Host parents generally agree that taking an au pair on vacation right at the start of his/her au pair year is inviting trouble.
Starting your au pair year in a vacation location, with host parents who are not rushing off to work and with host kids who are not heading off to school makes the au pair’s work load generally light too. Since families tend to take vacations in surroundings that are special, or more luxurious, or more exciting, or sunnier, even the coziest home can be under-appreciated in comparison.
Whatever it is that we do on vacation, by definition it is not what we do the rest of the year. And since we want our au pair to feel comfortable and fit into the rest of the year, starting her/him off in ‘vacation mode’ can set him/her up for disappointment.
Sometimes, the timing of your au pair’s arrival and the timing of your family’s vacation collide. You have no choice but to take your au pair with you despite knowing that the vacation may set up dynamics you’ll have to change once you return home.
When you *must* take a brand-new au pair with you on vacation, a reader wonders, what are the ‘best practices’?
What have you host parents done when you’ve taken an au pair on vacation within the first 8 weeks of an au pair year?
What advice do you have for this host mom Emily?
Here’s her story:
I have read a number of comments on how it is a bad idea to bring an au pair with you on vacation shortly after they arrive. However, I find myself in a situation where taking a new au pair with us is really what works for our schedule, and I wondered if there are others, who have done it successfully and if they have any tips for how to pull this off.
This is the situation. Our current au pair (who is our second au pair) is leaving us at the beginning of July. She is a great au pair, and I know my children are going to be sad when she leaves. We live in a western city and will be traveling to the East Coast to visit my family for vacation at the very end of June. I am locked into this timing in order to coordinate with my brother and his family. In other words, I have almost no flexibility in scheduling the trip.
My husband isn’t able to come until the second week of the two week vacation. I have 2 children (3 and 5). I’m also pregnant with a third, who is due to arrive in late March (yes, we’ll have an infant-qualified au pair).
Although I am sure more difficult things have been done, I am reluctant to take my three young children on a 4-5 hour plane ride, followed by renting a car and driving 3 hours by myself. Having an extra set of hands would help to reduce the stress and help me take in stride any unexpected eventualities, so I really want to bring my au pair.
Our new au pair is going to be from South Africa and is a fluent English speaker. She is fairly young, but appears to have good childcare experience, and we feel pretty optimistic about the match.
My plan is to have my au pairs overlap by about 10 days. Our incoming au pair will arrive about 10 days before we need to leave, so that she can acclimate a bit, get her social security card started etc…. I would then take the new one with me on vacation and the departing one will go back home.
I have read on this blog on numerous occasions about how it is not a good idea to take your au pair on vacation at the beginning of her time with your family, but … Has anyone done this without issue?
Were there any particular steps the host families took to assure that the vacation went smoothly?
For those, that really don’t think it is a good idea, what are the pitfalls they have experienced, so maybe I can avoid them?
Do most people see this as a problem or not?
Any advice is appreciated. Many thanks ~ OffToTheEastCoastEmily