My last post mentioned Transition Au Pairs. These are au pairs who are leaving their placement before the full commitment is completed. There can be a multitude of reasons for this. Your Local Area Representative should be forthcoming about the reasons. Keep an open mind, though, as some reasons are more worthy than others. Some reasons may apply to your family while others may be irrelevant. If you need flexible and affordable childcare right away, consider giving a Transition Au Pair a chance with your family. Keep an open mind when you hear why he or she did not work out with the previous Host Family. He or she may be just the right fit for you! What are some of the most popular or common reasons it doesn’t work out?
Sometimes, the Host Family situation changes and the au pair is no longer needed, or the family decides the au pair does not live up to their expectations in a given area. Some find they are not comfortable with the au pair’s driving skills, or feel as if the au pair is not authoritative enough with their kids, or that the au pair is not bonding well with the children. Sometimes, the au pair feels the family home is too rural and far from any social events or opportunities, or that the children do not respect his or her authority, or that they are not being treated as a member of the family. These are the most common reasons for what we call “breakdown.” Occasionally, Host Families fail to pay their au pair’s stipend or au pairs fail to meet their job requirements, but this is less common.
These can also be avoided by open communication and honesty from the very first interview and early conversations. It is important for all parties to be honest about their expectations. Do you expect your au pair to be an employee or member of the family? Although you pay your au pair, the concept of the program encourages you to consider him or her a house guest, for which you supply an extra serving of whatever family meals you prepare, as well as reasonable use of the household and yard. You would not, however, be expected to serve your au pair as you might a house guest. Your au pair should provide his or her own personal items or specialty foods. He or she should pick up after themselves, do their own laundry, as well as the child-related duties which you will have discussed from the beginning, but not parent laundry. The au pair can clean the bathroom he or she shares with the children, but not the parents’ bathroom or the entire household shared bathroom.
When everyone knows what to expect and feels comfortable speaking up, respectfully, about what they need, most people will listen, compromise and cooperate to make everyone happy again. It is when people hold back, create bad feelings or secrets, that trust is damaged. We do have a two-week notice policy as part of our Grievance Policy, which serves to protect both you and your au pair in the event that one party is not happy or not living up to their side of the agreement.
Contact me, Joan Lowell, your RI area Go Au Pair representative. Feel free to call or message me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org or in RI, call me at 401.309.1925. We are actively recruiting Host Families in the RI, CT and MA area, as well as offering a great family discount when you host an out-of-country au pair within 90 days of signing up. Compare us to the competition, get their best offer in writing, then bring it to us so we can match or beat it – no joke!