc. etc. The excuse is the kids won’t listen. How do you get your kids to like and respect the au pair?

MTR April 30, 2009 at 6:35 pm

Gwen, you cannot get you kids to like and respect au pair. Au pair has to earn that from kids herself. You can potentially make them listen to her, but you cannot make them like her. It is up to au pair to present herself in a friendly but authoritative way and command respect while at the same time being their buddy. Believe me, I just went through this and learnd my lesson the very hard way. (This is from my expeirned with our second au pair)

And for Marav, I would say – Rematch Now! Based on what you told us, it will not change. Your au pair will not be able to develop a relationship with your 6 year old, and she will continue testing boundaries and spend her working time surfing the net and talking on the phone. You are lucky, she has not decided to nap yet. (This is from my expeirned with our first au pair)

We are hopping that with our third au pair we will strike gold. (crossed fingers)

Rayann April 30, 2009 at 6:42 pm

Marav,

Does your AP have experience taking care of older children, or mostly with younger children? I adopted my two oldest children when they were 6 and 7, and I had ZERO experience with kids – it was HARD learning to interact with them – and perhaps your AP is experiencing the same thing. I found that it didn’t come naturally for me…I’m not one to crawl around on the floor and play cars or dolls or have tea parties…so I had to find some things that worked for me to interact with my kids. Have you tried getting some fun activities for your AP to do with your daughter? Places like Hobby Lobby and Michaels are full of inexpensive craft kits for kids – how about getting something like that and asking your AP to help your daughter with it while the baby is napping? Or maybe planting flower seeds in little cups? Or baking cookies together, and decorating them, even if it’s just the roll and bake kind that anyone can do? Maybe if you took the initiative to get her some of these things it will inspire her to learn more about your daughter and give them some bonding moments together.

My AP is great with all three of my kids, but I still do things like this. I love the dollar store for craft supplies, and I buy it for them and leave it at home – especially on school holidays when I know it’s a long day for her with all three kids home. Right now they’re all gardening at home, so I bought seeds, kid size shovels, watering cans, etc…it’s a great chance for the AP to get them outside doing something fun and giving them bonding time.

Gwen,

In our household, we use an allowance deduction system for not listening, not doing chores, or acting inappropriately. Our kids know that AP gets EXACTLY the same level of respect that HD and I do. No exceptions. Any disrespect shown to her immediately results in an allowance deduction. Your kids may not always be thrilled with the AP, but then again, they may not always be thrilled with you (my kids certainly don’t always think I’m great!) – so my suggestion would be that the kids know what the expectations are – do they do the laundry? Then it needs to be done whether it’s you there or the AP. Can they sit down and do their homework without help? Then they need to do it. In our house, because the AP can’t always tend to homework immediately since she cares for the baby as well, the rule is that the kids are to do as much of their homework as possible by themselves and skip over anything they need help with – then when AP, HD or I are free, we will help them. But the rule is, homework is done immediately, and not doing so is an allowance deduction.

Another Anon April 30, 2009 at 6:58 pm

Gwen, I hate to sound like a broken record, but your au pair is not doing her job.

If a teacher in school complained that none of the kids in the class listen, you would question the competency of the teacher.

You know your kids, and the au pair is an adult there. I am sure the kids listen to you.[strong] It is not the kids’ fault, it is au pairs’. [/strong]She needs to know how to engage the children and make everything go smoothly. Basically she doesn’t follow your instructions, and probably her experience with kids this age is either fake or exaggerated. We just went through a crisis where our au pair lied and was sent home. In addition to that, she didn’t like children and was not too good with them. I am now suspecting that her “experience” with kids on her application was also a lie, or a very large exaggeration.

Calif Mom April 30, 2009 at 7:27 pm

Marav — I feel for you. My kids are five years apart and I’ve had this same problem with a former AP. Your 6 yo is both sophisticated and self-protective enough to be caught up in this cycle of not listening and then distancing herself because all she gets is negative feedback. Your AP is increasingly frustrated and so probably increasingly also, well, rhymes with witchy. I’d do the same thing as your daughter!

I’m in cold-sweat flashbacks remembering the mess we were in. We had the “in over her head” AP about four months or so, too. (we actually had two who couldn’t handle our kids, but the other one we parted ways more quickly. The problem there was she was not smart enough to keep up with my kids, and doted heavily on the youngest, causing big jealousy.)

