We’re 1 month into our first au pair and not sure if it’s going to be ok or not. Just to clarify we’re based outside the US so our au pair has not come to us through an agency, in fact she is American.
We have 3 kids, all under 6 and there is no language barrier as we didn’t want to have to worry about that. I’m a SAHM who needs help because one of our children has special needs and takes a lot of attention. We interviewed via email and skype prior to employing her and thought we were getting a reasonably bubbly, cheerful, outgoing au pair. We didn’t.
Our issues are:
1. Our au pair is not very enthusiastic with the children. She came with great references but I have already had to talk to her about how to engage the children and be more enthusiastic. I set up activities but because she approaches them with such a lack of enthusiasm they never last long. This is especially true with the younger two children who are not bonding well with her.
2. She never talks to us (HF) unless spoken to first, never initiates conversation and we get only limited responses when we try to open up a conversation. As a result talking can be quite painful. She very obviously wants to spend her time off away from the family which is something we can live with but the lack of communication when she is working does as it affects the atmosphere in the house. It’s even basic stuff like she will not communicate to us whether or not she is in or out for dinner unless we ask. I spoke to her about this and she told me she tends to take a backseat in a new situation and just observe until she feels comfortable, trouble is it’s been a month and it’s making us uncomfortable now.
I have spoken to her about both these issues and seen a little improvement with the children, but no improvement on the adult communication issue. I’m not sure whether to keep ploughing on or whether to cut our losses now. Trouble is, because there is no agency back up, if it doesn’t work out with us she has to go home, though this is a risk she knew she was taking before she joined us.
She is only due to be with us for 5 months but it’s feeling like it could be a long time. Any thoughts on how to improve the situation?
thanks — KP in the UK
Molly: A Dog With A Lot On Her Mind from miscpix