When Au Pairs Overlap, who gets the room? (Poll)

by cv harquail on May 11, 2011

Sometimes, the right thing to do as your family transitions from one au pair to another is to have your au pairs overlap in your home.

As we know, overlapping au pairs can create some emotional difficulty for the incoming au pair, the outgoing au pair, your kids and you. And, it can also create some practical problems– Who gets dibs on the car? Who gets to carry the cell phone?

Who gets to sleep in the au pair room?

Dear Au Pair Mom,

We will have our new au pair overlap for a week or so with our departing au pair. I’m not sure how to manage the sleeping & bedroom situation. Our current Au Pair has said outright that she does not want to move out of the bedroom until the day she leaves. We have a sleeper sofa in our downstairs playroom (with a door) and thought we’d have the new au pair sleep there for her first week. And I need some advice.

201105101942.jpgI’m not sure if this plan is really fair. We made a big effort to make our au pair room really welcoming for our first au pair (following so much of the advice here on this blog). I know that having ‘her own’ room really made it easy for our first au pair to settle in and hit the ground running.

What do you readers think that I should do?

Which au pair should get the Au Pair Bedroom during overlap?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

In addition to deciding about who gets the bedroom,

What else can you do to help your outgoing au pair and your incoming au pair both feel welcomed?

See also:
Your Advice Wanted: Should you have your new Au Pair overlap with your old Au Pair?
6 Reasons to Have Au Pairs Overlap
6 Potential Problems with Au Pair Overlap
Your Au Pair’s Room: Advice about Transition Cleaning

Bedroom by hownowdesign on Flickr


StephinBoston May 11, 2011 at 10:23 am

Well, you just outlined exactly why I don’t overlap… Well, one of the many reasons. I honestly don’t think there’s a “correct” answer here. Someone is going to be upset. I’m sorry I don’t have a good solution, actually my solution would be to push back the arrival of the new au pair or move up the departure of the outgoing au pair.

I hope there will be some good suggestions for you from HPs who overlap.

Michigan Mom May 11, 2011 at 10:55 am

We always overlap (just by four or five days) and I tell the outgoing au pair upfront several weeks in advance that I will need them to make sure that the room is clean and empty by the time the new au pair arrives. None of them have objected (at least not out loud!). Usually by that time they want to spend their last bit of free time with the friends they’ve made here anyway.

There is a pullout sofa in the au pair room and some of them have slept on that during the overlap. But their luggage has to be out of the room.

NJaupair May 11, 2011 at 11:15 am

Im a current aupair right now. When i arrived i didnt have that situation, but i dont know if ill have it when i depart and the new aupair arrives. If it happens, I dont see that as a problem. I mean, a room can be share, why it has to be “all or nothing”. Usually the beds are queen sized so 2 people can sleep there with no problem. The “old” aupair can make some room in the closet for the “new” aupair. Everybody has to make a little effort so the “departure” and the “arrival” run smoothly ! :)

Calif Mom May 11, 2011 at 12:34 pm

The US State Department regulations say that host families must provide a PRIVATE room. So I don’t feel comfortable asking the new au pair to share. If the two au pairs, after they have met, come to this idea on their own, it’s fine with me. But I can’t ask anyone to do this.

CaliHostMom May 12, 2011 at 8:42 pm

–Agree…you can’t ask the incoming AP to share a room much less a bed with a total stranger. That would be terribly awkward and uncomfortable for most people.
–AP program regs require a “private room” but the outgoing AP doesn’t OWN a particular room.
–I have had about 7 or 8 overlaps in 10 years. I always give the AP room to the incoming AP and several weeks before hand I break the news to the outgoing AP that I’m going to ask her to move into one of the kids room’s for the overlap period. The kids then bunk together. So she still gets a private room…but a different room. All her stuff needs to be out and the room clean.
–ALL of the outgoing APs have always been very understanding, cooperative and gracious about this arrangement.
–Overlaps have pros and cons. The room situation has always been a fairly neutral situation. The bigger issues are balancing the family emotions and behaviors of celebrating the arrival of the new AP without seeming like you are celebrating the departure of the outgoing AP while also balancing the showering of love and gratitude on the outgoing AP without alienating the new AP who doesn’t yet feel like family. –Usually it works out okay. The training benefit outweighs the risks. But I have had outgoing APs share dirty laundry and complaints about us with the incoming AP. That was hurtful not only to us but to the new AP…worrying her unnecessarily. Fortunately, she had enough sense to defer judgment until she could get to know us herself and all was well thereafter.