Here are my take-away points:
– caring for kids of widely diverse years is a talent that someone either has or doesn’t. Our current AP can make adjustments and find ways to play with both kids at the same time. She does not devolve into just parking them in front of spongebob, either! She will go weeks with no tv at all because they are having so much fun. (Now, AP does get a restorative nap during her off hours while little sister is at preschool.)
– If AP hasn’t figured it out yet, she’s not going to. You can coach her and give her ideas, but if she isn’t trying new things until she figures out what works, the situation is doomed. Sounds like she has written off your big kid, and that is not okay.
– Your big kid, if she’s anything like mine, is really hurting. She will start behaving better — and you will actually have a better relationship with her! — after you rematch, b/c your daughter will understand that she really does come first with her parents, that her happiness matters to you and you will always ‘have her back’ even if it means having to do some hard things. Sensitive eldest siblings can absorb and internalize a lot of unhappiness when they think they have to. It’s not good for them. She is old enough for you to have a conversation about how X is a good person but she is not the best person for our whole family right now. She’s not happy and we’re not happy, so we’re going to change things. That’s a really important life lesson! You don’t want your daughter to stay in a miserable relationship later in life because she thinks she has to!
– Both the APs we had to send away because of this inability to build relationships with BOTH our kids were the youngest children in their own families. (I’m a youngest, too, I’m just observing a fact here.)

Stick to your guns, Mom. AP’s job is to care for both kids. You can find someone with those skills. Good luck!

Calif Mom April 30, 2009 at 7:39 pm

Gwen,
MTR’s got it nailed. Seriously, you can’t make your kids behave when you’re not there. You can support your AP (there’s a post here on that, I think) and you can always have her back, playing Bad Cop when needed, but she has to have enough presence to engender the kids’ respect. And spoiling and bribes doesn’t work, but it’s what desperate APs often will try. You can help her see that the kids are actually looking for boundaries to test out how much they can trust this new person, and that boundaries will actually help the AP have a better relationship with them once the kids know where they are, and even that the boundaries don’t have to be the same for you and for AP, but you can’t actually do it for her. And admonishing your kids “to behave” without having consequences for not behaving is not going to help either.

If you have given the AP tools she needs, and appealed to your kids’ desire to be “big” and mature, then you have to dig a little deeper and see what’s going on. Maybe the kids don’t feel safe or respected themselves and they’re acting out because of that. Lots of other reasons could be happening. Maybe one feels jealous of the other. I’d have one more really quick family meeting in which you lay out real, onerous consequences for homework not being done, people not being showered or whatever. And then follow up on those consequences. Maybe AP needs you to back her up a little more.

Or maybe she really is being mean, either b/c she’s so frustrated or b/c she just isn’t a nice person, but I doubt you would have hired someone who didnt’ start out nice. Sounds like time for something drastic to happen to break the cycle.

At our house, we’ve had problems with kids and AP having too much fun after school and not getting to the homework. I’ve discovered that it’s very hard for AP to force homework issue b/c it’s so much different than what she had in her country that big kid can pull one over on her, plus she’s distracted trying to keep little sister out of hair of big sister so that homework can get done. And big one takes advantage. I can see where an AP with more familiarity with western schooling would be better able to negotiate this one.

I got tired of nagging. What hub and I have done is allow natural consequences to follow from child’s choice to play rather than get homework done before a parent is home from work. I sign off on homework book every night, in cahoots with teacher. If it’s not done, no screen time the rest of the week, and no bed until it is done. A couple miserable evenings of cramming through a math packet and she does it more regularly now. It also means she got dinged last quarter’s on her grade for ‘getting homework done’. Knowing that her teacher noticed held much greater power than my nagging and grumping. It also took a lot of anxiety off of AP.

