Apps for Au Pairs — Suggestions from Lara Coffee

by cv harquail on May 6, 2013

Host Mom, Marketer and Blogger Lara Coffee (@laracoffee)  has gathered together her recommended “Top 10 App for Au Pairs” and sends the link our way. top 10 smart phone apps for au pairs

Lara writes:

 I know most families might not provide a smart phone, but from my experience, the Au Pairs have their own devices any ways. We hope our Au Pairs are not on them all the time, but I am realistic and know mine are on them and they use them when they are not working. So, I figure to make their transition easier, I would provide them with some of the best apps to download.

Let me send you over to Lara’s blog to read the whole list.

The app that made me chuckle was the Clothing Size Conversion app– which my imagination turned into an app that helps au pairs (and anyone else) convert the size she thinks she is in her mind into the size she fits into at Forever21.  It has an alarm if the intended outfit is age-inappropriate, obvs.

Which made me wonder — what apps do I wish all au pairs had on their smart phones?

“Drunken FratFellow BS Detector”?
“Au Pair Clothing Evaluator: Tacky or Terrific?”
“Host Mom – Au Pair Translator'”?
“Tough Conversation GPS Tool”?


Real or imaginary, what smartphone apps would you recommend to an au pair?


Returning HM May 6, 2013 at 5:07 pm

I’m actually intrigued by this comment: “I know most families might not provide a smart phone, but from my experience, the Au Pairs have their own devices any ways.” This isn’t our experience at all, but we have only had two APs (both young Germans) since 2009, so we are dealing with only two people who may have had them, and neither ever said anything about turning theirs on while in the US. Is it other HMs’ experiences that their new APs arrive with smart phones of their own? If so, do you still require that they keep on them and use for communication purposes the non-smart cellphone that you may provide? Do you get push-back from APs who just want to use their own smart phones? We list the AP phone number on all sorts of emergency lists for schools and other activities, so if it may be an issue with our new AP (Aug arrival) not wanting to carry this (flip) phone, that is something I would want to think about in advance and consider how I would want to handle. Just curious what others’ experiences are. Thanks.

MidAtlantic Host Family May 6, 2013 at 5:22 pm

I am fairly certain they carry both. I would not worry about it. Just make it clear that when you call or txt, you expect a timely response. And reiterate it, every so often.

Lara May 7, 2013 at 9:48 am

@Returning HM, this is Lara and I am the one who wrote the blog post. We are on our third Au Pair (2 from Germany and 1 from South Africa) and only one of mine came with a smart phone and another with an IPod (Wi-Fi enabled). In my experience, most HF provide the AP’s with a phone (not smart phones), and they are either the HF’s old phones or very antiquated phones. In my experience the AP’s are young and are used to technology and either will carry around their own smart phone (carry two devices) or their own iPod that are Wi-Fi enabled in addition to the phone the HF provides. I have even known AP’s to go buy a prepaid smart phone for their personal use. Knowing this, and knowing what most of my AP’s have asked in the past, I found apps that they enjoy and address some of their immediate questions (e.g., clothing size, currency exchange rates, maps, etc.).

Please note, our first AP had an old phone that only did text and phone, but when my husband and I upgraded to our iPhones, we upgraded the AP’s. We had a great rapport with our AP and knew she would not abuse it. In reality, it was great because while I am working my AP’s send me pics of my kids and they help me experience their growing stages daily when I am not there.
We have always had unlimited text because I had several HF’s warn me that this was the cheaper option and my bill was not astronomical. Yes, I can still manage the texting with unlimited.

CA Host Mom May 6, 2013 at 6:38 pm

Yes, 2 of our 3 APs have arrived with their own cell phones.

We haven’t received any push back about them using the cell phone that we provide (we pay for it, and it’s important that we are able to reach her when she is with our children. She doesn’t have to use it in her off time if she doesn’t want to — but they all do.) IMO you are well within your right to require that your AP carry the phone that you provide while she is working in the event that a school or you need to get a hold of her.