NJ Host Mom May 12, 2011 at 9:28 pm

Hmmmm…our agency packs 4 au pairs into one hotel room with 2 full-size beds in NYC for the 4 day duration of training. Is this not common practice? How is having 2 au pairs in the same room in your house for an overlap any worse than that?

anon May 12, 2011 at 10:06 pm

Which agency?? That seems extremely insensitive to personal space and culture. 2 APs in a room with 2 dbl beds = ok, if not comfortable for some people. 4 APs with 2 dbl beds = an intimate sleeping situation with someone you don’t know! (and I don’t mean “sexual” by “intimate” — but two average sized adults sharing a dbl bed is extremely close quarters…!!)

azmom May 18, 2011 at 4:36 pm

i know that our first AP had 2 to a bed, but second AP (same agency) had her own bed in the hotel.

Amelie - Ex Au pair May 11, 2011 at 11:26 am

THE NEW AU PAIR! She’s coming from a long trip, plus a week of training where she was living out of her suitcases, and I really don’t trink it’s fair to ask her to wait even more to unpack and settle.

When I arrived at my HF house, I found my room nice and ready for me, even though the previous au pair was going to work with me for a week (and she ended up staying as a guest for a while longer). When it was time for the new au pair to arrive, I packed everything, moved to the basement a few days before her arrival, and cleaned up the room for her.

I know not all families have extra space… but I think that leaving the room for the new au pair is the ideal situation… =)

Calif Mom May 11, 2011 at 11:27 am

IMHO, managing this situation well depends a LOT on the personality of the outgoing au pair. Given that she has already said outright she doesn’t want to move out does not bode well. She may passive-aggressively, consciously or unconsciously, use delaying tactics to make this decision for you. That is, she may just take so long getting her stuff organized that it won’t be ready in time for the new au pair anyway. Just a thought you might want to anticipate. Sorry to be a downer.

Our best au pairs — you know, the responsible, mature ones — have both offered to sleep on the couch (or stay at a friend’s house) in those overlapping days. The lack of empathy toward the new au pair that your current one is displaying is a big concerning.

Be sure that your kids make a big deal of the new au pair’s arrival.

Be sure that your kids make a big deal of the outgoing au pair’s departure. Though she may already be detaching herself, you need to insist on a “goodbye dinner” or celebration of some sort, or the old au pair may sort of ooze out, getting a ride from friends to the airport, spending her last evening with her friends instead of you, etc. This is understandable as a parent– it never really upset me personally — but it’s a Big Fat Painful Problem for the kids. They need to know when the last time they will see her is.

I’m assuming that at this point there is no option for not doing the overlap at all. I’m not a fan of overlapping, even though it’s tough to juggle my work schedule and tough to train up a new au pair myself with all those tedious, first few days things like “here’s how you drive to the library from our house” kinds of activities. (Sorry if this sounds totally whiny, but I’m in a rather exhausted state these days.) As tiring as that transition is, now more than ever I find it’s better than walking on eggshells with moody, distracted, exhausted outgoing au pair whom I am trying to keep from inadvertently teaching new au pair the wrong way to do things, or talking about decisions you made with the outgoing au pair that you’re going to handle differently with the new one.

Be that as it may, some thoughts for success in overlap:

clarity, clarity, clarity

Everyone needs to know who’s in charge of the kids at any given time. Tell the one in charge, tell the kids. Tell the other one what their job is while the other one is in charge.

Write down and share the schedule for the overlap week.
Write down and share a to do list for the incoming au pair (maybe she handles the kids’ laundry that week so outgoing doesn’t have to, maybe she needs to drive the route to the library, grocery store, and two favorite parks, 3 times each that week — things like that).

write down and share the outgoing au pair’s to do list. Include all the things that she won’t think about herself — like leaving herself ample time to *clean* the room, not just clean out her stuff. I can’t believe how much filth I had to deal with after our au pair said she had done it. There are checklists on the previous posts on this topic. Also important: deleting contacts and changing the outgoing message on the cell phone back to the computer voice.

