Saying Farewell After a Quick Rematch: What to do?

by cv harquail on August 23, 2010

Dear AuPairMom,

We are going into rematch with an au pair who has been with us for four weeks. Our rematch is fairly amicable; it’s all due to her inexperience behind the wheel and us needing better driving skills.   201008231337.jpgWe like this young woman and wish her all the best with finding a new family.

My questions for readers are about how to mark her departure:

  • Do we need to throw a farewell party or dinner?
  • Do we have cake bidding her the best of luck?
  • Should we give her a parting gift?

And here’s the trickiest question:

  • Do we give her back the things she gave to us when she first arrived?

I am confused and would love to know how other HF have handled these scenarios.

Thanks in advance for your ideas,


See Also:
Goodbye Gifts for Your Au Pair
Image: Departure delayed from larskflem on Flickr


cv harquail August 23, 2010 at 1:52 pm


This is one of those situations where it can’t hurt to respond in an especially kind way. I might get her a small token gift and write her a card wishing her a fresh and happy restart.

As for the gifts, if they are the kinds of things that are easy to ‘give back’ (e.g., a photo book from her home country), I’d have them neatly organized on the kitchen counter to offer back to her, being explicit that you’re giving them back only because she’ll want to give these to the host family she’ll spend her whole year with.

Au Pair in CO August 23, 2010 at 3:05 pm

I would not expect my host family to return the things I gave them when I arrived here, as this was mostly gifts for the kids. If it was something like a photo book or recipe book for the host parents, then maybe it would be nice to give them back to her, but I don’t think she’d expect it.

Taking a Computer Lunch August 23, 2010 at 11:45 pm

If you genuinely like the AP, as it sounds you do, having a special meal and encouraging her to invite any friends she might have made is a nice gesture, and a means to end her stay with you on a high note. As for returning gifts – I would find it rude, but best to learn the customs of her country – it might be a slap in the face to return a gift.

Trina August 23, 2010 at 11:57 pm

i’m with TaCL on the gifts issue – i wouldn’t return them. i think most cultures take gifts quite seriously and your AP may feel that getting them back is further rejection. you could offer to give them back without having them prepped or in hand, i suppose. still, i think you’re safer to keep them.

i don’t think you *need* to provide a gift to her or a going-away dinner, but it would be a very thoughtful gesture. it sounds like you would like to do something special for her, and i think that anything you do that shows you wish her well will be welcomed. best of luck!

Deb Schwarz August 24, 2010 at 6:47 am

I just personally went through this (our last au pair stayed for 3.5 months and left on Friday). It didn’t dawn on me to return the photo book from her home country, or to ask for our gifts back. We didn’t have a goodbye dinner for her as she will be staying in the area (I found her a new family that was better suited for her childcare skills). I think that most au pairs are appreciative of your kindness and recommendation during the rematch process (as it can be very stressful), so your kindness and thoughtfulness are probably the best gift of all.


EuroGirl August 25, 2010 at 2:02 pm

Surely it’s rude to return a gift? It is where I am from any way, a gift is given freely with nothing expected in return, that’s the whole point. I don’t know of any “friendly” splits between family and au pair after such a short period of time but I do know some who didn’t end up working their full year (or their full contract, whatever it was) for personal reasons mostly and they just gave normal goodbye parties with friends as they would have done months later if things had worked out. Why not just ask your leaving au pair what she would like to do as a goodbye (eg. “would you like a family dinner together or would you like to invite friends round to say goodbye?”) and buy her a (small, think of packing!) gift or even bake/buy her a cake?

Lisa, PA HM August 27, 2010 at 3:27 pm

We recently said good-bye to an au pair who was with us only 2 weeks (we rematched because we need an AP who can drive and her skills were abominable – she went on to a family that did not need a driver). As far as the departure and gifts go – we had a nice family dinner her last night, then she went out for the evening with the other AP’s she had become friendly with. I realized after taking her to the airport the next morning that she had cleared out her room entirely, I expected she would take the gifts in the welcome basket, but she also took the $25 gas card and framed pictures I had put up prior to her arrival! As she had not brought any gifts to our family, that was not an issue – although I would have offered them back and wish she had also been more thoughtful.

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