Another thing we have done is on the day you know the kid may actually need help with homework, not just discipline to actually sit down and do it (ie, every Tuesday the math for the week comes home) we hired a local college kid to pick her up from school and spend an hour or so on snack and homework. This originally was intended to solve a schedule problem at pick up time when I returned to work, but has worked out GREAT. Not a tutor, but a buddy and positive role model, who gets what our schools are like (and also has a pesky younger sister herself!). It’s worth the ten extra bucks an hour for a few hours a week. And we can use her for occasional evening babysitting back up on weekends, too. The two are writing a book together now for fun. Sometimes you just have to analyze the situation and be creative. Maybe you could work with parents of peers one day a week or soemthing.
Good luck! I swear it would all be easier if the kids weren’t so smart…. : )

TMK April 30, 2009 at 10:17 pm

Marav,
You must determine if this is an attitude problem or a training issue. If she doesn’t know how and needs ideas and help, then by all means keep her and start working with her immediately. HOWEVER, if she has simply decided she can’t or won’t do it then rematch immediately. How bad it must feel to be a 6 year old child who is unloved and unwanted by her major caregiver while the “cuter” baby is adored and loved YIKES!!!!(a child’s perspective). If you interviewed for someone to take care of both your children then you are currently accepting 50% and actually less if it is causing your older child esteem issues. Let AP know you don’t have the resources or desire to hire a separate AP for your older child and since she needs the love, care and interest of her caregiver as well as the baby, you will need to change caregivers/AP’s so that both your children are provided for.

Franzi May 1, 2009 at 12:42 am

@marav, i can only repeat what the others have said – your AP seems not capable of dealing with 2 kids who are not the same age and require different attention. and that means she is not right for your family. you have talked to her, she has tried, and things didn’t change. so she is not a good fit for your needs.
regarding computer time while the kids are awake – this would be a big no-no for me. your children should get her attention, not her facebook, blog or whatever.

@gwen, i am not sure if your AP is able to stand up to your kids. is she an outgoing person? did you ever see her interact with the kids when you were not in the immediate vicinity and the kids (and her) did not know you were watching? if so, how did she behave? was she getting her point across like you expect her to or is it really the kids making it a “us against her” thing?
did something happen that could have underminded her authority with the kids?

Gwen May 1, 2009 at 6:39 am

My au pair is luke warm with the kids. Never plans anything fun. Doesn’t pay attention to them or treat them special. I am sure this is the reason that they don’t respect her and want to do want she tells them to do. Everything is about HER and nothing about them. She doesn’t have any patience. The kids are 9 and 11. They need someone to sit with them to do homework and help with projects. The au pair needs to listen to them read and sign the reading log. Basically, they want positive attention and get very little. The au pair calls me and then withdraws from the situation. Every situation is different and I am not there. I feel that she need to find the answers that work for her. Is this wrong? Should I be doing more? I already deduct from allowances, but my kids don’t seem to care. I say no TV, and she lets them watch it. I say time -out and they are outside playing. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Maya May 1, 2009 at 7:13 am

Gwen, without getting too much into my own disastrous situation about my previous (thank God!) au pair, I can only advise you to rematch. I had a lot of comments on here before and even a whole post dedicated to me and my AP problems (AP with temper tantrums), and I can tell you know – this will not change. If she cannot handle and engage children, she never will. At least not within the time frames of this program. You are basically describing my kids and my previous AP, except kids are 4 and 6.

Abby May 1, 2009 at 9:22 am

my first au pair only rarely played with my youngest (5) and only then when he initiated it (he has a very forceful personality). I don’t know if she ever played with my eldest (7), who would end up playing w her brother or by herself until I came home. AP would sit in her room on her computer for hours. After many many conversations over several month, I finally got the answer from the AP that the eldest child “doesn’t want to play with the AP”. I tried to explain that as the adult, SHE has to initiate, and also that she has to be available (at the very least, take her laptop out of her room to where the kids are) and that hiding in her room didn’t help matters. (oops, thanks for letting me vent)

I agree, your AP is not doing her job, and soon it will be summer and the 6 year old will be home all day long – time to think about other options…..

CV May 1, 2009 at 3:03 pm

I’m so glad that you all have lots of ideas for Marav & Gwne… the whole situation of one child being left out in favor of the other is just so heartbreaking I can hardly bear it.
It’s one thing when an au pair (or adult) drives you crazy b/c she is messy, unappreciative, or self-centered…It’s a whole different thing when her behavior hurts your child. The first stuff you can bear, the second stuff requires us to ‘get our mama bear on’ and stand up for our children.