Find time for new au pair to be in charge of the kids alone.

You asked about the sleeping arrangements: our first, best counselor said it was very important to have the new au pair get the bedroom during an overlap. She insisted on this. I think that’s wise. You have to invest in the year ahead of you, and stack the deck in your favor. It’s not fun, and it feels slightly risky to be anything but totally gracious and thankful to your outgoing au pair, but you really do have to look out for yourselves at this juncture. The first impressions are *really* important. Don’t be late to pick her up, have a welcome banner made by the kids, do all those things even though you have another au pair in the house.

hopefully your outgoing au pair will be the picture of maturity and will do a fabulous job training her successor, with pride. (But be ready for that not to happen!) good luck!

Taking a Computer Lunch May 11, 2011 at 11:40 am

The one time we had overlap (one AP stayed in our home and went on vacation with us during her 13th month – most usually skedaddle the day after their last official day for a month of travel and one went on to her new HF a few days early because my kids were at summer camp), the outgoing AP moved into the playroom and the incoming AP got the room. My LCC made it clear that it was agency policy that the incoming AP should move into her room right away.

While APs who are used to sharing their beds with their friends might not think it’s a big deal – I imagine it would be a huge deal to incoming APs to share their bed with the outgoing AP – especially if they were from different cultures. I agree with one of the posters above – after a long trek to the US, orientation, and more travel, the incoming AP needs a private place for down time with a door that closes and no one else is expected to use.

For that very reason, I generally use my 4-days of overlap without an AP to play with my kids, clean the AP room, restock it for the incoming AP’s arrival, and to arrange to have necessary repairs (so far not needed) made.

MsA May 11, 2011 at 12:16 pm

I moved out of my room when the new Au Pair arrived.

Indi Au Pair to be May 11, 2011 at 12:44 pm

I agree with Calif Mom, your current AP is being passive-agressive about not wanting to move out of her room, IMHO she’s not disrrespecting the upcoming AP, but she’s disrrespecting YOU as head of the house. Can’ she stay with a friend for at least the first night your new AP will spend in your house? Maybe suggest it or arrange it in a nice “you need to spend time with your friends” kind of way, then have them a) share the room b)make the AP that’s leaving stay in other room. Talk with your leaving AP about how would she feel if she was coming for the first day, that in my opinion would be the most uncomfortable one given the awkardness of the first meeting, and she’d to spend it on a sofa or basement.
Hope everything works out fine, as certainly it’s not about picking but about being a mediator, wich only ads more work for you as a HP but your leaving AP put you in there with her not so nice attitude.

AnnaAuPair May 11, 2011 at 12:54 pm

For me this is very clear: The INCOMING AuPair gets the room. The first day/night and the following couple of days are crucial for how the AuPair is going to view her stay with you. In order to not get homesick and get used to the new surroundings and her home for the next year, she needs to have a room that she can make hers and where she can feel safe. The first couple of days the AuPair mostly is very insecure and nervous and things. She will not feel at home if she has to sleep on a sofa and is not able to make it “homely” in a way SHE needs it to be. I’d guess she’s feel as if she wasn’t welcome yet. Add to that a few remarks from the kids about how the outgoing AuPair was so much better and did things so differently and you find yourself with an AuPair who’s homesick and feels unwelcome.

Sure, this is kind of worst case. But I think it’s not that unrealistic.
Ask the outgoing AuPair, how she felt when she arrived. Then ask her how she would have felt if she in fact did NOT have the room nicely made for her?
If she doesn’t get it: tell her she HAS to move to the sofa! It will be hard for her, because I guess she doesn’t want to leave and it’s hard to see someone else taking the place you had for a year. But all of that is still part of being an AuPair.

mel76 May 11, 2011 at 9:59 pm

I totally agree. I was preparing to have this talk with my outgoing au pair, when she jumped on the topic and offered up her room for the new au pair. She said she would feel terrible if she were arriving, and she had to sleep in the basement her first couple of days. She even offered to clean up and decorate for the new au pair to make her feel welcome. Just one more reason I love my au pair and I will miss her very much.