Our experience has been:
AP#1 – Brought her own smartphone, and used it only in “wi-fi” mode for surfing the web, etc. She used the phone that we provided (phone only, no data plan) to keep in touch with local friends and was required to carry it while working so that we could get in touch if needed.
AP#2 – Brought her own iPhone, also used it only in “wi-fi” mode, and once when she was picked by her home-town radio station to be interviewed on the air. Her iPhone — more specifically, her inability to pry herself away from it, was a huge problem. She too used the phone that we provided to keep in touch with local friends (exclusively texting) and carried both of her phones when she went out. We eventually insisted that she leave her iPhone in her room while she was working.
AP#3 – Did not bring a phone with her and uses the phone that we provided her to keep in touch with local friends.

All 3 APs have talked with family and friends back home over Skype regularly on their computers/iPads.

Anonymous May 6, 2013 at 7:12 pm

Wow. Just wow. Do you women even HEAR what you are saying?

“Push back”? Really? Last I checked, adults have the right to have their own preferences about their cell phones. Many of us are attached to our phones (though for many more justifiable and important reasons than an au pair, obviously)

It’s conversations like these that make me concerned. A VERY prominent theme of this blog is the host parents’ need to control every aspect of their au pair’s life. It is really sickening, to be honest.

WestMom May 7, 2013 at 7:36 am

We’ve had similar situations. We offer a non-smart phone with unlimited calls and texts.

AP1 used our non smart-phone. She then bought an iPod touch for wifi browsing.
AP2 did the same.
AP3 came with her own iPhone. She did ask us to cancel the AP phone and activate hers instead, which we refused to do. She was constantly on her phone (Web at home, texts outside), and this became a problem even the kids were aware of.
AP4 bought an iPhone during her year and paid for her own phone and data plan. We made it crystal clear when she came home with it that she is to give 100% of her attention to our children at all times and that phone/text/Web usage was to be done outside of work time. So far it has not been a problem.

Au-Pair: Carrying the AP phone we provide is an expected responsibility. It may be annoying to have two phones, but that seems like a small price to pay to enjoy your smart phone in the USA. If it really bothers you, you may want to pay for you own phone and data plan in the US and ask your HP to contact you on your own phone. I am sure they won’t mind.
While I agree that it’s unfortunate to have trust issues over phone usage, I do echo CA host Mom’s point of view. Once you have been burnt, you want to prevent it from happening again.

Dorsi, although I would love to be able to maintain some visibility over usage (like finding out AP3 was texting over 3000txts during the month of July, while she was supposed to mind the children all day!), I now rely on home observation from both the children and myself to determine appropriate usage.

Host Mom in the City May 7, 2013 at 8:36 am

We’ve only had two. For our first, we gave her a non-smart phone (we didn’t even have smart phones yet at the time – this was three years ago). She bought the iPhone that you can be on the internet with about 6 months in. Our second came with her own iPhone and we were able to switch the SIM card so that she cuold be on our family plan. Haven’t had a problem with texting/internet use while working, but I’m definitely going to continue to be crystal clear on that in the beginning with our third.

Momma Gadget May 7, 2013 at 10:02 am

We provide our AP a non smart phone with unlimited texting/calls. Between we HPs, the AP and 2 older HCs – I have 5 phones on my plan…it is an expensive necessity. If the AP wants to up grade to a smart phone they are welcome to put it on our plan and pay the extra 30$ a month (plus any data overages.) None have taken us up on the offer, although our last AP bought the I5 at full price to take home with him- we did but it on our plan for him for the last month because it needed to be activated before could switch over to a local carrier in his home country. Our current AP carries around 2 phones. We have no international calling or texting But most either Skype, Viber, or Whatsapp to contact their family/ friends back home.
Because my guys are in school most of the day anyway , I only had issues with cell phone abuse with AP#1 who racked up 100$ overage in one month…Once we re matched I have not felt the need to monitor any of our other 5 APs.
I wish there was a “Find It Myself” app for my whole family. Maybe it’s a Y chromosome thing, but I can’t understand why they can’t find things even when I tell them within a millimeter of where it is.

hOstCDmom May 7, 2013 at 10:20 am

Same here – unlimited texting and calls for the AP on a non-data enabled sorta smart phone (but no AP has ever used more than a handful of phone minutes (like 50 or fewer per month!) – they use Skype in their free time to talk, and/or texting/messaging on the computer.