Franzi May 1, 2009 at 5:42 pm

@ gwen, your AP is not made for your family. if she does not do homework/do the reading log/observe your rules such as no tv and time outs, then she is not a fit for your family. maybe she is more used to caring for younger kids, who knows. but school aged children do homework and the AP needs to be there to help out! yes, it is difficult to interact with 2 kids when one is doing the reading and the other one is bored, but every AP with school kids learned to handle the situation. if not – then that’s not a family that fits well.
i had a special needs kid who didn’t want to read but who also couldn’t stand it when i was doing the reading with his sister. it was a daily struggle, frustration on all sides included. but we managed. it seems like your AP is just waiting for you to pitch in and solve her problems.

the fact that she does not observe your rules is something i would not put up with, especially when it comes to methods to correct behavior such as time-outs.
how does she react when you talk to her about not observing your rules? does she understand what she is supposed to do?

Gwen May 1, 2009 at 10:38 pm

Franzi

My au pair definitely believes it is my responsibility to make the kids listen to her. She calls me numerous time during the afternoon to tell me that they are not listening to her and if she can’t get me she calls hubby. I talk to the kids on the phone, but that usually doesn’t help. If they don’t listen to her, she goes off and watches TV or uses her computer and does nothing. I am new to this. I really appreciate your comments. I need to put the burden on her. The only issue is that I don’t think she isn’t capable of dealing with the situation. The kids don’t like her. She doesn’t pay attention to them or provide support………..just yells at them. The kids like to tell on her which gets her really mad. She doesn’t obey my rules because she tries to bribe them into doing things as a last resort. At the end, the kids are running the show when I get home and she is upset seating on the couch and the house is a wreck. Do you think I can turn this around? Any more advice on how to explain this to her? Should I let her call me and tell me that the kids aren’t listening? Thanks for your help.

Maya May 1, 2009 at 10:49 pm

Gwen, I am sorry to sound like a broken reconrd, but you describing our problems this past winter. And everybody here was telling me to rematch, and I was saying that I want to work this out. It all backfired on me.

Anna May 1, 2009 at 10:55 pm

Gwen,

NO, I don’t think you can turn this around. Do youself a favor and get this girl out of your house ASAP, before you sour up on the whole program. It can (and should!) be wonderful.

You au pair doesn’t like kids, and cannot deal with them at all! How much longer should you endure it? You kids are not at fault, children feel things and they don’t like her for a reason. Do you want whining, bribery and pretend helplesness, plain laziness and not doing the job, not even mentioning yelling, be a daily role model behavior for them? Think of your children and how they are suffering.

Yes, as a host parent we are responsible for a young woman we bring here, but our FIRST responsibility lies with our children. We can turn inside out trying to work it out with the au pair, but only if it is workable. I think your case is so severe that there can be no turnaround. Obvously this woman is here for the wrong reasons.

If you want to give it one last chance, and do “right” by her, write down your requests, in terms of what should be done during the day and how (i.e. homework, no yelling. No computer/personal phone use during work hours, all attention on children. No calling you at work to reprimand your kids – it is her job during the day). Give her a week to improve. Either she will try, or she will tell you herself that “she cannot change who she is” (like my last au pair told me, only I gave her chance after chance… until it all blew up anyway), and that should force you to say bye-bye. But with all you are describing, I believe that even if she tries, she will fail and you will have to part with her anyway.

Start arranging now for alternative child care while you are looking for her replacement. I think if you start talking to her trying to improve things, the end will come fast.

Fl mom May 2, 2009 at 12:50 am

We had almost the same experience, but not as bad. We stuck it out too long. We rematched and couldn’t be happier now. It’s like a bandaid- better removed quickly than slowly and painfully. Just trust us on this one.