HM Pippa May 11, 2011 at 1:11 pm

At the end of the AP year, AP1.0 felt quite at home and comfortable everywhere in the house and didn’t have a problem sharing space with a kid. We all agreed it was important for the incoming AP to have a place of her own while she adjusted to being in the US and in our home. AP1.0 gladly gave up her room to camp out with the 2yo for a few days. They were both happy to have greater intimacy before parting from each other.

I have to second the warning about overlap, though. We had about 5 days of overlap between AP1.0 and AP2.0. 3 of those days were overlapping work days, 2 days AP1 was officially off-the-clock. During the 5 days AP1.0 was present, AP2.0 was completely disengaged from childcare and learning household routines. When AP1 left, AP2’s interest in my children did not increase and she left the 10yo to care for the 2yo. AP2 flamed out quickly, but I still wonder if she might have been more successful if she hadn’t viewed the first week as a (self-declared) vacation.

Marina(ex-AP) May 11, 2011 at 2:39 pm

I moved out of the Aupair room before I started my travels during my 13th month, my hostmum took this time to re-decorate the room and get it ready for the new aupair.
I came back for another few days before my flight back home but didn’t look after the kids during this time as I had mostly come back to pick up my luggage and have a few more days with my lovely hostfamily.

When I visited my hostfamily the year after the ‘new Aupair'(who I overlapped with) suggested we share a room but I would have been happy to sleep in the living room again.

FormerAu-PairIreland May 11, 2011 at 5:18 pm

I had this situation both as an incomming and outgoing Au-Pair.
I rematched after a few weeks and the old Au-Pair of my hostfamily was still staying at the place of the HF. I then suggested that I wouldn`t mind to stay in a hostel for those two nights and I actually enjoyed the weekend on my own before moving from one family to the next.

When I went back for the summer the new Au-Pair came when I was still there. It never even occured to me to not move out of the room for her.

This time (another HF) when the new Au-Pair came, I moved to a hostel again. I still went to see the family and quite enjoyed visiting them but I also liked to be able to do what I wanted to do. Again I wouldn`t have wanted the Au-Pair to not have the room. BUT no way would I have shared the (big double) bed with someone I hadn`t met before (as s.o. suggested).

Thus I voted: Let the incoming Au-Pair have the room.

Maybe offer your “old” AuPair to pay for a Hostel for two nights or so or let her have a few days vacation with her friends. This might make up for not having her own bedroom anymore.
If you need her around: Could your kids live without the playroom for a couple of days? If so, let her move in there but tell her no one will come in. That way she`ll have a chance to be on her own.

Also: Could you not get the old Au-Pair to do some Arts and Crafts for the new one? If she is a good Au-Pair she will do everything to help the kids get used to the new one. While I always found it hard to leave, I made sure that the kids knew of all the great things they could do with the new Au-Pair! Let her talk to the new Au-Pair on Skype when you Skype, tell her that you will miss her, take a couple of pictures of her and the kids and put one up, – maybe let them decorate the frame together or something like that ( I took a picture of me and the kids nearly 5 years ago and it is still in one of the kids rooms (unless they only take it out for each of my visits ;) ).)

aria May 11, 2011 at 6:01 pm

I think I’m one of the few here who voted against the grain… when I went to work with my family last year, the outgoing au pair kept her apartment until she left and I stayed in the family’s guest room in the interim. It was never a question, I was just given the sofa bed and told to wait for her to leave. It wasn’t more than a few days, and I actually thought it was fair. I know I would’ve hated to have to move ALL my stuff a week before actually leaving just to go downstairs only to move it all up again and leave to go home. At the time, I had been living in a hostel, so I was already sort of used to being packed up and on the go every day anyway (sort of like incoming au pairs from the orientation), so a few more days living out of a suitcase wasn’t a big deal for me. The outgoing au pair, however needed all the time to pack up, clean her things, etc.

So my vote- let the outgoing au pair keep her room and schmooze the new one until the room is ready!

