Au Pairs work hard. When they are off duty, they need their downtime.
But, if they’re good au pairs, your kids probably like them and enjoy spending time interacting with them. Kids don’t always know the difference between on-duty and off-duty, so it’s our job as host parents to help au pairs protect their downtime.
This isn’t so hard if your au pair likes to go out…if s/he is a homebody who likes to watch the telly in the family room, or just hang out having tea in the kitchen, s/he can get caught in that place where saying “no, I don’t want to (whatever) is just too hard to do. And then, s/he’s not really “off”, is s/he?
Here’s a comment from one au pair:
I am a current au pair in France who tends to stay at home on the weekend, I do then get approached to help do homework or play. While it is not tiring I do feel that this is my time alone. Any advice?
‘ Sota Gal has one suggestion:
Can you talk to your host family about this? Perhaps that you could suggest that you can be available to help with homework on Fridays after school while you are already working, or even during a short (say 30 minutes?) period of time on Saturday or Sunday.
Are you being sought out in your room or is it when you are in main living areas of the house. The host parents may not even realize this is happening, or if they do, they aren’t thinking it’s a problem because nothing has been said otherwise. I think an honest talk with host parents is in order, it would be awful to let this build up inside you to the point where it DOES become a big deal.
Trust me, I let something tiny slide with our au pair for months, to the point of feeling resentful, and what should have been a quick discussion/solution, turned into a big fight with hurt feelings. It all worked out in the end, but it was rocky for a while. Let us know who it works out….
What else do you parents and au pairs suggest for this situation?