I don’t view providing a smart phone as a necessity. I am an employer providing a work phone — a means for AP to communicate with me (and others) and for safety reasons during work hours and free time (we don’t have a landline, so we need to provide AP a phone for free time use as well).

Not every job (AP or otherwise) comes with a smart phone :) If an AP purchases her own smart phone, then I feel fine setting rules and parameters for (NON)-use during work hours, and use outside of work time is of course the AP’s business.

CA Host Mom May 7, 2013 at 12:09 pm

HA! “Find It Myself” app … I love that. :)

CA Host Mom May 6, 2013 at 6:47 pm

Great list! And funny commentary, CV!

I might add a translation app to the list. (Google Translate, Say Hi Translator, etc.)

And to your funny list, I might add a “Clutter Reminder” to track all of the things that they leave all over the house during the day and have to be reminded to put away. (The alarm on refrigerated food could be customized so that the alert went off before the food spoiled … :sigh:) :)

Lara May 7, 2013 at 9:49 am

The Google translator is a great one. I need to add that too. Oh, I love the clutter reminder too. I would love a “Put your food on the list” reminder app.

Taking a Computer Lunch May 6, 2013 at 7:19 pm

AP 1 had to put up with the flip – it was the only thing that existed (except perhaps, for really rich people) back then. APs 2-7 also tolerated it. 6 & 7 had their Smart phones, used them at home and away in WiFi mode. We started providing a Smart phone this year. AP #8 seems to use it (it is a texting machine, we’re the only ones who seem to call – and she has trained us to text her, too).

We have made it clear, because The Camel is medically fragile that the AP is to keep the phone on and charged when The Camel is in school. We never know when she will have a medical emergency that requires her to be picked up (or child #2 for that matter). EVERY AP has been caught out – and DH has had to make his way to the school, itched with irk. It only takes once.

AP #8 seems to have downloaded an AP that allows her to telephone her family for free (she mentioned it, we haven’t seen increased charges). AP shares data plan with 3 other phones in the family. Child #2 is the number 1 user, the AP is a close second. DH and I are in the MB range.

Despite the AP’s obsession with the phone, the message on it belongs to AP #4! I intend to change my handbook, telling the AP to read the guidelines and to change the outgoing message because it confuses people.

NYAPMom May 6, 2013 at 7:59 pm

I have a question for everyone – we provided our AP (our first) with a Droid Smartphone – a relatively new one. My DH is forever upgrading so it was pretty new when we gave it to her. She lost it in a bar (claimed it was stolen but really, what difference did it make – it was gone). DH was about to get yet another new phone at the time AP’s was lost/stolen so he offered to let her buy his then current phone at a discount to the value he was going to get to trade it in – around $150. Now out AP is getting ready to leave and I realize we screwed up. Does she own the phone? Are we out 2 expensive smartphones?? Is it ok for us to ask her to leave the phone with us? It won’t work in Europe unless she puts a very expensive plan on it and I know she has an iPhone waiting for her at home. We should have told her that her $150 was to pay us for the lost phone – it’s all semantics, right? So what’s the right thing to do? We need a phone for our incoming AP and it doesn’t seem right we should have to buy a new one…

Dorsi May 6, 2013 at 11:04 pm

Au Pair 1 — flip phone from us, first phone. AP2 — Our flip phone, home flip phone, used both (home one for texting, I think). AP3, had our fancy new not smart phone, but bought an iPhone a few months in. We cancelled our contract and paid her what we would have paid for 1 year service minus the cancellation fee (it wasn’t very much). AP 4 (we were finally getting that the AP was going to control the situation more than we wanted) — got the fancy not smart phone on a month to month contract (that we paid for). After 3 months, got her own smart phone. We had her port the number to it and paid her the amount we were paying for her monthly contract.