Franzi May 2, 2009 at 2:51 am

@ gwen, i’m with anna. sit down with your AP and write a list of what you want her to do. discuss every item so that she knows what “doing homework” entails (such as not calling you, not having the kids distract each other, pay equal attention to every child, help when necessary).
no yelling should be #1 on the list as this is unacceptable as is watching tv or being online while she is on duty.
explain to her (yet again) that you are unhappy with the situation and you want her to stick to the rules written down. i would not straight out tell her that if this is not working out you want to rematch (as this might make her ditch the program right away leaving you w/o childcare). however, i would stress that you are thinking about other options if her performance does not improve.
i think your kids deserve an AP that loves them, can take care of them, and is being respected by them. the one you have now is not that. which is why we all think you should rematch. involve your kids in the process as much as possible so that a relationship is formed early on. maybe a girl who is in rematch or looking to extent the program would work well because they are already in the country and you could potentially meet her personally and see if there’s chemistry.

counselor May 2, 2009 at 3:11 am

At Anna, regarding your recent post to Gwen.
Yes, do write down your expectations such as homework, ABSOLUTELY no computer, phone, tv, during work hours. What reprimands are OK with you. And that she is an adult who has to handle the kids ‘properly’. Just as you expect of an American nanny.
I don’t think it is neccessarily that she cannot handle 2 kids at the same time. Somehow she is not well bonded with the older girl. It is not an unusual problem.
You can give her one chance to improve the relationship with the older child. Here is how. Ask her to do some one-on-one ‘alone’ time with the older child. Ie. both go to the movies alone, swimming alone, making jewelry together. This one-on-one should improve their bonding. The child will feel like she is special this way.
This Saturday or Sunday will be a good opportunity. Ask her to spend some time focussing completely on the older child.
This has helped many of my (hundreds) of host families.
And if you get a lot of resistence from the au pair, you have your answer. You need a rematch, like many older HM suggested.
Good luck!
Keep us posted.
mv

Gwen May 2, 2009 at 5:55 am

Thanks – She is gone for the weekend as usual, but I really appreciate your suggestions and will try them. You are so right, my kids deserve better, but I have been blaming myself and not knowing what to do in this situation. I read other posts and kept giving her gifts, etc. to encourage her to do a better job. I gave her money to do something nice with the kids. This is my first experience and it is not working well. Day Care was much easier but my kids need help with homework and someone to drive them places. I was soooo hopeful that this was the solution. I am doing more work now trying to make everyone happy. Is it always this hard? How do you know if you have a “good” au pair???? How long should you give her? I keep thinking that she is young and hasn’t done this before………… What should my expectation be???????? I want to be fair……………….but as you said, I have to think of my family.

Thanks so much for all of your advice and help. This blog is GREAT!!!!

counselor May 2, 2009 at 7:17 am

Hi Gwen,

Also have a look at the website aupairselectionadvice.net
There is a lot of advice for new (and existing) host families on how to select an aupair. Phone interview questions, how to communicate you expectations. Just covering a lot of things that need to be considering when selecting an au pair.
Most matches work out very well. It is just a matter of doing all of the ‘footwork’, preparing yourself and your au pair.

Franzi May 2, 2009 at 4:05 pm

hi gwen,
what made you decide on your current AP? what were the values that you thought she had to complement your family?

there is great matching advice on this site, just use the search function below that owl picture. make a list of must haves that you want in an AP, the non-negotiables. and start out from there.
look for an AP with good english skills (b/c of the homework) and who has experience in tutoring (more than just a couple of hours). someone with western schooling experience might also be better than someone who is not so accustomed to the independent learning/homework/teachers expectations. also, i think someone who wants to start college after the year might be a role model for learning and ambition rather than someone who doesn’t know where life will take her.

also, you mentioned that she is gone for the weekend as usual. if you want someone who interacts more with family, you need to let the potential AP know. there are girls who see this as a job who are matched best with families who do not put so much emphasize on the off-time interaction. likewise, there are APs and families who look for more interaction, even in the off-hours.
again, it’s a “what you want” and how you communicate it in the matching process.

Gwen May 2, 2009 at 5:42 pm

She is a tranisition au pair, who had tried working with younger children and it didn’t work out. She sold me because she had great English and got A’s in school. She explained the value of education and how she could help the children. She indicated that she was very interested in sports and wanted to attend their events. She also said that she loved to cook and gave ideas of great activities she wanted to do with the kids. She said that she had brothers and sister and was use to sibling disputes, etc.

Turns out her parents are divorced. The brothers and sisters are her father’s children that she visits maybe once a year. She lives with her mother who waits on her. She doesn’t know how to cook or want to try. Heating something in the microwave is an effort. She hasn’t gone to any of the kids sporting events, just drops them off and picks them up.

