Extending with your current Au Pair: A Bad Idea?

by cv harquail on April 20, 2009

Our post about interviewing extension candidates reminds us of an earlier bit of advice that was a surprise to many of us host parents.

My LCC gave me great advice. No matter how good the relationship is, NEVER extend with the same au pair. It almost never works out. She thinks that an au pair extending into a new family is fine, but not extending with the same family. Either the au pair takes advantage of the host family or vice versa (or a combination of the two). She said the relationship changes after extension and it’s just not the same. 200904200917.jpg

Our first au pair wanted to extend with us for a full year (which is why my LCC was telling me this). While she was great with our daughter, there were other issues (i.e. she was constantly telling us what other au pairs got as perks and was constantly asking to take the car out of the area, and other things). We explained to her that the LCC doesn’t recommend extending with the same family and she actually agreed (her friend extended with the same family whom she loved, but it didn’t work out). So we moved on to a new au pair who didn’t give us these headaches at all.

Another mom comments:

I’m wondering whether that’s the consensus, or whether other people have the opposite view. We’re a long way away from having to make this decision with our current AP — she’s only been with us for about a month — but if things continue to be as wonderful with her as they have during this first month, we would definitely want to extend with her. (And … we would feel really jealous if she extended, but went to another family!)

If you have extended with an au pair , give us your opinion:

Should HFs/APs extend the same relationship past the first year?

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Do things always go “downhill” after the first year when you extend?

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If you are an LCC and/or have lots of real data about other host families’ experiences:

Should HFs/APs extend the same relationship past the first year?

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For the record, parents:

We have pretty much agreed that it is not a good idea to extend with an au pair that is “just” so-so . As one mom said"

"In this scenario the only advantage would be that you save some money. But if your au pair is not doing already what you need her to do what makes you believe that will change in the second year? Unless you don’t mind supervising everything she does for another year. … It is the so-so extensions that usually don’t work out because people are not extending for “right” reasons – they are not honest with themselves and are hoping for something that cannot be."

{ 2 comments }

Dawn April 20, 2009 at 7:56 pm

I couldn’t figure out how to post as anything but “anonymous” on Skribit, but I asked for this as a potential post topic, so I’m glad to see it here! I’m looking forward to seeing how people “vote” on these questions. I’ve already had the experience of extending with the “so so” AP, and wouldn’t do that again. But now we have a totally wonderful, amazing AP (I’m already mentally composing my “tribute” to her for APAW!), and I would love to extend with her when the time comes (if she’s willing), unless people raise some really compelling reasons not to.

Theresa April 22, 2009 at 1:32 am

I’m not a hostfamily, but an au pair (or used to be, until last summer), and I don’t agree at all that you should never extend with the same au pair. I extended with my hostfamily and it worked out great. But I have to say that I probably had the best hostfamily in the world (no offense ;) ) and we had (and still have) a great relationship, I became part of their family (plus extended family) and I always will be part of their family. I love the family as much as I love my own family and I always will. I just returned from my visit and it was as if I’ve never been away. What I’m trying to say is, that extending with the same au pair can work out great, especially when you have a great relationship with your au pair. For me (and for my hostfamily too), extending was the best thing, and it made us get even closer.
But I do agree that you probably shouldn’t extend with a so-so-au pair, or if you don’t have a good relationship with your au pair, as things probably won’t improve much. But if you have a great relationship with your au pair, and she became part of your family, go for it and extend with her, you wouldn’t exchange a “regular” familymember for another one, would you?

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