AP 5 — because it is “free” to get a smart phone and cheap to add the line to our family plan — and because I want access and control over data/texting info — got a smart phone from us. I like that I know she won’t upgrade and I can watch her phone and data usage. (AP 2-4 all had significant use that I couldn’t track. I think AP 2 abused this).

I don’t really want my AP to have a smart phone, but I don’t think I get to decide anymore (they get one either way).

Host Mom in the City May 7, 2013 at 8:40 am

This is the tactic we’re going with for #3. I just don’t think you’re going to be able to control it anymore (and I’m grossly addicted to my iPhone myself, so I can’t really say anything – I’m working on removing myself from it more frequently).

With our family plan, iPhones are like $50 and then about $40 a month for adding it to the plan. We’ll go that route again next year (it’s what we did this year too and it worked well). I do like that the iPhone has the talking GPS so she always knows where she’s going without having to look at directions. She can look up the taxi number when she’s out, etc . All the reasons I like having an iPhone – I’m happy she has the same resources on hand.

Lara May 7, 2013 at 9:52 am

@Host Mom in the City, one of the main reasons the iPhone is great is for directions/map. We have an old GPS, but did not with our first AP and she always had to figure out how to get there. I know if I lived in a different country, I would want a GPS or some other device to help me get around with the HF kids. I do not feel right to ask them to purchase their own GPS because they are driving my kids around to activities I want to do.

CA Host Mom May 7, 2013 at 12:17 pm

Good point re: the GPS. We provide one (nothing fancy) in the AP car for the same reason, and b/c we don’t have a data plan on the AP phone. Though, my husband argues that there is value in learning how to read and look at a map. I suppose he is right, but this just seems easier …

Host Mom in the City May 7, 2013 at 1:50 pm

Sure, there is value in learning how to read and look at a map. We’re teaching our young kids that. But I’m not in the business of teaching au pairs life lessons in the same way I would teach my kids. For me, the value in getting somewhere easily and safely far surpasses the value of teaching a young adult how to use a map (and read directions while driving – how does that work?).

Au-Pair May 6, 2013 at 11:45 pm

Do everybody provide their Au Pairs with a phone? I know I never even considered that my hostfamily would give me a phone to use here and it had never occured to my mind that they would pay me for the amount I use to call/text them on my own phone with the sim-card I bought here. Which they never offered either.
To me it would just be annoying to carry around two phones and I would be pretty annoyed if my HF told me to not have a smartphone because they didn’t trust me to put it away while working.
My hostmum actually encouraged me to get a smartphone to have always have a map when i got lost (happens a lot ;D ) look up recipes while baking, have the recipe for play-dough on hand and look up the bus-times when the kids were to tired to walk anymore.
Feel bad for you and your Au Pairs if you can’t trust them to have an appropriate realtionship to their phones at least until they proved the opposite..
Just a thought from a current Au Pair

CA Host Mom May 6, 2013 at 11:58 pm

Yes, most APs I know of have phones that, although they are not required to, the HFs provide. Especially when they are driving the children.

And you are right, it is very disappointing that some young adult APs can’t peel themselves away from Facebook, or the Text Message Tunnel long enough to perform their duties while working. But when an HF has found this out the hard way, they learn to be more mindful about how to avoid the same situation again.

Our APs don’t have to carry 2 phones, but they would rather make and take calls on the one that we pay for as opposed to the one that they pay for … annoying or not, that’s been their choice.

Host Mom in the City May 7, 2013 at 8:47 am

All the host parents I know do provide phone or kick in some money equivalent to adding their AP to their family plan ($10-40 a month about). The reason is because I can’t really say to my AP that I want to be able to reach her immediately when she’s with my kids unless I am providing a way to do so. Requiring her to pay her own cell phone bill so that I can contact her seems wrong.

As I mentioned above, our first didn’t have her own cell phone, so she just carried ours. Our second does have her own cell phone, but she also has ours now. She carries ours only if it’s too annoying to carry both while she’s working. Of course, she’s not required to carry ours while she’s not working. So really you don’t HAVE to carry both unless you want to carry your personal phone while you’re working too – up to you.