So from the interview, I thought I was getting a wonderful well matched au pair, but I have learned what she told me wasn’t necessarily the whole truth. She said what she knew I wanted to hear.

My LCC says that I need to give her a chance. She is not in favor of a rematch now. She says I need to work with my kids so that this will work out. I keep trying, but I am losing my patience.

Fl mom May 2, 2009 at 8:04 pm

First, you LCC’s attitude is troubling to me. YOU, not her, are the client and I might look for another agency next time.
Second, no it should not be this much work. A good AP will make your life easier and happier.
As far as how you know when she’s “the one”, here’s what our experience has been:
-Your kids actually want her around when she’s off duty. We have to constantly stop ours from waking her up on Sundays. They talk about her incessantly. They want to buy her gifts when we’re shopping.
-she seems to like hanging around with the kids, even in her free time
-she initiates activities with the kids
AND, almost from the time she arrives, you wonder what you’ll do when she’s gone.

In our limited experience, we’ve had great experience with older AP’s. Our one who didn’t work out and went into rematch was just too young, I felt. So I can identify with your feelings on this girl. She’s probably, like ours, basically nice but just not a good fit. You shouldn’t feel bad because she’s not happy either. Our old AP ended up initiating the rematch herself because she knew she couldn’t handle our kids, and she found a family where she’s a better fit. Many of these girls just really want a chauffer job, and there are families out there who can give them that.
So my bottom line is that you’re not doing anyone any favors by sticking this out, except maybe you’re apparently crappy LCC.

Gwen May 2, 2009 at 8:20 pm

FL Mom

How are LCC’s compensated? Is there a reason that they wouldn’t favor a rematch. The first au pair that I selected during the matching process and spoke to numerous times both on the phone and via email prior to her arrival decided not to get on the plane. She was so excited about coming so I don’t know the reason. I then had to scramble as I had already notifed my daycare center that we were leaving and they had filled the slot and had no room for my kids. The agency suggest a transition au pair who was already in the country and this sounded like a good match. I am really beginning to question the screening process. I went through a lot of applications before I selected the au pair that didn’t show up. Some of the applications indicated a high level of English and I couldn’t understand them at all. They all seemed to have the standard “canned” answer to questions.

It sounds like you have a wonderful au pair. You are so lucky. It gives me hope that maybe I can find someone that really wants to be an au pair. I know that this is the wrong person, but she will probably have a hard time with a rematch because it hasn’t worked for younger or older kids. She is a nice person, but I am not convinced that she can “learn” the job. I am going to talk to the LCC again and find out about my options.

counselor May 2, 2009 at 10:11 pm

Gwen,
There are a few different ways that counselors are compensated. Depending on the agency, they can ‘earn’ very little. Some agencies consider them volunteer counselor, like EurAupair. Aupair in America has counselors that are employees and get a regular salary for up to 50 families. Either way, counselors don’t really have a good income. That is why you need a counselor that has her ‘heart’ in it. Ask her the relevant questions about her motiviation to being a counselor – before you select the aupair agency.
Regarding selecting an aupair, you youself really have to do the work. Because au pairs can tell whatever story to get accepted by the agency abroad. In some cases the real motivation is to spend a prolonged amount of time in the USA and the only way is the aupair program. But MOST aupairs are either good or great. It’s just a matter of finding the right girl for you. Ask lots of questions of the aupair and her babysitter references in her home country. Make sure the references are not her family. Don’t give up. There are really good girls out there.

Franzi May 3, 2009 at 1:06 am

oh gwen, i’m sorry your AP stretched the truth so far – from what you wrote what she told you on the phone, it does sound great!
maybe part of it was that you were in a hurry to match and did not have time to get to know the AP like you would have in a regular matching process.
do not worry about what will happen to her in a rematch! if she is not good with kids (no matter what age) she is not supposed to be an AP. period. maybe your lcc asks you to try it because it’s all being “blamed” on your kids (including by you to some extend). but that’s just not how everyone involved should see the situation – the kids are the way they are, hard to handle or not. and the AP should notice this during the matching process as well. she agreed to your family knowing at least something about the kids.
maybe your counselor can join you and your AP in the talk about jobs and how they should be done – again, if these are the rules you set and your AP cannot live up to what you require, she is not the AP you should have. be strong!

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