Lia May 12, 2011 at 3:14 am

When I went for my second year as an au pair, I overlap with the outgoing au pair for a month. It was HELL because she had the attitude of “while I am here, everything is mine”. Although the guest room was my place, i did not have space to unpack and I just made me very uncomfortable. She had the cell phone and the car during all the time, I just got them after she left – with the room that I cleaned after she left too.
It would be much better if there were guidelines about the sharing of work, cell phone and car (by the way, I got the worst part of the schedules too) during the overlap, so the new au pair feels like she arrives home.

Taking a Computer Lunch May 12, 2011 at 10:29 am

I don’t overlap, but for me the mark of a good AP is possessiveness about my kids. One outgoing AP had a picture of my kids together as her cell phone wallpaper, and when I commented on it, she replied, “All my friends who love their kids do it.” Many of my outgoing APs have expressed jealousy over seeing a new AP with “their” kids, and do their best to get out of the way during their 13th month.

That being said, I think it is incumbent on HP to set guidelines for phone use, access to the car, and for giving the new AP time alone with the kids to bond with them on her terms.

Nikki May 12, 2011 at 5:02 am

I just got to my new HP’s house last month and my HPs said that since the previous AP was still here (a weeks overlap) that I could have the basement room then move into the “Au Pair room” after that, and I had absolutely no problem with that. I was so jetlagged (I flew from the UK to Aus) that I would have crashed anywhere, plus you know, I wasn’t “part of the family” yet, so I thought it was fair.

However, when I got here, the previous AP had moved into the basement room, saying that she had to sleep there in the previous overlap and that she didn’t want that for me, I was super grateful for that.

I would vote that the new AP gets the room. Your old AP has to pack up her things any way, so why not a week early? It’s kind of unfair to ask your new AP to come into a new environment, sleep somewhere for a week and then uproot her again. Overlap can be awkward, and it’s daunting for the new AP enough as it is without asking her to settle then move when the old AP is done with the room.

CO Host Mom May 12, 2011 at 8:54 am

We overlap, and I had never even considered not having the room ready for the incoming AP. We make sure the outgoing AP knows early on that she will need to vacate the AP room at least a full day before the new AP arrives so I have time to clean it, change the linens, etc…. Outgoing AP moves out on to the couch, which is still relatively private as it is in the basement near the AP bathroom.

We also make sure they know that they’ll have to give up “their” car and cell phone when the new AP arrives, although we encourage the incoming AP to share the car during overlap, and we tell outgoing AP that we’re happy to help her find an inexpensive pre-paid cell phone if she wants one for her travel month. But we definitely don’t kick them out of the house for their travel month. They know they are welcome to use the house and couch as a home base throughout their travel month. Current AP plans to take advantage of that and will be in and out of the house during her travel month. So far, we haven’t had any overlap problems, and it has made for an easier transition for the kids.

Mumsy May 12, 2011 at 5:05 pm

Regarding the cell phone, I usually buy the outgoing AP a “pay as you go phone” and load it up with minutes as part of taking care of her while she travels in her 13th month and as a small gift. She gets the phone a couple of weeks ahead of the new AP coming in so her friends can get her new number, etc. The phone is usually free – some providers give these away if you buy $10 or $20 in minutes – so I just pay for minutes. The outgoing AP usually keeps the phone and, if she visits us some time in the future, she brings her phone with her and buys her own minutes and can stay in touch with family and friends without worrying about imposing on us.

It’s a cheap and thoughtful gift and it allows our outgoing APs to phone us during their travels and let us know how much fun they are having. It also provides them with some safety while they are traveling and allows them to stay in touch with their families back home.

1st time HM May 12, 2011 at 9:31 pm

that is a great idea and I think we are going to get a pre-paid phone for our AP when it is time for her departure.

formerWAap May 14, 2011 at 9:32 am

Regarding the cell phone and car, did your incoming APs use those much in the beginning? I had a 1 week overlap with the new AP of my hostfamily too and to be honest we never even had to talk about things like the room, phone and car.

I took her to all the AP Meetings in our area so she could meet people, introduced her to my friends, drove the kids around with her, showed her all the interesting/important places and showed her how to use the car. She was not really eager to drive around by herself during the first days, she always said she was happy I was driving, so she could get to know the area “safely” first. On the last day of our transition she drove to an AP meeting at night on her own and came back super proud, but that was the only time she was out her own (during transition time) and I just used that evening to be alone with “my” family.
We also just shared the cell phone, since she did not really have “friends” at that point and we did most things together anyways. That way she was able to give her no. to the girls she had met (for future meetings) and I still had a cell my friends could call me at.

