Our New Au Pair is Too Quiet: She Hardly Says A Word

by cv harquail November 28, 2016
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We’re enjoying a visit from one of our former Au Pairs, and a friend of hers.  Although both of them speak English well, I’m aware once again of how challenging it can be to interact across language differences, as well as cultural differences, and even family norms. With communication challenges, I always prefer it when […]

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When Your Au Pair Lies About Mileage on the Car

by cv harquail November 14, 2016
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Sorry for the long lapse in posting…I’m still recovering.   To nudge me (and you?) back into the challenges of Host Parenting, here’s an email about a problem that we faced with our Au Pair too.    It was especially disappointing — and surprising — since this happened with perhaps our most mature, measured, and […]

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First Time Host Mom Wonders: Are her Au Pair expectations realistic?

by cv harquail November 7, 2016
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A new Host Mom writes to share her frustration – and concern- about an Au Pair who doesn’t quite seem to fit. Are the mom’s expectations too high, she wonders? Or, Does she just have an Au Pair who needs (even) more direction and motivation? I’d like to think that I asked all the right […]

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What’s the Real Ratio of Good Au Pair Experiences to Bad Au Pair Experiences?

by cv harquail November 3, 2016
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Something I really don’t understand about the larger cultural conversation about Au Pairs is how negatively the Au Pairing experience is portrayed.  The Au Pairing experience is too often presented as being “bad” — where Host Families are demanding, irrational, and/or punitive, and Au Pairs are beleaguered, exploited, and powerless. Meanwhile, here on the AuPairMom […]

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Do Bad Host Families Get Blacklisted By Au Pair Agencies?

by cv harquail October 23, 2016
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How might Agencies keep bad Host Families from cycling from one Agency to the next, without getting removed from the program entirely? We worry not only about bad Au Pairs getting recycled though the system, but also about rematch Host Families getting one chance after another to strike out with an Au Pair. It should […]

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How To Share Information About Rematch Au Pairs, When the Agency Won’t

by cv harquail October 18, 2016
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We all believe that Au Pair Agencies should be as transparent as possible about what sends Au Pairs and Host Families into rematch. We don’t want to recycle problem Au Pairs and problem Host Families, hoping that they can make some kind of barely adequate rematch that avoids anything illegal or unsafe, just so they […]

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How Should an Au Pair Decide Which Family to Match With?

by cv harquail October 13, 2016
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A PopularAuPair candidate faces an embarrassment of riches. Lots and lots of  families are contacting her via the website where she’s posted her application.  She’s got many to choose from as she accepts or declines invitations for interviews.  But she’s not 100% sure of the criteria she should use. She explains: I’m a 20 year old American […]

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Your Au Pair’s Bedroom: What to provide to make your Au Pair comfortable and welcome

by cv harquail October 11, 2016

Picture yourself in this room.  Imagine that you’ve just spent 8 hours with energetic kids, talking in your second language, driving on unfamiliar streets on the wrong side of the road. Wouldn’t it be lovely if you could walk upstairs, open the door, and step into a room like this?   It doesn’t have to […]

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Au Pair Getting High In Our Home

by cv harquail October 9, 2016
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When we know an Au Pair is doing something that contradicts our house rules, but we aren’t able to present positive proof of this, what can we do? We don’t want to be accusatory. But then again, we’re sure we’re right. We don’t need to see him or her rinsing out the bong in the […]

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Au Pair’s Room Is Also the Playroom. The Laundry Room. And the …

by cv harquail October 7, 2016
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Here’s another email that indirectly points out how important it is that US Au Pairs and Host Families have State Department Regulations that make certain conditions mandatory. This Au Pair, writing from Europe, has discovered that her Host Family family expects the Au Pair bedroom to also be the “playroom”. US Au Pair regulations require that an […]

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