We’ve taken the “I trust you to be engaged with the kids” tactic as do most host parents in the beginning I think. I don’t think anyone is telling their AP they CAN’T have a smart phone because they don’t trust them. As we’ve all said, most APs end up getting one anyway. What we’re saying is that if it becomes a problem (like tons of text messages over a span of hours or constant FB updates while on duty), then it’s going to be brought up. And if it doesn’t stop, it tells a host parent that the AP doesn’t care enough about the job to be continue with it and the AP can expect to be rematched.

We’re also not talking about the ocassional texting or surfing – totally get that your life doesn’t stop during the day when you’re working. I think we’re all talking about excessive use where you’re ignoring the kids, doing anything while driving, or otherwise putting the kids in an unsafe situation because their au pair isn’t paying attention due to phone use.

Seattle Mom May 10, 2013 at 6:32 pm

I don’t. I offer to provide a very simple pre-paid non-smart phone if my APs do not want to buy their own phone/plan. This is what I use for myself- I don’t really believe in spending a lot of money on phones. And we have a landline in our house (and dsl with wifi).

So far all 3 of our APs have purchased their own phones & plans. I don’t call/text them that often, so I don’t think that is a significant expense for them. I think I call or text maybe once every other week.. I tend to communicate more by email. Since my current AP has a smart phone she gets my emails pretty quickly. I would also call the landline and leave a message “Hey AP pick up if you are home!” since she’ll never pick up the phone otherwise (no one but me would call her on it). And my husband is working from home most afternoons, so he doesn’t need technology to communicate with the AP.

WestMom May 7, 2013 at 7:50 am

Weather it is on a smartphone or on a computer, I ask our AP to use Google Calendar because that’s how I communicate the weekly schedule. For our APs with iPads/iPhones/iPods, we helped them set it up on the Apple calendar and it works great.

As for other apps…

I would love to have a car locator, to know where my car has been and keep track of mileage. Has anyone tried this?

For APs, a list of family-proven recipes would be great, with step by step illustrations and conversions as needed. Also an app to determine product quality at the supermarket (i.e.- what type of meat to buy).

Lara May 7, 2013 at 9:55 am

@West Mom, we use Google family Calendar too. I schedule the kids activities, the AP’s reminder list (e.g., whether I need to buy diapers and wipes), and vacations (both family and AP’s), etc. Our AP’s can view it on their computer or phone.

Oh, and recipe one would be great. I believe their is a car locator app as well. I will let you know when I find it. You know you can also always do “Track my phone” (if an iPhone), if you ever need to find the AP immediately. It works brilliantly. We have never used it with an AP, but my hubby lost his phone in the city and we tracked it down and actually got it back.

HRHM May 13, 2013 at 9:13 am

Re: the car locator – we have Smartstart which is a remote ignition thingy but also has a smart phone app that lets us find our car. Love it!

AnotherSeattleHostMom May 7, 2013 at 9:03 am

We provide a smart phone with basic data plan (low GB or whatever…). If they go over plan (they always do) they pay the overage.

WestMom May 7, 2013 at 9:14 am

Hi Seattle Mom,
How often does AP go over? How do you figure out the cost? We have this rule that AP should avoid calling or texting international numbers but if she does, she is responsible for the extra cost. Turns out they all seem to do it at some point, especially when family or friends come along to visit. I get it, they need to contact each other. But at the same time, it is a pain to tabulate each monthly bill to see who owes what. You do that every month?

hOstCDmom May 7, 2013 at 10:13 am

We block international calling and international texting on the phone. We also block data usage on our sorta-smart phone (could be a smart phone, but is one of the few with a qwerty keyboard that can be smart but doesn’t *require* a data plan, so we don’t have a data plan and block subscriptions, int’l calling and texting, and data. It is a voice and text phone for the AP, but one that is convenient to text on (qwerty) bc we use primarily texting (instead of voice calls) to communicate with AP.