In terms of schedule, we just did everything together. The parents and I talked to the kids before new AP got there and they knew they had to listen to hostparents, me and new AP. This might depend on the age of the kids though. I had a baby, that just needed to get used to the new AP for a few days and 2 school kids, that mainly just need to be driven to school and afterschool activities. So it was probably easier than it might be in other families.

Leaving the family sure is a tough time, but I was grateful to get to know the new AP and to see how well she got along with everyone. That made me feel safe, in terms of how the kids are going to be looked after. I also had a lot of fun with her, was still able to see my friends and just used my travel month to hang out/travel with them on my own (without the new AP).

CO Host Mom May 14, 2011 at 9:56 am

The incoming APs don’t use the phone and car a lot during the first week, but since we allow outgoing APs to come and go during their travel month, it becomes more of a factor in to week two or three of that time. So if the outgoing AP is back for a few days during trips in her travel month, we make sure she knows that the incoming AP has dibs on the car and phone.

NoVa HostMom May 12, 2011 at 9:04 am

We only overlapped once and new AP got the room. that is an important get settled, adjustment time and the new AP needs that ability to unpack (once), have privacy and get comfortable.

We have never overlapped again as i did not see the value in it and really seemed to not work well. could have just been my situtation, but it can be an awkward time for both APs, for the kids, etc. It is usually less than a week in between and I use that time to get the room ready and i think this helps our kids make the transition as well.

Mumsy May 12, 2011 at 4:57 pm

When we overlapped AP’s, we always had the outgoing AP move to the guest room as she was really no longer the AP and was instead fully fledged “adopted” family. Our outgoing AP’s enjoyed this a lot and it all seemed to work well. The incoming AP’s also enjoyed having their own room and being welcomed in. The outgoing AP’s also stepped up and cleaned out their rooms, helped me steam clean the carpet, etc. and were very excited about getting things ready for the incoming AP.

To the OP, perhaps your AP is saddened by having to leave and just wants things to continue as they are for as long as she can. She may not mean to be malicious in wanting to stay in her room. Leaving could be so hard for her, so she may be trying to hang on to “normal” as she readies herself for her departure. I may not be correct but I am trying to see it from her perspective as well. Maybe speak to her candidly and ask her how she feels about leaving and you might find a very distraught young woman who is having trouble with having to say goodbye. Don’t automatically assume the worst …..

Taking a Computer Lunch May 12, 2011 at 5:38 pm

I agree with your comments here about the AP “hanging on.” Even when APs decide to return home (meaning you’re not in rematch), they are still conflicted. They want to say goodbye to all their friends (the year abroad can be extremely intense and it is hard to say farewell – some of their closest friends in the US are people they won’t see again).

I generally try to find a time to talk with APs about saying “so long.” I emphasize that I need to count on their continued cheerfulness. It is important to the kids that they feel loved and will feel missed, especially if they are old enough to understand that the separation is coming from the moment you matched with the next AP.

Perhaps one thing you could do is elicit help from your current AP. Ask her if she remembers her first night in the room. Ask her if there was anything that made her feel special. Ask her if there was something she wished she had for which she was too shy to ask. Be sure to give her time to clean out her belongings. Now would be a good time to give the gift of a box. (Some of you know that I regularly give the outgoing AP a box in which to pack and ship some of her belongings back home. I send it airmail and insure it for the cost of the shipping. My standard gift costs me about $150, so I don’t give an exit “bonus.”

anon May 12, 2011 at 10:06 pm

Which agency?? That seems extremely insensitive to personal space and culture. 2 APs in a room with 2 dbl beds = ok, if not comfortable for some people. 4 APs with 2 dbl beds = an intimate sleeping situation with someone you don’t know! (and I don’t mean “sexual” by “intimate” — but two average sized adults sharing a dbl bed is extremely close quarters…!!)

