au pair responsibilities

Child Care Chores Quiz: Are any chores on this list off limits?

by cv harquail January 16, 2013
owl chore chart.jpg

What actually counts as a legitimate Child Care Chore? Do we routinely ask our Au Pairs to do chores that are not really legitimate Child Care Chores? HostMcMom sent me a list of things on her  au pair’s ChildCare Chores list. As I looked over her list, I wondered about an item or two that […]

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When Your Au Pair Won’t Do More Than Mind Your Child: Child Care Chores

by cv harquail January 12, 2013

How do you teach an au pair that ‘childcare’ includes more than just caring directly for your child/ren, in real time? We all know that childcare means not only one-to-one interacting with the child and the child’s needs, but also doing child-related work ‘offline’. But many au pairs (especially new ones) struggle with this, because […]

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Can an Au Pair be On-Duty to House Sit or Pet Sit?

by cv harquail January 9, 2013

Is it okay to ask your Au Pair to live at your house while you are away on vacation, and to take care of your family pet? Dear AuPairMom– My husband and I are hosting an Au Pair for the first time. We have three kids, ages 13, 10 and 5 and I am a […]

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Would you ask your Au Pair to help out at someone else’s party?

by cv harquail January 22, 2012

Do you think it’s appropriate to ask an au pair to got to your kids’ school and help out at a birthday event there, for someone else’s kids? Here’s the email that prompts the question: Dear AuPairMom – I am mostly satisfied with the family I am working for. We’ve had a few problems but […]

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Exploited in Italy: What’s the best way to leave my host family?

by cv harquail October 5, 2010

Dear Moms, I’ve found your website infinitely helpful to get a look at “the other side” of the au pair experience, and now I’m hoping that you can help me. The Situation I am an American girl who moved to Europe to be an au pair last month. My host family consists of a single […]

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Is it demeaning to ask your au pair to iron kids’ clothes?

by cv harquail August 8, 2010

When my girls were littler, they had lots of adorable cotton dresses. All of these dresses were wash’n wear, which meant that they were okay to wear if clean but wrinkly. To look fabulous, these dresses didn’t need lots of ironing– just 2 minutes with an iron on the collars, hems, and sashes turned them […]

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Your Au Pair is not a Maid

by cv harquail June 17, 2010

What’s the difference between an au pair and a maid? In some host families, not very much. Some host families expect their au pairs to do basic housework in addition to caring for children. In the US, “housekeeping”is limited to cleaning up the kids rooms (but in my mind, not vacuuming them), keeping the play […]

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Are “crazy” Au Pair guidelines really all that crazy?

by cv harquail June 9, 2010

I laughed at the comment by Taking a Computer Lunch, on rules in her family handbook: My least favorite rule that I had to add – don’t burn candles and leave your room. Duh! As I look through our family handbook, there are some real doozies. My personal favorite is “In the evening, please do […]

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Au Pair Guidelines: What’s a reasonable curfew? (Poll)

by cv harquail June 2, 2010

Do you have a curfew for your au pair on nights before she or he is scheduled to be on duty? Many Host Parents find that they need to be explicit about what time their au pair should be home, to make sure that she or he is ready to go the next morning. They […]

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Scheduling Your Au Pair: Naptime, Mealtime and Meaningful Breaks

by cv harquail May 27, 2010

Lots of us host parents schedule our pairs not for an 8 or 10 hour stretch, but for one or two (or sometimes three) portions across a day. Often this is to accommodate ‘before school’ childcare needs as well as afternoon needs, or to have our au pairs come back on duty so that we […]

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