Emerald City HM May 7, 2013 at 12:57 pm

We do the exact same thing. I’ve learned from past usage of phones that sometimes getting on the internet is accidental. Some of the non-smartphones just make this too easy.

Our first au pair purchased an iPod and used that on wi-fi. Our second au pair came with her own iPhone, she uses it on wi-fi also, but I don’t know if she also has a plan or not.

We have a GPS, if needed, for car usage.

The new data plans are a huge joke and it’s not an expense I’m really willing to take on when it’s not really necessary.

Lara May 7, 2013 at 9:57 am

We too provide the basic data plan for our AP. The AP will get a notice if she is going over and then it is $10 per GB. My AP will then have to pay us back. To be fair, I have never had this issue because all my AP’s have always been money conscious and use Wi-Fi when they can.

Monique May 12, 2013 at 11:08 pm


I am an au pair since august 2012.
I just found your blog and i have a question for you.
My host family make me pay once a week the diner (taco Time,burger king …) of one of my host kid who finish her extra activity late at night. And i cook once a week for the family for a couple weeks now and they let me pay for the food that i buy to make diner to every body. I also bought my own food for the breakfast and lunch Because they don’t really have healthy things in the fridge.

In our contract it says that the family are suppose to give us 3 meals per day.

My question are How can i ask them to give me money for the kid diner and make them pay me back for the food i buy ?
I really want to talk to them about that Because i spend more money on food that other stuff.

I really need you advise



Taking a Computer Lunch May 13, 2013 at 7:25 am

This query was posted on another thread a few days ago, which makes me wonder if it is spam.

HRHM May 13, 2013 at 9:10 am

Re: the “two phones” thing…5 out of 7 providers in the US are CDMA and the vast majority of overseas providers phones are GSM, so if AP brings a smart phone/iPhone to the US she will only be able to use it on AT&T or T-mobile. Hence, most APs who bring one end up just using it to browse on Wifi rather than buying their own cell contract here in the US. Since the cheapest individual plan from AT&T would be 89.99 per month (450 talk, unlimited text, 300mb data) I’d venture to say that most APs will be happy to let their HF pay for a dumb phone and just use their EU smart phone for wifi surfing.

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Ruth May 15, 2013 at 11:41 am

When we became first time host parents, our LLC pretty much said that most HP’s provide their AP with a phone, so we went out and got her a smart phone and plan (extra $60 a month for us b/c we don’t have a family plan due to differerent area code #’s). It wasn’t until later that I found out, this is not the norm. Thanks, LLC! Our AP#2 brought her own phone, so we just switched out the SIM card and asked her to pay half. She didn’t even last a week, so on to AP# 3 and we went back to our original plan of paying for it. She was so excited and grateful, but, like anything, you give an inch, usually a mile is taken and we had to have conversations that the phone is not to be used while caring for my child. We try and set the example that we leave our phone in the other room when playing with our child. Because I work from home, I can monitor this, thankfully.

“Au Pair Clothing Evaluator: Tacky or Terrific?” Is there such a thing? That would be fantastic! We have a great Au Pair, but, oh my, the dress conversations I have to have with her feels endless. She came to mingle with us on her day off with a bikini top underneath, midrift showing, shirt completely off both shoulders and painted on jeans! My husband just walked out of the room. I told her to go change. If she wanted to hang out with us, then she would need to change. I’m so tired of the endless tacky, tacky dress!! I mean, after all, none of the other Au Pairs dress so tacky!! I hate to think what our neighbors must be saying.. She’s home a LOT on her days off, so I don’t even think the other Au Pair’s want to hang out with her. She’s cute as a button and sweet, so I am confused why she doesn’t have more friends. Our first 2 AP’s were European and we never had this issue at all – they dressed better than I expected, actually. I digress and get a little stirred up over this issue, but we adore her, otherwise, and think she’s terrific in all other areas. Sorry, I parlayed into another topic!

anon for this one May 15, 2013 at 1:17 pm

Brazilian? :)
They have a great sense of confidence and think the body is beautiful. If you’ve ever been to Ipanema you’ll know what I mean. I worked with Brazilian medical students (on exchange to a US hospital) who would show up to rounds with their scrub tops 2 sizes too small and the pants rolled at the waist! Definitely a cultural difference.