Carlos May 12, 2011 at 11:14 pm

What’s the problem of spleeping on the same bedroom?

an ap-to-be May 13, 2011 at 12:37 am

“You can’t ask the incoming AP to share a room much less a bed with a total stranger. That would be terribly awkward and uncomfortable for most people.” Quoting CaliHostMom in a reply she did above. In my opinion, “total stranger” is the key word. If outgoing & incoming AP get the chance to know each other and actually like each other and think is okay and more comfortable for both if they share the room, then so be it, but I don’t think it’s ok for a HF to “make” new AP share her “safe place” with the old one. The way I see it, outgoing at least feels WAY MORE comfortable in most places of Hostfamily’s houses unlike new AP .

Carlos May 13, 2011 at 2:54 am

Nobody said nothing about sharing a bed, and I think that if there’s no problem for both au pairs to share a bedroom there there shoudn’t be any problem.

You’re right, it shouldn’t be an option to consider from the host family part to make the au pairs share bedroom without their aproval, but if both au pairs think it’s fine then that will be a relief for the family, don’t you think?

And if we’re talking about trust, or bringing a “total stranger” to your house, I think that most of the concerns MUST be from the host family and not from the weepy au pair, after all they’re trusting you their kids, the most valuable thing they have…

anon May 13, 2011 at 8:03 am

I was responding to the above comment from NJ mom (copied below) that said that the agency required APs to *share beds*. I consider that quite different from asking APs to share a room, each sleeping in a separate bed. Sharing a room seems reasonable, sharing a bed seems to cross possible boundaries — some APs might not care, but others might be very much opposed to sleeping up close and personal with someone they have never met.

NJ Host Mom May 12, 2011 at 9:28 pm
Hmmmm…our agency packs 4 au pairs into one hotel room with 2 full-size beds in NYC for the 4 day duration of training. Is this not common practice? How is having 2 au pairs in the same room in your house for an overlap any worse than that?

ap May 13, 2011 at 2:18 pm

yes because every host family has spare beds in the ap bedroom…? There is usually just one (a double bed) – how do you propose to have them share the bedroom and not the bed??

Plus, there is also the US State Department rules that says how ap should have a ‘private’ room. And to be honest, I really don’t think one is weepy for wanting to have a little privacy. You are completely new in a country, the least you’d like to is have a place where you can just chill out and be alone to sink in the whole change the first days in the new country.

German Au-Pair May 13, 2011 at 2:56 pm

I also would feel really bad about sharing a room with a total stranger. Especially after 3 akward days in training school where you have to do exactly that. After 3 days in a small room and even bed with total strangers, you’re really looking forward to have you privacy again and I would feel really bad if I had to share a room *again*.
Also, the outgoing au pair would probably be very sad about leaving and I would feel really bad, if I had to share a room with someone who just comes flying in, taking over my place and space and I couldn’t even be alone in my room in an emotional challenging time like that.
I’d rather sleep in one of the kid’s rooms.

Carlos May 13, 2011 at 10:35 pm

I just spoke with 2 friends of mine that are currently with their host families and they are with AuPair Care agency… I’m with cultural care…

For what I know, cultural care does not make au pairs sleep on the same bed, and for what the 2 of my friends told me, they don’t make them sleep on the same bed neither…

I don’t know with which agency are you with but mine nor their makes au pairs sleep on same beds… :/

DarthaStewart May 14, 2011 at 8:24 am

Ive had both male and female au-pairs. The girls have to share beds. The guys didn’t.

German Au-Pair May 14, 2011 at 10:01 am

Carols, I’ve been told several times that AuPaircare has 3 people in a hotel room and two share a bed and the other one gets a cot.
Probably DarthaStewart is right and it’s different with the guys.

anonymous May 14, 2011 at 11:31 am

Dartha – which agency are you with?

DarthaStewart May 14, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Currently? AuPairCare.

Carlos May 14, 2011 at 5:16 pm

Well, both of them are female au pairs and like I said, they went on different dates and non of them slept on the same bed with another au pair… they did share bedrooms but they didn’t share beds… just accept it… Cultural Care nor AuPair Care makes au pairs sleep on the same bed

German Au-Pair May 14, 2011 at 6:07 pm

Apparently that differs and depends on different factors, I know for a fact that girls were asked to share a bed, Carlos. Not saying it’s *always* like that but it happens.
But as TLC already stated, that’s not really the point in this thread because whether they share a bed or just a room, they will probably be glad to have some personal space after arriving with their hostfamily either way.
Nothing more or less was my point in the first place.

