…as long as she wasn’t unsafe, devious, or truly dreadful.
A Host Parent Letter of Reference Makes a Difference
Whether it’s for an au pair extending with another family, rematching due to poor fit with you, or applying for a job, school program or other opportunity, a letter of reference helps your au pair document the work s/he did in your home and how s/he coped with the challenges of living abroad with a host family.
- People who don’t know what au pairing is need that letter to understand what the job entails
- Host families considering your departing au pair need to know what s/he can do well, as well as why you and s/he are parting ways.
Focus Your Letter on Useful Meaningful Features of the Au Pair’s Time with You
Letters of reference are easy to write for stellar au pairs, and in all honesty they are not that hard to write for mediocre au pairs either.
Be thoughtful and note what your au pair did well, what parts of her/his attitude were easy to work with, what she learned, how s/he handled challenges.
Unless s/he was awful, you can find some good things to say. After all, you chose this au pair, this au pair worked well enough that you kept him/her for some time.
Writing a kind Letter of Reference is not an official Host Parent requirement, but it is a courtesy that I believe we’re obligated to extend to any young person who took a risk and came to our family.
There’s almost always something nice to say, that’s true and that matters.
I’m not suggesting that you lie, stretch the truth, or omit important information. I am suggesting, instead, that you refrain from documenting annoyances and failings that weren’t critical and/or that won’t be critical in your au pair’s next adventure.
Just because her inability to do X was a pet peeve of yours doesn’t mean you need to document it for the ages.
I’m writing this from my “sympathetic to the au pair” headspace, in response to this email, below.
Currently, I’m an au pair with one host family, planning to extend my second year term with another family. The main reason in why I took this decision is because, even though I’ll finish my whole year with my current host family, we really don’t have the best relationship.
When the agency sent the information about the extending process, the family felt prompted to tell the agency that they wanted a new au pair, so I decided to ask to extend with another family.
As the year has gone along, we had never needed an LCC intermission (intervention). Whenever I had an issue with something I always talked directly to my host mom and we worked things out.
For my extension application, my host mom wrote my reference letter for the other host families looking for extension au pairs. She really wrote a very bad reference about me, even though she never told either my LCC or I that something was wrong.
The main reason for this bad review is because she considers that I do not know how to multitask in the mornings and I don’t make things move fast enough with the two kids.
My LCC already talked to my host parents about the letter. The LCC did not ask them to rewrite the letter because the LCC doesn’t think this issue should affect my possibilities to find a new host family.
However I have worked hiring people in my home country and I know how horrible a bad reference may look in your resume.
Now, I have never exposed the kids into a hazardous situation and the girls have even asked me on why am I not staying with them.
I would really like to know, how badly is this going to affect my chances to finding a new family?