Taking a Computer Lunch May 15, 2013 at 8:24 pm

There’s a whole section about dress – we’ve had multiple threads about HF/AP conflict over appropriate dress.

Ruth May 15, 2013 at 5:34 pm

No, but she’s from a Latin culture. It makes me sad b/c she’s so smart and has so many beautiful qualities about her and, yet, people in our culture immediately draw the wrong conclusion when they see how she dresses with her shirts too tight, jeans painted on, showing too much, etc. ;-(

JJ Host Mom May 16, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Has anyone used Cozi to organize the family calendar, shopping list, meal plan etc? A friend recommended it and I’m getting it set up now. Seems like it could be really useful.

Lil Java HM May 24, 2013 at 10:20 am

@JJ Host Mom, let me know what you think of Cozi. I am looking into other options other than Google Calendar.

JJ Host Mom May 24, 2013 at 10:38 am

I’m an avid Google Calendar user and probably won’t stop using it, but Cozi hypothetically imports all of my Google Calendar events. So far it’s worked okay, but I gather they’re in the process of fixing bugs. I have found it useful to have my grocery shopping list accessible on my phone at all times instead of taped to the refrigerator, so that if I’m out I can just pick up the groceries we need. That also means anyone can add to it at any time using their smart phone. The to-do list and journal may come in handy once our new au pair gets here in August, time will tell. All in all, I’d say they’re still working out the bugs, but it’s promising.

Ruth May 16, 2013 at 12:17 pm

TACL – agreed, I tried to find every post and read EVERY single one of them. Unfortunately, most of them are all closed for comments now and I didn’t find many of them all that helpful. I found a lot of HF’s didn’t address the situation with their AP and I’m not one of those. I also had my dear friend address it head on with her in our interview in her own language b/c I did not want it to be an issue. I was assured it wouldn’t be and, guess what I’m dealing with? Lesson learned, I will never again hire someone where I need to address something in an interview and I should just go with my gut. Again, sorry for the post here.

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Lil Java HM May 24, 2013 at 10:18 am

@Madelaine, with Au Pair Mom, you have to remember a lot of people (both HM and AP’s) are posting and their comments probably have a lot of spelling errors, especially the AP’s where English is not their first language. I am sure Au Pair Mom appreciates you visiting their site and they do provide a wealth of information.

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After all I’ll be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again soon!

Lil Java HM May 24, 2013 at 10:17 am

Thank you Sal. I hope you visit my site again. I try to continuously add information. Au Pair Mom is a wealth of information and on my site, I try to post about mom, dad and baby stuff, along with racing with a jog stroller to Au pair information and my experiences as a host mom.

projekt domu May 21, 2013 at 3:54 am

I’ve read several good stuff here. Certainly price bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how so much attempt you place to make any such great informative website.

Happy Au Pair with an iPhone May 24, 2013 at 11:15 am

Dear host families,

Please, provide your au pair a phone that has, at least, access to Google Translate. Even when she’s not home. It’s a first need item. Plus, having access to the internet no matter where you are is a matter of personal safety, nowadays. It makes your life easier, therefore you feel happier and take a better care of the kids. Does it make sense? Think about you in our situation. I’ve had a hard time with a phone that didn’t even completed the calls I had to made to the host family when I was outside the house. Even the children used to complain. Having to translate things and not being able to used to bring a lot of anxiety and make things harder. Then I was provided with an iPhone. It’s a whole different level/quality of life. Those 200 dollars are not that much if you think about the big picture for everyone, especially concerning the guardian of your most precious legacy: your kids. Providing your au pair with a smartphone is a clever decision.