Carlos May 14, 2011 at 8:39 pm

Yeah, and like I said, what’s one week living with someone in your bedroom, the problem would be if she/he stays for the whole year with you, now THEN you don’t have privacy…

an ap-to-be May 13, 2011 at 12:30 am

Recently I was actually having this conversation with my mum since I will overlap (for two weeks) with the out-going aupair. Since there are still a couple of months to go until I get to the US in the summer, I haven’t exactly ask my host-mom about how the “overlap” is going to work, but I have to admit the “awkwardness” issue does worry me a little. I would hate to get there and the situation to be as if I were “taking from her” everything she saw as hers for over a year (outgoing AP extended) She is certainly part of the family already so I’m in fact trying to prepare myself to the imminent awkwardness. I’ve talked with outgoing AP by email already though, and she seems real nice and I know I’ll use her help a lot in those few first days in the States, but it certainly won’t be nice if all a sudden I get all her stuff- I hope it’s not like that. I wouldn’t mind sleep somewhere else- or even share the room with her IF we actually get along, you know? Because that’s for me one of the issues. I for one have NO problem sharing a room with a girl-friend, but the thing is that you are just meeting this new person and not everybody is cut out to be that open with that kind of personal space.
Mum said I shouldn’t “expect” anything and just see how things unfold & hope for the best- will still ask HM before arrival just so I can be a little prepared about that overlap though.
Two weeks seems like a long time to overlap in my opinion anyways, but hopefully it’ll work out- Not that much awkwardness hahaha =)

exaustralian au pair May 17, 2011 at 10:17 pm

Where abouts are you from an ap-to-be?

I was with au pair care and I shared a room with 2 other au pairs at the orientation .. we had our own beds, but one was a cot bed

In my opinion, the new ap gets the bed.. I was tired after orientation and eager to have MY own space, and personal area.. it is not as big a deal for the old ap to move out..

Taking a Computer Lunch May 14, 2011 at 4:48 pm

I think we’re conflating two issues here: 1) what happens at orientation and 2) what happens in the home. As much as APs would like their own room at orientation, it’s just not going to happen. (Personally I think it’s weird to ask two people who have never met before to share a bed – I know I wouldn’t like it. I go through one of the biggest agencies and happen to match at the height of AP arrival, so my APs have even had 5 to a room on occasion.) Not pleasant, but everyone is in the same boat and I do know some friendships are formed based on it. I have had more than one AP go and visit orientation roommates and have hosted a view visiting our city.

Regardless of what happens at orientation, I personally feel that when a new AP arrives in the home she needs her own space. In my house the incoming AP gets the bedroom, and given the results of the survey it sounds like most of you do that as well.

German Au-Pair May 14, 2011 at 4:57 pm

Oh no, sorry TLC, I started that. But not to complain about what happens on orientation but to point out that, after this experience, the incoming au pair will probably look forward to closing a door behind herself an take a deep breath or two.
So it would be hard for her to be jetlagged and exhausted and annoyed by the room situation during orientation and not only have to adjust to her new family and her new life circumstances but also to share a room with someone who already *has* that life without even the last bit of privacy.
So sharing a room seems like a bad idea to me.
The discussion about orientation got a little off topic, I guess.

happy au pair June 6, 2011 at 9:34 pm

I know I’m joining this conversation a little late, but just wanted to add that I have done an overlap both as an outgoing au pair and as an incoming one. With my first family I didn’t have to be asked to move out of the room, I offered and made sure my room was spotless for the new girl to move into when she arrived. When I went to my second family I didn’t get to move into the au pair room until the previous girl had left (I had been told this before I arrived). I know when I leave here I’m going to overlap with the next girl, and am unsure of how to broach the subject of the room, because I would feel more comfortable offering my room to her, but I like my family and don’t want to make them feel bad for not offering me the room when I first arrived. Any help would be much appreciated, I love this website and have found it very useful during my year abroad.

Comments on this entry are closed.