Thank you,
Happy Au Pair with an iPhone

Tristatemom May 24, 2013 at 11:59 am

Ha, ha, very cute! Honestly, I understand your plea. But how would you address my biggest concern: my 3 year old is hanging from the monkey bars, “look no hands AP!” and just that moment AP gets an email from a friend about the big party this weekend, how that jerk did her wrong, booking flights for the vacation etc. and she looks to read the email and my kid falls on her head!! It is the distraction factor that prevents me from providing a data phone.
P.S. translation is not a compelling argument as you can carry a small book :)

CA Host Mom May 24, 2013 at 6:40 pm

I would love to hear a thoughtful answer to TSMom’s question above … I understand the convenience added by spending the money on an iPhone for an AP, but what do we do about the growing number of APs that cannot seem to control themselves and use their phones (and access to the internet) responsibly? I am in no way comforted by the added convenience for an AP when I can’t be sure that she doesn’t have her nose buried in her iPhone while our children are dangling from the monkey bars (or worse). I am also a tad miffed by HappyAPw/iPhone’s suggestion that $200 is really “not that much”. If it’s really “not that much”, then I suppose AP can buy her own iPhone, right?

Host Mom in the City May 24, 2013 at 12:32 pm

Yeahhhh we actually do give our au pair an iPhone, but if my au pair approached me with the argument that she needs an iPhone to take better care of my kids, I’d think she was laying it on pretty thick. I love my iPhone and I agree that it’s becoming more and more critical for daily life. I use it to check my email, text with my friends and family, use the talking GPS, find restaurants and places to go, etc. None of that makes me a better parent (if anything it makes me a worse parent because I’m either on my phone or thinking about being on my phone). It also doesn’t make me better at my job for the same reasons – it’s a distraction.

If you would like an iPhone for the life benefits that I listed above, great – that’s why we have one for our au pair to use. If you tell me you want an iPhone so that you can guard my “most precious legacy” I’m probably going to gag :)

JJ Host Mom May 24, 2013 at 1:32 pm

I think the au pair’s point of having access to Google Translate is a good one. It’s different from a book because it will actually speak what you’re trying to translate.

Not sure how that links into childcare in most cases (because in a true emergency are you really going to take the time to type a sentence into your phone?) but a translate app is a nice perk for making the au pair’s life easier.

All of that said the jury is still out on whether we’ll give our incoming au pair a smart phone. The most compelling reason to do it, honestly, is that a lot of au pairs get a smart phone anyway, and I would rather be the one providing it so I can get the usage statistics for it and intervene if there are issues. But there are certainly several things about it that would make the au pair’s life easier – Map/navigation app, family organizer and scheduling apps, and translate app. I think a lot of our decision will depend on the au pair herself.

Host Mom in the City May 24, 2013 at 1:50 pm

Useage stats are not entirely reliable – there are many apps (like whatsapp) that do texting and such without being recorded. Just an FYI.

Emerald City HM May 24, 2013 at 6:39 pm

I’d actually argue that a smartphone makes you less safe. It can become a distraction out in public. The smartphone itself is an attractive item for theft. Then there is the situational awareness of the holder of the phone, if he or she is busy looking at the screen he or she will not be as aware of surroundings.

JJ Host Mom May 24, 2013 at 3:45 pm

Good point. Thanks for bringing that up. I hadn’t thought that through and it will definitely play into my decision.

LookingFowardToBeAP June 22, 2013 at 11:48 pm

Sorry to ask this here, but i dont know where else. Can AP buy a smartphone with a plan easily in the US?, where i come from to buy any phone u need to commit to at least a 2 year contract, or else the phone is 2 or 3 times more expensive, besides you have to be a citizen and present some papers, not a lot but something that i’d think AP dont have like a bill in your name, i just dont understand how so many AP are buying their own phones, LOL I didn’t think i would be able to afford a smart phone while i’m there so i was thinking i will bring my own, to use it on wifi since i’m not bringing my laptop. But now that i read this i’m considering the idea.

what is an au pair May 27, 2013 at 9:07 pm

my au pairs usually bring their smartphones and they have different apps depending on each country, in Spain they have different apps than in Australia their smartphones

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